Surely, it is understood that the Second World War greatly influenced the political outcomes of the post-war world. Fascism was associated with the Holocaust and could no longer be associated with because of its link to the horrors of the war. So, what to do with all the far-right thinking political parties? The 80s were a great time for populism to rise as Cas Mudde explains, but the 2015 mix of economic and refugee crises was the “perfect storm” for these movements to reach peaks in Europe and globally again. As Spain and Portugal never got a surge of refugees migrate to their country, we can argue that populism and far-right movements did not “stick” because of the lack of a “scapegoat” (i.e. refugees, more precisely Islamic refugees). Nativism was less of an issue because of this lack of “threatening non-native cultures.”
It is extremely interesting that these movements are influenced differently in the West and the East because of the outcomes of the Second World War and Communism in the Eastern countries, influencing the communities used as “scapegoats” which also include a Jewish population in Eastern European states. How do we understand diversity, then, in the context of othering and an increasing tendency to lean on anti-multiculturalism sentiment for the legitimization of these far-right populist movements?
With last week’s discussion of multiculturalism, it is interesting to see the shift from multiculturalism to “ethnopluralism”, because, as Ina Schmidt argues, it is the Islamic culture that is seen as a threat rather than the Arabic ethnicity. The European Union comes under the banner of “unity in diversity” when really it should read “Unity in diversity of native European states against the Islamic Other.” So, racism is not the issue anymore even though broad definitions and generalizations of the othered groups can definitely still lead to racism.