Anti-Migrant Rhetoric in Europe

The pendulum of sociopolitical change reaches extremes in order to reach progress. Across Europe as a pancontinental hole, while scholarship is adamant in its refusal to accept homogeneity, the political structure has been composed to reflect and adhere to common issues. A pervasive issue of contemporary Europe that is fed by systemic discord is that of the rise of extreme politics.

Across Europe (some of the most concerning examples being in Austria, Hungary, France, Cyprus, Greece, and to a certain extent the Netherlands) far right parties and their support has ballooned as a secondary characteristic from far right hegemonies grasping political discourse and thought. The core ideology of the radical right, as Mudde attests to, is in three prongs of thought: nativism, authoritarianism, and populism. As defined by Mudde, nativism is a xenophobic genre of nationalism and the belief in homogeneity (in the context of religion and race). Authoritarianism is a strictly ordered society with severe punishments for deviance. Populism is a society constructed into two factions: a corrupt elite and a “pure” civilian base. The European radical right has employed an amalgamation of these ideological concepts and have begun to grow both their platforms and voter bases. During the Austrian election, as Mudde cites, the far right Freedom Party was within one percentage point of winning the federal election.

The discourse perpetuated by the radical right uses similar tactics to more classical examples of the far right, and even more radically fascist governments (although Mudde does state that contemporary far right parties distance themselves from the “heritage of fascism”). The dissonance between core far right parties of Western and Eastern Europe is cemented in discourse. Focusing on the East, radicalism stems from a communist history and a drastic revolution in 1989, relative isolation from immigration and those outside of majority groups (save for the Roma), higher levels of political incorrectness (one can refer to Viktor Orbán and rhetoric from his politics or the three neo-Nazi parties in Slovakia, Greece, and Cyprus), and general anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The rise of radicalism spiked concurrently to worsening conditions across the Mediterranean and irregular immigration in 2015.

The plight of progress is brutal and does not come without a cost. The pendulum of progress will continue to teeter back and forth trying to maintain tethers to tradition, however unrealistic tradition is in the face of globalization. The radical right is attempting to present itself as an answer to globalization, despite the solution needing to come from holistic and altruistic methods.

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