by Caterina Froio
According to several observers new waves of refugees’ arrivals could increase the popularity of far right organizations. In these interpretations electoral and political support should be promoted by societal resonance of ethnocentric discourses. Recent data from the Eurobarometer illustrates that in EU-member states migration from non-EU countries is now considered to be the most important concern that the Union is facing. This is a sudden shift with respect to the results of the 2013 Eurobarometer where – in the middle of the euro crisis – EU citizens seemed to be more concerned about the economy and unemployment. I propose to place the magnifying glass on the arguments developed by these organizations by focusing on the least researched members of the far right family: nonparty organizations. After introducing CasaPound Italia (CPI) it will be discussed what fuels its anti-migrant’s discourse by highlighting continuities and changes with respect to classic nativist far right rhetoric. Digging into the arguments is crucial to getting a better assessment of their potential appeal especially in a favorable context.
by Holger Marcks
When it comes to change in social environments, a parable of philosopher Charles Handy gets pulled out quickly. If you drop a frog in boiling water, it jumps out immediately; but placed in cold water slowly warming up, it acclimates itself and falls to sleep, unaware of being boiled alive. The parable reminds us of the perceptional relativity of change: Within communities creeping developments cause habituation, abrupt breaks an arousing shock. In terms of social movements this truism becomes apparent in a double way: On the one hand, erupting crises may destabilize social orders and create the necessary space for dissident actors to gain momentum – while they would fail to mobilize outside the scenario of an anxious community gasping for a new guarantor of order. On the other hand, the rise of a dissident actor with unconventional performances may work as a shock triggering withdrawal reflexes in the broader society – while dissidents with relative habitual sentiments can find resonance in communities disappointed by the ruling order.
Does this perspective offer a potential to explain the rise of far right movements in Europe? Let’s examine it by the example of Germany where, in the last two years, far right actors have experienced a remarkable gain in political acceptance – on the streets, in the booths and in the talk shows. In this case, it could be argued that their success in protest and electoral mobilizations as well as their disproportionate high presence in the media rests on communication politics that effect a normalization of far right positions previously disreputed in public discourse. Through this creeping habituation by society, they are able to gain momentum in situations of crisis, producing themselves successfully as a legitimate agent of the “anxious citizens” disappointed by the government. To test this little argument, a finger exercise in frame analysis seems to be proper, a tool common in social movement studies to explain why certain ideas in certain contexts are potent to mobilize audiences – and are not in others.
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 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 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.