Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

The Freedom Party of Austria (German . Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ ) is the largest and most popular right-wing populist national conservative political party in Austria.Led by Norbert Hofer since September 2019, the party is a member of the "Identity and Democracy" group in the European Parliament as well as the Identity and Democracy Party. In the popular early legislative elections of October 2017, FPÖ won 26% of the vote, third place, and entered a coalition government as a junior partner with the leader of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) , Sebastian Kurz, as chancellor.

The Ibiza case, which erupted on May 17, 2019, led former FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Straich to announce his resignation as vice-chancellor and party leader the next day, which in turn led to the collapse of the coalition with the ÖVP and the subsequent new elections. The scandal was sparked by a video of a July 2017 meeting in Ibiza that shows Streich and Johann Goodenus, leader of the FPÖ faction in the Austrian parliament, discussing behind-the-scenes political practices. In the video, both politicians appear to have been receptive to suggestions from a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch and discussing the possibility of receiving services to create a positive image of the party in the media in exchange for business contracts. Both leaders also alluded to corrupt political practices involving other wealthy FPÖ donors.

In the early elections held on September 29, 2019, the Freedom Party received 16 percent of the vote. Thus, the party lost about one-third of the party's seats in parliament.

The far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) has softened its public rhetoric against foreigners and minorities in general somewhat in recent years, but their core ideology and demands have changed little, if anything. Their party program and publications continue to support strong nationalist policies, closed borders, and restrictive measures for migrants and asylum seekers. They also maintain a sense of fear among voters, citing existential crises for the Austrian people, the Austrian state and even Europe. For example, one of their publications states that "Europe will burn" in some kind of civil war if migration is not stopped immediately. Since the so-called "refugee crisis," the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) has increasingly adopted FPÖ political demands and even populist rhetoric at the federal level. Both parties won the 2017 parliamentary elections and are currently in a government coalition.

The Freedom Party is the largest, but not the only right-wing radical party in the country. There are a number of other smaller parties and groups. Their main targets are Jews and Muslims (and their institutions in Austria), Islam as a religion, Roma and Sinti minorities, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in general, other people they consider "foreigners", "homosexuals", people and organizations, mainly NGOs, which support foreigners in Austria, leftist groups and activists, Israel, the EU, leftist parties and the democratic system as such (including elections and the judicial system).

In addition, Austria has also seen the activity of the so-called "New Right," in particular the Identity Movement, originally based in France ("Identitäre Bewegung Österreich"), which the authorities consider an extreme right-wing group and are currently investigating a number of crimes committed by it, including the formation of a large criminal organization. They demand that all immigration to Austria be suspended, that asylum procedures be suspended, and that foreigners living in Austria be "repatriated" to ensure the "survival of the Austrian people.

Unlike traditional extreme right-wing groups, the Identity Movement uses artificial-intellectual argumentation and goes to great lengths to use seemingly academic language, pseudoscience, and thus creates the image of a serious organization. Despite this rebranding, their ideology remains deeply racist, even if their racism is expressed in cultural, ethnic, or religious terms (saving Christianity or the "Western way of life"). They present themselves as "defenders of Europe," despite their explicitly nationalistic and pan-Germanic ideology and as a "youth movement," that is, an "identity generation," using popular culture and social media to spread their ideas. Their slogan, "Our heritage is our land, our blood, our identity," points to their right-wing extremist "land and blood" ideology. They are well connected to similar groups across Europe and in the United States, as well as to the Austrian Freedom Party, some of whose members have participated in the public actions of the Identity Movement.

Since 2015, this Movement has held several public actions protesting immigration. These included taking over the offices of the Green Party in Graz and then protesting from the roof of that building (6/4/2016), illegally invading the roof of the Burgtheater in Vienna (27/4/2016), the regional offices of the Austrian public broadcasting service ORF (7/3/2017), The seizure of the offices and balconies of the EU Human Rights Agency in Vienna (31/5/2015), the violent interruption of a university lecture in Klagenfurt (10/6/2016), attempts to block border crossings with human chains and similar violations. The organization is currently being investigated by the police for various crimes and has recently been indicted in several such cases.

The organization is currently being investigated by the police for various crimes.

So they have achieved a very successful public focus on extreme right-wing movements as they actively seek media attention. Other groups may have receded into the background in the public consciousness, but they are still active. For example, in May 2016, a member of the neo-Nazi Blood and Honor Network committed a double murder and then suicide in rural Austria. "Aula," a magazine associated with and partly owned by the FPÖ, continued the well-known and longstanding practice of publishing provocative and sometimes anti-Semitic texts: in 2015 it featured a text that referred to survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp as "pests" and "mass murderers" ("Landplage", "Massenmörder"), claiming that they persecuted and harassed local residents after their release. The state attorney's office did not investigate the case, claiming that this view was "plausible." In early 2017, a civil lawsuit against the magazine was successful, and it had to withdraw and retract the article. A complaint filed against the Republic of Austria for its negligence in a related case is currently pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

Radical nationalist literature, films or music are known to play a role in the promotion of neo-Nazi views, although their popularity in Austria is negligible outside of very specific neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing circles. Ultranationalist rock bands and their concerts were on the rise in Austria in the 1990s as part of the international "Blood and Honor" network (especially in the province of Vorarlberg and Vienna), but they have almost completely ceased by now. After a pause of more than a decade, there was another concert in 2016 by a Hungarian neo-Nazi group affiliated with Blood and Honor in Austria, which moved there after being banned in Germany. Although the Austrian neo-Nazi music scene is largely dominated by commercial German bands, the band Terrorsphära from the Austrian province of Tyrol has recently become popular internationally and is probably the only active Austrian neo-Nazi hard rock band at the moment. Unlike other neo-Nazi bands, they promote sports, mountaineering and martial arts to train "folk warriors" and maintain "strength through discipline," combining to create a hyper-masculine ideal. Their songs allude to an alleged conspiracy of political, left-wing, Jewish elites who are allegedly planting a drug habit in society and bringing in refugees. Very closely related to the Austrian scene, though located in Italy's South Tyrol, is the band Frei.Wild.

In addition to literature and music, Neonazi and extreme right-wing clothing brands are gaining popularity in Austria (and beyond): They successfully sell clothing with Nazi symbols and slogans, many of which are coded with references to National Socialism, such as "Jubeljahr 1933" or "Wer A sagt, muss auch Dolf sagen"; while some more carefully use numerical codes for Hitler's birthday and Nazi slogans ; and others, such as the clothing label of the Austrian Identity Movement ("Phalanx Europa"), completely avoid any connection to National Socialism, but still qualify as an openly xenophobic, racist and ultimately extreme right-wing ideology.

COVID-19 fundamentally changed the discourse of the Austrian radical right as refugees and the question of Islam became largely irrelevant in Austrian society. The FPÖ and other radical right parties and groups began to demand stricter control over those entering, and above all those entering from Asia. However, the demands of the far-right went no further than this, some speculation around the idea of "crown bonds" did not bring them popularity either, and their influence gradually began to wane.

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