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.


Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

“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