Turns out I was too limited in recently listing the western European nations partially or wholly controlled by neo-Nazis.  
 
You can now add Austria (for reasons set forth below) to the countries whose current government will cause progressive people all over the world to cease visiting them.
 
Although the new ruling party in Austria is not itself far right-wing, they have apparently formed a coalition government that includes neo-Nazis in key cabinet positions. 
 
Acting in their capacity of controlling the Interior Department of that nation (thus heading the national police forces), their fellow henchmen recently broke into the offices of a liberal political organization to steal the names of thousands of Austrians who have joined the effort to promote democratic policies.  
 
And the same police forces will now—beyond doubt—move against those people, in addition to taking other steps against democratic elements in that nation. 
 
The internet is full of reports of threats to the democratic nature of Austria. But the weak prime minister of that nation has thus far taken no steps whatever to curb the power of his Nazi-like coalition partners.     
 
Therefore, I will not visit or advocate visits to current-day Austria, and I have always harbored concern about the controlling political attitudes of significant numbers of Austrians.  
 
Sadly, anti-democratic movements are currently active in a number of Western European nations, and all of us should favor those nations that have remained democratic and boycott those nations that haven’t. 
 
Austria now joins Poland and Hungary as places where Americans should hesitate to visit. 

____
 
P.S.  Shortly after I wrote the above blog, a member of Austria’s right-wing extremists, the so-called “Freedom Party,” was secretly filmed arranging close ties between the “Freedom Party” and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. As a result of the ensuing scandal, the prime minister of Austria finally dissolved his government and arranged for new elections in early September. As of this writing, it remains unclear as to whether the “Freedom Party” will emerge strengthened by those elections or hurt by them. 
 
My earlier reaction remains unchanged. If Austria remains in the camp of neo-Nazis, then all of us should cease visiting Austria.
 


Tags: arthur frommer, Austria

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