The Fall and Rise of AfD: Windows of Opportunity and Political Culture.

Dr. André Haller analyses the ideological evolution of Alternative for Germany (AfD) and its communicative strategy, the role played by the so called ‘refugees crisis’, and the possibility for right-wing populism to finally thrive in Germany, immune to right-wing populist Pied Pipers since the aftermath of World War II.


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Three Lessons From Contemporary Populism

2015 seemed like the perfect year for populist actors. All over the world more or less populist discourses were spread among the public opinion. In 2016 the diffusion of populism reached new and unexpected peaks. What changed in the diffusion and perception of populism? Essentially, there are three lessons we can learn. Continue reading

Donald Trump: the Perfect President for the Divided States of Europe?

On March 13th the elections in three German regions brought once again on the table a fundamental question about Europe: will we be able to overcome our fears and open our political-economic project also to those that so far have been excluded? Or will we rather entrench ourselves in our fortress?

It is time to define our collective identity. And it is time to consider that the way we are doing it now will be marked in history books as one of the biggest European shames.

In other words: let’s imagine that we have to elect a supreme leader for Europe in 2017. Let’s assume Donald Trump would participate. Would he win the elections? Continue reading

Why Scandals are vital in Populist Communication

shengen nein

SVP poster against Schengen, 2006. Security and freedom would get lost if Switzerland remains in the Schengen area.

Today Dr. André Haller explores a peculiar populist communication strategy: self-scandalization. While he keeps updating POP about the controversial positions of the anti-Muslim group PEGIDA, he also explains us how populist parties and movement create, exploits and take advantage of manufactured political scandals.

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“The worst intellectual instigator since Goebbels!”

André Haller

Dr. André Haller

This is the first article of a series about PEGIDA’s controversial messages. It is written by Dr. André Haller, who works at the Institute for Communication Science at University of Bamberg, Germany.

He will follow for POP the activities and communication strategies of PEGIDA. For an overview about the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, see his article published in November 2015. Continue reading

The new German “Wutbürger” – A short history of PEGIDA

POP will not write anything about the attacks in Paris. Jacobin magazine published a very important article about the politicization of these events, asking – among other considerations – why a similar attack in Beirut originated very different reactions.

André Haller

Dr. André Haller

For the moment POP inaugurates a PEGIDA-related series of articles written by Dr. André Haller, who works at the Institute for Communication Science of the Bamberg University, Germany. His research interests include self-scandalization in the media, electoral campaign communication, and data driven journalism.

Even if it might seem tactless to mention something that is not #Paris, talking about PEGIDA and its historical development means casting a sideways glance on those events: when Islamic terrorism looks in the mirror, in fact, the image of a patriot against the Islamization of the West appears.

Dr. Haller introduces the basic aspects of the movement “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident”, and he will periodically send updates about the controversial utterances of PEGIDA’s leaders and members. In order to understand Paris and Beirut, the debate about the migrants and the barbed wires, the bombings on Raqqa and the role of Russia in Syria, one should look carefully at the story and development of a movement which is the result of the current Zeitgeist: PEGIDA. Continue reading

#HenrietteReker – Something is rotting in Germany (and we are not talking about Volkswagen)

Election Poster 2015

Election Poster 2015

Saturday 18th October 2015, Henriette Reker – a mayor-candidate of Cologne – was stabbed several times during a pre-election party. Reker was not only an independent – yet very promising – candidate but she also used to be in charge of the local accommodation of refugees in Cologne. Even though she and four other persons got severely injured, she won the election the next day.

So what’s the story behind the attack? The offender claims Reker’s refugee policy to be the cause: “By killing her, I wanted to do Germany a favor”. Now we know that his motives were xenophobic, and that he was connected to a – nowadays forbidden – right-wing extremist organization called Liberal German Worker’s Party[1].

An attempted murder motivated by someone’s refugee policy must be a meaningful wake-up call for Germany. So far, this gesture remained an isolated incident. However it is very important to ask: how did we come to this? Continue reading

Zombies in Fortress Europe: the migrants as a metaphor

Lega Nord _ Abbiamo fermato l'inavsione (We stopped the invasion)

Lega Nord _ Abbiamo fermato l’inavsione (We stopped the invasion)

“In its contemporary manifestations, the migrant figure has been imagined variously as a mechanical, animalistic, spectral, zombified, vampiric or cyborg entity”

   Nikos Papastergiadis

The frame used by politicians and mass media to describe migrants and refugees recalls the tradition of horror movies. A devilish, dangerous, elusive and relentless presence threatens the borders. They come from the sea.

Zombies.

A shapeless horde, a scary multitude.

The zombies are what we do not (want to) understand. They are the American Indians, the slum dwellers, the colonized, Iraqis and Afghans, Eritreans. They are the by-product of an (internal and external) Apartheid imposed by relationships of strength.

The doors of the fortress (or hotspots) are the critical junctures of the system, the crumbling bastions of a civilization under siege: Melilla, Lesbo, Ventimiglia, Calais, Budapest, the Eurotunnel, Lampedusa. Between land and water, the entrance to “heaven” is strewn with rotting corpses, and the stench goes straight to the nostrils of all. Continue reading

Crisis of a midsummer night

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

This blog wants to show also the paradoxical, extreme, funny, and soft aspects of complex political phenomena.

This is why, if one is prepared to cast an amused look to the Greek crisis, this link is phenomenal:

http://www.random-austerity-measure-generator.com/#

You can generate your random austerity measures from the comfort of your hammock.

random austerity varoufakis

Another aspect of this grotesque situation, is the controversial reply of Angela Merkel to a fourteen-year-old refugee. Merkel, accused of having humiliated Tsipras, had then to face the critiques for her reply to the young girl. I found the critiques to Merkel out of focus. She has not been mean. She has not been hypocritical. She just defended her policies on migration. She told the young Palestinian that Germany cannot host all the migrants. She did not make an exception for electoral purposes, even if that would have been easy. She didn’t say: we don’t want migrants, but since you’re here, in front of me, and you’re cute, and you’re crying, I will make an exception and let you come with your family. One can argue that the German policy about migrants is wrong, but not that Merkel has been mean. Here a good analysis of the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/merkel-and-the-crying-girl-five-lessons

 In case you didn’t see it yet, you can judge by yourself: 

POP goes on holidays for a while. The last suggestion for now is to read this interesting article from The Telegraph. The title is self-explanatory: Republican race has the flavour of ‘populism on crack’.

Here you go: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/11734022/Republican-race-has-the-flavour-of-populism-on-crack.html

Have a good summer folks.

“When libertarian sentiments take a populist form, it looks like this: a mix of anger, fear, anti-intellectualism, and fierce government hostility. Welcome to the Tea Party movement.”
David Niose, Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason

How German right-wing parties always sabotage themselves: the example of AfD

Bild_TWolfTanja Wolf is the author of this post for POP. Her research interests concern the right-wing parties in Europe as well as right-wing populism and extremism. She also studies left-wing propaganda, especially in former socialist or communist states. She works at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg, Germany.

In this article she investigates the case of Alternative für Deutschland and its peculiarity when compared with traditional right-wing parties in Germany.

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