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

  • Hans-Georg Betz
Extract

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

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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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