2021

In recent years, and particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, far right forces have increased efforts to systematically undermine the principles of academic freedom. Léonie de Jonge, Iris Beau Segers and Cathrine Thorleifsson highlight the urgency of defending academic freedom against governmental interference and protecting researchers from threats and intimidation.

The electoral showing of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, Alternative for Germany) at past Sunday’s general election in Germany highlights once again that it is essential to scrutinize the party’s strength in eastern Germany, writes C-REX Postdoctoral Fellow Manès Weisskircher. 

“Foreign terrorist fighters” (FTFs) are commonly understood as being synonymous with jihadists. But what if we were to be faced with a foreign terrorist fighter, who is not a jihadi and is hardly ideologically motivated at all? C-REX Postdoctoral Fellow Kacper Rekawek discusses the recent conviction of three Czech foreign fighters involved in the conflict in Ukraine, who fall into that category. Their cases differ substantially from their jihadi counterparts and offer a fascinating insight into how different Western states approach the issue of their citizens or inhabitants deploying to foreign wars.

Right-wing terrorism and violence in Western Europe in 2020 was not significantly influenced by COVID-19 nor by the activism of the Black Lives Matter movement. Instead, the RTV report recently published by C-REX shows that 2020 represents a continuation of previous trends.

In May this year, the latest round of hostilities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict set in motion a wave of antisemitic attacks targeting Jews in Europe and the US. A closer look at these incidents demonstrates the ideological and cultural diversity of current Jew-hatred. In order to understand this diversity, a broader historical perspective is helpful.

There is a significant potential for conflict among Norwegians regarding how they understand the terrorist attack July 22 a decade after, according to Anders Ravik Jupskås and Øyvind Bugge Solheim.

Right-wing terrorists do not pose the greatest far-right threat to liberal democracies, according to C-REX scholar Jacob Aasland Ravndal.

In this blog post, Bart Schuurman and Sarah Carthy discuss their multiyear research project on the differences between extremists who use terrorist violence and those who do not. Specifically, how to collect data on individuals who on account of their not having done something are unlikely to be accessible through traditional sources such as academic papers and newspaper articles?

Ariel Goldstein explains how Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, the charismatic ‘Lula of the right’ came to power, in the context of a historical third wave of Latin American far right politics. Bolsonaro capitalized on an interlocked crisis in Brazil, and built his government on a coalition of evangelical pastors, the military, financial markets and the agribusiness sector.

Over the past few years, sexuality education has become a topic of focus within radical right advocacy in East and Southern Africa. Organisations such as Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), Family Policy Institute, and Cause for Justice have been campaigning against comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) within school curricula, and have attempted to erode and block LGBTIQ+ and reproductive rights.

The Progress Party leader Sylvi Listhaug’s use of the conspiratorial term ‘sneaky Islamization’ is a prime example of right-wing populist rhetoric.

Anti-Muslim views have become more widespread in Europe over the past 30 years, but it is important to distinguish between criticisms of certain forms of Islamic practice and the belief that Muslims are taking over Europe, according to Katrine Fangen.

The April 2021 Bulgarian Parliamentary elections showed a nationalist shift in the political landscape. There has been a rise in more banal forms of nationalist participation represented by the new Ima Takuv Narod party while the more ultra-nationalist formations such as IMRO and NFSB seek consolidation for the next round of elections in July.

Right Now! regularly publishes 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, Callum Downes reviews Liberal Roots of Far Right Activism: the anti-Islamic Movement in the  21st Century, by Lars Erik Berntzen.

Jordan McSwiney examines the state of the far right in Australia today, tracing its evolution through three recent phases of organising. Beginning with a series of protest mobilisations and followed by a period of electoral growth, the Australian far right is today increasingly coalescing around more extreme and potentially terroristic neo-Nazi cells, raising significant concerns for Australian security.

How do former right-wing extremists think violent extremism should be combated? In a recent study, Ryan Scrivens, Vivek Venkatesh, Maxime Bérubé, and Tiana Gaudette found that formers believed preventing and countering violent extremism requires a multi-dimensional response, largely consisting of support from parents and families, teachers and educators, law enforcement officials, and other credible formers.

Far right actors often rely heavily on traditional narratives about gender and family, whilst simultaneously weaponizing women’s rights and gender equality in pursuit of an anti-immigration and anti-Islam political agenda. In a recently published article, Katrine Fangen and Lisanne Lichtenberg explore this tension within the rhetoric of various German far right organizations.

Naoto Higuchi discusses the evolution of the Japanese far right in the 20th and 21st century, from prewar fascist organizations, to online nativist groups. Although membership of far-right organizations has declined, Higuchi argues that the mainstreaming of the far right has significantly shaped the Japanese political landscape over the last few decades.

The growing popularity of the Nye Borgerlige party (official English name: ‘New Right’, literal translation: ‘New Bourgeois’) and the decline of the Danish People’s Party (DF), indicate that Danish far right politics have taken a neoliberal turn. Anita Nissen and Birte Siim discuss this recent development, and explain how Nye Borgerlige has managed to rapidly gain the support of predominantly male, middle class voters.

In recent years, far-right alternative media have increasingly managed to influence the digital public sphere by promoting uncivil and exclusionary ideas, in particular about immigration and Islam. A recently published study by C-REX affiliates Birgitte P. Haanshuus and Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk explores how an extreme far-right alternative media site uses content from professional media to construct and convey uncivil news with an antisemitic message.

The Dutch parliamentary elections took place last week, after a tumultuous period of anti-lockdown protests, and the fall of the Dutch government in January, over a welfare fraud scandal rife with ethnic profiling. RightNow! Editor Iris Beau Segers interviews Professor Cas Mudde about the most striking outcomes of the election, and what this might mean for the radical right and the state of liberal democracy in the Netherlands.

From fascistic rallies in the 20s, to the recent storming of the US Capitol: far right demonstrations are complex events, with large societal and political implications. German sociologist Fabian Virchow highlights the importance of analyzing how many people attend such demonstrations, and how they interact with their environment, in order to reach a more complex understanding of far right protest in their historical context.

French academia is currently under scrutiny after the Minister of Research and Higher Education validated the theory of a growing “Islamo-leftism” within social science research. Studies on race and gender have become contentious, and met in the public debate with accusations of fostering identity politics. Recently, a group of academics tried to delegitimize the work of Nonna Mayer, a respected scholar in the field of far right politics.

Over the last few weeks, the Dutch radical right has used curfew controversy to portray the government as a danger to the freedom of the average citizen. C-REX scholar Iris Beau Segers asks if the liberal-conservative VVD party might have themselves to blame, and argues that their ‘doctrine of normalcy’ has mainstreamed radical right ideas that now pose a challenge to the government’s covid-19 measures.

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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