Blog posts on the Extreme Right

The Extreme Right (or Radical Right, New Right, Populist Right) is one of my main research interests. Here is a collection of blog posts on the Extreme Right (i.e. parties, voters, policies) that I have written over the years. If this is relevant for you, you might also be interested in the 400+ titles bibliography on the Extreme Right that I maintain and in this page, which summarises much of my work on the Extreme Right.

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 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

image

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 112015
 

I got some flak for my piece on the Pegida movement, which I wrote for the Monkey Cage, but it was mostly surprisingly polite (my favourite one was “Professor of Fairies”. That one will definitively go on my new calling cards). Most of the commenters suggested that I was trying to brownwash Pegida when I suggested that the movement is radicalising, and that there are links to the Extreme Right. Well, here is another one.

dresden 1938 photo

Photo by nemodoteles

Last Monday was the 77th anniversary of the nation-wide November pogroms directed against Jewish citizens, business, schools, hospitals, synagogues, and private homes that preluded the holocaust. While the day itself enjoys no special legal protection, it is widely seen as an occasion for quiet introspection and public remembrance. In this context, many had appealed to the Pegida organisers to cancel their usual Monday night rally.

The demonstration went ahead nonetheless, including the usual rituals. It was capped by a speech by Tatjana Festerling, a former member of the AfD. Festerling channeled the spirit of the day by demanding an end to “Nazi paranoia” and the “cult of guilt”. “Cult of guilt” (Schuldkult) is a phrase that was coined in the early 1990s. It is a highly loaded term that is used almost exclusively by the NPD and other right-wing extremist groups whenever the crimes of the Nazis are mentioned. That Festerling would use that word, on that day, and that the crowds would cheer, is significant.

Nov 072015
 

The (conservative) union of grammar school teachers in the east German state of Sachsen-Anhalt has appealed to their members to discourage “girls from the age of 12” from “casual sexual encounters with certainly attractive Muslim men” (page 2). In the same editorial, the association’s president and his deputy voice concerns about “an immigrant invasion”, hint that many of the new arrivals are “young, strong, and often Muslims”, and observe that it is only natural that “young, often uneducated men” want, well, sex. Preferably with East German grammar school girls, it would seem.

Obviously, you have to be a leading member of a “Philologenverband” to be casually xenophobic and misogynistic in a single short statement (and who let all those foreign words sneak in from the Eastern Med?). But for anyone studying racism and ethnic conflict, it sounds awfully familiar. More interesting perhaps is the level of public backlash that has been building up since the story broke yesterday (see link below).

Nov 012015
 

Markus Pretzell, UKIP Fan, AfD supremo in NRW and newly minted sweetheart of the newly minted party leader, has a bright idea. In a public speech last week, he suggested to deter refugees at the German border by all means necessary, including the use of firearms. He has now repeated that statement in an interview with a major news agency. Here is the link.

http://m.faz.net/aktuell/politik/fluechtlingskrise/afd-fluechtlinge-notfalls-mit-schusswaffen-abwehren-13887729.html

Oct 252015
 

cologne photoOn the coattails of the Pegida anniversary, here is another far-right jubilee: A year on, self-declared hooligans have gathered once more for a “Hooligans against Salafists” (HoGeSa – those guys clearly love their acronyms) rally in Cologne. The two events could not have been more different. While Pegida is a largely regional weekly fixture that seems to feed on local networks, HoGeSa was supposed to be a national gathering in a very hostile environment. While Pegida claims (or claimed) to be a citizens’ movement that ruled out any connections with neo nazis, the HoGeSa organisers boast their uncivic credentials (click the link below to see what I mean).

And while Pegida seems to be on the rebound, counter-marchers ountnumbered a thousand hooligans by a factor of at least ten. Just as Dresden has become a focus for right-wing mobilisation since 1990, Cologne is very good at left-wing counter-mobilisation. The use of water canons against left-wingers made some international headlines, but that is good sport in Germany. Incidentally, there were no Salafists to be seen.

The larger issue, however, is that right-wingers of all shades are back on the street, trying to build networks. In that sense (and I think only in that sense), it’s like the 1990s all over again.