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The Silent Counter-Revolution

Abstract and Figures

This article has two aims. The first attempts to define the ‘extreme right’political family. The three criteria adopted — spatial, historic-ideological, attitudinal-systemic — have led us to identify two types of the extreme right party. One type comprises parties with a fascist imprint (old right-wing parties); the other comprises recently-born parties with no fascist associations, but with a right-wing antisystem attitude (new right-wing parties). The second aim of this article is to explain the recent ‘unexpected’rise of the new right-wing parties. Changes in the cultural domain and in mass beliefs have favoured radicalization and system polarization on one side, and the emergence of attitudes and demands not treated by the established conservative parties on the other one. These two broad changes have set the conditions for the rise of extreme right parties.
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European Journal
of
Political Research
22:
3-34,
1992.
0
1992
Kluwer
Academic Publishers. Printed in rhe Netherlands
The silent counter-revolution
Hypotheses on the emergence
of
extreme right-wing parties
in Europe
PIER0 IGNAZI
University
of
Bologna, Italy
Abstract.
This article has two aims. The first attempts to define the ‘extreme right’ political family.
The three criteria adopted
-
spatial, historic-ideological, attitudinal-systemic
-
have led us to
identify two
types
of
the extreme right party. One type comprises parties with
a
fascist imprint (old
right-wing parties); the other comprises recently-born parties with
no
fascist associations, but with
a right-wing antisystem attitude (new right-wing parties). The second aim
of
this article is to
explain the recent ‘unexpected’ rise
of
the new right-wing parties. Changes in the cultural domain
and in mass beliefs have favoured radicalization and system polarization on one side, and the
emergence
of
attitudes and demands not treated by the established conservative parties
on
the
other one. These two broad changes have set the conditions
for
the rise of extreme right parties.
Party system change and the emergence
of
extreme right parties
West European party systems are facing a period of change (Crewe and
Denver 1985; Dalton 1988; Dalton et al. 1984; Daalder and Mair 1983; Mair
1984, 1989a,b; Wolinetz 1988). This change is observable at two levels, electo-
ral and partisan.
At the electoral level, intraparty volatility has progressively accelerated in
the 1980s and ‘there is little evidence that this
flux
is likely to abate’ (Mair,
1989b: 169). At the partisan level, a series
of
indicators show the accelerated
process of ‘decomposition of established party ties’ (Dalton, 1988). The de-
cline
of
party identification, of the number of party members and of the degree
of partisan involvement (Mair, 1984) all indicate that the previous enduring
ties between the electorate and established parties are progressively fading
away, thus enabling the emergence of new parties and/or new agencies for the
aggregation of demands (Mair, 1984,1989a; Reider, 1989).
Party system change: causes
The origin of such change is related
to
modifications in society and in the
polity.Relevant modifications in society concern: long term change in the
socioeconomic structure (Bell, 1973) which has liberated the citizen by tradi-
4
tional alignments, fidelities and ties; a shift in the value system toward autodi-
rection (as opposed to eterodirection) and self-affirmation (as opposed to
group solidarity) (Inglehart, 1977; Dalton, 1988).
As
a result, voting is no
longer the confirmation
of
‘belonging’ to a specific social group but becomes
an individual choice (not necessarily a rational one), an affirmation
of
a
personal value system: the ‘issue voter’ tends to replace the traditional ‘party
identification voter’ (Nie et al., 1979; Dalton et al., 1984).
The third vector of change has to do with the party itself. The organizational
change from the mass party to the catch-all party has brought about a weak-
ening of the party-membership linkage (Lawson and Merkl, 1988b). More-
over, the spread
of
the mass media,
of
‘video-power’ (Sartori, 1989), and
of
a
new ‘party personnel’ of experts and special advisers (Panebianco, 1988: 264ff)
reinforce this tendency. This organizational change, still in the making, deter-
mines looser loyalities in the relationship between party and electorate: the
party no longer offers voters a strong and clear cue.
Party
system change: outcomes
According to the present debate (Daalder and Mair, 1983; Flanagan and
Dalton, 1984; Mair, 1984, 1989b), party system change should lead to three
main outcomes: a higher electoral volatility, the rise of new parties and the
decline of party as such. Leaving aside the third potential outcome (party
decline), the first two elements could account for the sudden rise
or
revival of
extreme right parties (hereafter ERPs) in the 1980s. In most European coun-
tries, parties generally defined as ‘extreme right’ have gained parliamentary
representation (in many cases for the first time)
or
have dramatically increased
their votes (see Table 1). This upsurge has been totally unexpected by almost
all politicians and opinion leaders but, even more, has not been taken into
account as a possible outcome by scholars of party system change. There are
three main reasons for this omission.
First, a widespread and well-grounded pessimism about the probability of
new
or
marginal parties emerging.
As
Pedersen (1982, 1991), Harmel and
Robertson (1985), Miiller-Rommel and Pridham (1991) and Rose and Mackie
(1988) have shown, few new parties have emerged, even in the turbulent and
highly politicized 1970s. Moreover, those that did emerge tended to have a
short life-span; the very few that succeed in passing the threshold of ‘relevance’
(Pedersen, 1991: 98), do not persist for a long time
-
disappearing
or
falling
back into a marginal role.’
Second, changes at the societal and partisan level have not undermined the
cleavage structure. Socioeconomic change, secularization, new value systems
and party re-organisation have affected the relation between citizens and
5
politics in the direction
of
less involvement, less emotional attachment, a less
ideological approach and, finally, less partisan loyalty. But votes remain
overwhelmingly within each political family, switching between related parties
(Bartolini and Mair, 1990; Mair, 1989a, b). As a consequence, it is difficult for
a new party
outside the main
blocs
to profit from the higher volatility. As
convincingly argued by Bartolini and Mair (1990), the long-awaited ‘un-
freezing’ of partisan alternatives has yet to come.
Third, Inglehart’s thesis
of
the silent revolution (Inglehart, 1977) focuses on
value change on the
left
pole
of
the political spectrum, omitting the right.2 In
many
of
his publication, Ronald Inglehart has been arguing that a new materi-
alist/postmaterialist dimension is shaping political attitudes in the West and
Japan. The emergence
of
a new set of values which emphasises non-materialist
values (such as freedom, participation, self-realization) have given rise to the
New Politics (Inglehart, 1984; Dalton, 1988). For Inglehart, this shift in the
value system towards a steady and progressive increase
of
postmaterialism
(Inglehart, 1988:
252)
affects partisan preferences.
In
particular, the postmate-
rialists are massively inclined in favor
of
leftist parties (Inglehart, 1987: 1299-
1302,
1989: 89
ss).
In other words, value change has produced new political
alignments and new political movements
on the left side
of
the political spec-
trum.
The unaccounted for outcome: the rise
of
extreme right parties
The two more structured interpretations
of
outcomes of party system change
-
the persistence
of
cleavages and the rise
of
‘new politics’ left-wing parties
-
do
not account for the emergence or recovery
of
EPRs in the 1980s.
Mair’s persistence thesis could hold only if ERPs were considered part of the
conservative area. But this is not the case: ERPs have a peculiar distinctivness
and they cannot merely
be
assimilated to other neighbouring political families.
Moreover, ERPs’ peculiarity consists in their capacity to mobilize votes from
all social strata and from all previous political alignments. As shown by the
interwar electoral earthquakes caused by the ERPs’ ancestors’ and by electo-
ral studies
of
several present-day ERPs, extreme right parties differ from
conservative parties in being able to attract highly diversified voters (on the
French Front National see Mayer and Perrineau, 1990; Perrineau, 1989;
Ysmal, 1989, 1990a; on the German Republikaner see Westle and Nieder-
mayer, 1990; in comparative terms
see
Betz, 1990a; Oppenhuis, 1990; Ysmal,
1990b).
The inconsistency
of
Inglehart’s thesis with the rise of ERPs is even more
puzzling. Why, in an era of mounting postmaterialism and economic growth,
do we find an increasing number
of
rightwing voters? And why has the
6
affirmation
of
the new politics not shrinked the space for the extreme right?
Our hypothesis is that, together with the spread of postmaterialism, in West-
ern countries in the 1980s, a different cultural and political mood, partially
stimulated by the same ‘new politics’ (Minkelberger and Inglehart, 1989;
Flanagan, 1987) has also been taking root. This change in beliefs and attitudes
has been partially expressed in the so-called neoconservatism (and has been
partially interpreted by conservative parties). But, to a large extent, it re-
mained underground until the recent rise
of
ERPs. Such an underground
melting pot
of
attitudes and sentiments includes the emergence of new pri-
orities and issues not treated by the established parties, a disillusionement
towards parties in general, a growing lack of confidence in the political system
and its institutions, and a general pessimism about the future.
In a sense, it could be said that the Greens and the ERPs are, respectively,
the legitimate and the unwanted children of the New Politics; as the Greens
come out
of
the silent revolution, the ERPs derive from a reaction to it, a sort
of
‘silent counter-revolution’.
But before arguing our thesis on this point, however, we need to specify and
describe the extreme right parties rather more precisely.
A
family of extreme right parties?
Klaus vom Beyme has recentely regretted the near impossibility of finding
common ground around the right wing pole (von Beyme, 1988). The variation
in historic references, issues and policies is certainly relevant on the right, but
probably not much higher than in other ‘political families’. The point is that, in
our opinion, the fascist
or
extremist
or
right wing family has been frequently
considered in previous classifications as a sort
of
residual category4 with an
easily identifiable pivotal party, the Italian MSI (plus,
in secundis,
the German
NPD) and a series
of
other ‘protest’
or
‘populist’ parties.
Previous classifications
Daniel Seiler, who has elaborated an ambitious theoretical framework for the
analysis of party families inspired by the categories of Marx and Rokkan,
defines the extreme right parties as ‘deviant cases’, distinct from the bourgeois
parties. His extensive and accurate overview of this family
-
which he sub-
divides into the categories
of
‘nostalgic reaction’, ‘fascist reaction’, ‘common
man protest’, rural pauperism’ and
‘incivicisme
of
the guaranteed’
-
is
signif-
icantly labelled as
‘le bestiarie
du
conservatisme’.
(Seiler, 1980: 207-213; see
also Seiler, 1986).
7
This classification difficulty is due to an underestimation of the need for
rigorous criteria in defining party families in general and the extreme right
family in particular. Most
of
the authors who aggregate parties by types or
families (von Beyme, 1985: 29-31; Smith, 1989: 124; Lane and Ersson, 1987:
94-97; Henig, 1969: 515
ss)
do not escape this pitfall. Lane and Ersson’s
classification of parties5, for example, adopts an ad hoc criterion for defining
‘ultra rightist parties’. In this case, after having recognized that ‘it is difficult to
point out parties that belong to the set
of
ultra-right parties’ they utilize the
ideological criterion, while in the case
of
‘discontent parties’ they refer to a set
of different elements: issues (protest), ideology (populism) and style of lead-
ership (charismatic) (Lane and Ersson, 1987: 103).
Finally, perhaps the best-documented survey
of
‘contemporary right wing
extremism’ (Husbands, 1981) among the very few devoted specifically to this
family, is not based upon analytical distinctions.
In sum, the existing literature does not provide a set
of
shared criteria for
identifying the family
of
ERPs. Therefore we face a twofold problem. On one
hand we need to identify some common feature of the parties we label
‘extreme right’; on the other hand we need to trace a clearcut borderline
between ERPs and their neighbours, the
conservativekonfessionalkentrist
liberal parties.
The alternative approach that we propose points to three distinct criteria:
a) placement in the political spectrum (spatial);
b) declared party ideology and its reference to fascism (historic-ideological);
c) attitude toward the political system (attitudinal-systemic).
The combination
of
those criteria will be used to identify the family
of
extreme
right parties.
The spatial criterion
The first criterion takes into consideration the placement of the parties along
the left-right continuum, identifying those parties which have been placed
most on the right. In the absence
of
universal and comparative data rating
all
the parties along the left-right continuum (minor parties are often disregarded
in comparative data sets) we have to refer both to mass survey evidence and
expert judgernenk6 When we set out
to
select the parties most to the right we
immediately face the crucial problem of deciding how far to the right a party
should be in order to be included in the extreme right family. In the absence
of
a standard measure we cannot give a definite answer to that,
Rebus
sic
stantibus,
the spatial criterion is limited to providing a broad overview of the
right pole
of
the political spectrum.
Moreover, the spatial criterion cannot alone determine membership of the
8
extreme right family, without the contribution of other criteria. Even
if
the
widely debated relationship between the concepts of left and right on one
hand, and ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ on the other, could support the
mechanical transfer between spatial location and political values (Huber
,
1989; Fuchs and Klingemann, 1989), we cannot infer too much from the spatial
location
in
itself.
Keeping in mind this limitation, we proceed by listing the parties located
most to the right in each European country. The following
list
includes all the
parties that contested elections at least once in the 1980s and disregards either
that parties vanished (the French Parti des Forces Nouvelles, for example)
or
minor chapels devoted to violent actions and/or
gestes exemplaires.’
This initial mapping includes:
Italy:
France:
Germany:
Great Britain:
Greece:
Belgium:
Netherlands:
Spain:
Switzerland:
Austria:
Denmark:
Norway:
MSI (Movimento Sociale Italian0
-
Italian Social Move-
ment)
FN (Front National
-
French National Front)
REP (Die Republikaner
-
The Republicans)
NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands
-
Na-
tional Socialist Party)
DVU (Deutsche Volksunion List D
-
German People’s
Union)
BNP (British National Party)
NF (National Front)
EPEN (Ethniki Politiki Enosis
-
National Political
Union)8
VlB (Vlaams Blok
-
Flemish Bloc)
FNb (Front National
-
National Front)
PFN (Parti de Forces Nouvelles
-
New Forces’ Party)9
CD (Centrumdemocraten
-
Centre Democrats)
CP’86 (Centrumpartij
’86
-
Centre Party ’86)
AP (Alianza Popular
-
Popular Aliance), now PP (Partido
Popular
-
Popular Party)
FNs (Frente Nacional
-
National Front)”
AN (Action Nationale
-
National Action)
FPO (Freiheitliche Partei Osterreichs
-
Austrian Liberal
Party), and the NDP/BRB/EHI”
FRP (Fremskridtspartiet
-
Progress Party)
FRPn (Fremskrittspartiet
-
Progress Party)
9
Portugal:
CDS (Partido do Centro DCmocratico Social
-
Democratic
Social Center Party)
PDC (Partido
do
Democracia Crista
-
Christian Demo-
cratic Party)’*
FF
(Fianna Fail
-
Soldiers
of
Destiny)
MS (Moderata Samlingspartei
-
Moderate Party)
KK (Kansallinen Kokoomus
-
National Coalition Party)
Ireland:
Sweden:
Finland:
As one can see, such a list includes long established parties and brand new
ones, large parties as well as small ones at the verge
of
groupusculaire
status
(NF and BNP in Great Britain, Frente Nacional in Spain, EPEN in Greece,
PFN in Belgium, the various Gruber’s Formations in Austria, and the new
born Portugese Forca National). Moreover, it raises immediate and legitimate
problems about the plausibility
of
including all these parties
-
which range
from
sui generis
conservative parties such as
FF
to neo-fascist parties such as
MSI,
from the bourgeois moderate MS to the racist FN, from the ‘liberal’
FPO
to xenophobic
-
in the same class. Therefore, it is necessary to use a more
substantive criterion (and one that is much more difficult to handle), that
of
party ideology.
The ideological criterion
Let us start with a bold statement. The
only
ideological corpus for the extreme
right has been provided by fascism. This reference
to
fascist ideological doc-
trine instead
of
the widely used psychoanalytical approach (Adorno, et al.
1950) or middle class extremism (Lipset, 1960), is motivated by three consid-
erations. First, fascism is the only ideology more or less unanimously recog-
nized as an extreme right ide~logy.’~ Second, fascist ideology (except in some
marxian-Third international interpretations
of
fascism as a variant
of
bour-
geois domination -see Guerin, 1956 (orig. ed. 1936); Kiihnl, 1973), is different
and, in some ways alien from conservative thought. Third, up until the 1970s,
all extreme right groups and parties had referred to and were inspired by the
most influential party of this tendency in Europe, the Italian
MSI
which was
patently, by any standard, a neofascist party (Caciagli, 1988, Ignazi, 1989a,
1989b). The
MSI
openly stated its inspiration in fascist doctrine, recruited old
fascist party members and, for a long time, was active in promoting meetings
and supporting ‘neo-fascist’ groups all over Europe (Del Boca and Giovana,
1969; Gaddi, 1974).
Taking for granted the centrality
of
fascist ideology in defining our
tendance,
we
now have to stipulate some basic traits
of
this ideology. This is a very
difficult task because fascist ideology
is
a
mare magnum
where different
sources melt together. Such sources range from anarcho-syndicalism to na-
tionalism and revanche, from futurism to clericalism, from a revolutionary
10
aspiration towards a new order and a new man to petty-bourgeois conserva-
tism, from industrial modernism to ruralism, from authoritarian corporatism
to
hisser
fuire14
(Cofrancesco, 1986; De Felice, 1969, 1975; Gentile, 1974;
Nolte, 1967 (ed
or
1963); Payne, 1980; Sternhell, 1976, 1989; Zunino, 1985).
The strongholds
of
fascist ideology common to all of its various stream@
are: belief in the authority of the state over the individual; emphasis on natural
community
-
hence nationalism, ethnocentrism and racism; distrust for the
individual representation and parliamentary arrangements; limitations
on
personal and collective freedoms; exhaltation
of
the strength
of
the state;
collective identification in a great national destiny
-
against class
or
ethnic
or
religious divisions; and acceptance of hierarchical criteria for social orga-
nisation. In extreme synthesis, state
or
nation comes prior to the individual.16
The heritage
of
fascism can be seen either in terms of references to myths,
symbols, slogans of the interwar fascist experience, often veiled as nostalgia,
or
in terms
of
a more explicit reference to at least part of the ideological corpus
of
fascism. Given the crucial importance of aesthetics and image in fascism
(Mosse, 1975 (ed
or
1974)) we have to account for both elements. However
while aesthetic expression is a probable indicator of adhesion to fascist ideol-
ogy and recall of the fascist interwar experience, the reverse might not be true.
In order to avoid stigmatization, ERPs could have toned down symbolic
references to fascism.
If we apply an ideological criterion to the parties mentioned above, control-
ling for party manifestos/platforms and leader's interventions (our unit of
analysis is party not individual members
or
voters as in Falter and Schumann
(1988), Oppenhuis (1990), Ysmal(1990b)) then we can identify parties linked
to fascist tradition. These include:
-
the Italian MSI (Ignazi, 1989a, b, 1990);
-
the German NPD and DVU (Stoss, 1988; Westle and Niedermayer, 1990);
-
the British BNP and NF1' (Husbands, 1988; Lewis, 1987; Thurlow, 1987);
-
the Greek EPEN (Seferiades, 1986; Groupes des Droites EuropCennes
(s.d. but 1986); Clogg, 1987; Papadopoulos, 1988);
-
the Austrian NDP/BRB/EHI (Gartner, 1990);
-
the Spanish FNs (Gunther et al., 1986);
-
the Portuguese PDC (Costa Pinto, 1990);
and, with some cautions:
-
the Dutch CP86 (Voerman and Lucardie, 1990).
Even
if
in some cases the distinction is not always very sharp, all of the above
parties either recall keystones
of
fascist ideology of whatever internal tenden-
cy,
or
regret the glorious part, or exhibit the external signs of such imagery or,
finally, call for a third way beyond capitalism and communism; in short, they
themselves indicate their roots in the interwar fascist experience." Other
11
parties on the extreme right do not show a clear linkage with fascism, with the
exception of the Spanish AP.
The case of the AP is worth a brief discussion however, to highlight the main
problems
we
face when making such classifications. First, we might question
the presence of AP (and many parties, as we will see later on) in the extreme
right family. AP is member of the European Democratic Union and the
European People’s Party grouping in the European Parliament, and is defined
a conservative party by many scholars of the Spanish party system (see, for all,
Lopez Nieto, 1988). Nevertheless the spatial self-placement of the party
supporters and expert judgements
of
the party’s location
on
the left-right scale
are unequivocal. In 1986, 53 per cent of the electorate placed AP at the
‘extreme right’ and 42 per cent at ‘right’. In 1984 the mean score on the 1-10
left-right scale of AP leader Manuel Fraga was 8.3; between 1982 and 1986 AP
supporters moved from right to extreme right (Montero, 1988: 156
ss).
As
Josb
Montero says, ‘AP voters have become more conservative. The distance
between AP and the other political parties had widened’ (Montero, 1988: 159).
And the same trend has been highlighted by the time-series survey data
presented by Sani and Shabad (1986: 620-621). Thus, as far as the spatial
criterion is concerned, AP identification is not questionable. Concerning
ideology, however, even if AP represents some continuity with the Francoist
regime, and given that Fraga himself was an old Franco Minister,
it
should be
recognized that, in the transition
to
democracy, AP has left to Fuerza Nueva
(now Frente Nacional) the role of the fascist-like party. (Nostalgia for the past
is often, however, present in AP political discourse; see, for example, Gunther
et al., 1986: spec. 346-347).
Attitude
to
the
system
The third criterion adopted to highlight the distinctiveness of ERPs involves
their role in (and their relationship to) the political system. This approach
highlights the role of opposition parties in democratic regimes.
Kirchheimer identifies two types of opposition (Kirchheimer, 1966a: 237).
The first is opposition of principle, where ‘goal displacement is incompatible
with the constitutional requirements of a given system’; the second is loyal
opposition, which implies just a ‘goal differentiation’. In the same tradition,
Sartori defines an ‘antisystem party’ as one characterized by activity that
undermines the legitimacy of the regime, and ‘a belief system that does not
share the values of the political order within which it operates’ (Sartori, 1976:
133). More recently, Gordon Smith has proposed a typology which combines
‘compatibility
of
aims and acceptability of behaviour’ and has underlined the
12
existence of a ‘grey zone of acceptability’ according to different time and
context; in other terms, what is considerated ‘incompatible with the system in
one era may be accomodated in other’ (Smith, 1987:
63-64).
The evolution of
the socialist parties illustrate very well how parties can progressively accom-
modate themselves to the system’s rules.
In theory, the extreme right parties should exhibit an ‘opposition
of
princi-
ple’ and should express an ideology which undermines the constitutional rules
of
the democratic regime. If we refer to fascism as
the
extreme right ideology,
this ideology is, by any standard, alien and extraneous to liberal-democracy
;
but, by proceeding this way, we come back to our previous criterion, the
ideological one. In order to excape from this vicious circle we will not refer to a
well structured ideology, but will inquire about the presence of ‘antisystem’
political attitudes and beliefs. This distinction reflects Sartori’s differentiation
between ‘a broad and strict definition of ‘antisystem” (Sartori, 1976: 132).
As
far as we know from the content analysis of party manifestoes, platforms
and leaders’ writings and speeches,
ERPs
share some common features which
are clearly antisystem. These include antiparlamentarism, antipluralism and
antipartism. Even if such parties do not openly advocate a non-democratic
institutional setting, they nevertheless undermine system legitimacy by ex-
pressing distrust for the parliamentary system, the futile discussions provoked
by ambitious leaders, escessive freedom, the weakness
of
the state, the dis-
ruption
of
the traditional natural communities, and ‘unnatural’ egalitarism.
In sum, while most ERPs do not share any ‘nostalgia’ for the interwar fascist
experience, and may even refuse any reference to fascism, they nevertheless
express antidemocratic values throughout their political discourse. Their crit-
icism is inspired by a refusal
of
modernity, a hate of divisions and a search for
harmony, an exhaltation
of
natural community and a hostility towards foreign-
ers, a faith in hierarchical structures and a distrust of parliamentary debate.
New
and old
ERPs
Summing up,
our
search for a valid
criteria
definitionis
of
the extreme right
tendance
has produced a typology according to which parties more on the right
of
the political spectrum are categorized according to the presence
or
absence
of
a fascist heritage and the acceptance
or
refusal
of
the political system. In
order to be included in our class
of
‘extreme right’ parties, the most rightwing
parties, should either fulfil the historic-ideological fascist criterion,
or
should
exhibit a delegitimizing impact, through a series
of
issues, values, attitudes
(rather than a structured and coherent ideology), which undermines system
legitimacy. If a party fits the historic-ideological criterion as well as the
systemic one, we can think of it as belonging to the ‘old right’ type. If a party is
13
not linked to fascism but has an antisystem profile, we can think of it as
belonging to the ‘new right’
type.19
The adoption of this framework helps us to settle on the borderline between
ERPs and conservative parties. The different spatial location (the conserva-
tive parties are more to the centre), the different ideology (conservatism
belongs to another ideological class), the different attitudes toward the system
(conservatives are supportive or engage in ‘goal opposition’, but never en-
danger system legitimacy) clearly make the distinction between the
two
classes.
The ‘new right-wing’ party type in practice
Doubtful
cases
As
we
have already indicated, not all parties at the right-wing end of the
left-right scale can properly be considered
to
be extreme right parties. In the
first place, we can remove from our analysis the rightmost parties of Sweden,
Ireland and Finland. While the Moderata Samlingspartei, Fianna Fail and the
Kansallinen Kokoomus may be seen as the most right-wing parties of their
respective countries they do not exhibit any antisystem attitudes (nor,
a
fortiori,
fascist tendencies).
In the case of
FF,
given the low distance from
its
closest competitors (Fine
Gael and the Progressive Democrats) and its position on the left-right spec-
trum
-
not exceeding point 7.0 on a 1-10 left-right scale (see Gallangher, 1985)
-
the exclusion
of
this party is uncontentious. In the two other cases, the
Finnish KK is surely located close to the right-wing pole (Sani and Sartori,
1983) but it is a conservative, pro-establishment party; and the same goes for
the Swedish Moderata party. Therefore, while conservative, both cannot be
seen as having antisystem attitudes.
While the three parties considered above are unequivocally outside the
extreme right family, the cases of AP, CDS, FPO, FRPn and FRP are debat-
able and need to be treated carefully.
The Spanish Alianza Popular has already been partially discussed; it is
located at the extreme right but, thanks
to
the presence of
a
declared neofascist
party, Frente Nacional, (plus other minor groups as the Falange de la
JONS),
it is not an old right-wing party. However, the attitude expressed by party’s
declarations and programmes clearly points to it having a delegitimizing
impact
on
the Spanish system. AP moved to the right in the early 1980s, which
suggest that it is ‘becoming increasingly representative of the rightist and
authoritarian sectors of the Spanish politics’ (Montero, 1988: 157). Moreover,
AP seems unable to overcome its ‘deficit of democratic legitimacy and to
modernize its ideological proposals on the same track of neoconservatism’. AP
14
emphasizes an ‘excessive conservatism (not devoid of a certain authoritarism)
and a rigid defence of traditional values’ (Montero,
1987: 9).
Yet, after Fraga’s
dismissal from the party leadership in
1986
and the renewal
of
the coalition
with a new name, Partido Popular (PP), most
of
the antisystem attitudes seem
to have been replaced by a concern with ‘goal opposition’. Thus, while the new
PP is probably moving away from the ERP class, for a large part
of
the
1980s
AP should be considered full member of this class.20
An inverse route has being followed by the FPO. The
1986
takeover of the
party leadership by the Harder faction has swept away the liberal group (the
‘Attersee circle’) which had conquered the party in the late
1970s.
The short
predominance of an authentically liberal leadership had been incapable of
modyfing the nationalistic and antidemocratic heritage of the party. Even in
the mid
1980s
‘authoritatarian, anti-Semitic and similar attitudes’ (Luther,
1988: 232)
had their largest concentration in the FPO. And while Richard
Luther warns against a superficial labelling of FPO as antisystem he must
recognize that after the change
of
leadership ‘the FPO had opted
. .
.
to revert
to its traditional role
of
a party of protest rather than a party of government’
(Luther,
1988: 247).
The new leadership and the dubious past
of
Harder’s
inner circle (Gartner,
1990),
the non-discouraged support from minor radical
right groups, the anti-Semitic, xenophobic and nationalistic issues highlighted,
suggest the
post-1986
FPO as a member
of
the extreme right class.
Beyond the marginal PDC
-
which does not overcome the
1
per cent
threshold
-
and the new comer Forca Nacional, the Portuguese right lies in the
CDS.” But is it conservative
or
‘extreme right’? The spatial location
of
CDS in
1986
would support the latter hypothesis; the mean location on a
1-10
left-right
scale is
7.7
and
36
per cent
of
respondents put it at the extreme right (points
9
and
10)
(Bacalhau,
1989: 253).
Moreover, as Nogueira Pinto clearly states, the
‘the rightmost party
of
the Portuguese system is the CDS’ (Nogueira Pinto,
1989: 204).
However, as far as ideology and attitudes towards the system are
concerned, the party’s inclusion in the ERP class is questionable. The CDS
recruited some supporters and leaders
of
the old regime but the party does not
manifest any particular attachment to this regime, nor any fierce opposition to
the democratic decision-making process and institutions. Its presence in gov-
ernment for some years together with the PSD has inevitably helped the CDS
to rid itself of antisystem attitudes. Finally, the CDS is member of the Europe-
an People’s Party. On the basis
of
this evidence, we are inclined to drop the
CDS from the extreme right class.
The remaining two parties, the Norwegian Progress Party (FRPn) and its
Danish counterpart, FRP, present quite different stories. Both erupted in the
political scene in the early
1970s
mainly as single-issue anti-tax parties. Both
then went beyond their ‘single’ issue, which anyway comprehended many
15
topics related to the welfare system and government spending, by dealing with
immigration, as well as law and order issues.
While there is full agreement on the extraneousness
of
both Progress Parties
to the fascist tradition (minuscule chapels keep this ideology alive in Denmark
and Norway:
see
O’MaolBin,
1987)
more debatable is their antisystem atti-
tude. On one side Lars Bille
(1989: 49-50)
argues that, taking Sartori’s broad
definition
of
antisystem, the FRP ‘tried to undermine the legitimacy
of
the
regime
of
the old parties in the sense that
by
regime is understood the ideology,
norms, rules and habits
of
the welfare
state
system’ (Bille,
1989: 49).
If
we add
to this narrow concern with the welfare state regime a set of attitudes that
expresses distrust with parties
as such,
party system, and parliamentarism,
(Andersen,
1991,
Andersen and Bjorklund,
1990)
then we have a delegitimiz-
ing impact on the democratic system.
To
the extent that the FRP is moving
along these lines, it should be included in the ERP class. However after the
1984
change
of
leadership (when the founding father
of
the party, Mogens
Glistrup, went to jail) the FRP has softened its policy and bargained its support
for the bourgeois coalition.
The case
of
the Norwegian FRPn is similar. Kurt Heidar considers the
Progress Party ‘an alloy of extreme economic liberalism and right-wing pop-
ulism’ and he defines it as ‘an anti-consensus party (but not an antisystem)’
(Heidar,
1989: 147).
On the other side, William Lafferty underlines FRPn’s
radical opposition to the social democratic state, negative attitudes toward
immigrants, and violent attacks on ‘politicians’ and ‘bureaucrats’. Conse-
quently he includes the FRPn in the extreme right category (Lafferty,
1989:
95-96),
and we agree with this classification. More recently, Valen
(1990:
281-282)
has shown that the centrist electorate rejects every hypothetical
coalition with the FRPnZZ (see also Madeley,
1990).
Therefore, while some perplexities still remain, as highlighted by Andersen
and Bjarklund’s
(1990)
thorough analysis
of
both Progress Parties, we include
them in the ‘new right-wing’ type
of
the extreme right party family.
To summarize this discussion
of
doubtful cases three parties have proved, by
any standard, extraneous to the extreme right class
-
these are FF, MS and
KK. The same applies (with somewhat more uncertainty) to the CDS. The
other parties that we have considered
-
AP, FPO, FRP and FRPn
-
do appear
to be sufficiently qualified
for
inclusion in the ‘new right-wing’ type.
Prototypes new right parties:
FN, REP, FNb,
VlB,
PFN,
CD,
ANlVigilantes
The French Front National, the German Republikaner, the Belgian Front
16
National, Vlaams Blok and Parti de Forces Nouvelles, the Dutch Centrum-
democraten and the Swiss Action National plus its Geneva sister party Vigi-
lantes, are the most representative parties of the new right-wing type. They
refuse any relationship with traditional conservative parties, they define them-
self outside the party system, they are constantly in fight against all the other
parties, they accuse the ‘ruling class’
of
misconsideration
of
the ‘real’ problems
of
the people, they blame the incapacity of the system to deal with the most
salient issues, law and order and immigration. Finally, they deny any reference
to fascism.
Sources
of
ERP
success in the
1980s:
hypotheses on ‘the silent counter-revolution’
New and old
ERPs:
a
diverging electoral performance
In the previous section we highlighted a cleavage between old right-wing
parties and new right-wing parties, defined by the persistence
of
a fascist
imprint in party ideology, value system or aesthetics. In the first group we
found parties that declared themselves
to
be the heirs of the collapsed fascist
regimes, including the leader
of
postwar neo-fascism, the
MSI,
and the less
successful NPD, DVU, EPEN, Frente Nacional, NDP/BRB/EHI, BNP, NF,
CP86, PDC.
If we look at the recent electoral outcomes (Table
1)
we see that the old
right-wing parties have tended to decline or even to disappear. (The few
exceptions are due to the most recently-born party (CP86), the DVU-Liste D
in the Bremen Land election of 1987 and the NPD in the Frankfurt local
election
of
1989).
On the other side, the parties of the new right-wing type have generally
increased (Table
2).
What are the conditions for the development
of
the new right-wing type all
over Europe? Are there any changes in the Western societies that can account
for the rise
of
new right-wing parties?
Is
there any common feature that links
these parties and might explain their success.
As
the upsurge
of
ERPs is a recent phenomenon and comparative research
is at a very early stage (Falter and Schumann’s, 1988 essay represents a
pioniering attempt but utilizes data up to 1985) it is difficult to give a final
answer to these questions. However, there is a series of possible explanations
both on the societal side and on the side
of
the party system. Without pretend-
ing to give full account of all aspects of this, and while relying on existing
empirical evidence, we will focus on the following elements:
a) the rise of a new ‘neo-conservative’ cultural mood;
17
Table
1.
Electoral results
of
ERP's in the
1980s;
percentages
of
vote
Country Party
81 82 83 84 84E 85 86 87 88 89 89E
Austria' FPO
Belgium2 VIB
Denmark FRP
France3
FNs
Germany' NPD
REP
Greece
EPEN
KP
Italy
MSI
The CP
+
Netherlands6 CP86
Norway FRPn
Portugal PDC
Spain AP
FNS
Falange
SwitzerlandS AN/
CD
Vigilantes
-
-
5.0
- -
-
1.3 1.4
--
-
3.6 3.5
-
11.2
-
-
0.6
-
0.8
-
--
--
-
-- -
--
2.3 0.6
--
-
--
-
--
-
6.8
-
6.5
-
0.8
-
-
2.5
-
-
3.5
- -
-
9.7
-
-
1.9
-
4.8
9.8
-
-
0.6
--
--
--
-
5.9
0.4
-
0.1
-
-
0.5E
--
26.0 24.7E
-
0.6E
-
0.1E
-
2.9
-
- -
-
-
4.1
9.0
-
5.3
9.6 (14.4)4 11.7
-
1.6
-
7.1
-
0.3 1.2
-
5.5
-
-
- -
-
-
-
0.9 0.8
-
13.0'
-
-
-
0.7
-
25.8 21.4
-
0.4
-
0.1
0.2
-
'The other minor parties have been excluded from the table. For more details
on
these parties, see
note
10
in the text.
'The relevance
of
the Flemish Vlaams Blok and the Walloon PFN and
FNb
is
provided by their
recent electoral scores in local elections.
In
1989
Bruxelles regional election they got, respectively,
2.1%, 1.0%
and
3.3%.
But the strength
of
the Vlaams Blok is better ascertained by looking at its
scores in some large Flemish cities.
For
example, at the
1988
local election in Anvers, the second
largest city in Belgium, VIB reached
17.8%
of
the votes.
Computed
on
the 'expressed votes'
(suffrages
exprimtes)
at the first ballot.
14.4%
refers to Le Pen score at the
1988
Presidential election, first ballot.
5The Republikaner score at the European Election comes after a series of successes in Lander
elections and, above all, in Berlin,
7.5% (1989).
See Westle and Niedermayer
(1990).
In
the
1990
local election CD and CP86 have dramatically increased their votes; in the four main
Dutch cities their scores range from
1.2%
to
3.3%
(CP86)
and from
3.8%
to
4.4%
(CD). See
Voerman and Lucardie
(1990).
'This result has been anticipated by the unforeseen success in the
1987
local election:
12.3%.
*There is a striking difference between AN and Vigilantes scores at federal and local level; at local
level their electoral trend is upward. For example, in recent communal elections AN got
10.9%
(+
5.1%)
in Bern,
9.9%
(+
6.0)
in Zurich,
14.2%
(+
14.2%)
in Lausanne and the Vigilentes
reaches
19.0%
(+
11.3)
in Geneva cantonal election. See Husbands,
1988, 1990.
b) a tendency toward radicalization and polarization;
c) the presence
of
an underground but mounting legitimacy crisis of the
d) security and immigration issues.
political and (above all) party system;
The impact
of
neo-conservatism
As
Daniel Bell underlined, some intellectuals in the
1970s,
mostly disillu-
sioned by leftist ideology, oriented themselves toward the right creating a
neoconservative movement for the first time since World War
I1
(Bell,
1980:
149-150).
Neoconservatism emerged as a reaction against the postwar consen-
sus on Keynesian political economy and the ‘collectivist age’, and the rapid
growth and cost
of
the Welfare system. This movement advocates, in contrast
to the ‘overloading’ burden
of
the state provision, the revival
of
the liberal
hisser fuire
principles
of
the free market, individual entrepreneurs, priv-
atization of the public sector, and cuts in the welfare system.
This
new attitude
Table
2.
Size, type and electoral trend
of
ERP’s in the
1980
Type Size Electoral trend
Stableldecreasing Increasing
Old small
(-5%)
EPEN
PDC
FNs+ Falange
NDP
NDPIBRBIEHI
NF
CP86
large
(+
So/,)
MSI
New
small
(-
5%)
CD
FNb
PM
large
(+
5%)
AP
ANNigilantes
FN
Rep.
FRP
FRPn
FPO
VIB
19
to socio-economic policy came together with major value changes, as a result
of
which authority, patrotism, the role
of
the family and traditional moral
values have been partly re-emphasized and partly redefined in response to
postmaterialist issues. As a consequence, the new cultural movement
of
the
1980s
is nurtured by different and even contradictory contributions:
‘liberals’
concern with liberty, freedom and progress does not correspond with conser-
vatives’ emphasis upon the organic unity of society and the state, hierarchy and
the negative consequences
of
economic activity’ (King,
1987: 24-25).
How-
ever, in our opinion, the dominant emphasis
is
not on freedom and individual-
ism against the danger
of
a bureaucratic and collectivistic society but rather on
traditional and neo-conservative values.
The distinction between traditional and neo-conservative values is neces-
sary because contemporary conservatism does not just recall the traditional
moral values
of
the past but also offers an ‘alternative and parallel view
of
reality’ in juxtaposition to the leftist-progressive one (Girvin,
1988: 10).
The
main future
of
neo-conservatism, in fact, lies in presenting itself to the mass
public as a non-materialistic answer to the agenda
of
the New Politics: ‘the
New Left issues
.
.
.
have helped to crowd the economic issues
off
the agenda
and have provoked the emergence of the
. .
.
New Right set of moral and
religious issues.
.
.
.
This new set of issues includes right to life, antiwomlib,
creationism, antipornography, support for traditional and moral values,
strong defence, patriotism, law and order enforcement, antiminority rights,
xenophobia’. (Flanagan,
1987: 1308,1312).
This cultural movement has become highly influential all over Western
societies in the
1980s
and it has contributed in the affirmation
of
conservative-
confessional-liberal parties. Great Britain, West Germany, the Netherlands,
Denmark, Belgium, Portugal (and France for two years,
1986-88)
turned
to
the right and were governed by conservative parties or coalitions, And, even
where the socialists gained or kept control of the government as in Spain and
France, they were obliged to take into account some of the liberal creeds.
The tendency towards polarization
The effects
of
this new cultural mood are important. Neo-conservatism has
provoked, directly and indirectly, a higher polarization both in terms of
ideological distance and in terms
of
ideological intensity (Sartori,
1976: 126).
Such reasoning could hold only
if
-
at the risk
of
being accused
of
sociological
bias (Sartori,
1969)
-
we identify the
primum mobile
of the process of polar-
ization at the cultural-ideological level. Therefore,
if
we assume that the
‘conservative’ parties (we adopt the term conservative for sake of parsimony,
but they might
be
confessional, or agrarian, or liberal) have absorbed the
20
neo-conservative tendency and thus have moved to the right, we should see an
increase in the ideological intensity and distance in the political system. As
conservative parties moved to the right and the leftist parties kept their
positions, polarization should have increased.
If this is true we face another problem. Since party systems have become
more polarized thanks to a shift to the right of conservative parties, how can we
account for the emergence
of
new right-wing parties? According to spatial
theory, a party that moves toward the right pole of the left-right continuum
should occupy this territory and thus inhibit the rise of more extreme right-
wing parties. Yet, the mechanics
of
polarization implies the development
of
a
politics
of
outbidding, according to which either a ‘conservative‘ party or a
radical right-wing party move more and more to the right. The first possibility
is quite risky for a conservative party.
As
it moves more and more to the right,
leaving its traditional ‘hunting territory’, a potentially successful1 competitor
might emerge on its left. The conservative party risks losing its ties to its
traditional electorate by moving too much to the right. Therefore, the second
outcome seems more plausible: a new right-extremist party may voice the most
radical promises without any strategic hindrance. Apparently, this latter out-
come did materialize, the shift to the right of the conservative parties did not
inhibit the emergence of more extreme parties
-
as spatial theory postulates
-
rather, it paved the way for
ERPs.
Does this theoretical scheme fit the reality of
1980s
party systems? In the
absence
of
comprehensive cross-national time-series data on the party loca-
tions on the left-right continuum (for a useful summary of existing data see
Laver and Schofield,
1990),
we should refer to country specific analyses.
To
the best
of
our knowledge, the literature does indicate a general move to the
Table
3.
ERP’s presence and party system ideological status
Non polarized Polarizing Polarized
No
ERP’s Ireland
Sweden
New ERP’s Austria
Spain (AP)
Switzerland
Old ERPs Great Britain
Portugal
Spain (FNs)
Finland
Belgium
Denmark
France
Germany (Rep.)
Netherlands
Norway
Germany (NPD) Italy
Greece
21
right by conservative parties followed, in some cases, by a simultaneous shift to
the left by socialist parties
-
as in Great Britain, the Netherlands and West
Germany in the early-mid
1980s
(Girvin, 1988a). It also documents the rise of
Green parties and
ERPs
at the two extremes of the left-right scale.
Table
3
presents a tentative classification of party systems into those that are
non-polarized, ‘polarizing’ and polarized. Needless to say, given the scope of
this essay, we do not pretend to offer a full-scale alternative typology of party
systems, rather, we focus on Sartori’s ideological ‘control variable’ (Sartori,
1976:
132),
leaving aside his ‘format variable’. Keeping in mind this single-
variable approach, we can say that most countries have experienced, or are
experiencing, a process of radicalization which has led to an increasing ide-
ological distance in the party system and which has favoured the development
of extreme parties.
As
a consequence, many segmented societies are driven
toward ‘polarization’, looking only at party ideologies and not taking into
account the
relevance
of the new parties. This seems to be the case in France,
Belgium, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece.23 More-
over, Table
3
suggests a relationship between the polarizing drive
of
a party
system and emergence of
ERPs.
Indeed, the new right-wing parties are
overwhelmingly concentrated in the polarizing systems. This suggests that a
process of radicalization at the cultural-ideological level, favouring the en-
largement of the political space and hence increasing ideological distances, has
been a propitious condition for the development of
ERPs.
System legitimacy
The third factor that may be related to the rise
of
new right-wing parties
concerns the specific issues or value systems promoted.
As
we have already
stated, neoconservatism had introduced or revitalized themes which have
been only partially interpreted by the ‘conservative’ parties. Thanks to the
radicalization we have just been discussing, more extreme positions have
gained ‘legitimacy’ but ‘conservative’ parties have not identified themselves
with these positions. Inevitably, the
ERPs
have claimed the right to represent
such positions more adequately. Specifically,
ERPs
ask for the total dis-
mantling of the welfare system, an aggressive nationalism, a form
of
social
darwinism, the restoring of moral traditionalism, an authoritarian state and
xenophobic policies towards foreigners.
But the distinctiveness of
ERPs
is based not just
on
the ‘intensity’ of their
neoconservative approach. They are distinct because they endanger the legiti-
macy of the system. The adoption of a more radical version of neoconservative
values by
ERPs
is intended to undermine the foundation of the system by
delegitimizing the parties and the party system, the parliamentary procedure,
22
the principle of equality, and sometimes even the rule of law. Why has there
been a move toward such antisystem positions?
Our tentative answer points to the emergence
of
what we might think
of
as a
‘silent counter-revolution’. As neoconservatism has flourished at the cultural-
intellectual level, there has also been a change in attitudes and behaviours in
the mass public. This change has been perceived only very partially because
few studies have been designed to looked at
it
(Flanagan, 1987, Minkenberg
and Inglehart, 1989, Minkenberg, 1990). In particular, Inglehart’s thesis about
the continuous growth of postmaterialism is a good example of this mis-
perception.
It is well known that Inglehart’s paradigm
of
materialism/postmaterialism is
based on four crucial issues and that the ‘materialist’ issues concern inflation
and order. While there is no doubt about the ‘materialist’ substance of those
issues, the point is that in the 1980s
they were no longer salient.
In the wake of
the 1970s -when the research on the silent revolution took off after the student
turmoils
-
inflation and order in the streets were salient issues for tapping
materialist concerns. But in the 1980s, when inflation declined sharply and
clashes with the police were replaced either by consumerism
or
by peaceful
demonstrations on
ecologist/antimilitarist
themes, the old materialist issues
had lost much
of
their salience. Therefore we have had a bias towards the
‘progressive’ side
of
the change in Western societies and an underestimation of
the ‘conservative’ side.
In addition to this probable misperception
of
value change in Inglehart’s
scheme, there are scattered pieces
of
evidence of
a
general feeling which could
account for the growth
of
antisystem attitudes, the creeping legitimacy crisis in
Western societies. This ’crisis of confidence’ can be analysed at two different
levels, the behaviourial and the attitudinal.
At
the level
of
observable individual behaviour, two indicators are perti-
nent: the decline in electoral turnout and the decline in party and trade-union
membership. Even
if
such general trends have been reversed in some cases
(Norway
for
example) there is wide consensus
on
this point. One may argue
that this evolution might be counterbalanced by the growth of non-partisan
politics (Dalton, 1988, Smith, 1987)
or
by new parties not organized along the
mass membership model (Heidar, 1989, Kitschelt, 1989). However, these two
indicators show the existance
of
a certain malaise
vis-a-vis
the traditional
parties. And, while there seems to be a higher interest in politics in general,
thanks to new non-party movements (Dalton, 1988:
23),
we agree that ‘parties
are increasingly under pressure and may have to give away some of their
original ground to other intermediary organizations’ (Kaase, 1990a:
64;
see
also Lawson and Merkl, 1988a:
5).
Turning to attitudinal data, the decline in party identification (Harding
et
al., 1988, Mair, 1989b) reinforces the argument.
As
far as the system support is
23
concerned, the prevailing interpretation, points to a widening gap between the
citizen and the system (Kaase, 1988: 131).
As
Russell Dalton summarizes,
‘feelings of mistrust have gradually broadened to include evaluations of the
political regime and other institutions in society. The lack of confidence in
politics and political institutions is widespread’ (Dalton, 1988: 239). Following
the same track, Ulrich Wiedmaier, on the basis
of
the Globus Model, has
hypothesized that ‘regime legitimacy will decline’ (Wiedmaier, 1990: 152; see
also Wiedmaier, 1988: 239). Lipset and Schneider (1983: 382) take a step
further, arguing the prevalence of a ‘general anti-elitist, anti-power ideology’.
In sum, even in absence of definitive empirical evidence, it could be sustained
that the Western public has experienced a period
of
malaise, probably re-
pressed and cooled by the time of the economic recovery after 1982.
But what is the relationship between the weakening legitimacy
of
Western
systems and the rise
of
ERPs? Dissatisfaction towards parties, the way in
which democracy works and the output of the system in relation to physical
security tend inevitably to feed opposition and/or antisystem parties. The
distrust facing parties and institutions and the loss
of
confidence in the tradi-
tional channels of participation (Hardinget al., 1988: 77-81, Kaase, 1990) have
thus found their expression not only in new left politics but also in the extreme
right. Only ERPs offer the electorate a right wing radical alternative to the
establishment’s political discourse. Only ERPs want to ‘throw the rascals out’
and modify the rules, kicking out politicians and hiring honest technicians.
Only ERPs offer simple remedies to unemployment and tax burden.
Only
ERPs play upon an harmonious and idyllic past where conflicts and anxiety
about the future did
not
exist. Only ERPs,
last
but not least,
invoke law and
order and a xenophobic policy against Third world immigrants.
Immigration,
law
and
order
As
already underlined, attitudes to immigration and security are indicators of
a new value dimension. The issue of immigration, in particular, has been
transformed into a salient political theme all over Europe only in the 1980s
-
only Switzerland and Great Britain had faced the problem in an earlier period
(European Parliament, 1985, European Commission, 1989, Husbands, 1988,
Layton-Henry, 1988). The inability of the established parties to provide an
answer to this problem in due time, has favoured the development of extreme
right parties which advocate xenophobic and racist positions.
The case of the French Front National is, in a way, exemplary. Numerous
studies have demonstrated that the FN supporters and voters place the highest
priority on the immigration issue, closely followed by that of security (Charlot,
1986, Ignazi, 1989c, Lagrange and Perrineau, 1989, Mayer and Perrineau,
24
1990, Taguieff, 1985,1988,1989). The ability
of
Le
Pen’s party to ‘politicize’ a
hidden issue is generally recognized as the keystone
of
its success. In a way or
another, the same has happened in countries such as Belgium (Delwit, 1990),
Norway (Lafferty, 1989, Madeley, 1990), Denmark (Andersen and Bjor-
klund, 1990), the Netherlands (Voerman and Lucardie, 1990), West Germany
(Betz, 1990b, Westle and Niedermayer, 1990), Great Britain (Husbands,
1983), Switzerland (Church, 1989:
44,
Husbands, 1988: 714716).
In the world views of many extreme right supporters, immigration is closely
linked to security. Where the immigrants are concentrated it is assumed that
delinquency increases.
Law and order issues have been also agitated by moderate-conservative
parties from time to time, independently of immigration. But no conservative
party has ever put as much emphasis on these issues, nor taken as extreme
positions, as the ERPs have done.
Therefore, the inability
of
the established parties to perceive, and to deal
with relevant issues such as immigration and security, and the failure
of
conservative parties to suggesting tough policies, are related to the rise of
ERPs.
In conclusion, the new cultural movement
of
neoconservatism has engen-
dered a process
of
radicalization and antisystem polarization not controlled by
the ‘conservative’ parties, from which the more extreme right-wing parties
have benefited. In addition, mass public attitudes and behaviour characterized
by a growing crisis of confidence in institutions, parties and party systems, the
working of democracy, and by non-response to salient issues such as immigra-
tion and security, have favoured the development
of
ERPs.
Conclusion
In this paper we have tried
to
identify and define more clearly the category
of
the extreme right party. In
so
doing we have stated three criteria: spatial,
historic-ideological and attitudinal-systemic. The first has been employed as a
preliminary screening, in order to identify parties on the extreme right of the
left-right continuum. The second criterion applies to the shared ideology
inside the ERP family. Having adopted the reference to fascism as the dis-
tinctive element, we noted that only a minority
of
parties located on the
extreme right retain a fascist heritage. The third criterion, the presence of
antisystem attitudes, enables us to identify those non-fascist parties that be-
long to the ERP class and not to the conservative one. All
of
the parties located
at far right which show a fascist heritage and/or which manifest antisystem
attitude are included in the class
of
the extreme right. This class is composed by
two types, according to the existence
of
fascist imprint: the
old
right wing
25
parties (MSI, EPEN, NPD, NF, BNP,
FNs,
PDC, NPD/BRB/EHI, CP86)
and the new right-wing parties
(FN,
ANNigilantes, FPO, FNb, PFN, Vlb,
Rep, FRPn, FRP, AP, CD). While some difficulties emerge about the in-
clusion of a party in one type or the other (in particular CP86 and AP) we are
quite confident in the inclusion of FRPn, FRP, FPO and AP in the extreme
right class.
To
the best of our knowledge, their political discourse tends to
undermine the legitimacy of the democratic system by discrediting the parlia-
mentary decision-making process, party government and the representative
procedure; finally, through their strong xenophobic stances, they undermine
one of the keystones of democracy, equality of men.
The second aim of this paper has concerned the attempt
to
highlight the
origins of the recent rise of many ERPs. First, we noted the different fortunes
of old and new ERPs. While old ERPs are stable or declining (with the
exception of the recently born CP86 and the German DVU and NPD), the new
ERPs which have emerged in the
1980s
have attained considerable success,
even more than
10
per cent of the votes (FN, FRPn, AP). The explanation of
this sudden success lies in two basic changes
-
one at the cultural level, and the
other at the societal level.
At the cultural level, the neoconservative mood has legitimized a series of
‘right-wing’ themes which were previously almost banned from political de-
bate, pushing the ‘conservative’ parties
to
the right. This in turn has enlarged
the political space and provoked an increased polarization; in this process of
outbidding, the more extreme right parties have succeeded.
At the societal level, a different but simultaneous movement was taking
place during the
1980s.
The decline
of
the party as such has been coupled with a
growing dissatisfaction
vis-a-vis
the political system and a corresponding de-
cline in confidence in its efficacy. A mounting sense of doom, in contrast to
postmaterialist optimism, has been transformed into new demands, mainly
unforeseen by the established conservative parties. These demands include
law and order enforcement and, above all, immigration control, which seems
to
be the leading issue for all new right-wing parties. This value change,
stimulated by the reaction
to
postmaterialism and by new combination of
authoritarian issues, might be identified as a silent counter-revolution.
Acknowledgements
A
very preliminary version of parts of this paper was been presented at the
ECPR workshop on ‘The Extreme Right in Europe’, Bochum, April 2-7,
1990.
I
wish to thank Stefan0 Bartolini, Lorenzo Ornaghi, Angelo Pane-
bianco, Colette Ysmal and all of the participants of this workshop for their
insightful comments.
26
Notes
1.
Peter Mair (1991: 61-63) has shown that the ‘small’ parties born after 1950 have an upward
tendency in electoral terms. This finding contrasts with the pessimistic outlook above under-
lined (and shared by Pedersen (1982, 1991)). The point is that Mair includes in his analysis
parties with up
to
15%
after vote which contested at least three elections:
our
’intuitive’ ideaof
small parties refers
to
much smaller ones.
2. This is the main criticism by Flanagan (1987). However, in a recent contribution coauthored
with Minkenberg, Inglehart recognizes the influence of the New Politics
for
the emergence
of
non-materialist right-wing attitudes (Minkenberg and Inglehart, 1989).
3. The electoral attractivness across social classes
of
fascist and nazi parties has been highlighted
by Gentile (1989: 544-571) and Petersen (1975) for the PNF and by Childers (1983: spec.
25>257), Kater (1983: spec. 236-238). Muhlberger (1987: spec. 96,124-125) for the NSDAP.
Contra
see Hamilton (1982).
4. It should be underlined that even Stein Rokkan did not include fascist parties in his analysis.
In
a sense, this might be related to the
ferminus ad
quem
of
the process of democratization: the
mass enfranchisement in the early 1920s
on
the eve of the rise of the two new political
phenomena of the twentieth century, fascism and communism. But, in reality, communism is
led back to the cleavage structure, and the Bolshevik Revolution is considered a sort of fourth
critical juncture’ (Rokkan, 1970: 131). On the other hand, fascism is totally ignored; it is not
included in the set of alternatives offered
to
the citizens. Only in his last contributions Rokkan
started to reflect
on
the emergence of fascist parties and regimes, including them in his
geopolitical-geoeconomic
macro-model (Hagvetet and Rokkan, 1980). However, his study
on
fascism was mainly focused
on
regimes and the process of democratization
(or
breakdown
of democracy) rather than
on
the origin
of
the fascist
parties.
5.
Lane and Ersson (1987: 97) divide the parties in
sfrucfurul
and non-structural
ones; while the
former group includes the parties derived
or
by attached
to
a major societal cleavage the latter
does not display any distinctive origin. Following such a scheme, they are not at ease dealing
with the
so
called ‘non-structural’ parties.
6.
Laver and Schofield (1990: 245) have recently reported four methods of constructing empir-
ical scales:
(1)
expert judgements, (2) analysis of legislative behaviour, (2) analysis
of
mass
survey and (4) analysis of content of policy documents. However, these four methods could be
reduced to just two categories according
to
whether the
researcherjudgement
is present (first,
third and fourth method)
or
not (second method): precisely as we argue. At any rate, Laver
and Schofield’s Appendix B provides a useful survey
of
the various attempts at locating
political parties
on
empirical policy scales.
7. There
is
one exception to this rule and
it
regards the two British parties, National Front and
British National Party. The peak of their political fortunes, in particular
of
the National Front,
goes back
to
the 1970s, but even then they were not able to present candidates all over the
country. However, the very poor vote shares they got are also related to the peculiarity
of
the
English electoral system. At any rate, while electorally irrelevant (the National Front has
presented just one candidate at the 1989 European Election receiving 0.8% of the votes), both
parties have been regarded as a political presence in the British landscape. The numerous
studies carried
on
them highlights this: Husbands, 1983, 1988, Lewis, 1987: 231-256, Taylor.
1982, Thurlow, 1987: 275-297, Walker, 1977.
8. Few words should be spent
for
justifying the exclusion
of
the Greek conservative party, Nea
Democratia (New Democracy). The ND spatial location is very skewed to the right pole:
according
to
Papadopulos (1988: 63) ‘ND appears paradoxically as a far-right party: 34.8 per
cent
of
its electorate is located at level
10’
(on
the 1-10 left-right continuum). But despite the
consequent remarkable ideological distance between ND and Pasok electorates, the same
27
author denies the ‘presence of any presumably ‘antisystem’ party’ (Id.
68).
In
fact ND, while
strongly conservative, has not shown any clear antidemocratic stance (see also Featherstone,
1989, 1990;
Seferiades,
1986;
Verney,
1990).
However, the virtual disappearing of the
extreme right parties after the four elections
of
1989-90
may have an impact
on
ND attitudes
in the short run.
9.
The two francophone extreme right parties, Parti des Forces Nouvelles and Front National,
presented candidates in few
arrondissements
in the
1985
and
1987
legislative elections, and
no
list in the
1989
European election. However their presence and score in the
1988
municipal
and
1989
regional elections (see note
2
to Table
1)
qualify them
for
inclusion in
our
analysis.
Another Belgian party has been frequently labelled as an extreme right-wing party: the
UDRT (Union Dtmocratique pour le Respect du Travail- Democratic Union for the Respect
of
Labour); however, its brief life
-
founded in
1978
and disappeared in
1985
-and its ideology
suggest exclusion from our analysis (Delwit,
1990).
Finally, some minor extreme right groups
contested legislative elections in the
1980s
but without any follow-up: the UN (Union
Nationale des Francophones
-
National Union
of
French speaking):
0.3%
in
1981;
the UND
(Union Nationale
et
Dtmocratique
-
National and Democratic Union):
0.6%
in
1985;
the
PLC (Parti de la Libertt du Citoyen
-
Citizens’ Freedom Party):
0.5%
in
1985
and
0.6%
in
1987
(Delwit,
1990).
10.
Frente Nacional is the heir
of
the better known Fuerza Nueva. It was founded in
1987
by the
historic leader
of
Spanish neofascism, Blas Pinar, former leader
of
Fuerza Nueva. Another
-
even smaller
-
representative
of
the Spanish extreme right is the Falange Espanola de las
JONS (Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalistas)
-
Spanish Phalanx of the Boards
of
the
National-Syndicalist Offensive. This movement and Fuerza Nueva contested together the
1979
parliamentary elections in the Unibn Nacional alliance.
11.
We have grouped together three minor movements, different but linked in many ways. The
NDP (Nationaldemokratische Partei
-
National Democratic Party) was founded in
1967
by
Norbert Burger, a prominent representative
of
the Austrian extreme right. The most relevant
NDP success is due to Burger candidacy
for
Presidency in
1980
when he got
3.2%
of
the votes.
When the NDP was banned
(1988)
Burger created the BRB (Burger Rechts Bewegung
-
Movements for Citizens’ Rights). The third group, EHI (Einz Herz fur Inlander- A Heart for
the Indigeneous),
is
a small neo-nazi party locally based in Lower Austria where it got
1.2%
in
the
1988
local elections. The systemic relevance of these movements is modest (Gartner,
1990).
12.
A new party, Partido Forca National, was founded in
1989
by the merging of two youth
organizations: Forca National and Nova Monarquia (National Force and New Monarchy)
(Costa Pinto,
1990).
13.
One could argue that the counter-revolutionary thought pertains to the domain
of
extreme
right ideology; but, while this observation is true, the coming
of
fascism has, in a way,
superimposed itself
on
that tradition, reducing to a handful the followers of de Bonald and de
Maistre. Moreover, another frequently used term, ‘populism’, is still in search
of
a clear
definition outside the specific context where
it
is employed
-
XIX-XX
century United States
and Russia,
XX
century Latin America (see Curtis,
1985).
14.
The Italian leading scholar
on
fascism, Renzo de Felice, has suggested reducing the variety
of
fascist cultural and ideological references by distinguishing between fascism-regime (corpora-
tist, statecraftic, clerical) and fascism-movement (revolutionary, anticapitalist, antibour-
geois) (de Felice,
1975).
15.
As Zeev Sterhell has acutely synthetized ‘(fascist) political culture is communitarian, anti-
individualist and anti-rationalist, and it is founded, first,
on
the refusal
of
the Enlightment and
of
the French Revolution heritage, and then,
on
the elaboration
of
a total overthrowing’
(Sternhell,
1989: 15).
28
16. The distinction between state and nation refers to the two streams highlighted by the Felice
(see note 13); the emphasis
on
the state points
to
the power
of
a hierarchical organisation while
the pre-eminence
of
the nation points to a ‘spiritual fusion’ in a collective body, the nation.
17. At present the National Front
is
split in two factions: the Pierce-Webster faction is traditional
neo-fascist (antisemitic, authoritarian), while the Griffin-Holland faction is moving towards
an Evolian (Ferraresi, 1988) and ecological path (Husbands, 1988). The Griffin-Holland
faction might be difficult to classify in
our
scheme.
18. The Dutch CP86 seemed having gone through a remarkable radicalization, reviving fascist
references and defining itself as ‘the Dutch vanguard
of
the New Order in Europe’ at the time
of
its decline. Its recovery and unexpected success in very recent years has apparentely
encouraged the party to abandon its fascist inspiration (Voerman and Lucardie, 1990).
19.
In
order
to
avoid a misunderdesting
it
should be stressed that, while the English term ‘New
Right’ refersgrosso
mod0
to the neoconservatism, the French term ‘Nouvelle Droite’ refers
to
a
totally diffirent cultural-ideological stream. The ‘Nouvelle Droite’ has arosen in France, in
the
mid-l970s,
around the philosopher Alain de Benoist. It is exclusively a cultural move-
ment, with branches almost everywhere in Europe, which looks for a new theoretical
foundation for the right (see Taguieff, 1985).
20. AP is the most dubious case in
our
classification. We have
to
decide the AP fits into ERP class
or
not and, if
so,
into which type.
Our
final decision is in favour
of
inclusion, but we recognize
that AP is
a
limit case.
21. A further right-wing party closely linked
to
the CDS is the PPM (Partido Popular Monarquico
-Monarchist Popular Party);
on
the basis of the scattered information available
on
this party,
it should not be considered an extreme right-wing party (Gallagher, 1989).
22. Madeley states in fact that ‘the great majority of parliamentarians (treats) the PP
. . .
as an
antisystem
or
pariah party’ (Madeley, 1990: 292).
23. The polarizing cases have been identified
on
the basis of the most recent country studies.
Moreover, it should be underlined that, while the consensus
on
the polarizing tendency in
France, Norway, Greece and Denmark seems quite general, Belgium and the Netherlands
collect different evaluations; and Germany is clearly a puzzling case due to the dramatic
changes undergone since November 1989.
A
more rigorous analysis has been carried out, up
to the mid 1980s, by Powell who has adopted an ‘index of polarization’ created
by
‘the
standard deviation
of
the left-right scores of the electorate grouped by means scores
of
the
supporters of each party’ in order to classify some Western countries.
On
the basis of his
index, in the mid 198Os, Austria and Great Britain appear as ‘depolarizing’, Belgium,
Switzerland and Germany as ‘reflective’ and Italy, France, Denmark and Finland as ‘polariz-
ing’ (Powell, 1987: 179).
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