FIRST used in 2012 in the United States by white supremacist Richard B Spencer, “alt-right” or “alternative right” is a euphemism used to disguise neo-fascism and overt racism and covers a loosely connected bunch of hate groups.

President Donald Trump is seen as the figurehead of the movement and his administration has included a number of people with links to the alt-right such as former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who described online news organisation Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right”.

Following Trump’s election in 2016, other Republican candidates have run for various offices with the movement’s support.

More than 100 people have been murdered or injured in attacks by alt-right followers in recent years, prompting some political analysts to call for it to be classified as an extremist or terrorist movement.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, alt-right beliefs were the main cause of extremist violence in the United States in 2017 alone.

A Southern Poverty Law Centre report claimed alt-right propaganda is radicalising young white men around the world and has sparked attacks like the Quebec City Mosque shooting, the Toronto van attack, the Charleston Church shooting and the latest tragedy in New Zealand.

Trump complained last week that the media were blaming him for the New Zealand attack and said he didn’t believe white supremacism was a rising threat across the globe.

He denied any responsibility just after calling immigration an “invasion” of the US, the same description given by the alleged New Zealand shooter of Muslim immigrants.


MAJOR electoral gains are expected in the forthcoming European elections for Italy’s right-wing Five Star and League parties.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (pictured below) is again expected to focus on immigration after his recent security decree which cracked down on asylum rights and revoked humanitarian protections.

He has argued for the closure of Italian ports to Mediterranean migrants saying that keeping them open only encourages human traffickers and NGOs.

His ideas have been taken up by the Italian media even though the number of migrants to Italy via the Mediterranean has been dramatically reduced due to a deal made with Libya by Salvini’s predecessor Marco Minniti.

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However, Salvini uses false claims to increase support, a method that appears to be working as anti-migrant feeling grows in Italy. Salvini’s League has also joined Bannon’s movement which promotes rightwing populism across Europe.

If enough seats are won by the League in the European elections, Salvini has promised to create an Italo-Polish axis in opposition to what he says is the FrancoGerman one, his overall aim being to create “a League of Leagues”.

The League has already built up connections to Geert Wilder’s Freedom Party in the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen’s National Party in France and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) as well as with Viktor Orban of Hungary and Poland’s far-right Law and Justice Party.

Both the League and Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement have supported the yellow vest rioters in France


DEMOCRACY has died in Hungary, according to some political commentators, and the killer is regarded as hard-right Prime Minister Victor Orban who last year secured his third term in office in a campaign dominated by immigration.

Arguably, he is the leading voice in central Europe among the Visegrad countries which include the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia and are vehemently against any EU-imposed migrant quotas.

It was Orban who ordered the building of a border fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border to prevent what he described as an “invasion” of asylum seekers.

During his nine years in power, Orban, it is claimed, has replaced Hungarian democracy with an authoritarian regime.

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Although elections are supposed to be free, the government has tight control of the media.

It prevents any opposition from getting a fair hearing, according to critics. Prodemocracy organisations are hampered in their work by strict regulations while the prime minister’s cronies control a significant number of corporations.

Propaganda from both Orban’s media allies and official state outlets demonise Muslims and refugees.

Worryingly, ex-Trump ally Bannon is on record as saying Orban is “the most significant guy on the scene right now”.

Last week Orban’s party Fidesz was suspended from the EU’s most powerful coalition.


PREVIOUSLY seen as one of the world’s most stable, liberal democracies, far-right beliefs are gaining ground in India, giving rise to increased attacks against minorities, women and human rights activists.

Legitimising these beliefs and intensifying their growth has been the BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his fostering of a macho image – including boasts about his 56-inch chest.

Before becoming prime minister, Modi was head of the state of Gujarat in 2002 when 2000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in just two months.

Far-right ideas in India are spread through cyberspace and triggered anti-Muslim riots, such as in 2013 in the city of Muzaffarnagar.


UNTIL now, New Zealand basked in a global image of an idyllic country but the perception does not quite match the reality.

While the alleged perpetrator of the horrific mosque murders is Australian and claims he is not a member of any group, he is not alone in his white supremacist views as the country does have a history of far-right activism.

After the killings, race relations commissioner, Susan Devoy, said “hatred and abuse” had been directed at Muslims in the country for years.

“Do not tell me that March 15 was a surprise because hatred lives in New Zealand,” she said, adding that white supremacists should have been monitored by police “as closely as they monitored other extremists or criminals”.

The problem stretches back at least as far as the 1970s when right-wing skinheads took to the streets to shout their messages of hate and abuse at immigrants. Their visibility has decreased since then but it does not mean the views have vanished – merely that they are less apparent.

The National: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda ArdernNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

According to sociologist James Gilbert from the University of Canterbury, there has been a growth in the number of “bedroom” members of the alternative right who have been given a boost by the rise of far-right leaders in the rest of the world.

Far-right groups in New Zealand with active members include Right Wing Resistance, the Dominion Movement and the New Zealand National Front.

It would have been almost “impossible” for police to predict the mosque murders, according to security expert Paul Buchanan, but he has pointed out that security services have previously investigated animal rights groups, the Muslim community and environmental organisations.

“In the panorama of threats, the lady at the top of a tree preventing a forestry tractor from knocking it down is probably a little less concerning than a skinhead.’’


THE rise to power of Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has seemed almost astonishing in its speed but it has actually been the result of a slowly growing backlash against the leftist governments that have dominated much of Latin America in the last couple of decades.

An economic crisis after a period of relative growth and stability has emboldened shadowy groups to seek support among the masses and they have used social media to spread a message of discontent and intolerance.

The message has found fertile ground because although the left-wing Workers’ Party made progress in addressing the huge inequality problem, it was unable to end the violence, crime and corruption corroding the country.

That’s why last year more than half of the voting population backed a presidential candidate who described citizens of African descent as “animals” who should “go back to the zoo”.

The wild card candidate put forward by the Social Liberal Party has gone on to legitimise everything from homophobia to misogyny and racism. Once elected – despite speaking in favour of discriminating against women in the workplace – he installed various zealots in ministerial posts.

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Although the country languished from the 1960s until the 1980s under a military dictatorship which abused human rights, Bolsonaro is fulsome in his praise of the country’s previous leaders and his only criticism appears to be that they weren’t hard enough.

“The dictatorship’s mistake was to torture but not kill,” he said. “They should have shot 30,000 corrupt people starting with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso which would have been a great gain for the nation.”

Cardoso, a former sociology professor, was president from 1995 until 2002 and did much to stabilise the country and the economy after the wreckage left by the dictatorship. Bolsonaro’s approach to security is “shoot first, don’t even ask later”.