Renaissance of the New Right in Germany?

A Discussion of New Right Elements in German Right-wing Extremism Today

in German Politics and Society
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Abstract

Right-wing extremism in Germany has recently undergone considerable changes with a new right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) successfully entering several local state parliaments as well as the European Parliament, “Pegida” demonstrations representing a new type of public action in terms of social movements, and the emergence of institutions like the Library of Conservatism and magazine projects like Sezession. This article considers whether such developments could be seen as a renaissance of the “New Right”, representing a long-term success in its strategies. Since the 1970s, the strategy of the New Right has been based on promoting a culturally conservative metapolitics in the pursuit of “cultural hegemony”, meaning to influence public opinion in the Federal Republic of Germany and shift it to the right—which at first glance might seem to have succeeded in light of recent events. The developments seen in German far-right extremism, however, have been neither monocausal nor monolithic. Therefore, this article will take a closer look at various aspects of the idea that recent changes in Germany’s right-wing extremism might represent a successful implementation of this New Right strategy.

Contributor Notes

Prof. Dr. Samuel Salzborn is Professor for Basics of the Social Sciences and Deputy Head of the Department of Political Science at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany. He received his doctorate in 2004 at the University of Cologne and habilitated at the University of Giessen in 2009. Among other things he was a Research Fellow of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Economics, Prague, and a Visiting Professor at University of Marburg.