Special Issue "The Global Rise of the Extreme Right"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020) | Viewed by 41383
Interests: right wing extremism in Australia; terrorism and extremism in Australia; as well as the history of terrorism broadly, and how its informs contemporary terrorism through evolving and emerging strategies and concepts
Does the global upsurge of far-right politics over the last two decades signal the return of fascism or a contemporary form of it? In the 1920s and 30s, far-right political movements emerged in Europe, with fascist regimes coming to power in Italy, Germany and Spain. Racialised others were scapegoated for economic hardship and insecurities and national instabilities. Legendary past greatness was invoked as part of this ideology, and racial supremacy and ethnic exclusiveness was prescribed to effect the ‘return’ to greatness. Minority fascist movements appeared, from Britain, to North America, to Australia. Populism, scorn for elites, anti-intellectualism and blaming of ‘traitors’ were key elements of their ideology. Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine were among the places where collaboration with the Nazis left a rightwing and racist legacy, submerged by communism until its collapse. Communism was held up as a global enemy by all these rightwing movements, often in tandem with racialisation. With imperialism and militarism of industrialising Japan also spreading, through invasions, this rise of the extreme right was global and halted only by world war.
Are similar processes afoot today? Already, the casualties of neoliberalism have resorted to nativism and xenophobia, and the 2007–8 Global Financial Crisis greatly exacerbated this. The ‘Global War on Terror’, beginning in September 2001, assembled a racialised folk devil onto which insecurities were projected. From the identitarian movement in France to Golden Dawn in Greece; the English Defence League to PEGIDA in Germany and beyond; the newfound mainstreaming of France’s Front National to UKIP in Britain; rightwing parties in Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Hungary (Jobbik) and Poland; the Nordic Resistance Movement in Norway; Alternative für Deutschland entering the mainstream; the unexpected rise and eventual election of Donald Trump in the United States, with the ‘Muslim Ban’ on immigrants and ‘the Wall’ against Mexico; Bolsonaro in Brazil; and the upsurge of Hindu nationalism in India, rightwing politics once considered extreme is entrenched globally in the mainstream.
Political violence, including terrorism, associated with far-right and racist politics has been manifested across the globe during this period. Anders Breivik’s 2011 bombing in Oslo and mass-murder of social-democratic youth in Utøya were designed as an attack on multiculturalism and the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe; Brenton Tarrant’s massacre in Christchurch in 2019 was similarly motivated. The murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016 was perpetrated by a rightwing racist obsessed with ‘traitors’ to the nation; a rightwing racist murderously drove a van into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in 2017. In the US, far-right extremism has included Dylan Roof’s attack on the Charleston Church in 2015 and the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre in 2018; the Charlottesville car murder in 2017 was committed by a neo-Nazi white supremacist targeting anti-racism demonstrators. Notably, the US president found ‘good people’ on ‘both sides’ at Charlottesville. Do these snapshots demonstrate a the global spread of cognate phenomena today? Are they causally connected? Are they related to the spread of fascism? Of course times are very different, as are the distinct contemporary contexts, but are there commonalities that we can learn from?
Dr. Kristy Campion
Assoc. Prof. Scott Poynting
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- right-wing extremism
- far-right movements
- right-wing populism
- white supremacism
- racist politics
- hate crime
- radical nationalism