On behalf of the Steering Group and Fellows, a warm welcome to the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR)! As the centre’s director, I’d like to draw your attention to a few considerations motivating the launch of this specialist-led website and research collective.
First and foremost, CARR is a child of necessity. The radical right is stronger now in Europe and the US – but also beyond, in countries such as India – than it has been since the watershed year of 1945. Despite the rebranding and resurgence of radical right movements following the Cold War, however, expert voices have not been appreciably at the forefront of debate and analysis. We insist upon challenging that, putting forward accessible, topical and expert responses to the radical right, both past and present. As our banner makes clear, the radical right is again a serious issue, and we will offer serious analyses of it.
Relatedly, we understand the radical right to be an umbrella term that describes a worldview and political strategies that are now a century old. The ideology of the radical right owed much to interwar fascist movements in Europe – even if neither the Second World War nor the boundaries of Europe have since contained this exclusionary, aggressive ideology. Given the evolving nature of the radical right as well as the different organisational ‘faces’ this ideology has shown to the world – from populist mass movements to esoteric subcultures and, more recently, terroristic ‘lone wolves’ – we feel that ‘radical’ is a better descriptor than ‘far’ (as in ‘far right’, or even ‘extreme far-right’), as the latter describes political actors at the fringes of the mainstream political spectrum. Instead these movements, activists, and ideologues are radical – and in some cases, revolutionary – toward the status quo in their respective countries. Accordingly, ‘fascism’, ‘neo-fascism’, ‘right-wing populist’, ‘far-right extremist’ and the other terms are all used here, and are subsumed under generic political praxis ‘radical right’.
Departing from this expansive understanding, our Fellows engage a wide range of phenomena relating to the radical right. This includes the earliest fascist and radical right movements emerging from the European ashes of the Great War to contemporary manifestations of this ideology – the alt-right, Identitarians and any number of populist parties in Europe and beyond. Additionally, key radical right ideas and strategies are also analysed, from gender and environmentalism to digital activism, violent radicalisation and much more. Nor are the targets of the radical right omitted from discussion; quite the opposite. Amongst other forms of discrimination against minorities that is the calling card of radical right exclusion, the anti-Semitism of old and the ‘new bottles’ of anti-Muslim prejudice are frequently covered, as are other forms of racism and hatred. The baleful consequences of radical right extremism are not shirked here in their often-disguising features, from hate crimes and genocidal rhetoric right through to systematic prejudice, ethnic cleansing and mass murder.
Reflecting the above themes, timely content will be provided on a frequent basis by our Fellows, who all have profile pages with individual contact information, research specialisms and avenues for consultancy. Alongside the multi-weekly editorials added to the CARR website, the Steering Group will also work with our Fellows and other stakeholders to cross-post relevant materials – including bibliographical items, audio-visual content, news accounts and policy recommendations. Throughout, our aim is to provide an exhaustive insight into radical right politics over the past century that is both specialist-led and intrepid in diagnosing problems as well as offering realistic solutions. As such, we intend the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right to be the ‘first port of call’ for anyone wishing to better understand, and thereby counter, radical right views and practices.
Finally, I’d like to invite you to take part. You can join us on Facebook and Twitter, send along your thoughts on our ‘Contact’ page, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always welcome constructive suggestions and will continue striving to make this Centre and its website the most effective it can be. To do that, we need your help: to circulate and amplify our message, and to engage with our collective writings. The latter can be disseminated via the copyright-cleared Creative Commons, provided the author is acknowledged and the originally-posted content retained in its entirety.
Professor Matthew Feldman