Western Europe has exper i enced an unpre ced en ted rise of new extreme “right ist” parties some of which took off in the 1970s but most of which came into their own in the 1980s and early 1990s. They run in elec tions under such labels as “National Front” in Britain, France, and Wallonia; “Progress Party” in Denmark and Norway; “Republicans” and “German People’s Union” in Germany; “Center Party” in the Netherlands, or regional selfiden ti fic a tions as the “Flemish Block” in Flanders and the “Northern League” in Italy. In Austria, even an estab lished party, the “Freedom Party,” is often counted as a member of the extreme Right after its stra tegic reversal in the mid-1980s. Beyond the vague feeling, however, that all these parties are somehow “on the right,” it is unclear from the exist ing compar at ive liter at ure whether these parties really can be lumped together. Do they repres ent a similar polit ical appeal and elect oral coali tion? What is the meaning of their “right ist” appeal? Why are they some times success ful, but some times not? At least four hypo theses have guided the debate on the rise of the extreme “Right.” The

first is that it repres ents a revival of fascist and national social ist ideo logy in the midst of an economic crisis with high unem ploy ment. According to the second hypo thesis, the contempor ary extreme Right is a single-issue racist and xeno phobic back lash against the multicultur al iz a tion of Western European soci et ies caused by the influx of immig rants from non-Occidental civil iz a tions, partic u larly from the Islamic, African, and Far Eastern regions. A third hypo thesis focuses on domestic insti tu tional changes in advanced capit al ist demo cracies and singles out the increas ing control of indi vidual lives by a coales cing “class” of political and corpor ate leaders as the trigger for a “right-liber tarian” and “popu list” back lash against big govern ment and conso ci ational or corpor at ist politico-economic elites. In this book we will argue that none of these perspect ives is correct. Instead, we will

advance an altern at ive hypo thesis. Societal change in contem por ary capit al ism has increased the sali ence of polit ical partisan appeals to econom ic ally right ist posi tions favor ing market alloc a tion over polit ical re-distri bu tion of economic resources. At the same time, these positions support author it arian and pater nal ist modes of collect ive decision making in the state, the corpor a tion, and the family. The struc tural change of society that has made possible the rise of the extreme Right is the trans ition to a postin dus trial economy in which citizens’ political pref er ences and salient demands differ from those that prevailed in the Keynesian Welfare State of the post-World War II era, peaking in the 1960s. In a struc tural perspect ive, the New Right consti tutes the mirror image and oppos ite polit ical pole of a New Left that began to mobil ize in the 1960s (Andersen and Björklund 1990; Inglehart 1990, 11; Leggewie 1990, 10). On the one hand, the New Left stands for “leftist” income redis tri bu tion by way of encom passing social policies in the economic sphere and “liber tarian” demo cratic parti cip a tion and maximum indi vidual autonomy in polit ics and the cultural sphere. The New Radical Right (NRR), on the other hand, advoc ates right ist free market econom ics

and “author it arian” hier arch ical arrange ments in polit ics, together with a limit a tion of diversity and indi vidual autonomy in cultural expres sions. In other words, postin dus trial polit ics is char ac ter ized by a main ideo lo gical cleav age divid ing left-liber tari ans from rightauthor it ari ans. Up to this point, however, our line of theor et ical reas on ing can account for the often

confus ing variety of right ist parties and move ments as incom pletely as its rivals. Therefore, we must identify addi tional argu ments that can be logic ally related to the master hypo thesis and can explain in a system atic way differ ent appeals and elect oral payoffs of new right ist parties. We must explore why econom ic ally right ist and politico-cultur ally “author it arian” appeal is some times approx im ated in the actual strategy of the new parties but some times discarded in favor of other strategies. While common tend en cies of the contem por ary Right may be driven by the change of popular demands for polit ical messages, the vari ance in the right ist parties’ appeals across coun tries, and even within coun tries over time, requires a theory of polit ical insti tu tions and stra tegic choice within party systems and party organ iz ations. This argu ment builds on three elements. First, struc tural and soci olo gical analysis of polit ical pref er ence changes does not develop

a theory about the “supply side” of parties that serve right-author it arian constitu en cies, but merely the “demand side” of elect oral constitu en cies. In some cases, right-author it arian voters may be repres en ted by moder ate-conser vat ive parties that, in turn, will do everything to preempt the emer gence of an inde pend ent NRR. In some instances, such efforts fail and right-author it ari ans build their own vehicles of polit ical artic u la tion. In order to under stand the phenomenon of the NRR in the arena of polit ical mobil iz a tion, and partic u larly party compet i tion, we there fore must analyze the strategies estab lished polit ical actors have chosen to address the demand for right-author it arian polit ics and the polit ical insti tu tions that have constrained their choices. The soci olo gical account of right-author it arian polit ics remains incom plete without a recon struc tion of the strategies of polit ical entre pren eurs that seize on oppor tun it ies to build genu inely new right-author it arian parties. Second, the rise of the contem por ary Right is not just condi tioned by the choices of the

estab lished moder ate conser vat ives but also by the capab il it ies and choices of the incip i ent right ist entre pren eurs and parties them selves. Politicians may face a favor able oppor tun ity struc ture but fail to create strategies that enhance their power at the polls and in legis latures. Before resort ing to ad hoc explan a tions that attrib ute such fail ures to a lack of inform a tion on the part of decision makers or a lack of interest in accu mu lat ing more power, it is worth check ing how internal party struc tures of interest aggreg a tion as well as the compos i tion of the party activ ists constrain parties in their stra tegic choices. Sometimes vari ance in the appeal of the contem por ary Right, there fore, may be due to the intraor gan iz a tional dynam ics of incip i ent new parties. This is partic u larly likely where right ist parties fail to choose a strategic formula that takes advant age of the oppor tun it ies the party system offers them to gain elect oral ground at the expense of estab lished parties. Third, empir ical evid ence shows that the contem por ary extreme Right is not a

“single-issue” phenomenon that can be solely under stood as a response to economic crisis or the rapid influx of non-Occidental immig rants into hitherto homo gen eous Western European soci et ies. To the contrary, a sense of alarm about such devel op ments, taken by itself, is typic ally a weak predictor of right-extrem ist support, as will be shown both by ecolo gical-and indi vidual-level analysis in later chapters. Nevertheless, economic crisis and surges of immig ra tion can serve as cata lysts that crys tal lize right-wing extrem ism on the level of party compet i tion if polit ical entre pren eurs can embed xeno phobic slogans in a broader right-author it arian message for which they find a recept ive audi ence. Structureinduced dispos i tions of the elect or ate and oppor tun it ies for party compet i tion inter act with

conjunc tural issue atten tion cycles in the rise of new parties. Strategic polit ical entre pren eurs skill fully bring together long-term and short-term oppor tun it ies to mobil ize voter coali tions. In light of such processes, it would be naive to expect the disap pear ance of the NRR, as soon as a partic u lar issue-such as immig ra tion-became less import ant on the polit ical agenda. Although contem por ary right ist parties make a variety of appeals and attract differ ent

elect oral coali tions, none of the NRR’s incarn a tions precisely corres pond to the “old” extreme Right with fascist or national social ist labels. The old Right and the NRR not only have differ ent struc tural origins but also differ ent constitu en cies and substant ive demands. Moreover, the NRR is strong in coun tries where the fascist and national social ist Right of the inter war period remained weak. Most import antly, where contem por ary parties build on the legacy of the inter war extreme Right, they typic ally fail to attract signi fic ant elect or ates. The meta phors “left” and “right,” and even more so such labels as “fascism” and “national

social ism,” are embroiled not only in schol arly, theor et ical contro ver sies but also in a political war of words: oppon ents of the NRR like to label such parties as (neo)fascist; their adherents deny the accur acy of such char ac ter iz a tions. But the concep tual assim il a tion of the New to the Old Radical Right may be theor et ic ally inad equate to explain the new phenomenon as well as polit ic ally danger ous-partic u larly for the foes of the NRR. Bad analysis rarely leads to effect ive polit ical (counter)strategy. The tasks for this opening chapter are thus quite clear. First, we outline a theory of the

“demand” for right ist parties in contem por ary advanced indus trial demo cra cies. Next, we develop theor et ical propos i tions about the “supply” of right ist parties, the condi tions under which their appeal is expec ted to vary, and the elect oral payoffs such parties derive from differ ent appeals. Based on this analysis, we then specify the evid ence that would count as support or falsi fic a tion of our own theory and three rival argu ments that we will discuss in detail. The final section of this chapter will be devoted to a discus sion of the contem por ary extreme Right and the histor ical fascist Right. We will argue that the two Rights are very differ ent in their ideo lo gical appeal and their elect oral coali tions. Moreover, we will show, they were produced by differ ent soci etal condi tions.