Editor's note: At the request of readers, this diary has been updated and republished from earlier today. Thank you for your support.
Written by an American expat living in the E.U.
The alpine nation of Switzerland has declared WAR on the European Union's freedom of movement treaty, along with open borders negotiated throughout the European Union which the Swiss originally over a decade ago through years of negotiations voluntarily joined (though technically not as an EU member state). This new law has just passed on Sunday and was done through a referendum vote sponsored by a far right political party the so called SVP (people's party) which is a party built largely on a class based anti-foreigner xenophobic platform which seeks to promulgate hatred, intolerance and the expulsion of foreigners and the closing off of Switzerland to the outside world as an island fortress with migration quotas. As such, this promulgates new laws of intolerance that are a huge step backwards in the heart of the progressive minded European Union.
Having regard to the poster depicting foreign hands grabbing Swiss passports, it should be said that immigrant couples must fulfill a 12 year waiting period of residence before being able to even apply for Swiss citizenship. Which is the longest waiting period for citizenship anywhere in Europe. Also it should be noted that 23% of the Swiss population being foreign is exaggerated by the fact that approximately a quarter of these people were actually born in Switzerland and have lived there for their whole lives but were unable to obtain citizenship due to strict naturalization laws and are therefore considered to be foreigners. (This is something that is inconceivable to Americans as being born on U.S. soil confers citizenship automatically on all native born populations without having regard to who their parents are. Therefore the Swiss claim of being overrun by foreigners seems clearly exaggerated, so as to profit from such exaggeration by beating anti-immigrant drums, so as to stoke a class based xenophobia directed against the European Union's working class masses).
This isn't an old story about greedy Swiss bankers enriching themselves by hording Nazi gold stolen from Holocaust survivors and this isn't the same old story about Switzerland promulgating laws to deport poor foreigners who are cheating on unemployment or welfare benefits. This is instead a story of Switzerland's new class based xenophobia, directed not at rich foreigners but at working class foreign immigration to Switzerland which is promulgated by the populous far right SVP People's Party. As such this has frighten the day lights out of progressive EU politicians from across the entire EU block (which is over 500 million strong), of the rise again of far right wing populism, hatred and class based xenophobia taking hold in Europe once again, leading us back to the disastrous history that plagued Europe in the last century and broke out two world wars. This is from a tiny alpine nation of 8 million people punching far above its weight (as it is less than the population size of London, England). It is sad as well as a frightening spectacle to behold because it marks the rise in Europe to the old ghosts of hatred and class based xenophobia.
From the German mainstream magazine DER SPIEGELAs the EU in order to avoid a Swiss originated avalanche of similar referendum being held in European Union member countries, it is quite conceivable that the EU will have to consider strong sanctions against Switzerland, so as to make an example of them. Under the pressure of such even threatened EU sanctions, it is quite conceivable that the French Swiss Romande may well themselves have to threaten to leave the Swiss Confederation in the matter of the anti-immigration vote, that they did not support.
Quote: A Land of Money and Fear: The Swiss Vote Against 'Mass Migration'
A Contradictory Self-Image
How is this possible? One important reason is the contradictory self-image of the Swiss. Switzerland views itself as a nation forged by the will of the people -- a community that decided to come together and create a state. The truth is precisely the opposite -- the Swiss state wasn't forged by will. Switzerland's regions haven't come together because it is their inner-most wish to do so. The reasoning is more profane. The German-language areas don't want to belong to Germany, the Suisse romande don't want to be a part of France and the Ticinesi don't want to become part of Italy. Instead, they are Swiss.
But an identity built on the rejection of an alternative has its weaknesses. Ever since the charisma associated with William Tell and the Old Swiss Confederacy faded, the mythological underpinnings of oft-evoked Swiss exceptionalism have vanished. The only thing remaining to substitute for a national identify is prosperity. Being richer than those surrounding you -- it's still something. But there's a flipside: Those who have a lot also have a lot to lose. And the prospect of having to share the francs that have piled up with immigrants can quickly spiral into existential angst. To exaggerate just a little: There wouldn't be much left in being Swiss if the country's standard of living were to regress to that of the Germans or, God forbid, the French or the Italians.
It must be asked how much longer can the French Swiss Romande allow the German Swiss rural rube descendants of William Tell to take pot shots and attempts to shoot the apples off the Romande children's heads, so as to keep the apples from falling into the hands of cartoon EU vermin before someone concludes that the assumption of risk of the next generation of French Swiss Romande have become untenably high, to the point when someone says it's in the interests of the French Romande to go their own way and leave the Swiss Confederation.
In fact as Switzerland is only a nation of 8 million souls, 6 million of whom are Swiss citizens, it isn't inconceivable at all that this population substantially less than the population of the city of London could well vote to disband the present Swiss Confederation. Switzerland itself as a country as we presently know it will no longer exist. While we may speculate on this point and others, one thing is absolutely clear no one knows exactly what the future will hold. No one knows what will happen to the Swiss aviation industry if landing rights from the EU are restricted by quota in concert with the Swiss immigration quota. No one will know what will happen to the Swiss pharmaceutical industry whose majority export is the European Union. Precisely the same can be said of the Swiss manufacturing industry etc.
The primary target market of Swiss rural rube voters in German speaking Switzerland who voted for the immigration quota system may find themselves isolated and discover they may have bitten off more than they can chew, because they've succeeded in unleashing Europe wide anger against Switzerland, who has been resented for generations for being too rich and in your face xenophobic. This is a carefully nurtured multi-generational bias against the Swiss that these Germanic rural Swiss voters have now succeeded in waking. In the clear case where they have woken that sleeping dog, it becomes impossible to predict the consequences that this may now unleash in a Europe which has been weary for generations of Swiss xenophobia.
LET THE HATE FLOW This important story has absolutely dominated headlines in the European Union, Asia and around the world, yet it seems to be under-reported in the plutocrat owned US media, which is always reticent to impose Wall Street jitters. This Sunday by what is described as the narrowest of margins 50.3% amounting to a little more than a few thousand votes, a Swiss far right party SVP (The people party) led a successful rebellion against the European Union freedom of movement, and therein declared figurative war on Brussels' right to dictate freedom of movement policies within the European Union and EEC states in association with the E.U. Where immigration quotas over the next 36 months will be phased in, therein restricting primarily the EU nationals of Germany, France and Italy, most of whom are highly qualified professionals from living and working in Switzerland.
The wound from the first World War is alive and well!!
Bloomberg NewsIt seems the populous haters in the European Union have been woken up by the Swiss vote. Therefore this is now in danger of changing the European Union and believe it or not has also endangered America from populous hatred, racism and intolerance, because they too will point to the victory of the Swiss populous haters from the far right SVP party, this should also be our goal in America. As such this sets a dangerous precedent that we must all resist as progressives who value justice and tolerance.
EU’s Anti-Immigrant Parties Take Heart in Swiss Vote for Curbs
By James G. Neuger February 10, 2014
"Anti-immigration politicians including France’s Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands said that while Switzerland is outside the EU, yesterday’s Swiss vote against open borders will resonate inside it."
“You can decide who comes into your apartment,” Le Pen said on Europe 1 radio today. “The country is our house. We the people have the right to decide who comes in.”
LET THE HATE FLOW
Why should we as Americans care you might ask. The reason is simple the American economy is tied substantially to the economy of the European Union, and any Swiss led rebellion in what amounts to a political declaration of war, so as to assert Swiss sovereignty will create financial earthquakes on Wall Street effecting everything from your pension fund to the dollar exchange rate to the interest you pay. So how is it one might ask that Switzerland a nation of 8 million people, that is to say less than the population of London, England could have such influence. The answer is simple, populous parties in the European Union, most notably France, the Netherlands, Austria and elsewhere all have platforms that want to prevent migration of Eastern European EU states to their respective countries. It therefore sets a populous far right wing agenda in the news that other such far right wing parties who promulgate racism, xenophobia, discrimination and hatred want to grab a hold of. It is therefore ironic in the extreme that the Swiss are visiting upon them the very type of discrimination that they would visit upon other financially weaker EU states in Eastern Europe. They will tell you that they are not racists, that they are not haters, that they are not xenophobic. What they are is scared to death about being run over by foreigners, who will suppress their wages and overrun their social safety nets. That immigration must be restricted as a very article of survival itself, and that what is at stake here is nothing short of their sovereignty, the maintenance of their language and culture and their very economic survival.
Swiss vote on curbing EU immigration LET THE HATE FLOW
By Jonathan Fowler February 8, 2014 9:47 PM
Geneva (AFP) - Swiss voters will on Sunday decide whether to curb immigration by European Union citizens, in a referendum that risks igniting a row with Brussels.
Swiss voters back limit on immigration Associated Press
By razor-thin margin, Swiss voters back tighter curbs on immigration Christian Science Monitor Neutral Switzerland is not in the EU but is ringed by countries that are members and does most of its trade with the 28-nation bloc. Since 2007, the EU's 500 million residents have enjoyed an equal footing with locals on the job market of Switzerland, a country of eight million.
That is part of a raft of deals signed with the EU in 1999 after five years of talks, approved by Swiss voters in a 2000 referendum and then phased in.
But a referendum coalition helmed by the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party -- the largest in Switzerland's parliament -- says that opening the door fully to EU citizens was a huge mistake."
So what comes into being is a complex picture, a picture which upon first glance to most Americans seems confusing, as the residence of all these nations are primarily Caucasian, and in terms of appearance cannot be distinguished, and often as in the case of Switzerland even speak the same language, that is to say French, German and Italian. So it is distinctly foreign to the American mentality that such deep seated ill will,hatred and xenophobia in Europe today are still alive and well. A Europe that now commemorates in numerous memorials and newspaper and journal articles the history which led to the outbreak of what was once called the Great War that is to say WW1, which at the conclusion led to the Versaille Treaty said to be responsible for the outbreak of WW2.
Europe feels Switzerland has wiped its feet on their good attitude of egalitarian inclusion for bringing the Swiss into having many of the benefits ordinarily only accorded to EU states, only to find the Swiss vote has wiped its feet on what might only be expressed as the good attitude of inclusion that Europe has shown them.
The Guardian, Febr 10th, 2014
"Freedom of movement is one of the four keystones of the single market. Switzerland's access to the market – the EU takes 60% of Swiss exports – is based on seven bilateral agreements from 1999, including the free movement pact. The package of seven agreements are interlinked, including guillotine clauses, which means that if one agreement is ditched, the whole package collapses.
For Brussels, said a European commission spokeswoman, free movement is a "sacred liberty. The ball is in the Swiss court. They have to decide what consequences to draw."
To be perfectly clear, rich foreigners and their money will of course continue to be welcomed in Switzerland, instead the class based xenophobia and hatred is after all only focusing on working class foreigners. That is say people whose primary income is derived from work rather than from capital. It is said that all that has to happen for evil to prevail is for good people to sit back and say and do nothing. Therefore this is your opportunity to stand up and speak out and be heard. To that end, I invite you to please consider posting your thoughts below. Thank you for your support of this important issue...
UPDATE: Please note the mainstream German magazine, Der Spiegel in interviewing SVP's founder the Swiss billionaire Mr. Christoph Blocher published the interview and this may be read in full at the link below.