To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The “rise of global populism” has become a primary metanarrative for the previous decade in advanced industrial democracies, but I argue that it is a deeply misleading one. Nativism—not populism—is the defining feature of both radical right parties in Western Europe and of radical right politicians like Donald Trump in the United States. The tide of “left-wing populism” in Europe receded quickly, as did its promise of returning power to the people through online voting and policy deliberation. The erosion of democracy in states like Hungary has not been the result of populism, but rather of the deliberate practice of competitive authoritarianism. Calling these disparate phenomena “populist” obscures their core features and mistakenly attaches normatively redeeming qualities to nativists and authoritarians.
SDG 15 requires the maintenance of life on land and endorses priorities already established through international conventions and agreements. The scale, and complexity, of tropical forest loss and biodiversity decline versus the limited resources for conservation and forestry pose many challenges. The main innovation of SDG 15 is that decision makers will see this goal as one to integrate with other SDGs; the risk is that short-term priorities and a ‘business as usual’ approach will undermine this. We examine these opportunities and challenges, the factors that impinge upon them and how they may play out over the next decade. There will be trade-offs between SDG 15 and other SDGs resulting from competition for land, but there are also synergies and opportunities that require recognition. We encourage conservation and development professionals to engage with those responsible for all the Agenda 2030 targets to ensure that SDG 15 is a priority in all SDG related processes.
Radical right activists in Flanders, France, and Austria often place their movements in historical perspective. As one Vlaams Belang (VB) activist put it, “We have been fighting for our identity for five generations.” Members of the French National Front consider themselves part of a “two-centuries-old galaxy” of extreme right counterrevolution, Bonapartism, and the integral nationalism of Action Française (Lafont 2006). The Austrian Freedom Party is rooted in a political subculture whose adherence to nationalism, rather than to Catholicism or Socialism, has placed it at odds with the two other major subsocieties (or lager) since the founding of the Austrian Republic.
Yet such historical and ideological continuities on their own cannot explain the electoral success of the VB, FN, and FPÖ. The issues that have traditionally been important for the Flemish, French, and Austrian far right are today irrelevant for the vast majority of these parties' voters. When asked to identify the most important reason for voting for the party, only 4% of the VB's electorate in 1999 cited Flemish nationalism, as opposed to 27% who mentioned immigration (Swyngedouw and Van Craen 2002). Pan-Germanism has long since become a losing issue among the Austrian electorate, and it is highly doubtful that more than a tiny percentage of FN voters have heard of Charles Maurras, the founder of Action Française. More generally, the presence of a significant far right movement at some point in history cannot explain the success of contemporary radical right parties, as the German case illustrates.
What are the critical differences among radical right activists? How do different types of activists influence a party's development and its electoral performance? What explains the variation in the number and type of activists across parties and across countries? This chapter addresses these three questions in turn and in so doing lays out the theoretical model that the case studies illustrate.
Although the argument is specific to radical right parties, it both draws from studies of other types of political parties and develops a set of general propositions that are also relevant to them. Rather than viewing parties through the lens of the unitary rational actor or the dichotomy of “leaders” and “followers,” I divide activists into three ideal types based on their ideological motivations: extremists, moderates, and opportunists. I also distinguish among activists on the basis of both their education and their political experience, under the assumption that some people bring a wider set of skills to party politics than do others. The general distribution of activists within parties, I then argue, helps determine their ability to mount effective electoral campaigns, manage factionalism, exhibit competence, gain legitimacy, and offer a message that maximizes the party's appeal among voters. Activists thus provide the microfoundations for a theory of radical right party development. As stated previously, I take it as a given that a combination of sociostructural changes in the 1970s and 1980s – particularly the rising salience of immigration – led both to voter demand for radical right parties and to the formation, or transformation, of parties to fill that demand.
In March 1984, a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post tracked down Pierre Poujade, the stationery salesman who had led a political revolt of French shopkeepers three decades earlier. Poujade's movement, the Union de Défense Commerçants et Artisans (Union for the Defense of Tradesmen and Artisans, UDCA), did not survive beyond a single parliamentary term in the French National Assembly and serves as a classic example of a “flash” party. But the ideology of Poujadism – the defense of small business interests and traditional values against the forces of modernization – appeared to be making a comeback in the form of Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National (National Front, FN). Le Pen had first entered parliament as a twenty-eight-year-old deputy of the UDCA, and although he was now well into his sixth decade, Poujade still spoke of him as a protégé. “A handsome kid with a fine gift of gab” was his estimation of the FN's leader. Le Pen was attracting national attention after his party, with the cooperation of two mainstream conservative parties, won several council seats in the town of Dreux. This led to a series of television appearances and increased visibility, and by the time of the interview with Poujade the FN was polling between 10% and 15% for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament.
One of the central messages of this book is that there has been no common political response to the structural transformations – immigration, globalization, post-Fordism – that have characterized all Western European countries over the past several decades. These transformations created opportunities for radical right parties to succeed in the long term, but our cross-national historical analysis has demonstrated that they were able to do so only under certain circumstances. The political effects of sociostructural change and exogenous pressures were refracted through national-level variables. In the case of radical right parties, these were not the variables one might immediately suspect, such as the electoral system or other formal political institutions, and this book has focused on two in particular. First, while radical right parties, like fascist movements, are the product of a distinct historical epoch, their success and failure cannot be understood in isolation from the movements that preceded them. Second, the degree of legitimacy accorded to radical right parties – in part because of historical factors, in part because of tactical calculations by other political actors – created opportunities in some cases and major hurdles in other. Thus both historical legacies and political culture were the critical intervening variables between sociostructural transformation and political outcomes.
To support this broad point, this book focused on the microlevel processes of party building. It demonstrated how history and political culture affected both the number and type of activists that were willing to work on behalf of radical right parties.
My survey of radical right parties begins with failure. Specifically, it begins with parties that tried to build on a small extremist culture in the face of a highly repressive political and social environment. Since they possessed neither the means nor the opportunity for sustained electoral success, it is no wonder that of the four parties this chapter analyzes, only the British National Party might be familiar to nonspecialists. The Dutch Center Democrats are now a historical footnote, while the Belgian National Front has been perpetually irrelevant. The Sweden Democrats have recently shown signs of escaping from the margins but have yet to win more than 6% of the vote in national elections. Once we begin to look inside these parties, we are immediately reminded of Karl Marx's well-known epigram: “History always repeats itself twice: first time as tragedy, second time as farce.” Indeed, it would be tempting to describe activists within these parties as harmless eccentrics were it not for the fact that some of them were involved in hate crimes against foreigners and Holocaust denial. It is also important to bear in mind that things could have turned out differently had history not provided them with such poor resources for party building and had the costs of activism not been so high.
There are several advantages of looking at the failures first. For one, they highlight the fact that neither socioeconomic conditions nor favorable electoral institutions automatically produce a successful radical right party.
This book is about people who join radical right parties in Western Europe. Its central claim is that the qualities of these individuals determine whether such parties develop into major players or remain marginal forces. In contrast to most studies of the radical right, and indeed of political parties in general, it focuses on agency rather than structure and demonstrates that political choices – sometimes choices that seem insignificant at the time – can produce radically different outcomes in societies that are all facing the same basic set of large-scale transformations. That a micropolitical turn provided the key to understanding the development of anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe first occurred to me as I was conducting interviews with radical right politicians in Austria and Germany. So it is appropriate to begin with them.
In 2000, the editor-in-chief of the left-liberal weekly Falter, Armin Thurnher, coined a new term for some members of the radical right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) that combined the German Faschisten (fascists) with the Austrian-German fesch (good looking): the Feschisten. The thirty-one-year-old FPÖ finance minister, Karl-Heinz Grasser, always dressed to the nines, was the unofficial leader of this new breed of Freedom Party politician. A number of highly educated, ambitious, and capable people had entered the party since Jörg Haider had come to power in 1986. Members of the older cohort remained as well, but these were generally respectable people in their communities.
What explains the cross-national variation in the radical right's electoral success over the last several decades? Challenging existing structural and institutional accounts, this book analyzes the dynamics of party building and explores the attitudes, skills and experiences of radical right activists in eleven different countries. Based on extensive field research and an original data set of radical right candidates for office, David Art links the quality of radical right activists to broader patterns of success and failure. He demonstrates how a combination of historical legacies and incentive structures produced activists who helped party building in some cases and doomed it in others. In an age of rising electoral volatility and the fading of traditional political cleavages, Inside the Radical Right makes a strong case for the importance of party leaders and activists as masters of their own fate.
This survey of the postwar radical right ends in the two countries where indigenous fascist movements came to power. Italy was the birthplace of fascism, and Germany was where it found its most murderous expression. Since both regimes spent more than a decade mobilizing their populations, it is not surprising that millions of people remained sympathetic to fascism after its defeat and that some of the old elites would not accept this defeat as permanent. Given these broadly similar starting points, the divergent fortunes of radical right parties in the two former axis powers are particularly striking. In Italy, an unabashedly neofascist party first became a member of the government in 1994, along with a populist regionalist party with an anti-immigrant bent. Although the former has become more moderate while the latter has been radicalized, the radical right remains a powerful force in Italian politics. In Germany, the radical right has amounted to little more than a temporary annoyance in state parliaments, except in the east, where the National Democratic Party has sunk somewhat deeper roots.
As for other radical right parties, these trajectories were shaped by a combination of means and opportunity. Although both states had a large reservoir of fascists, a combination of postwar allied policy and state action divided and repressed the German far right, while the Italian far right not only was permitted to reorganize but was even treated as an ally by the Christian Democrats at certain points.
Up to this point, we have analyzed radical right parties that have been either doubly cursed or doubly blessed: Chapter 3 looked at parties that had neither the means nor the opportunity for party building, while Chapter 4 turned to parties that possessed both. This ordering brought differences in historical legacies and reactions to the radical right into sharp relief, but left open the question of whether both variables were truly determinative of success and failure. This chapter demonstrates that opportunity is not enough. None of the five radical right parties it covers – the Danish People's Party, the Norwegian Progress Party, the Swiss People's Party, New Democracy, and the List Pim Fortuyn – faced either cordons sanitaires or social sanctions. Yet while the first three successful cases emerged through a process of party transformation and thus possessed some indigenous resources, the latter two failures were constructed hastily and from scratch.
Since the parties discussed in this chapter had no connection to previous far right organizations, they were not as plagued by extremist activists as were radical right parties elsewhere. And since the social environment was not repressive, they also succeeded in recruiting educated activists. The major problem each faced was how to create competent and coherent parties. Both New Democracy (ND) and the List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) failed to build any semblance of a party organization; the latter in particular demonstrates the problems that politically inexperienced and opportunistic activists bring.