Anti-Diversity Movements in Europe: Lessons for the U.S.

Research output: Other contribution


Anti-Diversity Movements in Europe: Lessons for the U.S.


Dianne Dentice, Ph.D.


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In recent years, various social factors have given rise to two far right political parties in Europe: 1) The National Front in France and 2) The Golden Dawn in Greece. The National Front is a right-wing French political party founded in 1972. In White Nationalist circles, it is most commonly associated with leader Jean-Marie Le Pen from 1972 to 2011. He is the father of Marine Le Pen who has recently run for President of France and done remarkably well in the polls. Since its beginnings, the party has strongly supported French nationalism and strict controls on immigration. Supporters are xenophobic and anti-Semitic. After assuming leadership of the party from her father in January 2011, Ms. Le Pen distanced herself from some of the more extreme views associated with her father and the old guard. However, she continued to present immigration from Islamic countries as a threat to France. Ms. Le Pen led the party to a record showing in the first round of elections in March 2011 and in the first round of the 2012 presidential election, she finished third. Although Le Pen did not earn a place in the second round, she won 18 percent of the vote, the highest-ever first-round total for a National Front presidential candidate. With an endorsement from President Trump, she ran again in April 2017 and lost to Emmanuel Macron with 34% of the vote.

The Golden Dawn grew from a fringe group of Greek nationalists exploiting fears over immigration to wider mainstream acceptance after the Greek economy crashed during the 2009 financial crisis. Leader and founder of the group, Nikos Michaloliakos, systematically gained political traction resulting in 18 elected parliamentary seats of Golden Dawn members in 2012. In 2015, approximately 380,000 Greeks voted for Golden Dawn candidates. With an economic recession in full force and mandated austerity measures imposed by the government, one group of voters voiced dissatisfaction with the government in general. The other group stated that alternative political choices became important since mainstream elected officials were the cause of their relative deprivation and economic woes. The rise of a neo-Nazi party in Greece is a stark warning as to how the far right uses recessions to build support and get right wing candidates elected to public office. Both of these movements are a case study in the links between economic downturns and social unrest.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
StatePublished - Feb 12 2021

Publication series

NameDiversity Conference

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