Theater of Cruelty

The new right wing's historical development and network

Fascists in sheep's clothing? The identitarian movement, the New Right and right-wing radicalism in the 21st century
Forfatter: Mathias Hee Pedersen
Forlag: Baggrund (Danmark)
FASCISM / In his extensive studies, Hee Pedersen has mapped the political currents of the right wing with a focus on ethnicity and brought them into a historical context


In the American satirical science fiction film Don't look Up (2021), scientists have discovered a larger celestial body, which is heading towards our Earth. The researchers are alarming the public and the politicians. But the authorities and the population cannot maintain a focus on the life-threatening event.

The film's barely concealed parallel to the international community's handling of climate change can probably also apply to other risks, where the consequences are not seriously triggered within a short time.

Climate and biodiversity top the list of global risks.

Using traditional analysis methods, the Global Risk Report 2022 provided background material for the global Establishment's traditional annual conference in the World Economic Forum in Davos. Once again, climate and biodiversity top the list of global risks. And now also with the pandemic among the top-ranked risks.

But even if the report identifies the risk of eroding the cohesion of society, the danger of the spread of Det Nye Højre's authoritarian forms of governance – including ethnic marginalization or cleansing – is not mentioned.

Right-wing radicalism

The examples are otherwise legion in a large number of countries. For example, the New Right in France prepared for the presidential election this spring. To Danmarks Radio, the French right-wing candidate Eric Zemmour said about Denmark: "The great people in the small country defend themselves excellently". Zemmour – whose political party is called Reconquête (reconquest) – was particularly happy with Denmark's line in relation to, among other things, "repatriation of illegal immigrants, limitation of social benefits and limitation of residents with an immigrant background in social housing". The same Zemmour is also a big proponent of "The great change", which was originally formulated by the political scientist Renaud Camus in the book The Great Replacement (2012)

The New Right's ideological thoughts and ideas are underexposed. This is the background for the philosopher and historian of ideas Mathias Hee Pedersen's publication of a comprehensive analysis of various positions on the right wing. It happens with the book Fascists in sheep's clothing? The identitarian movement, the New Right and right-wing radicalism in the 21st century. The huge work (448 pages, including 838 notes) provides an invaluable contribution to elucidating the ideological material behind the new right wing's historical development and network with, among others, a backdrop of references to dark chapters in European history in the 20th century. But how do we distinguish in the political debate between traditional conservatives and the new right-wing movements in all their diversity?

Guido Kuehn

Risks are a condition of life, but challenges within the environment, pandemics and migrations have in these years had dynamic effects on democracy, often triggered and made visible by specific incidents. With Trumps election victory the world became familiar with the Alt-right movement (Alternative Right with Richard B. Spencer as advocate). And after Trump's election defeat, there was an attack on Congress with the warm-up at the "Save America Rally" and Trump's appeal speech to the participating protesters. The events appear today as events with built-in incentives not least for the right-wing movement in a somewhat powerless and uncertain Europe – and thus provide fuel for the dissolution of existing institutions and the "State of the World" narrative.

The identitarian movement

In his extensive studies, Hee Pedersen has mapped the political currents of the right wing with a focus on ethnicity and brought them into a historical context, whether it concerns a specific event or the contributions or manifestations of individuals. A somewhat motley picture emerges, where not least a clear demarcation or an overlap in relation to Nazism and fascism is highlighted. In the attempt to create an overview, Hee Pedersen distinguishes between three general tendencies: The Conservative Revolution, The Traditionalist School and The New Left.

In continuation of the historical events of the fall of the Wall and 9-11, the establishment of Generation Identitarian (France, 2002) central to the development of Det Nye Right. Generation Identitær is a branch of the pan-European movement with the Austrian Martin Sellner as advocate and with a background in a neo-fascist milieu. The French Generation Identitaire is a European counterpart to the American Alt Right movement.

the identitarianismn has in recent times developed among the central players in the movement Unité Radicale (1998). The ideological thinking has, among other things, included neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that Jews control the world behind the scenes.

Further back in time, the identitarian movement can be seen directly as an extension of the Nouvelle Droit (The New Right) which is otherwise similar to the New left can be traced back to 1968. During the period, the far right was inspired by ideological battles between Alain de Benoist (1943-) and Guillaume Faye (1949-2019). But Southern Europe has had to deal with small groups of neo-Nazis and neo-fascists throughout the entire period since the Second World War.

Mathias Hee Pedersen

The peculiarity of fascism

Hee Pedersen's reference regarding the nature of fascism, the historian Roger Griffin, characterizes Det Nye Højre's entire ideology as "palingenetic ultranationalism". Herein lies the fact that an ethnically homogeneous people must purposefully work on rebirth stories to save society from immigration. Fascismn constitutes nourishment against the spiritual emptiness with a decadence, which is grounded in modernity and materialism. The longing reaches out for eternal virtues such as aristocracy, hierarchy, order and honor.

Fascism provides nourishment against the spiritual emptiness with a decadence, which is grounded in modernity and materialism.

In the extensive literature (Umberto Eco, Slavoj Zizek, Trotsky and others), which has tried to reach a mapping and understanding of the nature of fascism, Hee Pedersen chooses to frame his position on the character of the right-wing movements based on Roger Griffin's definition of fascism, which i.a. reads: "the hallmark of the fascist mentality is to be at the breaking point between two ages and to be on the front line in the battle to overcome degeneration through the creation of a rejuvenated national community."

Fascism will "embrace" class society and the simultaneous chaotic crisis by emphasizing the necessity of a unifying national identity. In another context, Hee Pedersen substantiates this with the following: "Fascism was a revolutionary conservative response to a problem formulated by the left wing. According to the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, such a resolution of class conflict can only succeed with the constant 'presence' of an external enemy, which only the fascist party can defeat".

The political right-wing forces have historically been characterized by not using violence, or at all appearing militant in their entire performance. Where Guillaume Faye maintained traditional fascist positions, Alain de Benoist – and as a characteristic of the New Right – introduced a so-called "metapolitics", i.e. focusing on the cultural norms, narratives and values, which set the framework for the political debate .

Lagator's wound


Hee Pedersen's study of the history of ideas makes a topical contribution to answering why and specifically, how Det Nye Højre's ideas have been able to be established in the public conversation, first on the right wing, but increasingly also across the political centre.

In addition, it can be noted that in Denmark Det Nye Højre has succeeded in getting a Danish withdrawal from international conventions enacted in such a way that the issue continues to be part of the ongoing political debate. These are the UN Refugee Convention, the Stateless Persons Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. Today, Martin Henriksen (former Danish People's Party) talks about "the big change" and Pernille Vermund (Nye Borgerlige) wants the immigrant issue solved from the ground up.


The New Right

Conversations on Det Nye Højre's runway half involve an introduction to underground concepts ranging from "ethnopluralism, criticism of universalism and metapolitics over anti-feminism, aristocratic war mentality and divinely eternal value hierarchies, to quasi-scientific racist theories, conspiratorial anti-Semitism, and the by now so familiar prophecies about population replacement, ethnic civil war scenarios, patriarchal myths of rebirth, and the imminent demise of the decadent, nihilistic liberal world order. In short, the reader is offered an orgiastic cornucopia of hyperreal machismo and heroic phantasms, where women and common sense play a particularly overbearing duck violin. (Thomas Stück)
Niels Johan Juhl-Nielsen
Niels Johan Juhl-Nielsen
Juhl-Nielsen resides in Copenhagen.

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