Right Wing’s Surge in Europe Has the Establishment Rattled

Andrew Higgins, New York Times, November 9, 2013

As right-wing populists surge across Europe, rattling established political parties with their hostility toward immigration, austerity and the European Union, Mikkel Dencker of the Danish People’s Party has found yet another cause to stir public anger: pork meatballs missing from kindergartens.

A member of Denmark’s Parliament and, he hopes, mayor of this commuter-belt town west of Copenhagen, Mr. Dencker is furious that some day care centers have removed meatballs, a staple of traditional Danish cuisine, from their cafeterias in deference to Islamic dietary rules. No matter that only a handful of kindergartens have actually done so. The missing meatballs, he said, are an example of how “Denmark is losing its identity” under pressure from outsiders.

The issue has become a headache for Mayor Helle Adelborg, whose center-left Social Democratic Party has controlled the town council since the 1920s but now faces an uphill struggle before municipal elections on Nov. 19. “It is very easy to exploit such themes to get votes,” she said. “They take a lot of votes from my party. It is unfair.”

It is also Europe’s new reality. All over, established political forces are losing ground to politicians whom they scorn as fear-mongering populists. In France, according to a recent opinion poll, the far-right National Front has become the country’s most popular party. In other countries—Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands—disruptive upstart groups are on a roll.


In some ways, this is Europe’s Tea Party moment—a grass-roots insurgency fired by resentment against a political class that many Europeans see as out of touch. The main difference, however, is that Europe’s populists want to strengthen, not shrink, government and see the welfare state as an integral part of their national identities.

The trend in Europe does not signal the return of fascist demons from the 1930s, except in Greece, where the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn has promoted openly racist beliefs, and perhaps in Hungary, where the far-right Jobbik party backs a brand of ethnic nationalism suffused with anti-Semitism.

But the soaring fortunes of groups like the Danish People’s Party, which some popularity polls now rank ahead of the Social Democrats, point to a fundamental political shift toward nativist forces fed by a curious mix of right-wing identity politics and left-wing anxieties about the future of the welfare state.


The platform of France’s National Front promotes traditional right-wing causes like law and order and tight controls on immigration but reads in parts like a leftist manifesto. It accuses “big bosses” of promoting open borders so they can import cheap labor to drive down wages. It rails against globalization as a threat to French language and culture, and it opposes any rise in the retirement age or cuts in pensions.

Similarly, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam leader of the Party for Freedom, has mixed attacks on immigration with promises to defend welfare entitlements. “He is the only one who says we don’t have to cut anything,” said Chris Aalberts, a scholar at Erasmus University in Rotterdam and author of a book based on interviews with Mr. Wilders’s supporters. “This is a popular message.”


Built on the ruins of a chaotic antitax movement, the Danish People’s Party has evolved into a defender of the welfare state, at least for native Danes. It pioneered “welfare chauvinism,” a cause now embraced by many of Europe’s surging populists, who play on fears that freeloading foreigners are draining pensions and other benefits.

“We always thought the People’s Party was a temporary phenomenon, that they would have their time and then go away,” said Jens Jonatan Steen, a researcher at Cevea, a policy research group affiliated with the Social Democrats. “But they have come to stay.”

“They are politically incorrect and are not accepted by many as part of the mainstream,” he added. “But if you have support from 20 percent of the public, you are mainstream.”


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  • WASP

    I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know where all this is going, but it looks like some light at the end of the tunnel. Denmark for the Danish, France for the French, Austria for Austrians, Britain for the British, Bulgaria for Bulgarians, Czech Republic for Czechs, Finland for the Finnish, the Netherlands for the Dutch — “disruptive upstart groups are on a roll.”

    • D.B. Cooper

      I’m not convinced. These so-called right wingers are still playing it too soft, and they aren’t even attacking the white elitists who are the real cause.
      It’s like spraying Lysol in your living room every day, but never bothering to scoop up the pile of dog turds right in the middle of the floor.

      • M.

        The White elitists will be gradually pushed out of the picture as these parties rise. They’re all for zero immigration, and some even encourage emigration of the non-natives (like France’s National Front), and that’s the most urgent thing right now.

        • Jesse James

          First plug the leaks then pump out the bilges. That is how to keep the ship afloat.

      • David Ashton

        “The best is the enemy of the good.”

      • NorthernWind

        You’re right not to be convinced that these kinds of parties will save us, because they will not. But do not despair! These kinds of parties are merely the equivalent of termites which are eating away the structure of the ruling elite. The current regime has to fall before proper right-wing ideas can be unleashed. That’s why we need to educate ourselves and be ready to offer a new alternative which takes a completely new direction.

        Even movements like the Liberatarians in the U.S. are fulfilling the same function. None of these movements will be successful in the end, but they are useful in that they damage the ruling ideology. Another example is the men’s rights movement; useful in that they attack feminism.

      • Jefferson

        A true right winger knows that you can not have both open borders/liberal immigration policy and a nanny state at the same time. It simply does not work.

        You can only have 1 or the other, but not both because it is a recipe for disaster.

        • rowingfool

          I believe Alan Greenspan said that.

          • LolKatzen

            Milton Friedmann.

          • rowingfool

            Yeah, yeah, you’re right. The gears slip, missing teeth….

      • LolKatzen

        How do you “attack” elitists? What do you mean?

        • Sick of it

          Arresting them for criminal activities is a good start.

      • bilderbuster

        Le Pen in France knows who the elitists are.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      It might turn our that way, but I am afraid not without years, even decades of the cruelest kind of warfare imaginable.

  • Puggg

    In some ways, this is Europe’s Tea Party moment—a grass-roots insurgency fired by resentment against a political class that many Europeans see as out of touch. The main difference, however, is that Europe’s populists want to strengthen, not shrink, government and see the welfare state as an integral part of their national identities.

    The main difference is that European nationalist parties are actually almost overtly ethnonationalist.

    but reads in parts like a leftist manifesto. It accuses “big bosses” of promoting open borders so they can import cheap labor to drive down wages. It rails against globalization as a threat to French language and culture

    Where are leftists opposed to open borders and globalization? Where are leftists complaining about big bosses using immigration as a ploy for cheap labor and worried about particular languages and cultures disappearing? No leftists I’m familiar with sound like that.

    • M.

      Today’s leftists are mere globalists who seem to hate pretty much everything their ancestors left them.

      • MBlanc46

        Jeez, here you’ve figured out that I’m really a globalist when I’ve been opposing globalization for more than two decades. How do you do it?

        • M.

          Okay, but you would agree that today’s leftist are by and large pro-color-blind immigration? If that’s not being a globalist I don’t know what is.

          • MBlanc46

            It’s a question of definition here. Few of the multiculturalists are Leftists according to any historical notion of the Left (anti-capitalist/socialist/anarchist). They might have been Leftists had any real Left survived 1989, but in it’s absence they became identity politicians obsessed with race and gender (by which they mean sex). There’s certainly no contradiction between old-line anti-capitalists such as myself following the facts and becoming race realists. What’s really required is to address particular issues and forget terminology left over from the French National Assembly of 1789.

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        Today’s leftists have replaced the “internal proletariat” (their own working class) with the “external proletariat” (the Third World), thus they have indeed become “globalists”.

    • Far left street rabble protesters are sometimes (mis-) labeled “anti-globalization.” What they really are, are utopian dopes who are upset that various corporate oligarchs have played them and their precious global utopian fantasies for their own benefit. They’re only anti-globalization in that they don’t want mega-corporations ruining their chimera of a worldwide workers’ paradise, which would be like me beating you up for having spent all my gold that’s in the pot at the end of the rainbow.

    • Jefferson

      John Engelman claims to be a leftist who has right wing views on immigration, but leftists like him are like a needle in the haystack.

      The vast majority of Leftists want to see The United States turn into Mexico and want to see Europe turn into Mogadishu.

      • maybe they go along with the idea of mass immigration for reasons.

        On this discussion board called amren, perhaps we could discuss these reasons!?

        Here is a reason why liberals might go along with immigration: because in order to belong to a political tribe in america you have to take all the given bundle of ideologies and do not have a choice to reject some of them. Same for the american conservative political tribe.

        Who determines what ideologies make up the bundle?

        • You again. What is this, your fifth screen name?

          BTW, I’m still waiting for you to tell me the name of even one Democrat Senator that voted against Gang Bangers of Eight.

          Here is the reason liberals go along with immigration: Because they hate white people, because it’s a crucial part of the hate YT dispossess YT program.

      • JohnEngelman

        I also hate criminals and want them to suffer.

        I am a race realist, who realizes that all racial groups are not created equal.

        • I am a convicted criminal and was locked up for three years with other criminals. Some of those guys were very good people, but had also broken the law in one way or another.

          Being locked up away from a home one loves is emotionally painful. Being strip-searched and ordered to spread one’s butt cheeks is humiliating. I missed my collection of books and my work. I fought my case out for 17 months from behind bars and then did the remaining 19 in Texas, so I only got one visit there. I asked my mother not to come, because it would merely remind me of what I missed so much.

          I don’t sleep well. Every night, I dream I am locked up all over again, and nobody will tell me why. It is a relief to awake in my own bed next to my wife. I was never a sissy, but I’m probably PTSD over that.

          Criminals do suffer, and since the emotional pain isn’t something you know; I’m happy for you.

          • JohnEngelman

            I would have to know what you were in there for before feeling sympathy for you.

          • Extortion. My ex-father cheated me out of patent money so I threatened him. The threats crossed state and national lines so it was instantly federal. I really did the crime. My well-supported argument in court was that he did not deserve polite discussion.

            I neither need nor ask any sympathy. What that court did to me was merely the final act of my ex-father’s abuse of myself, my sister and our mother. I was just the one who picked up the check. Somebody had to.

            My sister and I used to hang out at friends’ houses because we were scared to go home. She still says she’d like to watch the place burn. I don’t feel that way; it is just a house.

            Watching it beat up my mother felt like living through my own death. Mom said in open court that she was delighted he is absolutely terrified of me.

            She divorced him because she was certain one of us would kill the other. Once he was out and remarried, I tried to forgive him and eventually trusted him, much to my sorrow. I think he hated me because he wanted to be me.

            Someone had to, so it might as well have been me. Guilty as charged.

    • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

      You don’t remember the 1999 Seattle WTO protests? It was nominally anti-globalization, but of course with the Left it’s always Rebels Without a Clue.

      • PJB, who is as anti-globalization as anyone we know of, went to Seattle to speak to that rabble.

        He got booed.

    • MBlanc46

      Puggg, I’ve got to say that you’ve not been paying attention. There are several of us here.

      • Sick of it

        The mainstream left has decided you are now a right winger, friend. The mainstream left supports the big evil corporations as they suck up all the resources of the common man. Fascism is very left wing, after all.

        • MBlanc46

          The Left/Right binary has always been much too crude for any serious political phenomenology. How relevant can the seating arrangement for the French Revolutionary National Assembly be to the convoluted, intersecting political formations of the 21st century West? If the mainstream Left considers me Right and the mainstream Right considers me Left, I must be doing something right.

      • Puggg

        You’re here, and there are several other like you.

        But does that add up to 51%?

        You need 51% to win most elections.

        • MBlanc46

          We’re still a minority, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t build a large-scale anti-immigration movement that isn’t tied to support for free-market radicalism (which can never disentangle itself from transnational finance capital).

          • Puggg

            Would it be fair even to call such a movement “liberal?” The regular left is so deeply thrown into the anti-white project that most liberals wouldn’t welcome it into their tent.

          • MBlanc46

            I don’t think “liberal” is quite right, as that term already has a couple of meanings, both of which are spoken for. It would certainly be populist, although saying that isn’t very informative. It could be both New Deal and race realist (although that’s certainly not my final position). That works rather better in Europe than in the US because social democracy is the mainstream view there. What we need regarding immigration, in my view, is a single-issue movement that can put other issues on hold while we fight on that front.

          • Jefferson

            The left wing sees anti-amnesty people as being worst than terrorists, pedophiles, gang bangers, drug cartel members, rapists, serial killers, etc.

            To them there is nothing more evil than wanting to keep America a predominantly White country.

  • M.

    The important thing is that these parties all have the anti-immigration streak in common. As for their economics, well, they can sort this out however they want. As a White persone, all I’m concerned about is that White countries remain White.

    This article should’ve been tagged as “Signs of Hope” as well.

  • Marius Quentical

    And where is Germany on this? I sure would like to see a return of nationalistic pride to der Vaterland.

    • I suspect that offering that to Germans would be like giving a box of brandy chocolates to a recovering alcoholic. The responsible ones want to be good neighbors to Poland and France, rather than feared.

  • JohnEngelman

    White blue collar workers who oppose open immigration and corporate power reveal their good sense.

  • Anglokraut

    ‘ “It is very easy to exploit such themes to get votes,” she said. “They take a lot of votes from my party. It is unfair.” ‘

    Then perhaps your party doesn’t meet the needs of the electorate. Funny thing about democracy–sometimes you lose elections.

  • Larry Klein

    “Nativist.” Imagine the snickering at the NYT. What’s the alternative to being nativist, being suicidally stupid? Bend over for the muslims and let them dictate your kids’ diet in your own country?

    • Sick of it

      Considering theirs is a religion of pedophiles, I would not worry so much about what they would to do to a child’s diet as I would his person.

  • Spartacus

    “They take a lot of votes from my party. It is unfair.”


    These kind of “people” are the ones that form the bulk of our enemies… And yet there are still some who don’t think we can beat them…

  • so the anti-immigration parties in europe are finding success by combining anti-immigration policies with pro-welfare-state, anti-wealthy policies.

    I wonder why the rightwing in America refuses to do the same thing, seeing as how there is support for stopping immigration and there is support for taxing the rich and universal healthcare.

    Instead, here in america on both the left and the right, there is a strict enforcement of dogma among those who attempt to discuss politics. Trying to combine anti-immigration with pro-progressive taxation ideas will typically get you banned from both Leftwing and Rightwing sites.

    Yet is europe this combination of ideas is a coming thing.

    Anyone curious as to why?

    • Jefferson

      The thing is that in America most people who support a nanny state also support progressive immigration laws that lets every 3rd world mooch into this country.

      And the majority of right wing American patriots do not support a nanny state, especially since the nanny state in America disproportionally helps Mestizos and Bantus.

      • you said:
        The thing is that in America
        most people who support a nanny state also support progressive
        immigration laws that lets every 3rd world mooch into this country.


        You are just repeating what I said. Let me say something further: just as in music and entertainment, the people lap up whatever dogma the elite dispense. The fact is that on both the “Right” and on the “Left” americans have had shoved down their throats an unchangeable, fixed, immutable bundles of ideologies: on the Right and on the Left, you have to “believe” in the bundle they give you. You are not allowed to mix and match ideologies. Again, there have been a number of polls that show that americans (70 percent or more) want to tax the rich more. There have also been polls showing that 70 pct or more of americans want less immigration.

        And yet strangely the very idea of mixing and matching ideas from both left and right ideological bundles is de facto taboo.

        With all the millions of words written in the media, the idea of mixing and matching left and right ideologies (from the populist side of both left and right) is taboo.

        This article that is cited above strangely breaks this taboo. It is very very rare to even mention mixing populism from the left and right in american media or politics.

        Yet this idea is taking europe by storm.

        But where is the discussion?

        I do not believe that the individual components of these Left and Right bundles are chosen according to what the people want.

        fact, the majority of those who get food stamps are white. I support my
        white brothers and sisters who have been displaced in the job market by
        imported cheap foreign labor. My displaced white brothers and sisters
        need those food stamps. Maybe some day I myself might need them.

        See, I have this capability to support my own kind. And I do.

        • Jefferson

          Percentage wise, the majority of Americans on welfare are Mestizos and Bantus.

      • MBlanc46

        Anti-capitalism and the nanny state are far from the same thing. It’s only 50 years of free-market-radical propaganda that equates popular control of the economy with centralization. It’s time that populists on the right begin to realize that transnational bankers and capitalists are not your friends.

        • JohnEngelman

          Neither is the Republican Party, much of the time. The GOP exists in order to advance the economic interests of the richest ten percent of the American population.

          • MBlanc46

            And many of the folks here are becoming aware of that. Some seem to have outright rejected the GOP, while others are trying to figure out how to change it or take it over. I’m skeptical that they’ll succeed.

          • JohnEngelman

            The Republican Party is beyond hope. I am waiting for the teabaggers to drive it over the cliff.

            The Democratic Party I love is the party of the New Deal. Because President Roosevelt kept civil rights legislation off of the agenda he carried each of the eleven former Confederate states in each of his four presidential election victories.

          • MBlanc46

            My guess is that the corporate elite will retake control of the Repubs. It will be interesting to see how the populists, anti-immigrationists, and anti-globalizers will react to that.

            I’m afraid that the Dems that you yearn for is long gone, John, as long dead as my trade-union, New Dealer grandfather.

    • Jackryanvb

      We had lots of very successful populist, socialist Pro White leaders in past times -Huey Long and Father Coughlan, Pat Buchananwas having similar success.

      Libertarianism, economic Conservatism, support the rich trickle down economics, this simply doesn’t sell to’poor and working class Whites.

  • IstvanIN

    Why should any Dane be deprived of pork in any form? To Hades with the muslims.

  • DailyKenn

    Socialists? Right-wing?

  • Oh dear lord! Socialism!? Well that’s just Communism right there. Someone alert White Nationalist Command, we’ve got commies in sight.

    While I don’t like the detachment from blunt race-based nationalism, I do have to say that the European Nationalists are so much more sophisticated and multidimensional than their American counterparts. They adapt much more quickly and aren’t as easily neutered by ideas that might crisscross the whole Left/Right landscape.

    • politically minded americans have been molded and shaped and programmed to respond to word associations. They see certain words in print and these patterns provoke mindless, automatic responses.

      99 percent of politically aware americans seem incapable of discussing political ideas on a fundamental level and instead simply regurgitate programmed talking points.

      • zanegray

        Ideas easily surge over Europe.

        The distance from London to say Milan is only 600 miles yet a straight line between the 2 cities passes through several countries.

        By contrast distances across the US are far greater and people in one
        state may have no particular interest in the views of those 1500 miles

        It could be this leads to the difference between Europe and the US as far as political ideas are concerned.

        But unrest is stirring on both continents.

        • I’ve often said that the logistics involved here in the US is a huge factor that has discouraged the “right” people from getting together and affecting positive growth.

          I don’t know why, but it always seems like when you find a few people that are on the same page, they just so happen to be hundreds and thousands of miles apart. By the time you bridge that thousand(s) mile gap, you’ve usually expended so much time, energy and money just to initiate the process that any little bump in the road tends to deter you from wanting to go through it again. “Let’s do this again next year” just doesn’t sound like the makings of a good movement.

          There’s a lot more involved to the stunted growth of American Nationalism, but the logistics does play a key role.

  • MBlanc46

    “The platform of France’s National Front promotes traditional right-wing
    causes like law and order and tight controls on immigration but reads in
    parts like a leftist manifesto. It accuses “big bosses” of promoting
    open borders so they can import cheap labor to drive down wages. It
    rails against globalization as a threat to French language and culture,
    and it opposes any rise in the retirement age or cuts in pensions.”

    The horror! They oppose the importation of cheap labor and globalization. I say, “Vive Marine!”

  • rowingfool

    Well put, Dr. X.

  • NoMosqueHere

    Hitler and the Nazis are to blame for the self hatred of European whites. Normal, decent whites are repelled by Nazism, particularly its barbarism and genocide. It set back the white race 100 years, and Germany will never fully restore its national reputation.

  • WR_the_realist

    Any party feared by the New York Times and its innumerable mainstream media allies can’t be all bad. After all, they want us to keep up the sham of democracy by continuing to choose between a Democrat and a Republican who, once in office, will do exactly the same thing.

  • The anti-globalists are being dishonest with themselves because international trade is a given. That djinni isn’t going back into its bottle. Even European exploration of the Americas was motivated by the desire for trade, so this phenomenon isn’t exactly new. The “Occupy” movement is really just saying that they want the welfare/nanny state to be the only rapacious predator around, and not have to compete with corporations who’s main interest is producing profits for their stock shareholders.

    I’d much rather deal with people who want to make money than with folks who tell me they should control my life “for my own good”.

    • MBlanc46

      International trade is one thing. Borders completely open to the flow of capital, labor, and goods is quite another.

  • Epiminondas

    In order for socialism to work, it must be confined within nation states with controlled borders. Hence, “national” socialism instead of leftist globalism.

    • Terra Magnum Imperium

      I think the IQ of the population is a factor, High IQ Societies like Germany and Norway have generous Social Welfare programs and are Wealthy. I have said in the past the USA is too Diverse for the Welfare State to work and the Declining IQ probably doesn’t help either.

  • MBlanc46

    The Left/Right binary is very unsuitable for classifying social and political movements. While I wouldn’t count myself a racial nationalist exactly, racial nationalism surely crosses whatever boundary Left/Right draws.

    • I always used a two-axis political image. Left-right and also liberty-statist. I suppose we could also make this three-dimensional.

      • MBlanc46

        It’s the standard model, all right. Most issues can be be reduced to a for/against binary (even though that’s often pretty crude), but it’s not likely that, say, 100 people will come down on the same side on, say, ten issues, or even that they’ll split 50-50.

  • JohnEngelman

    They were pandering to their base, rather than their financial contributors.

  • frederickdixon

    Good analysis

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    Indeed, that was my experience, that is why a good lawyer can save you a LOT of trouble that will follow you while the real culprit, or jackass escapes the consequences of wronging others. Therefore I agree with you.

  • Northern American-Nationalist

    “They are politically incorrect and are not accepted by many as part of
    the mainstream,” he added. “But if you have support from 20 percent of
    the public, you are mainstream.”

    hahahaha . . . BINGO.

  • Northern American-Nationalist

    This is actually the fairest article I’ve ever read on this subject come from The New York Times; of course, the author only seems to be able to stomach interviewing Social Democrats for opinions, but kudos to Andrew Higgins all the same! It must be because the parties in question generally are economically left-wing. haha

  • Paleoconn

    Didn’t the Jobbik party recently say Islam is the future? Perhaps the left can accept them now. Nah, anti-Semitism trumps pro-Muslimism. Muslims-Jews would be an interesting clash.