Nikki Sterkenburg: Less stigmatization of extreme right-wing groups
In an essay in Dutch magazine 'Vrij Nederland' Nikki Sterkenburg, external PhD candidate at the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, discusses how radical and extreme right voices have become mainstream over the last twenty years. Sterkenburg brings up several reasons why the prevailing stigma surrounding extreme right groups is slowly fading.
The first reason is that the current generation of radical and extreme right activists is not interested in associating themselves with a more historical context. During the '70s, formations openly expressed their admiration for national socialist sympathies with some even harking back longingly to the German occupation. This does not apply to today's formations and, as a result, there is a lack of shared ideologies. However, it is clear that these ideological differences are easily overcome when provided with a common cause.
Another reason for the fading of the stigma is that notions have become less controversial. There is also a lack of consensus on which expressions should used when referring to extremist groups. For this reason, Sterkenburg has chosen to use 'radical and extreme right' which according to her stands for: 'striving towards a homogeneous culture or ethnic state, by means of limiting the civil liberties and constitutional rights of religious and ethnic minorities, by using violence if necessary.'
The third reason, according to Sterkenburg, is the current political discourse. Sterkenburg states that activists no longer have to spend time and energy infiltrating political parties since many of their opinions have already become part of the current ongoing debates. One of the activists Sterkenburg spoke to said: 'We've been proven right. Everything we envisioned has come to pass. And I couldn't care less if we're the ones addressing these issues or if others are doing it.'