Swiss referendum: flying the flag for nativism

Author(s) : Reem Abu-Hayyeh, Graham Murray, Liz Fekete

Source :


« The passing of a recent referendum in Switzerland, proposed by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in order to halt ‘mass immigration’, is being lauded by Europe’s far Right as a victory for ‘direct democracy’. Here the authors argue that the form of participatory democracy that allowed the referendum to take place has brought about the institutionalisation of xeno-racism, rolling back over forty years of anti-racist reform and leaving migrant workers from other EU countries in the same vulnerable conditions that workers from southern Europe and the Balkans endured in Switzerland in the years following the second world war: with no rights to settlement, they were open to exploitation. The authors warn that the SVP’s victory is a sign of the growing tendency across Europe of populist politicians to push centre parties further rightwards. »
Keywords: far Right, free movement, intra-European migration, nativism, SVP, Swiss People’s Party, UKIP, xeno-racism



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