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Security and the Far Right in Europe

Golden Dawn party's supporters during the elections results

Demotix/Alexandros Michailidis. All rights reserved

Mobilized by politicians, security has been high up on domestic agendas in Europe since 2001. While migrants and Muslims have been increasingly scrutinized and often criminalised, many themes which used to be associated with the far right have expanded into the mainstream. How much does the current success of radical right parties throughout Europe owe to the ‘politics of fear’ around security issues? Our group of experts guide us through the landscape of the contemporary European far right.

Part I: What the Greek case is telling us about Europe

Ruth Wodak introduces a special feature on Greece in the context of European exclusionary politics: Aristotle Kallis on the role played by anti-immigration programmes in the recent electoral success of the Greek radical right; Salomi Boukala, who reminds us that scapegoating and hate crimes are currents that run deeply throughout Greek political history.

Part II: Is populism winning over thanks to «insecurity»?

Arguably, the main impact of the European radical right lies in its capacity to set the political agenda for other parties. Radical populist discourses on «insecurity» such as the Dutch or Flemish ones have permeated the mainstream. They have allowed the radical right to win new electorates, like in Austria, while in France it precipitated a shift of the conservatives towards the far right.

Part III: From hate speech to hate crime?

According to a Europol report, the radical right now represents the main terrorist threat in Europe; hate crime is also increasingly exposed as a multi-faceted phenomenon. Yet the relationship between hate crime and the electoral fate of the radical right is not straightforward, as both the Ukrainian and Scandinavian cases show. The UK case sheds light on the importance of radical right subcultures in staging both violent and nonviolent protest.

Part IV: Geopolitics of the far right

The impact of the far right is most visible at the local level, especially in disadvantaged rural areas, but also relates to global trends and may be a factor for regional destabilization.

The audit of a political campaign versus Marine Le Pen: Jean-Luc Melenchon in Henin-Beaumont

After a strong showing in the 2012 French Presidential election, Jean-Luc Melenchon took on Marine Le Pen in Henin-Beaumont, a former mining community near the northern town of Lille, in the French legislative elections held in the same year. These were his thoughts as expressed in his popular blog on coming third in the first round.

Challenging the populist right - European precedents

The European left should be the most committed and consistent advocate of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in order to prevent discrimination. But further than that, it should espouse a cosmopolitan politics to manage diversity in a progressive manner. And that politics is inconceivable unless the individual citizen is understood to represent its basic unit.

Security threats and the Ukrainian far right

The rise to political power of the Ukrainian far right party, Svoboda, was recently halted by a new electoral law. But there are further security issues connected to the far right's increasing support that have not been stopped in their tracks.

Abandoned to the far right

Specific patterns of ‘hate’ are emerging and the far right is mobilising and making inroads in smaller towns and cities: often rural places, once-industrial, where the experience of marked inequalities and relatively recent demographic change go hand in hand.

Failing to take far right violence seriously

The threat of far right terrorism and political violence ought to be taken at least as seriously as the radical Islamic one. Obstacles include the false belief that far right violence is local and not globally connected.

Norway - one year after: an open wound

Populist right-wing politicians expressing extreme views on immigration, Islam and Muslims, have in general been confronted in the mediated public spheres to a much greater extent than before 22/7, as have extreme-right wingers. But how much else has moved on?

Britain's radical right: electoral failure but success on the streets ?

The BNP's latest electoral defeats are no indication that the attraction of its ideology has faded away. New social movements in Britain are seeking to impart change through extra-parliamentary means.

Hate speech and violent right wing extremism in Scandinavia

Incitement to hatred against 'non-Scandinavians' is widely circulated on the internet, contributing to the legitimizing of right-wing extremist violence and the political exclusion of immigrants. If this does not endanger the political system as such, we should worry that it jeopardizes the right to security for many.

From Pan-Germanism to new populism in Austria

When it comes to European exclusionary politics, the Austrian case is a puzzling story of a historically rooted right-wing extremism which managed to overcome the outdating of its main ideological component – thanks to anti-immigration xenophobia.

The security turn of French politics and the rejuvenation of the Front National

Has the increasing focus on security issues in French politics given an advantage to the radical right or the conservative right? The defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy indicates that the FN remains a length ahead in this domain.

Crime and punishment in the Netherlands

Under the pressure of right wing populism, the Netherlands have been transformed from a country that was a model of humane crime policy to one hung up on security and punishment. The offensive of the populist right has been so effective that even social democrats now repudiate their multiculturalist past and lament over their policy mistakes.  

Security and the radical right in Flanders

Security has been a major theme in the rhetoric of the Vlaams Block/Belang since the late 1980s. Their combination of strong anti-immigrant statements and simplistic proposals has been appropriated by mainstream parties in Belgium.

Grammars of enmity: a Golden Dawn of contemporary Greek democracy?

Far right groups like Golden Dawn are not a new phenomenon in Greek society, nor do they derive from the consequences of today’s financial crisis. The roots of fascist groups are to be found in an old tendency to rely on the vilification of a political enemy to rule.

Greek populist parties and the disoriented mainstream

The results of May's legislative elections in Greece may derive from the degree of public anger at the EU-IMF rescue package. Nevertheless, immigration was featured very prominently in party programs and public discourses as the main security concern – a trend not limited to the radical right.

Security Discourses and the Radical Right

Ruth Wodak launches a series of updates on the rise of the far right and exclusionary discourses in Europe. What should the democratic response be to these ideologies?
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