Book look: Martin Langebach and Andreas Speit

Economically difficult times seem to boost radical political groups, as recent elections across Europe show.

For “Europas radikale Rechte”, Martin Langebach and Andreas Speit investigated in several European countries to determine what the various right-wing movements have in common. However, the authors do not forget to examine the differences either. They tell from Marine Le Pen’s successful modernisation of the Front National in France and explain why Geert Wilders’ Partij voor de Vrijheid is rather a foundation than a party. Langebach and Speit also write about Gabor Vona, the slick leader of the Jobbik movement in Hungary, a far-right party which finds support among militant groups. Furthermore, the British National Party (BNP) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) are in the focus. The authors analyse why the latter recently managed to attract new voting blocks. 1

Langebach and Speit attended demonstrations and gatherings by neo-Nazis and right-wing parties in Scandinavia and Switzerland, but they also spoke with racism experts in Austria about the Freedom Party (FPÖ). Their book portrays FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache but also underlines the importance of late Carinthian Governor Jörg Haider to Austria’s right-wing spectrum.

“Europas radikale Rechte” – which features a chapter about the situation in the European Parliament – is a precise analysis of political developments in Europe. However, the book also includes a few errors. Heinz-Christian Strache is once referred to as “Hans-Christian Strache”. Such a mistake is less grave than significant errors concerning politics. Langebach and Speit claim that Haider was vice chancellor. The disputed populist, who passed away in 2008, had an enormous impact on the domestic political scene – but he was never member of a federal government.

Europas radikale Rechte. Bewegungen und Parteien auf Straßen und in Parlamenten
By Martin Langebach and Andreas Speit
Published by Orell Füssli (www.ofv.ch)

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