The Two Faces of Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western EuropeAuthor(s): Hans-Georg BetzSource: The Review of Politics, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 663-685Published by: Cambridge University Press for the University of Notre Dame du lac on behalf of Review ofPoliticsStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1407611 .Accessed: 19/03/2011 04:54Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at .http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=cup. .Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Cambridge University Press and University of Notre Dame du lac on behalf of Review of Politics are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Review of Politics.http://www.jstor.org
The Two Faces of Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe Hans-Georg Betz During the past several years, radicalright-wing populist parties have madeimpressive electoralgains in a growing number of West Europeancountries. Theirdramatic surge to political prominence has obscured the fact that these partieshardly form a homogeneous party group. Generally, it is possible to distinguishbetween neo-liberal and national populist parties. Both types of parties are aresponse to the profound economic, social, and cultural transformation of ad-vanced societies interpretedas a transitionfromindustrialwelfare to postindustrialindividualized capitalism. National populist parties are primarily working-classparties which espouse a radically xenophobic and authoritarianprogram. Neo-liberal parties appeal to a mixed social constituency and tend to stress the market-oriented, libertarianelements of theirprogram over xenophobic ones. Ratherthanbeing mere short-lived protest phenomena, radicalright-wing populist parties area reflection and expression of new political conflicts created by the transition topostindustrial capitalism. Politics in the advanced democracies of Western Europe isgoing through a period of profound transformation, which haslargely been the result of marked changes in the relationshipbetween parties and voters. Growing access to higher education,an overabundance of information, and the disintegration of tradi-tional subcultures have contributed to a progressive dissolution oftraditional party loyalties. Instead of following the lead of politicalelites, voters increasingly vote on issues and "shop around" for thebest political deal. In most Western democracies there has been aconsiderable increase of floating voters as well as a rising numberof voters dissatisfied with the limited arrayof political choices. Theresult has been a significant rise in voter abstention and blank orinvalid votes, and the emergence of new political formations. In the 1970s and 1980s, the most significant new politicalformations were new social movements and Green and other left-libertarianparties. Since the late 1980s, a growing number of WestEuropean democracies have come under pressure from radical 663
664 THE REVIEWOF POLITICS Iright-wing populist parties. Although hardly new to the politicallandscape of West European democracies, their recent explosivegrowth in a number of countries has made them the most signifi-cant political challenge to the political establishment and consen-sus in Western Europe. In recent years radical right-wing populistparties have made significant political gains in Scandinavia (theDanish and Norwegian Progress Parties and the Swedish NewDemocracy party), Austria (the Freedom party), Germany (theRepublikaner), and Switzerland (the Automobile party and theTessin League), in Belgium (the Flemish Block) and France (theNational Front),as well as in Italy(theLombard/Northern League).Radicalright-wing populist parties tend to distinguish themselvesby their radical rejection of the established socio-cultural andsociopolitical system, their pronounced advocacy of individualachievement, a free marketplace,and drasticrestrictionsof the roleof the state; their rejection of individual and social equality, theiropposition to the social integrationof marginalized groups and theextension of democratic rights to them, and their promotion ofxenophobia, if not overt racism;theirpopulist instrumentalizationof diffuse public sentiments of anxiety, envy, resentment, anddisenchantment, and their appeal to the allegedly superior com-mon sense of the common people against the dominant culturaland political consensus. In short, they seek to combine a classicalliberal interpretationof the role of the individual and the economywith select topoi of the sociopolitical agenda of the traditionalextreme and recent new right and deliver it to those disenchantedwith their life chances and the sociopolitical status quo in general. At least three developments account for the rapid diffusionand increasing acceptance of radicalright-wing populism in West-ern Europe. Western Europe is in the midst of a political revolu-tion, which appears to have caught the established political partieslargely unprepared. Having provoked voter disenchantment inlarge part themselves, the established political parties have lostmuch of the publics confidence in their capability and willingnessto execute genuine reforms.Thisvoter disenchantment stems fromthe established parties inability to respond to the consequences ofthe profound socio-economic and socio-cultural transformation 1. Hans-Georg Betz, "PoliticalConflictin the Postmodem Age: RadicalRight-Wing Populist Partiesin Europe,"Current PoliticsandEconomics Europe (1990): of 167-83.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 665investing Western Europe. This transformation is perhaps bestcharacterized as a transition from industrial welfare capitalism topostindustrial individualized capitalism. The ensuing accelera-tion of individualizion and social fragmentation has provoked awave of individual, regional, and national egoism, reflected in thepolitical discourse of radical right-wing populist parties. Takingadvantage of a sociopolitical climate of anxiety and resentment,they present themselves as "catch-all parties of protest."2How-ever, their political programs show marked differences both interms of political objectives and demands and the importanceaccorded to them. Whereas some parties pursue a predominantlyneo-liberal-libertarianstrategy, others pursue a primarily nation-alist-authoritarianone. A radical right-wing populist partys choice of strategy de-pends crucially on which social groups it is able to attract.That, inturn, depends in large part on the response of the establishedparties to the challenge posed by the transition to individualizedpostindustrial capitalism. In order to demonstrate the usefulnessof this model, the following analysis focuses on four prominentparties-the Italian Lega Nord, the Belgian Vlaams Blok, theAustrian FPO, and the German Republikaner. Evolutionand ElectoralGainsTHELEGANORD "Iam the savior of Italy."With this bold claim Umberto Bossi,the undisputed leader of the Lega Nord, presented himself beforethe 1992 parliamentary elections to the Italian voters. Two weekslater, his party emerged with almost 9 percent of the popular voteas the fourth largest political force in Italy, a result which markeda turning point in postwar Italian politics. Despite the fact that bynow the Lega is closely identified with Umberto Bossi, he had littleto do with the origins of the leagues. The first regionalist leaguesemerged in the Veneto in the late 1970s and scored moderate gainsin the 1983 parliamentary election.3 However, their success wassoon eclipsed by the rapid rise of Bossis Lega Lombarda. 2. Thomas Childers, "TheSocial Bases of the National Socialist Vote,"Journalof Contemporary History11 (1976):25. 3. Ilvo Diamanti, "Lamia patriae il Veneto. I valori e la proposta politica delleleghe," Polis 6 (1992):225-55.
666666 THE REVIEWOF POLITICS THE REVIEW OF POLITICS Umberto Bossi founded the Lega Lombarda in 1984 in therichest of the northern regions of Italy.4Promoting Lombardianregional autonomy, the Lega had its first significant politicalsuccess in the national elections of 1987, which started its rise topolitical dominance first in Lombardy,then throughout the north.The Lega received national recognition in the 1990 regional elec-tions, where it scored 18.9percent of the vote in Lombardy,and the1991 local elections in the city of Brescia, from which the partyemerged with 24.4 percent as the largest party ahead of theChristian Democrats. After this success, Bossi united the mostimportant regional leagues in the north into the Lega Nord, withthe objective of extending the party throughout Italy. However,the 1992 electoral success was confined almost exclusively to therich North. There the party was well on its way to dislodging theChristian Democrats as the dominant political party as shown byits electoral successes in the local elections in Varese, Monza and anumber of smaller communities in December 1992. These suc-cesses paved the way for the Legas electoral triumph in the localelections in Milan in June 1993, where it received more than 40percent of the vote and elected Marco Formentini mayor.THEFPO Compared to the Lega Nord, the Austrian Freedom party(FPO) has been part of the Austrian party system for most of thepost-war period. Founded in 1955 the FPO succeeded the Leagueof Independents (VdU) which had been formed in 1949. The VdUwas an attempt to challenge the consociational type of democracyestablished by the elites representing the Christian-conservativeand socialist subcultures. When the practice of consociationalismproved too strong for a "third force" to establish itself as a viablealternative to the two majorparties the VdU quickly fell apart. Itsremnants formed the FPO,whose national program soon attractedformer Nazis and German-nationalists. Central to the FPOs na- 4. Daniele Vimercati, I Lombardi nuova crociata,(Milan: Mursia, 1990); allaVittorio Moioli, IItarlodelleleghe(Trezzo sullAdda: Comedit2000,1991);UmbertoBossi with Daniele Vimercati, Ventodal nord(Milan:Sperling and Kupfer, 1992);Ilvo Diamanti, La Lega:Geografia, storia e sociologiadi un nuovo soggettopolitico(Rome: Donzelli Editore, 1993).
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 667tional program was the rejection of Austria as a separate nation.Instead the FPO contended that the Austrians were part of theGerman Kulturnationwithout, however, questioning Austriasstatus as a separate, but German state.5With growing distance tothe Nazi period the leadership began to strengthen its commitmentto liberalism. Particularlythe coalition with the Austrian Socialists(1983-1986)"was seen as a success of the emphasis of liberalismand the deemphasis of Germannationalism.""6 However, by 1986,growing dissatisfaction with the party leadership and a dramaticdecline in voter appeal led a number of the partys rank and file toopen dissent. The opposition was led by J6rg Haider, the chairman of thepowerful and strongly German-nationalistCarinthianparty orga-nization.7A dynamic speaker with strong ties to the partys nation-alist wing, young and telegenic, Haider successfully challengedthe partys liberal leadership. Elected chairmanin September 1986just weeks before the general election, Haider orchestrated asuccessful election campaign which earned the party 9.7 percent ofthe vote. These were followed by a series of successes in stateelections, which gave the FPOseats in state legislatures where theyhad been absent for years, and in the general election of 1990, inwhich the party gained 16.7 percent of the vote. Its successesculminated in the electoral triumph in the 1991 regional election inVienna. With 22.6 percent of the vote the FPOinflicted substantiallosses both to the conservative Austrian Peoples party and theSocialists, who had traditionally dominated the city. Despite thefact that the liberal wing left the FPO in the spring of 1993 and theLiberal International started proceedings to expel the party fromits ranks, the FPOsuccessfully maintained its position as Austriasthird strongest party.8 5. Max E. Riedlsperger, "FPO-Liberal or Nazi?" in Conqueringthe Past: &AustrianNazismToday Tomorrow, F. Parkinson(Detroit:Wayne StateUniver- ed.sity Press, 1989);pp. 259-62; Riedlsperger, "Mit der dritten Kraft in die DritteRepublik, Manuscript, Department of History, California Politechnic State Uni-versity, 1993, pp. 7-15. 6. Anton Pelinka,"AlteRechte,neue Rechtein Osterreich," NeueGesellschaft/ DieFrankfurter Hefte36 (1989):104. 7. Hans-Henning Scharsach, HaidersKampf(Vienna: Orac, 1992); AndreasMolzer, Jdrg!Der Eisbrecher (Vienna:Suxxes, 1990). 8. Max Riedlsperger, "Heil Haider! The Revitalization of the Austrian Free-
668 66 THE REVIEWOF POLITICS TEREIE FOITICSTHEVLAAMSBLOK The year 1991witnessed also the biggest political success so farof the Belgian Vlaams Blok. The Vlaams Blok was founded in 1978by former members of the Flemish regionalist party Volksunie toprotest against the Volksunies support for the Egmontpact, thefirst step toward the transformationof Belgium into a federal state.Accusing the Volksunie of having betrayed the nationalist aspira-tions of the Flemish population, they decided to launch a genuineFlemish nationalist party, the Vlaams Blok.9 Although contesting parliamentary elections since 1978, thepolitical success of the Vlaams Blok remained ratherlimited. In the1978,1981,1985, and 1987 elections the party never received morethan 2 percent of the vote. Its support came largely from thenationalist wing of the Volksunie and sympathizers of right-wing Itextremist Flemish organizations.10 was not until 1988 that theVlaams Blok emerged as a majorpolitical force in the Flemish partof Belgium. In the communal elections the party received almost 18percent in the city of Antwerp. This was arguably due in large partto the growing influence in the party of Filip Dewinter, a youngactivist in a number of right-wing extremist organizations andardent admirer of Jean-MarieLe Pen. Charged with party organi-zation, Dewinter both rejuvenatedthe party leadership and movedits political program away from Flemish nationalism toward rac-ism and right-wing extremism.1 This strategy proved quite attractiveto new voters. Thus in theEuropean elections of 1989, the Vlaams Blok almost tripled itssupport compared to 1984 to 6.6 percent of the vote in Flanders,and gained more than 21 percent in Antwerp. This was enough toreturn Dillen to the European Parliament. Finally in 1991, thedom Party since 1986," Politicsand Societyin Germany, Austriaand Switzerland 4(1992):18-58. 9. See Vlaams Blok, Grondbeginselen, Deume, no date, p. 3; John Fitzmaurice,"The Extreme Right in Belgium: Recent Developments," Parliamentary Affairs45(1992):304-305. 10. ChristopherT. Husbands, "Belgium:Flemish Legions on the March,"inThe ExtremeRight in Europe and the USA, ed. Paul Hainsworth (London: Pinter,1992),pp. 126-50;ChristianVandermottenand JeanVanlaer,"Immigrationet votedextreme-droite en Europe Occidentale et en Belgique," Universite Libre deBruxelles, 1991, p. 5. 11. See Philippe Brewaeys, "De Clan Dewinter," Knack, June 1992, p. 80. 3
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 669Vlaams Blok emerged as the undisputed winner of the parliamen-tary election. With 6.6 percent of the vote overall, and 10.3 percentin Flanders, the party surpassed the Volksunie and was largelyresponsible for the heavy losses of the established political par-ties.12THEREPULIKANER Compared to the dynamic rise of Lega Nord, FPO,and VlaamsBlok the political evolution of the German Republikanerhas beencharacterized by a number of setbacks, which more than oncethreatened to destroy the party.3The Republikanerwere foundedin 1983 by Franz Sch6nhuber together with dissenters of theBavarian Christian Social Union (CSU). As a popular host of aBavariantelevision show Sch6nhuberhad excellent contacts to theCSU. He was part of the Bavarianestablishment until he publishedhis memoirs in which he recounted his days as a member of theWaffen-SSduring World WarII.He was dismissed by the Bavarianbroadcasting service for having presented the Nazi period, andparticularlythe Waffen-SS,in a ratherfavorable light. In response,Sch6nhuber decided to get actively involved in politics. Aftermodest electoral successes in Bavarian state elections the partygained immediate attention in 1989 when it scored 7.5 percent ofthe vote in the state elections in West Berlin.This was followed by7.1 percent in the European elections and the expectation that theRepublikaner might be on their way to become the fifth party toenter the German Bundestag.l4 However, growing disenchantment among its supporters withthe partys call to welcome Germanresettlersfrom EasternEurope 12. MarcSwyngedouw, "HetVlaams Blokin Antwerpen: Een analyse van deverkiezingsuitslagen sinds 1985,"in Extreem rechtsin West-Europa, Hugo De ed.Schampheleire and Yannis Thanassekos (Brussels:VUB-Press,1991), pp. 93-114;Xavier Mabille, Evelyne Lentzen, and Pierre Blaise, Leselectionslegislativesdu 24novembre 1991, Courrier no. hebdomadaire, 1335-36,1991. 13. Uwe Backes, "The West German Republikaner:Profile of a Nationalist,Populist Party of Protest," Patternsof Prejudice (1990):3-18; Eike Hennig, Die 24Republikaner Schatten im Deutschlands (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1991). 14. Dieter Roth, "Sind die Republikaner die fiinfte Partei?"Aus PolitikundZeitgeschichte,B41-42/89, 6 October 1989, pp. 10-20; Franz Urban Pappi, "Die imRepublikaner ParteiensystemderBundesrepublik," Politikund Aus Zeitgeschichte,B21/90, 18 May 1990, pp.37-44.
670 THE REVIEWOF POLITICSand the Soviet Union (to which the large majority was opposed)and above all Sch6nhubers failure to take political advantage ofthe fall of the Wall lost him much support.15Prevented fromparticipating in the first free elections to the East GermanVolkskammer in March 1990 the Republikaner failed to gain afoothold in the new Linder.In response to these negative trendsSch6nhuber sought to improve the partys image by drawing aclear line between the Republikanerand the extreme right, manyof whom had joined the party. Despite strong opposition from thepartys extremist wing and after protracted and vicious internalstruggles Sch6nhuber managed to have his opponents expelledand fill the top of the party leadership with his followers. Although Schonhuber had won the internal power struggle,his and his partys image had been severely tarnished. The resultwas a rapid decline at the polls. After failing to enter the BavarianLandtag in October1990and with 2.1 percent of the vote remainingfarbehind their own expectations in the December general electionthe Republikanerappeared to be politically finished.16 However, inthe 1992 election in the important state of Baden-WurttembergtheRepublikaner received more than 12 percent of the vote, whichmade them the third largest party in one of Germanys mostaffluent states. The local elections in Berlin later that year and thelocal elections in Hesse in the spring of 1993 confirmed theseresults. In both elections the Republikaner received more than 8percent of the vote. With that the Republikanernot only contrib-uted considerably to the disastrous losses of the two majorparties,but also secured their position as the majorparty on the far right inGermanys changing party system. Structural Changes and Their Impact on VotingVOTERDISENCHANTMENT What explains the dramatic gains of radical right-wing popu-list parties within a relative short time period in Italy, Austria, 15. Hans-Georg Betz, "Politics of Resentment: Right-Wing Radicalism inWest Germany,"Comparative Politics22 (1990):54-55. 16. Dieter Roth, "Die Republikaner:Schneller Aufstieg und tiefer Fall einerProtestpartei am rechten Rand," Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte,B37-38/90, 14September 1990, pp. 27-39.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 671Belgium, Germany, and elsewhere in Western Europe? The mostimmediate explanation is found in the widespread disaffectionwith politics, growing cynicism toward the established politicalparties, and rapidly dwindling confidence in the political classsability to solve societys most urgent problems. Analyses of surveydata provide ample support for this proposition. In Germany, theproportion of voters who thought parties cared more about votesthan their voters opinions increased from 63 percent in 1980 to 75in 1989.At the same time the number of respondents who thoughtthat politicians were neither interested in what the average personthought nor knew much about it increased from 58 to 81 percent.The situation was similar in Austria and in Italy.17 However, can voter cynicism and disenchantment directlyexplain the dramatic increase in support for radical right-wingpopulist parties? It is certainly the case that their supporters areparticularly disaffected with political parties, politics, and thepolitical process in general. Thus in 1991, 81 percent of the (West)German population, but only 57 percent of Republikanersupport-ers expressed satisfactionwith the state of democracy in Germany;25 percent of the West German public, but only five percent ofRepublikanersupporters expressed trust in political parties. Simi-lar results were obtained in Italy and Austria.18 However, sincedisenchantment and cynicism have become so widespread, radicalright-wing populist supporters differentiate themselves from thesupporters of the established parties primarily by the degree of 17. Fritz Plasser and Peter A. Ulram, "Politisch-kultureller Wandel inOsterreich,"in StaatsbiirgeroderUntertan? Osterreichs PolitischeKulturDeutschlands,und der Schweizim Vergleich, Fritz Plasser and Peter A. Ulram (Frankfurt/ ed.Bere/New York/Paris: Peter Lang, 1991),pp. 113-15;Renato Mannheimer andGiacomo Sani, II mercatoelettorale(Bologna: Il Mulino, 1987), p. 16; RenatoMannheimer, "Gli elettori e simpatizzanti della Lega Lombardadopo le elezionipolitiche del 1992" (Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the AmericanPolitical Science Association, Chicago, 1992). 18. H.-J.Veen, N. Lepszy and P. Mnich, Die Republikaner-Partei Beginnder zu90er ahre,Intere Studien, no. 14/1991-1992 (SanktAugustin: Forschungsinstitutder Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 1992), p. 48; Mannheimer, "Gli elettori esimpatizzanti della Lega Lombarda;"Diamanti, La Lega,pp. 88-89; Plasser andUlram, "Politisch-kultureller Wandel in Osterreich," 114;FritzPlasserand Peter p.A. Ulram, "Uberdehnung, Erosion und rechtspopulistische Reaktion.Wandlungsfaktoren des osterreichischen Parteiensystems im Vergleich,"Osterreichische Politikwissenschaft (1992):147-64. Zeitschriftfiir 21
672 THE REVIEWOF POLITICStheir disenchantment. What needs explanation is thus why, de-spite widespread cynicism, only a relative minority of the generalpublic has yielded to the radical populist rights appeal. Underly-ing the following analysis is the argument that the establishedpolitical parties are increasingly less prepared to respond to thechallenge posed by the economic, social, and cultural transforma-tion of advanced Western democracies. This transformation hascreated winners and losers. When the established political partiesfail to meet their political demands, both groups increasingly turnto new political formations.SOCIALBIFURCATION AND ACCELERATED INDIVIDUALIZATION The contemporary political space of advanced Western de-mocracies is structured by a shift from modern industrial welfarecapitalism to postindustrial individualized capitalism. At leastthree developments account for this shift: the rapid spread anddiffusion of new information technologies which have allowedcompanies to switch from standardized industrial mass manufac-turing to flexible specialization; the expansion of the service sectorwith the creation of new social, cultural,technical, and managerialservices; finally the maturation of the welfare state which increas-ingly dispenses public services rather than transfer payments.19 Despite marked differences in the degree and extent to whichpostindustrial trends have manifested themselves in advancedWestern societies, the patterns are rather similar. Generally thepostindustrialization of society has entailed a bifurcation of thelabor market into highly demanding and attractivejobs and "junk-jobs." In manufacturing, the shift toward flexible specializationhas led to a fragmentation of the labor market into core andperiphery sectors. The core includes flexible, mobile employeeswith advanced levels of formal education and technical training.They enjoy full-time, permanent positions with job security, rela-tively generous benefit packages, and good promotion prospects. 19. Stephen Crook, Jan Pakulski and Malcolm Waters, Postmodernization:Changein AdvancedSociety (London/Newbury Park/New Delhi: SAGE, 1992);G0sta Esping-Andersen, "PostindustrialCleavage Structures:A Comparison ofEvolving Patterns of Social Stratificationin Germany, Sweden and the UnitedStates,"in Labor Partiesin Postindustrial Societies, FrancesFox Piven (New York: ed.Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 147-68.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 673Opposed to them is a growing periphery including both full- andpart-time labor with little or hardly any formal education and/ortechnical training and few prospects for the future. Similartendencies can also be observed in the service sector. Itsexpansion has opened new opportunities for a growing segment of"symbolic specialists" defined as professionals with higher levelsof education either in human- or culture-oriented public sector orpublic sector-dependent services or in business-or finance-ori-ented private sector services. At the same time there has been asignificant growth of "McDonaldized" services which employ anew multi-collar service proletariat performing skill-poor"McJobs."20 Finally, the expansion of the welfare state has led to ageneral expansion of the public sector, both in traditional admin-istrative tasks as well as in the expanding human-oriented ser-vices, which in some countries have increasingly become a domainof female employment. The transformation of the economy and the labor market hassignificant social and political implications. As the diffusion ofsophisticated information-driventechnologies progresses,the needfor un- and semiskilled workers rapidly declines. The "technologi-cal elimination of unskilled and semiskilled jobs means that a greatmany people will be caught in a world of despair, lacking market-able skills or hope for the future."21 Prominent among these groupsare the long-term unemployed, female-headed single householdswith children, foreign workers, and unskilled young people.22 It would be tempting to see in the success of radical right-wingpopulist parties primarily a protest by marginalized groups which 20. Gosta Esping-Andersen, TheThree Worlds Welfare of Capitalism (Princeton:PrincetonUniversity Press, 1990),chap. 8;RobertReich, "Secessionof the Success-ful," New York Times Magazine, 20 January 1991, p. 42; George Ritzer, TheMcDonaldizationof Society (Thousand Oaks/London/New Delhi: Pine ForgePress, 1993);Douglas Adams, Generation Talesforan Accelerated X: Culture(NewYork:St. Martins Press, 1991), p. 5. 21. JeraldHage and CharlesH. Powers, PostindustrialLives: RolesandRelation-shipsin the21st Century(Newbury Park/London/New Delhi:SAGE,1992),pp. 41,55;see also StaffanMarklund, "Structures Modem Poverty,"ActaSociologica of 33(1990): 125-40; Graham J. Room and Bemd Henningsen, Neue Armut in derEuropaischen Gemeinschaft (Frankfurt/New York:Campus, 1990). 22. RainerGeissler, Die Sozialstruktur Deutschlands (Opladen:WestdeutscherVerlag, 1992), pp. 165-93.
674 674THE REVIEWOF POLITICS POLITICS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~society can do largely without.3 However, empirical studies pro-vide little evidence for this view. Thus in 1989, Republikanersupporters were only slightly more likely (26 percent versus 22percent for the general public) to place themselves in the bottomthird of West German society. A similar picture emerges from a1992 survey which tried to find out which groups thought societyno longer needed them. Only 12 percent of Republikanersupport-ers (compared to 22 percent for the whole population) agreed withthat statement. In fact, with 88 percent, Republikaner supporterswere the most confident of all party supporters that society stillneeded them.24 These results suggest that the inclination to vote forthe radical populist parties might not necessarily be a directresponse to experienced social marginalization, which is still rela-tively limited. It might ratherbe the result of experiences directlyrelated to changes in the workplace. It has been argued that the increase in jobs that call for bettereducation and higher qualificationshas been followed by a markedincrease in the level of professional autonomy and formalegalitari-anism.25 Autonomy and egalitarianism at the workplace, in turn,are important determinants of social and potentially also politicalvalues and preferences:"people in jobs characterizedby consider-able autonomy come to value personal initiative, while people injobs that are narrowly constrained or closely supervised come to Invalue conformity and external authority."26 politics, it can beexpected that those better educated and employed in the highquality sectors of the postindustrial economy are most likely toeschew the largely elite-directed politics of the traditional partiesand to get attracted to political formations which espouse a liber-tarian agenda. On the other hand, those performing narrowlyconstrained or closely supervised tasks, characteristic of tradi-tional "fordist" mass production or the new McDonaldized ser-vices, are most likely to maintain their loyalties to the establishedparties or to get attracted to new political formations which es-pouse an authoritarianagenda. 23.Barbara SchmitterHeisler,"AComparativePerspectiveon theUnderclass,"Theory Society20 (1991):455-83. and 24. See EMNID/Spiegel surveys, 1-18March1989and 24-29November 1992. 25. Crook, Pakulski and Waters, Postmodernization, 176. p. 26. Hage and Powers, PostindustrialLives,p. 65.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 675THERESPONSE THE ESTABLISHED OF POLITICAL PARTIES Socialbifurcationand fragmentationhave given rise to distinctsocial groupings with ratherdivergent politicalexpectations.Thosebetter educated and employed in the human-oriented sectors ofthe public service tend to favor Green and other left-libertarianparties, representing a commitment to egalitarian redistribution,participatorydemocracy, and individual autonomy.27 Those bettereducated and employed in the private service sector can be ex-pected to favor the free market, lower taxes and reduced welfarestate outlays over extended state intervention. Finally those lack-ing human capital and thus most threatened by new moderniza-tion pressures can be expected to favor state intervention and thewelfare state in general, as long as they themselves are the benefi-ciaries. Both groups are a potential constituency for the populistright, depending on the established parties" response to socialchange. During the 1980s, the major established parties in Austria,Belgium, Germany, and Italy have differed markedly in theirresponse to postindustrialization.InGermany,the ChristianDemo-crats began in the early 1980s an open debate on new issues suchas feminism and multiculturalism in order to attractnew middle-class voters. Although this strategy was likely to alienate conserva-tive voters, the presence of a populist BavarianCSU was supposedto ensure that disgruntled voters would remain loyal to the center-right camp. In Belgium, the election of 1981 saw large gains for theFlemish liberals, who managed to attractnew voters by adoptinga pronouncedly neo-liberal agenda, largely at the expense of theChristian Democrats.2 In Austria and Italy, on the other hand, thedominant center-right parties failed largely to adapt to socialchanges and the resulting transformationof electoral competition. 27. Herbert Kitschelt, "New Social Movements and the Decline of PartyOrganization,"in Challenging PoliticalOrder, Russell J.Dalton and Manfred the ed.Kuechler (New York:Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 179-208. 28. Elmar Wiesendahl, "Volksparteien im Abstieg," Aus Politik und B34-35/92, 14 August 1992, pp. 9-14; Christan Vandermotten andZeitgeschichte,Jean Vanlaer, "Partis et elections depuis 1946," Pouvoir 54 (1990): 66; MarcSwyngedouw, Waar voorjewaarden: opkomst Vlaams De van BlokenAgalevin dejarentachtigISPO-schrift1992/1, Leuven, 1992, p. 32.
676 THE REVIEWOF POLITICSInstead of actively pursuing emerging social groups, the center-right parties sought to preserve their traditional clientele.29 Whatever way center-right parties chose to respond to socialmodernization, they could expect to alienate some of their tradi-tional or potential clientele. In those cases where they consciouslysought to attractthe winners of the postindustrialization process,they could expect to alienate those voters who saw themselvesincreasingly left behind on the road to a postindustrial future.Where they appeared paralyzed when confronted with large-scalesocial changes, they could expect to alienate both winners andlosers. Radical right-wing populist parties seeking to exploit voteralienation thus had to appeal to different social groups. This hashad significant consequences for their political programs.THESOCIALBASIS RADICAL OF RIGHT-WING POPULISM A number of studies suggest that there are significant differ-ences between radical right-wing populist parties in terms of thesocial background of their supporters and sympathizers. Someparties appeal primarily to lower-class voters, others to a moreequal distribution of lower and middle-class voters. Generallymale voters predominate among the supporters of all four radicalright-wing populist parties. All four parties also appeal to a signifi-cant portion of young and first-time voters. Republikaner andVlaams Blok voters distinguish themselves by their primarily lowlevels of formal education and training, their predominant work-ing-class status, and their concentration in areas characterizedbya relatively low level of quality of life.3 For example in Berlin andFrankfurtin 1989the Republikanerwere particularlysuccessful in 29. Gianni Statera,Come votano Italiani(Milan:Sperling and Kupfer, 1993), glipp. 102-104;generally, Giorgio Galli, MezzoSecoloDC (Milan:Rizzoli, 1993);FritzPlasser, "Die Nationalratswahl 1986: Analyse und politische Konsequenzen, 42 Monatshefte (1986)8: 26; FritzPlasser and Peter Ulram, "AbstiegOsterreichischeoder letzte Chance der OVP?"Osterreichische Monatshefte (1990)7: 14;Gerfried 46Sperl, "Die Partei unter kraftigen Moderisierungsdruck," Das Parlament,28August 1992, p. 17. 30. Joachim Hofmann-Gottig, "Die Neue Rechte: Die Mannerpartei,"AusPolitikundZeitgeschichteB41-42,6 October1989,p. 26;Ursula Feist, "RechtsruckinBaden-Wurttemberg Schleswig-Holstein," Protestwahler Wahlverweigerer: und in undKriseder Demokratie?, Karl Starzacher,Konrad Schacht, Bemd Friedrich and ed.Thomas Leif (Cologne: Bund, 1992), p. 74. Roth, "Die Republikaner,"p. 35.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 677 Iareas characterizedby a high percentage of persons with not morethan primary education and predominantly working-class statusand deteriorating living (particularlyhousing) conditions. Similardevelopments may also explain the partys significant gains in theindustrial areas of Stuttgart in 1992.31 Like the Republikaner, the Vlaams Blok has increasingly at-tracted working-class voters with lower levels of education, asignificant number of whom come from areas (e.g., in Antwerp)characterizedby deteriorating quality of life, even if the party hasincreasingly also gained ground in middle-class areas.32Thesefindings suggest that Republikaner and Vlaams Blok have estab-lished themselves in new electoral niches, opened up by theprocess of social fragmentation and bifurcation. This process isparticularly pronounced in new service centers like FrankfurtorAntwerp where economic and socio-cultural change has split thecity in two: one dominated by finance, banks, and business ser-vices, by culture, and the new middle classes, and one character-ized by confined living spaces, limited life chances and the con-stant threat of material deprivation.33 The FPO and the Lega Nord appeal to a significantly moreheterogeneous constituency. Particularly the FPO has attractedbetter educated voters, with a significant segment coming from theupwardly mobile middle classes.3 However, the FPOhas increas-ingly also attracted voters with modest levels of education, re-flected in a growing support from skilled and unskilled workers.One study suggests that the FPO gets support from three distinct 31. Hennig, Die Republikaner SchattenDeutschlands, 214-15;Horst W. im pp.Schmollinger, "DieWahl zum Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlinam 29. Januar1989," 20Zeitschriftfur Parlamentsfragen (1989): 319; Feist, "Rechtsruck in Baden-Wurttembergund Schleswig-Holstein," p. 73. 32. Marc Swyngedouw, "Het Vlaams Blok in Antwerpen: Een analyse va deverkiezingsutilagen sinds 1985" in Extreemrechtsin West-Europa, Hugo de ed.Schampheleire and Yannis Thanassekos (Brussels:VUB-Press,1991), pp. 93-114;Swyngedouw, Waarvoorje waarden, 27-28, 36. pp. 33. Hans-GerdJaschke,"Nicht-demokratischepolitische Partizipationin dersozial polarisierten Stadt," in Protestwdhler und Wahlverweigerer, 99; Ronald p.Commers, "Antwerpen:Eine europaische Stadt driftet nach rechts,"in Rassismusin Europa, Christoph Butterwegge and Siegfried Jager (Cologne: Bund, 1993), ed.pp. 135-43. 34. Plasser, "Die Nationalratswahl 1986,"p. 8.
678678 THE REVIEWOF POLITICS THE REVIEW POLITICSsocial groups: younger, upwardly mobile, white-collar workerswho have an above-average level of education and are welfarestate-oriented;the growing segment of dynamic, younger, market-oriented white-collar workers and self-employed people withabove average education; and predominantly skilled, blue-collarprotest voters.35 Similarly the Lega Nord has managed to attractsupport bothfrom blue-collarworkers and the self-employed. Thepercentage ofvoters with higher levels of education has increasingly come toprevail over those with lower levels of education or none at all. Atthe same time, the party has managed to attract voters both informer Christian Democratic areas characterized by a medium-high level of development, and in former Communist areas char-acterized by a low level of development.36 These findings suggest that both FPO and Lega Nord havebeen significantly more successful than their counterparts in Ger-many and Flanders to pursue a catch-all strategy. In view of theLegas rapid rise to dominance in Northern Italy this is hardlysurprising. By contrast,both Republikanerand Vlaams Blok havegone through a process of proletarizationwhich has considerablynarrowed the pool of potential supporters, except in regions andareas with strong working-class presence. What remains to beanalyzed is whether and to what degree the divergent social basesof radical right-wing populism in Western Europe find reflectionin the political programs these parties espouse. Political Program:Neo-liberal and Authoritarian Populism THEPOLITICALFIGHTING CLASS The rise of radical right-wing populism has coincided with aprofound disaffection with established politics. It is hardly sur- 35. Fritz Plasser, Peter A. Ulram and Alfred Grausgruber, "The Decline ofLagerMentality and the New Model of ElectoralCompetition in Austria," WestEuropean Politics15 (1992) 1: 40-41. 36. See Mannheimer, "Gli elettori e simpatizzanti dell Lega Lombarda;"DOXA, "Lanovita delle proiezioni DOXA 92:Il sondaggio all uscita dai seggi,"Bolletino DOXA46,14 April1992;PaoloNatale,"LegaLombarda insediamento della eterritoriale:un analisi ecologica," in La LegaLombarda, Renato Mannheimer ed.(Milan:Feltrinelli,1991),p. 108;Diamanti, LaLega,pp. 98-99;Statera,Comevotanogli Italiani,pp. 62f.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 679prising that the radical populist right has quickly adopted thisissue. They present themselves as the main advocates of theconcerns of ordinary citizens while promoting a fundamentalrenewal of the established order. They owe much of their successto their skillful translationof popular disaffection with politics intopoignant attacks on the palazzo(Lega Nord), its corruption andinefficiency, and against the arrogance of the "political mafia"(Vlaams Blok) who dismiss the views of the common people whileenriching themselves at their expense.37In view of the series ofpolitical scandals which have erupted in Spain, France,Germany,and particularly Italy, these charges are hardly unfounded. In theface of a system sustained by clientilism, favoritism, and close tiesbetween the political class and organized crime, it is hardly sur-prising that Umberto Bossis assertion that only with him Italy willhave "honesty, cleanness, transparency, and above all TRUEDE-MOCRACY"has had growing appeal.3 In addition to charging the established parties with unrespon-siveness and corruption,particularlythe Republikanerand VlaamsBlok accuse them of having sold out the national interest: thebetrayal of Flemish separatism or the sellout of Germaninterests inthe lost Eastern territories. In addition, both parties charge theestablished parties with seeking to establish a multiculturalsocietywhich promotes the extinction of the cultural identity of theindigenous people and threatens their very survival.39NEO-LIBERAL POPULISM If FPOand Lega Nord differ in their analysis of the causes of thecurrent sociopolitical impasse from Republikaner and VlaamsBlok, they also differ from them in terms of the remedies theypropose. For FPO and Lega Nord the remedy lies in a radical neo-liberal program. This program calls for the reduction of some taxesand the outright abolition of others; a drastic curtailing of the roleof the state in the national economy together with large-scaleprivatization of the public sector and particularly the state- 37. Vlaams Blok, "Zeggen u denkt", wat Deume, no date, p. 9. 38. Umberto Bossi in LegaNordCentroSud,no. 62-68,1-7 March1992,pp. 1-2. 39. Die Republikaner Baden-Wiirttemberg: fir Landtagswahlprogramm92,Stuttgart,1992, p. 2; Vlaams Blok, Uit Selfverdediging: 1991, VerkiezingsprogrammaBrussels, 1991.
680 THE REVIEWOF POLITICS I Icontrolled media; a general deregulation of the private sector;anda restructurationand professionalization of the public sector. Themain beneficiaries of these measures should be small and medium-size enterprises. Both parties expect these enterprises to play adominant role in the further development of advanced Westernsocieties, particularly if new technologies allow them to compete Ineffectively with largerenterprises.40 the Italiancase, the Lega hasalso proposed to divide the country into three largely autonomousmacro-regions within a loose Italian federation and even threat-ened with secession. However, with growing success at the pollsand growing charges that the Lega sought separatism rather thanfederalism, Bossi increasingly abandoned the notion of a "North-ern Republic."41AUTHORITARIAN POPULISM Although also Republikanerand Vlaams Blok have cautiouslymoved toward espousing neo-liberal economic principles, theireconomic ideas are of only peripheral significance for their politi-cal program.42 Instead they promote an authoritarian,xenophobicnationalism as a basis for political renewal. This includes a strongemphasis on law and order, a return to traditional values, and anend to the confrontation with the past (the Holocaust in theGerman, collaboration in the Flemish case). In the case of theVlaams Blok this program includes the demand for full indepen-dence for Flanders with Brussels as the capital, recuperation of alllost Flemish territories and unification of all Flemings, and afederation with the Netherlands in a united Europe of regions. Inthe case of the Republikanerit includes the continued questioningof the finality of Germanys territoriallosses in the East.43 most Butimportant, authoritarian nationalism means the promotion ofxenophobia, if not racism. 40. Giulio Savelli, Checosavuolela Lega(Milan:Longanesi and Co., 1992). 41. Bossi with Vimercati,Ventodalnord,chap. 13;Umberto Bossi and Daniele -Vimercati,Larivoluzione LaLega: storiae idee(Milan:Kupferand Sperling, 1993),chap. 4. 42. Die Republikaner fir Baden-Wirttemberg, p. 15; Vlaams Blok, UitZelfverdediging, 25. p. 43. Vlaams Blok,Manifest hetrechtse van Vlaams-nationalisme: Grondbeginselen,Deure, no date, pp. 6-7, 15-16;Die Republikanerifur Baden-Wiirttemberg, 19-20. p.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 681 "Save the welfare state: expel false refugees! Eliminate unem-ployment: stop immigration! Fight against crime: deport foreigncriminals!" These slogans promoted by the Republikaner reflectand express growing concern that the unrestricted influx of East-ern European and especially non-Europeanpolitical and economicrefugees is adding to an already overburdened welfare state,creating unemployment, and augmenting crime rates.44 Both theRepublikaner and the Vlaams Blokhave been quick to exploit theseconcerns to mobilize voters against an alleged "invasion" of eco-nomic refugees. At the same time they have started to appeal tolatent fears that as a result of the growing influx of foreigners,Western Europe will lose its ethnic and national identity. Particu-larly in response to the growing visibility and assertiveness ofMuslims in Western Europeboth parties call on WesternEuropeansocieties to "meet the Muslim challenge" in order to prevent Islamfrom achieving "religiousworld domination."45 order to contain Inand reduce the number of immigrantsboth parties demand drasticadministrative and executive measures including hermeticallyclosing the borders, ports and airports to illegal immigrants, theimmediate eviction of refugees not recognized as political refu-gees, and the eventual return of all immigrants and refugees to Attheir home country.46 the same time they promote pro-familypolicies (e.g.,a strictban on abortion)in order to arrestand reverseWestern Europes demographic decline.BETWEEN THEPOLES: LEGANORDAND FPO Xenophobia and a return to authoritarianvalues play a subor-dinate role in the programmatic conceptions of FPO and LegaNord. In line with their generally libertarian convictions neitherparty has been prepared to endorse restrictinga womans right tohave an abortion.47 situation is different in regard to immigra- The 44. For the Vlaams Blok see Annemans and Dewinter, DossierGasdarbeid; forthe Republikanersee especially Republikanerfiir Baden-Wirttemberg, 4-14. pp. 45. Die Republikaner, "Deutsche Biirger wehrt Euch!" leaflet, 1992; DieRepublikanerfiir Baden-Wirttemberg, 19;for the Vlaams Blok see Filip Dewinter, p. DeImmigratie: Opplossingen, Merksem, no date, pp. 8-9. 46. See Fr6deric Larsen, "En Belgique, lextreme droite sinstalle dans lescoulisses de pouvoir," LeMondeDiplomatique, 455,8 February1992, p. 8. no. 47. FPO, Osterreichpolitisch erneuern:Programmder FreiheitlichenParteiOsterreichs,FBWInformationen,6/89, paragraph 195.
682 THE REVIEWOF POLITICStion. In fact, the Legas initial success stemmed in part from thepartys open hostility toward immigrants from southern Italy.However, Bossis attempt to extend the Lega throughout Italy, ledthe party to drop their anti-Southerndiatribesand focus instead onthe "invasion of blacks and Arabs" which by the late 1980s wasgaining growing attention in Italian society. The Lega called for a"rigorouscontrol of immigration"by allowing only those to immi-grate into Italy who had prove of a job and of housing. However,by 1992, the Lega relegated the question of immigration to themargins of its political program.48 There is, however, a notableexception: like other populist parties the Lega has shown growinghostility to Muslim immigrants, going so far as to brand Islam themain threat to Western civilization.49 In the case of the FPO the development has been reverse.Originally the FPOjustified their opposition to immigration witharguments which resembled those of the Lega. Although Austriahad a duty to show solidarity with the rest of the world, solidaritycould only be guaranteed if immigration remained within reason-able limits. While the FPO recognized the right to asylum, itdemanded strict measures against abuse by economic refugeesand, at least in the case of Vienna, home to a large immigrantpopulation, a complete immigration stop. At the same time, na-tionalists in the party attacked the notion of a multicultural societyin Austria, "theresults of which are not cultural cross-fertilization,but tremendous human misery and large economic damage."50 By1992, the FPO sharpened its tone. The party presented a compre-hensive anti-immigrant program which, in addition to the usualanti-immigrant measures, called for completely halting immigra-tion until a solution had not been found for the growing problemof illegal immigration, lack of housing, and unemployment.51 Withthese demands the FPO was seeking to exploit growing hostility 48. VittorioMoioli, I nuovirazzismi: MiserieefortunedellaLegalombarda(Rome:Edizioni Associate, 1990);"Programmadella Lega Nord," Lombardia Autonomista,5 March 1992, p. 9; Bossi with Vimercati, Ventodal nord,pp. 143-50. 49. See the interview with Umberto Bossi "Meglio gli Usa che i barbari,"IISabato, July 1993,p. 34;and the position of the mayor of Monza, quoted in M. G. 24Cutuli, "Monza:I cento giori che sconvolsero la citta,"Epoca, June 1993,p. 19. 29 50. FPO, Heimatsuche; Andreas Molzer, "Tragodie der Multikultur," NeueFreieZeitung,no. 20, 13 May 1992, p. 7. 51. FPO, Osterreich zuerst,Vienna, 1992.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 683toward foreigners in Austria, even if that meant moving closer tothe extremist end of the political spectrum.EXPLAINING PROGRAMMATIC SHIFTS Surveys suggest that the programmatic shifts of the Lega andthe FPOon immigration came in response to shifts in their electoralbasis. With growing success in northern Italy the Lega Nordexperienced a growing influx of better educated middle-classvoters less likely to support an outrightly xenophobic party. Thisis reflected in polls which indicate the low importance immigra-tion had for Lega supporters. Thus in 1990, 81 percent of Legavoters in Milan said they voted for the Lega out of opposition toinefficiency and bureaucracy in Rome, but only 26 percent todefend Lombardy against an excessive number of immigrants andforeigners. Similarly in 1992, two-thirds of Lega Nord voters saidthat taxes paid in the north should be spent in the region, but only19 percent said they thought non-European immigrants could notintegrate easily because they were different from Italians.52 Whereas the Lega Nord has increasingly appealed to middle-class voters, the FPO has been attractinga growing portion of theblue-collar vote. In the Viennese election, 35 percent of skilledworkers voted FPO; 20 percent of its overall support came fromblue-collar voters. This trend continued in the local elections inGraz in 1993, where the FPO was particularlysuccessful in work-ing-class neighborhoods. At the same time a growing number ofvoters said they voted for the FPO because of its stance on theimmigration question (41 percent in the Viennese election). By theend of 1992, almost three-quartersof FPO supporters agreed withthe partys proposals to reduce the influx of immigrants intoAustria.53 This suggests that the increase in working-class support-ers found expression in a considerable hardening of the FPOsposition on immigration. The defection of the FPOsliberalwing islikely to diminish the partys appeal to middle-class voters, thusmaking it more dependent on working-class support and, with it,on the immigration issue. 52. RenatoMannheimer,"Chivota Lega e perch6,"in LaLega Lombarda, 144; p.RenatoMannheimer,"Glielettori e simpatizzanti della Lega Lombarda,"no page. 53. See Fritz Plasser and Peter A. Ulram, "ExitPoll GRWWien "91,"mimeo,Fessel + GFK Institut, Vienna, 1991; SWS survey, FB288,November/December1992.
684 THE REVIEWOF POLITICS I CONFLICT THEPOSTINDUSTRIALPOLITICAL IN AGE The recent dramatic rise in support for radical right-wingpopulist parties in Western Europe has obscured the fact that theseparties are far from representing a homogeneous phenomenon. Infact it is possible to differentiate between two party families interms of the social basis of their support and their programmaticfocus. National populist parties tend to appeal to voters with lowerlevel of education, working-class status, from areas characterizedby a lower quality of life. Reflecting the anxieties and resentmentsof this clientele, national populist parties tend to emphasize lawand order, traditional moral values, and radical opposition toimmigrantsand refugees. Besides the Republikanerand the VlaamsBlok the only other significant party which belongs to this group isthe French Front National. Neo-liberal populist parties tend to appeal to voters withhigher level of education and mixed social status. Reflecting theaspirations of this clientele these parties tend to stress individual-ism and a market-orientedliberalism while placing less emphasison immigration. The Lega Nord, the Swiss Tessin League, theScandinavian Progress parties and the Swedish New Democracyparty belong to this group. Among those parties which place equalemphasis on both a neo-liberal economic and an anti-immigrantprogram are the FPO and the Swiss Automobile party. The composition of their electoral basis and their program-matic evolution suggest that these parties reflect and respond toemerging postindustrial political conflicts. One such conflict isover the future role of the state. Its main opponents are bettereducated public sector employees in the human-oriented serviceswho support continued state intervention in the economy andstate-sponsored redistributive policies and private sector employ-ees who privilege private initiative and efficiency and seek tocurtail and restrict the role of the state. Politically this conflict pitsGreen and other left-libertarianparties against neo-liberal popu-list parties. In northern Italy, for example, it finds expression bothin the rise of the Lega Nord and the concomitant gains of its left-libertarian counterpart, La Rete (the Net).54 54.See Giulio Savelli,"Eadesso serve una Leganel Centro-Sud,L"Independente,22 June 1993, pp. 1-2.
RADICALRIGHT-WINGPOPULISM 685 A second conflict is over the question of what obligationsociety has to those sectors of the economy which technologicalprogress and global competition threaten with obsolescence. Itsmain opponents are workers and employees in the "sunshinesectors" of the economy, primarily interested in wage increases, ashortening of the work week, and greater autonomy at the workplace and workers threatened by rationalization who seek jobsecurity.55Politically this conflict pits the established politicalparties not only against national populist parties, but potentiallyalso against neo-liberal parties. A third conflict pits advancedagainst more backward regions. Both national and neo-liberalpopulist parties have emerged in some of the most prosperous andaffluent regions of Western Europe, expressing both a new re-gional assertiveness and a growing regional egoism. Importantrepresentatives are the Lega Nord and the Vlaams Blok.56InGermany, the Republikaners German-nationalist programmatichas so far prevented them from exploiting growing conflicts be-tween West and East Germans. Increasing support for politicalparties which appeal to these sentiments portends ratherill for thefuture of European integration. The transformationof advanced West European societies thuscreates profound sociopolitical tensions which have given rise tonew political formations. To dismiss these formations as mereexpressions of political protest not only fails to confront the dra-matic reality of economic, social, and cultural change, but alsodismisses their relevance for political renewal. If their past elec-toral history is any indication, radical right-wing populist partiesare hardly a flash in the pan. Rather they are a reflection andexpression of the ambiguities that characterizethe postindustrialage. 55. Wilhelm Heitmeyer, "Gesellschaftliche Desintegrationsprozesse alsUrsachen von fremdenfeindlicher Gewalt und politischer Paralysierung," AusPolitikund Zeitgeschichte,B2-3/93, 8 January1993, pp. 7-8. 56. Luca Ricolfi, "Politica senza fede: l"estremismo di centro dei piccolileghisti," IIMulino 42 (1993):53-69.