Jan 302016
 

Everyone is excited this morning,  because AfD leader Frauke Petry suggested that German police officers should shoot refugees at the border if necessary (what ever that means). With the usual qualifications and rhetorical back doors, the party is happily channeling the vigilante spirit that has grabbed parts of the German public. Disgust and free headlines aside, Petry’s partner and political ally,  NRW leader Marcus Pretzell,  came up with the same clever idea exactly three months ago. Hearing these words from the AfD’s top officer may have a new quality,  but mostly, it’s sad old news.

Update February 2, 2016: Here is an English-language source for the backstory (Politico)

Dec 182015
 

Last weekend, a video of a speech that Björn Höcke had given at a New Right think tank in November was put online (gone now, but google it – there must be copies). In that speech, Höcke (originally trained as a history teacher), using a lot of jargon from biology, talked about African and European “species” of humans, who allegedly pursue different reproductive strategies. For the anoraks, that was nothing terribly new, but the general public was appalled by what boils down to pretty old-fashioned racism.
Just now, Der Tagesspiegel reports that party leader Petry tried to kick Höcke out of the party but failed to win a majority in the executive committee for such a motion. The irony is of course that Petry’s predecessor Lucke tried to get rid of Höcke a long time ago. That was before he was ousted by Petry, whose ascendancy was supposed to signal a shift to the right.

Dec 092015
 
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A bit dated now, but still relevant: Showcasing our research at the Democratic Audit:
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That voters prefer to elect local candidates is a long-held assumption of British politics. Professor Jocelyn Evans’ research has sought to test that assumption. He found that the geographical distance between candidates’ homes and the constituency had a measurable impact on voting behaviour. In this post he shares his findings and argues that voters should have access to more information about the ‘localness’ of those seeking to represent them …

Read the full post here: Where candidates live matters to voters, and they show it in their voting

Dec 072015
 
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Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has inched a little closer towards banning Germany’s oldest far-right party. After pondering the issue (and more importantly, the evidence) for a mere two years, the court has formally opened the proceedings that could result in a ban. A previous attempt to outlaw the NPD collapsed in 2003 because of the very large number of informers in the party’s leadership whose identity the government refused to reveal even to the high judges. This time around, the court has declared itself satisfied that the evidence is not contaminated.

Whether the party will eventually ban the NPD is a different question. The court will revisit the case in March 2016. Here is a short piece from Deutsche Welle that provides some background on the issue.

 

Dec 032015
 
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This week, I’m moonlighting at the International Association for the Study of German Politics (that is quite a mouthful). Click on the link below for the full text.

“However, it is still difficult to assess what kind of party the AfD
wants to be, and what they stand for. From its beginnings, the AfD has
brought together a heterogeneous coalition of right-wingers united
chiefly by their despise of the moderate right. While Lucke and his
associates represented a brand of social and economic conservatism
that was not too far removed from the CDU mainstream before Merkel
moved the party to the centre, Christian fundamentalism and the
interests of the formerly landed aristocracy (von Storch) and
UKIP-style euroscepticism (Pretzell) had their place in the party,
too. Moreover, the AfD proved predictably attractive to former members
of the NPD, the Republicans, and other extreme right parties, although
the party tried to enforce a ban on these. State level leaders such as
Höcke (Thuringia), Poggenburg (Saxony-Anhalt), and, more recently,
Gauland (Brandenburg) have re-discovered the rhetoric of the 19th
century Völkische Bewegung that pre-dated the Nazis, and are building
bridges to Germany’s New Right “think-tanks” as well as to Pegida and
other anti-refugee and islamophobic groups. In his stronghold in
Erfurt, Höcke has even adopted Pegida’s weekly night-time rallies in a
central square, where he and thousands of supporters group-chant
demands the government’s immediate resignation.”

Source: Kai Arzheimer- Germany’s new AfD party: state of play

Photo by Dirk Förster

Nov 302015
 

Great news: West European Politics has just released a virtual special issue on (European) populist parties, free to access online until December 2016 (via this link only).

The collection brings together a host of articles that were published in the journal over the last 20 years or so, including some evergreens by Paul Taggart, Cas Mudde, David Art, Sarah de Lange, and other chums.

Disclaimer: My own article on the AfD is included, too, which makes me feel unreasonably good. Here is the link again: http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/pgas/wep-populist

Nov 282015
 
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Following the meeting in July that led to a split of the party, the AfD is holding another party conference this weekend. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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reports that the assembly has just voted down a position paper on asylum drafted by the national exec and backed by the new leader. Internally, the paper was seen as moderate. In its stead, the conference approved another paper that calls for what would amount to an end of the right to asylum. More internal strife lies ahead.

Nov 272015
 

No fees for authors and a legit-looking crowd of supporters.  But why “Humanities” and not “Humanities and Social Sciences”? Still looks too soft for quantitative social scientists.

The Open Library of Humanities is financially supported by an international library consortium. This means that we never have to charge our authors to publish with us. In turn, we therefore have no…

Source: Supporting Institutions