2020

Few countries in Western Europe experience as much severe right-wing violence as Spain. However, the nature of right-wing violence in Spain differs from most other countries as it is seems more related to old, rather than new, political conflicts. 

No other country in Western Europe has in recent decades experienced as much severe and deadly right-wing violence as Germany. Moreover, the nature of this violence is more complex than in other countries, making it even more difficult to prevent.  

The RTV trend report recently published by C-REX shows that, since the 1990s, severe forms of right-wing terrorism and violence in Western Europe have decreased, particularly gang-related and unorganized forms of violence. Today, so-called ‘lone actors’ carry out most of the violence, a trend that has been reinforced by the emergence of various online platforms.  

On February 19th, a 43-year-old German man carried out a far-right terror attack in the city of Hanau, in central Germany. He shot nine people at two locations in the city centre, as well as his own mother before committing suicide. He left a lengthy manifesto outlining his anti-migrant and racist worldview. In a month marked by the breaking of the country's long-enduring political ‘cordon-sanitaire’ , coupled with evidence of extensive far-right terrorist mobilisation and its most deadly terror attack since 1980, it is clear that Germany’s institutions are at a critical juncture in the struggle against right-wing extremism.

While the year 2019 in Western Europe was neither very violent in terms of fatal attacks, nor particularly deadly in terms of fatalities, we witnessed a worrying emerging global trend of right-wing lone-actor terrorists carrying out, or trying to carry out, mass-casualty attacks. Here are some main findings from the RTV Trend Report 2020.

In recent years, Greece has experienced more severe right-wing violence per capita than any other country in Western Europe. It is long past time for a more comprehensive and effective response to far-right extremism.

Discussions on the fourth wave of far-right politics, referring to its mainstreaming and normalization, can not ignore the role of social media platforms in current-day politics.

White women have long been part of white supremacist movements in the U.S. and elsewhere.  That continues today.  But what place do they occupy in deeply misogynist movements that force white women into idealized categories of white mother, sexual partner, or racial fighter?

Policies to prevent radicalization and violent extremism frequently target militant Islamists, right-wing and left-wing extremists. In a recent study we have examined what distinguishes the ways in which local practitioners perceive and respond to each of the milieus. Our results show that there is a clear discrepancy between the uniform way violent extremism is presented in policy, and how front line practitioners experience the different forms of extremism at the local level.

The January 6 attack on the US Capitol was not unexpected. It was anticipated by numerous warning signs, and it built upon a years-long process of radicalisation that involves, but is not limited to, Trump supporters.

With the siege on the U.S. Capitol Building, right-wing extremists with disparate agendas and goals seized a political opportunity to move into violent action and accelerate social chaos. While there are still many unknowns, six questions are likely to be key to what will happen in the U.S. in the near future.

As seen on January 6th, 2021, once disparate tendencies within the radical right are mixing and collaborating as never before. The very core technological features of the internet and world wide web have played a crucial role in this process of integration.

Taken together, the emerging groups of the Georgian far right obtained less than 5% in the October 2020 elections to the national Parliament. But limited electoral success does not mean that the far-right has limited political power, in Georgia and elsewhere in the world.

What are the consequences of being labeled as a “violent extremist”? How does labeling affect individual activists, their organizations, and the social movement they are part of? In a recent study, we show that labeling – and the associated stigma – affects different radical groups in different ways and that it sometimes fails to demobilize the primary targets of the repressive actions, that is, the most militant groups. Rather, the effects are most evident amongst organizations that mobilize inclusively and openly, using primarily conventional protest tactics. From this we highlight the potential “backfire effects” of labelling, as the most militant groups might be further radicalized by this form of soft repression.

This week the Dutch Forum for Democracy (FvD) experienced yet another scandal, but this time the infighting did not favor Thierry Baudet. And so, four years after founding the party, and less than half a year before the next Dutch parliamentary election, Baudet has resigned as party leader, and withdrawn from the top spot on the electoral list, and we can all refocus our attention on the real leader of the Dutch far right, Geert Wilders.

Focusing on fixed categories of far-right membership both obscures an important source of information about the far right and mistakenly identifies youth as having static identifications with political and ideological scenes.

Can a cumulative perspective on extremism help us understand the ebb and flow of political violence and mobilization? Focusing on left- and right-wing extremism, Chris Holmsted Larsen discusses the interdependency between mutually hostile movements in Denmark

Activists wearing Yellow Safety Vests started taking the streets in France since October 2018. Many commentators linked their grievances to radical right and “anti-establishment” politics. Why is it not so simple?

As far right politics is becoming an ever bigger part of mainstream politics, opponents and scholars of the far right have to leave their 20th century thinking behind and critically review their received wisdom. What might have been true in the 1990s, might no longer be true today. Taboos have been broken, preferences have shifted, and the broader political context has become much more accepting to far right politics and politicians.

Efforts to implement “Muslim bans” and “extreme vetting” as a way to prevent Jihadism are rooted in a fundamental misconception: that Muslim immigrants bring violence and that Islam is more prone to violence than other religions. Our study shows that Jihadism is not like an exotic virus that one can “keep out”. Rather, it is like a cancer: it can appear anywhere in the world, and it is more likely under certain environmental circumstances, notably relative deprivation. Policy makers may therefore find it more effective to reduce the threat of Jihadism by reducing the stigmatization of Muslims living in the West, rather than banning Muslim migrants.

Every month, Right Now! publishes the book reviews that have appeared in the latest volume of E-Extreme the newsletter of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy. In this post, David Jofré (University of Glasgow) discusses Kristoffer Holt's Right Wing Alternative Media.

Multiagency collaboration structures are given a central role in preventing the recruitment of youth to extremism. In this study of Nordic policies developed to counter extremism and prevent crime, we have mapped and compared how multiagency collaboration is to be organized, what practices that are to be utilized and the legal frameworks that guides information sharing practices in collaborative work. The findings entail previously unknown discrepancies, similarities and differences between the Nordic countries that can help to inform a sometimes heated and polarized debate on how extremism is being handled. 

Black Lives Matter has shaken up political discussions about racism across the globe. In the Netherlands, it has led to yet another escalation around the ‘Black Pete’ controversy, discussed in this blog earlier this year. Despite the widespread protests and the unprecedented public engagement against racism and police violence in the country, Iris Beau Segers argues that the empty rhetoric, inaction and opportunism of (radical) right politicians  indicates their continued reluctance to tackle institutional racism at its roots.

Ireland’s general election on 8 February saw a proliferation of radical right-wing candidates but did not herald the expected breakthrough of these parties. As Shaun McDaid explains, the little support for the radical right in Ireland is mainly explained by the ability of the political left to more effectively mobilise the electorate on issues other than immigration. While not counting on imminent success, the radical right in Ireland might nevertheless have the stamina to play the long game. 

Over this past week, the Indian capital of Delhi has been home to violence between Hindus and Muslims with a rising death toll each day. Eviane Leidig shows not only how this is the most recent manifestation of a legacy of right-wing extremist activity in India, but also that the response of global far right actors suggest a more disturbing connection between the extreme right in India and the West. 

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RightNow!

Welcome to the “RightNow!” blog where you will find commentary, analysis and reflection by C-REX’s researchers and affiliates on topics related to contemporary far right politics, including party politics, subcultural trends, militancy, violence, and terrorism.

“RightNow!” also provides a platform for republishing op-eds by our core team of experts (with due acknowledgement of course) which have been published by newspapers and on other blogs in order to further highlight the breadth of our work here at C-REX. The articles give the views of the authors, not the position of the Centre for Research on Extremism.

To submit proposals and comments, contact the RightNow! editor Iris Beau Segers