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The silent counter-revolution
Hypotheses on the emergence
extreme right-wing parties
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
the extreme right party. One type comprises parties with
fascist imprint (old
right-wing parties); the other comprises recently-born parties with
fascist associations, but with
a right-wing antisystem attitude (new right-wing parties). The second aim
this article is to
explain the recent ‘unexpected’ rise
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
attitudes and demands not treated by the established conservative parties
other one. These two broad changes have set the conditions
the rise of extreme right parties.
Party system change and the emergence
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
is likely to abate’ (Mair,
1989b: 169). At the partisan level, a series
indicators show the accelerated
process of ‘decomposition of established party ties’ (Dalton, 1988). The de-
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
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-
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).
a result, voting is no
longer the confirmation
‘belonging’ to a specific social group but becomes
an individual choice (not necessarily a rational one), an affirmation
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
the mass media,
‘video-power’ (Sartori, 1989), and
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.
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
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)
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
marginal parties emerging.
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
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
politics in the direction
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
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
the silent revolution (Inglehart, 1977) focuses on
value change on the
the political spectrum, omitting the right.2 In
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
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
affects partisan preferences.
particular, the postmate-
rialists are massively inclined in favor
leftist parties (Inglehart, 1987: 1299-
In other words, value change has produced new political
alignments and new political movements
on the left side
the political spec-
The unaccounted for outcome: the rise
extreme right parties
The two more structured interpretations
outcomes of party system change
cleavages and the rise
‘new politics’ left-wing parties
not account for the emergence or recovery
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
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-
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
Betz, 1990a; Oppenhuis, 1990; Ysmal,
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
rightwing voters? And why has the
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
ERPs. Such an underground
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
the silent revolution, the ERPs derive from a reaction to it, a sort
But before arguing our thesis on this point, however, we need to specify and
describe the extreme right parties rather more precisely.
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
right wing family has been frequently
considered in previous classifications as a sort
residual category4 with an
easily identifiable pivotal party, the Italian MSI (plus,
NPD) and a series
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
‘nostalgic reaction’, ‘fascist reaction’, ‘common
man protest’, rural pauperism’ and
icantly labelled as
(Seiler, 1980: 207-213; see
also Seiler, 1986).
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
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
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
ultra-right parties’ they utilize the
ideological criterion, while in the case
‘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
‘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
shared criteria for
identifying the family
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
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).
those criteria will be used to identify the family
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
universal and comparative data rating
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
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
a standard measure we cannot give a definite answer to that,
the spatial criterion is limited to providing a broad overview of the
the political spectrum.
Moreover, the spatial criterion cannot alone determine membership of the
extreme right family, without the contribution of other criteria. Even
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
Keeping in mind this limitation, we proceed by listing the parties located
most to the right in each European country. The following
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)
minor chapels devoted to violent actions and/or
This initial mapping includes:
MSI (Movimento Sociale Italian0
Italian Social Move-
FN (Front National
French National Front)
REP (Die Republikaner
NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands
tional Socialist Party)
DVU (Deutsche Volksunion List D
BNP (British National Party)
NF (National Front)
EPEN (Ethniki Politiki Enosis
VlB (Vlaams Blok
FNb (Front National
PFN (Parti de Forces Nouvelles
New Forces’ Party)9
Centre Party ’86)
AP (Alianza Popular
Popular Aliance), now PP (Partido
FNs (Frente Nacional
AN (Action Nationale
FPO (Freiheitliche Partei Osterreichs
Party), and the NDP/BRB/EHI”
CDS (Partido do Centro DCmocratico Social
Social Center Party)
MS (Moderata Samlingspartei
KK (Kansallinen Kokoomus
National Coalition Party)
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
(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
including all these parties
conservative parties such as
to neo-fascist parties such as
from the bourgeois moderate MS to the racist FN, from the ‘liberal’
in the same class. Therefore, it is necessary to use a more
substantive criterion (and one that is much more difficult to handle), that
The ideological criterion
Let us start with a bold statement. The
ideological corpus for the extreme
right has been provided by fascism. This reference
fascist ideological doc-
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
fascism as a variant
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
patently, by any standard, a neofascist party (Caciagli, 1988, Ignazi, 1989a,
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
fascist ideology in defining our
now have to stipulate some basic traits
this ideology. This is a very
difficult task because fascist ideology
sources melt together. Such sources range from anarcho-syndicalism to na-
tionalism and revanche, from futurism to clericalism, from a revolutionary
aspiration towards a new order and a new man to petty-bourgeois conserva-
tism, from industrial modernism to ruralism, from authoritarian corporatism
(Cofrancesco, 1986; De Felice, 1969, 1975; Gentile, 1974;
Nolte, 1967 (ed
1963); Payne, 1980; Sternhell, 1976, 1989; Zunino, 1985).
fascist ideology common to all of its various stream@
are: belief in the authority of the state over the individual; emphasis on natural
hence nationalism, ethnocentrism and racism; distrust for the
individual representation and parliamentary arrangements; limitations
personal and collective freedoms; exhaltation
collective identification in a great national destiny
religious divisions; and acceptance of hierarchical criteria for social orga-
nisation. In extreme synthesis, state
nation comes prior to the individual.16
fascism can be seen either in terms of references to myths,
symbols, slogans of the interwar fascist experience, often veiled as nostalgia,
a more explicit reference to at least part of the ideological corpus
fascism. Given the crucial importance of aesthetics and image in fascism
(Mosse, 1975 (ed
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
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).
in some cases the distinction is not always very sharp, all of the above
parties either recall keystones
fascist ideology of whatever internal tenden-
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
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
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
the party’s location
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
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,
recognized that, in the transition
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).
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
aims and acceptability of behaviour’ and has underlined the
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:
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
ple’ and should express an ideology which undermines the constitutional rules
the democratic regime. If we refer to fascism as
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).
far as we know from the content analysis of party manifestoes, platforms
and leaders’ writings and speeches,
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
the state, the dis-
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
modernity, a hate of divisions and a search for
harmony, an exhaltation
natural community and a hostility towards foreign-
ers, a faith in hierarchical structures and a distrust of parliamentary debate.
search for a valid
the extreme right
has produced a typology according to which parties more on the right
the political spectrum are categorized according to the presence
a fascist heritage and the acceptance
the political system. In
order to be included in our class
‘extreme right’ parties, the most rightwing
parties, should either fulfil the historic-ideological fascist criterion,
exhibit a delegitimizing impact, through a series
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
not linked to fascism but has an antisystem profile, we can think of it as
belonging to the ‘new right’
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
The ‘new right-wing’ party type in practice
have already indicated, not all parties at the right-wing end of the
left-right scale can properly be considered
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,
In the case of
given the low distance from
closest competitors (Fine
Gael and the Progressive Democrats) and its position on the left-right spec-
not exceeding point 7.0 on a 1-10 left-right scale (see Gallangher, 1985)
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
the presence of
party, Frente Nacional, (plus other minor groups as the Falange de la
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
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
emphasizes an ‘excessive conservatism (not devoid of a certain authoritarism)
and a rigid defence of traditional values’ (Montero,
Yet, after Fraga’s
dismissal from the party leadership in
and the renewal
with a new name, Partido Popular (PP), most
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
AP should be considered full member of this class.20
An inverse route has being followed by the FPO. The
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
predominance of an authentically liberal leadership had been incapable of
modyfing the nationalistic and antidemocratic heritage of the party. Even in
‘authoritatarian, anti-Semitic and similar attitudes’ (Luther,
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
leadership ‘the FPO had opted
to its traditional role
a party of protest rather than a party of government’
The new leadership and the dubious past
inner circle (Gartner,
the non-discouraged support from minor radical
right groups, the anti-Semitic, xenophobic and nationalistic issues highlighted,
FPO as a member
the extreme right class.
Beyond the marginal PDC
which does not overcome the
and the new comer Forca Nacional, the Portuguese right lies in the
CDS.” But is it conservative
‘extreme right’? The spatial location
would support the latter hypothesis; the mean location on a
respondents put it at the extreme right (points
Moreover, as Nogueira Pinto clearly states, the
‘the rightmost party
the Portuguese system is the CDS’ (Nogueira Pinto,
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
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
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
mainly as single-issue anti-tax parties. Both
then went beyond their ‘single’ issue, which anyway comprehended many
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
both Progress Parties
to the fascist tradition (minuscule chapels keep this ideology alive in Denmark
more debatable is their antisystem atti-
tude. On one side Lars Bille
argues that, taking Sartori’s broad
antisystem, the FRP ‘tried to undermine the legitimacy
the old parties in the sense that
regime is understood the ideology,
norms, rules and habits
to this narrow concern with the welfare state regime a set of attitudes that
expresses distrust with parties
party system, and parliamentarism,
Andersen and Bjorklund,
then we have a delegitimiz-
ing impact on the democratic system.
the extent that the FRP is moving
along these lines, it should be included in the ERP class. However after the
leadership (when the founding father
the party, Mogens
Glistrup, went to jail) the FRP has softened its policy and bargained its support
for the bourgeois coalition.
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)’
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,
and we agree with this classification. More recently, Valen
has shown that the centrist electorate rejects every hypothetical
coalition with the FRPnZZ (see also Madeley,
Therefore, while some perplexities still remain, as highlighted by Andersen
both Progress Parties, we include
them in the ‘new right-wing’ type
the extreme right party family.
To summarize this discussion
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
to be sufficiently qualified
inclusion in the ‘new right-wing’ type.
Prototypes new right parties:
FN, REP, FNb,
The French Front National, the German Republikaner, the Belgian Front
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’
the ‘real’ problems
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
success in the
hypotheses on ‘the silent counter-revolution’
New and old
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
imprint in party ideology, value system or aesthetics. In the first group we
found parties that declared themselves
be the heirs of the collapsed fascist
regimes, including the leader
postwar neo-fascism, the
and the less
successful NPD, DVU, EPEN, Frente Nacional, NDP/BRB/EHI, BNP, NF,
If we look at the recent electoral outcomes (Table
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
On the other side, the parties of the new right-wing type have generally
What are the conditions for the development
the new right-wing type all
over Europe? Are there any changes in the Western societies that can account
for the rise
new right-wing parties?
there any common feature that links
these parties and might explain their success.
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
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;
ERP's in the
81 82 83 84 84E 85 86 87 88 89 89E
9.6 (14.4)4 11.7
'The other minor parties have been excluded from the table. For more details
these parties, see
in the text.
the Flemish Vlaams Blok and the Walloon PFN and
provided by their
recent electoral scores in local elections.
Bruxelles regional election they got, respectively,
But the strength
the Vlaams Blok is better ascertained by looking at its
scores in some large Flemish cities.
example, at the
local election in Anvers, the second
largest city in Belgium, VIB reached
the 'expressed votes'
at the first ballot.
refers to Le Pen score at the
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,
See Westle and Niedermayer
local election CD and CP86 have dramatically increased their votes; in the four main
Dutch cities their scores range from
Voerman and Lucardie
'This result has been anticipated by the unforeseen success in the
*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
in Lausanne and the Vigilentes
in Geneva cantonal election. See Husbands,
b) a tendency toward radicalization and polarization;
c) the presence
an underground but mounting legitimacy crisis of the
d) security and immigration issues.
political and (above all) party system;
Daniel Bell underlined, some intellectuals in the
sioned by leftist ideology, oriented themselves toward the right creating a
neoconservative movement for the first time since World War
Neoconservatism emerged as a reaction against the postwar consen-
sus on Keynesian political economy and the ‘collectivist age’, and the rapid
growth and cost
the Welfare system. This movement advocates, in contrast
to the ‘overloading’ burden
the state provision, the revival
the free market, individual entrepreneurs, priv-
atization of the public sector, and cuts in the welfare system.
Size, type and electoral trend
ERP’s in the
Type Size Electoral trend
to socio-economic policy came together with major value changes, as a result
which authority, patrotism, the role
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
is nurtured by different and even contradictory contributions:
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
economic activity’ (King,
ever, in our opinion, the dominant emphasis
not on freedom and individual-
ism against the danger
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
the past but also offers an ‘alternative and parallel view
reality’ in juxtaposition to the leftist-progressive one (Girvin,
neo-conservatism, in fact, lies in presenting itself to the mass
public as a non-materialistic answer to the agenda
the New Politics: ‘the
New Left issues
have helped to crowd the economic issues
and have provoked the emergence of the
New Right set of moral and
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,
This cultural movement has become highly influential all over Western
societies in the
and it has contributed in the affirmation
confessional-liberal parties. Great Britain, West Germany, the Netherlands,
Denmark, Belgium, Portugal (and France for two years,
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
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
ideological intensity (Sartori,
Such reasoning could hold only
at the risk
we identify the
of the process of polar-
ization at the cultural-ideological level. Therefore,
we assume that the
‘conservative’ parties (we adopt the term conservative for sake of parsimony,
but they might
confessional, or agrarian, or liberal) have absorbed the
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
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
polarization implies the development
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.
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
Does this theoretical scheme fit the reality of
party systems? In the
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,
we should refer to country specific analyses.
our knowledge, the literature does indicate a general move to the
ERP’s presence and party system ideological status
Non polarized Polarizing Polarized
New ERP’s Austria
Old ERPs Great Britain
Germany (NPD) Italy
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
(Girvin, 1988a). It also documents the rise of
Green parties and
at the two extremes of the left-right scale.
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,
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.
a consequence, many segmented societies are driven
toward ‘polarization’, looking only at party ideologies and not taking into
of the new parties. This seems to be the case in France,
Belgium, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece.23 More-
suggests a relationship between the polarizing drive
system and emergence of
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
The third factor that may be related to the rise
new right-wing parties
concerns the specific issues or value systems promoted.
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
have claimed the right to represent
such positions more adequately. Specifically,
ask for the total dis-
mantling of the welfare system, an aggressive nationalism, a form
darwinism, the restoring of moral traditionalism, an authoritarian state and
xenophobic policies towards foreigners.
But the distinctiveness of
is based not just
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
is intended to undermine the foundation of the system by
delegitimizing the parties and the party system, the parliamentary procedure,
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
what we might think
‘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
(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-
It is well known that Inglehart’s paradigm
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
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
themes, the old materialist issues
had lost much
their salience. Therefore we have had a bias towards the
the change in Western societies and an underestimation of
the ‘conservative’ side.
In addition to this probable misperception
value change in Inglehart’s
scheme, there are scattered pieces
general feeling which could
account for the growth
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.
observable individual behaviour, two indicators are perti-
nent: the decline in electoral turnout and the decline in party and trade-union
such general trends have been reversed in some cases
example) there is wide consensus
this point. One may argue
that this evolution might be counterbalanced by the growth of non-partisan
politics (Dalton, 1988, Smith, 1987)
by new parties not organized along the
mass membership model (Heidar, 1989, Kitschelt, 1989). However, these two
indicators show the existance
a certain malaise
parties. And, while there seems to be a higher interest in politics in general,
thanks to new non-party movements (Dalton, 1988:
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:
also Lawson and Merkl, 1988a:
Turning to attitudinal data, the decline in party identification (Harding
al., 1988, Mair, 1989b) reinforces the argument.
far as the system support is
concerned, the prevailing interpretation, points to a widening gap between the
citizen and the system (Kaase, 1988: 131).
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
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
malaise, probably re-
pressed and cooled by the time of the economic recovery after 1982.
But what is the relationship between the weakening legitimacy
systems and the rise
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
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.
ERPs play upon an harmonious and idyllic past where conflicts and anxiety
about the future did
exist. Only ERPs,
but not least,
invoke law and
order and a xenophobic policy against Third world immigrants.
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,
1990, Taguieff, 1985,1988,1989). The ability
Pen’s party to ‘politicize’ a
hidden issue is generally recognized as the keystone
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:
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
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
the established parties to perceive, and to deal
with relevant issues such as immigration and security, and the failure
conservative parties to suggesting tough policies, are related to the rise of
In conclusion, the new cultural movement
neoconservatism has engen-
dered a process
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
In this paper we have tried
identify and define more clearly the category
the extreme right party. In
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
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
the parties located
at far right which show a fascist heritage and/or which manifest antisystem
attitude are included in the class
the extreme right. This class is composed by
two types, according to the existence
fascist imprint: the
parties (MSI, EPEN, NPD, NF, BNP,
PDC, NPD/BRB/EHI, CP86)
and the new right-wing parties
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
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
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
have attained considerable success,
even more than
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
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
the party as such has been coupled with a
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
be the leading issue for all new right-wing parties. This value change,
stimulated by the reaction
postmaterialism and by new combination of
authoritarian issues, might be identified as a silent counter-revolution.
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,
wish to thank Stefan0 Bartolini, Lorenzo Ornaghi, Angelo Pane-
bianco, Colette Ysmal and all of the participants of this workshop for their
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
after vote which contested at least three elections:
small parties refers
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
non-materialist right-wing attitudes (Minkenberg and Inglehart, 1989).
3. The electoral attractivness across social classes
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.
see Hamilton (1982).
4. It should be underlined that even Stein Rokkan did not include fascist parties in his analysis.
a sense, this might be related to the
the process of democratization: the
mass enfranchisement in the early 1920s
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
the citizens. Only in his last contributions Rokkan
started to reflect
the emergence of fascist parties and regimes, including them in his
macro-model (Hagvetet and Rokkan, 1980). However, his study
fascism was mainly focused
regimes and the process of democratization
of democracy) rather than
Lane and Ersson (1987: 97) divide the parties in
ones; while the
former group includes the parties derived
a major societal cleavage the latter
does not display any distinctive origin. Following such a scheme, they are not at ease dealing
called ‘non-structural’ parties.
Laver and Schofield (1990: 245) have recently reported four methods of constructing empir-
expert judgements, (2) analysis of legislative behaviour, (2) analysis
survey and (4) analysis of content of policy documents. However, these four methods could be
reduced to just two categories according
is present (first,
third and fourth method)
not (second method): precisely as we argue. At any rate, Laver
and Schofield’s Appendix B provides a useful survey
the various attempts at locating
empirical policy scales.
one exception to this rule and
regards the two British parties, National Front and
British National Party. The peak of their political fortunes, in particular
the National Front,
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
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
them highlights this: Husbands, 1983, 1988, Lewis, 1987: 231-256, Taylor.
1982, Thurlow, 1987: 275-297, Walker, 1977.
8. Few words should be spent
justifying the exclusion
the Greek conservative party, Nea
Democratia (New Democracy). The ND spatial location is very skewed to the right pole:
Papadopulos (1988: 63) ‘ND appears paradoxically as a far-right party: 34.8 per
its electorate is located at level
the 1-10 left-right continuum). But despite the
consequent remarkable ideological distance between ND and Pasok electorates, the same
author denies the ‘presence of any presumably ‘antisystem’ party’ (Id.
fact ND, while
strongly conservative, has not shown any clear antidemocratic stance (see also Featherstone,
However, the virtual disappearing of the
extreme right parties after the four elections
may have an impact
in the short run.
The two francophone extreme right parties, Parti des Forces Nouvelles and Front National,
presented candidates in few
legislative elections, and
list in the
European election. However their presence and score in the
regional elections (see note
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
Labour); however, its brief life
and disappeared in
-and its ideology
suggest exclusion from our analysis (Delwit,
Finally, some minor extreme right groups
contested legislative elections in the
but without any follow-up: the UN (Union
Nationale des Francophones
National and Democratic Union):
PLC (Parti de la Libertt du Citoyen
Citizens’ Freedom Party):
Frente Nacional is the heir
the better known Fuerza Nueva. It was founded in
Spanish neofascism, Blas Pinar, former leader
Fuerza Nueva. Another
the Spanish extreme right is the Falange Espanola de las
JONS (Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalistas)
Spanish Phalanx of the Boards
National-Syndicalist Offensive. This movement and Fuerza Nueva contested together the
parliamentary elections in the Unibn Nacional alliance.
We have grouped together three minor movements, different but linked in many ways. The
NDP (Nationaldemokratische Partei
National Democratic Party) was founded in
Norbert Burger, a prominent representative
the Austrian extreme right. The most relevant
NDP success is due to Burger candidacy
when he got
When the NDP was banned
Burger created the BRB (Burger Rechts Bewegung
Movements for Citizens’ Rights). The third group, EHI (Einz Herz fur Inlander- A Heart for
a small neo-nazi party locally based in Lower Austria where it got
local elections. The systemic relevance of these movements is modest (Gartner,
A new party, Partido Forca National, was founded in
by the merging of two youth
organizations: Forca National and Nova Monarquia (National Force and New Monarchy)
One could argue that the counter-revolutionary thought pertains to the domain
right ideology; but, while this observation is true, the coming
fascism has, in a way,
that tradition, reducing to a handful the followers of de Bonald and de
Maistre. Moreover, another frequently used term, ‘populism’, is still in search
definition outside the specific context where
century United States
century Latin America (see Curtis,
The Italian leading scholar
fascism, Renzo de Felice, has suggested reducing the variety
fascist cultural and ideological references by distinguishing between fascism-regime (corpora-
tist, statecraftic, clerical) and fascism-movement (revolutionary, anticapitalist, antibour-
geois) (de Felice,
As Zeev Sterhell has acutely synthetized ‘(fascist) political culture is communitarian, anti-
individualist and anti-rationalist, and it is founded, first,
the Enlightment and
the French Revolution heritage, and then,
a total overthrowing’
16. The distinction between state and nation refers to the two streams highlighted by the Felice
(see note 13); the emphasis
the state points
a hierarchical organisation while
the nation points to a ‘spiritual fusion’ in a collective body, the nation.
17. At present the National Front
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
18. The Dutch CP86 seemed having gone through a remarkable radicalization, reviving fascist
references and defining itself as ‘the Dutch vanguard
the New Order in Europe’ at the time
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).
avoid a misunderdesting
should be stressed that, while the English term ‘New
to the neoconservatism, the French term ‘Nouvelle Droite’ refers
totally diffirent cultural-ideological stream. The ‘Nouvelle Droite’ has arosen in France, in
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
classification. We have
decide the AP fits into ERP class
not and, if
into which type.
final decision is in favour
inclusion, but we recognize
that AP is
21. A further right-wing party closely linked
the CDS is the PPM (Partido Popular Monarquico
-Monarchist Popular Party);
the basis of the scattered information available
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
. . .
pariah party’ (Madeley, 1990: 292).
23. The polarizing cases have been identified
the basis of the most recent country studies.
Moreover, it should be underlined that, while the consensus
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.
more rigorous analysis has been carried out, up
to the mid 1980s, by Powell who has adopted an ‘index of polarization’ created
the left-right scores of the electorate grouped by means scores
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