Europe has seen a lurch to the right, with anti-establishment movements spreading throughout the continent. In this special = report, SBS Dateline ask what attracts people to these extreme viewpoints and whether the far-right is here to stay.
Formerly associated with fringe members of society, the far-right has become an increasingly mainstream political movement. Europe’s new generation of right-wingers are socially astute, and know how to make their message heard. “We see ourselves as the voice for a forgotten generation”, says Martin Sellner, the young social media-savvy leader of the Identitarian group in Austria. “We want to defend the identity of Europe”, he states.
We want to defend the identity of Europe
Groups like the Identitarians have sprung up across Europe and are a far cry from the far-right groups most people think of. Indeed, they wish to distance themselves from neo-Nazis and other such outfits, whom they see as radical – though they share the same concerns. “If you look at the younger generation, we have 60-70% of children who already have migration backgrounds”, he frets.
Whilst Martin and his associates assure the public they harbour no ill-will towards foreigners, just concern for their compatriots, anti-fascist activists are quick to call them out. “They say to themselves, they are not left wing, they are not right wing, they are, like, patriotic”, says activist Anna Muller, “but they are really far-right”.