“Make the country safe – Kick the black sheep out”

Carolin Steindel (Switzerland, AC 08-10)

 

 

Switzerland- a country known for its banks, mountains and chocolate. It is considered a peaceful place, hardly ever mentioned in the news and politically absolutely uninteresting. It is considered the “country of neutrality “, always managing to keep out of every conflict or scandal – apparently.

But Switzerland has always been good at keeping secrets. It is hardly known, that Switzerland collaborated with the Nazis during the 2nd world war, profiting of the Jewish workforces from the concentration camps. It is also not widely known, that Switzerland might have one of the strongest right wing parties in central Europe.

Its name is SVP Schweizerische Volkspartei, Swiss party for the people, does not sound as shocking as it should. According to Wikipedia it is a “populist, national conservative  political party in Switzerland”. Surely true. Conservative in the way as that they pledge to abolish the freedom of religion. National in the way that they fight the Anti-racism law, demanding the right of racist comments.  And popular- well the SVP holds 23% [1]of the popular vote. Strangely enough, officially of the 7. Mio people living in Switzerland, 2000 are considered conspicuous  in terms of right wing politics, less than  0.03.% but 23% vote for a right wing party. Why most participants of a party claiming that Switzerland should be kept “pure”, are not considered right wing? – Good question.  

Especially the SVP last election campaigned shockingly revealed the intentions of the party. Banners like “kick the black sheep out of Switzerland”, “protect Switzerland from the evil black Raven” were a normal sign in every Swiss city.  Still, the worst were the reactions of the people, which was sadly not disgust, but approval. With the campaign, the party attracted over 30% of the votes. Even opponents of the election campaign took it fairly easy- they had seen worse from the party.

“Yes to Switzerland! No to joining the EU.” says one of their posters in big capital letters.

According to the Swiss online newspaper NZZ, “nowhere else in Europe has Xenophobia and Racism become as obvious as in Switzerland.”

Right wing nationalism usually rises in a difficult financial situation-which we have right now- but Switzerland has had the “right shift” much longer than the economical crises. So how does the SVP attract people? What is it that they offer? On the officials party website it says: “The SVP convinces due to clear and understandable messages. “Messages that spurn human rights, but in times were politics seem to move nowhere, clear messages can be very effective.

 

Furthermore it says that “The foreign policy of Switzerland is open-minded, but without active initiatives. It is dedicated to serve the interest of its own people and is distinct by neutrality and independence. We do not want to join the European Union. Switzerland is an exceptional case and a success model that we have to carefully preserve. We want to abolish “criminal “strangers and intensify the Immigration Act as we (Switzerland) are being flooded by a mass of unemployed immigrants from mainly from Germany. We want to abolish the free Immigration, especially from the poorer EU States, Rumania and Bulgaria.”[2]

It is true that  1/3 of the people in Switzerland are foreigners and that the unemployment rate of foreigners is a lot higher than the one of the Swiss. What is not mentioned is that according to the Swiss Newspaper NZZ.[3]  It is a lot harder for foreigner to get first of all the permission to work and then to actually find employment. Also, foreigners have to pay higher insurance rates than Swiss passport holders- without reason. This is the situation now, bad enough. The SVP is pushing it much further. There are no real consequences for the publishing of racist thoughts by the politicians In Switzerland , so xenophobia and hatred spreads throughout Switzerland and nothing is stopping  it.  

-United World College Student Magazine-

 


[1] according to Samuel Althof taken from an official interview

[2] http://www.svp.ch/g3.cms

[3] http://www.n-tv.de/politik/Europarat-ruegt-Schweiz-article504916.html

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