How to identify the organizational variants of the far right

These various breeds of the far right often differ also in terms of their internal organization and main political goals. Still, there is no one-to-one correspondence between a group’s ideological profile and its preferred mode of doing politics. While most of the established far-right parties belong to the populist radical right category, there are also examples of electorally successful extreme- right actors, such as the Greek Xpum) Avytj (Golden Dawn, GD). Conversely, while most street activism pertains to extremist right-wing groups, there is no shortage of radical right social movements, as illustrated by the cases of Les Iden- titaires (the Identitarians, LI) in France and PEGIDA in Germany.

Organizational configurations of the far right thus notably include political parties that run for elections and that are primarily oriented towards office and policy seeking. Many of these parties were ‘new’ to their party systems when they first emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, but are now established in terms of electoral support and (increasingly) access to office. In addition, scholars identified far- right social movements, social movement organizations, and grassroots groups aiming at influencing politics and policy with informal means, protest actions, the mobilization of citizens and/or intellectual activities. In between these two organizational configurations, some researchers have also looked at far-right ‘movement parties’ (Gastelli Gattinara and Pirro 2019). Movement parties are able to transpose contentious politics into the electoral arena by upholding the structures, procedures, and practices of both parties and social movements to influence policy-making (Kitschelt 2006). Movement parties engage in both contentious and electoral politics. As we shall illustrate, СИ can be considered as a movement-party organization, since it opted to engage in electoral politics only in recent times and approached electoral campaigns as part of a broader political and cultural project implying unconventional tactics and non-institutional mobilization.

In addition to the above varieties of organizational configurations, far-right collective actors also pursue different, and at times complementary, goals. Specifically, the literature distinguishes between electoral and cultural goals (Bar-On 2012; Hirsch-Hoefler and Mudde 2013). While these two aims are not mutually exclusive, far-right organizations often have to choose between the one and the other as a primary venue of their action. In general, the more established groups tend to be oriented towards election-related rewards: policies and political offices but also acquiring financial resources and personnel from participation in electoral campaigns and state institutions. Conversely, fringe groups pay little attention to electoral competition and election-related payoffs and aim at creating political consensus mostly through contentious actions, or cultural and intellectual activities. While many right-wing movements are quite action-oriented, a specific breed of so-called ‘Gramscians of the Right’ believes in the power of ideas over action (Hirsch-Hoefler and Mudde 2013: 5). These actors mobilize mostly outside any electoral process, engaging in agitprop campaigns through magazines and newspapers, promoting music and cultural events and campaigning extensively on the internet. CPI takes inspiration from influential far-right movements like the French Nouvelle Droite (New Right, ND), and engages extensively in creating consensus through cultural and intellectual activities, but it also sustains action-oriented politics and occasional participation in the electoral arena. Indeed, previous studies suggested that this hybrid model of political action operates through a mix of ‘social movement imaginaries and repertoires’ and ‘ventures in electoral politics’ (Zuquete 2018: 62).

 
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