by Graham Macklin
Far right and anti-Muslim politics in Britain have become increasingly fragmented. The British National Party (BNP), once the leading far right party, has largely collapsed. During the 2010 general election the BNP polled only 1.9% of the vote and was overshadowed by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a right-wing, anti-immigration populist party unencumbered by the BNP’s debilitating historical baggage. Thereafter, the BNP leadership descended into demoralization, bitter recrimination and factional rivalry, hastening the departure of its activist base, the collapse of its membership and leading, ultimately, to the expulsion of its chairman, Nick Griffin, as the party continued its further descent to political irrelevance. The BNP appears ‘finished’ as a political force, its ‘quest for legitimacy’ at an end.
by Angélique Kourounis
How can a racist party that was getting less than 0.2% of the vote for years, enter parliament with 18 MPs? How can a party that promotes violence, hate, sexism and murders amplify its reach after each pogrom? How can Golden Dawn remain the third political power in Greece for four years? And what’s in the mind of a Golden Dawner?
by Bernhard Weidinger
Since around 1990, the state of the Austrian far right has been characterized by the strength of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ – Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, more precisely translated as Freedomite Party of Austria) and the relative weakness of extra-parliamentarian far right activism. Far from a mere coincidence, these two features are to be understood as closely linked: the FPÖ’s electoral successes have brought far right causes and talking points unto the political center stage on a national level, given them ample media coverage and made street militancy increasingly pointless. Insofar, the Austrian far right spectrum could – at least until recently – be described as a photographic negative of the situation in Germany: successful party politics, weak bottom-up mobilizations and a comparatively low incidence of street violence. Currently, however, the long held hopes of German right-wingers for a party both in the mold, and strength, of the FPÖ are apparently being fulfilled by the emergence of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Conversely, both legal and illegal street activism have been on the rise in Austria in recent years, particularly since the start of the asylum crisis in Europe. Numerous violent incidents were reported in 2015, including a minimum of 25 attacks on housing facilities for asylum seekers.
by Oula Silvennoinen
Trouble’s brewing for the European Union – also in Finland, where the next country-wide elections will see several new, EU-hostile nationalist groups attempt to establish themselves on the political map. At the same time, Finnish Fascism is seeking to entrench and normalize itself into a respectable part of the political framework.
by Matthew Kott
While one cannot say that the far right movements and ideologies in Latvia are in a state of flux, the current situation in Europe has prompted some developments that could turn into significant trends in the medium to longer term. In turn, these could have an effect on broader European politics, if left unchecked.
by Mihnea-Simion Stoica
As everywhere else in Eastern Europe, ever since the fall of the communist regime, Romania’s political system has experienced dramatic changes from one electoral cycle to another, starting off with what was considered to be an inflation of political parties at the beginning of the 1990’s and arriving today at what seems to approximate a two-party system, with the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) on the left and the National Liberal Party (PNL) on the right side of the political spectrum. However, the fog surrounding the ideological identities of virtually all Romanian political parties has only intensified in time, leaving the party system in flux and creating the idea that there are no significant differences between the major political players. As was the case of many other countries, this situation has generated the (at least partial) success of a radical anti-establishment discourse. However, unlike other European countries, the far right in Romania did not benefit by the financial crisis.
by Alex Carter
The threat that the far right poses to civil society changes across time and space. In Britain this threat has generally been in the form of hate-crimes and public disorder, yet in the past two decades there has been a shift towards solo-actor terrorism. By examining far right groups in the UK in the post-war period this paper explores the drivers of this change; namely, how membership in extremist groups combined with the proliferation of far right networks created by the internet can create a pathway to radicalisation which ends in acts of terror.
by Daniel Koehler
Terror from the extreme right has again gained a wider public attention in 2011 with the devastating attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway and the detection of the right-wing terrorist cell called “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), which had committed ten murders, three bombings and a dozen bank robberies during more than a decade of time in Germany. In many Western countries violence motivated by racism, anti-government hate, anti-Semitism or other aspects of right-wing extremism, appears to be a regular part of criminal activities. Hate crime legislation and statistics vary strongly but show that next to high intense terrorist attacks such as 9/11, the attacks in London, Madrid or Paris, right-wing violence and terrorism is the most dangerous politically motivated threat. In the United States for example Perliger (2012) counted 4,420 right-wing terrorist incidents between 1990 and 2012 causing 670 fatalities and 3,053 injuries. In Germany official statistics counted 69 right-wing attacks between 1990 and 2015 causing 75 casualties, while civil society watchdogs count up to 184 deaths. In Russia some experts speak of approximately 450 right-wing motivated killings between 2004 and 2010. Nevertheless, this specific form of political violence remains largely under-researched and misunderstood as non-terroristic. In consequence the threat from the far right is continuously downplayed with severe consequences for victims and the internal security.
by Tamir Bar-On
I am the author of two books about the French nouvelle droite (ND – New Right): Where Have All The Fascists Gone? and Rethinking the French New Right: Alternatives to modernity. In 2014, I published a piece entitled „The French New Right Neither Right, nor Left?“. Surprisingly, the French ND leader Alain de Benoist responded with a polemical and largely ad hominem article in the same journal. I must stress that I neither identify with a political party, nor a political movement. I do not support any ideological current. De Benoist does. He is self-described as a man of the right. Hence, he cannot even claim intellectual objectivity.
In this piece, I want to offer some comments on my debate with de Benoist. I argue that while we should strive towards intellectual objectivity, we cannot be silent in the face of falsehoods. In this respect, the ND plays a dishonest game. Its leader and other ND intellectuals feign intellectual objectivity and the platitudes of transcending right and left, but they want cultural hegemony and the triumph of their decidedly radical right-wing ideals.
by Liz Fekete
Since 2011 signs have been multiplying in Europe of a far right grassroots insurgency in the making. And there were signals, too, of a racist insurrection: arson attacks, petrol bombs, paramilitary and vigilante activities, and the stockpiling of weapons. The first major indication of the far right’s capacity for mass murder came from Norway on 22 July 2011. Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, mainly teenagers, whom he shot dead at the Labour Party youth summer camp on Oslo’s Utøya Island. At his trial, Breivik described the youngsters he so cruelly murdered as ‚traitors‘ who had embraced immigration in order to promote an ‘Islamic colonization of Norway‘.
Breivik’s actions, set against the backcloth of his 1,500-page manifesto, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, sent out to 1,003 people he considered fellow travellers ninety minutes before he embarked on his killing spree, should have alerted people to the dangerous ideological underpinnings of Europe’s defence leagues, pro-identity and anti-Islam movements that were mushrooming across Europe. These cheerleaders for more and more wars in the Muslim world, which can broadly be described as counter-jihadism, began to emerge during the Gulf War but became more visible and vocal after the events of 11 September 2001. For a variety of reasons, the threat posed by these ultra-patriot movements was not taken seriously enough nor was there any reflection on the wider political context that was nourishing the far right.
by Maik Fielitz and Laura Lotte Laloire
Europe is in trouble. Far right politics is spreading all over the place and its actors and discourses become increasingly influential at various levels: Parties from the far right achieved successes in French, Austrian and Slovakian elections. Far right movement organizations in Germany and Italy mobilized thousands of people to the streets. In Sweden and Great Britain, vigilante and terrorist groups wage armed struggle. And last but not least, ‚illiberal models of democracy‘ in Poland and Hungary demonstrate the far right’s capacity to transform politics on the European level.