Tagged: neo-Nazis

The Far Right and the 2014 European Elections in 7 Points

Source: HOPE not hate. | Monday, 26 May 2014


An analytical comment by Cas Mudde

It is clear: the far right “sweeps” Europe and causes an “earthquake” on the troubled continent. The media has spoken! Some even help us identify the “9 scariest far right parties now in the European Parliament.” Thanks Huffington Post UK! All newspapers focus on a select group of winners, mainly in the big countries (France and UK), which picked up large numbers of MEPs.

Let me summarize the far right results and their consequences in seven main points. I’ll start with the most ‘scary’ points, so as to not break too abruptly with the dominant media frame, and slowly work my way to a more balanced interpretation.

1. Far Right as Biggest Party in the Country

Depending on your definition, two or three far right parties became the biggest party in their country. The Danish People’s Party (DFP) and the French National Front (FN) gained 26.6 (+11.8) and 25.0 (+ 18.7) percent, respectively.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which I do not (yet?) consider a far right party, is predicted to have scored 27.5 (+11.4) percent of the vote. This is the first time that far right parties come first in nation-wide elections in the European Union (EU) – the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) had been doing it in Switzerland since 1999.

2. Neo-Nazi Parties Will Enter the European Parliament

While the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) has been elected to the European Parliament until it transformed into the National Alliance (AN) in 1994, the fascism of that party was more nostalgic than political, and it was not anti-Semitic or racist.

This is different for Golden Dawn (XA) in Greece, which was able to win almost 10 percent of the votes and 3 seats, despite being investigated for political violence and having its leaders in jail.

The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), on the other hand, had a poor result (1 percent), but profited from the decision of the German Constitutional Court to abolish the three-percent electoral threshold, which gives the NPD one seat.

3. Far Right Parties Won… and Lost

Across the EU far right parties gained 15 seats, going from a total of 37 to 52 Members of European Parliament (MEPs). Given that the FN alone picked up 21 new MEPs, this already indicates important intra-European differences.

In fact, the far right won seats in as many countries as it lost: 6. It won seats in Austria (+2), Denmark (+2), France (+21), Germany (+1), Greece (+1), and Sweden (+2); it lost seats in Belgium (-1), Bulgaria (-2), Italy (-4), Romania (-3), Slovakia (-1), and the UK (-2).

Admittedly, this changes to 9 and 5, respectively, if you apply a very broad definition of ‘far right’, which includes The Finns (PS), the Latvian National Alliance (NA), the Polish Congress of the New Right (KPN), and UKIP.

4. Far Right Parties Remain Irrelevant in the Majority of EU States

As the media is reducing the EU to France and the United Kingdom, sometimes throwing in Austria and Denmark for good measure, it is important to remember that there are 28 EU member states, and the far remained irrelevant in the majority of them.

The next European Parliament will have far right MEPs from ‘just’ 10 countries (14 in case of a broad definition). That is to say that almost two-thirds of the EU states have no far right representation in the next EP. This is actually higher than in 2009, as four countries lost far right representation and only one gained it.

5. The Far Right Is Mainly a West European Phenomenon!

Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the ‘return’ of the Central and Eastern European countries, formalized in their integration into the EU since 2004, the former communist part of Europe has been seen as the hotbed of the far right. While this was always at best a skewed view, it has become completely outdated in 2014.

Only one strong far right party remains in the East: the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), which got 14.7 percent of the votes and three MEPs, which was actually a loss of 0.1 percent compared to 2009 – and of 5.7 percent compared to last month’s national elections in Hungary!

Far right parties lost representation in Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia – the only West European country to loose far right representation was the UK, where the BNP was replaced by a less extreme but much stronger UKIP!

6. The Far Right Did Not Do Well in the Hardest Hit Crisis Countries

As I have argued in more detail elsewhere, the thesis that economic crises lead to the rise of far right parties does not really hold up under scrutiny. This was confirmed in the 2014 European elections, where only one of the ‘bailed out’ countries returned far right MEPs (Greece).

In fact, the highest electoral results of far right parties were almost exclusively in countries that were, in EU-perspective, little to medium affected by the crisis: Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, and Sweden. The only exception to this rule is Hungary, which has been hard hit by the crisis and had the fourth-highest score for a far right party.

7.More Far Right MEPs, But Continuing Fragmentation

Finally, although the far right has increased its representation in the European Parliament by 15 MEPs (or one-third), the much-discussed European Alliance for Freedom (EAF) of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders is far from certain.

As discussed before here, the EAF has the number of seats but not the number of parties (or strictly MEPs). So far only the FN, Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), Northern League (LN), Party for Freedom (PVV) and Flemish Interest (VB) have committed to the EAF, which brings the current total at 38 MEPs – 13 more than the required 25 – in five countries – two less than required. The Slovak National Party (SNS) was expected to join, but failed to regain its seat in the EP.

This means that the EAF has two options: convince at least two other parties or wait for the inevitable implosion of party factions and pick up individual MEPs from at least two different countries. The latter is most likely, and the UKIP faction is the most obvious recruiting ground, but will mean that the EAF will not become a political group for several months.

During that period, both current commitment (e.g. LN and PVV) and possible future commitments (e.g. DF, SD) could choose money over loyalty and join another group (notably Europe for Freedom and Democracy, EFD).

Original link: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/world/article/1948/the-far-right-and-the-2014-european-elections-in-7-points

European Politics: The Rise of the Far Right – Engage or Isolate?

Take part in the online debate hosted by the European Voice:

How should the EU react to the rise of the far right?

Pro Igual´s position is unequivocal: isolate the extreme right.

Original link: http://debates.europeanvoice.com/european-politics-rise-far-right-engage-or-isolate/opening-phase

The Rise of the Extreme Right Parties to Power

Pro Igual

Pro Igual´s Intervention at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Working Session 2: Tolerance and Nondiscrimination

In the course of 2012 and 2013, PRO IGUAL conducted monitoring of hate crimes committed by Spanish extreme right elements against immigrants, minorities, and other vulnerable groups. The aim of the project has been, besides documenting individual cases, to explore the origins, specifics and the reach of the extreme right.

The project highlighted certain weaknesses in the Spanish legal and policy frameworks. Spanish legislation, on the one hand, allows proliferation of parties and organizations propagating intolerance. But on the other hand, it fails to provide adequate recourse for victims. In addition, victims often either do not know how to complain or are afraid. This serves to create a climate of denial and impunity for hate crimes.

PRO IGUAL reports and other materials on the subject are available on the website. In the meantime, we would like to make the following conclusions and recommendations relevant for a number of countries in the OSCE region.

Recommendations:

  • The Governments must recognize the reality and the danger of the extreme right ascent to power, and not dismiss the right-wing extremism as fringe behavior of a handful of marginalized youths.
  • It is also important to recognize that the extreme right has received a Public Relations makeover. We are no longer dealing with just crude manifestations, such as shaven heads or military boots. The contemporary extreme right is an increasingly sophisticated and insidious ideology that masks hate as care and violence as freedom, and actively uses democratic means to attain undemocratic ends.
  • Appeasement does not work. Some of the mainstream parties tried to woo the extreme right voters by embracing xenophobia. But they will never be radical enough for the extreme rights, but will instead lose their core supporters alongside with integrity.
  • Economic crisis and corruption must be addressed urgently, as they feed into the extreme right´s popularity. Ineptitude in handling the economic crisis, lack of transparency and seemingly endemic corruption turn the mainstream, moderate voters away from the established parties into the grip of the extreme right.
  • Laws must protect the victims of right-wing extremism, not provide loopholes and excuses for perpetrators.
  • It is not enough to be reactive; it is essential to become pro-active. This means the alarm must be raised BEFORE the extreme right ascend to power. Otherwise, with each new victory of the extreme right, there will be fewer countries even left to condemn it.
  • Last but not least, the Governments should work treat civil society as an ally, and not as a nuisance, as presently civil society is the only force resisting the rise of the extreme right to power.

 

Fascists attack Madrid’s Catalan center on Catalonia Day

By Anne Sewell, 12 September 2013

While Catalonians formed a human chain for independence in their region, a group carrying Spanish and fascist flags interrupted celebrations at the Catalan Government center in Madrid on Wednesday, shouting, tearing down flags and using pepper spray.

Digital Journal reported on the human chain, dubbed the “Catalan Way Towards Independence”, formed by hundreds of thousands of Catalan residents across their region on Wednesday, demanding independence from Spain. However, not everyone was celebrating Catalonia’s national day on September 11.

Six people, believed to be extreme right-wing or fascists, were arrested for their part in an attack which disrupted celebrations at the Blanquerna Cultural Center in Madrid on Wednesday. Read more…

Original article: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/358178

Right-wing Extremism in Europe: Country Analyses, Counter-Strategies and Labor-Market Oriented Exit Strategies

This anthology was compiled as part of a project entitled “Confronting right-wing extremism by developing networks of exit-oriented assistance.”

The Rise of Neo-Nazism in the Party Political System

The recent report by the The World Jewish Congress recorded a disturbing rise in extreme right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic political parties across Europe, echoing with Pro Igual´s own findings of the past years.
The WJC report is available here; the excerpts of the Executive Summary are as follows.
“Parties with neo-Nazi leanings have seen a significant resurgence, particularly in Greece and Hungary where, respectively, Golden Dawn and Jobbik have either achieved double figures in elections or are polling at such levels in opinion surveys. Both have seen their support rise dramatically from small beginnings. …
“There are good reasons for believing that governments are either conflicted or confused in their approach to neo-Nazi parties. In Greece, the government does not appear to know what to do. In Hungary the governing party wants Jobbik’s votes at the next election, and in Germany, where the National Democratic Party does not have wide support but is feared for historical reasons, the government has backed away from outlawing it believing that its efforts would fail at the Constitutional Court.
“Economic crisis is in some cases plainly a contributory factor in the growth of neo-Nazi parties. The Greek economy has declined by 20 percent since the crisis began with general unemployment now standing at over 27 percent and youth unemployment at over 60 percent.
“Anti-Semitism remains a central feature of neo-Nazi parties even though their main focus in many European countries is on non-white minorities. The anti-Semitic rhetoric is often extreme, as when a Jobbik parliamentarian last year called for a list to be drawn up of the country’s Jews in order to assess whether they represented a security risk to Hungary.”
The full report is available here.

Human rights commissioner warns against “worrying intensification” in activities of race-hate groups

In his latest comment article, human rights commissioner Nils Muižnieks warns against the “worrying intensification” in the activities of race hate groups across Europe.

Nils Muižnieks writes: “According to some commentators, the upsurge has even reached the point of “an early form of far right terror.”

The Commissioner for Human Rights adds: “It worries me deeply that the European community and national political leaders appear not to be fully aware of the serious threat that these organisations pose to the rule of law and human rights.”

Muižnieks states that “the philosophy of racist extremist organisations is centred on denying the entitlement of ‘others’ – mainly migrants and members of national, ethnic and religious minorities – to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“They invent “enemies” who have to be fought and eliminated. In Greece, for example, between October 2011 and December 2012 around 220 racist attacks were reported to the Racist Violence Recording Network headed by UNHCR and the National Commission for Human Rights. That is about one attack every other day. In my recent report concerning Greece I underlined the need to curb hate crime and combat impunity for hate crimes.”

More information

The fight against racism in Europe

Original link: http://www.humanrightseurope.org/2013/05/human-rights-commissioner-warns-against-worrying-intensification-in-activities-of-race-hate-groups/

Why the Media Treats Right-Wing and Islamist Terrorism Differently

Racial and ethnic minorities are often made scapegoats. The press ought to be attuned to that.

Original link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/why-the-media-treats-right-wing-and-islamist-terrorism-differently/275090/

Larry O’Connor, a talk-radio host, Breitbart.com editor, and frequent Fox News guest, speculates about what he thinks is going to happen after the perpetrator in the Boston bomb attack is identified:

Tweet: “If perp is radical Islamist we’ll be lectured abt tolerance, If crazy right-winger, we’ll be lectured abt dangerous rhetoric.”

“The 1000+ reporters in Boston are just waiting to hear which tired old template to use,” he added. “The networks have all their experts lined up. Ready to comment on tolerance or on dangers of right-wing politics.” I’m sure that, whatever happens, the ensuing TV coverage will prove awful. But if O’Connor is right about the reaction of the media, will the media be misbehaving? Is there an illegitimate asymmetry in how right-wing and Islamist attackers would be covered?

The relevant principles involved, as I see them, are these:

  • Whether the perpetrator is an Islamist radical, the member of a violent right-wing militia, or anyone else, it is important that other people who merely share their race or ethnicity aren’t blamed or made to suffer for their acts.
  • If extremist rhetoric played a role in radicalizing the perpetrator, whether he is an Islamist radical, a right-wing militia member, or anyone else, it is fair game to criticize the attendant rhetoricians.

There are times when journalists bungle this sort of coverage in ways that are unfair to the right and times when they handle things in ways that are unfair to Muslims. But as a general matter, tolerance is urged when the perpetrator is Muslim, and not when the perpetrator is a white right-winger, not because journalists only value tolerance in one situation, but because when guys like Tim McVeigh perpetrate terrorism, there’s never an irrational backlash against white men.

That racial and ethnic tolerance will prevail goes without saying.

As for dangerous rhetoric, when the perpetrator is a radical Islamist, there is no shortage of Americans who are critical of radical imams, al-Qaeda’s magazine, or terrorist recruitment efforts. No one questions the notion that extremist propaganda can radicalize an eventual terrorist when Islamists are behind an attack. Even Muslims who are in no way radical find themselves expected to denounce the acts of Islamist terrorists (though that is wrongheaded and unfair).

To be sure, a radicalized right-winger shouldn’t cause the media to harass every right-wing talk-radio host into a defensive crouch. Of course the media ought to be attuned to the possibility of civil-liberties violations being perpetrated against non-violent right-wingers unfairly stereotyped due to their co-ideologues. But handled properly, there is nothing wrong with talking, in the aftermath of a right-wing terrorist attack, about extremist propaganda that radicalized the terrorist.

There are instances of media misbehavior that O’Connor and I would agree about. I don’t think it was fair for some to criticize Sarah Palin as if she had anything to do with the Gabby Giffords shooting. Complaints about that coverage were justified.

But as a general proposition, I think O’Connor is wrong to be aggrieved that the media will talk about tolerance if the perpetrator turns out to be a radical Islamist. And depending on the coverage, he may also be wrong to complain if a right-winger inspires conversation about dangerous rhetoric. (If the perpetrator is a Muslim, O’Connor won’t criticize anyone for indicting radical Islamist rhetoric.)

For various reasons, Americans respond to Islamist terrorism very differently than terrorism perpetrated by Tim McVeigh types. Little wonder that the excesses the media warns about vary depending upon the perpetrator. Conservatives would be on firmer ground casting this as oversensitivity if not for the fact that so many innocent Muslim Americans are victimized by people who treat them as a suspect class. Calls for tolerance aren’t rote political correctness. They’re an attempt, too often unsuccessful, to safeguard the ability of the wrongly targeted to be treated as individuals possessed of inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Racial and ethnic minorities are often made scapegoats in a way that members of the majority aren’t.

The press ought to be attuned to that.

ICSR Insight: The New Far Right – 10 Issues and Questions

NEWRIGHT.php

This ICSR Insight highlights 10 major themes, issues and questions that have emerged from the conference. As will be shown, the New Far Right is a new and unique challenge for Western democracies which policymakers and experts have yet to fully understand. Their success in doing so is key to making sure that modern multicultural societies remain peaceful and cohesive.

By Peter R. Neumann, ICSR Director

@ICSRblog
@PeterRNeumann

The original link: http://icsr.info/2013/04/icsr-insight-the-new-far-right-10-issues-and-questions/

Last month, ICSR – in partnership with the Community Security Trust and the Swedish National Defence College – hosted an important conference on the New Far Right, bringing together nearly 100 stakeholders from academia, politics, the media, and grassroots initiatives.

This ICSR Insight highlights 10 major themes, issues and questions that have emerged from the conference. As will be shown, the New Far Right is a new and unique challenge for Western democracies which policymakers and experts have yet to fully understand. Their success in doing so is key to making sure that modern multicultural societies remain peaceful and cohesive.

1) “The threat is real”. As the UK’s Security Minister, James Brokenshire, noted, the threat from far-right terrorism is significant, albeit “not as systematic or widespread as the al Qaeda inspired [terrorist] threat”. In UK prisons, there are currently 17 individuals who have been charged with or convicted for terrorist offences “associated with far-fight extremism”.

2) Conspiracy theory. The New Far Right is inspired – in part – by a conspiracy theory according to which Western Muslims, allied with liberal governments, plan to destroy Western democracies and replace them with a Caliphate . This movement calls itself ”Counter-Jihad”.

3) Public disorder and social cohesion. More so than terrorism, New Far Right activists have been involved in street violence and acts of public disorder. Their aggressive rhetoric divides communities and undermines social cohesion. They also campaign against the use of Islamic practices – such as ritually slaughtered halal meat.

4) Old vs. New Far Right. There are striking differences between the “old” (neo-Nazi) Far Right and so-called Counter-Jihad members like Anders Breivik. However, there also exist many similarities, and it would be wrong to ignore the continued threat from “old” far-right groups in countries such as Greece and Germany.

5) Echoes of extremism. In the British context, the New Far Right and Islamist extremists seem to be in a symbiotic relationship, confirming each other’s stereotypes and providing motives and justifications for mobilising their respective sympathisers.

6) Addressing grievances. New Far Right activism is often rooted in social, economic and cultural fears about immigration. Mainstream politicians from across the political spectrum have failed to articulate these concerns in a way that would undercut the support for far-right extremists.

7) Emerging structures. The structures of the New Far Right are increasingly pan-European, with leaders and activists from different countries coming together for joint campaigns, as well as trying to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes.

8) The Internet matters. Social media, blogs and video-sharing sites are key to understanding how the New Far Right disseminates its message, mobilises its followers, and retains a sense of cohesion despite the lack of centrally organised structures.

9) Countering the New Far Right. Government counter-radicalisation programmes – such as the British PREVENT – have mostly focused on Islamist extremism. Policymakers need to understand what lessons have been learned and how those programmes can be applied to the New Far Right.

10) Connecting the dots. For researchers, the principal task is to bring together expert communities dealing with terrorism, far-right extremism and other related threats, so that different bodies of knowledge can be better integrated.

The conference was part of ICSR’s ongoing efforts to make sense of the evolving nature of far-right extremism. For some of our recent publications on this issue, see:

The conference can be watched in full on the ICSR YouTube channel.

Pro Igual Submission towards the OSCE Hate Crimes Report 2012

nopasaran

The 2013 Pro Igual submission for the OSCE Annual Report on Hate Crimes highlights the deficient Spanish legislative framework regulating political parties whose goals and activities contravene democratic values of the Spanish Constitution. As a result, political parties which openly propagate xenophobia and intolerance are allowed to exist and operate, gain adepts and even attain legislative seats.

As in previous years, Pro Igual calls to attention of the national authorities and international monitoring bodies that hate crimes are not isolated incidents and do not take place in a vacuum. Activities of the legally permitted extreme right parties in Spain are one of the strongest factors contributing to a fertile climate for xenophobic hate crimes. It should come as no surprise that the hate crimes committed by adherents of extreme right and neo-Nazi ideology are becoming ever more brazen and premeditated.

Notwithstanding some steps taken by the Spanish State to address hate crimes, even despite the simultaneous decrease of net immigrant population, the number of such crimes in Spain does not diminish but continues to steadily rise.

The Pro Igual Report is available here.

Image courtesy © http://surparalaemancipacion.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/no-pasaran.html

CIDH Pro Igual es Asociación sin ánimo de lucro registrada en el Ministerio del Interior con el nº 595496.