Primarily focused on recent trends in Western Europe, this article examines a range of phenomena that fall under the label “far right”. It problematizes this slippery term before surveying recent developments in the diverse range of political parties, from the United Kingdom Independence Party to Jobbik, identifying a broad trend toward such parties achieving greater electoral success by moderating extremist elements. Following this, it highlights the complex relationships found between what are often dubbed “populist” far right political parties and other, more “extreme” forms of activity. Finally, it identifies three major “narratives” found in more extreme far right movements in Europe: neo-Nazi, New Right and anti-Muslim. It asserts that movements animated by such agendas do impact far right political parties. It also stresses academic debate needs to engage with figures outside academia, to create new solutions to the issues raised by variegated forms of far right activity.
This article will survey the transnational dynamics of the World Union of National Socialists (wuns), from its foundation in 1962 to the present day. It will examine a wide range of materials generated by the organisation, including its foundational document, the Cotswolds Declaration, as well as membership application details, wuns bulletins, related magazines such as Stormtrooper, and its intellectual journals, National Socialist World and The National Socialist. By analysing material from affiliated organisations, it will also consider how the network was able to foster contrasting relationships with sympathetic groups in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, allowing other leading neo-Nazis, such as Colin Jordan, to develop a wider role internationally. The author argues that the neo-Nazi network reached its height in the mid to late 1960s, and also highlights how, in more recent times, the wuns has taken on a new role as an evocative ‘story’ in neo-Nazi history. This process of ‘accumulative extremism’, inventing a new tradition within the neo-Nazi movement, is important to recognise, as it helps us understand the self-mythologizing nature of neo-Nazi and wider neo-fascist cultures. Therefore, despite failing in its ambitions of creating a Nazi-inspired new global order, the lasting significance of the wuns has been its ability to inspire newer transnational aspirations among neo-Nazis and neo-fascists.
This chapter draws on theoretical debates within fascism studies, and uses Colin Campbell’s concept of the cultic milieu, to analyse British and American forms of neo-Nazi conspiracy theories. After examining how Nazi conspiracy theories were constructed in Hitler’s Main Kampf, as well as by fringe groups supportive of Nazism such as the Imperial Fascist League, the chapter focuses on their role in 1960s forms of neo-Nazism, such as the Wold Union of National Socialists, and in the ideas of key figures such as George Lincoln Rockwell and Colin Jordan. It then examines how they developed in American Christian Identity literature, as well as in the ideas of William Pierce and David Lane. British examples discussed include the League of St George, Nick Griffin and Combat 18. The chapter concludes by arguing that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are used widely in neo-Nazi contexts to evoke a sense of faith in a higher cause, and to frame activism as an oppositional and revolutionary alternative to mainstream worldviews.