Hate-baiting: The radical right and “fifth column discourse”

Matthew Feldman

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Modern politics relies enormously upon shaping ‘the message’ toward targeted constituencies. Whether it’s Labour’s ‘Controls on Immigration’ or the Tories’ ‘blue-collar cabinet’ on either side of the recent 2015 General Election in Britain, reaching beyond a core ‘base’ of activists is now widely recognised as a key ingredient to political success. Whilst being ‘on message’ can be seen to be problematic for all political movements and organisations, it has special challenges for radical right movements. This short article presents a survey of some of the issues at play in terms of the post-war radical right, before focussing on two ‘doublespeak’ tactics – namely ‘metonymy’ and ‘inversion’ – as they are exemplified in the LaRouche organisation, deriving its name from the American political activist Lyndon LaRouche. There are a number of aspects are touched upon in this context, although discussion will be largely placed upon ‘coded’ anti-Semitic rhetoric since 1945, as well as postwar denial of the Holocaust. This overview argues, above all, that the variegated forces of ethno-nationalism have found novel and innovative ways to adapt in, and to, the 21st century. Indeed, the modes of expression employed in the process of re-framing radical right politics – often leading to the development of public messages that differ markedly to ‘backstage’ ideas – is an increasingly important area for scholarly enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
JournalThe Journal of Political Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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