This book provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the five main parties of the extreme right in the Netherlands (Centrumdemocraten, Centrumpartij), Belgium (Vlaams Blok), and Germany (Die Republikaner, Deutsche Volksunion). Using primary research — including internal party documents — it concludes that rather than right-wing and extremist, the core ideology of these parties is xenophobic nationalist, including also a mix of law and order and welfare chauvinism. The author's research and conclusions have broader implications for the study of the extreme-right phenomenon and party ideology in general.
This chapter discusses the formation of an anti-Establishment party. On 28 May 1979, the VNP was disbanded and the political party Vlaams Blok (Flemish Block, VB) was founded as a fusion of the VNP and the nationalist wing of the VVP. The VB is a party with an elaborated ideological programme built around the core of Flemish nationalism. It considers the ethnic community as the main organisational unit of groups of people. Each ethnic community should live according to its own nature, that is, they should live separately in their own states. This means that the multinational state Belgium is rejected. What matters first and foremost is loyalty to the Flemish ethnic community.
This chapter examines the ups and downs of a discorded party, profiling the literature, and the national-conservatism and the extreme right. Die Republikaner (REP) originated as a conservative party, ideologically close to its mother party CSU. The party radicalised shortly afterwards, with the take-over of Schönhuber as party leader and Neubauer as chief editor, expressing an increasingly nationalist and xenophobic outlook. Xenophobic nationalism is at the core of almost all themes that are discussed regularly in the party literature. Though the REP puts a lot of attention on the ongoing process of degeneration, its views on ethical values are moderately conservative. Finally, the REP is a democratic party, in that it supports parliamentarianism, and even militant democracy, and strives for acceptance and power within the current German political system.
After the expulsion of the Janmaat group at the end of 1984, the troubles of the Centrumpartij were far from over. It was declared bankrupt on 13 May 1986. The successor was founded exactly one week later, conveniently named Centrumpartij'86. The CP'86 does not have a particularly well-developed ideology. Its election programmes hold scanty introductions, which precede long lists of unsubstantiated demands. The only party programme it ever presented was copied literally from another party. Its paper mainly contains articles on current affairs. Substantial articles dealing with questions of the present or future are absent. This notwithstanding, the literature of the CP'86 is loaded with terms that seem to be part of an elaborated ideology, such as ‘third way’ or ‘national revolution’. A new goal for the party is an ethnically homogeneous Great-Netherlands in which political power is put in the hands of the Dutch people.
This chapter looks at the whims of an extreme right businessman — Gerhard Frey — the multi-millionaire media czar who owns and publishes several newspapers and one of the most influential people in the German post-war extreme right scene. His party was generally referred to as DVU or Deutsche Volksunion. The DVU is in many ways an unusual political party. It has won a relatively large number of seats in regional elections without maintaining functioning regional branches. The literature of the DVU is quite singular as well. On the one hand, it entails one of the shortest party programmes in Germany, a limited range of election material, and strictly speaking no party paper. On the other hand, it has fought very expensive election campaigns and has two weekly newspapers at its disposal with a total circulation of more than five times its membership.
This chapter discusses the formation of the Centrumdemocraten (Centre Democrats, CD) in the Netherlands. On 5 December 1984, Hans Janmaat joined the party. Because of legal technicalities, Janmaat remained officially an independent MP. However, from the moment Janmaat joined, the CD was identified as his party. The CD does not possess a very elaborate ideological programme. The party literature contains, at best, a shallow ideology focusing on only a limited number of themes. This holds true especially for the party paper CD-Info, which by and large deals with four main themes: opposition to the multi-cultural society, populist anti-party sentiment, the undemocratic struggle against the own party, and fighting crime.
Following the detailed analysis at the level of the individual parties, this chapter focuses on the comparative dimension. At the core of this study is the idea of the party family, a distinct group of parties with a shared core ideology. This chapter notes the similarities of the ideologies of the five parties, albeit in a manner which remains conscious of key differences. As of yet, the research on political parties in general and party families in particular that has been conducted on the basis of an ideological approach has been very limited in both range and quantity. The categorisation of political parties according to broader families has now become a more or less standard procedure in the numerous crossnational studies of political parties, and distinctions between party families have thereby become fundamental elements in studies in such diverse subfields as coalition formation.
Studies of political parties have been based on a multiplicity of both scholarly and political theories, and have focused on a variety of internal and external aspects. There is a wide variety of definitions, based on an almost as wide variety of criteria, but none can claim general acceptance in the field. However, a consensus can be found in the fact that the political party is to be defined primarily on the basis of its function(s). It is also on this basis that the political party is defined in this study, namely as any political group identified by an official label that places candidates for public office through elections. This chapter introduces the concept of the party family, the study of extreme right parties, putting the extreme right party family to the test, and studying party ideology.