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Neo-Nazism borrows elements from Nazi doctrine, including militant nationalism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and antisemitism. Holocaust denial is a common feature, as is incorporation of Nazi symbols and admiration of Adolf Hitler. It is related to the white nationalist and white power skinhead movements in many countries.
Neo-Nazi activity appears to be a global phenomenon, with organized representation in many countries, as well as international networks. Some European and Latin American countries have laws prohibiting the expression of pro-Nazi, racist, anti-Semitic or anti-gay views. Many Nazi-related symbols are banned in European countries in an effort to curtail neo-Nazism.
Far right parties are among the strongest political parties in Austria. The success of the far right in Austria has not been the result of economic crisis or social conflict, but primarily of political factors, including the failure of denazification after World War II.
The major postwar far right party was the Austrian National Democratic Party (NDP), until it was banned in 1988 for violating Austria's anti-Nazi legislation, Verbotsgesetz 1947. The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) served as a shelter for ex-Nazis almost from its inception. In 1980, scandals undermined Austria's two main parties, and the economy stagnated. Jörg Haider became leader of the FPÖ and offered partial justification for Nazism, calling its employment policy effective. In 1994, the FPÖ won 33 percent of the vote in Carinthia and 22 percent in Vienna, showing that it had become a force capable of reversing the old pattern of Austrian politics. In the 1994 Austrian election, the FPÖ won 22 percent of the vote.
Historian Walter Laqueur writes that even though Haider welcomed former Nazis at his meetings and went out of his way to address Schutzstaffel (SS) veterans, the FPÖ is not a fascist party in the traditional sense, since it has not made anti-communism an important issue, and does not advocate the overthrow of the democratic order or the use of violence. In his view, the FPÖ is "not quite fascist", although it is part of a tradition, similar to that of 19th century Viennese mayor Karl Lueger, that involves nationalism, xenophobic populism, and authoritarianism. Professor Ali Mazrui, however, identified the FPÖ as neo-Nazi in a BBC world lecture.
Barbara Rosenkranz, the Freedom Party's candidate for the Austrian presidential election, 2010, is controversial for having made allegedly pro-Nazi statements. Rosenkranz is married to Horst Rosenkranz, a key member of a banned neo-Nazi party, and known for publishing far-right books. Rosenkranz says she cannot detect anything "dishonourable" in her husband's activities.
The volume Rechtsextremismus in Österreich seit 1945 (Right-wing Extremism in Austria since 1945), issued by DÖW in 1979, listed nearly 50 active far right organizations in Austria. Their influence waned gradually, partly due to liberalization programs in secondary schools and universities that emphasized Austrian identity and democratic traditions. Votes for the RFS (Ring Freiheitlicher Studenten), the Freedom Party's academic student organization, in student elections fell from 30% in the 1960s to 2% in 1987. In the 1995 elections for the student representative body Österreichische Hochschülerschaft (Austrian Students' Association), the RFS got 4% of the vote. The FPÖ won 22% of the votes at the General Election in the same year.
A radical non-parliamentary, anti-democratic far-right organization active in Austria was the VAPO (Volkstreue Außerparlamentarische Opposition) founded by the Austrian neo-Nazi Gottfried Küssel in 1986, who publicly declared to be a member of the US-American neo-Nazi organization NSDAP/AO since 1977. Neither an association nor a party, the VAPO was loosely organized in "Kameradschaften" (comradeships) and defined itself as a "battle alliance of nationalist groups and persons" with the aims of "reestablishing the NSDAP" and the "seizure of power". In 1993 Küssel was repeatedly convicted on charges of "NS-Wiederbetätigung" (re-engagement in national socialism) under the Austrian anti-Nazi law (Verbotsgesetz 1947) and sentenced to ten years of prison. The VAPO de facto disbanded in the course of the imprisonment of its leading figures, much due to its loose organizational structure. Due to procedural errors Küssel's sentence was revoked by the OGH (Austrian High Court) and the trial reheld in 1994 where Küssel was sentenced to eleven years in prison.
A Belgian neo-Nazi organization, Bloed, Bodem, Eer en Trouw (Blood, Soil, Honour and Loyalty), was created in 2004 after splitting from the international network (Blood and Honour). The group rose to public prominence in September 2006, after 17 members (including 11 soldiers) were arrested under the December 2003 anti-terrorist laws and laws against racism, antisemitism and supporters of censorship. According to Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx and Interior Minister Patrick Dewael, the suspects (11 of whom were members of the military) were preparing terrorist attacks in order to "destabilize" Belgium. According to journalist Manuel Abramowicz, of the Resistances network, the ultras of the radical right have always had as its aim to "infiltrate the state mechanisms," including the army in the 1970s and the 1980s, through Westland New Post and the Front de la Jeunesse.
A police operation, which mobilized 150 agents, searched five military barracks (in Leopoldsburg near the Dutch border: Kleine-Brogel, Peer, Brussels (Royal military school) and Zedelgem– as well as 18 private addresses in Flanders. They found weapons, munitions, explosives, and a homemade bomb large enough to make "a car explode." The leading suspect, B.T., was organizing the trafficking of weapons, and was developing international links, in particular with the Dutch far right movement De Nationale Alliantie.
The neo-Nazi white nationalist organization Bosanski Pokret Nacionalnog Ponosa (Bosnian Movement of National Pride) was founded in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 2009. Their model is the Waffen-SS Handschar Division, composed of Bosnian Muslim volunteers. They proclaimed their main enemies to be "Jews, Gypsies, Serbian Chetniks, the Croatian separatists, Josip Broz Tito, Communists, homosexuals and blacks". They mix an ideology of Bosnian nationalism, National Socialism and white nationalism. The group is led by a person nicknamed Sauberzwig, after the commander of the 13 SS Handschar. The group's strongest area of operations is in the Tuzla area of Bosnia.
Neo-Nazis in Croatia base their ideology on the writings of Ante Pavelić and on Ustaše, a fascist anti-Yugoslav separatist movement. The Ustaše regime committed a genocide against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. At the end of World War II, many Ustaše members fled to the West, where they found sanctuary and continued their political and terrorist activities (which were tolerated because of Cold War hostilities). Jonathan Levy, a lawyer who represented plaintiffs in a 1999 lawsuit against the Ustaše and others, said: "Many are still terrified of the Ustashe, the Serbs particularly. Unlike the Nazi Party, the Ustashe still exist and have a party headquarters in Zagreb."
In 2003, an attempt was made to amend the Croatian penal code by adding articles prohibiting the public display of Nazi symbols, the propagation of Nazi ideology, historical revisionism and holocaust denial, but this attempt was prevented by the Croatian constitutional court. An amendment was added in 2006 to prohibit any type of hate crime based on factors such as race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.
There have been instances of hate speech in Croatia, such as the use of the phrase Srbe na vrbe! ("(hang) Serbs on the willow trees!"). In 2004, an Orthodox church was spray-painted with pro-Ustaše graffiti. During some protests in Croatia, supporters of Ante Gotovina and other suspected war criminals have carried nationalist symbols and pictures of Pavelić. On May 17, 2007, a concert in Zagreb by Thompson, a popular Croatian singer, was attended by 60,000 people, some of them wearing Ustaše uniforms. Some gave Ustaše salutes and shouted the Ustaše slogan "Za dom spremni" (for the homeland – ready!). This event prompted the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to publicly issue a protest to the Croatian president. In 2007, Austrian authorities launched a criminal investigation into the widespread display of Ustaše symbols at a gathering of Croatian nationalists in Bleiburg, Austria.
In 2006, Roman Ilin, a Jewish theatre director from St. Petersburg, Russia, was attacked by neo-Nazis when returning from an underground tunnel after a rehearsal. Ilin subsequently accused Estonian police of indifference after filing the incident.[dead link] When a dark-skinned French student was attacked in Tartu, the head of an association of foreign students claimed that the attack was characteristic of a wave of neo-Nazi violence. An Estonian police official, however, stated that there were only a few cases involving foreign students over the previous two years.[dead link] In November 2006, the Estonian government passed a law banning the display of Nazi symbols.
The 2008 United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur's Report noted that community representatives and non-governmental organizations devoted to human rights had pointed out that neo-Nazi groups were active in Estonia — particularly in Tartu — and had perpetrated acts of violence against non-European minorities.[dead link]
Today, Neo-Nazism in Hungary takes the form of hatred towards Judaism and Israel, it can can be observed from many prominent Hungarian politicians. The most famous example is the MIÉP-Jobbik Third Way Alliance of Parties. Antisemitism in Hungary is manifested mainly in far left publications and demonstrations. Hungarian Justice and Life Party supporters continued their tradition of shouting antisemitic slogans and tearing the US flag to shreds at their annual rallies in Budapest in March 2003 and 2004, commemorating the 1848–49 revolution. Further, during the demonstrations held to celebrate the anniversary of the 1956 uprising, a post-Communist tradition celebrated by the left and right of the political spectrum, antisemitic and anti-Israel slogans were heard from the right wing, such as accusing Israel of war crimes. The center-right traditionally keeps its distance from the right-wing Csurka-led and other far-right demonstrations. On February 2-3, 2008 Two teenagers, ages 15 and 16, spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on 24 graves in a local Jewish cemetery. The boys also admitted to defacing a Holocaust memorial and a store owned by Chinese immigrants. On January 23, 2011 Three teenagers toppled 75 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery and admitted to police that they were “showing off” for one another. Prime Minister Orban’s spokesman condemned the incident, saying, “vandalism triggered by anti-Semitism" is "offensive to the Hungarian Jewish community and to all Hungarians." He added that "the government condemns vandalism and will punish such acts." At March 25, 2012 The main Holocaust memorial was vandalized with Stars of David and graffiti that said, “This is not your country, dirty Jews” and “You are going to be shot there” next to an arrow pointing to the nearby Danube river, in the same place at December 1944 and January 1945, the Nazi-allied Hungarian Arrow Cross shot about 20,000 Jews on the banks of the Danube and threw them into the river. Just days prior to this incident, a statue of Raoul Wallenberg was vandalized with pigs feet. On October 25, 2012 Supporters of the ultranationalist Jobbik political party burned an Israeli flag in front of the city’s main Synagogue. At November 26, 2012, In a parliamentary session to discuss the conflict in Gaza, ultranationalist Jobbik party member Marton Gyongyosi suggested that members of the Hungarian Parliament who are Jewish or of Jewish origin be counted and registered, “in order to avoid the national security risk caused by the Jews.”, not unlike the lists of Jews used during the Holocaust.
Neo-Nazi organizations in France are outlawed, yet a significant number exist. Legal far-right groups are also numerous, and include the Bloc identitaire, created by former members of Christian Bouchet's Unité Radicale group. Close to National Bolshevism and Third Position ideologies, Unité Radicale was dissolved in 2002 following Maxime Brunerie's assassination attempt on July 14, 2002 against then-President Jacques Chirac. Christian Bouchet had previously been a member of Nouvelle Résistance (NR), an offshoot of Troisième Voie (Third Way) which described itself as "nationalist revolutionary". Although Nouvelle Résistance at first opposed the "national conservatives" of Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front, it changed strategy, adopting the slogan "Less Leftism! More Fascism! " Nouvelle Résistance was also a successor to Jean-François Thiriart's Jeune Europe neo-Nazi Europeanist movement of the 1960s, which had participated in the National Party of Europe, along with Oswald Mosley's Union Movement, Otto Strasser and others. The French government estimated that neo-Nazi groups in France had 3,500 members.
In Germany, immediately after World War II, Allied forces and the new German government attempted to prevent the creation of new Nazi movements through a process known as denazification. The West German government had passed strict laws prohibiting Nazis from publicly expressing their beliefs, as well as barring them from politics. Displaying the swastika was an offense punishable by up to one year imprisonment. There was little overt neo-National Socialist activity in Europe until the 1960s, although some former National Socialists retained their political beliefs and passed them down to new generations. After German reunification in the 1990s, post-National Socialist groups gained more followers, mostly among disaffected teenagers in the former East Germany. They have expressed an aversion to people from Slavic countries (especially Poland) and people of other national backgrounds who moved from the former West Germany into the former East Germany after Germany was reunited. Much of their ideology was similar to Strasserism.
According to the preliminary version of the annual report of Germany's interior intelligence service (Verfassungsschutz) for 2010, at the time there were 25,000 right-wing extremists living in Germany, including 5,600 neo-Nazis. Neo-Nazi organizations, related and derivative symbols and Holocaust denial are outlawed in Germany according to the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch § 86a) and § 130 (public incitement).
The far right political party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avyi) is often labeled as neo-Nazi, although the group rejects this label. A few Golden Dawn members participated in the Bosnian War in the Greek Volunteer Guard (GVG) and were present in Srebrenica during the Srebrenica massacre. Another Greek neo-Nazi group is the Strasserist "Mavros Krinos" (Μαύρος Κρίνος – Black Lily).
In the elections of 6 May 2012, Golden Dawn received 6.97% of the votes, entering the Greek parliament for the first time with 21 representatives.
Many Russian neo-Nazis openly admire Adolf Hitler and use the German Nazi swastika as their symbol. Russian neo-Nazis are characterized by racism, antisemitism, homophobia, Islamophobia and extreme xenophobia towards people from Asia. Their ideology centers on defending Russian national identity against what they perceive as a takeover by minority groups such as Jews, Caucasians, homosexuals, Central Asians, Roma people and Muslims. Russian neo-Nazis have made it an explicit goal to take over the country by force, and have put serious effort into preparing for this. Paramilitary organizations operating under the guise of sports clubs have trained their members in squad tactics, hand to hand combat and weapons handling. They have stockpiled and used weapons, often illegally.
Observers have noted the irony of Russians embracing neo-Nazism, because one of Hitler's ambitions at the start of World War II was to exterminate, expel, or enslave most or all Slavs from central and eastern Europe (i.e., Russians, Ukrainians, Poles etc.). At the end of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, over 25 million Soviet citizens died. In a 2007 news story, the ABC News reported, "In a country that lost more people defeating the Nazis than any other country, there are now an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 neo-Nazis, half of the world's total."
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused great economic and social problems, including widespread unemployment and poverty. Several far right paramilitary organizations were able to tap into popular discontent, particularly among marginalized, lesser educated and unemployed youths. Of the three major age groups — youths, adults, and the elderly — youths may have been hit the hardest. The elderly suffered due to inadequate (or unpaid) pensions, but they found effective political representation in the Communist Party, and generally had their concerns addressed through better budget allocations. Adults, although often suffering financially and psychologically due to job losses, were generally able to find new sources of income.
Russian National Unity (RNE), founded in 1990 and led by Alexander Barkashov, has claimed to have members in 250 cities. RNE adopted the swastika as its symbol, and sees itself as the avant-garde of a coming national revolution. It is critical of other major far right organizations, such as the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). Historian Walter Laqueur calls RNE far closer to the Nazi model than the LDPR. RNE publishes several news sheets; one of them, Russky poryadok, claims to have a circulation of 150,000. Full members of RNE are called Soratnik (comrades in arms), receive combat training at locations near Moscow, and many of them work as security officers or armed guards. The National-Social Union, led by Viktor Yakushev, wants to establish a national state and an economy emphasizing Aryan values, and aims to stop Zionists from establishing global hegemony.
On August 15, 2007, Russian authorities arrested a student for allegedly posting a video on the Internet which appears to show two Muslim migrant workers being beheaded in front of a red and black swastika flag. Alexander Verkhovsky, the head of a Moscow-based center that monitors hate crime in Russia, said, "It looks like this is the real thing. The killing is genuine ... There are similar videos from the Chechen war. But this is the first time the killing appears to have been done intentionally." A Russian neo-Nazi group called the Russian National Socialist Party claimed responsibility for the murders.
Neo-Nazism in Serbia is mostly based on national and religious factors. Nacionalni stroj (National Alignment), a neo-Nazi organization from the Vojvodina region, orchestrated several incidents. Charges were laid against 18 of the leading members. This organization is now banned in Serbia.
The neo-Nazi and white power skinhead scene in Switzerland has seen significant growth in the 1990s and 2000s. This development occurred in parallel with the increasing presence of right-wing populism due to SVP campaigns, and is reflected in the foundation of the Partei National Orientierter Schweizer in 2000, which resulted in an improved organisational structure of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist scene.
Israel has seen neo-Nazi activity, notably in the case of Patrol 35, a cell in Petah Tikva made up of eight teenage immigrants from the former Soviet Union who had been attacking foreign workers and homosexuals, and vandalizing synagogues with Nazi images. The neo-Nazis are reported to operate in cities across Israel, and have been described as of being influenced by the rise of neo-Nazism in Europe. Widely publicized arrests have led to a call to reform the Law of Return to permit the revocation of Israeli citizenship for – and the subsequent deportation of – neo-Nazis.
Neo-Nazism is a growing political force in Mongolia. From 2008, Mongolian Neo-Nazi groups have defaced buildings in Ulan Bator, smashed Chinese shopkeepers' windows, and killed pro-Chinese Mongols. The Neo-Nazi Mongols' targets for violence are Chinese, Koreans, Mongol women who sleep with Chinese men, and LGBT people. They wear Nazi uniforms and revere the Mongol Empire and Genghis Khan. During World War II, the invading Nazi Germans also recruited Mongol Kalmyks to fight for them against the Soviet Union. Though Tsagaan Khass leaders say they do not support violence, they are self-proclaimed Nazis. "Adolf Hitler was someone we respect. He taught us how to preserve national identity," said the 41-year-old co-founder, who calls himself Big Brother. "We don't agree with his extremism and starting the second world war. We are against all those killings, but we support his ideology. We support nationalism rather than fascism." Some have ascribed it to poor historical education.
Several Brazilian neo-Nazi gangs appeared in the 1990s in Southern Brazil and Southeastern Brazil, regions with mostly white people, with their acts gaining more media coverage and public notoriety in the 2000s. Some members of Brazilian neo-Nazi groups have been associated with football hooliganism.
Their targets have included African, South American and Asian immigrants; Jews; Afro-Brazilians and internal migrants with origins in the northern regions of Brazil (who are mostly brown-skinned or Afro-Brazilian); homeless people, prostitutes; recreational drug users; feminists and — more frequently reported in the media — homosexuals, bisexuals, the third-gendered and the transgendered. News of their attacks has played a role in debates about anti-discrimination laws in Brazil (including to some extent hate speech laws) and the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Some neo-Nazis in Chile derive their ideology from the writings of Nicolás Palacios, while others follow an orthodox Nazi ideology influenced by Miguel Serrano and German Nazis who fled to the country after World War II. Traditional Nazism is more common among descendants of German or other European immigrants in southern Chile. After the dissolution of the National Socialist Movement of Chile (MNSCH) in 1938 notable former members of MNSCH migrated into Partido Agrario Laborista (PAL) obtaining high charges. Not all former MNSCH members joined the PAL, some would actually continue to form parties of the MNSCH line until 1952. A new old-school Nazi party was formed in 1964 by school teacher Franz Pfeiffer. Among the activities of this group were the organization of a Miss Nazi beauty contest and the formation of a Chilean branch of the Ku Klux Klan. The party disbanded in 1970. Franz Pfeiffer attempted to found it again in 1983 in the wake of a wave of prostest against the Pinochet regime.
|“||The Chilean roto is thus Araucanian-Gothic (...) Im ready to prove it.||”|
The approach influenced by Palacios elevates the Chilean Mestizo in status, since he considered the "Chilean race" a mix of two bellicose master races: the Visigoths of Spain and the Mapuche (Araucanians) of Chile. Nicolás Palacios traces the origins of the Spanish component of the "Chilean race" to the coast of the Baltic Sea, specifically to Götaland in Sweden, one of the supposed homelands of the Goths. Palacios claimed that both the blonde and the bronze coloured Chilean Mestizo share a "moral physonomy" and a masculine psychology. He opposed immigration from Southern Europe, and argued on medical grounds that Mestizos derived from south Europeans lack "cerebral control", and are a social load.
Several neo-Nazi groups exist in Costa Rica, and the first to be in the spotlight was the Costa Rican National Socialist Party, which is now disbanded. Others include Costa Rican National Socialist Youth, Costa Rican National Socialist Alliance, New Social Order, Costa Rican National Socialist Resistance (which is Costa Rica's member of the World Union of National Socialists) and the Hiperborean Spear Society. The groups normally target Jewish-Costa Ricans, Afro-Costa Ricans, communists, homosexuals and specially Nicaraguan and Colombian immigrants. The media has discovered the existence of an underground neo-Nazi group inside the police.
There are a number of neo-Nazi groups in the United States. The National Socialist Movement (NSM), with about 400 members in 32 states, is currently the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States. The earliest example of this ideological tendency can be traced back to 1924 and the formation of the Free Society of Teutonia. This organization merged with the Friends of New Germany to form the German-American Bund. The German-American Bund and similar groups achieved limited popularity in the 1930s (at one point staging a rally with over 20,000 people), but rapidly faded with the onset of World War II. The groups either disbanded or were dismantled by force of law (such as the 1942 sedition trial)[clarification needed] during the war period. After the war, new organizations formed with varying degrees of support for Nazi principles. The National States' Rights Party, founded in 1958 by Edward Reed Fields and J. B. Stoner countered racial integration in the American southern states with Nazi-inspired publications and iconography. The American Nazi Party, founded by George Lincoln Rockwell in 1959, achieved high-profile coverage in the press through their public demonstrations.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, which allows political organizations great latitude in expressing Nazi, racist, anti-Semitic, and Neo-Confederate views. A First Amendment landmark case was National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, in which neo-Nazis threatened to march in a predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago. The march never took place in Skokie, but the court ruling allowed the neo-Nazis to stage a series of demonstrations in the Chicago area.
Organizations which report upon American neo-Nazi activities include the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. While a small minority of American neo-Nazis draw public attention, most operate underground, so they can recruit, organize and raise funds without interference or harassment. American neo-Nazis are known to attack and harass Jews, African Americans, homosexuals, Asian Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, Native Americans, "race traitors", liberals and people with different political or religious opinions. American neo-Nazi groups often operate websites, occasionally stage public demonstrations, and maintain ties to groups in Europe and elsewhere.