Europe has witnessed the rise of a multigenerational, populist shift to the right, characterized by the unapologetic deployment of extremist symbols, ideologies, and politics, but also by repudiations of right-wing labels associated with racism, xenophobia, and nativist entitlements. The political lexicon of far-right rhetoric derives its considerable persuasive force from mobilizing and normalizing extremist views. This article examines the intricately and translocally woven connections among representative movements, organizations, and media personalities who popularize and disseminate far-right views through social media and their own internet websites. With diatribes about the threat against Russia, the uncontainable and intolerable influx of refugees and asylum seekers, whom they blame for terrorist attacks, deteriorating family values, the loss of national German identity, and the antidemocratic politics of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the cadre of self-credentializing experts and politicians, some in alignment with Pegida, mobilize historical moments and meanings to make connections with a broad spectrum of supporters.
Patricia Anne Simpson
Patricia Anne Simpson
In this article, I analyze the social and cultural trends from within the music scene that counter challenges the moderate and extreme right. This music centers on the issue of ethnic exclusivity and aggressively insists on accepting Germany as a diverse society, however uncomfortable a fit that may still be for many. Certain bands and musicians move from politics to identity politics, in an attempt to generate a discourse about racism and national identity. By foregrounding the contingent relationship between citizen and nation, bands like Advanced Chemistry destabilize any naturalized or motivated link between self and state. Songs like "Fremd im eigenen Land" dismantle any proprietary relationship between German ethnicity and entitlement to the rights of citizenship. An image of a new Germany emerges that insists on the political acceptance of diversity. Nevertheless, this vision is subject to the pressures of reality: Germany is not by any stretch of the imagination a hate-free zone. Structured in part by responses to alienation within Germany, as well as by imported musical forms of male affinity, some bands, rappers, and musicians are organizing themselves into new fraternities. While criticizing or rejecting certain Americanized clichés of masculinity, the bands I discuss look beyond the caricatures of yuppies and cowboys to different models.
Helga Druxes and Patricia Anne Simpson
Historian Geoff Eley argues that the idea of Europe has contracted from the ideal of a pluralistic community with the potential to integrate cultural “Others” to a “narrowly understood market-defined geopolitical drive for the purposes of competitive globalization.” Global deregulation, he states, has produced streams of labor migrants and the tightening of Europe’s external borders, while the economic expansion of Europe to more member countries since 1992 has opened up new divisions and inequalities among them. Aftereffects from the break-up of the East bloc can be felt in the escalation of antiminority violence in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as “the smouldering slow burn of the legacies of colonialism” in Western Europe. These diverse pressures and anxieties coalesce on the spectral figure of the Islamic fundamentalist at Europe’s gates.