Far right extremists use populist jargon to appeal to the citizens of various countries in Europe. Authors Schellenberg and Langenbacher (2011) reported that out of thirteen right-wing extremist partys 7 won seats in national European parliaments in 2009. The most seats won were 9 seats in the Italian parliament with 10.2% of the vote. The authors report eleven out of the 13 won seats in national and in the last local (municipal or regional) elections. This trend is startling enough to understand the right-wing is using language that appeals to people. (Schellenberg and Langenbacher 2011).
General increasing trend in “populist” acceptance of neo-Nazi parties in mainstream politics
Haizhu of the China Daily described the trans-European neo-Nazi movement (see Table 1) as a “virus traveling through Europe” (2011).
National representation of right-wing parties in 6 European countries compared to Unemployment and Migrant Data. (See Table 1a in Appendix for Primary Sources.)
Across Europe where problems in the economy are met with austerity measures, right-wing extremist groups are gaining more and more popularity. The use populist social issues like unemployment and immigration to state their message. So the young in many European countries believe they don’t have a job because immigrants have taken “their” jobs. (Haizhu 2011).
White supremists (far-right extremists) theory espouses the need for one homogeneous ethnic nationality in Europe although such a thing has never existed and would be impossible to create. They describe this as a “healthy nation” and an “intact national body.” (Schellenberg and Langenbacher 2011).
Young mostly male right-wing activists, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and even soccer hooligans have been attracted to the language and symbols of Nazi fascism. Eastern European nations which were formerly part of the Soviet Union have been politically unstable since before some of these youths were born. Russia and Western Europe fascists youth are forming alliances over the Internet which makes the incidence of far-right extremism stretching from the west to the east coast of Europe and Eurasia. (Whine 2011).
The extremist may be a “lone wolf” or part of a small group. They have differing reasons for their anger and their disenfranchisement from the contemporary world. There is a full spectrum of variety in terms of class, education and family history for the youth who identify with far right extremism. They do have one thread in common and those are the words they use and the words they don’t use.
They agree on the need to prepare for a battle in order to assure “white survival” in a coming war of white supremists against everyone else. In that way they feel a common identity with each other which crosses modern European borders and forgets they were once great enemies in WWI and WWII. They strengthen this common bond by using verbal hate against ‘the others’ who are different and less than they are. Immigrants move into different parts of the world because the current wars, economy and climate-change have forced them to leave their homes. Xenophobia is the feeling of hate that they most have in-common and the youths (skinheads) also target those who are anti-Nazi and those who support policy which supports immigration.
The members of the anti-immigration extremist draw together because they are comfortable with each others’ white skin, and supposedly common cultural, religious and historical backgrounds. By demonizing migrants, immigrants and others who are “different” and sharing the same vocabulary they reinforce each others’ beliefs that they have a shared identity in the group. They want this because with the creation of the European Union they feel their separate nationalities have been diminished leaving an empty place in their identities. (Whine 2011).
The names of the groups are important to the identity perceptions. Stormfront, an American extreme right interactive web-site was put up on the Internet first. By 2000, Stormfront:Belguim and Netherlands had linked in. Other neo-Nazi activism groups and the right-wing music groups which reflect their beliefs include the following names. The Spanish National Alliance, Nordrus (reflection on the Nazi adoration of the mythical Nordic race), White Power, Dutch People’s Union, Panzerfaust Records, Resistance Records, Blood and Honor (B&H), Combat 18, Terrormachine, and Racial Volunteer Force (RVF). (Whine 2011). Some of these group names sound benign but they are known within the neo-Nazi, skinhead and fit with the coded way they groups identify each other using language.
Anders Bhering Breivik shocked the world into facing the reality of right wing extremism existing in countries which have always been assumed to be safe. Norway had no expectation of such an attack from an attractive, well-educated and white-skinned Norwegian. Yet he set off a bomb in downtown Oslo and murdered point blank over ninety children at a camp on an island. He had been using the Internet to express his beliefs of neo-Nazi philosophy. Table 2 represents some of his most used words and some of the words that might be expected to find in a discussion arguing against immigration. The words used the most, out of a total of 1500, were the words Marx and Marxist (9%) so he definitely was making a comment about his perception of the economy. He used the religious identity words of Muslim (7.7% of words), Islam (5.4% of words) and Christianity (3% of the words). Multiculturalism and immigration added up to over 5% of the words. Unemployment is accepted as a major cause of the disenfranchisement of today’s youth yet Breivik does not mention the word once or refer to jobs either.
Marxism isn’t being used by any of the countries as an economic model but Breivik finds great importance in the matter. He uses the words Marx, Marxism and Marxist as a rhetorical way to refer to economies that allow immigrants and try to get them settled and find jobs. Muslim and Islam are used rhetorically to not only demonize people who worship Islam but also the leaders and political parties who do not support neo-Nazism.
Rhetorical Analysis Anders Bhering Breivik Internet Comments
This is a simple way of interpreting Breivik’s rhetoric by studying his comments on the Internet. It’s also a way to gain insight on how he chose his terrorist attack victims, mainly young Muslims at a weekend leadership training session by the Labor Party.
There are also examples of rhetorical messages that come from visuals coupled with public slogans. An example is when 57% voters in a Swiss referendum voted to ban the building of Minarets. Abrahams described the campaign, “The move was spearheaded by the racist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) whose slogan read: “minarets are symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation.” The SVP campaign posters showed minarets rising like missiles from the Swiss flag next to a fully veiled woman” (2009).
The words are chosen to exaggerate a highly unlikely scenario of the future. Separately the do not seem to be racist or manipulative as in Breivik’s comments on the Internet did. Together the words form a powerful statement of “truth” which is a lie using the emotion of fear to manipulate people.
Even mainstream international papers like “El Mundo” include articles with assumptions that minarets (being symbols of Islam) are bad and lead people to terrorism yet churches (even though empty more often than not) in Europe are important architecturally because of their historical value (Nikolaidis 2009). This could be thought of as a success of the right-wing rhetoric that has made racist and discriminatory remarks acceptable in the mainstream.
Kari Helene Partapuoli, director of the nongovernmental Norwegian Centre against Racism commented after the arrest of Breivik to Dow Jones Newswires, “The rhetoric on immigration and Islam in Norway has become harder in some fringe groups.” Although the suspect's online postings seem to express views largely consistent with anti-immigration right-wing movements, the apparent targeting of the Labor Party sets him somewhat apart, she said. "I think he views them as a party which represents multiculturalism," she added. (Rolander 2011).
‘Multiculturalism,’ ‘anti-immigration’ and ‘anti-Muslim’ are identifying words for the nationalist of the far right extremist in Europe. There is no overlying umbrella group or European extremist hierarchy. Some countries have only a small group whereas others have larger more organized group. For groups spread throughout Europe the Internet is the tool that keeps them in communication, strengthens their ties and gives individuals a larger sense of belonging.
Many authors have pointed out that the far-right throughout Europe is becoming more professional and more active on the Internet. They not only have blogs but also reach out through social networks like My Space, Twitter and Facebook. The rhetoric they use to promote their beliefs there is spreading very fast around the world. Counterterrorism police comment that when their profile becomes more public it is easier to observe what they are doing and anticipate violent attacks (Hadden 2011).
Until people start getting back to work and immigration is slowed in Europe the neo-Nazi movement will continue to grow. The most frightening thing is that their rhetoric will be able to reach and become more embedded in mainstream media and commonly used social networks on the Internet.
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