Neoliberalism and Popular Racism: The Shifting Shape of the European Right

Liz Fekete


Neoliberal economic policies, emergency laws, a permanent war culture and the securitization of migration have all inflated the cause of the ultra right. And of course it finds echoes of its racist politics in the prevailing rhetoric against migrants, Muslims, Roma and the indolent poor, the ‘scroungers’ that hold the ‘strivers’ back. Yet the ultra right is insurgent. Its growth represents a challenge to the neoliberal status quo inasmuch as the ultra right sees neoliberalism as antithetical to a hierarchical, nationalist, monocultural society with a strong state. I provide below an anatomy of the ultra right, from its various currents and mutations to its web of relationships, fanatical fronts, criminal subculture, provocations and violence. But the ultra right has neither emerged in a political vacuum nor is it divorced from mainstream political culture, where the electoral extreme right plays a significant role, as I go on to show.

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