We have just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation from fascism. Exactly 60 years ago the leadership of the German Wehrmacht signed the capitulation. Yesterday in the former concentration camp (KZ) of Mauthausen and in Vienna thousands of people showed their opposition to war and to fascism.
Some of our readers will perhaps remember the inauguration of the right-wing coalition government in Austria in February 2000. For the first time since 1970 the Social Democratic Party was not part of the federal government. The new government was formed by Wolfgang Schüssel of the conservative Peoples’ Party and Jörg Haider, the leader of the Freedom Party. This led to a big movement of Austrian “civil society” and a wave of international protests starting with the tops of the EU. Many on the left saw the threat of fascism because of the participation of the Freedom Party in this new bourgeois government.
On October 3rd Austria was shaken by a political earthquake. After decades of "social partnership", after 13 years of a 'Grand Coalition' between the Social Democrat Party (SP) and the conservative Peoples Party (VP) characterised by enormous stability these parliamentary elections mark a turning point in Austria's post-war history. Especially the big success of the extreme right-wing party of Jörg Haider, the FP÷, was not only a shock to a lot of people in Austria, but also internationally.