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New far-right social movements revitalize European nationalism

ANGELOS BERBERAKIS
ISTANBUL
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There have been several nationalist far-right movements that surfaced in Europe since the new order that was established in 1945. However few have been successful and it was always easy for their enemies, whether legitimately or disingenuously, to simply label them "neo-Nazis" and racists; and given the recent memory of the last great war, that was enough to throw such movements and parties into the dustbin of history.

As the world pushed more toward globalization and increasingly inter-dependent economies, the newly formed and ever-evolving European Union also pushed Europe toward more "integration."

Any dissent was, and still is, viewed as reactionary and regressive and not truly forward-looking, however after the crash of 2008 and the mass immigration crisis that started roughly two years ago we're now seeing a revitalization of European nationalism across the continent; whether it's in the form of small groups, movements or even entire parties that are threatening to shake up the mainstream and the political class in its entirety.

These are populist parties such as Marine Le Pen's National Front in France and the Alternative for Germany (AfD). There are also several fringe groups, mainly online movements, which have also been rising in popularity even if they are not political parties and have no tangible power. Such movements in Europe include, but are not limited to, the French Génération Identitaire (Identitarian Generation), as well as PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), which has held dozens of anti-immigration protests with tens of thousands of attendants all across Germany.

The pan-European socio-political Identitarian Generation has engaged in notable public activism projects with the goal of attracting more youths into the movement.

In the summer of 2016, members of the youth movement scaled the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and hung a massive banner reading "Secure Borders – Secure Future." Similar acts have been pulled off in Austria.

It originated in France in the early 2000s but it has only recently gained real traction, which has prompted the German government to label it a far-right group.

Interesting factors in the rise of Western nationalism has been the Brexit vote in the U.K., as well as Donald Trump's 2016 election victory in the U.S.

Trump's "high energy" campaign boosted the Alt-Right, another nationalist, anti-immigration movement that has openly racial ideas as well, unlike most European movements.

The most common identifier of European nationalist parties is the will to halt all immigration. This seemingly xenophobic perspective of European politics is shared by vast amounts, if not the majority of Europeans.

A February inquiry of 10,000 Europeans across 10 nations by the Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs revealed that 55 percent of Europeans want "all further migration from mainly Muslim countries [to be] stopped."

Furthermore the report found that "25 percent neither agreed nor disagreed and 20 percent disagreed. Majorities in all but two of the 10 states agreed, ranging from 71percent in Poland, 65 percent in Austria, 53 percent in Germany and 51 percent in Italy to 47 percent in the United Kingdom and 41 percent in Spain."

"In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32 percent," the report concluded.

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