Conclusions and Recommendations: Countering Reconstructed-Nazism
Return of the Reich: Mapping the Global Resurgence of Far Right Power — an INSURGE intelligence investigative series commissioned by Tell MAMA
The prospective victory of neo-Nazi political parties and ideological narratives in Europe is by no means a foregone conclusion. However, for such a series of victories to be averted will require existing trends in the exponential growth in popularity of these parties to be halted and reversed.
This investigation has not set out to identify wider sociological and economic drivers of the rise of the ‘new’ far-right, but has focused on the growing internal cohesion within the movement with respect to its shared neo-Nazi heritage and ideology — along with its tactical efforts to conceal this heritage and ideology in order to consolidate leverage over mainstream public institutions.
To the extent that mainstream institutions have enabled this process to take place, they have become (unwittingly or otherwise) structural accomplices in the emergence of a trans-Atlantic neo-Nazi political movement with considerable influence on mainstream right-wing parties across the Western world. The distinctive character of this trans-Atlantic neo-Nazi movement is precisely its axiomatic public denunciation of the very ideology that animates it at core.
It is for this reason that this ‘new’ revamped form of Nazism — cosmetically altered through public relations and internal policing, allowing itself to temporarily ‘bury’ its animating ideology for later resurrection when the consolidation of power no longer requires such measures — is not simply ‘neo-Nazism’, but something far more insidious.
A more conceptually accurate way of capturing this phenomenon is the idea of reconstructed-Nazism, indicating that the core ideology embraces core Nazi principles, but embeds them in a range of cosmetic narrative adjustments which allow those principles to function subliminally in a new postwar, anti-Nazi and post-9/11 global cosmopolitan context.
This is an unprecedented development in the history of Europe that makes the continent vulnerable to neo-fascist subversion.
This suggests the following ways forward for concerned citizens, public institutions, government policymakers and political parties:
Citizens, including especially journalists, must be aware of how legitimate public debates over immigration, multiculturalism and the future of the European Union have been subtly defaced from behind the scenes by political parties and groups belonging to a trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement. The questions involved in these debates are widely recognised as bearing critical importance for the future of viable and safe liberal democracies — however, the trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement sees these debates as, effectively, ideological ‘Trojan Horses’ by which to cement their legitimacy in mainstream public institutions.
Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that citizens reflect critically on the way in which these debates are being exploited by parties and groups affiliated to the reconstructed-Nazi movement to endorse discriminatory and exclusionary policy proposals that threaten the most fundamental values of liberal democracies. This includes the real threat from Islamist terrorism, whose latest incarnation is the ‘Islamic State’.
Reconstructed-Nazism privately welcomes the escalation of Islamist terrorist attacks as a mechanism to convince Western publics of the need for white-supremacist institutions that discriminate against and exclude various types of ‘Other.’ While for tactical reasons the current focus of such proposals comprise Muslim communities, in principle the internal dynamics of this movement reveals that Jewish communities alongside numerous other minorities are also at risk.
Civil society and media organisations have so far underestimated the extent to which far-right parties such as the British Ukip, the Dutch PVV and the French NF constitute nodes within an emerging trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement. This has led to insufficiently critical examination of their Nazi heritage, alliances and inconsistent policies, permitting them to publicly distance themselves from their own core animating pro-Nazi sympathies with a degree of credibility.
Further research and investigative journalism is urgently required to unearth the nature of these political parties, their origins and goals, and their increasing interest in trans-Atlantic tactical coordination.
This information also needs to be widely communicated in order to galvanise an informed public debate on the risk this emerging movement poses to social cohesion and national security.
Governments and mainstream political parties have been all too willing to sacrifice their professed principles by forging alliances with far-right parties operating as nodes in the trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement. While this strategy may or may not pay off in the short-term in terms of public outreach, the toxifying impact on public discourse and the increasing legitimacy and credibility thus granted to individual nodes (specific national political parties) in the reconstructed-Nazi movement gives, empowers the wider movement’s ideological reach.
In the long-run this fatally undermines the mainstream voter support-base of the mainstream parties, paving the way for future far-right political victories at the expense of incumbent parties. Efforts to capture public votes by mainstream parties tactically shifting further to the right will simply backfire increasingly by lending further credence to the reconstructed-Nazi ideology and demonstrating the need for the mainstream to make effective concessions to the far-right simply to survive.
Therefore, governments and mainstream political parties, especially conservative and right-wing parties being courted by the far-right, must pursue countervailing strategies to root out and condemn sympathisers of reconstructed-Nazi extremism in their own ranks. While remaining true to their own political principles, they must communicate to their own members, constituencies and to the wider public that these principles are fundamentally at odds with the animating principles, ideology and values of the trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement.
There is a particular responsibility for governments to launch public and civil society education programmes to increase citizens’ access to critical information on the nature of the far-right and its Nazi heritage. This information should not be ideological in its form, but based purely on peer-reviewed historical data with a view to empower citizens to make informed choices.
This will place some pressure on far-right parties to acknowledge and renounce their own core Nazi heritage amidst transparent organisational, personnel and policy reforms, fundamentally disconnecting themselves from the trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement, if they wish to maintain a semblance of legitimacy.
It will also, in any case, rightly delegitimise and discredit them wholesale on the basis of fact.
Governments and their private sector donors need to acknowledge that the increasing appeal of the trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement to Western publics through the ‘Trojan Horse’ of legitimate issues such as immigration and so on, is ultimately rooted in deeper social and economic crises that remain unresolved.
Those crises fundamentally call into question the efficacy of business-as-usual. Unless governments and their private sector donors adopt a course of radical social and economic transformation which can restore public confidence, while fundamentally rejecting the toxic ‘Trojan Horse’ exclusionary discourses used by the reconstructed-Nazi movement to self-legitimise, the extreme right will continue to exploit this malaise by broadening its appeal. This will have dangerous consequences for the West’s most cherished institutions and values.
It must be recognised that the biggest threat from the trans-Atlantic reconstructed-Nazi movement is not that of far right terrorism, although this is real enough and increasing — but the prospect of entryism into prevailing institutions of power, in order to permanently deface them under the influence of neo-Nazi ideology.
Tell MAMA independently and separately commissioned INSURGEintelligence to explore the network dynamics of far right extremism in Europe. The views and opinions in this investigative project do not necessarily represent those of Tell MAMA.