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The Two Faces of Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe

  • Hans-Georg Betz

During the past several years, radical right-wing populist parties have made impressive electoral gains in a growing number of West European countries. Their dramatic surge to political prominence has obscured the fact that these parties hardly form a homogeneous party group. Generally, it is possible to distinguish between neo-liberal and national populist parties. Both types of parties are a response to the profound economic, social, and cultural transformation of advanced societies interpreted as a transition from industrial welfare to postindustrial individualized capitalism. National populist parties are primarily working-class parties which espouse a radically xenophobic and authoritarian program. Neoliberal parties appeal to a mixed social constituency and tend to stress the marketoriented, libertarian elements of their program over xenophobic ones. Rather than being mere short-lived protest phenomena, radical right-wing populist parties are a reflection and expression of new political conflicts created by the transition to postindustrial capitalism.

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31. Hennig, , Die Republikaner im Schatten Deutschlands, pp. 214–15; Schmollinger, Horst W., “Die Wahl zum Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin am 29. Januar 1989,” Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen 20 (1989): 319; Feist, , “Rechtsruck in BadenWürttemberg und Schleswig-Holstein,” p. 73.

32. Swyngedouw, Marc, “Het Vlaams Blok in Antwerpen: Een analyse va de verkiezingsutilagen sinds 1985” in Extreem rechts in West-Europa, ed. Schampheleire, Hugo De and Thanassekos, Yannis (Brussels: VUB-Press, 1991), pp. 93114; Swyngedouw, , Waar voor je waarden, pp. 2728, 36.

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34. Plasser, , “Die Nationalratswahl 1986,” p. 8.

35. Plasser, Fritz, Ulram, Peter A. and Grausgruber, Alfred, “The Decline of ‘Lager Mentality’ and the New Model of Electoral Competition in Austria,” West European Politics 15 (1992) 1: 4041.

36. See Mannheimer, “Gli elettori e simpatizzanti dell Lega Lombarda;” DOXA, “La novità delle ‘proiezioni DOXA ‘92’: II sondaggio all' uscita dai seggi,” Bolletino della DOXA 46,14 04 1992; Natale, Paolo, “Lega Lombarda e insediamento territoriale: un' analisi ecologica,” in La Lega Lombarda, ed. Mannheimer, Renato (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1991), p. 108; Diamanri, , La Lega, pp. 9899; Statera, , Come votano gli Italiani, pp. 62f.

37. Blok, Vlaams, “Zeggen wat u denkt”, Deurne, no date, p. 9.

38. Bossi, Umberto in Lega Nord Centro Sud, no. 62–68,1–7 03 1992, pp. 12.

39. Die Republikaner für Baden-Württemberg: Landtagswahlprogramm ‘92, Stuttgart, 1992, p. 2; Blok, Vlaams, Uit Selfverdediging: Verkiezingsprogramma 1991, Brussels, 1991.

40. Savelli, Giulio, Che cosa vuole la Lega (Milan: Longanesi and Co., 1992).

41. Bossi with Vimercati, Vento dal nord, chap. 13; Bossi, Umberto and Vimercati, Daniele, La rivoluzione—La Lega: storia e idee (Milan: Kupfer and Sperling, 1993) chap. 4.

42. Die Republikaner für Baden-Württemberg, p. 15; Blok, Vlaams, Uit Zelfverdediging, p. 25.

43. Blok, Vlaams, Manifest van het rechtse Vlaams-nationalisme: Grondbeginselen, Deurne, no date, pp. 67,1516; Die Republikaner für Baden-Württemberg, p. 19–20.

44. For the Vlaams Blok see Annemans and Dewinter, Dossier Gasdarbeid; for the Republikaner see especially Republikaner für Baden-Württemberg, pp. 4–14.

45. Die Republikaner, “Deutsche Bürger wehrt Euch!” leaflet, 1992; Die Republikaner für Baden-Württemberg, p. 19; for the Vlaams Blok see Dewinter, Filip, Immigratie: De Opplossingen, Merksem, no date, pp. 89.

46. See Larsen, Frédéric, “En Belgique, l'extrême droite s'installe dans les coulisses de pouvoir,” Le Monde Diplomatique, no. 455, 8 02 1992, p. 8.

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49. See the interview with Bossi, Umberto “Meglio gli Usa che i barbari,”Il Sabato, 24 July 1993, p. 34; and the position of the mayor of Monza, quoted in Cutuli, M. G., “Monza: I cento giorni che sconvolsero la città,” Epoca, 29 June 1993, p. 19.

50. FPÖ, Heitnatsuche; Mölzer, Andreas, “Tragödie der Multikultur,” Neue Freie Zeitung, no. 20,13 May 1992, p. 7.

51. FPÖ, Österreich zuerst, Vienna, 1992.

52. Mannheimer, Renato, “Chi vota Lega e perché,” in La Lega Lombarda, p. 144; Renato Mannheimer, “Gli elettori e simpatizzanti della Lega Lombarda,” no page.

53. See Plasser, Fritz and Ulram, Peter A., “Exit Poll GRW Wien “91,” mimeo, Fessel + GFK Institut, Vienna, 1991; SWS survey, FB288, November/December 1992.

54. See Savelli, Giulio, “Eadesso serve una Lega nel Centro-Sud, L ”Independente, 22 06 1993, pp. 12.

55. Heitmeyer, Wilhelm, “Gesellschaftliche Desintegrationsprozesse als Ursachen von fremdenfeindlicher Gewalt und politischer Paralysierung,” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, B2–3%―93, 8 01 1993, pp. 78.

56. Ricolfi, Luca, “Politica senza fede: I'estremismo di centro dei piccoli leghisti,” II Mulino 42 (1993): 5369.

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