by Natascha Strobl and Julian Bruns
On April 14th, activists of the Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (Identitarian Movement Austria) entered the stage during a performance of Elfriede Jelinek’s play “Die Schutzbefohlenen” (The Wards) in the main hall of the University of Vienna. Some of the 30 persons showed a banner soaked in artificial blood that said: “Ihr Heuchler!” (You hypocrites!). Actors – among them refugees and children – were shocked. It was the intervention of some antifascist audience members that ended the disruption. This media-attracting act ranks among several incidents caused by New Right actors which have received increasing attention in the German and Austrian public. From the early 2000s on, the New Right established new specialized forms of media and institutions – and increasingly took to the streets. The Identitarians are the spearhead of this new strategic development. At first glance, this might look like a contradiction since the very definition of New Right is the one of a movement which has shifted from action to intellectual debate. But this is only one side of the story.
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 Oliver Saal
Germany’s political culture currently faces a shift to the right as anti-immigrant violence and attacks on refugee camps are on the brink of becoming a daily routine. The populist party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) did achieve successes in every recent federal state election. Through their success politics gained a new political quality. Anti-immigrant groups such as PEGIDA in Dresden regularly mobilize hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. The increased number of refugees that came to Germany in 2015 is instrumentalized to fuel racism and to spread nationalist sentiments.
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.
von Hakim Khatib
In den letzten drei Jahrzehnten haben sich die politischen, ökonomischen, sozialen und kulturellen Strukturen unserer Welt auf verschiedenen Ebenen radikal verändert. Das Interesse am Islam ist nicht nur in wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten und Zeitschriften gestiegen, sondern auch in allen anderen westlichen Medien. Dieses Interesse wurde unter Anderem durch die Islamisch-Iranische Revolution von 1979, die Fatwa gegen den Buchautor von „Die satanischen Verse“ Salman Rushdie 1989, die Golfkriege Anfang der 90er Jahre, den Balkankonflikt als auch die Einwanderung von Migranten mit islamischem Hintergrund in Europa gefördert.
Von Christoph Günther
Teil VII unserer Serie
zum „Islamischen Staat“
Viel ist in den letzten Wochen und Monaten über den so genannten „Islamischen Staat“, ISIS oder ISIL gesprochen und geschrieben worden. Die „abstrakte Bedrohungslage“, die von der „Terrormiliz“ und ihren Anhängern ausgeht, scheint jedoch der deutschen Öffentlichkeit kaum deutlicher vor Augen geführt zu werden, als bei den Demonstrationen, die von Dresden ausgehend seit geraumer Zeit in verschiedenen Großstädten stattfinden bzw. stattgefunden haben. Die Wendung gegen das Austragen von „Glaubenskriegen auf deutschem Boden“ und noch deutlicher die Sorge vor einer bevorstehenden „Islamisierung des Abendlandes“, speist sich bei diesen zu einem gewissen Teil auch aus den Bildern und Tönen, die von und über den Islamischen Staat mittels unterschiedlicher Medienkanäle verbreitet werden. Zudem werden Befürchtungen artikuliert, die durch den Islamischen Staat ausgelösten Flüchtlingswellen bewirkten einen signifikanten Zuzug von Muslimen, der zu tiefgreifenden sozio-kulturellen Veränderungen führe.