Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis (Ed.)

Religion and Neo-Nationalism in Europe

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8487-6414-3, ISBN online: 978-3-7489-0505-9,

Series: Ethik und Gesellschaft, vol. 7

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Florian Höhne | Torsten Meireis [eds.] ethikundgesellschaft l 7 Religion and Neo-Nationalism in Europe ethikundgesellschaft edited by Professor Dr. Michelle Becka, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg Professor Dr. Bernhard Emunds, Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen Frankfurt Professor Dr. Johannes Eurich, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Professor Dr. Gisela Kubon-Gilke, Evangelische Hochschule Darmstadt Professor Dr. Torsten Meireis, Humboldt-Universität Berlin Professor Dr. Matthias Möhring-Hesse, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Volume 7 BUT_Hoehne_6414-3.indd 2 10.09.20 09:13 Religion and Neo-Nationalism in Europe Florian Höhne | Torsten Meireis [eds.] BUT_Hoehne_6414-3.indd 3 10.09.20 09:13 Onlineversion Nomos eLibrary The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at ISBN 978-3-8487-6414-3 (Print) 978-3-7489-0505-9 (ePDF) British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-3-8487-6414-3 (Print) 978-3-7489-0505-9 (ePDF) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Höhne, Florian / Meireis, Torsten Religion and Neo-Nationalism in Europe Florian Höhne / Dr. Torsten Meireis (eds.) 419 pp. Includes bibliographic references. ISBN 978-3-8487-6414-3 (Print) 978-3-7489-0505-9 (ePDF) 1st Edition 2020 © Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, Germany 2020. Overall responsibility for Manufacturing (printing and production) lies with Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG. This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Under § 54 of the German Copyright Law where copies are made for other than private use a fee is payable to “Verwertungs gesellschaft Wort”, Munich. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Nomos or the editors. Supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung). BUT_Hoehne_6414-3.indd 4 10.09.20 09:13 Inhalt Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 9 Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis Religion and Nation in a Globalized WorldPart I: Transnationalism and Religion: The European Union, from Christian-Democractic Project, to Secular Cosmopolitanism, to Populist ‘Christian’ Neo-Nationalisms 29 José Casanova The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism 49 Mark Juergensmeyer Neo-Nationalism, Populism, Religion – Concepts in Context Part II: Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization: A Test of the Backlash Hypothesis 63 Maureen A. Eger Grounded Nationalism and Cultural Diversity 85 Siniša Malešević Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism: Affect and Rationality in Contemporary Identity Politics 99 Ulf Hedetoft Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 115 Hans-Richard Reuter 5 “Right-Wing Catholicism”? Activities and Motives of New Right Catholics in German-Speaking Countries 131 Sonja Angelika Strube Case StudiesPart III: Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium 151 Rik Pinxten The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined 163 Thijl Sunier Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism 177 Teija Tiilikainen “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 189 Cora Alexa Døving In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Religion and the Neo-nationalist Resurgence in Brexit Britain 203 Adrian Pabst The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 217 Rolf Schieder “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? Religion and (Neo-)Nationalism in Switzerland 233 Frank Mathwig Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 255 Philippe Portier The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 273 Raffaella Perin Inhalt 6 Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 291 István Povedák The Russian Orthodox Church and Neo-Nationalism 311 Kristina Stoeckl Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans 321 Dino Abazović Right-Wing Populism and Religious Conservatism: What’s the Connection? 333 Philip S. Gorski Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past: Revisiting some Discourses on Nationalism and its Discontents in South Africa in a Changing Political Landscape 347 Robert Vosloo Ethical and Political PerspectivesPart IV: Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? 361 Marcia Pally Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 377 Christian Polke Religious Internationalism? German Protestantism, Neo- Nationalism and Populism 391 Torsten Meireis Religion and Neo-Nationalism: A Commentary 407 Hans Joas Contributors 417 Inhalt 7 Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis “Coronavirus crisis pushes Europe into nationalist economic turn” (Financial Times 2020). “Nationalism rears its head as Europe battles coronavirus with border controls” (LA Times 2020). “The Coronavirus is killing globalization as we know it” (Foreign Policy 2020). As this introduction is being written, the Corona-crisis seems to have intensified the question of a new nationalism. And while some argue “The Case for Corona Nationalism” (Modern Diplomacy 2020) others fiercely turn “Against the New Nationalism” ( 2020). Currently, the future of the type of internationalism – political, economical, cultural – the world has become accustomed to in the last decades is at stake. Especially in Europe, where the European Union exemplified a new type of international political body, that seemed to make national borders more and more permeable and even scarcely noticeable by its populace, borders are back on the agenda. However, the corona crisis has only intensified a development that has been going on for more than a decade. Not only the 2007 financial crisis, a consequence of the US subprime crisis, but also the dire need of refugees fleeing civil war hot-spots and general misery as well as the growing uneasiness of Britons with the EU culminating in 2019’s Brexit have shaken the idea of supranational unity. After a fairly long time of efforts directed at complementing economical internationalization by a political transnationalization, at least in the global northwest, nationalism seems to be back on the agenda. Not only in the Americas, but in Europe as well an intensive renationalization of policies and polities is visible implying a retraction of democratic mechanisms to govern international relations – paradoxically in the name of democracy. Not only have border controls been reintensified even in traditionally open countries like Sweden or Denmark (AFP 2016) and even more so in freshly democratic countries like Hungary or the Czech Republic in the course of what was named the ‘refugee crisis’ (and the term was not applied to the situation of the refugees from civil strife in Syria or Afghanistan, but to that of the more or less affluent European countries). Anti-European movements became more and more popular, not only in 9 the UK, where Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party has successfully led a campaign to vote for a ’Brexit’, but also in the Netherlands (Geert Wilders’ ‘Partij voor de Vrijheid’), in France (FN) or in Germany (AfD). A certain anticlimax is reached in traditionally democratic Switzerland, where the most popular and successful party, the SVP, has announced to bring in an ‘initiative for self-governance’ that ultimately aims at renouncing the European Convention on Human Rights to unfetter majority rule in Switzerland (Brotschi 2016). That phenomenon has been labeled ‘neo-nationalism’ (Gingrich/Banks 2006) and differs considerably from a 19th and 20th-century paleo-nationalism aggressively aimed at nation-building: rather, it appears as a defensive retraction into the seemingly secure borders of the nation-state (Eger/ Valdez 2015). And even though respective leaders don’t seem overly religious, religion seems to be involved in such issues, as a few glimpses into current political debate show: Le Pen attacked her rival to the presidency, Francois Fillon, on accounts of his profession to the Christian faith in matters of social security. She claimed that Fillon had opportunistically violated the French concept of laïcité, the strict separation of faith and state (Valeurs 2017). Le Pen, on the other hand, had no qualms about assuring Lebanon’s Maronite Christian leader Roger Eddé that she would defend eastern Christians, “since blood ties were the closest of all.” (Haddad 2017) Donald Trump, even though apparently no church member anymore (Prömpers 2017, Burke 2016), drew voters especially from the white, evangelical born-again Christians across denominations (81 %), the Protestants (58 %) and the white Catholic side (60 %) (Smith/Martinez 2016). The Protestant church in Saxony, Germany, is openly divided on the question of a ministry of AfD and Pegida-followers (Hähnig 2016, Reinhard 2016, Richter 2017), who nevertheless claim to be the defensors of a German ‘Leitkultur’ involving first and foremost the ‘religious tradition of Christendom’ (AfD 2016). As religion and nationalism have been closely intertwined from the emergence of the modern nation state in the 19th century on – even though the precise nature of the relationship is disputed –, a close scrutiny of the relation between neo-nationalism and religion seems necessary. A volume tackling the involvement of religion and neo-nationnalism in Europe needs to look into historical, sociological and ethical questions, into the role particular religious ideas have played in the development of nationalism, into the way nationalisms have changed religious practices and the current relation of nationalism and religion as well as the role religion should play faced with nationalism. To do so, the volume will tap into three current discourses, each of which focuses a different angle of the topic: the debate on neo-national- Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 10 ism, the discussion on populism and the discourse on public theology. Firstly, the volume will contribute a deepened understanding of the relation of neo-nationalism and religion to the debate on ‘neo-nationalism’ initiated by being labeled as such by Gingrich/Banks (2006). The theoretical description of this relation is controversially discussed: While the description of the role of religion in the formation of nation-states is a classical topic (f.e. Smith 2009), the question has been raised in how far (neo-) nationalism can be seen as a religion itself. While Spickard (2007) has found structural analogies between religion and nationalisms, Marvin and Ingle (1996) have even identified nationalism as a ‘powerful religion’, based on a theory of sacrifice, and Hedetoft (2009) has argued that nationalism would have replaced religion, which raises the question for the role of religion newly in times of neo-nationalism. On this background, the contributions to this volume seek to describe the relation of religion and nationalism sociologically and theologically – and of course self-critically – ask for the role of Christianity in the rise of neo-nationalism. Secondly, the book shall participate in the academic debate on populism: Populism, usually understood as a term denoting movements, political strategies and ‘thin ideologies’ (Freeden 1998) that presume the moral distinction of a ‘pure people’ from a ‘corrupt elite’ (Mudde 2004), claiming common sense, anti-elitism, anti-intellectualism and professing an anti-institutionalist and anti-political stance in favor of moralism (Priester 2012), has been on the rise not only in the US or Eastern Europe, but also in Western Europe (Decker/Henningsen/Jacobsen 2015). Of course, this topic is deeply connected to the topic of neo-nationalism: Populist movements in Europe more often than not take a neo-nationalist stance, regardless of their ideological tenets. Especially in the German-speaking world, neo-nationalist populism often refers back to romantic and essentialist notions of ‘people’ and ‘nation’ (rather than on democratic individualism). Religion then plays the part of a signature of difference distinguishing the supposedly innate cultural heritage of a people conceived of in essentialist terms from ‘alien influence’. Thirdly, the label ‘public theology’ denotes a vibrant theological debate on the public role and responsibility of theology, of religious communities and organizations and the public relevance of religious traditions. Public theology – understood as “theologically informed public discourse” (Breitenberg 2003, 66) and “reflection of issues of public relevance” (Bedford-Strohm 2015, 215) – needs to deal with neo-nationalism and populism at least on three levels: The rise of neo-nationalism has brought questions of applied ethics on the agenda that shall be addressed also in theological perspective. Since it is a common feature of public theologies to reflect on notions of the ‘public’ (Day/Kim 2017, 11f.), it needs Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 11 to reflect how populism affects the public sphere in which public theology itself is a part of and wants to participate in. And public theology asks selfcritically for the role religious traditions and communities have played and play in the development of nationalism. In doing so, public theology is marked by interdisciplinarity and internationality. A volume covering a field where concepts and discourses are fluid and situations change daily is bound to be explorative in nature. To map the field, four steps are taken. Firstly, José Casanova and Mark Juergensmeyer take a look at the relationship of nation and religion in a globalized world. In a second part of the book, concepts like neo-nationalism, populism and religious nationalism are discussed and put into context. A third part assembles case studies from different European countries and regions, and, for the sake of comparison, some glimpses from overseas. A fourth chapter then brings together ethical and political perspectives on the phenomenon. Part I: Religion and Nation in a Globalized World José Casanova focusses on transnationalism, neo-nationalism and religion in Europe and the European Union in a global horizon. He deals with this complex topic in a historical perspective and sheds light on different developments. As the title of the chapter indicates, the story sketch has three parts: “The European Union, from Christian-Democratic Project, to Secular Cosmopolitanism, to Populist ‘Christian’ Neo-Nationalisms”. According to Casanova, the EU started out as a “Christian-Democratic project”, which presupposed the reconciliation of France and Germany as well as of Catholics and Protestants. With the expansion of the EEC “into Protestant Northern Europe”, with the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, and with the replacement of Christian Democracy by Social-Democratic parties “as the hegemonic force in many European countries”, Casanova sees “the European spirit” transforming from Christian to “a more technocratic, cosmopolitan and secular spirit”. An important line in all the further developments Casanova describes is the emergence of a “cross-fertilization of discourses […] between American evangelicals, conservative Catholics and Russian Orthodoxes”. After reflections on Italian populism he concludes by emphasizing that “the Catholic Church is likely to remain the weak link in the unholy alliance of American Evangelicals and the Russian Orthodox Church peddling their ecumenism of hate in Western Europe” and that “[r]eligious ‘faith,’ in the strict sense of the term is also a rather weak component of most populist movements in secular Western Europe.” 1 Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 12 Mark Juergensmeyer’s essay introduces the rise of religious nationalisms as a global phenomenon and presents the outcome of a comparison of different nationalisms all over the world. While all these movements differ from context to context, Juergensmeyer identifies three similarities: There is always a more or less extreme crisis of authority, a crisis of social identity, and a crisis of security. According to Juergensmeyer, all three of them are related to what he calls “the ‘loss of faith’ in secular nationalism”. All in all, he sees the reason for the global rise of religious nationalism in the social consequences of globalization: “Globalization has undercut the support for the nation-state” and secular nationalism, which made them “vulnerable” to religious nationalisms. Juergensmeyer sees religion also as an “antidote”, because traditional religions provide alternative answers to the three aforementioned problems of authority, social identity and security. Juergensmeyer concludes that religion could be “an agent of healing as well as of harm”. Part II: Concepts in Context Maureen Eger’s paper provides an exposition of the concept of neo-nationalism describing a new nationalism that primarily comes to the fore in well-established nation-states with fixed borders and tests the '‘backlash hypothesis’ which links the rise of neo-nationalism to an excessive level of globalization. According to this hypothesis, the ‘losers of globalization’ are mobilized by parties on the radical right. As Eger argues, however, the connection of objective levels of globalization to the rise of neo-nationalist parties remains doubtful. The chapter then offers an empirical test by relating objective levels of globalization in terms of the KOF Globalisation Index to the importance of issues in European national elections between 1970 and 2017 derived from the Manifesto Project Dataset. As the outcome shows a negative relationship of objective levels of globalization with the salience of nationalism in those elections, any simple version of the ‘backlash hypothesis’ may well be disputed. Indications point to a more intricate relationship in which national and regional reactions towards globalization challenges – especially concerning welfare state arrangements – play a key role. The chapter of Siniša Malešević provides a historical analysis of nationalism and neo-nationalism. Malešević challenges the view that nationalism were a relic from the 19th century and marginal movement against the globalist and cosmopolitan mainstream. He argues that there is neither a sudden rise or return of nationalism nor is it the exception. From a histori- 2 Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 13 cal perspective, nationalism is rather the “hegemonic form of political legitimacy and the principal mode of collective subjectivity in the world we have been inhabiting for the past 250 years”. Malešević narrates the story of these 250 years as a story of continuous expansion of nationalism. He argues that the nationalism in the 19th century was predominantly a discourse of the elites and became “a global mode of political legitimacy only in the second half of the 20th century”: It emerged historically, institutionalized and propagated by states which homogenized their populations, grounded in ideologies that made it attractive, and woven into micro-interactional contexts. On the background of this narrative, nationalism appears as “dominant operative ideology”. Hence, the contemporary rightwing-rhetoric is not the exemption but “a radicalised version of the mainstream belief systems”. Ulf Hedetoft’s chapter on “Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism” shows how closely related nationalism and populism are by defending the thesis that populism is a “hyper-moralistic version of nationalism”. While populism shares many characteristics of nationalism – the central role of “the people”, of national sovereignty, of homogeneity, and the us-them-division –, it is distinct by how it defines the people and excludes “infidels” from this notion. Hedetoft further focusses on the religious dimension of nationalisms: He argues that nationalisms would keep referencing “universes of transcendent belief” in order to make the move from self-interest to sacrifice imaginable. He describes three forms in which this is done: Conservative immersion for which Poland serves as a case study, Christianism, i.e. “secularized Christianity-as-culture” as he finds it in Northern Europe, and a competitive individualistic form for which the U.S. are paradigmatic. Common to all three forms is their deepening “the populist nationalist agenda” by religiously turning the belonging to a nation-state “into a question of believing in belonging”. Hedetoft closes by criticizing essentialist tendencies in the critique of populism which deal with populism as a derivate of religion, nationalism, and democracy and obstruct to see populism “as an issue in its own right”. Hans-Richard Reuter’s contribution focusses the intellectual movement of the New Right in Germany and scrutinizes this movement’s understanding of religion, of people, of Christianity, and of their enemy. As examples of this movement, Reuter analyzes the publications of people from the “most active think-tank of the German New Right, that is the private Institut für Staatspolitik (Institute for State Policy – IfS)”, particularly of Karlheinz Weißmann, Götz Kubitschek and Martin Lichtmesz, also a contributor to the Journal “Sezession”. His thorough analysis shows that while an underlying cyclical structuring of time might make prone to pagan reli- Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 14 gion, the German intellectual right-wing scene rather “emphasizes the Christian orientation”, working with the “dichotomy of ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’”. Reconstructing the right-wing intellectual’s concept of the people shows how their concepts work less with the reference to race and more with the connection of people and culture, promoting “ethnopluralism”. Looking at the movement’s perceived enemy, Reuter shows that their picture of Islam is more differentiated and that Islam can also be perceived as a model for collective identity in the New Right; the enemy seems to be liberalism. Reuter concludes by showing how the New Right’s instrumentalization of Christianity is “dressed up in the worn out garb of traditional political theology” in Carl Schmitt’s use of the term: Religion is used to legitimize “the supreme value of the national”: While Weißmann does so with reference to the “ethnic traditions of Lutheranism” and its idea of orders of creation, Lichtmesz seeks a Catholic approach with “an apocalyptic interpretation of history”. Sonja Strube’s article describes the alliances of ultraconservative Christians and the “Intellectual New Right” in times of the internet in Germany. She shows that the “New Right’s interest in Christian values, concepts and topics” can be seen as their strategy to reach out into the mainstream of society and emphasizes that the “majority of German Catholic bishops take a clear stand” against nationalism. On this background, Strube analyzes three different right-wing Catholic websites: the “extremely conservative”, where she sees antimodernist theology and new-right political thinking combined, and the right-wing-extremist page which published content punishable by law. Her analysis scrutinizes the theological profile as well as the styles of religious thinking on these webpages. She finds the anti-modernism of the “Pian Era” to be a formative reference point for right-wing Catholicism and detects the features of the “authoritarian personality”, described by Adorno et al. in the attitudes expressed in the styles of the right-wing Catholic websites. She concludes by pointing to the tasks of Christian groups which includes to reflect “the authoritarian structures within the own religious tradition”. Part III: Case Studies Rik Pinxten’s chapter deals with Belgium as a “‘mixed’ state” and describes the development of the political landscape in Belgium with a particular focus on Flanders and on the right and the extreme right since 9/11. While after 2001 democratic right parties emerged, he presently sees the extreme 3 Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 15 right groups that use the means of digital communication developing. Out of the spectrum of religiously inspired neo-nationalist groups he focusses on the Flemish group “Schild en vrienden” and describes their topics, their online-activity, and their ideology. He shows how the proclaimed essentialistic unity of a people, a culture, and a nation is central to this kind of neonationalism and how their influence works through digital communication. Thijl Sunier’s chapter locates current nationalistic rhetorics in the longer history of nation-building in Europe. Focussing on the Netherlands, he starts with a Dutch introductory movie for migrants, which he uses as illustration for the shift to what Tonkes et al. have called “culturalization of citizenship”. This concept names the identification of citizenship with an “embodied set of cultural characteristics”, that are then seen to be the condition for migrants wanting becoming citizens. Sunier states for the Netherlands that culturalization of citizenship is not only a recent restorative phenomenon, but traces its root back to “the early years of post-World War immigration”. Drawing on Foucault’s terminology of governmentality and body politics he describes the older “national domestication of religion” as an aspect of nation-building. Since the arrival of “Muslim migrants” (a category whose emergence in the Netherlands Sunier dates back to the 1980s), this inherent aspect has become “an important devise for the symbolic reproduction of European nation-states”. Hence, the “recent nationalist […] backlash” has its roots in European nation-building. Sunier then shows how this political domestication of Islam played out in the Netherlands by telling the story of Dutch migration politics since the (late 1970s and) early 1980s. He narrates how the hopes for assimilation in the 1980s turned into “much more coercive” approaches in the 1990s. The contribution of Teija Tiilikainen focusses on Finland and outlines the story of the development, particularly the ideological development of the Finns Party, which had turned from a populist party into neo-nationalist movement “with obvious similarities to other nationalist parties in Europe”. Tiilikainen describes the Finnish context of this development with an emphasis on the “consensus-oriented political culture” in Finland. She traces the origins of the Finns Party back to the “ruins” of the populist Finnish Rural Party in 1995. While the Finns Party started out being populist and anti-elitist, moderately nationalist and focussed on Finland’s EU membership, Tiilikainen shows how the Party’s “connections to rightwing extremist groups” strengthened since 2007, and how the party’s position on immigration radicalized around Jussi Halla-aho. She also describes how the alliances of the Finns Party in the European parliament have Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 16 changed in 2019. Taken together, she shows how the Finns Party has developed from a populist party into a neo-nationalist movement. Focussing on the situation in Norway, Cora Alexa Døving’s chapter examines particularly “conspiracy talk” in the far right-wing online milieu by analyzing “eleven of openly accessible homepages, news sites and Facebook pages” between September 2016 and April 2017 and from September to November 2018. She quotes population surveys to show that the discourse of the far right online milieu does not represent the general population while it can draw on an “established Islamophobic discourse”. Drawing on existing research into conspiracy theory, she summarizes core features of these theories: they are intensional, monological, dualistic, and apocalyptic. They serve their adherents to explain the world, find “evidence” in everyday life and generate a certain sense of security. Based on that, she finds these features in the analyzed data of conversation as “conspiracy talk”. Such conversations often start with local everyday-life topics such as food or clothing, confirm “feelings of distrust and images of threatening others”, and mix “cozy-talk” with expressions of anger. They confirm observations and create a feeling of community. Døving finds out that while claims to violence “are common, they also end the conversation”. Her paper shows the necessity to look into these online conversations by showing that they popularize and normalize nationalistic and Islamophobic claims by bringing them close to everyday-life. Adrian Pabst’s chapter firstly provides a map of the political geography of Brexit and argues firstly, that the vote to leave the EU leaves both old and new binaries behind. Neither traditional political categories of ‘left’ and ‘right’, nor novel oppositions such as the ‘left behind’ versus the ‘new, networked generation’ serve to account for the movement. Pabst sees deep inequalities of power, wealth and social status at work, which run through local communities and nation at large, which transcend simple polar opposites. In a second section, the author explores what he understands as deep sectarian fault-lines running through the UK. Those are religiously rooted but have taken on secular forms too, and may be linked to political and cultural identities – especially a commitment to a secularized Protestant isolationism. In a final section, Pabst offers reflections on how the supposed threat from Islamization fuels neo-nationalism, arguing that it is especially identity politics and the fear of urban social upheaval that matters. Rolf Schieder focusses on the “The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany”. He starts by questioning the notion that right-wing parties were only “Christian to the extent that they reject Islam”. Then, he describes the religious and/or political statements of four different people Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 17 from the New Right in Germany from four different denominational traditions: the Evangelical Hans Penner, the Lutheran Frauke Petry, the Roman-Catholic Götz Kubitschek (supplemented with reflections on Carl Schmitt’s legacy), and the Neo-Pagan Thor von Waldstein. Schieder also describes “three preferred theological and philosophical narratives” in the New Right: apocalypticism, romanticism, and anti-liberalism. The chapter concludes with two theological remarks: Schieder suggests the “concept of eschatology” as a “remedy against apocalypticism” and “the Exodus narrative as an alternative to ‘blood and soil’ ideologies”. Frank Mathwig’s chapter on the “Heart of Darkness” or “special case” asks whether the “category of neo-nationalism” is adequate for the Swiss context and looks at the “religious dimensions of politics”. He thoroughly describes the narrative of “Swiss as a nation of will” and as a “special case” in their role for Swiss Self-understanding. The chapter shows how the latter is itself “linked to the topic of (neo-)nationalism”, by claiming Swiss uniqueness, even in the discourse about nationalism. With reference to Guggenbühl, he argues that the nation has become “a substitute of religion in a secularized society”, and makes explicit how this plays out in “the history and self-image of the SVP”. His analysis of the “discussion about the ban on the construction of minarets” shows how “a discourse initially dominated by (self-designated) religious ‘experts’” was “occupied by rightwing populists”. He concludes by saying that the term “neo-nationalism” can for the Swiss context only refer to something newly paid attention to, not to something new in itself. In his article, Philippe Portier takes a closer look on a volte-face in France from an older nation-building that broke the ties with religion and recent right and far right movements that refer to a Christian framework again. He does so by narrating the development in the relation of nation and religion for the 20th century in two stages. The first stage from 1875 to the 1960s is characterized by an understanding of the nation as legal and political community independent of any religious roots. The active separation of state and religion was coupled with a cultural remembrance of the French Revolution instead of France’s presumed Christian roots. After World War II the reference to those presumed Christian roots nearly disappeared, for example due to Pétain’s use of this motive. Portier describes the second stage, starting from the 1980s, as being marked by a new understanding of the nation “as part of a social reaction against the impotence of the legal-rational state and against the emergence of Islam”. He shows how parts of the far right of the Front National as well as the moderate right, both link the French nation again with Christian roots. According to Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 18 Portier, the “idea of the Christian nation” has come back “as the fear of an ‘Islamification’ of society gained credence.” Raffaella Perin’s chapter explores the historic and present relationship of (neo)-nationalism and religion, particularly the Catholic religion, in Italy. The first part of her article outlines the history of nationalism and the Catholic Church’s changing position on Italian nationalism from the reunification of Italy in 1861 to the present. The second part takes the Lega Nord and its leader Matteo Salvini as exemplifications for the contemporary relationship between neo-nationalism and Catholicism in Italy. Perin shows that Salvini makes use of Christian symbols while being criticized by the high level of the Catholic hierarchy. The position of the clergy is to be investigated. Perin points out that Salvini has not substantially determined what being Italian means except for claiming Catholicism “as a common feature of the Italian identity”. This leads to her concluding thesis, that Italians consenting with Salvini have not “suddenly become nationalist[s]”. István Povedák’s contribution scrutinizes the connection between religion and (neo)nationalism in Hungary. In doing this, he not only focusses on the institutional level of politics and institutionalized religion, but also uses cultural anthropology to show how (neo)nationalism also began as a “grassroots movement” in Hungary and is a part of “everyday culture”. Having emphasized that the connection between the two has taken various forms in the course of history, he shows that presently “quasi-religious (neo)nationalism does not replace religions but occupies a place beside them.” The alliance of (neo)nationalism with institutionalized religions in Hungary would offer “a basically religious world-view” to everyone, which is mythological and works with “bipolar oppositions”. Historically, he sheds light on the role the “Trianon trauma” plays for the politics and popular culture in Hungary. The major part of Povedák’s article focusses on the neo-nationalist discourse after 2010 and particularly “after the international refugee and migration crisis in 2015”, a discourse that “became the main determining factor of Fidesz”: First, he shows and exemplifies how religious references and religious persons are increasingly used in politics and how “church-related projects” are increasingly supported. Second, he discusses the “nationalism of religions” and describes how the Catholic and the Calvinist Church and later the Pentecostal-charismatic congregations started to turn to Viktor Orbán’s positions from 2010 on. Thirdly, he discovers the neo-nationalism “not only in state rhetoric, but also to at least the same extent in ‘civil’ form”. Particularly, he points to the “personality cult” around Viktor Orbán in popular culture. Thereby he shows that neo-nationalism in Hungary is “rooted more deeply” than only in political Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 19 culture, namely in popular culture: the right-wing party had met a demand “from grassroots level”. Starting with a focus on Russia, the article of Kristina Stoeckl shows how (religious) neo-nationalism can be transnational and transdenominational, unifying right-wing parties. While the Orthodox synode of 1872 had denounced “religious nation-building nationalism” as heresy, Stoeckl sees the Russian Orthodox Church’s contemporary opposition to the independence-movement of certain churches as motivated by the idea of a “Russian world”. She defines this concept as an “expression of a political religion built around Orthodoxy, the Russian language, and the imperial legacy of the Russian Empire.” Stoeckl not only shows how the Russian Orthodox Church has linked this concept to its territory and how it succeeds other nationalistic concepts, particularly from the pre-revolutionary and post-soviet period. She also analyzes how the “World Russian People’s Council (VRNS)” promotes this idea. In the battlefields of Ukraine, the promotion of such an imperial political religion shows its effects: Stoeckl points to the “paramilitary implementation of civilizational Orthodox neonationalism” here. On this background she traces the role of Konstantin Malofeev for the VRNS as well as for connecting “right-wing populist parties across Europe and conservative Christian groups”. Dino Abazović’s chapter provides valuable insights into the role of “religious nationalism in the Western Balkans”. He starts with discussing the problematic and historically changing semantics of the term “the Balkans” and then narrates the history of religious pluralism in this region, tracing it back to the Millet system of the Ottoman’s Empire. The article points to the different roles religion, religious identity und religious communities played in different stages of history – as a source of resistance against socialism and a means of tradition of national cultures for example. The second part of the article describes features of religious nationalism and points to how the “rhetoric of religious nationalists” gained acceptance in the course of globalization. Abazović closes by calling for a “re-institutionalization of public space” and “demystification of ethnic and religious irrationalities” to make multi-religious societies possible. Philip Gorski’s article focusses on the connection between right-wing populism and religion in the USA. He starts with the observations that the common explanations from Donald Trump’s rise leave out religion and that evangelical support for Trump has not been convincingly clarified by the usual explanation. Gorski’s thesis then is that the “cultural resonance between white Christian nationalism and Trumpism” would provide that explanation, “that white evangelicals support Trump if and insofar as they are white Christian nationalists”. To support this thesis Gorski outlines the Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 20 history of “white Christian nationalism” with its mutations and migrations, tracing it back to its early seeds in the New England Puritans’ sense of chosenness. In the course of this, he identifies four elements of white Christian nationalism: blood rhetoric, apocalypticism, victimization and messianic leadership. Based on this definition, he shows how Donald Trump resonates with all four elements and claims that Trumpism were “a secularized version of white Christian nationalism”. Gorski emphasizes that not all white evangelicals are white Christian nationalists, which leads him to conclude that the “future of American democracy” might depend on how white evangelicals answer the question: “Will policy victories on the culture wars front be pursued even at the expense of democratic governance?” Starting from the more critical attitude towards nationalism that became more prevalent in some church circles in South Africa in the 1970s on, Robert Vosloo looks back at the entanglement of Afrikaner nationalism and a sense of sacralized history from the 1930s onwards, with references to the “role of some churches” and theology in this. Based on Benedict Anderson’s understanding of nation as “an imagined community”, Vosloo points to how Afrikaner nationalism was “invented”. He shows how the commemoration of the settlers’ “ox wagon trek of 1938” formed the imagination of the Afrikaner people and was used “to face contemporary challenges within the broader framework of Afrikaner nationalism and unity”. In the development, Vosloo finds what Tzvetan Todorov has described as sacralization of the past. In an exemplary way, Vosloo describes the different roles the religious discourse has played in relation to Afrikaner nationalism. In the last part of his paper, Vosloo turns to the contemporary situation of South Africa where a “loss of trust in political projects associated with ‘the nation’ or ‘democracy’” had created the climate for a new populism of polarities “accompanied by a type of nostalgia”. He concludes by inferring from his argumentation that “South African political discourse cannot be dealt with in an ahistorical way” and that a “historical hermeneutics” were needed to deal responsibly with the past. Part IV: Ethical and Political Perspectives In her chapter, Marcia Pally focusses on the USA as a case study and develops a thesis about the elements that make populism persuasive. Her general starting point is the premise that “a populist vote is not a vote against best interests but rather a vote for what people think best.” According to her definition populism is “a way of presenting solutions to economic and 4 Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 21 way-of-life-duress” that works with binary distinction and is understandable to people. This definition allows her to detect right-wing as well as leftist populism and to locate populisms on a scale between strong and weak populism, depending on the “degree of binarity” they use. Pally then describes what causes duress in the United States, namely: un- and underemployment, loss of “economic dignity”, rise in mortality, demographic changes. To this duress, leftist as well as right politicians would offer binary solutions, but both construct the us-them divide differently and make different use of the “historico-cultural materièl”, namely the idea of a liberal covenantal republic. For example, left populism defines the “them” by those “who take an unfair share of societal resources”. The right populism’s binarity is stronger, “where ‘them’ is identified on essentialist criteria such as race or the non-locality of national government.” Hence, Pally shows how both “the left-wing Bernie Sanders and the right-wing Donald Trump fall within rubric parameters for populism”. While Sander’s populism is weaker, Trump’s is stronger binarized. Christian Polke’s contribution focusses on public education as an institution and as processes in which the neo-nationalism and the relation between religion and national identity can be dealt with. Polke illumines the “indirect influence” religious education has “on political and moral understanding of our present” which he sees more in the cultivation of democratic attitudes. As basis for that he argues for an “understanding of what is meant and what is feared” in neo-nationalism and a more differentiated view on nationalism: Drawing on David Miller, he points to a certain kind of national identity – some “liberal kind of nationality” – that can be compatible with a “universal ethos of ‘weak cosmopolitanism’” and is needed for social solidarity. On this background, the “double task of religious education in the face of neo-nationalism” were to criticize “ideological abuse of religious motifs” and to assess the “challenges which have been treated in these movements”. In addition to that, religious education could help to develop “self-criticism and tolerance as private and public virtues”. Protestant theologian Torsten Meireis scrutinizes Protestant ideas and realities to check whether there are internationalist tendencies in current German Protestantism condoning a universalist human rights stance. For even though Protestant Christian churches in today’s Germany during the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ condoned a ‘culture of welcome’ rather contrary to nationalist platforms, such attitudes are neither undisputed nor self-evident in German Protestantism, or so Meireis claims. The author then points to the first half of the twentieth century, when a majority of Protestant scholars and clerics took an outright chauvinist nationalist stance and gives examples of current Protestant Christians who are not happy with in- Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 22 ternationalist tendencies. Arguing that public political or moral positions by religious agents often carry populist overtones, Meireis then goes on to describe doctrinal and institutional challenges as well as opportunities for an internationalist Protestant perspective. Departing from the statement of a German church leader proclaiming nationalism a sin, sociologist Hans Joas questions the moral precedence of any political entity while insisting on a set of universalist values any political body needs to adhere to. On that normative basis, Joas discusses four conceptual problems arising in the field of religion, nationalism and internationalism. He addresses the systematic value of the term ‘neo-nationalism’, questions the relationship of globalization and new nationalism, argues for an experiential rather than doctrinal approach to religion as well as nationalism and issues a self-critical warning addressed at liberals against the ‘othering’ even of those who do ‘othering’ themselves. Far from achieving a well-rounded picture, the volume tries to explore the new tenets of nation and religion in a re-nationalizing world. And if it does not provide too many answers, it at least tries to raise a good many questions. The chapters in this volume are revised versions of papers presented at the conference “Neo-Nationalism and Religion in Europe” (September 6– 8, 2018) at the Berlin Institute for Public Theology. This conference was organized in cooperation with and funded by the European Academy on Religion and Society (EARS) and the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung. The Fritz Thyssen Stiftung has also generously funded the publication of this volume. We thank EARS as well as the Thyssen foundation for their support. We are also very grateful to all the contributors for their excellent presentations and their excellent work. Neither the conference nor this volume would have been possible without the work of Bettina Schön, M.A. She not only took care of most of the organizational tasks, she also did a lot of proof-reading and revising footnotes. We also thank the Nomos publishing house, particularly Beate Bernstein and Eva Lang, for their work in making this volume possible. Berlin, April 2020 Florian Höhne Torsten Meireis Introduction. Religion, Populism, Neo-Nationalism 23 References AfD (2016): Programm für Deutschland. Das Grundsatzprogramm der Alternative für Deutschland. Beschlossen auf dem Bundesparteitag in Stuttgart am 30.04./01.05.2016, 2016-06-27_afd-grundsatzprogramm_web-version.pdf, (accessed Nov. 10th, 2017). AFP (2016): One of Europe’s most open borders has just been closed, AFP 01/04/2016, (accessed Oct. 18th, 2016). 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Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis 26 Part I: Religion and Nation in a Globalized World Transnationalism and Religion: The European Union, from Christian-Democractic Project, to Secular Cosmopolitanism, to Populist ‘Christian’ Neo- Nationalisms José Casanova The relations between religions, nationalisms and patterns of globalization have historically been and continue to be complex, multiform, and diverse. They can hardly be reduced to simple unilinear, unidirectional or universal formulations, or to simple alternating dynamics between progressive globalization and regressive reactive re-nationalizations. The task of our conference is to understand the emergence of various types of neonationalisms, within a transnational European Union in our global age, and the various facilitating and hindering roles, which various religions are playing in this emergence. As a starting point of our reflections, we may want to recognize that the emerging neo-nationalisms themselves seem to be subject to global dynamics and appear to be promoted by complex transnational coalitions beyond the European Union. European developments, therefore, need to be understood within a global historical perspective. The transnational project of a European Union was an attempt to partially transcend the Westphalian European system of nation-states at the very same moment when the Westphalian system was becoming finally globalized through processes of post-colonial nation-state formation after World War II, now encompassing the entire world. The 1957 Treaty of Rome, which established the foundations of the European Union, was born as a Christian-Democratic project, grounded on a dual reconciliation: the reconciliation of France and Germany, two nations which had been at war (or preparing for war) for 75 years, and the reconciliation of Catholics and Protestants in the new post-WW II Christian-Democratic parties in Germany and Holland. The broader global context was the new transatlantic axis between Protestant Washington and Catholic Rome anchoring the Cold War between the liberal democratic capitalist “Christian” West and the Soviet system of atheist authoritarian communist states. The seeds were planted by the initiative of Catholics, active in the French Resistance who became leaders of the Christian Democratic MRP, 29 and already before the end of the war spoke openly of the need for Franco- German reconciliation. The lay Catholic grassroots movement Pax Christi was born at the same time in France with a similar aim of Franco-German reconciliation. In his 1949 speech at Strasbourg announcing the coming supranational European Community, Robert Schuman, later to become the first President of the European Parliamentary Assembly in 1958, stated: “We are carrying out a great experiment, the fulfillment of the same recurrent dream that for ten centuries has revisited the peoples of Europe: creating between them an organization putting an end to war and guaranteeing an eternal peace.” Despite this reference to European medieval Christendom, it was clear that the more relevant reference was the need to overcome the history of constant warfare between European states which was a legacy of the Westphalian system. Schuman added, “Our century, that has witnessed the catastrophes resulting in the unending class of nationalities and nationalisms, must attempt and succeed in reconciling nations in a supranational association.” He ended with the words, “This new policy … constitutes probably the supreme attempt to save our Continent and preserve the world from suicide.” (Schumann 1949) It is important to remind ourselves of these forgotten spiritual-religious sources of the European project if we want to understand the contemporary crisis of what Schuman called “the European spirit,” which in my view is at the root of the present crisis of the European Union and of the re-emergence of neo-nationalisms. The project of a supranational democratic Europe had a “catholic” Christian orientation. By “catholic” I do not mean Roman-Catholic, much less a project for a Catholic Europe. Franco’s Spain and Salazar’s Portugal were clearly excluded from the project. But it is not a coincidence that all the signatories of the 1951 Treaty of Paris and of the 1957 Treaties of Rome were Catholic leaders of Christian Democratic parties. Nor was it just accidental that, initially, Gaullist and other nationalist parties, most socialist parties and all northern Protestant countries looked at the new European community with suspicion. It is not the case that Catholic nations proved to be more immune to the modern tendency to national self-sacralization, than other European religious communities. If one considers World War I as the apotheosis of nationalist conflagration, when millions of European youth were sacrificed at the altar of the nation state, then one cannot but observe that Catholics embraced the war with as much euphoria and jingoistic frenzy as did most people, intellectuals, political leaders, and the clergy throughout Europe. While a group of prominent German Catholics described the war as “the new springtime of religion,” Pope Benedict XV, elected shortly after the outbreak of WW I, more soberly viewed it as “the darkest tragedy of José Casanova 30 human hatred and human madness”, telling the German bishops that he was “supremely bound in conscience to counsel, suggest, inculcate nothing else but peace.” Tirelessly, he denounced the war as a “scourge”, a “horrible and useless slaughter” that was turning the world into “a hospital and a charnel house” and was “the suicide of civilized Europe.” (Holmes 1981) But the pope’s interventions fell on deaf ears. Both warring sides received them as irritant siren songs that were interfering with their sacred national interests and their aims of military victory. The pope was accused by both sides of aiding the enemy and of trying to sap national resolve. His reply that he was supporting the cause of mankind rather than that of the belligerent parties was not appreciated. Ultimately, like transnational proletarian solidarity, Catholic or human solidarity proved much weaker than national solidarity or blind devotion to the nation-state. Most significantly, members of transnational religious orders who had been expelled repeatedly from many countries by liberal anticlerical legislation, precisely because of their presumed transnational Catholic allegiance, returned to their countries to fight for their respective national causes. Even the Jesuits, the most transnational and papal of all Catholic orders, proved unable to resist the global force of nationalism and to side with the pope. Over 850 French Jesuits and over 530 German Jesuits returned from exile to take part in the war as combatants, military chaplains, or auxiliaries. World War I constituted probably the high point of the fusion of what could be called “national secular civil religion” and “ecclesiastical religion” throughout Europe, even for a transnational religion like Catholicism. I am providing this anecdotal historical reference to precisely illustrate the complexities of the relations between transnational religion and nationalism. Clearly the reference to the role of Catholic political leaders in the formation of the supranational European community illustrates the profound transformation in the transnational consciousness of European Catholicism from World War I to the aftermath of World War II. Undoubtedly, this transformation was associated with the reflexive learning triggered by the catastrophic experience of totalitarian Fascist, National-Socialist, and Communist regimes, by the Shoa and by the abominable destruction of World War II. Political Catholicism left behind its authoritarian corporatist leanings and embraced Christian-Democracy and the modern discourse of human rights, now grounding it in the sacred dignity of the human person. Eventually this slow aggiornamento would culminate in the official aggiornamento of the Second Vatican Council and the papal encyclicals of John XXIII and Paul VI. All these documents evince a new Catholic transnational global consciousness, which tends to discern the Transnationalism and Religion 31 emerging processes of globalization as “signs of the times.” (cf. Casanova 2001) A survey of lay Catholic elites from 103 different countries from all continents taking part in the Third World Congress for Lay Apostolate in Rome in 1967 illustrates how widespread the new transnational global consciousness had become, shortly after the council: 69 percent of respondents favored the development of the United Nations into a world government and even a larger proportion (84 percent) agreed that individual countries should give up some power so that the United Nations could do a better job; more significantly, 67 percent considered immigration quotas immoral, thinking that anyone should be able to immigrate freely into another country; and 90 percent asserted that Catholic organizations should be active in peace movements. Tellingly, the survey evinces a relative homogeneity and few significant differences of opinion among the geo-cultural Catholic groups from the various continents, North and South, East and West, on these or on most other issues. (cf. Vaillancourt 1980) Clearly, those participating in the Third World Congress for World Apostolate were a self-selected activist lay pastoral elite, which had internalized the global community spirit of Vatican II. Surveys of ordinary Catholics in various countries throughout the world, including Europe, would have evinced probably a much weaker transnational global consciousness. As we will see later, a similar gap between global cosmopolitan elites and ordinary people, particularly between pastoral elites and ordinary faithful, is noticeable today within Europe, a gap which to a large extent is at the base of the crisis of the European Union and feeds the emergence of the new neo-nationalisms. As the EEC expanded into Protestant Northern Europe and into postdictatorial Southern Europe, the newly renamed European Union after the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 led, on the one hand, to greater economic integration among its 15 member countries, through the establishment of a common European citizenship and free movement without internal borders, through the establishment of a common foreign and security policy, and most importantly through the establishment of a common currency, the Euro zone. From the mid-70’s, Social-Democratic parties replaced Christian Democracy as the hegemonic force in many European countries offering a renewed vision to the European project. The drastic secularization of European societies certainly had an impact upon European identities and the Christian origins of the European Union were conveniently forgotten. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, European Social Democracy also entered a slow but serious crisis which became manifest throughout Europe during the 2008 financial crisis. Throughout this process, “the José Casanova 32 European spirit” underwent a subtle yet significant transformation, from the original Christian communitarian spirit represented by Schuman to a more technocratic, cosmopolitan and secular spirit represented by Jean Monnet, who now became acclaimed as “the father of Europe.” This is obviously a problematic shorthand description of a complex process. But what has become clear, at least since 2004, is a growing gap between European cosmopolitan elites who support the project of the European Union but are unable to communicate their European vision clearly and persuasively to large sectors of the electorate in many member countries, which feel unrepresented and alienated from the political system. I’ve chosen this date because, on the one hand, 2004 represents the date of the enlargement of the EU eastward, incorporating 10 new members, 8 post- Soviet Eastern European societies plus Malta and Cyprus. In this respect, it signifies both the attraction of belonging to the European Union and its great success in incorporating most European countries into its project of a united supranational Europe. But 2004 also represents the unravelling of the ratification of the new European Constitution, which in my view marks the beginning of a series of accumulative crises of the European Union, which still remain open and form the ultimate background for the rise of the new neo-nationalisms across Europe. The Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE) was duly signed on 29 October 2004 by representatives of the then 25 member states of the European Union. It was later ratified by 18 member states which included referendums endorsing it in Spain and Luxemburg. However, the rejection of the document in the French and Dutch referendums in May and June 2005 brought the ratification process to an end. Religious Identities, Nativist Populisms and Neo-Nationalism Before looking into the contemporary context, let me make a few remarks concerning religion, religious identities and identity politics. Religious identities can be of two general types: those which differentiate religious groups from non-religious “secular” ones and those which differentiate particular religious groups from one another, let’s say, Catholics and Protestants. The modern European political system in most European societies was organized around such cleavages. In Catholic countries, for instance, usually one found a major conservative Catholic party competing with some non-religious party, usually anti-clerical, “liberal,” “radical,” or “socialist” party. In bi-confessional countries, as in Holland or Germany, one found in addition confessional Catholic parties competing with con- Transnationalism and Religion 33 fessional Protestant ones. After World War II in Western democracies, with the exception of Northern Ireland, the Catholic-Protestant political cleavage disappeared. The Christian Democratic parties that emerged in Germany and Holland after World War II already incorporated Catholic and Protestant groups. Eventually, with the advance of secularization in Western European societies, the secular-religious cleavage for all practical purposes also disappeared and the Christian-Democratic parties lessened their religious identity and became non-confessional catch-all center-right parties. This was the context of my analysis of the “deprivatization of religion,” which took the form not of the mobilization of religious identities in the public arena of political society, but of religion entering the undifferentiated public sphere of civil society to participate in debates concerning the res publica and “the common good.” (Casanova 1994, 2002) The issue of religious identities has reappeared in Western European societies with the increasing visibility of Muslim immigrants and the difficulties or unwillingness by those societies to integrate those immigrants either as full citizens or as full members of the various national communities. Here Muslims identities function not as positive identities self-deployed by Muslim groups for the sake of political mobilization, but it takes the form of a negative foreign identity attributed to the minority by the self-defined native majority. But in the process the majority begins to assume a positive identity defined against the Muslim one. This self-definition of the nativist majority can take any of the two forms we have already mentioned. It can take the form of the traditional religious-secular cleavage, or it can take the form of the denominational cleavage between two different religious groups, only one of which is defined as “native.” At the European level, it may take the form of the definition of Europe as “secular” against the religious Muslims, such as, “European societies are secular, we are the native secular Europeans and Muslims are the non-native religious other.” Unintendedly perhaps, such identification has the potential of strengthening secularist identities against all religious groups, including Christians. Alternatively, Europe can be defined as culturally (rather than religiously) Christian. Muslims are obviously non-Christian and therefore non-European. Most frequently this is an identification deployed by post-Christian secular Europeans rather than by religious Christians. (Roy 2019) Both dynamics became evident during the controversies surrounding the drafting of the Preamble to the European Constitution in 2004–2005. Indeed, one could argue that the European Union has been in prolonged crisis since 2005, when national referenda in France and the Netherlands failed to ratify the new Treaty for a European Constitution. Three different José Casanova 34 issues became entangled in the acrimonious debates among the European elites concerning the new Treaty: a) the question whether there could possibly be any mention of God or of the European Christian heritage in the preamble to the constitution, which pointed further to the difficulties in specifying what constituted the supposedly unique “European values”; b) the problems experienced by most European societies, the most secular as well as the most religious, in integrating the new immigrants who were predominantly Muslim; and c) the uneasiness about how to respond to Turkey’s determination to join the European Union.1 Taken together all three issues – the secular-religious cleavages, the integration of Muslim immigrants, and the imprecise definition of European boundaries –, pointed to the difficulties in redefining the geopolitical and civilizational identity of a decentered Europe in a globalized world. (Casanova 2006) Post-referendum surveys in France and Holland indicated that resistance against enlargement, particularly against Turkey’s membership, nativist anxieties over Muslim immigration, and generalized apprehensions over Islam had played some but not a very large role in the punishment vote. More crucial in the rejection had been the lack of transparency in the constitution-making process itself and the failure to submit the constitutional text to serious national debates. Nevertheless, politicians throughout Europe preferred to interpret the shocking results as an indication of voters’ dissatisfaction with the rapid pace of enlargement and of the need to close the gates to immigration. (Casanova 2006a) Paradoxically, as pointed out repeatedly by Nilüfer Göle, the identification of Islam as an internal as well as an external threat actually played a functional role not only in the formation of a European-wide identity but in the very constitution of a transnational European public sphere. (Göle 2005, 2016) Yet, the 2007–2008 global financial crisis and the ensuing 2009–2010 sovereign debt crisis in the Euro-zone laid bare the weakness of any transnational European-wide solidarity. For several years, Islam itself disappeared as a contested issue or was no longer the most prominent issue in European-wide debates. The PIGS (Portugal, Ireland first and Italy later, Greece and Spain) emerged as the new threat to European stability. The same Northern European populist parties which had first emerged as nativist anti-immigrant anti-Muslim parties now redirected their xenophobic antagonism against their Southern European neighbors. The old Weberian Protestant ethic thesis was unearthed to justify the resistance of the thrifty, 1 On the multiplicity of historical sources and the difficulties in defining Europe’s cultural values see Joas/Wiegandt 2008. Transnationalism and Religion 35 hard-working, financially responsible and productive Northern European countries to bail out the profligate, indolent, and irresponsibly indebted Southern European countries. The migrant-refugee crisis of 2015–16 reopened the anti-immigrant nativist populism throughout Europe. But the rightwing populist parties now turned against the very project of the European Union blaming their national establishments and the European technocrats for the crisis. A new anti-European populist discourse was becoming widespread throughout Europe carried by the old anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-globalization parties in France, Netherlands, Denmark and Austria as well as by right-wing populist governments in Hungary and Poland. The threat of Brexit, the electoral success of the anti-immigrant AfD entering the German Parliament as the third largest party and the shocking election of the Euro-sceptic and pro-Brexit Donald Trump as President of the US seemed to threaten the very survival of the EU. The original vision of a single European home from the Atlantic to the Urals was meant to overcome the constant wars between European nationstates that had lasted for centuries and had ensued in the two world wars of the twentieth century. But such a future oriented vision was receding in the face of the reality of a club of wealthy nations, seemingly unwilling or unable to develop solidaristic economic policies that would benefit all its members, to respond in unison to the immigration and refugee crisis, or to confront Russia’s new militarist and propaganda challenges. How religion may be implicated in all these developments is not immediately evident. There are traceable connections but they are mainly indirect. There are perhaps direct connections in the case of Hungary and Poland, where one could point out how traditional forms of national Catholicism which had served as resistance against the Soviet regimes have been transformed lately into anti-liberal nationalist resistance against the perception of German hegemony as well as against the unwelcome dictates from Brussels or from the European Court of Human Rights. But it is nonetheless surprising to hear right-wing Polish or Hungarian politicians declare that the present dictatorial curtailment of their national sovereignty by Brussels is as intolerable as the one they suffered for decades under Moscow. Moreover, they seem sympathetic not only to Putin’s authoritarian regime but even more so to the discourse emerging from the Moscow Patriarchate trying to mobilize a conservative Christian moral crusade to protect “traditional family values” against “foreign rights standards” promoted by the European Union advancing feminist gender ideologies and gay rights. José Casanova 36 The mutations of the Dutch Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, are no less astounding. What was born originally, under the leadership of Pim Fortuyn, as a liberal movement defending gay rights against the threat of conservative intolerant Muslim immigrants, morphed into a nativist party defending the cultural heritage of Christian Europe against Islamization, and ended up as a Euro-sceptic Russophile party open to a Europeanwide alliance of right-wing parties, admirers of Vladimir Putin. Under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, the French National Front underwent its own surprising transformation from an anti-Semitic fringe party with roots in Catholic Action Française to a national populist anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-German and anti-European French nationalist party. Its nativist French identity is now supposedly grounded in the republican values of laïcité, iconically represented by the bare breasted Brigitte Bardot against Muslim burquinis. It claims to be a French nationalist party that at the same time welcomes Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the financial support from Putin’s Russia. The religious roots and the religious base of AfD (Alternative for Germany) are even thinner. At least one of its wings originated in the neo- Nazi movement in irreligious East Germany with an anti-immigrant nativist (voelkisch) discourse, that gained resonance in all of Germany with the refugee crisis and the discontent with Merkel’s “open gates” policy. It is estimated that the 3 new million votes received by AfD in the 2017 German elections originated equally from three sources: dissatisfied Germans who did not vote regularly but were now mobilized by the nativist alarm (ca. one million); dissatisfied voters from the left (SPD and Die Linke) (ca. one million voters); and dissatisfied voters from the Christian Democrat coalition, particularly from the more conservative Bavarian CSU, which openly rebelled against Merkel’s pro-refugees policies. In fact, organized religious groups in Germany, the Protestant Church, Jewish groups and most prominently the Catholic Church have been the most outspoken voices in support of refugees, immigrants and the most proactive supporters of the integration of Muslims and Islam into German society. The “Post-Secular Conflicts” project led by Kristina Stoeckl at the University of Innsbruck has documented the Russian offensive, coordinated jointly by Putin’s regime and the Moscow Patriarchate, in support of a transnational European moral conservative alliance against the liberalism, secular humanism, democratic human rights and gender rights platform Transnationalism and Religion 37 represented by the European Union.2 The Moscow Patriarchate had been trying to organize a Holy Alliance of conservative Christianity against “militant secularism” at least since 2004. Bishop Ilarion delivered a public lecture at the University of Melbourne on July 7, 2004 which ended with the dire warning: “In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism.” (Alfeev 2004) A year later, in September 2005, the VI Gniezno Convention: Europe of Dialogue took place under the sponsorship of the Polish Catholic Bishops Conference, in order to further ecumenical and interreligious dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and between the three European Christianities (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformed Protestant). In addition, the convention aimed to facilitate the dialogue of the Church with contemporary Europe and with EU institutions, dialogue and reconciliation between Germany and Poland, and dialogue between the Western European countries that had established the EEC in 1957 and the Eastern European countries of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, Chekia and Slovakia), which had just joined the expanded European Union the previous year, in 2004. At such a setting, at an ecumenical panel supposed to promote the dialogue between the three Christian churches (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox), Russian Orthodox Bishop Ilarion publicly proposed to Cardinal Walter Kasper to form a “holy alliance” of conservative European Christianity against liberal Protestantism, atheist humanism and the secular human rights and gender rights discourses of feminism, while pointing his finger at Bishop Wolfgang Huber, Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), who was sharing the ecumenical plat- 2 (last accessed on September 15, 2020). José Casanova 38 form with them.3 I am revisiting this historical event in order to illustrate how dramatically the European Zeitgeist has changed since 2005, when Catholic Poland was leading such pan-European initiatives. Certainly, the Zeitgeist in Poland has changed dramatically since then. The dialogical spirit of the 2005 Gniezno Convention is what made Bishop’s Ilarion proposal so dissonant and jarring at the time. It came after Cardinal Kasper and Bishop Huber had finished their more congenial ecumenical speeches. Bishop Ilarion lost no time pointing out that indeed the schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches had lasted almost a millennium. True, some theological differences remained around filioque, but those could be overcome in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, however, the two churches could and should form immediately a strategic alliance against, and at this point Ilarion turned against Huber, the forces of liberalism, secularism, and atheism that were pervasive in Europe. Apparently, while dialogue and strategic collaboration with Catholic schismatics was thinkable for Ilarion, dialogue with heretic Protestants was not. Particularly, at a time when aggressive proselytizing by American evangelicals in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus was viewed by the Moscow Patriarchate as the greatest threat to its ecclesiastical monopoly over countries which it considered to be its canonical territory. If the Protestant “churches” of Europe were “heretics” in Russian Orthodox eyes, the American evangelicals were worst, not even “churches”, just “sects” beyond the pale. Ilarion’s proposal had no immediate effect for three reasons. Firstly, the Catholic Church under the Polish Pope John Paul II, all its loud condemnations of “the culture of death” (i.e. abortion) and “gender ideology” notwithstanding, was not prepared to enter a coalition with the Moscow Patriarchate. Particularly, since such a coalition would be directed against the discourse of human rights, a discourse which Karol Woytyla had made the center of its papacy, and against the European Union, a project which had always had the blessing of the Vatican. Secondly, the close links which would be developed later between American Evangelicals and Russian Orthodox moral entrepreneurs around “Christian rights” and “traditional family values” were at the time still unthinkable. The rapprochement would take place later, through the World Congress of Families, beginning in earnest with the 2012 WFC in Madrid. 3 Bishop Ilarion was at the time representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Vienna. Later he became Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations under Patriarch Kirill, in charge of developing the European-wide conservative campaign. Transnationalism and Religion 39 Finally, and most importantly, Ilarion’s proposal was strictly inter-ecclesial, at a time when the Moscow Patriarchate had not yet established its close alliance with the Kremlin. The First Putin Presidency (2000–2008) had been focused mainly on its geopolitical Eurasian strategy and had not yet discovered the importance of Russian Orthodoxy in promoting a new kind of Russian global soft power. The turn would begin in 2007 with the establishment by Putin of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, for the purpose of promoting the Russian language and defending ethnic Russians and Russian speakers “in the near abroad.” (cf. Laruelle 2015; Suslov 2018) By 2012, however, upon entering his second presidency, having been spooked by the threat of the so called “color revolutions” in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, Putin changed geopolitical course and decided to strengthen the alliance with the Moscow Patriarchate in order to begin his restorationist offensive against the European Union and the expansion of NATO, while presenting Russia as the defender of conservative antirevolutionary “traditional” Christian European values. (Agadjanian 2017; Chapnin 2020) The occupation of Crimea and the war in Donetsk was a clear message of rejection of the 1975 Helsinki Accords, signed by all European countries and the Soviet Union, not to change European territorial borders by force. It marked also the initiation of a proactive interventionist agenda in European politics aimed to undermine the EU and to return to the old system of power politics balances, which had governed European geopolitics and European warfare since the 17th century. As Kristina Stoeckl has shown, in 2000 the Moscow Patriarchate had rejected the modern discourse of human rights as anthropocentric and inimical to Christian Orthodoxy. By 2008, however, the Moscow Patriarchate had adopted the discourse of human rights through a peculiar “traditionalist” reformulation, based on a communitarian interpretation of the text of Article 29 of the UNUDHR, in which the “requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare” (eliminating the reference to “in a democratic society”) are set against the false individualist, liberal, feminist and secularist interpretation of human rights. (Stoeckl 2014) The infamous Pussy Riot “punk prayer” in Spring 2012, at the newly rebuilt Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, sealed the close alliance between the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate, reinforcing the new Orthodox authoritarianism of the regime. In response, the Russian Duma passed a serious of laws, against blasphemy, against gay propaganda, curtailing freedom of the internet supposedly to protect children from pornography, and regulating the international adoption of Russian children. Increasingly Russian moral entrepreneurs became actively engaged in legislative battles at the United Nations and the ECHR, accusing José Casanova 40 Western courts of liberal and antireligious bias. Meanwhile, the Russian Supreme Court dismissed the judgment of the EHCR as incompatible with Russia’s legal sovereignty. In this respect, their strategies were similar to those being developed by American evangelicals and conservative Catholics, placing the defense of religious freedom as “the first right”, one that trumped the egalitarian expansion of gender and gay rights. (cf. Annichino 2011; Stoeckl/Uzlaner 2020; Bob 2019) Now it became possible to form a Moralist International based on the defense of “Christian values” and the traditional natural family against the dominant interpretation of human rights in Western liberal democratic societies. From now, an increasing trans-national cross-fertilization of discourses, ideas, NGOs, networks, legal strategies and online resources between American evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and Russian Orthodox would develop. The World Congress of Families soon emerged as the nodal center for many of these transnational networks linking the three groups. On the Russian side, there developed a close collaboration between geopolitical strategies developed by the Kremlin, the transnational presence of the Moscow Patriarchate within global orthodoxy and in global interreligious networks, and the emergence of so-called “Orthodox oligarchs” such as Konstantin Malofeev, with their semi-autonomous foundations and transnational networks. (Stoeckl 2016) But such a traditionalist moral religious discourse could hardly find any resonance or appeal among secular post-Christian Western European populations. Religious conservatives mobilizing against feminism, gender rights, and traditional family values were insignificant minorities in European Protestant societies. Catholic conservative groups were a somewhat larger and certainly much more vocal and active political minority in some Western European Catholic countries, particularly in France, Italy, and Spain. But under Pope Francis, they lacked the support of the Vatican and of their national hierarchies. Indeed, much of the mobilizational energy of those conservative Catholics was directed internally against the policies of the “heretic” pope. Yet, besides this small remnant of right-wing Catholics, there was a larger reservoir of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim nativist populism in many Western European countries which through complex discourses and coalitions could be mobilized for an anti-EU and pro-Russian agenda. At this point, one must marvel at the paradox of nativist populist movements throughout Europe aiming to form an international alliance against the European Union, in the name of recovering national sovereignty, being Transnationalism and Religion 41 aided in the process by the two superpowers, the Russian Federation and the US Trump administration. I would like to end with some reflections on Italian populism, since it was in Italy in 1919 that one could find a clear convergence of the projects emanating from Moscow and from the American Evangelicals, to which was added Steve Bannon’s project to organize anti-EU right-wing Catholic parties throughout Europe. The mutations of the Italian Lega Nord are no less striking than those of other European populist parties already mentioned. Lega Nord began as a secessionist party of the wealthy northern regions of Italy trying to exit Italy in order to leave behind the troubles and the problems of under development of Southern Italy. The movement even tried to find its roots in a mythical pagan past by choosing as its flag an Etruscan symbol going back to the 7th century BC, found in Civitella Paganica. Italian populism began to assume anti-European strains after the financial crisis, in reaction to what many Italians perceived as the harshly punitive restructuring policies imposed on the southern PIGS by their northern European neighbors, particularly by Germany. Finally, under Matteo Salvini, la Lega morphed into an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim xenophobic and anti-EU Italian nationalist Catholic-identitarian party. Once he left the Trump administration, Bannon developed the project to organize right-wing anti-globalist and anti-EU populist movements and parties throughout Europe, particularly in Catholic countries. To this aim, with his close associate Benjamin Harnwell, a Britton who directs the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, in 2018 they leased the old Carthusian Trisulty Abbey from the Italian Ministry of Culture, in order to establish a rightwing academy to train nationalist populist young leaders from all over Europe. The aim of the Academy, according to Harnwell, was to wage a cultural struggle “to defend Europe’s Judeo-Christian roots” against the secular socialist feminist left. The culture wars being waged by American Evangelicals, Russian Orthodoxy and the Catholic right were planned to converge at the XIII World Congress of Families (WCF) in Verona, Italy on March 29–31 2019. The annual meetings of the WCF, a United States coalition that promotes Christian right values internationally, have served as the main forum for the transnational alliance of conservative Christians. (Stroop 2016; Stoeckl 2020a) The 2014 World Congress of Families, which was scheduled to take place in Moscow in October and had been widely advertised as “the Olympics of the International Pro-Life Movement,” had to be cancelled after the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas. The coalition became strengthened in the following annual meetings in Salt Lake City (2015) and Tbilisi (2016). But it was in the 2017 WCF in Budapest where José Casanova 42 the religious-populist fusion became most visible. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Minister of the Family Katalin Novak and other Hungarian politicians figured prominently in the program, along with the regular American Evangelicals, Russian Orthodox and Conservative Catholics. The fusion of the Moralist International and the anti-EU populist geopolitical project was now on full display. The same dynamic repeated itself the following year at the 2018 WFC meeting in Moldova, one of the countries that Russia considers an integral part of the Russkiy Mir. The anti-EU pro- Russian President Igor Dodon served as sponsor and figured prominently in the meeting in Chisinau. The stakes were much higher for the XIII WFC meeting in Verona, the following year, as indicated by the suggestive title of the Congress, “The Wind of Change: Europe and the Global Pro-Family Movement.” The Congress was sponsored jointly by the Italian Ministry for the Family and the Disabled, and by the governments of the Province of Verona, Regione del Veneto, and Regione Autonomia Friuli, Venezia, Giulia. All these administrations were under the control of the Lega Nord. Their leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, as well as many other local Lega politicians figured prominently in the Congress. It was to serve as Salvini’s acclamation as the leader of the European-wide anti-EU, pro-Russian, populist coalition of nationalist parties reclaiming national sovereignty. It was indeed a coup for both, for Salvini and for the World Congress of Families, which only a few years earlier could not possibly have imagined such a prominent representation in Catholic Italy, in the neighborhood of the Vatican. But Salvini’s frontal attack against the EU and particularly against the Vatican went too far. His self- proclamation, rosary in hand, as the leader of the authentic national Italian Catholic identity, against the Pope from the periphery, an Argentinian Italian immigrant, who was opening the gates of Christian Europe to barbarians and welcoming immigrants and refugees, probably determined his fall from power some months later in September. In May, just a month after the Verona Congress, the Italian Ministry of Culture rescinded the lease of the Trisulti Abbey, alleging financial and administrative irregularities, putting an end to Bannon’s plan to establish a right-wing populist Academy there. In June, Cardinal Raymond Burke resigned as Chair of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, alleging policy differences with Steve Bannon. Indeed, most conspicuous at the Verona Congress, unlike in the 2007 Warsaw Congress or the 2012 Madrid Congress, had been the absence of any official representative of the Catholic Church. No Italian bishop and no representative from the Vatican participated in the proceedings. A Transnationalism and Religion 43 congress in Europe, in Italy, that bills itself as the gathering of the Global Pro-Family Movement, yet cannot get the support of the Catholic Church, undoubtedly the most powerful and influential global pro-family institution, cannot get very far. Two years earlier, on July 13, 2017, Antonio Spadaro S.J., a close aide to Pope Francis and Editor of Civiltà Cattolica, the official Vatican journal, published “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism,” an article attacking what he characterized as a “strange form of ecumenism” uniting “fringe groups of Catholic integralists and some groups of evangelical fundamentalists” in the political field. (Spadaro/Figueroa 2017)4 In order to emphasize that the piece was not a Catholic attack on Christian evangelicals, the article was authored jointly with Marcelo Figueroa, an Argentinian Presbyterian Pastor, a close personal friend of Pope Francis, and Editor-in-chief of the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the other official Vatican periodical. Spadaro’s article was certainly a frontal attack on Steve Bannon and other conservative Catholics supporting the Trump administration. Spadaro writes, “the most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations. The word ‘ecumenism’ transfers into a paradox, into an ‘ecumenism of hate’.” As to the Christian European identity invoked by secular populist movements against immigrants and against Islam, Pope Francis himself in an interview on May 9, 2017, with the French daily La Croix, responded: “Yes, Europe has Christian roots. Christianity has the duty of watering them but in the spirit of service as the washing of feet. The duty of Christianity for Europe is that of service.” (Goubert/Maillard 2016) Given the unqualified support of the Catholic Church for the European Union and for human rights, the proposal of a conservative holy alliance of the Catholic and Orthodox churches could have progressed only on the basis of a shared platform on gender issues. But even this common platform was weakened after 2013, once Pope Francis, without changing any of the teachings of the Church on gender issues, stressed the principle of the hierarchy of truths, placing the Gospel values of the Sermon on the Mount at a higher level than the moral confessionalism on gender issues that had defined the public voice of the Church in the previous decades. Pope Francis has been the most outspoken European voice in support of 4 For the self-presentation of the political conservative Christian alliance as form of ecumenism see Shishkov (2017). José Casanova 44 immigrants and refugees and has repeatedly expressed his support for the European Union and his rejection of nationalist populisms of any kind. Conclusion Despite being the most preeminent global pro-family NGO, the Catholic Church is likely to remain the weak link in the unholy alliance of American Evangelicals and the Russian Orthodox Church peddling their ecumenism of hate in Western Europe. Religious “faith,” in the strict sense of the term is also a rather weak component of most populist movements in secular Western Europe. Moreover, the message of defense of “traditional Christian values,” a code word for defense of the traditional patriarchal family against gender equality, feminism, and gay rights, is unlikely to have much mobilizational traction among large Western European publics, with the exception of some conservative Catholic groups in some Latin Catholic countries. The appeal to the identity of Christian Europe against immigration and Islam is likely to have much more mobilizational traction for populist parties. But without the support of the Christian churches, any appeal to Christian Europe is unlikely to become an effective mobilizational ideology. The fascist message of European white supremacy could serve as a more coherent mobilizational ideology. But unlike the message of white supremacy that was openly articulated against the Obama presidency in the United States, such a message, for obvious historical reasons, is much more difficult to find explicit public articulation in the European public sphere. The contemporary context for the growing anti-immigrant nativism in Europe and the United States is the emergence of a global age after Western European modernity and after Western hegemony. By global age, I mean the emergence of a world-historical age in which neither Europe, nor the West, is any longer the center from which processes of globalization radiate to the peripheries. Europe, the United States, and every other part of the world, find themselves embedded in a de-centered, multi-polar and multi-civilizational world of multidirectional flows and exchanges, including global migrations, whose dynamics, – economic, political, informational, or cultural – neither Europe nor any single power or center can control. To this global dimension, one must add the particular crisis in the project of the European Union itself, which, as previously indicated, has been visible since the failure to approve the European constitution in 2005. Transnationalism and Religion 45 The original project to transcend the Westphalian system was originally a transnational “catholic” European project led by Christian Democratic politicians. Transnational Social Democracy added crucial elements to the European project. Today both visions have lost their force and are in serious crisis throughout Europe. What became obvious during the financial crisis of 2007–8 was that no Socialist party in power or in the opposition had a politically feasible response to the crisis and no Socialist party (outside of Greece) benefitted electorally from the crisis. Without any forward vision, the European Union is nothing but a club of wealthy nations, which lacks internal as well as external solidarity. Without any vision how to go about constructing such a democratic solidarity, any appeal to “We, the people of Europe” is unlikely to find resonance. This is the moment at which the precariousness produced by economic global processes, which neither the European Union nor any sovereign power can control, meets the resentment against technocratic politicians in Brussels and against political elites at home, which are perceived as the managers of increasing inequality. The call to regain national sovereignty in order to bring true democracy and the rule of the people, a return to the past that will supposedly allow to make each nation “great again”, is of course a great nostalgic illusion peddled, like Brexit, by populist demagogues. But unless new political parties and movements emerge with forward-looking realistic proposals, that can address the resentment of those who feel left behind – politically, economically, socially and culturally – by contemporary global trends, there is going to remain a reservoir of people left behind who will respond to populist appeals. References Agadjanian, Alexander (2017): Tradition, Morality and Community. Elaborating Orthodox Identity in Putin’s Russia, in: Religion, State & Society 23 (1), 39–60. Alfeev, Bishop Ilarion (2004): Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism. Public Lecture delivered at the University of Melbourne, Australia, on 7 July 2004. Europaica Bulletin 24, November 2004. /14/52.aspx#5 (last accessed on February 16, 2020). Annichino, Pasquale (2011): Winning the Battle by Losing the War. The Lautsi Case and the Holy Alliance between American Conservative Evangelicals, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican to Reshape European Identity, in: Religion and Human Rights 6, 213–219. Bob, Clifford (2019): Rights as Weapons. Instruments of Conflict, Tools of Power, Princeton: Princeton University Press. José Casanova 46 Casanova, José (1994): Public Religions in the Modern World, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Casanova, José (2001): Globalizing Catholicism and the Return to a ‘Universal’ Church, in: Beyer, Peter (Ed.): Religion in the Process of Globalization, Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 201–225. Casanova, José (2002): What is a Public Religion?, in: Heclo, Hugh/McClay, Wilfred (Eds.): Religion Returns to the Public Square. Faith and Policy in America, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Casanova, José (2006): The Long, Difficult, and Tortuous Journey of Turkey into Europe and the Dilemmas of European Civilization, in: Constellations, 13 (2), 235–247. Casanova, José (2006a): Religion, European secular identities, and European integration,in: Byrnes, Timothy A./Katzenstein, Peter J.(Eds.): Religion in an Expanding Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 65–92. Chapnin, Sergej (2020): The Rhetoric of Traditional Values in Contemporary Russia, in: Stoeckl, Kristina/Uzlaner, Dmitry (Eds.): Postsecular Conflicts. Debates from Russia and the United States, Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press. Göle, Nilüfer (2005): Interpénétrations. L’Islam et l’Europe, Paris: Galaade Éditions. Göle, Nilüfer (2016): Introduction. Islamic Controversies in the Making of European Public Spheres, in: Göle, Nilüfer (Ed.): Islam and Public Controversy in Europe, New York: Routledge. Goubert, Guillaume/Maillard, Sébastien (2016): Interview Pope Francis, La Croix, 17 May, 2016. cis-2016-05-17-1200760633 (last accessed February 16, 2020). Holmes, J. Derek (1981): The Papacy in the Modern World, 1914–1978, New York: Crossroad, 1–19. Joas, Hans/Wiegandt, Klaus (Eds.) (2008): The Cultural Values of Europe, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press (Original deutsch: Die kulturellen Werte Europas, Frankfurt/M.: Fischer Verlag 2005). Laruelle, Marlene (2015): The “Russian World”. Russia’s Soft Power and Geopolitical Imagination, in: Center on Global Interests, May 2015. Roy, Olivier (2019): L’Europe est-elle chrétienne?, Paris: Éditions du Seuil. Schumann, Robert (1949): Schumann’s speech at Strasbourg, announcing the coming supranational European Community. 549.htm (last accessed September 3, 2018). Shishkov, Andrey (2017): Two Ecumenims. Conservative Christian Alliances as a New Form of Ecumenical Cooperation, in: State, Religion and Church 4 (2), 58–87. Spadaro SJ, Antonio/Figueroa, Marcelo (2017): Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism, La Civiltà Cattolica July 13, 2017: atholic-integralism-in-the-usa-a-surprising-ecumenism/ (last accessed February 16, 2020). Transnationalism and Religion 47 Stoeckl, Kristina (2014): The Russian Orthodox Church and Human Rights, New York: Routledge. Stoeckl, Kristina (2016): The Russian Orthodox Church as Moral Norm Entrepreneur, in: Religion, State & Society 44 (2), 131–151. Stoeckl, Kristina/Uzlaner, Dmitry (Eds.) (2020): Postsecular Conflicts. Debates from Russia and the United States, Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press. Stoeckl, Kristina (2020a): The Rise of the Russian Christian Right. The Case of the World Congress of Families, in: Religion, State & Society 48, forthcoming. Stroop, Christopher (2016): A Right-Wing International? Russian Social Conservatism, The World Congress of Families and the Global Culture Wars I Historical Context, in: The Public Eye, Winter, 4–22. Suslov, Mikhail (2018): “Russian World” Concept. Post-Soviet Geopolitical Ideology and the Logic of “Spheres of Influence”, in: Geopolitics 23 (2), 330–353. Vaillancourt, Jean-Guy (1980): Papal Power: A Study of Vatican Control over Catholic Lay Groups, Berkeley: University of California Press, 134–167. José Casanova 48 The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism Mark Juergensmeyer Europe is not the only place in the world where new nationalisms are on the rise. The European developments are, however, dramatic. The second decade of the 21st century has witnessed the sudden successes of Fidesz, the Hungarian Civic Alliance, headed by Victor Orban; the Polish party, Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (“Law and Justice”), founded by Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczyński; and the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany. Elsewhere in Europe similar parties have appeared, including the National Front in France, the Italian Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy), and right wing movements in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Much of the support for the campaign for Brexit in the U.K. has come from anti-immigrant right-wing groups, and across the pond in the United States the 2016 election of Donald Trump was supported by strident anti-Muslim anti-Jewish White supremacy nationalist movements opposed to anyone in the U.S. whose ancestry could not be traced to Christian European ethnic roots. This is a significant social phenomenon and deserves scholarly attention, both in the study of particular cases and in attempts to understand the general phenomenon. From a broader perspective, however, the question is whether and how the European developments are related to the rise of religious-related neo-nationalism in other parts of the world. From Myanmar to Moscow, new movements of religious nationalism have recently emerged. Perhaps the first significant movement of religious nationalism in contemporary experience was the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1978–79. Movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that have been in the background of Middle Eastern politics for years have risen to new prominence, and in the Egyptian case the Muslim Brotherhood briefly controlled the reins of power. In Israel there is a hardening of nationalist sentiment that privileges Jewish identities, and in India the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party is accused of fostering anti-Muslim sentiments and attempting to redefine nationalism along Hindu lines. The rise of Buddhist nationalism in Southeast Asia has led to tragic violence, with thousands of Myanmar Rohingya Muslims persecuted and banished. In China, Xi Jinping is accused of fostering a new nationalism that aggressive- 49 ly targets religious traditions deemed to be non-Chinese, leading to the persecution of both Muslims and Christians. It seems, therefore, that the European neo-nationalist movements have a global context. The next question is, so what? Should we pay any attention to these other movements if we are trying to understand the European phenomenon? One answer could be no, we could simply ignore them. This is fine if one is doing case studies of particular European locales; and these are certainly needed. But if one is trying to make sense of the phenomenon as a whole, it is more difficult to ignore the global context. To do that one would have to aver that Europe is by definition different from or unrelated to events elsewhere in the world. This kind of European chauvinism, however, is simply a prejudice, it is not a scholarly conclusion. To come to that conclusion in a scholarly way one would have to first survey the world’s neo-nationalisms and compare them, and then see what is distinctive to each case and what elements may be similar. This has, in fact, been a project of mine for some years now. It is the subject of my 2008 book, Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, which can be found in German translation as Die Globalisierung religiöser Gewalt (Juergensmeyer 2008). In this book I’ve reported on virtually every significant case of religious nationalism that I could find up to the publication date, and I describe these in a region-by-region analysis. Since the publication of that book, I have followed up the topic with a five-year global research project conducted in Shanghai, Delhi, Moscow, Cairo, and Buenos Aires, as well as in the United States, to try to understand the changes in the public face of religious institutions and movements around the world. My report on this project has been published as God in the Tumult of the Global Square (Juergensmeyer et al, 2015). In looking at the emergence of new forms of religious-related nationalisms, I have been struck by how different they are, and how similar. Each is different in that the particular constellation of factors that led to the creation of each new movement of religious nationalism has depended on the role of particular actors and the responses to particular events in each of the countries studied. For this reason, case studies are invaluable, and necessary. At the same time there are some strikingly similar elements. Three of these elements – the crises of authority, identity and security – I want to probe more deeply in this essay. I think each of them is relevant to the European situation. Moreover, as I will explore at the end of this essay, they are all related to the decline of the legitimacy of the secular nationstate and what I have elsewhere called the “loss of faith” in secular nationalism in an era of globalization (Juergensmeyer 2008). Mark Juergensmeyer 50 Crisis of Authority The first of these common elements is a crisis of authority. By this I mean the sense of national aimlessness in a situation where it appears that there is no firm leadership. This attitude of anarchy applies not just to politics, but to economic and social affairs, where there appears to be a general deflation of authority, a “crisis of legitimation” in public institutions as Jürgen Habermas has put it (Habermas 1975). Perhaps the most dramatic example of this deflation of public authority and the related rise of religious nationalism is the case of Iraq. The unrest in that country began with the US invasion that toppled a secular regime and put nothing in its place. This vacuum of power had profound affect. My interview in 2004 with a mullah who was a leader in the Association of Muslim Clerics that represented Sunni Arabs, primarily from Western Iraq, said the resistance began when people saw the looting and the general anarchy after the fall of Saddam (al Kubaisi 2004). They were shocked that the American invading forces would have no plan for administering the country and providing for public order. That is when the mullahs stepped in, providing the only authority people could trust. This attempt to provide religious leadership in a time of political vacuum led to new and more radical forms of Muslim leadership beginning with a newly formed movement led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that became affiliated with Al Qaeda. In time this turned into the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (wider Syria or the Levant), that was known by its acronym, ISIS. This distrust of authority in Iraq came at the same time that anti-authoritarian movements arose at a time of chaos and anarchy in the uprising against the Syrian government let by Bashir al Asad. Hence the extremist religious movement of ISIS – as anarchic as it may have seen to us – provided a form of moral authority for the Sunni community in both Iraq and Syria that felt adrift. In less extreme ways, national authorities are being undermined around the world. In Europe, as elsewhere, governments are often accused of being inept in the face of external pressures – some demographic and some economic. The demographic pressures are those that come from new immigration and the crush of refugees seeking asylum. The economic pressures are those related to the outsourcing of jobs and international trade relations that are sometimes accused of undercutting domestic economies and hindering local employment. Tellingly, after the Brexit vote in the U.K., exit polls among voters indicated that two of the main issues that drove them to supporting the Brexit idea were immigration and international trade (Hobolt 2016). They blamed the government for both, and the 1 The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism 51 airways were flooded with populist spokespersons egging on the opposition. In the absence of a sense of legitimate authority the door is open for a variety of self-appointed leaders to present populist alternatives to established institutions, whether they be social, cultural, economic, or political. Crisis of Identity The second common element in the rise of new religious nationalisms is the issue of social identity. One of the great aspects of the secular nationstate was an accompanying sense of secular nationalism. This is the notion that all citizens of a nation-state are bound together in a common sense of community that can elicit loyalty regardless of the particular persons in command. In the classic Enlightenment formulation, this sense of nationalism is based on geographic location and in most cases a shared ethnicity. It also often involved a shared culture, including a common religious ascription and linguistic affiliation. In the contemporary world all of these elements of nationalism are challenged (Yogeeswaran and Dasgupta 2014). For one thing, everyone can live everywhere, and they often do. The ease of international transportation is part of the reason for these demographic shifts, necessity is another. In some cases the new immigrants are seeking economic opportunities, in other cases it is civil war and the breakdown of domestic security that drives families to safe harbors. In the second decade of the 21st century, waves of refugees have washed up on the shores and crowded the borders of countries deemed to be safer and more hospitable than the warfare and gang violence at home. The new immigrants are often ethnically and religiously different from the local host populations and linguistically handicapped, and they create a crisis of national identity for the locals. After all, if nationalism was previously defined in part by ethnicity and culture, what does one make of these newcomers? And what does this mean for the traditional sense of national belonging? Interestingly, the discomfort that has been prompted by the arrival of new immigrants and refugees is also the occasion for revived hostilities to ethnic minorities that were in the host countries long before. These minority groups had previously lived comfortably side-by-side with the dominant ethnic group without any difficulties, assured that the notion of secular nationalism would embrace them all. But the sharpened sense of cultural nationalism that has arisen in the 21st century makes old friends into new strangers. 2 Mark Juergensmeyer 52 A chilling example of how new religious nationalism can turn against established minorities can be found in Myanmar. Early Burmese nationalism was secular and inclusive. During the time of its independence in 1948, the country known at that time as Burma, leaders such as Aung San were tolerant of the religious minorities in the country, including Christian tribal groups in the north and east and Muslims in the northwest. The first Prime Minister, U Nu, included Muslims from the Rohingya ethnic community in his cabinet. The father of the Burmese independence movement Aung San Suu – who is also the biological father of the current elected leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi – included diverse ethnic groups as part of his coalition. But in the 21st century a resurgence of xenophobic Buddhist nationalism arose, spurred on by military leaders as part of a cynical political ploy to create a security crisis that would justify their continued grip on power in the country. The leaders pandered to the fears of a loss of identity among the majority Burmese Buddhist citizenry. Increasingly, their fears turned violent. According to a March 2018 report from the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN), over 40,000 Muslims were killed in the anti-Rohingya pogroms in Myanmar from 2015 to 2018 (ASEAN, 2018). The military’s political party has been accused of allowing a strident anti-Muslim monk, Ashin Wirathu, to incite angry Buddhists mobs to riot against the Muslim minority, burning mosques and Muslim-owned shops and houses. In the town of Meiktila, a Buddhist mob surrounded a Muslim man and set him on fire. When I interviewed Wirathu, the leader of the 969 Movement, he said he was simply “defending the faith – look at the map of the world,” adding that “Burmese Buddhism is but a tiny drop in the ocean of religions, in danger of being forever swept away” (Wirathu 2014). Wirathu pointed towards the advent of new Muslim immigrants and the birthrate of the existent Muslim population to prophecy that in a few decades Myanmar would be swamped by Muslims. Though realistically the possibility of a Muslim takeover of Myanmar is remote at best, the fear is genuine even if it is stoked by the inflammatory rhetoric of popularist religious demagogues. The fear of a loss of national identity is a common feature of many European movements of religious nationalism as well. And it is an understandable fear, given the massive demographic shifts of recent years. Recently when I was in a taxi in Berlin, the taxi driver proudly drove me through his own Turkish neighborhood, pointing out the diversity of restaurants and shops. Many were Turkish, and Kurdish at that. But there were also some that were Indian, and Syrian, and Afghan. What I did not The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism 53 see, at least in that neighborhood, were any restaurants or shops that were traditionally German. So it is understandable that Germans who were raised in that neighborhood would come back to this cacophony of cultures and languages related to the new Germans in the neighborhood and wonder not only who they were but what Germany has become. They might deeply fear and resent the changes. They might also project this distrust against not only the new immigrants but also against minority communities that have been in the country for centuries, such as Jews. In this context is it not surprising that antisemitism has arisen along the resistance against refugees and new immigrants in the country. Though not as strident as the anti-Muslim mobs that set fire to mosques and shops in Myanmar, the undercurrent of a sense of the “other” persists in Germany as in other European countries. I was shocked to hear even a respected professor in Germany speak casually about the Jews in his country as if they were not really German. Crisis of Security The third element that is common to most of the religious nationalist movements that have emerged in recent years is security. It is related to the other two elements. In the midst of a rapidly changing world with massive demographic changes, a loss of a sense of national identity, and a mistrust of public institutions, the question arises, how can one be safe? A sense of security in the global era means more than just being free from capricious sources of danger; we depend upon a state of dependable social order that is secure and unchanging. In the global era everything changes it seems; it is hard to plan on one’s personal or communal future. It is understandable that people would turn on the government as being irresponsible in providing them the sense of security that they so desperately need. An example of this sense of the failure of secular government can be found in the region of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. There, the decades long movement for Muslim separatism intensified as increasingly the secular government of the Christian-dominated Philippines was regarded as incapable of providing for social order and public security. After a peace deal was negotiated with the Muslim rebels, for years the government failed to act in initiating it. Frustration turned to violence when members of an ISIS-related extreme segment of the movement (formerly known as Abu Sayyaf) hunkered down in the town of Marawi in 2017. After a five-month siege and intense aerial bombardment from the Philip- 3 Mark Juergensmeyer 54 pine army the town was liberated from ISIS control. But, like Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, it was totally destroyed in the process. I came to the town of Marawi early in 2018 to see the damage and talk with the locals about the impact of this attempt at liberation. The Philippines government said that it was trying to bring security to the region by liberating the town from the grip of ISIS rebels. But the act of liberation – the destruction of the city – made many of the residences feel even less secure, and less confident that the government was looking after their interests. I talked with a professor at the city’s Mindanao State University whose mother had a house in the middle of the destroyed town, one that she had built lovingly with proceeds earned over the years by serving as a housekeeper in Dubai. Soon after she returned to Marawi in 2017 to enjoy her retirement years, she witnessed her house being decimated in the military standoff. “How can we be safe,” the professor asked bitterly, “in such a world.” Though a moderate before, he has pledged himself anew to a vision of Muslim nationalism for the region that he feels will create a society where he and his family would be secure. A similar feeling of deep insecurity has led to the rise of movements of religious nationalism in Europe. On some occasions activists have lashed out against the secular government in vicious ways. An extreme example of this is the attack by Anders Breivik on a youth camp hosted by the promulticultural Norwegian Labour Party, killing 69 young people. Breivik was protesting what he thought was the party’s inaction in prohibiting a Muslim takeover of Northern Europe, presumably by crafty efforts of new Muslim immigrants (Juergensmeyer 2017). Breivik was acting out of a fear that in some respects was absurd – the possibility of a Muslim takeover in northern Europe is almost nil. On the other hand, he was in tune with a sentiment shared by a many supporters of right-wing politics in Europe who fear the rising tide of new immigrants and blame the government for not doing something more positive to protect their sense of public security. Religious Responses to Globalization The nearly global rise of these new movements of religious nationalism raises two fundamental questions: what does religion have to do with them, and why are they happening now? When one looks at these three elements that are common to the various new movements of religious nationalism around the word – the crises of authority, identity, and security – the role of religion as an antidote becomes 4 The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism 55 apparent. In each case, traditional religion provides a comforting response. In times when the usual secular authorities seem inept or unable to be trusted, religious communities provide forms of authority and leadership that are rock solid. Most religious traditions rely on sacred scriptures and traditional law on which to base a sense of enduring and immutable authority. They also provide forms of traditional leadership – priests and mullahs and rabbis – whose personal authority is buttressed by the timeless aura of sacral anointment. The problem of social identity is also solved by traditional religious communities. Even though secular nationalism may seem flawed in giving a clear definition of the boundaries of the national community and a certain sense of who is in and who is out, religious communities have no such uncertainty. One is either born or baptized into the faith, and in many cases one’s very name defines one’s religious identity. There is no uncertainty. When one is accepted within a religious community one is with an extended family, one has come home. And religion also gives a deep sense of security. It is a tenet of most religious traditions to affirm that God is with you regardless of the difficulties and uncertainties of life. And beyond this life there is the promise of life to come. This personal sense of deep calm is enhanced by a community that shares this sentiment, and within these familial bonds the faithful feel comforted and assured. Hence in the religious world you have a way of dealing with the three elements that are aspects of the rise of new movements of religious nationalism. Through religion, you know who is in charge, who to trust; you know who you are, who your community is; and you know that you are safe in a social order that is secure. When these personal sentiments are fused with political movements that give the promise of institutionalizing religion in a new political order dominated by religious nationalism, it is powerful appeal indeed. This then leads to the other question: why are these movements happening now? Religion has been around for a long time, of course, and there have been sporadic movements of religious nationalism at other times in history. Here and there small movements of religious nationalism have erupted even after the notion of secular nationalism became prominent during the European Enlightenment and it became virtually the only template of national identity for the new nations that came into being around the world in the post colonial 20th century. By the middle of the 20th century, however, secular nationalism seemed to be global norm, and the occasional movements of religious nationalism – including the movements of Hindu nationalism early in India’s 20th century Independence movement – were anomalies in what was otherwise the secular standard. But Mark Juergensmeyer 56 late in the 20th century and increasingly in the 21st, things began to change. Religious nationalism has become a powerful and virtually global phenomenon. Again, why is this happening now? The global character of the phenomenon gives us a clue. If it were happening only in one region of the world – Europe, say, or the Middle East, one could look at factors that were unique to those regions. But because it is happening everywhere, it is logical to look for factors that affect all areas of the planet. This is where globalization looks significant. By globalization, I mean not just the easy mobility of people or the universal access to communications through the Internet, but the social consequences of these and other technological and economic developments. Perhaps the most important, for our discussion of the rise of religious nationalism, is the way that globalization has eroded confidence in secular nationalism and the institutions of the secular nation-state and exacerbated the crises of authority, identity and security (Judis 2018). Globalization has undercut the support for the nation-state and challenged secular nationalism in several ways. The easy mobility of groups to migrate from place to place has, as we have already noted, put a stress on the resources of nation-states and put into question the very notion of a nationalism based on a shared culture and ancestral home. The globalization of the economy, in which anything can be made anywhere and sold anywhere, has limited the ability of traditional nation-states to impose economic regulations. Local currencies have become passé in an era of new regional currencies and the advent of electronic transactions, many of which are based on the US dollar as an international standard. The rise of new environmental, health and ecological disasters, including the looming threat of global warming, gives the appearance of global problems beyond the reach of any one nation-state to deal with them. And the ubiquitous reliance on social media through the Internet allows for everyone to be in touch with everyone else everywhere and at any time, creating virtual associations that are transnational by nature. Thus the secular state and its ideological accompaniment, the secular nationalism, lies in a weakened state. Wounded by the ravages of globalization, secular nationalism has become vulnerable to what might be considered an opportunistic infection, the rise of autocratic, right-wing religious nationalisms. In a paradox of history, religious nationalisms have arisen in order to defend the concept of national community. And in doing so, they threaten to coopt it. This puts the role of religion in a bad light, as being the defender of and ideological justification for these new movements. But there is another The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism 57 side to this story. Religious traditions and communities need not respond to the three elements that have given rise to religious nationalism – the crises of authority, identity, and security – in ways that are negative, or promote autocratic form of militant religious nationalisms. Religion can be religion – authoritative, accepting and comforting – without being stridently political or challenging the secular order (Juergensmeyer 2020). I found an example of this recently in India, in the Punjab where my studies of religious nationalism began many years ago. I began my research on rise of religious violence in the 1980s with the case of the militant movement of nationalist Sikhs who were fighting for a separate religious nationalism called Khalistan. That was thirty years ago, and when I recently returned to villages near the city of Amritsar that had been in the center of the militant movement, I found a sense of calm and eerie sadness. Although many of the leaders had been released and restored to their positions of political leadership, the foot soldiers in the movement were not so fortunate. I talked with one of them, a man in his late forties who had been a teenager when he joined one of the most violent of the militant groups, serving as a hit man to terrorize the villagers and kill policemen. At the end of the movement he surrendered and served prison time, and is now a free man but a broken one with limited resources and limited future. “What can I do?” he asked me plaintively, “but to go to the Gurdwara [the Sikh temple] and meditate and pray?” It was not much, I admitted, but when I thought about it, his comment seemed to have a deeper significance than his casual remark initially appeared to have. His turn towards religion at this point in his life was a symbol of an attempt to regain in religion a sense of social location, to find again in the social order around him the authority, identity and security for which he had fought many years ago. It was a sign that just as religion played a role in the destructive forces that tore apart his region of India many years ago, it could now also play a positive role as well. There is no doubt that at this moment in late modernity, at the rise of the 21st century, in an era of globalization, religion has returned to public life with a vengeance, in the form of strident new movements of religious nationalism. But it is also true that religion can be a part not only of societies’ rebellions but also of their restoration. In a curious way, it can be an agent of healing as well as of harm. Mark Juergensmeyer 58 References Al-Kubaisi, Abdul Salam (2004): Chief of External Relations, Association of Muslim Clergy in al Anbar Province. Baghdad, May 6, 2004. Interview by the author. Translation assistance by Shirouk al-Abayaji. ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Parliamentarians for Human Rights (2018): The Rohingya Crisis: Past, Present, and Future, March 2018. ng-Mission-Report_Mar-2018.pdf. Habermas, Jürgen (1975): Legitimation Crisis, Boston: Beacon Press. English translation by Thomas McCarthy. Originally published in German (1973): Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus, Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp. Hobolt, Sara B. (2016): The Brexit Vote. A Divided Nation, a Divided Continent, in: Journal of European Public Policy 23/9, 1259–1277. Judis, John B. (2018): The Nationalist Revival. Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization, New York: Columbia Global Reports. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2008): Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, Berkeley: University of California Press. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2020): God at War: A Meditation on Religion and Warfare, New York: Oxford University Press. German translation: Krieg und Religion: Erkundungen einer ambivalenten Verbindung, Freiburg: Herder, 2019. Juergensmeyer, Mark, Dinah Griego, and John Soboslai (2015): God in the Tumult of the Global Square: Religion in Global Civil Society, Berkeley: University of California Press. Wirathu, Ashin (2014): Founder and leader of the 969 Movement. Ma Soe Yein Tike Thit Monastery, Mandalay, Myanmar. Interview with the author, September 3, 2014. Translation assistance by Thein Toe Win. Yogeeswaran, Kumar/Dasgupta, Nilanjana (2014): Conceptions of National Identity in a Globalized World. Antecedents and Consequences, in: European Review of Social Psychology 25/1, 189–227. The Global Context of European Religious Neo-Nationalism 59 Part II: Neo-Nationalism, Populism, Religion – Concepts in Context Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization: A Test of the Backlash Hypothesis1 Maureen A. Eger Introduction The world has become more globalized. Despite this fact, nation-states remain the fundamental organizing principle of the modern era – politically, economically, and socio-culturally. One of the most consequential belief systems of the 19th and 20th centuries, nationalism is a political ideology concerned with congruence between the nation and the state (Gellner 1983). Real or perceived threats to this principle may activate national identities (Triandafyllidou 1998) and mobilize nationalist sentiments to advance or defend a nation-state (Hechter 2000). Neo-nationalism is a subset of nationalism occurring within a context where national boundaries are settled and accepted domestically and internationally but are nevertheless perceived to be under threat (Eger/Valdez 2015, 127). Neo-nationalist concerns increasingly characterize the contemporary European radical right (Eger/Valdez 2019). Unlike early nationalist movements in Europe (and the contemporary independence movement in Catalonia), radical right parties operate within the framework of established nation-states. Instead of nation-building, they advance a form of nationalism aimed at boundary-maintenance. According to the backlash hypothesis, it is globalization that has fueled the resurgence of nationalism in some of the world’s wealthiest democracies. Compared to the divisive politics it attempts to explain, this account of contemporary political divisions is relatively uncontroversial. Indeed, not only do radical right (and some left) parties claim globalization has gone too far, but the concern even exists among longtime proponents of glo- 1 1 This research was supported by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (Marianne och Marcus Wallenbergs Stiftelse [MMW]) Grant No. 2014.0019, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond [RJ]) Grant No. P14–0775:1, and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forskningsrådet för hälsa, arbetsliv och välfärd [FOR- TE]) Grant No. 2016–07177. 63 balization that globalization may have gone too far, too fast (e.g., Krugman 2019). For, if the thesis is correct, future increases in globalization could ultimately mean more nationalism. In this chapter, I test the backlash hypothesis by investigating the relationship between objective levels of globalization and elite articulation of political issues in European national elections between 1970 and 2017. To do this, I rely on data from the Manifesto Project and the KOF Swiss Economic Institute. Results indicate that globalization itself does not make these politics inevitable. I conclude with a discussion of these findings and directions for future research. The Rise of Neo-Nationalism Central to neo-nationalism is the notion that the sovereignty and autonomy of modern nation-states are under threat from external forces (Eger/ Valdez 2015, 2019). Radical right parties cite negative economic, socio-cultural, and political consequences for the nation-state when framing their opposition to globalization, supranational organizations, and multiculturalism. First and foremost, an ethnocentric notion of the nation and preferences for an ethnically homogenous nation-state inform parties’ ardent opposition to immigration and multiculturalism (Betz 1994; Mudde 2007; Rydgren 2007; Hainsworth 2008). Immigrants are also perceived as an economic threat to native-born workers, especially those with less education or in precarious work. Radical right parties also cite nationalist concerns when framing their opposition to the EU and European integration (Luther 2009; Vasilopoulou 2009; Berezin 2009; Halikiopoulou et al. 2012). Not surprisingly given their stance on immigration, parties often identify the supranational body and its open borders as a threat to ethnic and cultural homogeneity (Minkenberg 2002; Gingrich/Banks 2006; Hainsworth 2008). However, parties also reference economic concerns regarding labor and social security (Höglinger et al. 2012: 247) and make political arguments regarding the autonomy of nation-states (Kriesi et al. 2008, 2012). In recently published research, Sarah Valdez and I demonstrate that neo-nationalist claims increasingly characterize Western European radical right parties (Eger/Valdez 2019). Using data from the Manifesto Project, we show that in every decade since 1970, Western European radical right parties have made, on average, more nationalist than globalist claims. Moreover, the size of this difference has grown substantially over time (Figure 7, pg. 394). In the most recent decade, neo-nationalist positions constitute 2 Maureen A. Eger 64 almost a quarter of the radical right’s election-year manifestos. Meanwhile, most other party families make some nationalist claims but, on average, globalist positions constitute a larger proportion of their political stances. The Backlash Hypothesis According to the backlash hypothesis, contemporary radical right parties aim to mobilize the “losers of globalization” (Kriesi et al. 2006, 2008, 2012) and before that the “losers of modernization” (Betz 1994). Recent research suggests these parties have been somewhat successful in this regard: European voters’ anxieties about globalization are strongly associated with support for radical right parties (De Vries/Hoffmann 2016). Moreover, those who are older, those with lower incomes, and those with lower levels of education are more likely to perceive globalization as a threat. Further, a number of recent accounts (i.e., Goodhart 2017) have made the case that globalization has left behind segments of society, specifically members of the ethnic majority whose economic prospects are undermined by economic globalization. Therefore, it is not surprising that some scholars explicitly define neonationalism as a reaction against the current phase of globalization and its economic, political, and sociocultural effects (Gingrich/Banks (2006: 2). However, there are reasons to be skeptical that objective levels of globalization drive these politics. First, according to the KOF Swiss Economic Institute (2019), globalization has flattened since 2007, during the same period of time when parties whose platforms are neo-nationalist have increased their share of votes in national and European elections. Second, prior to this, when worldwide globalization was increasing more rapidly, the radical right as a party family was not as electorally successful. Of course, one could argue that there is a delayed political response to globalization – that these politics increase in salience only after globalization’s deleterious effects are experienced by economically insecure segments of the population. However, a third reason to be skeptical of this narrative is that the so-called “losers of globalization” are not consistent supporters of the radical right (Bornschier/Kriesi 2013; Gidron/Mijs 2019). Indeed, cross-national research has shown that economic threats, in the form of trade openness (Mewes/Mau 2013), and cultural threats, in the form of immigration-generated diversity (Hjerm/Schnabel 2010), are negatively related to nationalist sentiments among Europeans. 3 Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 65 Analytical Strategy In the sections that follow, I offer an empirical test of the backlash hypothesis by investigating the relationship between objective levels of globalization and the salience of issues related to nationalism and globalism in European national elections between 1970 and 2017. I analyze elite articulation of political issues during national elections, instead of focusing only on voter support for the radical right. This is because the radical right party family’s electoral gains alone cannot tell us whether actual globalization is responsible for the increasing political relevance of issues associated with it. Further, while globalization may create a demand for politics addressing its consequences, this does not necessarily mean that those politics will be nationalist. Parties in favor of globalization may react to gains by the radical right and adopt, for example, anti-immigrant stances (Bale et al. 2010; Abou-Chadi/Krause 2018); yet they may instead articulate support for policies consistent with a favorable view of globalization or focus on other issues altogether. Nevertheless, radical right parties’ electoral performances may compel other political parties to make clear their stance on issues related to globalization, and this is most likely to occur during national elections. To ensure that this analytical strategy does not artificially amplify or dampen the salience of specific politics, some of the analyses that follow will weigh parties’ stances by electoral performance so that the popularity of parties is also incorporated into measures of issue salience. In other words, some models will specifically factor radical rights parties’ recent electoral gains into the analysis. Data and Methods Dependent Variables To operationalize the salience of politics associated with nationalism and globalism, I rely on the Manifesto Project Dataset (Volkens et al., 2018). Publicly available, the dataset includes parties that won any legislative seats in a democratic election for 56 countries since 1945. For each national election, the dataset reports parties’ policy positions as a percentage of space in electoral manifestos. These percentages are based on content analyses of the election manifestos and approximate the relative importance of issues for each party in an election year. There are two variables for each issue: the percentage of positive statements and the percentage of negative 4 5 5.1 Maureen A. Eger 66 statements. These data are appropriate for comparing party positions and election-level issue salience over time. To capture the prominence of nationalism in election-year manifestos, I rely on a measure of nationalism developed in my previous research (Eger/ Valdez 2019). Following an analytical strategy similar to Halikiopoulou et al. (2012), we identified social, political, and economic issues available in the Manifesto Project Data that are theoretically representative of nationalist or globalist sentiments. We used stances on multiculturalism and a national way of life to capture the social (or cultural) dimension of nationalism. These include positive statements related to a national way of life, such as favorable mentions of the country’s nation and history, including appeals to nationalism, patriotism, established national ideas, and pride in citizenship. Also indicative of nationalism is opposition to multiculturalism, which includes appeals for cultural homogeneity and the cultural integration of immigrants, as well as statements opposing indigenous and minority groups rights. Meanwhile, opposition to nationalism, the existing nation-state, or unfavorable mentions of national pride, national history, or national ideas are stances indicative of globalism. Positive statements about multiculturalism, which also reflect globalist sentiments, are favorable mentions of indigenous and minority group rights, immigrant diversity, and cultural plurality. To measure the political dimension of nationalism, we relied on three issues related to national sovereignty and self-determination. The first, internationalism, captures stances on the nation-state and global order. Unfavorable mentions of international cooperation and favorable mentions of national sovereignty, isolationism, and unilateralism reflect nationalism, while favorable mentions of international cooperation, global governance, international courts, and supranational organizations like the United Nations reflect globalism. The second issue relates to the European Community/ Union. Negative mentions of membership in, the territorial expansion of, financial contributions to, or the power of the EU are consistent with nationalism. Positive mentions of the European Community/Union in regards to any of the above constitute globalist sentiments. The third issue is the national military. Favorable mentions of external security, border defense, military spending, and national self-defense are indicative of a nationalist stance, while negative mentions of any of the above or opposition to using military power to solve conflicts reflect globalism. There is only one economic issue in the dataset related to nationalism or globalism: economic protectionism. Statements favoring open markets, free trade, and abolition of protections indicate a globalist position, while state- Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 67 ments related to the protection of internal markets through the use of tariffs, quotas, and export subsidies represent a nationalist position. Based on an adaptation of the methodology employed by the Manifesto Project in its construction of composite scores (Budge et al. 2001; Klingemann et al. 2006), we created a score for each party manifesto. This measure of nationalism is the sum of nationalist statements (social, political, and economic) minus the sum of globalist statements (social, political, and economic) contained in a party’s manifesto (Eger/Valdez 2019: 388): Nationalism = Σ[Social (national way of life: positive (per601) + multiculturalism: negative (per608)) + Political (internationalism: negative (per109) + European Community/Union: negative (per110) + military/ defense: positive (per104)) + Economic (protectionism: positive (per406)] − Σ[Social (national way of life: negative (per602) + multiculturalism: positive (per607)) + Political (internationalism: positive (per107) + European Community/Union: positive (per108) + military/defense: negative (per105)) + Economic (protectionism: negative (per407)] For the current analysis, I also create a new composite score to quantify the total amount of attention parties give these issues. While the first measure indicates the degree of nationalism in a party platform, this new variable quantifies the overall salience of issues associated with nationalism or globalism. This score is the sum of nationalist statements (social, political, and economic) plus the sum of globalist statements (social, political, and economic) contained in a party’s manifesto. Globalism/Nationalism = Σ[Social (national way of life: positive (per601) + multiculturalism: negative (per608)) + Political (internationalism: negative (per109) + European Community/Union: negative (per110) + military/defense: positive (per104)) + Economic (protectionism: positive (per406)] + Σ[Social (national way of life: negative (per602) + multiculturalism: positive (per607)) + Political (internationalism: positive (per107) + European Community/Union: positive (per108) + military/defense: negative (per105)) + Economic (protectionism: negative (per407)] Because I am interested in the salience of nationalism and globalism at the country-level, I aggregate these measures from parties to elections. I compute the average level of nationalism (i.e., nationalism – globalism) and average level of attention to both (i.e., nationalism + globalism) for each national election. For these two variables, I give equal weight to each party’s score in a national election. For example, if a country has seven parties competing in an election, the level of nationalism for that election is determined by averaging Maureen A. Eger 68 the nationalism scores from those seven parties. The empirical implication of this is that the positions of the most electorally successfully and unsuccessful parties are treated the same in the calculation. However, I also create an additional measure of nationalism that weights the parties’ stances by share of vote. Doing this means that the nationalism scores of more popular parties contribute more to the average level of nationalism in each election. It also means that the electoral success of neo-nationalist parties is incorporated into the measure. Having three dependent variables will allow for comparisons across different model specifications, providing greater information about the relationship between globalization and nationalism over time. Independent Variables To operationalize globalization, I use publicly available data from the KOF Swiss Economic Institute. The KOF Globalisation Index (2018) comprises 42 different variables and measures the economic, political, and social dimensions of globalization between 1970 and 2016. The economic dimension includes various measures of free trade and financial flows between countries. Variables capturing personal contact, such as migration and tourism, information flows, and cultural globalization constitute the social dimension. The political dimension of globalization includes membership in international organizations, international treaties, and number of embassies among other variables. Possible scores range from 0–100. For more information about the construction of the index, including the weighting of variables and dimensions, refer to the methodology published on the KOF website. To test the hypothesis that globalization is responsible for the increase in the salience of these politics, I make extensive use of different versions of the index. In the first set of analyses, I use the full composite index, KOFGI. In some models, I also use KOFGI-squared to assess if the relationship between globalization and issue salience is non-linear (i.e., the relationship is different when globalization is low and when it is high). It is possible that specific aspects of globalization, such as immigration or capital flows, drive the relationship; therefore, in a second set of analyses, I use the composite scores for each of the social (KOFSoGI), political (KOFPo- GI), and economic (KOFEcGI) dimensions of globalization. These variables are standardized, so they also vary from 0–100. Manifesto Project Data are available since 1945 but the KOF Globalisation Index begins in 1970. Because I do not want to exclude recent European elections, I use 2016 KOFGI scores for national elections in 2017 (Austria, Bulga- 5.2 Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 69 ria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom). I merge these data by country and election year; my sample consists of 410 national elections across 43 European countries between 1970 and 2017. Methods To investigate whether globalization is related to the salience of nationalism and globalism, I begin with descriptive statistics and scatter plots, which reveal much about the strength of the relationship. Next, I use multilevel mixed effects regression models to assess whether globalization is related to the salience of nationalism and globalism over time. These are three-level hierarchical models, where elections are nested in country-years, nested in countries. This model takes into account the repeated observations of characteristics specific to each of the country-years (level 2) and countries (level 3) and assigns a random intercept for each country and country-year (Schmidt-Catran/Fairbrother 2016). I am interested in the effect of a country-level phenomenon (globalization) on the political salience of specific issues during an election. Regression coefficients represent the weighted average of within-country and between-country differences in globalization on issue salience in national elections. While this is useful, it is also interesting to know if changes in the level of globalization within countries or between country differences in globalization are associated with the salience of nationalism in national elections. Therefore, I also use mean-centering, which entails calculating the average level of globalization for each country and then subtracting that average from the level of globalization in each election year. This process creates two new variables: the average level of globalization in a country across all election years and the difference from the country mean for each election year. When included together in a regression model, these two variables make it possible to separate between-country effects from within-country effects (Fairbrother 2014). Results Descriptive Table 1 reports descriptive statistics for variables used in subsequent analyses. The first dependent variable is the election average percentage of space in 5.3 6 6.1 Maureen A. Eger 70 manifestos devoted to issues associated with globalism or nationalism. In other words, this is the total amount of attention parties give these issues, on average, in a given election. For the sample, the mean is approximately 11 % with a standard deviation (SD) of almost 5 %. The second dependent variable is the prominence of nationalism in a national election, while the third dependent variable captures the same—yet weighted by parties’ share of the vote. For both of these variables, positive numbers indicate greater salience of nationalism, and negative numbers mean that, on average, party stances in an election are indicative of globalism. Regardless of weighting, the average salience of nationalism in the sample is a negative number, albeit less than -1 %. These variables range from approximately -13 % to 19 % (unweighted) and 21 % (weighted), demonstrating that the prominence of nationalism does vary across elections. Figure 1 breaks this down by decade, illustrating that the salience of these politics has increased every decade. Indeed, the gray bars show that a larger and larger proportion of parties’ manifestos are devoted to these issues. However, as the black bars reveal, it is only in the most recent decade that these politics have become, on average, nationalist. 7 6 Results 6.1 Descriptive Table 1 reports descriptive statistics for variables used in subsequent analyses. The first dependent variable is the election average percentage of space in manifestos devoted to issues associated with globalism or nationalism. In other words, this is the total amount of attention parties give these issues, on average, in a given election. For the sample, the mean is approximately 11 % with a standard deviation (SD) of almost 5 %. The second dependent variable is the prominence of nationalism in a national election, while the third dependent variable captures the same—yet weighted by parties’ share of the vote. For both of these variables, positive numbers indicate greater salience of nationalism, and negative numbers mean that, on average, party stances in an election e indicative of globali m. Regardl ss of weighting, the average salience of nationalism in the sample is a negative number, albeit less than -1 %. These variables range from approximately -13 % to 19 % (unweighted) and 21 % (weighted), demonstrating that the prominence of nationalism does vary across elections. Figure 1 breaks this down by decade, illustrating that the salience of these politics has increased every decade. Indeed, the gray bars show that a larger and larger proportion of parties’ manif tos are devoted to these issues. Howev r, as th black bars reveal, it is only in the most recent decade that these politics have become, on average, nationalist. Table 1. Descriptive statistics N Mean SD Min Max Election-level dependent variables Average salience of globalism and nationalism in party manifestos (%) 410 10.91 4.58 1.10 32.54 Average salience of nationalism in party manifestos (%) 410 -0.52 4.47 -12.71 18.50 Average salience of nationalism in party manifestos weighted by vote (%) 410 -0.53 4.65 -12.60 21.36 Country-level independent variables Globalization index (KOFGI) 410 71.23 13.12 31.21 90.97 Economic dimension (KOFEcGI) 410 64.86 14.78 27.93 93.47 Political dimension (KOFPoGI) 410 77.12 18.69 22.51 98.52 Social dimension (KOFSoGI) 410 71.74 12.57 33.81 91.78 Sources : The KOF Globalisation Index (Version 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Neo-Nation lism and its Relationship o Gl balization 71 7 6 Results 6.1 Descriptive Table 1 reports descriptive statistics for variables used in subsequent analyses. The first dependent variable is the election average percentage of space in manifestos devoted to issues associated with globalism or nationalism. In other words, this is the total amount of attention parties give these issues, on average, in a given election. For the sample, the mean is approximately 11 % with a standard deviation (SD) of almost 5 %. The second dependent variable is the prominence of nationalism in a national election, while the third dependent variable captures the same—yet weighted by parties’ share of the vote. For both of these variables, positive numbers indicate greater salience of nationalism, and negative numbers mean that, on average, party stances in an election are indicative of globalism. Regardless of weighting, the average salience of nationalism in the sample is a negative number, albeit less than -1 %. These variables range from approximately -13 % to 19 % (unweighted) and 21 % (weighted), demonstrating that the prominence of nationalism does vary across elections. Figure 1 breaks this down by decade, illustrating that the salience of these politics has increased every decade. Indeed, the gray bars show that a larger and larger proportion of parties’ manifestos are devoted to these issues. However, as the black bars reveal, it is only in the most recent decade that these politics have become, on average, nationalist. ../Bilder/04_Tab1.pdf Figure 1. Issue salience in European national elections, by decade Figure 1. Issue salience in European national elections, by decade Source: The Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR), Version 2018b Table 1 also reports variation in levels of globalization and its social, political, and economic dimensions. The average level is approximately 71 % with a SD of 13 %. The mean and SD of the social dimension is similar, while the average level of political globalization is higher at 77 %. The average level of economic globalization is 65 %. The standard deviations and ranges for these measures reveal greater variation in the political and economic dimensions of globalization than its social counterpart. Figure 2 illustrates how the full index varies over time for each country in the sample. Finland had the lowest score in 1970 (59.19). However, the lowest score in the series is Albania (31.21) in 1991. The Netherlands had the highest score in 20162 (90.97). Although countries differ in levels and the pace of globalization, every country has seen an increase during this period of time. Nevertheless, globalization has flattened worldwide since 2007 (KOF Swiss Economic Institute 2019), including in Europe. 2 Due to data availability, I use the 2016 KOFGI scores for the 2017 Dutch election. Maureen A. Eger 72 14 Figure 2. Levels of globalization across Europe, 1970–2016 Source: The KOF Globalisation Index, Version 2018_2 Figure 2. Levels of globalization across Europe, 1970–2016 Source: The KOF Globalisation Index, Version 2018_2 ml The next set of figures are scatterplots of the bivariate relationship between the level of globalization (x-axis) and the three dependent variables (yaxes). The solid dots represent elections this century, while the circles represent elections in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. In this basic analysis, the elections are treated as independent observations, despite that in reality they cluster by country and by time, and yet these simple plots tell us a lot about the direction and strength of the relationship. For example, the dotted line in figure 3 suggests a non-linear relationship between globalization and issue salience. Political stances associated with globalism and nationalism are more salient at lower levels of globalization; however, at levels of 75 and higher, globalization is positively correlated with issue salience in national elections. Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 73 14 Figure 2. Levels of globalization across Europe, 1970–2016 Source: The KOF Globalisation Index, Version 2018_2 Figure 3. Globalization and salience of issues related to globalism and nationalism Sources: The KOF Globalisation Index (Version 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Note: Solid dots represent elections since 2000; circles represent elections between 1970 and 1999. 15 Figure 3. Globalization and salience of issues related to globalism and nationalism Sources: The KOF Globalisation Index (Version 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Note: Solid dots represent elections since 2000; circles represent elections between 1970 and 1999. Figure 4. Globalization and prominence of nationalism in national elections Sources: The KOF Globalisation Index (Version 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Notes: Positive values on the y-axis represent the average share of election manifestos devoted to nationalist positions net of globalist positions; negative values indicate that the average stance is globalist. Solid dots represent elections since 2000; circles represent elections between 1970 and 1999. Figure 4. Globalization a d pro i ence of nationalism in national elections Sources: The KOF Globali ation Index (Ver i n 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Notes: Positive values on the y-axis represent the average share of election manifestos devoted to nationalist positions net of globalist positions; negative values indicate that the average stance is globalist. Solid dots represent elections since 2000; circles represent elections between 1970 and 1999. Maureen A. Eger 74 16 Figure 5. Globalization and prominence of nationalism in national elections, weighted by vote Sources: The KOF Globalisation Index (Version 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Notes: Positive values on the y-axis represent the average share of election manifestos devoted to nationalist positions net of globalist positions; negative values indicate that the average stance is globalist. Solid dots represent elections since 2000; circles represent elections between 1970 and 1999. Figure 5. Globalization and prominence of nationalism in national elections, weighted by vote Sources: The KOF Globalisation Index (Version 2018_2) and the Manifesto Project (Version 2018b) Notes: Positive values on the y-axis represent the average share of election manifestos devoted to nationalist positions net of globalist positions; negative values indicate that the ave age stanc is globalist. Solid dots represent elections since 2000; circles represent elections between 1970 and 1999. Nonetheless, the wide distribution of circles and dots in figures 4 and 5 suggest that the prominence of nationalism is only weakly associated with actual globalization. Moreover, as indicated by the slope of the line, this relationship is negative. Values on the y-axis below zero indicate that the election average is globalist, and these correspond with some of the highest levels of globalization. Multilevel Models Because they account for the structure of the dataset, multilevel models provide a stronger test of the backlash hypothesis. Nevertheless, these 6.2 Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 75 17 Em pt y m od el Lin ea r No nlin ea r M ea nce nt er ed Em pt y m od el Lin ea r No nlin ea r M ea nce nt er ed Em pt y m od el Lin ea r No nlin ea r M ea nce nt er ed (0 ) (1 ) (2 ) (3 ) (4 ) (5 ) (6 ) (7 ) (8 ) (9 ) (1 0) (1 1) Ye ar 0. 13 0* ** 0. 08 9* ** 0. 15 1* ** 0. 07 3* ** 0. 03 9 0. 04 3 0. 10 0* ** 0. 07 4* * 0. 08 5* * (0 .0 22 ) (0 .0 25 ) (0 .0 29 ) (0 .0 21 ) (0 .0 26 ) (0 .0 27 ) (0 .0 22 ) (0 .0 26 ) (0 .0 30 ) KO FG I -0 .0 98 ** * -0 .5 68 ** * -0 .0 53 * -0 .3 30 * -0 .0 89 ** * -0 .3 63 * (0 .0 26 ) (0 .1 48 ) (0 .0 26 ) (0 .1 41 ) (0 .0 26 ) (0 .1 51 ) KO FG I2 0. 00 4* * 0. 00 2* 0. 00 2 (0 .0 01 ) (0 .0 01 ) (0 .0 01 ) KO FG I ( m ea n) -0 .0 63 -0 .1 15 ** -0 .1 15 ** (0 .0 41 ) (0 .0 43 ) (0 .0 41 ) KO FG I ( di ff) -0 .1 29 ** * -0 .0 10 -0 .0 67 (0 .0 38 ) (0 .0 35 ) (0 .0 39 ) Co ns ta nt 11 .1 61 ** * -2 42 .2 75 ** * -1 46 .2 15 ** -2 86 .4 47 ** * -0 .0 42 -1 41 .6 08 ** * -6 5. 81 5 -7 7. 47 5 -0 .0 92 -1 94 .4 52 ** * -1 33 .4 75 * -1 61 .4 59 ** (0 .4 63 ) (4 3. 05 7) (5 1. 51 8) (5 9. 15 1) (0 .4 95 ) (4 1. 64 4) (5 3. 94 1) (5 5. 02 9) (0 .4 86 ) (4 3. 13 3) (5 3. 80 5) (5 9. 69 9) Va ria nc e co m po ne nt s E le ct io n 5. 65 6 5. 85 8 5. 81 9 5. 83 1 6. 02 8 6. 16 1 6. 39 4 6. 13 4 4. 98 4 4. 97 3 5. 05 6 4. 94 6 (2 .6 34 ) (2 .7 94 ) (2 .7 55 ) (2 .7 69 ) (3 .7 36 ) (3 .9 20 ) (4 .2 75 ) (3 .8 80 ) (3 .4 01 ) (3 .3 81 ) (3 .5 20 ) (3 .3 37 ) C ou nt ry -y ea r 8. 70 9 7. 53 2 7. 31 0 7. 58 2 5. 38 1 5. 19 6 4. 65 4 5. 14 0 8. 89 6 8. 70 5 8. 35 4 8. 70 2 (2 .7 63 ) (2 .8 92 ) (2 .8 47 ) (2 .8 69 ) (3 .8 11 ) (3 .9 94 ) (4 .3 48 ) (3 .9 52 ) (3 .5 67 ) (3 .5 42 ) (3 .6 77 ) (3 .4 97 ) C ou nt ry 7. 42 5 6. 01 9 5. 53 0 5. 70 9 9. 09 7 7. 07 2 8. 44 9 7. 00 1 8. 40 6 5. 78 2 6. 52 6 5. 81 7 (2 .1 40 ) (1 .7 70 ) (1 .6 25 ) (1 .7 15 ) (2 .2 87 ) (1 .9 17 ) (2 .4 77 ) (1 .8 48 ) (2 .2 07 ) (1 .6 48 ) (1 .9 25 ) (1 .6 48 ) Lo g lik el ih oo d -1 16 3. 48 1 -1 14 6. 92 4 -1 14 1. 82 5 -1 14 6. 33 6 -1 12 4. 69 8 -1 11 9. 30 3 -1 11 7. 50 3 -1 11 7. 73 3 -1 15 9. 01 4 -1 14 9. 82 9 -1 14 8. 24 1 -1 14 9. 51 3 N le ve l 1 (e le ct io ns ) 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 N le ve l 2 (c ou nt ry -y ea rs ) 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 N le ve l 2 (c ou nt rie s) 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 ** * p< 0. 00 1, * * p< 0. 01 , * p <0 .0 5 St an da rd e rro rs in p ar en th es es Gl ob al ism a nd n at io na lis m Pr om in en ce o f n at io na lis m Pr om in en ce o f n at io na lis m , w ei gh te d Ta bl e 2. G lo ba liz at io n an d iss ue sa lie nc e in E ur op ea n na tio na l e le ct io ns , 1 97 0- 20 17 So ur ce s: T he K O F Gl ob al isa tio n In de x ( Ve rs io n 20 18 _2 ) a nd th e M an ife st o Pr oj ec t ( Ve rs io n 20 18 b) Maureen A. Eger 76 models tell a similar story. Table 2 includes 4 models for each dependent variable, for a total of 12. Models 0, 4, and 8 are “empty models” where the regression is run without any independent variables. This generates a grand mean as well as separates what proportion of the variance in the dependent variable exists at each of the three levels. Approximately 70–80 % of the variance exists at level 2 and 3. In addition to a time trend, subsequent models contain only country-level variables (as opposed to electionlevel independent variables). Therefore, it should not be a surprise that most of the reduction in variance to be explained (in models 1–3, 5–7, and 9–11) happens at higher levels. These models reveal four important things. First, as the coefficient for year indicates, the salience of these politics is increasing over time. This finding is consistent across models. Second, globalization is negatively associated with these politics. This is also consistent across models. Third, model 2 reveals a non-linear relationship between a country’s level of globalization and the average amount of attention parties give issues associated with both nationalism and globalism during an election. Like the scatter plot in figure 3 shows, increases in globalization are associated with decreases in issue salience, until a point where further increases in globalization are associated with increases in issue salience. However, the size of this effect is small and even smaller in regards to the second dependent variable, the prominence of nationalism (model 6). When salience of these politics is weighted by party vote, this non-linear effect disappears (model 10). Fourth, within-country increases in globalization are positively associated with the decreasing salience of both issues (model 3), but betweencountry differences in levels of globalization are negatively associated with the prominence of nationalism (models 7 and 11). This means that although increases in globalization may make issues associated with the phenomenon more politically relevant, it does not necessarily make the politics of national elections more nationalist. Taken together, results demonstrate that despite increasing levels of nationalism across European countries, objective levels of globalization do not systematically account for the increase in these politics. Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 77 18 Al l di m en sio ns Ec on om ics Po lit ica l So cia l Al l, m ea n ce nt er ed Al l di m en sio ns Ec on om ics Po lit ica l So cia l Al l, m ea n ce nt er ed Al l di m en sio ns Ec on om ics Po lit ica l So cia l Al l, m ea n ce nt er ed (1 2) (1 3) (1 4) (1 5) (1 6) (1 7) (1 8) (1 9) (2 0) (2 1) (2 2) (2 3) (2 4) (2 5) (2 6) Ye ar 0. 10 7* ** 0. 13 3* ** 0. 12 1* ** 0. 13 1* ** 0. 11 4* * 0. 07 7* * 0. 06 9* 0. 03 9 0. 02 4 0. 11 4* * 0. 10 9* ** 0. 10 9* ** 0. 06 7* * 0. 05 2 0. 11 4* * (0 .0 24 ) (0 .0 31 ) (0 .0 21 ) (0 .0 30 ) (0 .0 35 ) (0 .0 24 ) (0 .0 29 ) (0 .0 20 ) (0 .0 28 ) (0 .0 35 ) (0 .0 25 ) (0 .0 31 ) (0 .0 22 ) (0 .0 30 ) (0 .0 35 ) KO FE cG I 0. 01 6 -0 .0 33 -0 .0 66 (0 .0 35 ) (0 .0 34 ) (0 .0 35 ) KO FP oG I -0 .0 71 ** * -0 .0 15 -0 .0 29 (0 .0 21 ) (0 .0 21 ) (0 .0 21 ) KO FS oG I -0 .0 20 -0 .0 07 0. 00 7 (0 .0 41 ) (0 .0 41 ) (0 .0 42 ) KO FE cG I ( m ea n) -0 .0 11 0. 05 8 -0 .0 62 0. 05 8 -0 .0 84 * 0. 05 8 (0 .0 39 ) (0 .0 62 ) (0 .0 42 ) (0 .0 62 ) (0 .0 40 ) (0 .0 62 ) KO FE cG I ( di ff) -0 .0 80 * 0. 01 0 -0 .0 38 0. 01 0 -0 .0 81 * 0. 01 0 (0 .0 34 ) (0 .0 43 ) (0 .0 32 ) (0 .0 43 ) (0 .0 34 ) (0 .0 43 ) KO FP oG I ( m ea n) -0 .0 55 * -0 .0 45 -0 .0 62 * -0 .0 45 -0 .0 56 * -0 .0 45 (0 .0 25 ) (0 .0 29 ) (0 .0 27 ) (0 .0 29 ) (0 .0 27 ) (0 .0 29 ) KO FP oG I ( di ff) -0 .0 90 ** * -0 .0 93 ** -0 .0 04 -0 .0 93 ** -0 .0 42 -0 .0 93 ** (0 .0 24 ) (0 .0 34 ) (0 .0 23 ) (0 .0 34 ) (0 .0 25 ) (0 .0 34 ) KO FS oG I ( m ea n) -0 .0 50 -0 .0 64 -0 .1 09 ** -0 .0 64 -0 .1 10 ** -0 .0 64 (0 .0 39 ) (0 .0 67 ) (0 .0 41 ) (0 .0 67 ) (0 .0 39 ) (0 .0 67 ) KO FS oG I ( di ff) -0 .1 13 * 0. 00 0 0. 02 4 0. 00 0 -0 .0 18 0. 00 0 (0 .0 47 ) (0 .0 61 ) (0 .0 43 ) (0 .0 61 ) (0 .0 47 ) (0 .0 61 ) Co ns ta nt -1 96 .0 04 ** * -2 54 .3 45 ** * -2 26 .1 51 ** * -2 46 .2 49 ** * -2 12 .5 95 ** -1 49 .9 41 ** -1 33 .0 71 * -7 2. 99 2 -3 9. 89 3 -2 12 .5 95 ** -2 11 .8 12 ** * -2 11 .8 08 ** * -1 30 .6 54 ** -9 7. 04 9 -2 12 .5 95 ** (4 7. 66 2) (6 2. 86 1) (4 3. 07 2) (6 0. 43 4) (7 0. 49 2) (4 6. 97 6) (5 8. 40 6) (3 9. 97 6) (5 5. 85 2) (7 0. 49 2) (4 8. 45 1) (6 2. 86 2) (4 3. 75 4) (6 0. 77 3) (7 0. 49 2) Va ria nc e co m po ne nt s E le ct io n 5. 76 3 6. 02 8 5. 74 0 5. 94 6 5. 71 5 6. 09 3 6. 06 6 6. 18 2 6. 02 6 5. 71 5 4. 88 8 4. 81 3 4. 98 3 4. 86 9 5. 71 5 (2 .7 09 ) (2 .9 57 ) (2 .6 88 ) (2 .8 79 ) (2 .6 66 ) (3 .8 23 ) (3 .7 81 ) (3 .9 52 ) (3 .7 27 ) (2 .6 66 ) (3 .2 46 ) (3 .1 28 ) (3 .3 99 ) (3 .2 16 ) (2 .6 66 ) C ou nt ry -y ea r 7. 55 6 7. 68 5 7. 59 1 7. 65 8 7. 58 2 5. 24 5 5. 22 0 5. 08 4 5. 21 2 7. 58 2 8. 73 3 8. 83 1 8. 64 5 8. 83 8 7. 58 2 (2 .8 08 ) (3 .0 59 ) (2 .7 88 ) (2 .9 80 ) (2 .7 66 ) (3 .8 95 ) (3 .8 54 ) (4 .0 23 ) (3 .7 98 ) (2 .7 66 ) (3 .4 06 ) (3 .2 91 ) (3 .5 57 ) (3 .3 79 ) (2 .7 66 ) C ou nt ry 5. 55 5 5. 96 6 5. 39 7 5. 98 1 5. 37 9 7. 15 6 7. 60 7 7. 43 9 7. 28 3 5. 37 9 5. 83 9 6. 10 7 6. 59 9 6. 20 1 5. 37 9 (1 .6 77 ) (1 .8 35 ) (1 .6 46 ) (1 .7 88 ) (1 .6 34 ) (1 .9 64 ) (1 .9 98 ) (1 .9 32 ) (1 .9 13 ) (1 .6 34 ) (1 .6 84 ) (1 .7 31 ) (1 .8 17 ) (1 .7 35 ) (1 .6 34 ) Lo g lik el ih oo d -1 14 4. 56 0 -1 15 1. 27 0 -1 14 4. 22 9 -1 14 9. 80 0 -1 14 3. 70 3 -1 11 9. 17 5 -1 11 9. 41 3 -1 11 8. 71 5 -1 11 7. 81 5 -1 14 3. 70 3 -1 14 9. 17 2 -1 15 0. 20 1 -1 15 1. 38 3 -1 15 1. 35 3 -1 14 3. 70 3 N le ve l 1 (e le ct io ns ) 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 41 0 N le ve l 2 (c ou nt ry -y ea rs ) 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 40 4 N le ve l 2 (c ou nt rie s) 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 ** * p< 0. 00 1, * * p< 0. 01 , * p <0 .0 5 Ta bl e 3. D im en sio ns o f g lo ba liz at io n an d iss ue sa lie nc e in E ur op ea n na tio na l e le ct io ns , 1 97 0- 20 17 So ur ce s: T he K O F Gl ob al isa tio n In de x ( Ve rs io n 20 18 _2 ) a nd th e M an ife st o Pr oj ec t ( Ve rs io n 20 18 b) St an da rd e rro rs in p ar en th es es Gl ob al ism a nd n at io na lis m Pr om in en ce o f n at io na lis m Pr om in en ce o f n at io na lis m , w ei gh te d Maureen A. Eger 78 Table 3 reports models that distinguish between the economic, political, and social dimensions of globalization. There are 5 models for each dependent variable for a total of 15 models. In summary, these models add to our understanding of the relationship in two ways. First, across all dependent variables, there is only one consistent result: when all dimensions are included in the analyses (models 16, 21, 26), within-country increases in political globalization decrease the political salience of these issues. Second, and most importantly, all of the significant relationships between globalization and issue salience are negative. This contradicts the notion that objective globalization leads to increases in the political salience of nationalism. Conclusion Based on these analyses, it is difficult to claim globalization is systematically related to the rise in neo-nationalism. Despite the fact that the salience of these politics is increasing over time, globalization, measured at the country-level, has a negative relationship with the salience of nationalism in national elections. This remains true even when the elite articulation of these politics is weighted by parties’ respective share of national vote. To be clear, these findings do not negate that globalization creates challenges for nation-states and for specific segments of society, nor do these results imply that grievances or anxieties about globalization are unrelated to voting behavior. Nonetheless, these analyses show that nationalism is not an inevitable outcome of structural changes associated with globalization. If objective levels of globalization do not increase the salience of nationalism, what does? The fact that I do not have a simple answer to this question is certainly a limitation of the current research. However, the answer most certainly lies within domestic politics and social policy arrangements (Rodrik 2018). For example, recent research shows that while unemployment is not directly correlated with support for the radical right, it increases the likelihood of supporting radical right parties in countries where and when unemployment benefits are relatively low (Vlandas/Halikiopoulou 2019). These findings suggest that countries can counter radical right voting and neo-nationalist politics by adopting social policies that combat economic insecurity and inequality. Another limitation of the current research is that it focuses only on country-level measures of globalization. The national context may not be as meaningful for individuals as a more local one (Eger/Breznau 2017). For example, recent research shows that rapid demographic and economic 7 Neo-Nationalism and its Relationship to Globalization 79 change at the regional-level in Finland is associated with support for the radical right (Patana 2018). Other research shows that support for Brexit tended to be higher in areas of the United Kingdom where the population was relatively low skilled and less well educated (Goodwin/Heath 2016) and in regions whose economic performance suffered due to economic globalization (Colantone/Stanig 2018). Thus, it is possible that the backlash is most visible at sub-national level, where the uneven effects of globalization are felt most. Future research should explore local levels of globalization and the salience of these politics at the regional-level. 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In this context the pronounced visibility of recent populist and nativist movements has been dubbed ‘the neo-nationalist resurgence’ that goes against the grain of modern realities. However, in this chapter I challenge such views. I argue that rather than being a radical anomaly nationalism underpins the organisational, ideological and micro-interactional foundations of modernity. Hence the current instances of nationalist ideas and practices can only be properly understood if analysed through the historical prism of longue durée. Such a historically rooted analysis shows that nationalism has not experienced sudden rise but has been continually expanding over the last two hundred and fifty years. The intensity and strength of nationalism in modernity stems from the organisational and ideological dominance of the specific mode of polity that maintains a hegemonic position in the contemporary world – the nation-state. How New is Neo-Nationalism? In November 2016 the Economist published an editorial ‘New Nationalism’ where it identified Donald Trump’s electoral success as following in the footsteps of ideological change taking place in other parts of the world. The editorial was unambiguous in its assessment stating that ‘with his call to put “America First”, Donald Trump is the latest recruit to a dangerous nationalism’ (The Economist 2016, 1). This message was also illustrated with a striking and memorable cover page featuring Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen dressed up as the 19th century 1 2 85 insurgents sporting their respective national flags and playing the war drums. This editorial and the cover page stimulated further the ongoing public debate on the causes of, what analysists have described as a sudden and unexpected, rise of populist and nativist neo-nationalism. Many academics have also taken part in this debate. Hence some scholars argue that neo-nationalism is a distinctly novel phenomenon characterised by a variety of developments that have taken place over the last two to three decades. Several political scientists have described neo-nationalism as a ‘cultural backlash’ where the public opinion has shifted towards the movements and parties that advocate ideas such as strict immigration control, re-affirmation of national sovereignty, introduction of stringent citizenship policies, resistance to the international organisations and protectionism in economic sphere. For example, Inglehart and Norris (2019) explain the rise of neo-nationalism invoking the value polarisation between social liberals who espouse more universalist beliefs and who prefer open borders and social conservatives who are hostile to cultural diversity and reject immigration. In this context immigration and multiculturalism have become the key ideological markers of political polarisation. They argue that the increased immigration or even the perception that there is a substantial immigration upsurge fosters greater ideological cleavage where social conservatives switch their support from the traditional centre right parties to the more authoritarian populist leaders and movements. Thus, for Inglehart and Norris it is the cultural values, not economic interests that help explain the rise of new nationalisms. Kaufmann (2018) also offers a culture-centred explanation of neo-nationalist movements. In his controversial book Whiteshift he argues that the demographic changes, including intensified immigration, have generated an ethnic change in Europe and North America which has triggered populist response among the ‘white majority’ populations. Having examined various survey results and other statistical data he concludes that new nationalism is primarily an ethno-cultural rather than an economic phenomenon as it mobilises ‘white majorities’ across the class and status cleavages. In direct contrast to these culturalist perspectives other scholars have emphasised economic causes as playing a decisive role in the rising public support for the nativist and anti-immigrant policies. Thus Jack Snyder (2019) argues that neo-nationalism is a direct product of unregulated economic policies which allowed transformation of capitalism from the government controlled economic system into an unregulated system driven by financialisation. In his words: Siniša Malešević 86 “elites in the United States and Europe have steadily dismantled the political controls that once allowed national governments to manage capitalism. They have constrained democratic politics to fit the logic of international markets and shifted policymaking to unaccountable bureaucracies or supranational institutions such as the EU. This has created the conditions for the present surge of populist nationalism.” (Snyder 2019, 1) Similarly, Takis Fotopoulos (2016) insists that neo-nationalism has economic foundations as it emerges in the global environment where neo-liberalisation has diminished the power of individual states and has generated profound economic inequalities. Hence, he differentiates between the old nationalism which was centred on the creation of independent nation-states in the ruins of traditional imperial orders and the new nationalism which is a product of neo-liberalism and its victims who now resist capitalist globalisation. These culturalist and economistic accounts have been criticised for overemphasising single factor explanations while also perpetuating the view of neo-nationalism as a linear and uniform phenomenon that has increased consistently throughout the western world. For example, Halikiopoulou and Vlandas (2019) and Bieber (2018) demonstrate empirically that there is no single cross-country configuration with the continuous increase of populist and nativist movements. Similarly, there is no discernible pattern of uniform and linear shift in the popular attitudes where neo-nationalism spreads equally throughout Europe or North America. Instead the survey data and the election results point to the diversity of experiences across these two continents and the rest of the world. While these criticisms are valuable, they do not go far enough. The key problem with the current debates on neo-nationalism is that they lack a historical dimension in their analysis. Hence to fully understand the recent developments it is paramount to explore the long-term structural trends which shape the dynamics of nationalisms. The current manifestations of populist nationalism are not the product of some short-term economic or cultural factors. Instead they are the social incarnation of a structural phenomenon that has been developing and metamorphosing over the last 250 years. However, before exploring the historical dynamics of nationhood it is important to make a point that neo-nationalism is not a new phenomenon. This concept has been deployed regularly for over a century to account for what the observers have perceived to be yet another unexpected ‘return of nationalism’. Even the cursory view indicates that Grounded Nationalism and Cultural Diversity 87 terms ‘new nationalism’ and ‘neo-nationalism’ have been in use since the beginning of 20th century. For example, Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in Kansas in 1910 entitled ‘new nationalism’ where he advocated support for the strong federal government capable of securing property rights and delivering welfare provisions to American citizens. This policy was then adopted as his election strategy and was published as an influential book under the same title ‘New Nationalism’. This term was later deployed by scholars and activists to describe the outcome of World War I where allegedly ‘new nationalisms’ have defeated the old imperial structures of Habsburgs, Ottomans and Romanovs. This argument is articulated extensively in a book with an indicative title such as ‘The New Nationalism and the First World War’ (Rosenthal/Rodic 2014). The same concept was later utilised to account for the variety of political changes taking place after the World War II. Hence the anti-colonial struggle in Africa, Asia and Latin America has regularly been described as ‘new nationalism which sheds Western dominance’ (Mattick 1959). In 1968 Louis Snyder published a book ‘New Nationalism’ to explain the rise of various independence movements throughout the world. In a similar vein the 1970s and 80s waves of separatism in Quebec, Catalonia, Basque country, Flanders and Scotland has been labeled neo-nationalism. The influential books published in this period include Nairn’s ‘The Breakup of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism’ (1977), Behiel’s ‘Prelude to Quebec's Quiet Revolution: Liberalism vs Neo-Nationalism, 1945–60’ (1985) and Tiryakian and Rogovski’s ‘New Nationalism of the Developed West’ (1986) among many others. The collapse of communist federations including Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Ethiopia has generated another wave of scholarship invoking the concept of neo-nationalism. This is well illustrated with Ignatieff’s 1994 book ‘Blood and Belonging: Journey into the New Nationalism’ or Norbu’s ‘Marxism, Nationalism and Revolution: The Rise of Neo-Nationalism in Communist Countries’ (2002). More recently this concept has been deployed to account for the backlash against the cultural assimilation associated with globalization. The typical book titles here are: Zuhur (2005) ‘The Middle East: Politics, History and Neonationalism’, Gingrich/ Banks (2006) ‘Neo-nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives from Social Anthropology’ or Valdez (2011) ‘Neonationalism in Scandinavia: Immigration, Segregation, and Anti-immigrant Voting in Denmark and Sweden’, to name a few. Thus, since the terms ‘new nationalism’ or ‘neo-nationalism’ have been in use consistently for over a century one could conclude that this is a too vague and catch all term that could not differentiate between so many distinct instances of this phenomenon. Although this is true what is more im- Siniša Malešević 88 portant is that academics have constantly been surprised by the ‘rise of nationalism’. The key issue here is that the idiom neo-nationalism is often deployed to indicate researcher’s astonishment that nationalism has not gone away despite the numerous pronouncements to the contrary. In other words, nationalism has regularly been treated as a historical relic which has no place in the contemporary world. Nevertheless, to properly understand the periodic visible manifestations of nationalism it is crucial to recognize that this is not some kind of social aberration, but that nationalism underpins the modern social orders. Nationalism is not an ideological anomaly that occasionally interrupts the natural flow of social development. Instead this is the hegemonic form of political legitimacy and the principal mode of collective subjectivity in the world we have been inhabiting for the past 250 years (Malešević 2019, 2017, 2013). Grounded Nationalisms In the traditional historiographic interpretations nationalism is regularly depicted as a 19th century phenomenon associated with the unification of Italy and Germany as well as with the development of intellectual networks and movements advocating the rights of national sovereignty for the small nations in Europe. These conventional interpretations tend to identify the WWI as the pinnacle of nationalist uprisings whereby the collapse of the old imperial structures and the affirmation of the Wilson’s principle of self-determination have finally inaugurated the world where nation-states have replaced the empires. However, as I have argued before, these accounts overemphasise the role of cultural and political elites and largely ignore the wider sociological foundations of nationalism. The key point is that in the 19th and early 20th centuries nationalism was still a minority ideological discourse associated with the upper and middle class urban populations while the majority of European citizens were still attached to their local, regional, religious and kinship based solidarities (Malešević 2019; Breuilly 1993; Weber 1976). It took much longer to institutionalise nationalist narratives and make them a dominant operative ideology of the contemporary world. This has been achieved gradually and unevenly throughout Europe and the Americas while the rest of the world embraced the fully-fledged nationalist policies only after the disintegration of the imperial power structures in the wake of WWII. Hence nationalism became a global mode of political legitimacy only in the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century. In other words, the idea that neo-nationalism represents an unexpected return of a phenomenon that dominated 3 Grounded Nationalism and Cultural Diversity 89 19th century European history and that has since largely disappeared is profoundly mistaken. Nationalism never went away, it has been developing, expanding and institutionalising continuously over the past 250 years. Thus, what the analysts perceive to be ‘new nationalism’ is only a more visible variation of the social processes that have been in existence for over two centuries. Before I elaborate on this point it is necessary to define this phenomenon. I see nationalism as “an ideology that rests on the popularly shared perceptions and corresponding practices that posit the nation as a principal unit of human solidarity and political legitimacy” (Malešević 2013, 75). As such nationalism is a historical phenomenon that has gradually replaced other forms of political legitimacy and group attachments. Its intellectual origins lay in the Enlightenment and romanticism, and the political revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th century Europe and the Americas. Nevertheless, these intellectual and political events did not create nationalism – neither the French revolutionaries nor Simon Bolivar and other Criollo insurgents fought for the creation of nation-states. Instead these events were largely driven by specific social and economic concerns and it is only much later that these structural changes were justified and framed in nationalist terms. The point is that nationalism was not an ideology that motivated the political reorganisation of the globe; rather nationalism was a consequence of protracted warfare and revolutionary upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries (Wimmer 2018, 2012; Malešević 2010; Mann 1993). Nationalism was not willed, it emerged through the historical contingencies of this time. Hence it was only slowly that the previous forms of collective subjectivity and political legitimacy have given way to nationhood as a hegemonic ideological discourse. This was a gradual shift that initially affected the upper and middle urban social strata and then spread to the other groups including the workers, farmers and urban poor. While before modernity an overwhelming majority of individuals believed that the rulers have the right to rule on the basis of their divine origins or other religious sources of political legitimacy in modern era political power is tied to popular sovereignty where nation stands at the heart of political legitimacy. Nationalism is a historical phenomenon that developed gradually through the organisational, ideological and micro-interactional grounding. To say that nationalism is an organisationally grounded phenomenon means that its growth and expansion are rooted in the rising organisational capacity of states and other coercive entities. Initially the nationalist ideas were articulated by the small networks of cultural and political enthusiasts who would gather in the private circles, saloons, coffee shops and beer Siniša Malešević 90 houses and would devise different programmes of national emancipation (Mann 1993; Breuilly 1993). Some of these early, mostly cultural, associations later attained a political form in the clandestine revolutionary societies such as Carbonari, Young Italy, Philiki Hetairia, Young Ireland and many other similar organisations that sprung up in the 19th century Europe and the Americas. These secret societies were influential precisely because they consisted of dedicated and highly disciplined individuals who were often willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater, nationalist, cause. By the end of 19th century a variety of social movements embraced the nationalist projects some of which advocated cultural renewal and autonomy while others devised more politically oriented programmes for independent statehood. However, the key issue here is that nationalist discourses proliferated on the back of increasing organisational capacity. They started off with small organisations such as Young Ireland or Finian Brotherhood in Ireland and have gradually transformed into potent social, cultural and political movements such as Gaelic League or Gaelic Athletic Association. These and similar organisations gained influence through establishing the hierarchical and centralised organisational structure that reached from Dublin to every parish in Ireland. Nevertheless, the principal organisational vehicle for the proliferation of nationalist ideas and practices has been the state. As Mann (1993) and Tilly (1992) have demonstrated empirically the ever increasing state power was dependent on the development of infrastructural capacity including improved transport and communication networks and the ability of state authorities to police their borders, control their citizens and resources and to increase their revenues through establishing more efficient systems of taxation. At the heart of this historical transformation was the expanding coercive capacity which was successfully utilised to mould ordinary peasants into the nationally conscious citizens. Throughout 19th and 20th centuries the modern nation states have invested enormous coercive powers and resources to homogenise their populations. In some instances, such as with the French revolutionary state, the rulers opted for excessive violence in order to destroy the local cultural diversities – the clerics and peasants of Vendée were slaughtered for resisting the ideological uniformity of the new nationalising state but the French state also deployed other coercive mechanisms to obliterate patois and assimilate their citizens into nationally uniform Frenchmen and Frenchwomen (Weber 1976). Other nation-states deployed different coercive practices but in most cases the focus was similar: nationalist principles implied that local and kinship-based solidarities had to be replaced with the unified national identities. It is no accident that relative cultural and political uniformity of European nation-states has Grounded Nationalism and Cultural Diversity 91 transpired at the same time when mass warfare took place, for most of these wars were fought in the name of culturally homogenous nation-states (Mazower 2009). The ever-increasing coercive capacity has played a pivotal role in the organisational grounding of nationalisms. While organisations are crucial for the proliferation of nationalist ideologies what also matters are the ideologies themselves. Thus, nationalism is not only organisationally grounded, it is also an ideologically grounded phenomenon. Although the classical scholars of nationalism such as Gellner, Hobsbawm and Anderson dismissed nationalist ideas as irrelevant and largely incoherent, it is necessary to understand these ideological vistas on their own terms. Nationalism attracts a great deal of support precisely because it offers utopian plans of salvation, emancipation, liberation and shared destiny. The nationalist ideologues articulate their massages in the discourse of righteousness invoking the sense of injustice and the need for freedom in terms of self-determination. The nationalist ideologies emphasise the universalist ethical principles such as that all nations should be free and preferably live in their own sovereign states. This ideology posits nationhood as the ultimate mode of collective subjectivity. It also appeals to shared group interests and responsibilities as being a committed member of a nation entails specific symbolic and material benefits including a sense of political power, economic advantage and cultural prestige (Collins 1999; Weber 1968). However, the ideological grounding of nationalism is most visible in its capacity to mobilise large groups of people and to utilise its key principles to justify a particular social order. In other words, nationalism operates through the ongoing ideological penetration whereby different social strata are brought together into a nation-centric universe of shared values and practices. This ‘nationalisation of the masses’ is a process that is spearheaded by the state institutions including the educational system, the mass media, the military, police, courts, health system and other government mediated institutions all of which reproduce nation-centric social realities. Nevertheless, nationalism is a powerful discourse in modernity because it also attains ideological grounding outside of state institutions: in the public sphere, among the civil society groupings, in the religious institutions, within the private corporations, NGOs and many other outlets. In addition to its organisational and ideological embedment nationalism is also grounded in the micro-interactional contexts. Although there could be no nationalism without organisational structures and ideological discourses these structural forces are not sufficient to maintain nation-centric realities in everyday life. Hence for this to happen it is crucial that nationalist messages and practices are reproduced habitually on the grass- Siniša Malešević 92 roots levels. Simply put nationalism is a potent sociological phenomenon precisely because it is grounded in the daily routine. As Fox and Miller-Idriss (2008) convincingly argue nationhood entails presence of active and reflective individuals who construct and reproduce nation-centric tropes in their everyday communication, consumption practices, and the routinised and ritualised practices. For nationalism to be successful it was paramount to penetrate the micro-level universe of everyday life. This could happen only when the local interests, meanings and attachments become aligned with the wider national narratives. Hence micro-grounding of nationalism entails the continuous translation of national discourses into the local stories: the micro-level solidarities have to be woven into the shared narratives and practices that generate national identities. In other words, nationalism can resonate only when it is perceived through the personalised experiences associated with the individuals that matter to most people – their family, close friends, comrades, lovers, peer groups and significant others (Malešević 2019, 2013). It is no accident that all nationalist ideologies deploy the language of kinship, comradeship and friendship – they depict an abstract realm in terms of close knit and concrete micro-level solidarities – ‘our Mother Russia’, ‘our eternal fatherland’, ‘our Serbian brothers and sisters’, ‘our boys that are sacrifice their lives for the motherland’ etc. The nationalist imagery tends to personalise nations in imagery of a specific individual that many people can identify with as they resemble their friends and family members. For example, Joan of Arc and Marianne have become symbols of France, Bharat Mata of India, Amaterasu of Japan, and Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mexico and so on. Thus, the success of nationalism is premised on the synchronised workings of the organisational, ideological ad micro-interactional grounding. It is in this context that the organisationally reproduced and ideologically articulated doctrine is translated into the local micro realities. Nationalism taps into the microcosm of emotional and moral attachments that individuals develop with their significant others and in this way it feeds off the emotional bonds that are created and maintained on the micro-level. Nationalism and Diversity Since nationalism privileges nationhood over all other forms of collective attachments it has historically been an enemy of diversity. Initially the nationalist projects in Europe were focused on transforming local, regional and kinship-based heterogeneities into the nationally homogenous populations. This was largely a top down process of social engineering centred on 4 Grounded Nationalism and Cultural Diversity 93 using the state institutions to mould ‘the peasants into Frenchmen’ (Weber 1976). Although France was at the forefront of this drive other European states deployed similar organisational methods to nationalise their populations. The key vehicle of this process were the educational systems, conscript armies and the public sphere all of which played a central role in the socialisation of peasant masses into the nationally conscious citizens. In many respects this was a coercive process which at best penalised cultural diversity and at worst physically obliterated populations unwilling to assimilate. Henri Gregoire’s Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalise the use of the French Language (1794) became a blueprint for the coercive legal policy that made French the only language allowed in the education and the public realm. This stringent assimilationist strategy was developed further by the consequent governments of the French Third Republic that made the primary education compulsory and forbade the use of all other languages and dialects except for the standard French. This coercive policy of linguistic purity was extended further to Alsace and Lorraine after the WWI where the use of German, a primary language for most inhabitants in these two regions, was banned. The state authorities punished severely those who spoke other languages even if this was done outside of the public institutions and the French politicians were very explicit in their statements that there is no room for cultural diversity in France. For example, in 1925 the minister of public education, Anatole de Monzie, said that “for the linguistic unity of France, the Breton language must disappear.” (Ferguson 2006, 95) In Central, Eastern and Southern Europe these assimilationist campaigns combined nationalisation of local peasantry with the expulsions and occasional exterminations of ethnic and religious minorities. Thus, during the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been expelled from the newly established Balkan states. The Russo-Ottoman war (1877–78) resulted in massive ethnic cleansing policies with over 750,000 Muslims being removed and killed from the Caucasus. The two world wars together with the Holocaust and the ethnic cleansing policies implemented in the aftermath of the two wars have re-designed European continent making it much more ethnically homogenous (Mazower 2009). In Gellner’s (1983, 139) apt phrase the maps of Europe were dramatically transformed from resembling the paintings of Kokoschka to that of Modigliani – a world of vibrant, diverse and blurry colours into the sharp-edged images of homogeneity. The North American rulers implemented similar exterminationist strategies. For example, in 1830 president Jackson approved the Indian Removal Act paving the way for the forced expulsion of thousands of Native Siniša Malešević 94 Americans from their territories with many dying in this process. In 1862 Homestead Act allowed the white settlers to take the land from the remaining native populations (i.e. Sioux, Comanche and Arapaho) while using military to violently destroy any attempts at resistance. Although the US was an immigrant-based society it gradually introduced restrictive immigration policies favouring North European over other immigrants and fostering a strong assimilationist ideology through the melting pot project and the view of cultural diversity as representing a non-American activity. Hence the organisational and ideological grounding of nationalisms was very much premised on the obliteration of cultural diversity. With the collapse of the imperial projects in 1950s and 60s together with the economic boom and labour shortages in the Western Europe and North America new immigrants have settled in the countries that by now have become more ethnically homogenous than ever before. This recently attained and historically atypical ethnic uniformity was also ideological articulated as a primordial condition thus posting new immigrations as a challenge to ‘established national identities’. Although xenophobic outbursts against new immigrants and other forms of cultural diversity have traditionally been associated with the far-right groups the ideological principles that sustain these periodic outbursts are deeply embedded in the organisational form that dominates the modern world – the nation-state. In other words, nationalism is not a temporary aberration produced by economic crises or cultural changes but a dominant operative ideology and a principal mode of political legitimacy and collective subjectivity in modern world. The far-right rhetoric is just a radicalised version of the mainstream belief systems that underpin the world we live in where nation-state is recognised as the only legitimate form of territorial organisation of political power and where nationhood is the hegemonic principle of collective categorisation and identification. Hence the populist discourses that target immigrant minority populations by emphasising their religious, linguistic, ethnic or racial markers are just radicalising the existing dominant principles and practices which posit a nation as the principal unit of human solidarity and political sovereignty. This is the same principle that underpinned nationalism from its organisational inception in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Nationalism was and remains to be an enemy of diversity – in 19th and early 20th century it targeted nationally ambiguous peasantry, the local, unstandardized vernaculars and indigenous communities whereas in the late 20th and 21st centuries it attacks culturally diverse immigrant populations. While 19th century nationalists were determined to force peasants to become Frenchmen today’s nationalists rage against the religious, ethnic and racial difference ho- Grounded Nationalism and Cultural Diversity 95 ping to assimilate or expatriate the migrants and their offspring. Nevertheless, there is a paradox at the heart of the nationalist project: it loathes cultural difference, but it could not exist without it. Nationalism entails the presence of diversity as an ideological enemy and as an organisational challenge to overcome. Simply put nation-states are by definition the homogenising machines shaped to mould heterogeneity into homogeneity and as such they require cultural difference that puts the organisational, ideological and micro-interactional grounding in operation. Even the states that nominally celebrate difference and cherish multiculturalism cannot escape the structural logic of nation-centric principles that underpin the world we live in. For example, in the states where multiculturalism is an official state policy such as in Canada, Peru, or Bolivia, nationalism still trumps cultural plurality in everyday life and many minorities feel detached from the dominant nation-centric understanding of social reality. While there might be room to accommodate some groups within the revised forms of national narrative there is simply no organisational or ideological logic to develop all inclusive ‘multicultural nationalism’ that some scholars envisage and advocate (i.e. Modood 2017; Nimni 2010). Nationalism can be reframed and re-articulated in more inclusive and civic terms, but the structural logic of its organisational and ideological grounding continues to push towards exclusivity and against diversity. An all-inclusive nationalism would lose its raison d'être: If everybody is included what is the point of having states based on the principle of nationhood in the first place? Conclusion On the one hand we live in a world where everybody is expected to have a national identity and not having one is regarded as strange or even bizarre. The general expectation is that individuals should be proud of, or at least loyal to, their nations. The nationhood has become a second nature and the dominant nation-centric vision of the world is rarely challenged. On the other hand, most analysts and the mainstream public are uncomfortable with the excessive expressions of national enthusiasm. Supporting your national football team at the World cup is nice and normal, shouting at immigrants to assimilate or leave our country is despicable. In this context ‘the unexpected rise of neo-nationalism’ is perceived by many as a deviant development that undermines the existing social orders. However, in this chapter I have tried to show that there is not much new in ‘new nationalism’ and to understand its sociological dynamics it is necessary to dig deeper into the historical transformation of nationalism. Rather than be- 5 Siniša Malešević 96 ing an exception the contemporary ‘neo-nationalism’ is just a radicalised version of the ideological, organisational and micro-interactional processes that have been in motion for the last three centuries. There is no huge structural difference between the discourses that are hostile to immigrants and those that cherish one’s national team at sporting competitions. Nationalism is not the exception; it is the norm. 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Nationalism, State Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Siniša Malešević 98 Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism: Affect and Rationality in Contemporary Identity Politics1 Ulf Hedetoft Nationalism, Populism and Religion Nationalism and nation-state-building in Europe have in the modern period always centered round the question of cultural and ethnic homogeneity and the ideal of congruity between politics, culture and borders (Gellner 1983). Importantly, however, this has consistently been a homogeneity which has been guaranteed by states which, in opposition to the ancien régime, either spearheaded or were the primary object of the European modernization process. These states have since developed into safeguards of national loyalties based on sentiments of self-abnegation and sacrifice rather than selfish interest. European national identities are therefore in a very fundamental sense state identities, since they presuppose an interventionist state apparatus able to uphold not just the sovereignty of the nation-state on the international stage, but also domestic equality and freedom for and among its citizens in a way that commands their respect, even devotion (this argument is further developed in Hedetoft 2018). The identity of citizens may have started as a rational and calculated undertaking, but it always ends up as a deeply affective commitment (Hvithamar 2009). The central concepts of ‘nation’, ‘people’ and ‘citizens’ need to be briefly defined. They are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences (Yack 2012). Nation is imaginative, mythical and pre-political, the subjunctive root of ‘the people’, which is per se indicatively linked to its state through policies of ascription, self-definition and borders, and the third, citizens, indicates the individual members of the people as a collective political community, subdividing this ‘body’ into ethnic (original) and civic (newcomer) members. Together they provide the vertical (state-to- 1 1 I want to make it clear from the outset that ‘political theology’ in this paper is meant to refer only to the harnessing by populists of church and religion to political goals, discursively or with regard to intentions or assumptions of a nationalist nature. 99 people) and horizontal (group/individual-to-group/individual) glue that ties the national community to the belief in state sovereignty and forms the basis for the transcendentalism of national identity as the spiritual component of the volonté générale. On this basis, the national state after the Reformation and after Westphalia can be argued to have served as the secular ‘replacement’ of the public religiosity that was formerly represented directly by the Catholic Church and its immense power, but the replacement has also tapped into and utilized the advantages that commitment to official religions provided, e.g. in Poland with the country’s intense dedication to the Catholic faith (see later), in the Anglicanism of Britain, or in the constitutionally safeguarded embeddedness of Denmark in the Protestant faith. Religion, in other words, does not cease having a deep impact on social structures after the Reformation, but it is privatized, diversified and moralized as a significant element in shoring up the charismatic authority of nation-states and securing the loyalty and affection of citizens. Where ‘state’ and its profane sacrality are an integral part of oneself; where society and community are coterminous; where citizenship equals the feeling of ethnicity – there psychological security depends on the (putative) inviolability and homogeneity of the people/state compact, the (perceived) impenetrability of borders, and the maintenance of old-style sovereignty, frequently – and increasingly today – reinforced by nationally condoned belief structures, rituals and banal practices, like flagging, media use and sports events (Billig 1995). The more this mental configuration becomes challenged by real changes in the world around it, the more it will tend to try to recoup lost ground, often quite aggressively, as demonstrated by the currently rapid spread of national populism across Europe and the steadily growing electoral backing behind parties and leaders advocating a return to the good old days of national self-determination in virtually all EU countries. This is fertile soil for nationalist myths, the cultivation of nostalgia and a populism thriving on the alleged betrayal by the elites of the popular masses and the distinction between a positive ‘us’ and a threatening ‘they’ – movements more often than not spearheaded by politicians hailing from elite backgrounds but trying as best they can to embrace popular concerns and represent themselves – from Nigel Farage over Geert Wilders and Norbert Hofer to Marine le Pen and Jarosław Kaczyński – as the authentic, morally legitimate representatives of the ‘real people’ – a new kind of charismatic saviors. This is the crux of populism. Ulf Hedetoft 100 Nationalism and Populism: Different, Yet Much the Same Many words and much debate have been expended on populism, and it is indeed a timely and important issue (see e.g. Gidron/Bonikowsky 2013/14). Most approaches have shunned straightforward conceptual clarification, arguing that populism is too vague be to called a concept and that it is up for grabs for anyone wanting to use it for their own purposes. Others have prioritized seeing it as an ideology, a discourse, a morality or a political strategy. And many have focused on its negative relations with liberalism and democracy. Strangely, relatively few modes of enquiry have chosen to see it in its relations with nationalism, and those who do (e.g. some contributions to Kaltwasser 2017) are more intent on disentangling the two than on showing their intimate relationship. This is what I aim to do here. I argue that the two concepts are closely linked and cannot be approached as parallel worlds. Populism is in my view mainly a distinct variant of nationalism. This does not imply that, as some have argued (e.g. Müller 2016; Hansen 2017), populism twists, degrades or misrepresents nationalism, understood to be identical with its democratic and liberal form. This latter is, however, just one version of nationalism along with many others (authoritarian, fascist, theocratic etc.), and it seems important not to introduce normative assessments as a parameter of analysis. If we accept this view, populism must share a lot of the core characteristics of nationalism as presented so far, and it does. Populism operates with ‘the people’ and popular sovereignty on a fully ethnic and frequently religious basis. It rests on clear-cut delineations between ‘we, the people’ and outsiders, ‘them’. It also centrally argues in terms of ‘elites’, both domestic and foreign. And it is committed to political representation and to taking possession of the state – for the good of the sovereign, constituent people! There are, however, also points to be observed that delineate populism distinctively. It is pro-people and anti-elite, but both terms are redefined by populists. The people only consist of the ‘real’ people, meaning those citizens that truly support the populist agenda; others are not part of the real people, no matter if they are citizens and identify with the nation-state. Elites are also not elites as we would normally conceive of them, for the elites have let down the people and sold the national legacy and soul to foreign/global interests; elites are therefore corrupt and misguided, have not grasped their true representative role and are in some variants not seen to be nationals at all (the primary example of this was the insistence of Trump against all evidence that Obama was African and not a bona fide American, and that he had obtained his passport by illegitimate means 2 Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism 101 (Müller 2016, 23–24). In this universe, conspiracy theories abound and if populists are not successful, the reason follows from the same logic: parts of the people have been brainwashed (i.e. injected with fake news), and illegitimate obstacles have been erected that stand in the way of true moral leadership and representation. Populism is thus at heart a hyper-moralistic version of nationalism (which even in its mainstream versions is not immune to morality), and appeals to nationalists of all kinds and strata, not least to people who do not identify with trans-border developments and global processes seen to threaten the culture and political sovereignty of the nation-state and its ethnic people. Populists, both right and left, are for real people. They are existentially tied to an illusion of the pure nation-state, with a homogeneous citizenry sharing the same history, culture, religion and myths, which elites have (purportedly) abandoned, but which is still not just a possible option for the security, identity and belonging of people, but the only solution to contemporary challenges of living. Logically they are therefore confronted with the dilemma that the unified people is more and more divided – a dilemma solved by disengaging all the infidels from their conception of ‘the people’. Populism has been described as anti-pluralist, undemocratic and illiberal, most emphatically by Jan-Werner Müller (2016), but though this is true for some versions of populism, it does not capture all, at least not on the face of it (Brubaker 2017). Some variants, particularly in Northern Europe, instead embrace (for tactical or sincere reasons) liberal attitudes to sexuality, marriage, freedom of speech etc., mainly as bastions against Islam as represented by Muslims immigrants on their national soil. These parties (e.g. the Danish People’s Party, the Dutch Freedom Party and the Norwegian Progress Party) are also more committed to democratic values and the rule of law than, say, the Polish PiS and Orbán’s Fidesz. It has recently popped up also in Bavaria, where the ruling CSU now requires all public buildings to hang a cross at their entrance, for ‘civilizational’ rather than ‘religious’ reasons. According to Deutsche Welle’s Felix Steiner because “[t]he cross is a symbol of Christian identity that has shaped Europe for centuries. Bavaria, Germany, all of Europe in fact, are unimaginable in their current form without this Christian influence. Even if and although many rights and liberties were secured in quarrels with the church. People who are not aware of these facts, or cannot accept them, should read a book on Europe’s cultural history” (Steiner 2018). Be that as it may, they all have a stance on religiosity – dependent on the national context and history. I will address this important issue below. Ulf Hedetoft 102 A few temporary conclusions: Populism is a variant of nationalism. It is not brand new, as Ionescu & Gellner’s 1969 anthology testifies, but its “thin ideology” (Stanley 2008) has risen in political impact and visibility since the turn of the century, having spawned one or several parties/movements in nearly all European countries, and also in other parts of the world (South America, USA, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey…). It shares with mainstream nationalism the insistence on the pivotal role of ‘the people’, on the importance of national sovereignty, on the centrality of cultural and historical homogeneity and on the division between ‘us’ as laudable and ‘them’ as potentially threatening, whether in the form of immigrants, supranational collaboration or the EU. But they have a special interpretation of who the (unitary) people consists of, of their own representative role, and of national and international elites, which are to varying degrees corrupt or have let down their state and its people. Furthermore, many of these parties are anti-pluralist, culturally conservative and politically illiberal. And, as I said a moment ago, they all have a stance on religion and religiosity. They are all devoted to some form of political theology, though they are in essence a secular movement. They represent a special instance of nationalism as civil religion. Let me delve into this issue now, under the rubric of ‘belonging or believing’, a phrase that has gained some popularity recently (Arato/Cohen 2017; Brubaker 2017). Belonging or Believing – or Believing in Belonging? In a lucid work from 1992 on the workings of bureaucracies in modern nation-states, Michael Herzfeld argues that “European nationalism resembles religion in that both claim transcendent status” (1992, 6). He continues to explain that this should be understood in two different senses. First, nationalism claims to transcend individual and local differences, uniting all citizens in one identity. And second, the principle of national identity is considered to “underlie and infuse” the particulars of nation and country. The first point reminds us that nationalism everywhere is predicated on supra-individual characteristics and ambitions, and that the populists’ approach to ‘the people’ as a unitary thing is not their invention; on the contrary, the Rousseau-esque ‘volonté générale’ and Rousseau’s social contract between people and state assume that in some important respect ‘the people’ shares (must share!) the same (ideal) interests, which transcend their individual, grubby, earthly concerns. And the second point refers to the 3 Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism 103 impact as regards behavioral mores and cultural character that the first principle engenders in a given nation-state. This is not to argue that nationalism equals religion or that it is mainly built on religious foundations. Renan (1882) was right to insist that “religion no longer offers a sufficient basis for the establishment of a modern nationality” (52 f.) But nationalism is pervaded by religious thinking and, increasingly in our secular age, refers to religious tenets and principles for purposes of legitimacy and belonging. Or differently put, nationalism seems to be unable to fully perform the step from theology to this-worldly rationality, but keeps returning to universes of transcendent belief. I argue that this is generically explicable on the basis of the fundamental structure of nationalism itself, which takes the individual from self-interest to sacrifice in one concerted move (Hedetoft 1995, 27–34), and that, in regard to populism, which “reflects a concern that our common life lacks metaphysical dignity” (Rees 2017) and constitutes a “political journey of redemption” (Panizza 2013, 114), this happens in at least three different forms (but probably more if South America is taken into account; see e.g. Zúquete 2017), each representing a variation between the politics of secular identity (belongingness) and the politics of belief: the political theology of populisms. They are 1. the devout and conservative immersion format (e.g. PiS in Poland); 2. the ‘Christianism’ format (Brubaker 2017) – i.e. the secularized Christianity-as-culture (e.g. Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in Holland and the Danish People’s Party in Denmark); and 3. the US competitive and individualistic format (in the form it has taken in the populist Republicanism of Trump). Let me deal with each in turn. It is well known that the Polish population is in general among the most religious in Europe and that this impassioned belief is represented in the Polish constitution dating back to 1997: “We, the Polish Nation (…), both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty, as well as those not sharing such faith but respecting those universal values as arising from other sources… [and later:] Recognizing our responsibility before God or our own consciences…” (Constitution of the Republic of Poland 1997). Though this quote does refer to those parts of the population who do not believe in God, the Catholic religion (belief in God and Catholicism are practically the same thing in Poland) is not just expressly foregrounded, but forms the background for ‘those’ universal values that may somehow ‘arise from other sources’. In a historical perspective the recognition of non-believers may be seen as a positive step forwards, but in the practical politics of Poland it would seem to matter little. The current PiS [Law and Justice] Government has, anyway, taken advantage of the existence of a still all-powerful Church in- Ulf Hedetoft 104 stitution and has entered into a close and symbiotic relationship with Catholicism and its main tenets and representatives on a number of issues, especially abortion, where Poland today sports the toughest laws in all of Europe (Cienski 2016). The deal is as neat as the benefits for both parts are obvious. The PiS backs Catholic measures and turns them into law; the Church supports PiS candidates and recommends that their flock elect them for public office, and they often do so openly in sermons. Even more, bishops will go public with criticism of anti-government opposition. In an Easter sermon in 2016, Archbishop Józef Michalik went out of his way to criticize people who “mobilize foreign nations in international groupings to hate Poles who had the courage to elect other people” thus identifying opponents with traitors against the national cause (ibid.) and in effect transforming into a regular populist politician with populist aims and discourse. In the meantime, the Government is busy putting the political opposition out of business (there is no left-wing party represented in Parliament) and silencing both the media and the courts by eliminating the tri-partition between the executive, legislative and judiciary branches. This has led to the EU imposing drastic measures on Poland, but also to hardening the resolve of the Polish populists. Poland represents, thus, the relatively rare case of a Government and an official Church moving forward hand-in-hand, supporting the same agendas and helping each other out when it comes to protesters, oppositional movements or international critique. They do so on the basis of clearly defined mutual roles: the Government represents (alone) the real and victimized people (victims of the ungodly EU) and makes laws that support the true Polishness of Poland; while the Church ensures the loyalty and allegiance of the same people, by reminding them that believing in Poland is God’s will, that this is the road to salvation, and that being a true believer is the way to both national and transcendent belonging. It is emblematic that the government dubbed the scary celebrations on the day of Polish independence in November 2017 ‘We Want God!’ and that marchers chanted ‘God, honour, country’ (Hockenos 2017). The nation-state becomes the true receptacle of worship and Kaczyński the saviour of Poland. What has been dubbed the ‘Christianism’ format is different from this. Its discourse is not illiberal, but liberal, not exclusive but tolerant, not authoritarian but democratic. It is especially to be found in Northern Europe (the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland; to some extent in the French Front National, in the Austrian Freedom Party and even in the Hungarian Fidesz). It celebrates the cultural, value-oriented and religious preferences of ‘our’ civilization at the cost of smearing every symbol, practice and ritual of Islam (Halal slaughter, submission of women, genital cir- Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism 105 cumcision etc.), which is said to represent the absolute Other, barbarism and evil in their most vicious form. When it comes to Islam, the alleged tolerance stops, and these parties take over the defense of our Christian religion in a kind of ‘fifth crusade’. Parties that formerly would not even have thought about religion, which are basically secular and do not take an interest in religious worship, have turned to become ardent defenders of ‘the Cross’ and of free speech (which was what the Danish Cartoon controversy was all about: provoke ‘them’ to the point of displaying their violent nature). Gays, Jews, women – sexual, ethnic and gender-based liberation – and other formerly suspect groups can in this context be employed as objects of defense, even admiration, because they are objects of Muslim hate or scorn. Even Europe, politically despised by these populists, can be hijacked as ‘Christian civilization’ and opposed to the barbarous and ‘medieval’ practices of Islam. As Rogers Brubaker puts it, “the identitarian Christianism of the national populists is thus a precipitate of their civilizational preoccupation with Islam” (2017, 6). ‘We’ are tolerant, ‘they’ are the opposite, and hence we do not tolerate them! Or differently, if ‘they’ are Muslim, ‘we’ must be Christian – but only in terms of national identity formation and symbolism, not as worshippers. Christianity becomes a codeword for ‘European culture’, and ‘European culture’ for ‘national identity’. The international rhetoric and the secular symbolism are clearly different from the expressly national Polish format, but the fundamental illiberalism, national self-celebration and affective nationalist endpoint, subordinating religion to nation-state purposes, the same. Though at first glance, one might be tempted to categorize these movements as ordinary parties, at a closer glance their populism rears its head. In a way, this is Huntington’s clash of civilizations playing itself out as a clash of religions – but with at least one of the religions being used only as a proxy. No less than in the Polish case, people should believe in the belongingness to the nation, but the symbolic paraphernalia to be traversed to get there is more indirect, though not less effective. My last case is the American one, which is radically different from the other two. In general, Robert Bellah’s work (and that of his followers) has contributed massively to our knowledge of ‘religion in America’, an example of American exceptionalism, to the extent that until recently this field was more developed and better understood than in most other places (Bellah 1967, 1970 and 1975; Edwords 1987; Mathisen 1989; Lipset 1997; Santiago 2009). Bellah described this ‘civil religion’ as a collection of beliefs, symbols, and rituals that sanctifies the national community and confers a transcen- Ulf Hedetoft 106 dental purpose to the political process (Bellah 1970/1991). As Raoul de Roussy de Sales phrased it in an article in The Atlantic Monthly (March 1939), titled What Makes an American?, “To become an American is a process which resembles a conversion. It is not so much a new country that one adopts as a new creed”. And he goes on to emphasize that “[n]ationalism as we know it may pass, but for the moment it is more powerful than any other idea or even than any religion.” (295) Marx’ words in On the Jewish Question are, if possible, even more to the point here than in two previous cases: “Where the political state has attained to its full development, man leads, not only in thought, in consciousness, but in reality, in life, a double existence – celestial and terrestrial. He lives in the political community, where he regards himself as a communal being, and in civil society where he acts simply as a private individual, treats other men as means, degrades himself to the role of a mere means, and becomes the plaything of alien powers. The political state, in relation to civil society, is just as spiritual as is heaven in relation to earth.” (Marx 1843/1978, 34; my emphasis) The sanctification of the state, however, happens in the USA in a singular format. First, the commitment to religiosity is not, as in most European nation-states (except Poland, Ireland and a few others), something to be approached cautiously, but more or less a public requirement on citizens as well as public officials. Thus the President solemnly declares his spiritual dedication on being sworn in by touching the Bible and usually, though this is not officially required, by ending with “So help me God!”. This is in itself telling: God is called upon to help the incumbent President in doing his job; the President is not bowing to the superior powers of the divinity. Hence, there is no State Religion or State Church in the USA. Citizens are welcome to embrace any kind of religiosity, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, even Muslim. This reveals a double truth about the USA. From the point of view of the state, what’s required are symbols of spiritual allegiance tout court, the affective attachment to some form of political, nationally condoned theology, because this is tantamount to loyalty to the State and to public affairs and responsibilities. Hence lots of American citizens devote their time and money to e.g. charitable purposes and other ways of helping other citizens (and non-citizens too, assisting illegal aliens and refugees with legal, social and practical issues). The most obvious instance of this subordination to the State is the function as a soldier in the US army, where heroism is called for and willing death for the fatherland honoured (Marvin/Ingle Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism 107 1996 and 1999) – but other and more up-to-date forms are also both welcome and accepted, especially after 9/11 (Hedetoft 2009).2 From the point of view of private individuals, on the other hand, what matters is their dedication to the religiosity of their personal choice, in order that they as ‘terrestrial’ beings can maintain a clean conscience as competitive individuals – as “plaything[s] of alien powers”. Here religiosity is deployed as a weapon in the struggle of the civil person for success, money, status and recognition – not, like often in Europe, as consolation or escape. Trumpist populism hails this state of affairs, but with a twist (see also Friedman 2017, for a discussion of Trump’s populism). Trump loyally took the Presidential oath, swore on the Bible, and uses religiously inspired language to emphasize his political will to ‘make America great again’. He sees the USA as God-given, and his rhetoric before his followers bears signs of the religious preacher, calling for people to be committed to “one people, under one God, saluting the American flag” (Brubaker 2017, 10). He promised, for instance, to appoint pro-life judges and to rescind the Supreme Court Ruling in 2015 that legalized gay marriage – apart from building the wall on the southern border that would secure the non-contaminated status of the American economy and labour-market. His stance on religion and religious issues was decidedly both secular and illiberal, in effect turned against a number of credos of many religious beliefs – but at the same time he did his utmost to canvas (white) voters from the Bible belt, e.g. by appointing a clearly more religious person than himself as vice-president (Mike Pence). He spoke openly about religion as a legitimate matter of state, and he did not, like many European populists, denounce Islam on cultural or civilizational grounds. If Islam was a threat, it was so in terms of terrorism and security. The point is that the US political theology makes no bones about religion being a potent weapon in the secular arsenal of the State. This is widely accepted. As with Bush’s born-again Christianity, this is the norm, not the exception, and the President does not have to be an ardent believer, as long as religious discourse and ritual is made to serve as a touchstone 2 The two forms that willing self-sacrifice can take are heroism and martyrdom. Heroism foregrounds the positive outcome of sacrifice, e.g. in the form that other people have survived or a battle has eventually been won due to the deeds of the individual(s). Martyrdom, which Marvin & Ingle see as more significant, focuses on the willingness of individuals to give up their lives for the national community no matter what. Where the stress in heroism is on effect, the emphasis in martyrdom lies solely on attitude. Ulf Hedetoft 108 of people’s belief in the right (here: populist) form of belonging to the USA. It will be apparent that all three formats do their best to use religiosity for their own political ends. They are intent on furthering the politics of national belonging, but the religious intervention transforms belongingness to the nation-state into a question of believing in belonging, thus deepening the populist nationalist agenda, in forms appropriate to the specific national context and history. In the Polish and American cases, populism does little else than capitalizing on the religious forms of dedication already present in the two countries; the ‘liberal’ variant, on the other hand, is unique, in that it transforms a basically illiberal and exclusivist populist ideology into a seemingly tolerant worldview. On closer inspection, though, the tolerance shows up as intolerant and based on moralistic, anti-Muslim stigmas, and religion (Christianism) as the new-found means to legitimate this endeavour in moralistic and nationally self-serving ways. On the Critique of Populism Towards the end of my argument, I think it is relevant briefly to caution against three unfortunate tendencies in the otherwise sensible critique of populism which has become pervasive over the past couple of years. I term them three instances of normative essentialism. They are a) a tendency to evaluate populism as a perversion of democracy (e.g. Müller 2016) b) a tendency to evaluate populism as a deviation from ‘true religion’ (e.g. Marzouki, McDonnell/Roy 2016) c) a tendency to evaluate populism as ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ nationalism (e.g. Mudde 2010; Sheehy 2017) All three versions suffer from not exclusively analyzing the object at hand (populism) as an issue in its own right, but as a diversion from something else, which in turn is seen to represent the genuine object: i.e. real democracy, real religion, real nationalism. This is at the same time the normativity and the essentialism of these approaches. All three are, explicitly or tacitly, seen to represent a better, more original and more desirable variant. My point is not to take issue with this as such – I would also, for instance, prefer liberal democracy to the populist version(s) of governance – but to point out that this kind of preference does not constitute a theoretical or analytical position. We hardly know more about populism by realizing what it is not or that it is a danger to devout religiosity or to liberal democ- 4 Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism 109 racy for instance. As for the latter, I agree with this statement by two Austrian sociologists: “Any attempts to interpret populist movements from the perspective of liberal representative democracy and conceptualize them as either a threat to democracy or a potential corrective to perceived deformations are ill-conceived.” (Blühdorn/Butzlaff 2018, 201) Instead we have to concentrate on the object itself and find out more about its policies, positions, history and preferences. For the same reason, I have chosen not to describe populism as a kind of aberrant nationalism run wild (mostly to the right!) or as a form of socio-psychological pathology. As Cas Mudde has recently pointed out, “[i]n general, populism is seen as a pathology and pathologies are completely unrelated to whatever they’re a pathology of. This book [Margaret Canovan’s ‘The People’, UH] shows that while democracy and populism are different interpretations of the people, they are both, essentially, about the power of the people.” (Mudde 2018) And not only are they both about the power of the people: populism (left or right!) is a form of democracy, and there are no true or untrue forms, as there are no versions of nationalism or religion that it makes sense to essentialize. We may have our own personal preferences, but they should be kept distinct from our scholarly work. Conclusion: Affect and Rationality The fact that religion has widely been secularized in the modern world of nation-states is nothing new. Nor is the fact that it has concurrently been globalized and moralized, both in pacific and violent forms, not just through processes of migration, hybridization and diaspora, but also formally and top-down through the practices of spokespeople of world religions such as Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. As a consequence, frictions between nationalized and globalized religion have augmented, and nation-states have in the same process been subjected to increasing pressures from transnational forces that directly threaten their sovereignty and independence. These developments are leaving the international order as we have known it for more than 100 years in disarray. Cleavages in the national landscapes are opening up, peoples’ loyalties are challenged. At the same time, political and cultural forces that are affectively tied to the nationstate, its ethnic history, its spiritual roots and its sovereignty have – disenchanted and not rarely filled with emotions of vindication and revenge 5 Ulf Hedetoft 110 (though this is not a necessary background) – rallied around new leaders and the new political platforms which we call populism. Populism reinterprets the relationship between peoples and states, in a desire to ‘turn back the clock’ on internationalization, globalization and ethnic mixing, and reinvent the ‘true’ and ‘authentic’ relationship between the constituent parts of what makes up nation-states. In this endeavour they call on religiosity, sometimes in the form of getting the support of official national churches and credos, sometimes in looser and more moralistic senses, but always with the clear goal of confirming the close ties between citizens and their national state structures – on decidedly affective grounds. The extent to which populists rely on the denial of factual truth and unashamedly produce fake news in large quantities is evidence of this tendency to prioritize nationality over rationality (Di Tella/McAra 2017; Hendricks/Vestergaard 2017), as is also the tendency of followers to disregard such deviations from the beaten road of proof in order to confirm their chosen moralistic and sometimes divinely inspired universe. It is this circumstance more than anything that reveals that not only is populism not unifying but divisive (its definition of the people makes this clear in itself), but that its links with faith are not just a question of tightening the bond between politics and an external force – religion. It goes deeper than this: populism is a political theology in its own right, an ‘ideology’ that is truly ‘thin’ on the rational side of politics, but ‘deep’ as a credo of belonging. It is intent on preserving the nation-state no matter what, and it self-righteously cultivates the sense of victimhood. We should not deny that populists often have a rational basis for complaints and grievances against the effects of globalization on themselves and their country, but being partly right about the background and the diagnosis does not make them right about the medicine. Neither should we lean back and comfort ourselves with the thought that it is just a passing phenomenon that will go away in a blink. History does not obey this kind of deterministic logic. We should instead do our utmost to make it clear, mainly to the ‘real people’, what the implications are of supporting and adhering to this kind of civil religion. References Arato, Andrew/Cohen, Jean L. (2017): Civil Society, Populism and Religion, in: Constellations 24, 283–295. Bellah, Robert N. (1967): Civil Religion in America, in: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 96(1), Winter, 1–21. 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Steiner, Felix (2018): Bavaria Orders Crosses in State Buildings and it’s no Big Deal, Deutsche Welle May 6. -state-buildings-and-its-no-big-deal/a-43624635 (accessed May 7th, 2018). Yack, Bernard (2012): Nationalism and the Moral Psychology of Community, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. Zúquete, José P. (2017): Populism and Religion, in: Kaltwasser, Cristóbal R. et al.: The Oxford Handbook of Populism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 446–460. Ulf Hedetoft 114 Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right Hans-Richard Reuter Introduction Used as a technical term, the concept of the ‘New Right’ refers to an intellectual movement that began to take shape after the parliamentary failure of the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) in the 1960s (see Salzborn 2015, 63ff.; Weiß 2017; Langebach/Raabe 2016). It consists of a loose network of authors, think tanks, and journals that provides intellectual support for radical nationalist and right-wing extremist positions. Its adherents are working on a theoretical (“metapolitical”) foundation of its program that aspires to achieve discursive parity with the Left in the struggle for intellectual-political hegemony. However, there is little new in the substance of the New Right; rather, it makes use of older ideological tropes. In the first place, there is its reception of the so-called Conservative Revolution. In 1950, the writer and journalist Armin Mohler subsumed under this heading a variety of movements from the Weimar period, such as the Ethnic Nationalist (Völkisch), National Revolutionist, and Young Conservative movements, in order to distinguish them formally from National Socialism (Mohler 1994). Although Mohler’s historically “daring construction” has been refuted by more recent research, it created “the possibility of a new beginning for the extreme Right in the young Federal Republic” (Weiß 2017, 48).1 In particular, Mohler’s focus on the Young Conservatives proved to be attractive with its “attempt to link the older conservative tradition with a dynamic element” (Weißmann 2006, 28). The still valid formulation of the Young Conservative principle stems from Arthur Moeller van den Bruck and states that the new, radicalized conservatism “does not refer to things from the past, but … seeks to create things that are worth preserving” (Moeller van den Bruck 1919, 10). It is about a stance toward existing social reality whose main concern is not to preserve 1 1 For a critique of Mohler’s construct, see Breuer (1995). 115 the status quo for its own sake, but to reestablish the connection to the viable elements of tradition. Another supplier of ideas for the German New Right from 1990 onward was the French Nouvelle Droite that developed around the Groupement de Recherche et d’Études pour la Civilisation Européenne (GRECE) founded two decades earlier. Their mastermind, Alain de Benoist, became familiar with Young Conservative ideas through Armin Mohler, so that some influences of the Nouvelle Droite on the German scene are more a matter of reimportation. However, De Benoist also set accents of his own. At the level of ideology, these include the orientation toward neopagan mythological tropes, at the strategic level, the adoption of elements of the theory of culture of the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, and, at the political level, the concept of ethnopluralism developed in the early 1980s – more on which later. Since the collapse of Communism, the New Right in Germany has undergone a reorganization involving new journalistic strategies and the foundation of new institutions intended to establish lines of support between right-wing extremism and right-wing conservatism (see Weiß 2017, 64ff.; Kellershohn 2016; Salzborn 2015, 71ff.). In the market for print media, for example, the weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit under its editor-inchief Dieter Stein has developed into the leading mouthpiece of völkisch nationalism with a Christian fundamentalist element; it has been cooperating for some time with the Bibliothek des Konservativismus (Library of Conservatism), which opened in Berlin in 2000. The following investigation will focus on the currently most active think-tank of the German New Right, that is the private Institut für Staatspolitik (Institute for State Policy – IfS), which moved to Schnellroda in Saxony-Anhalt in the same year. In the beginning, Karlheinz Weißmann, a Mohler student, historian, and Protestant religion teacher, served as its research director and the publisher Götz Kubitschek as its managing director. The latter retains responsibility for the institute’s in-house imprint, the Antaios-Verlag, and for the journal Sezession, a leading theoretical organ of the New Right. The seminars and publications from the IfS milieu are designed to meet the need for right-wing theory and education. Weißmann, currently probably the most important German right-wing intellectual, described the institution as a “Reemtsma Institute of the Right,” whose aim is to “influence heads,” “and if the heads sit on the shoulders of power Hans-Richard Reuter 116 holders and political representatives, all the better”.2 The intention is, in the context of the global political instability since 9/11, to train counterelites who are ready to act and are capable of effecting fundamental political change in an “emergency”. The emergence of the political party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) led to a strategic disagreement between Schnellroda and Berlin: Weißmann, whose thinking is shaped by realpolitik, withdrew from the management of the IfS in 2014 because he welcomed the new party-political option. The political existentialist Kubitschek, on the other hand, is committed to extraparliamentary actions in close alliance with Pegida, the Identitarian Movement and Italian neo-fascists (see Kellershohn 2015). Notwithstanding this break, the literature of the IfS continues to provide a platform for the advanced discourse of the intellectual New Right and offers ample material for addressing the question of the ideological-religious premises of the metapolitics of the New Right (see Salzborn 2017, 78–100; Wiedemann 2016). Analysis In what follows I will address four topoi or themes by way of example – namely, their understanding of religion, the operative concepts of people and nation, how they construct Christianity, and how they define the enemy. Religion According to a classic dictum of Albrecht Erich Günther conservatism should be understood “not as an attachment to what existed yesterday, but as a life based on what has enduring validity” (Günther 1931). The key issue is to comprehend the unchanging whole behind the superficial changes in the individual forms. The rejection of the linear in favor of a cyclical understanding of time underlying this view also served as an organizing “model” for Armin Mohler’s characterization of the Conservative Revolution. The orientation to the cyclical structure of time is supposed to 2 2.1. 2 Weißmann was alluding to the Hamburg Institute for Social Research of the publisher Philip Reemtsma, which caused a stir in 1995 with the ‘Wehrmacht Exhibition’; quoted from Weiß 2017, 73f. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 117 reverse the Christian release of the individual from the ties of the eternal cycle and to revoke the Christian understanding of history and replace it “with a completely different worldview, that of return” (see Mohler 1994, 109). The epochal feeling of the interregnum presents an opportunity to leave the linear course of time, whether this is conceived in Christian or secular terms. Thanks to the dawn of this new Nietzschean era everything that has been will be transformed into everlasting possibilities. Hence, Mohler argued that there was a clear “incompatibility between Christianity and the Conservative Revolution”. The conservative-revolutionary way of thinking implies the rejection of Christian individualism founded on the idea that human beings were created in God’s image. It rejects a philosophy of history that assumes a tension between an imperfect present marked by sin and a future world of perfection and redemption. And it finds expression in the heroic-realistic attitude to life of amor fati, a “love of the world as it is, … without any hope of improvement in a hereafter or in the distant future” (Mohler 1994, 118, 125). Against this background, a link to Christianity is by no means an obvious feature of the New Right worldview. It would make much more sense to embrace pagan religious notions of predominantly Germanic origin, such as those that can be found among neo-Nazis. Within the right-wing intellectual spectrum, pronounced neopagan currents are especially prevalent among the French Nouvelle Droite. In the 1980s, Alain de Benoist viewed Indo-European paganism, with its notion of a cosmic unity of divine and human order in which a plurality of deities can be found in the world, as the “true religion of Europe” and advocated its renewal as a counterweight to the secularizing, deculturalizing, and equalizing effects of Christian universalism (de Benoist 2004, 123ff.; see Böhm 2008, 223ff.). De Benoist annotates that the sacred has lost its relevance in ‘Judeo-Christianity’ because, in the Hebrew Bible, it is traced back to the sanctity of the transcendent God and His commandments and, in the New Testament, it is concentrated on the Christ event: “This is the sacred under the sway of a messianic ‘regime’. But such a messianic perspective is incompatible with the cyclical, mythical time that the ancestors regarded as sacred time par excellence. Restoring the old world order is out of the question, because, on the contrary, it must be abolished.” (de Benoist 1990, 6) With a few exceptions, however, neopaganism met with hardly any sympathy within the right-wing intellectual scene in Germany. The intellectual network under examination here generally emphasizes the Christian orien- Hans-Richard Reuter 118 tation,3 albeit mediated through a general, experience-based notion of religion founded on the dichotomy of ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’. The Staatspolitisches Handbuch (Handbook of Public Policy), which is mainly the work of Weißmann, cites Mircea Eliade’s magnum opus, The Sacred and the Profane, as one of the canonical works in the theory of religion. In this book, the phenomenologist of religion, who at one point was actively pro-fascist, identified the sacred and the profane as two modes of being in the world, a conception in which the notion of the holy or the sacred replaces the name of God. In Eliade’s conception, the sacred is the source of all being that manifests itself in the meaning of symbols and myths, a position which implies a strong ontology and a hierarchical worldview (Eliade 1957). The school of the phenomenology of religion sets the experience of the sacred, or – following Rudolf Otto – the feeling of the numinous, apart as an anthropological constant. For this reason and because of “its tendency to become established and assume concrete form through ritual and dogma”, religion is, as Weißmann notes, “a phenomenon of long duration, a conservative authority of the first order” (Staatspolitisches Handbuch 2009, Article “Religion”, 132f.; Weißmann 2005a, 12). The New Right resolutely opposes a functional conception of religion, a position that for it implies first and foremost the rejection of a democracypromoting “civil religion in harmony with the paradigms of the Enlightenment”. Religions cannot be made, it claims, for the simple reason that “they always appeal to … very archaic sources that spring from the ‘origins’” (Lichtmesz 2015, 18f.). Therefore, it is also critical of the world-view tinkerings of new age religious movements, which – following the modern trend toward individualization – “recoil from nothing as much as from attachment or obligating reference to an institution” (Weißmann 2011). The National Viewed against this background, political collectives are part of an integral reality permeated by the sacred that cannot be comprehended in rational terms and is presented in mythical narratives of origins. Following philosopher Kurt Hübner, myth is ascribed an independent claim to truth on a par 2.2. 3 In this respect, it is also a continuation of the tradition of the Weimar Young Conservatives, to whom Mohler had attributed a “pronounced Christian element” (Mohler 1994, 131ff.), in contrast to the rest of the spectrum of the Conservative Revolution. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 119 with the scientific logos (see Weißmann 2007; Hübner 1991). Political myths constitute, in the words of Wolfgang Dvorak-Stoker, the “emotional foundation of the nation”. “Their message is: As it was, so it will be. In the mythical worldview, the nation is seen as a numinous entity with a history and a future that preserves its identity through the ages.” The reference to the indispensability of identity-forging narratives in which “my people confronts me as it is in itself” is clearly an attempt to replace Auschwitz as the central motif of Germany’s culture of remembrance with a “positive founding myth of the new Germany.” (Dvorak-Stocker 2009, 18f.) The collective self-reassurance in myth is not sufficient to provide any criteria for answering the question of who belongs to ‘us’ and who does not; at best, it provides certainties about the existence of definable groups as such. In Kubitschek’s apodictic pronouncement: “The demarcation of the I and the we from something foreign is simply a constant. … I am convinced that the existence of the ‘we’ as a group in the national, and thus also the ethnic, sense is ineluctable.” (Nassehi 2015, 319f.) In fact, the only element shared by the various notions of ‘nation’, ‘ethnicity’, and ‘people’ is, in the words of Max Weber, the “belief in commonality” (Gemeinsamkeitsglauben) (Weber 1978, 387) – and thus in a quality of consciousness that does not possess reality independent of individuals, but is reified and objectified in the thought of the New Right. The Staatspolitisches Handbuch appeals here to the etymological and hence “authentic” meaning of nation as “community of origin” and characterizes the German understanding of nation as a “cultural community” with “ethnic” connotations (in contrast to the Western concepts of the nation-state or the community of will) (2009, Article “Nation”, 107f.). Is nature or, on the contrary, culture constitutive for the ‘people’ defined by objective characteristics? The answer to this question provided in the corresponding article from the Staatspolitisches Handbuch is tantamount to squaring the circle (2009, Article “Volk”, 155–57): On the one hand, the people should “often be based on the ‘ancestral’, but in any case on the ‘reproductive community’”. On the other hand, the article tries to make a connection with modern theories that trace ethnogenesis back to historical processes of group formation. What remains is the “older thesis” of the German ethnologist Wilhelm E. Mühlmann, who explained the collective character of the peoples with reference to their “ethnically homogeneous ‘organizing center’”. In line with this, under the heading ‘Culture’ we find the observation, inspired by Huntington and the old theory of cultural groups, that cultures are “complete systems … with a core identity that leads to an extraordinary readiness to fight in the event of real or imaginary threats”(2009, Article “Kultur”, 91f.). Hans-Richard Reuter 120 The rhetoric remains sufficiently vague to allow both racist and culturalist connections. However, recent right-wing thought has largely abandoned explicit reference to natural determinants (race) as pre-political binding forces. Whereas the semantic shift from people to race was a common feature of ethnic ideological tropes in the 1920s, today the dominant trend is to follow the example of Romanticism and Johann Gottfried Herder by connecting people or ethnicity with culture. In contrast to classical racism, the superiority of one people is not necessarily asserted. The concept of ethnopluralism propagated by Alain de Benoist, which fits perfectly with his neopagan polytheism, can even accord every nation the same right to preserve its cultural identity—but of course, only in its ancestral home. The unique character of ethnically shaped cultures should be preserved, which is best achieved by worldwide territorial segregation (if necessary also by apartheid within states). Ethnopluralism seeks to reconfigure the originally leftist plea for equal rights to difference, identity, and recognition as a legitimation for right-wing ideals of homogeneity. It is easy to see that, in case of conflict, the assumption of a static, closed concept of culture and the simultaneous rejection of an individualistic conception of human rights quickly transforms the cultural-relativist celebration of diversity into a weapon in the (cultural) struggle of the different. For the New Right, the national refers less to a form assumed by the political collective than to its substance and identity. Therefore ethnocultural nationalism is flexible in its spatial reference. It can refer to the framework of the nation-state, but it can also “undercut this in a regionalist sense” (Europe of fatherlands) or “transcend it as a transnational community of values” (Christian West, German imperialism, Eurasian sphere of influence (Großraumordnung) (Priester 2016, 556, 544). Christianity In an exchange of letters with Götz Kubitschek, the political scientist Claus Leggewie asked what one should think of the Pegida movement’s reference to Christianity given its predominantly agnostic or atheistic character. Kubitschek’s succinct answer was that he saw three theoretical options for the “defenders of the Occident”: the neopagan rejection of Christianity, championing worldwide democratization as a secular civil religion, or separating the “true” and – as the Crusades taught – “historical [forms of] Christianity from the weak and misguided form that prevails today”. From what has been said thus far it is clear that only the third option is viable for Kubitschek. It is a pity that it cannot find a mass basis, he claims, because 2.3. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 121 “as a truly Christian endeavor the defense of the Occident would acquire an entirely different spiritual force” (Kubitschek/Leggewie 2017). In this connection, the Protestant Weißmann nostalgically recalls the intellectual-historical affinity between Germanness and Protestant Christianity in the tradition of Ernst Moritz Arndt, Paul de Lagarde and Arthur Bonus. He presents the Lutheran Renaissance as embodied by Paul Althaus, Werner Elert, and Walter Künneth as a Young Conservative project whose main concern was to “restore the nation from its condition of humiliation” through a reform of the “People’s Church” as a church for the people. And he depicts Emanuel Hirsch as a liberal-theological mediator between Young National Lutheranism and the theology of crisis who remained politically steadfast also after 1945 (Weißmann 2011b, 38). On the other hand, in recent years the issues of Sezession have been dominated by a Catholic view of the Occident that takes its inspiration from the counterrevolutionary institutionalism of Donoso Cortés (Stegherr 2007, 24f.). But the question is: how can the tension between universal morality and ethnocultural self-assertion be overcome in the sense of supposedly true Christianity if “Christ is not an identitarian deity”? (Lichtmesz 2014, 184) In view of the threat of “mass immigration” conjured up by the New Right, this question is being posed in drastic terms. Martin Lichtmesz’ tome with the Heideggerian title ‘Can Only a God Still Save Us?’ promises to uncover the philosophical-theological foundations (and abysses) of right-wing intellectual metapolitics. It does not disappoint. For the Austrian Identitarian and Lefèbvrist the “impotence of Christian brotherly love” represents the main obstacle to militant Christianity. He takes as his guide Arnold Gehlen’s defamation of “humanitarianism” as an extended ethics of the family that has no place in “moral code for the state”. This overextension, as Gehlen argued, leaves the door wide open to the “supremacy of the most populous nation by virtue of its biological power” (Gehlen 1969, 89). Lichtmesz also proclaims the historical experience that “the hour of humanitarianism usually came when the gunpowder ran out”. “‘National deities’ that cannot withstand invading empires make room for the possibility of ‘the universalism of love’.” (Lichtmesz 2014, 163) The fact that Gehlen’s contrast between “humanitarian” primary group ethics and state ethics lacks any foundation in moral theory (see Habermas 1983) plays no role in this kind of ideology recycling. It also ignores the theological finding that the Christian universalism of love must not be interpreted in abstract and general terms, but instead in a concrete and situa- Hans-Richard Reuter 122 tional way.4 The “dizzying inflation of masses of human beings” that are “on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa” leads Lichtmesz even to doubt the meaningfulness of the talk of human dignity – at least insofar as this dignity is supposed to be proper to every human being as a created being and not something first conferred by the sacrament of baptism. Whereas traditional Catholic antiegalitarianism had rejected human equality in the world but upheld the equality of human beings before God, Lichtmesz goes far beyond this to embrace social Darwinism in its most brutal form: “Is the existence of every individual who starves and dies with millions of others something willed by God? Is every one of them really ‘created in God’s image’?” (Lichtmesz 2014, 166f., cf. 209) Underlying such revaluations is an interpretation of time in which history unfolds in three steps: decadence – apocalypse – heroism (see Kellershohn 2015, 724). The universal history of decay (secularization, democratization, individualization, globalization) is condensed into an apocalyptic disaster scenario (environmental crisis, “the biological weapon of population growth,” “ethnic desecration of the land” [Lichtmesz 2014, 85ff., 138ff., 165ff.]). This scenario makes it imperative to decide between destruction or salvation and demands extreme, self-sacrificing commitment. The apocalyptic diagnosis of the present is also an old topos of conservative revolutionary thinking. A cult book of the New Rights serves as an update, namely, Jean Raspail’s science fiction novel The Camp of the Saints (1975).5 The plot tells the story of the unarmed conquest of France following a mass assault by a million Indian refugees from poverty. In Raspail’s 1973 novel, a Brazilian pope who has already squandered the treasures of the church and has abandoned the Vatican for a hovel, allows the keys to the West to be handed over to the invaders. In this dystopia the peaceful and meek are in the service of the Antichrist, whose rampages precede the Second Coming of the Lord in the Book of Revelation.6 According to a remark of St. Paul in 2 Thess. 2:3–11, however, the evil is repelled by a restraining power, in Greek: the katechon. This power is ambiguous because it not only restrains the Antichrist but also postpones the final kingdom of Christ on earth. For Carl Schmitt, this 4 The commandment to love one’s neighbor does not require each of us to take responsibility for all humanity, but awakens the willingness to become a neighbor to every human being we encounter as someone in need; see Luke 10:25–37. 5 The title is an allusion to Rev. 20:8f. The book originally appeared in French in 1973 and was published in a new German translation by the Antaios-Verlag in 2015. 6 Apk 12f.; Apk 17ff.; vgl. 2 Joh 2,22; 2 Joh 7. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 123 represented the only way to conceive of history in Christian terms, namely, as a postponement (Schmitt 2003, 60). The reactionary Catholicism of the Sezession writers takes up this topos. Now that the hierarchical church and authoritarian state have renounced their role as powerful defenders of the “God-willed order”, the katechonic task of combating “secular-heretical forms of Christianity” such as liberalism, socialism, and other “anti-national imperial forces”, now falls to the activists of the Counter-Enlightenment (Lichtmesz 2014, 196, 201). The Enemy The chief adversary of contemporary right-wing nationalist movements appears to be Islam. After all, it is a well-known fact that the Pegida movement marches under the slogan ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West’. However, this impression is misleading. Indead: the right-wing populists of Pro-NRW or the Internet blog ‘Political Incorrect’ prefer to feed anti-Islamic resentments, for which the Western liberal canon of values is often instrumentalized. But the discussion within the intellectual discourse of the New Right is more differentiated. Karlheinz Weißmann belongs to the mainstream of the contributors to Sezession when he attempts to refute the basic guiding ideas of the Western critique of Islam (Weißmann 2012). It is a mistake, he argues, to blame the religion of ‘the’ Islam for current political conflicts, because among Muslims there is also a discrepancy between religious norms and everyday reality. Furthermore, one must distinguish between Islam as religion and Islamism as a political concept; the majority of Muslims do not propagate a unity of religion and politics. In international politics, too, Islam does not constitute a homogeneous bloc – one need only think of the competitive relationship between Iranians, Arabs, and Turks. Weißmann even tries to downplay the threat scenario of creeping demographic colonization, arguing that the imminent “Islamization of Europe is a side effect of an exchange of populations, not the result of a long-term plan”. His conclusion is that the critique of Islam exhibits the “weaknesses of a concept that is basically apolitical, because it aims its declaration of hostility against something that does not exist as such, namely, Islam. But only those who, following Carl Schmitt, represent ‘the real possibility of a fighting collectivity of people’ can be an enemy.” Since ‘Islam’ cannot do this, “the critique of Islam fatally binds energies that should be expended elsewhere, specifically to combat white masochism and an establishment that makes use of it; 2.4. Hans-Richard Reuter 124 but, above all, to strengthen national and European identity” (Weißmann 2012, 27). A dissenting viewpoint can be found only sporadically in Sezession (see Kleine-Hartlage 2013, 41). Weißmann himself critizises the fixation on the religious factor. He advocates repoliticization, which in his case amounts to an ethnically tinged plea to focus on the concrete constellations of power between the “supporting peoples” of religious-cultural values. However, he thinks that the fixation on the normative self-understanding of the other is a distraction from the primary task of the first coming to grips with “our own identity as Germans”. Weißmann describes the danger posed by Muslim immigration not as domination by Islam, but as “domination of Germans by non-Germans.”7 Martin Lichtmesz’s diagnosis that, in the context of Islamic expansion, the European continent “faces an enemy as the Gestalt of its own question” contains a hidden quote from Carl Schmitt (Lichtmesz 2015, 16).8 When it comes to understanding the war on two fronts against Islamism and liberalism imagined by the New Right, Volker Weiß has correctly drawn attention to analogies to Schmitt’s distinction between real and absolute enemies (Weiß 2017, 212ff.). In the worldview of the New Right, the ‘real enemy’ can be seen in the shape of migrants of mostly Muslim faith who are threatening Europe. Nevertheless, an end to this enmity is possible if the occasion for the threat is removed. Moreover, in the case of a real enemy, the danger stems only from its presence among ‘us’, not from its existence as such. In the perception of the New Right, Islam can actually represent the fascinating model of an intact collective identity that the decadent West has lost. Don’t Muslims represent the mirror image of everything we lack: the vital “original unity of religion and life” (Weißmann 2005a, 51), the embodiment of a “superior because more closed order” (Weißmann 2011a, 7), the “appeal of a masculine, martial ideal” (Lichtmesz 2014, 81), a hierarchical gender order in which the woman’s headscarf radiates “dignity, security, and certainty of being” (Kositza 2011, 26), and so forth? An absolute enemy, on the other hand, seeks to destroy the other and demands uncompromising resistance. Schmitt regarded absolute enmity as a modern phenomenon. This explains the recurring declarations of hostility by Weißmann, Kubitschek and their ilk against Western egalitarianism, 7 Cf. the discussion Weißmann vs. Stürzenberger on the subject of ‚Zwischentag‘, held on 8th Oct. 2012, ( Teil 1–7. URL: m/watch?v=2HUVEl8AFFg. 8 See Schmitt (2007), 61: “The enemy is our own question as Gestalt”. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 125 individualism, and liberalism whose destructive potential – ranging from the post-war re-education and the Cultural Revolution of 1968 to the present-day “ethnic inversion” [Umvolkung] – made the damage to German identity possible in the first place. It is not Islam, but liberalism – as Moeller van den Bruck already pointed out – that is destroying the peoples (Moeller van den Bruck 1922). Or in the words of Alain de Benoist: “The greatest threat to our identity is not posed by any other identity, but by political universalism in all of its forms.” (quoted from Weiß 2017, 219) Summary The contemporary German intellectual Right argues “not in aggressive, ultra-nationalistic, but in defensive, nativist terms”: it defends the autochthonous population against the foreigners (Priester 2016, 543). In arguing thus, it aligns itself extensively with the anti-modernist and ethnicexclusivist tradition of the völkisch nationalism of the interwar years. Like all right-wing positions, it also assumes that human beings are not equal; however, it offers scarcely any explicitly racist arguments for this position any more, but argues instead primarily in culturalist terms. The task of preserving the ethnic substance of the nation is assigned to an essentialist conception of culture, which goes hand in hand with the claim that ethnic groups are culturally incompatible (‘ethnopluralism’). Also when contemporary right-wing intellectuals appeal to the community of the ‘people’ as the bond holding the nation together they alleged that this does not imply a crude objectivism of empirical markers of belonging grounded in ‘nature’. Rather, the propagation of myth as the emotional foundation of the people and the nation is presented as being based on up-to-date notions from cultural studies of the inescapable contingency of identity-forging narratives – albeit with the aim of initiating a ‘one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn in memory politics’ (Björn Höcke) in the struggle over interpretive power. The remythicization of the imaginary ethnic community is closely connected with a rebalancing of the relationship between religion and politics, specifically in the form of a resacralization of the national, respectively an ethnic collective self-sacralization. The authors discussed here also take their orientation from the Weimar group of so-called Young Conservatives insofar as they seek religious-ideological proximity to Christianity. What does this mean more exactly? In transferring the sacred to the nation, the New Right is far from propagating a political secular religion, for the specific reason that it does not propose that religion and religious communal- 3 Hans-Richard Reuter 126 ization should be replaced by something else as part of the process of secularization. It argues that we should take the autonomy of religion seriously. For this reason, the contributors to Sezession are as critical in demarcating themselves from the instrumentalization of Christian symbolism for the purposes of civil religion as they are in distancing themselves from the neopagan construct of a national religion. However, the impression that this creates that their own concept does not amount to instrumentalizing (Christian) religion is merely an appearance. It can be generated because the legitimation of the supreme value of the national is dressed up in the worn-out garb of traditional political theology. Political theology in the traditional sense served from Terentius Varro via Donoso Cortés to Carl Schmitt to legitimize secular power within the framework of a cosmological metaphysical worldview in which religious and political order are intimately intertwined. The contributors to Sezession present such political theology in two variants: One (that of Weißmann) situates itself in the ethnic traditions of Lutheranism and its elevation of the people to the order of creation in support of a national mission of the German; the other (represented, among others, by Lichtmesz) seeks a Catholic intensification and finds it, following Carl Schmitt, in an apocalyptic interpretation of history that is exclusively concerned with justifying secular authority and abandons the message of Jesus entirely. The one-time crown jurist of the Third Reich provided an exact description of the method of this political theology in a hidden place: “to render the effect of Christ in the social and political sphere innocuous, to de-anarchize Christianity, but to continue to accord it a certain legitimizing effect in the background and at any rate not dispense with it. A clever tactician does not abandon a resource unless it has become completely unusable. Christianity had not yet reached that point.” (Schmitt 2015, 243) Completed in Oct. 2017 Translated by Ciaran Cronin References de Benoist, Alain (1990): Sacré païen et désacralisation judéo-chrétienne du monde, in: Théraios, Démètre (Ed.): Quelle religion pour l’Europe? Paris: George, 101– 10. de Benoist, Alain (2004): On Being a Pagan, trans. Jon Graham, Atlanta, GA: Ultra. Böhm, Michael (2008): Alain de Benoist und die Nouvelle Droite. Ein Beitrag zur Ideengeschichte im 20. Jahrhundert, Münster: LIT. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 127 Breuer, Stefan (1995): Anatomie der konservativen Revolution, 2nd ed., Darmstadt: WBG. Dvorak-Stocker, Wolfgang (2009): Mythen – Das emotionale Fundament der Nationen, in: Sezession 31, 18–21. Eliade, Mircea (1957): The Sacred and the Profane. The Nature of Religion, trans. Willard R. Trask, San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Gehlen, Arnold (1969): Moral und Hypermoral. Eine pluralistische Ethik 2nd ed., Frankfurt/M.: Athenäum. Günther, Albrecht Erich (1931): Wandlung der sozialen und politischen Weltanschauung des Mittelstandes, in: Der Ring 22, 408–10. Habermas, Jürgen (1983): Imitated Substantiality, in: Habermas, Jürgen: Philosophical-Political Profiles, trans. Frederick G. Lawrence, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hübner, Kurt (1991): Das Nationale. Verdrängtes, Unvermeidliches, Erstrebenswertes, Graz: Styria. Kellershohn, Helmut (2015): Die jungkonservative Neue Rechte zwischen Realpolitik und politischen Existenzialismus, in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 9, 721–40. Kellershohn, Helmut (2016): Götz Kubitschek und das Institut für Staatspolitik, in: Kellersohn, Helmuth/Kastrup, Wolfgang (Eds.): Kulturkampf von Rechts, AfD, Pegida und die Neue Rechte, Münster: Unrast, 92–106. Kleine-Hartlage, Manfred (2013): Der Islam als Kampfgemeinschaft, in: Sezession 52, 40–42. Kositza, Ellen (2011): Kopftuchmädchen, in: Sezession 40, 22–26. 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Nassehi, Armin (2015): Ein Briefwechsel, in: Armin Nassehi: Die letzte Stunde der Wahrheit. Warum rechts und links keine Alternativen mehr sind und Gesellschaft ganz anders beschrieben werden muss, Hamburg: Murmann, 296–329. Hans-Richard Reuter 128 Priester, Karin (2016): Rechtspopulismus – ein umstrittenes theoretisches und politisches Phänomen, in: Virchow, Fabian et al. (Eds.): Handbuch Rechtsextremismus, Wiesbaden: Springer, 533–60. Raspail, Jean (1975): The Camp of the Saints, trans. Norman Shapiro, New York: Scribner. Salzborn, Samuel (2015): Rechtsextremismus. Erscheinungsformen und Erklärungsansätze, 2nd ed., Baden-Baden: Nomos. Salzborn, Samuel (2017): Angriff der Antidemokraten. Die völkische Rebellion der Neuen Rechten, Weinheim: Beltz Juventa. Schmitt, Carl (2003): The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum, trans. G. L. Ulmen, New York: Telos. Schmitt, Carl (2007): Theory of the Partisan. Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political, trans. A. C. Goodson, New York: Telos. Schmitt, Carl (2015): Glossarium. Aufzeichnungen aus den Jahren 1947–1958, expanded, corrected, and commented ed. by Gerd Giesler and Martin Tielke, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Staatspolitisches Handbuch (2009): Weißmann, Karlheinz/Lehnert, Erik (Eds.): Staatspolitisches Handbuch. 1. Leitbegriffe, Schnellroda: Antaios. Stegherr, Marc (2007): Donoso Cortés und der katholische Blick auf das Abendland, in: Sezession 18, 22–25. Weber, Max (1978): Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, ed. and trans. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Weiß, Volker (2017): Die autoritäre Revolte. Die Neue Rechte und der Untergang des Abendlands, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2005): Vom Nutzen der Religion, in: Sezession 11, 8–12. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2005a): Der Islam und die Rechte, in: Sezession 11, 50–1. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2006): Unsere Zeit kommt. Götz Kubitschek im Gespräch mit Karlheinz Weißmann, Schnellroda: Edition Antaios. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2007): Autorenporträt Kurt Hübner, in: Sezession 18, 2–6. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2011): Editorial, in: Sezession 11, 1. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2011a): Der Islam als politisches Modell, in: Sezession 40, 6–9. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2011b): Deutschtum und Christentum, in: Sezession 44, 34–39. Weißmann, Karlheinz (2012): Islamkritik – Leitideen und Einwände, in: Sezession 51, 24–27. Wiedemann, Felix (2016): Das Verhältnis der extremen Rechten zur Religion, in: Virchow, Fabian et al. (Eds.): Handbuch Rechtsextremismus, Wiesbaden: Springer, 511–532. Nation and Religion in the Thought of the German New Right 129 “Right-Wing Catholicism”? Activities and Motives of New Right Catholics in German- Speaking Countries Sonja Angelika Strube Since the Internet came under widespread use in the 1990s, alliances between ultraconservative or fundamentalist Christian individuals and groups on the one hand and protagonists and media of the “Intellectual New Right” (Kornexl 2008 coined the term “Intellectual Right”) or even the “Extreme Right”1 on the other hand have surfaced, not only in the United States, but also in Europe and German-speaking countries, rendering them visible and accessible to a wider and also scholarly audience. Subjecting right-wing Catholic websites to critical scrutiny, reveals the motives behind the religious and political attitudes. While such attitudes in Germany represent the strongly-voiced opinions of a very small minority, they seem to be more widespread among Catholics in some Central and Eastern European countries as well as by parts of evangelical Protestants. “Right- Wing Catholicism” therefore raises critical questions directed at both theology and the Church(es). Far-Right Interests in Forming Alliances with Christians: Cross-Milieu Collaboration Certainly, collaborations between fundamentalist Christians and protagonists of the “Far Right”2 have existed before the 1990s and outside the In- 1 1 In the German political discourse, the term “extreme right” (Rechtsextremismus) refers to groups threatening the constitutionality of the state and can therefore be banned under German law. The term “radical right” (Rechtsradikalismus) refers to those right-wing groups beyond the political mainstream but are, by the Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (i.e. the German intelligence service), not considered to pose a threat to the constitutionality of the state (cf. Bundesamt). Members of the (Intellectual) New Right may either be extreme right or not (cf. Pfeiffer 2001; Gesserharter/Pfeiffer 2004). 2 In this article, I make use of the term “far right” as an umbrella term to describe radical and extreme right-wing groups. The term “extreme right” is only applied 131 ternet, but today the Internet itself exerts its influence on these interactions: (1) It increases groups’ and media visibility. Disseminating information as well as promoting own causes is far easier, much less expensive and far more effective in its outreach. (2) The internet facilitates in establishing contacts with other groups and in organising networks. (3) Special dynamics of escalation and self-radicalisation take place. (4) And finally, the Internet enables small groups of people to appear far more numerous than they are in reality, prompting other people to share their positions as well. Right-wing and fundamentalist groups often maintain more than just the one website to create the impression of mass and size and, in so doing, build a “parallel society” (cf. Strube 2017a, 60–64). This strategy known as “astroturfing” is currently employed, for example, by the German politicians Beatrix von Storch and her spouse Sven of the right-wing party “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD, “Alternative for Germany”), who run a range of various websites not disclosing their affiliation with the AfD (cf. Strube 2017a, 60–63). Within the right-wing political spectrum, in theory, different tendencies must be distinguished: On the one hand, we can identify protagonists of the “(Intellectual) New Right” attempting to enter mainstream society to wield influence by spreading their ideas among its members and, therefore, seek to create an intellectual and middle-class image of themselves. In order to “own” or – as they call it – exercise power over the discourse, their protagonists have launched their own publishing companies (e.g. “Antaios”, Götz Kubitschek), newspapers, journals (e.g. “Junge Freiheit”, “Die Freie Welt”), political institutes (e.g. “Institut für Staatspolitik”, Götz Kubitschek; “Institut für strategische Studien”, Beatrix and Sven von Storch) and make frequent use of social media in their attempt to recruit an intellectual, middle-class readership. On the other hand, we can observe a vast range of visibly far-right groups who make no secret of their political leanings, acting upon “bar room clichés”, uttering hate speech and, in some cases, even resorting to physical violence. In reality, however, the line between both tendencies is blurred and an overlap exits concerning their adopted attitudes, while their differences mainly pertain to the strategies they employ. The espousal of an ideological “right-wing extremism” to a degree that must be considered to pose a threat to the democratic rule of law is not uncommon in either field. The “Intellectual New Right” performs, as Thomas Pfeiffer labels it, a bridging function by carrying farwhen referring to those groups observed by the Offices for the Protection of the Constitution. Sonja Angelika Strube 132 right ideas into the middle of society as well as serving as a vanguard for the Far Right (Pfeiffer 2004). For this reason, creating a semblance of belonging to the middle class or mainstream is, in this day and age, a tried and tested approach among members of the neo-Nazi scene in an attempt to exert their influence (Röpke/Speit 2008 label this phenomenon: “Neonazis in Nadelstreifen” – “Neo-Nazis in Pinstripes”). Taking a closer look at these newly-forged alliances between certain Christians and right-wing political groups, their interaction points in two directions: On the one hand, right-wing political groups and media take a keen interest in establishing favourable contacts to certain Christian individuals and groups, even though these right wing groups and media may be oriented towards Neopaganism, just to benefit from the Christians’ reputation.3 On the other hand, certain ultraconservative, reactionary or fundamentalist Christian individuals, groups and media take an active part in forging alliances with right-wing political groups. Across Europe and within several Europe-wide networks, the common ground these alliances share centre around the following topics: (1) Islamophobia, more precisely described as hostility and hatred against Muslims and Islam; (2) persecution of Christians (mostly treated as an aspect of hostility against Islam); (3) the field of topics which is referred to by the term “anti-genderism” (Hark/Villa 2015), involving taking political action to safeguard traditional family roles and advocate a code of rigid sexual morality, supporting prolife activities as well as opposing same-sex marriage and sex education. While expressing hostility towards Islam will find favour among evangelical as well as right-wing Catholic believers, being actively engaged in prolife activities and anti-genderism will go down particularly well with Roman Catholic clerical authorities in Germany.4 3 For example, the weekly newspaper “Junge Freiheit”, which is the most important German publication and voice of the “Intellectual New Right”, decided to collaborate with the evangelical news agency “idea” as well as with several traditionalist priests in the 1990s, even though their readership partly shared anti-Christian, Neopagan beliefs. The favourable effect of also reaching and gaining a Christian middle-class-oriented readership was considered to be of more significance than perhaps losing a number of readers oriented towards Neopaganism (Kornexl 2008; Braun 2007; Strube 2015a). 4 The AfD party declared itself to be the single party taking action for Christian family values by supporting pro-life activities and combatting abortion in an attempt “to get a foot in the door” of the Church(es) – especially of the Catholic Church. However, this attempt seemed to have failed in the run-up to the German federal election in 2017 – due to the racist nature the anti-refugee-campaigns of this party “Right-Wing Catholicism”? 133 The campaign “Demo für alle” (“The Protest for Everyone”) serves as an example both for the strategies pursued by New Rights seeking to forge alliances across milieus comprising persons from conservative Christian milieus to persons with extreme right positions and for the advocacy of a right-wing party by members of the Christian Church(es). The protests initiated by the campaign rally against same-sex marriage and other anti-gender topics, thus emulating the French “La Manif pour tous”. They maintain contacts to their advocators as well as to other anti-gender campaigns – or at least to those within Europe –, though never mobilising large numbers of participants. The German campaign “Demo für alle” was first initiated in 2014 by the “Initiative Familienschutz” (“Family Protection Campaign”), which belongs to the range of campaigns and websites run by Beatrix and Sven von Storch as part of their astroturfing strategy. From the very onset, the campaign “Demo für alle” was, for the most part, run by Hedwig von Beverfoerde, a Catholic and former member of the CDU (until 2016), who is engaged in several of the von Storchs’ campaigns. A trademark of the protest marches organised by von Beverfoerde is the gathering together of speakers representing three different institutional backgrounds: These are members from Christian denominations, working professionally in their Church(es) (sometimes in leading positions);5 politicians from the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and CDL (Christian Democrats Pro Life); AfD and JA politicians (“Junge Alternative” = “Young Alternative”). By doing so, von Beverfoerde unites politicians from a far-right party outside the standard political spectrum with politicians from a mainstream party representing the middle of society as well as with several notable members of the Christian Church(es), who, at least apparently, act as representatives of their Church(es). Of the parties involved, the single party deriving any benefit and actually gaining in reputation from this particular constellation is the AfD. On a side note, the “Demo für alle” is also protook and, as a result, the AfD have veered in their opinion, subjecting the Church(es) to fierce criticism. 5 E.g. Hartmut Steeb – managing director of the “Deutsche Evangelische Allianz” (German Evangelical Alliance), Karin Maria Fenbert – managing director of the Catholic aid organisation “Kirche in Not”/“Aid to the Church in Need”, Bishop Andreas Laun – former Auxiliary Bishop in Salzburg, several Orthodox priests, who maintain close contact to German-Russian immigrants, and Catholic authors writing on the topic of anti-gender such as Birgit Kelle and Gabriele Kuby. Steeb, Kuby and Kelle frequently write for several media of the New Right; Kuby’s books on the topic of anti-gender have been translated in nearly all Central and East European languages and exercise a considerable influence on the Bishops’ Conferences taking place in those regions. Sonja Angelika Strube 134 moted by several extreme right groups,6 in particular by the “Identitarian Movement”, a group maintaining close contacts to at least some party members of the AfD and to more than just a few of the JA. Their members also join the protest marches, walking alongside conservative Christians, though they are not themselves invited to speak at these events. Activities as those above support the claim that the New Right’s interest in Christian values, concepts and topics is nothing more than a shrewdly calculated strategy enabling them to reach and wield influence over mainstream civil society, to disseminate New Right ideas and to effect a shift in what is regarded as normalcy. However, for this strategy to succeed, it relies on reactionary or fundamentalist Christian persons or groups willing to collaborate with them. Apart from performing a bridging function or from forging a link between Christian milieus and the Intellectual or even Extreme Right, these Christians identify with and represent extremely right attitudes themselves. In an extreme case, right-wing extremism is religiously motivated, based on a skewed understanding of the Christian religion. Examples of Different Forms of “Right-Wing Catholicism” Networks and collaborations between religiously fundamentalist and extreme right-wing political groups, media and parties exist in all Christian denominations – be it Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox traditions – and in all European countries, in Russia and, certainly, in the USA, too. What is here referred to as “right-wing Catholicism”7 thus, in turn, neither represents a unique Catholic problem, nor is the problem a specifically German one within the Roman Catholic Church. Quite to the contrary, German Catholicism in all its diversity seems to display a heightened sensitivity to attend to potential threats from the political right and thus less prone to such close identification of faith and nation as, for example, is typical of Polish Catholicism or of German Protestantism pre-1945. 2 6 Examples for the ties between the Extreme Right and members of the Christian Church are the making and circulation of hateful demagogic media produced by the Extreme Right (e.g. “Politically Incorrect”) promoting so-called anti-abortion “prayer marches” and neo-Nazis participating in them (cf. Strube 2019). 7 My use of the term “right-wing Catholicism” (as well as “New Right Christians”) does not apply to every conservative Christian group, but refers to groups of persons who are religious and consider themselves to be Christians while collaborating with or operating as right-wing political groups or media at the same time. “Right-Wing Catholicism”? 135 An analysis of different right-wing Catholic websites reveals strategies as well as political and religious attitudes of right-wing Catholics. Similar as before, two different kinds of approaches must be distinguished: on the one hand, the approach of the “Intellectual New Right”, conveying rightwing attitudes and positions to Christian readerships and, in so doing, building a link and establishing ties to right-wing political media and, on the other hand, overtly displayed right-wing extremism. The privately-operated Catholic website “” is representative of an extremely conservative Catholic milieu, flourishing and also expanding in sheer number during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The website claims to be based on the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, albeit remaining critical towards its implementation. It sympathises with traditionalist positions, but, at the same time, keeps its distance from the schismatic traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX). The editors of purposely establish connections with media of the “New Right”, for example the weekly “Junge Freiheit” and the internet platform “Die Freie Welt”, reprinting articles from the mentioned sources and depicting the AfD party, without exception, in a favourable way in their own reports. Close ties are maintained with the evangelical news agency “idea”. The majority of articles published on the site display a marked bias, with readers’ comments mirroring an array of right-wing positions (cf. Strube 2017b; Strube 2018a). Even though claims to be firmly based on the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, it distinguishes between “the words of the council” and the “so-called ‘spirit of the council’”, the latter being an errant interpretation of the council by progressive “lukewarm” Catholics. In fact, in some cases the phrase “Gespenst des Konzils”, meaning “spectre/spook of the council” is applied instead of “spirit of the council” (in German: “Geist des Konzils”). Prior to the inception of the pontificate of Pope Francis, “loyalty to the pope” and “submission” to the doctrines and teachings of the Papal authority described the fundamental religious identity markers of the Catholic milieu represented by However, since Pope Francis commenced his papacy, the tone has changed within this Catholic milieu, becoming increasingly critical and harsh in tone, at times even hateful, against this Pope, an effect that can, on a psychological level, be explained as directing “authoritarian aggression” towards Pope Francis as a “violator of norms” (cf. Strube 2018a). As this dismissal of the Pope and his teachings clearly demonstrates, these Catholics do not give their religious submission to the Pope or the Papal supremacy, but abide to certain rules, norms, contents of the religion as well as to church structures, which are considered inerrant, eternal and unalterable. Sonja Angelika Strube 136 The website “” is representative of a slightly different milieu within the right-wing Catholic sphere. This website combines traditionalist, anti-modernist theology with intellectual New Right political thinking. Its theological contents and positions are closely related to those of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX), and Pope Francis has come up against strong opposition from this website since day one of his papacy. The positions taken by this website and its readership and background milieu that it is representative of, are both more radical with regard to religious views and political opinions than and more sophisticated, at the same time. Reaching an intellectual and well-educated readership, is the obvious aim of this website, as, for instance, extremely conservative priests or other men (!) in leading positions. An example for the espousal of a form of right-wing extremism that is punishable under law in combination with religious topics was the anonymous website, which was active between 2004 and 2012, before it was finally taken down. This website claimed to be hosted by orthodox Catholics officially working for the Roman Catholic Church, with their operators having close insight into and receiving internal information about ecclesiastical affairs. From a theological perspective, the website presented traditionalist, anti-modernist positions as are characteristic of the fundamentalist Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX); whereas, on a political level, was representative of anti-constitutional rightwing extremism (cf. Strube 2014, 182–187). Its propagation of antisemitism, Holocaust denial and incitement of the masses constituted an offence punishable by law, but, over the course of several years, it was impossible to get hold of the website operators. Finally, in 2013, the flats of two Roman Catholic priests, who also ran the right-wing Catholic website “”, were searched by the police and the computer hosting and storing the website platform and files related to it was located and confiscated, putting criminal proceedings into motion in the aftermath (cf. Kölner Stadtanzeiger 2013; wikipedia 2018). On radical websites, such as, the political and ethical problems are easily discernible, whereas more moderate websites exercise influence in a more subtle way and, by doing so, reach and affect a broader readership. Even though a distinction between these different milieus and the expressed degree of right-wing positions and radicalisation can and must be made, various readers as well as authors accessed or rather were involved in publishing content on all three websites, thus demonstrating that the distinctions between them will blur and, as a consequence, selfradicalisation may occur more frequently than expected. “Right-Wing Catholicism”? 137 With regard to Germany, attitudes as these are not typically a prominent feature of German Catholicism, but represent the strongly-voiced opinion of a small minority. Nevertheless, such trends and tendencies can be spotted in various Catholic milieus across the globe, and the World Wide Web and social media make networking a simple endeavour. It is common among fundamentalist circles to brook no dissent in their personal views on religion and to not accept any half-hearted compromises, but intend rather to dictate the course of the official Church. One powerful means to put bishops and bishops’ conferences under the pressure of public opinion, for example, is in the form of social media campaigns, letters from readers or, simply, so-called “shitstorms”. However, what must be taken note of is the radical religious opposition building among a couple of leading clerics of the Roman Catholic Church against Pope Francis, who, to a greater or lesser extent, sympathise with milieus and movements like the ones outlined above in an overt manner. In the United States, for example, where the Religious Right, over decades, has remained a strong political force to be reckoned with, private Catholic websites, such as “Church Militant”, not only apply pressure on bishops to enforce their positions, but openly display their political sympathies with Stephen K. “Steve” Bannon and his alt-right movement (Martin 2017). Bannon, in turn, collaborates with the private right-wing Catholic “Dignitatis Humanae Institute”8 in order to win influence on Rome and the Vatican (Müller-Meiningen 2017; idem/Löbbert 2017). Some Remarks Concerning Catholicism and Nationalism At present, the German Catholic bishops take a clear stand against the Pegida movement and the AfD party, opposing right-wing politics and nationalism especially when the agitation their advocators stir up is directed against refugees.9 Though some dioceses made their rejection of right-wing anti-gender mobilisation heard, others have not exhibited their position in quite such a clear and audible fashion. Several bishops have, on several occasions, made it very clear that nationalism is not a Christian attitude. To this effect, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Chairman 3 8 9 See e.g. the guidance document of the German Bishops’ Conference: Deutsche Bischofskonferenz, Dem Populismus widerstehen. Arbeitshilfe zum kirchlichen Umgang mit rechtspopulistischen Tendenzen. Sonja Angelika Strube 138 of the German Bishops’ Conference, declared in an interview he gave in July 2018: “A Catholic cannot be a nationalist”, thus directly levelling criticism at the current politics not only of the AfD party, but also of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party (KNA/Kirche und Leben 2018). From a theological perspective the Christian belief in all human beings being created in likeness to God as “imago Dei” (Gen 1,26f.) implies rejecting all kinds of racism and discrimination, as it is also explicitly stated in chapter five of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration “Nostra aetate”. As a global organisation, the Roman Catholic Church unites members of all cultural backgrounds and will not grant one nation more privileges than another or give one nation preference over another. While German Catholics have had less opportunity of identifying faith with national identity, at least since the Prussian governance that was dominated by Protestantism, in some Central and Eastern European countries, the connection between nation and Catholic religion seems much more closely entwined in the public awareness, e.g. in Poland, where being Polish is typically identified with being Catholic. Moreover, the Catholic Church served as a guarantor of national identity during the time of Partitions and foreign hegemony, when Poland was “wiped off the political map” between 1795 and 1918. This background may be a reason why Polish nationalism draws less criticism from representatives of the Polish Church. Expressing their concern, the Polish bishops, for example, wrote in an official pastoral letter dating from December 2013 that what is referred to as “gender ideology” not only “poses a threat” to families, but also to “our fatherland” (Hirtenwort der polnischen Bischöfe 2013). Addressing the same topic in December 2013, bishops from Slovakia declared the “culture of death” to pose a threat to “the existence of a nation. Facing such a threat, former generations did not hesitate to give their lives for the protection of their homeland” (Hirtenbrief der slowakischen Bischöfe 2013). To the vast majority of German Catholics, such sentences have a distinct nationalist – or even what we refer to as “völkisch” – ring to them. Drawing a line between the “Christian Occident” and Islam based on diverging religious-cultural identities might catch on within some Christian milieus, yet nationalism among Catholics seems a more widespread phenomenon in some Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Slovakia or Croatia (cf. Anic 2015; Chołuj 2015). However, to prove the validity of this assumption, native speakers will have to conduct further research on this matter. “Right-Wing Catholicism”? 139 Pre-Conciliar Anti-Modernism as Specific Religious and Theological Profile of “Right-Wing Catholicism” Even though right-wing attitudes pose a problem in certain milieus of the Catholic Church, in my estimation, nationalism plays a minor role as compared to other factors. Assessing the religious profile of radical right-wing Catholic websites, such as and, they share common ground in strongly rejecting interreligious dialogue and ecumenism, degrading other denominations and religions, including Judaism, and denying the right of freedom of religion for all other denominations except the own. This devalorisation of other denominations is justified with the pre-conciliar concept of religious exclusivism, maintaining that there was no redemption and salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church (“extra ecclesiam nulla salus”). However, their mutual rejection not only refers to other denominations, but also to other moral practices and lifestyles, too, and those adhering to them, depreciating and even verbally humiliating them. Degradation concerns progressive Catholics, too, including anyone holding a liberal democratic worldview and believing that an open society is a viable option (Karl Popper). It even goes as far as condemning the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) declaring the freedom of religion a fundamental human right and promoting ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. These websites and their milieus legitimise their use of harsh anti-Jewish, antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, sexist and anti-emancipatory attitudes by claiming to act on a sound religious basis. These positions, to which the term “Group-Focused Enmities”10 (Gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeit) applies, merge seamlessly with typical extremely right-wing ideologies of inequality as well as with anti-democratic attitudes and worldviews. Both the long-standing proximity of the schismatic Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X to extreme rightwing parties and regimes as well as the denial of the Holocaust by prominent members of the Fraternity have been well and repeatedly documented in academic literature (cf. for example Damberg 2009; Priester 2009). Similar to the schismatic Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, the mentioned Catholic milieus build their theological foundations upon antimodernist and anti-Enlightenment sentiment and theologies prevailing during the so-called “Pian Era” of the Roman Catholic Church (between 4 10 Group-Focused Enmity/Gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeit: technical term coined by Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Institut für Interdisziplinäre Konflit- und Gewaltforschung, Universität Bielefeld: Sonja Angelika Strube 140 1850–1950) as well as upon doctrinal documents dating from the same time, especially the Papal Encyclical “Quanta Cura” and its accompanying “Syllabus of Errors”, both promulgated by Pope Pius IX in 1864, the antimodernist Papal Encyclicals “Pascendi” and “Lamentabili” (1907) and “The Oath Against Modernism” (1910) by Pope Pius X. On a related note, it must be emphasised that the right-wing attitudes prevailing in certain Protestant and evangelical milieus are legitimised by religion, too, even though their Churches’ structures as well as their sources, i.e. doctrines, they draw their religious legitimacy from differ very much from the Catholic sources mentioned above. All right-wing Catholic websites, even the less radical ones, including their users, at least as far as their comments reveal, display traditionalist and anti-modernist tendencies and, apparently, consider the anti-modernism of the “Pian Era” as the best, if not the only viable form of “true Catholicism”. Wolfgang Beinert, Martin Kirschner, Stefan Goertz and other theologians identify these anti-modernist, traditionalist views shared by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X as well as by members of Roman Catholic chat groups on the Internet as the specifically Catholic form of religious fundamentalism (cf. Beinert 1991; Kirschner 2006; Goertz et. al. 2013). Catholic traditionalists pick out one single era – the era of anti-modernism – from within the broad Catholic tradition and recognise this tradition as an absolute source of validity, disregarding, in so doing, the Catholic theological concept of tradition, which is why Beinert refers to attitudes like these as “heresies” (Beinert 1991, 81). However, the anti-modernist era of the Roman Catholic Church and the documents originating from this period constitute part of the Church’s history and, to some extent, its presence. Even though the decisions of the Second Vatican Council mark a fundamental turning point and an “antifundamentalist caesura” (Goertz et al. 2013, 36), it is still practiced to refer from a theological perspective to anti-modernist documents in a pure affirmative, and therefore unhistorical and uncritical way. Furthermore, the decisions of the Second Vatican Council were implemented with a varying degree of forcefulness in different regions of the world, on account of specific political situations, such as the communist rule, then prevailing in Central and Eastern Europe. For this reason, discovering new, democratic ways of dealing with these source texts pertains not only to certain sectarian milieus but to the Roman Catholic Church at large. “Right-Wing Catholicism”? 141 Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation as Psychological Motives of Fundamentalist Religious and Political Attitudes By analysing the styles of religious thinking and speech expressed on rightwing Christian websites, the following characteristic features can be identified (cf. Strube 2015b, 2018a, 2018c): (1) a very negative worldview, pessimism, distrust, including what social psychologists refer to as a “dangerous worldview”; (2) dualistic thinking, meaning that the world is perceived as either friendly or hostile, holy or evil and other persons are considered either as friends or enemies;11 (3) moral rigorism and strict moral conformity; (4) the demand to monitor the observance of norms by others; (5) the demand for severe punishment of anyone breaching norms (partly advocacy of death penalty; demand for excommunication of differentlyminded Catholic believers); (6) harsh rejection of differing opinions; (7) use of harsh critique and hate speech; (8) ridicule of people with differing opinions (including Pope Francis); (9) scandalisation of petty and unimportant things; (10) preoccupation with topics related to sexuality and homosexuality; (11) use of patriarchal and sometimes misogynous speech (thus providing proof for the patriarchal nature of fundamentalist religion, as outlined by Riesebrodt; cf. Riesebrodt 1990). At least several of these attitudes define fundamentalist religious styles (cf. e.g. Goertz et. al. 34–5); at the same time, they can all be identified as features characterising, according to Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson and Sanford (Adorno et. al. 1950), the so-called “Authoritarian Personality”. Based on findings of my studies (cf. Strube 2015b; 2018a-c), the religious attitudes that the comments of both the editors as well as the users of right-wing Catholic websites display are characterised by authoritarianism, especially according to Adorno’s description of the concept, for it includes more aspects than just conformity, authoritarian submission and authoritarian aggression, as is the case with current socio-psychological studies on authoritarianism (cf. Iser 2006, 82–85). Adorno’s broader concept of authoritarianism offers an explanation for people rejecting all kinds of dialogue with differently-minded people and who are, in general, dismissive of diversity and of an open society at large. It also accounts for the orientation of right-wing Christians towards authoritarian structures in religious 5 11 See also the ideology of Carl Schmitt, Catholic theorist of the “conservative revolution” undermining the first German democracy of the Weimar Republic, who has the greatest say within the Intellectual New Right while also providing the ideological background. Sonja Angelika Strube 142 as well as political contexts. Findings from studies I have conducted on this topic, suggest that authoritarianism also explains or may even predict fundamentalist religious attitudes (cf. Strube 2018a). In social-psychological studies, a further predictor for right-wing attitudes is Social Dominance Orientation (SDO; Sidanius/Pratto 1999). On account of its hierarchical structure, the Roman Catholic Church, in particular in its pre-Conciliar form, may attract persons oriented towards exercising power, personal achievement and performance as well as being drawn towards hierarchies and being on top of these hierarchies. Some right-wing Catholic internet platforms and campaigns display Social Dominance Orientation, for example the “Society for Tradition, Family and Property” founded by several persons descending from noble families such as Mathias von Gersdorff and Paul von Oldenburg, a cousin of Beatrix von Storch.12 However, the concept of authoritarianism seems more fitting to account for the religious fundamentalism as well as right-wing attitudes prevailing among certain Catholic and other Christian believers. Conclusion The challenge and task faced by the Church(es) and Christian groups and communities at large is to encourage and support styles of religiosity leading to less fundamentalism and right-wing attitudes, less prejudices, less Group-Focused Enmity, less hostility and misanthropy (Klein 2017; Klein/ Streib 2014). This task includes confronting the authoritarian structures within the own religious tradition. For the Roman Catholic Church this also means clarifying how it will handle the ecclesiastical documents and positions of the anti-modernist era both today and in the future. In some regions across Europe and beyond, the close identification of the ideas of nation and faith or of nation and denomination must be challenged. References Adorno, Theodor W. et al. 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Beobachtungen zu unerwarteten Anschlussmöglichkeiten, Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Kirchen und Rechtsextremismus. Materialien: Hintergrundtexte, Rechtspopulismus in Europa. igi%C3 %B6s-und-rechtsextrem-8.2015.pdf (ccessed Dec. 3rd, 2018). Strube, Sonja Angelika (2017a): Christliche Unterstützer der AfD. Milieus, Schnittmengen, Allianzen, in: Orth, Stefan/Resing, Volker (Eds.): AfD, Pegida & Co. Angriff auf die Religion?, Freiburg/B.: Herder, 58–71. Strube, Sonja Angelika (2017b): Abwehrhaltungen statt Willkommenskultur? Rechtspopulistische Argumentationsstrukturen gegen die Aufnahme Geflüchteter in rechtschristlichen Medien, in: Heimbach-Steins, Marianne (Ed.): Jahrbuch für Christliche Sozialwissenschaften 58/2017, Münster: Aschendorff, 45–56. Strube, Sonja Angelika (2018a): Widerstand gegen Papst Franziskus und seine Reformen. Empirische Beobachtungen am Beispiel der Internetseite, in: Kruip, Gerhard: ET-Studies 9 (2018) 1, Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology, 27–50. Strube, Sonja Angelika (2018b): Mit Gottvertrauen gegen Rechtspopulismus. Religiösen und politischen Autoritarismus überwinden als pastorale Aufgabe, in: Eckholt, Margit/Steins, Georg (Eds.): Aktive Gewaltfreiheit. Theologie und Pastoral für den Frieden, Würzburg: Echter, 211–230. Sonja Angelika Strube 146 Strube, Sonja Angelika (2018c): Religiositäten und Vorurteilsstrukturen. Empirische Beobachtungen zu religiös motiviertem Autoritarismus in katholischen Milieus, in: Lob-Hüdepohl, Andreas/Eurich, Johannes (Eds.): Aufblitzen des Widerständigen. Soziale Arbeit der Kirchen und die Frage des Widerstands während der NS-Zeit, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 169–193. Strube, Sonja Angelika (2019): Rechtspopulismus und konfessionelle Anti-Gender- Bewegung. Milieu-übergreifende Allianzen und rhetorische Strategien im deutschen Sprachraum, in: Behrensen, Maren/Heimbach-Steins, Marianne/Hennig, Linda (Eds.): Gender – Nation – Religion: Ein internationaler Vergleich von Akteursstrategien und Diskursverflechtungen, Frankfurt/New York: Campus. Wikipedia (2018): kreuz-net (version 10/14/2018, 1:54 p.m.), Wikipedia. (accessed Dec. 3rd, 2018). “Right-Wing Catholicism”? 147 Part III: Case Studies Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium Rik Pinxten Historical Context The formalized reality of the constitutional nation state as we know it emerged in the European context a few centuries ago, solidifying not only territorial arrangement, but also linguistic, religious and/or cultural boundaries between populations. Nationalism had community building impact in several European countries, but it remained somewhat problematic in ‘mixed’ states, such as Belgium. In Belgium, one part is French speaking and old capitalism, while the northern part is Dutch (Flemish) speaking and economically dominant since the end of World War II. Flanders was predominantly Catholic. Flemish identity, – equal to low education levels except for some high culture in the past (think of Van Eyck, Brueghel, and later Rubens’ workshop) – was tightly linked to devout Catholic religion, perpetuated through an encompassing network of schools, civil and health services, cultural circles and labour unions. Within that historic context many Flemish young people had been convinced by the clergy to join the German army under the Nazi regime in the Eastern Front This led to resentment and nostalgia in several political rightist movements and parties after the war. The role of the underdog (i.e. feeling dominated by the French speaking bourgeoisie) was successful for centrist and right-wing parties, and this success lasts until today: the new ‘democratic right’ party (the N-VA: the New Flemish Alliance) is dominant in two Belgian governments today, but keeps on positioning itself time and time again as ‘the Calimero’ of the political arena. With 9/11/2001 and the second Iraq War, centre-left and left-wing parties in Belgium (and Europe in general) were accused of bad governance on immigration in the past, which would “explain” the growing unrest of migrant youth in Europe. Since the war moved to Syria a stream of refugees started, which has given arguments to political leaders of the ‘democratic right’ to install fear of ‘others’, i.e., people coming from so-called muslim countries such as Syria or Libya. The accompanying group of ‘IS warriors’ of Belgian origin, and their involvement in terrorist actions in ci- 1 151 ties (e.g. Brussels 2015) is steadily translated by the minister of the interior and his secretary of state for refugees into official government warnings about and sometimes attacks on Islamic people. Both are members of the ‘democratic right’ party. These officials attack their own administrative bodies, openly challenge the prime minister (who is a Native-French speaking centre right conservative) and occasionally use the media to steer public debate on these issues. Moreover, the secretary of state extensively uses social media to spread so-called direct and often rather raw messages. His tweets are retweeted in large numbers, which at least suggests that there might be a hidden group of activists/trolls involved. It works in two ways: some messages are actively boosted, while others are played down (e.g., pro-Catalan independence, but silent on Kurdish claims). Within the rather rapidly changing societal climate the old ‘extreme right’ is somewhat withering, and cannot regain the public attention it had in the ‘90’s. As some observers remarked, the N-VA (the ‘democratic right’) adopted many ideas from extreme rightists (Maly 2018) It anxiously moves further to the right in order to attract voters there. This creates a new political landscape, in which the former neo-nationalist position of the extreme right party prior to 9/11 (the Vlaams Belang – Flemish Interest: Pinxten 2006) is marginalised and/or occupied by the present-day governmental ‘democratic right’ party N-VA. At the extreme right end of the spectrum three new groups have recently emerged, using social media: a) A group within the Russian Orthodox Church is rising to power in Russia, and is able to actively intervene within the EU (and probably the USA), according to them in the name of God and the Christian tradition. The latter are then seen to be abandoned in the West, while at the same time the group claims that an era of bad influences from the West on Russian Christian identity will soon come. The Putin regime is said to be linked to this religion-driven group (Blitt 2011), as can be seen in the repeated attacks by the President of Russia on ‘certain countries’ who disregard Russian agreements of the UN Security Council (Engström 2014). The rising influence of Russia in several European countries (including Belgium, where the headquarters of NATO and EU Capital are) seems to be channelled more and more through the implantation of the Orthodox Church, but research on these issues is still rather recent and non-conclusive (Zuallaert 2017). I will not go into this, basically because of lack of checked data. Political actions are hidden most of the time. b) There are many publications on the attacks and strategies as well as the success rate of the second new group: The IS terrorist group, acting from the Syria-Iraq area, has been sending videos, tweets, and other virtual Rik Pinxten 152 messages to individuals and small groups in Belgium over the past decade, recruiting Islamist fighters for IS via these methods. Actually, this continues through 2020, as the most widespread newspaper of Flanders mentions (HLN, 2020). IS thus “educated” local individuals in Belgium by virtual means to launch terrorist attacks within Europe. The more publicized attacks are those on the airport and the subway of Brussels (2015). But they are not the only ones: regularly attacks are said to be avoided by security services, though small terrorist strikes are still successfully carried out. The number of actual terrorist fighters of Belgian origin is still not publicized, neither are their whereabouts today always clear. After IS was said to be defeated in the first months of 2018, several fighters have been put to trial. Most of them did not show up or refused to speak when put on trial ‘because the judicial system is not deemed justified by Islamic standards’. It is clear that this kind of urban terrorism within Belgium reminds us of 9/11 (the attack on the Twin towers in New York), although the temporary existence of an ‘Islamic State’ operating through social media on EU territory is new. Still, like in the Orthodox case, this is a foreign influence, mostly online. After having mentioned both new developments (since the 2006 book on neo-nationalism in Europe: Gingrich/Banks 2006), I will concentrate for the remainder of this contribution on ‘homebred’ developments. c) Recently (Europol 2018) Christian extreme rightist groups emerged in Germany, France and the UK, sometimes explicitly in the slipstream of USA-groups. During the presidential elections of 2016 in the USA, a new tactic in campaigning is publically known: influencing, eventually manipulating voting procedures through Internet intervention (Levitsky/Ziblatt 2018). Partisan groups of rightist and extreme rightist origin occasionally took to the street. More often, though, they became politically active by working as ‘trolls’: using the Internet to attack individuals and organisations by tweeting and sending hate-messages and threats to more liberal activists. Particular groups are targeted this way, and a larger audience is fed the new propaganda of the day, i.e. lies, half-truths or false information. In their offline-activities, such groups infiltrate existing power centres. At the level of official candidates in the political arena these groups are openly supported or their false information is given more impact by recognizing it as ‘alternative truth’. Then, presidential candidate Donald Trump and his group of advisers were very active along those lines, turning the political process in a ‘polarising’ arena and thus disqualifying essential rules of the democratic process according to researchers in these matters (e.g., Levistky/Ziblatt 2018). The better known group by now is that of White Supremacy and of Alt-Right adherents, who specifically use Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium 153 social media to launch so-called ‘troll’ messages against their opponents, social democrats and socialists and are attempting to disable normal democratic debate (e.g., Gillborn 2006, MacWorther 2016). Europol mentions such attempts in the EU: e.g. the work of Génération Identitaire in France, Identitäre Bewegung in Germany, activities of which are regularly attended by the Belgian ‘S&V’ (Maly 2018). Their approach has thus been a source of inspiration for the extreme rightists of Belgium today. Apart from attacks on persons, S&V infiltrated in university boards and in N-VA strongholds. The alleged manipulation of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica in order to efficiently influence the voting process in the USA Presidential campaign has become the better known part of this new type of political action. But there is still less documentation about the more substantial move from discussions on political and value issues in an open, face-to-face and democratic format towards almost covert or anonymous attacks and threats directed against opponents. Across countries the extreme right groups claim to be saviours of the so-called genuine Christian and mostly white culture (see below). Themes and Actors of the New Religiously Inspired Native Neo-nationalists in Belgium Actors I distinguish between three types of actors in Belgium today: 1) There is a new group of ideologues, expressing themselves in Internet webs and blogs such as Doorbraak (‘Breakthrough’) and Sceptr.1 Here are the people who claim that several major and established media (the communal broadcasting system for radio and television, but also major newspapers) are all one-sided and ‘leftist’. This attack sounds like D. Trump’s attacks on major American news agencies. Media and written press in Flanders are said to be lying regularly or hiding information, for the benefit of the government and/or the presumably ideologically leftist middle class. Instead, Doorbraak and Sceptr present their ‘alternative facts’, with occasional contributions by internationally active new-right thinkers. These blogs and websites offer alternative analyses to mainstream journalism, and thus emphasize the importance of a well-ordered society within the ethnic boundaries of ‘the people’, continuing a longstanding rather 2 2.1 1 See and Rik Pinxten 154 nostalgic ideology of ‘Flemish ethnic and cultural identity’. That culture is intrinsically Christian, implying that the old social and power structures go with this heritage. Notably, on these websites the British psychiatrist T. Dalrymple is an advocate of the idea that we should return to the old order before Enlightenment, which implies that social and ethnic emancipation are seen as a road leading to doom. 2) For several years motor bands have been appearing in the landscape, claiming a role in the restoration of ‘law and order’ in a society that would have become too liberal and relativist. Some groups, notably BBET (translation: ‘Blood, Soil, Honour and Loyalty’) have been brought to court for terrorism and possession of heavy weapons. A subgroup Combat 18, was known to have participated in combat training on military terrains. The ideology is clearly neo-nazi and international contacts have been found. Since the attempts of members of these organizations to enlist in the army, they are barred from military careers (basically after 2006–2007). Today the major groups of the organization in Flanders are screened regularly by federal security services. A group of 17 members was brought to court and judged in 2014, which is believed to have ended their political influence. 3) Over the past two years a new group emerged, this time engaging themselves explicitly and repeatedly in Tweet- and Internet-communication. The group calls itself ‘Schild en vrienden’ (‘Shield and friends’), thus emphasizing the presumed importance of Flemish historic ethnic identity. According to historical sources a group of Flemish guilds had armed battles with troops of French nobility, in 1302. The Flemish used what today would be called guerrilla tactics: According to the urban legends which appeared later, they lured the French troops into a local swamp, where numbers of them got stuck and became prey for the Flemish partisans. This was the finale of a violent conflict, which started months earlier in Bruges: local citizens united one night (the night of the so-called Brugse Metten, Good Friday of 1302) and murdered a series of soldiers of French forces in the city. The urban legend is that they checked on all their victims first by asking them to repeat the slogan ‘Schild en vriend’ (shield and friend). French speakers cannot pronounce the consonants ‘sch’ (which they would render as ‘sk’) and ‘vr’ (which would come out as ‘fr’). That way the French would be identified and immediately beheaded. This ‘episode in Flemish history’ has been part of the history curriculum in Flanders for years, occasioning enthusiastic battle-reenactments by 10 or 11 year olds in schools each year. When I asked Walloon colleagues and colleagues from Brussels about this ‘part of history courses’, they unanimously confessed that this did not ring a bell. Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium 155 In 2016 a small group of highly educated neo-conservative young people decided to reuse the phrase as a slogan again and use it as the name for a new Flemish ethnic-nationalist Internet group. Analysis of ‘Schild en vrienden’ The actions of this new group show particular features on many issues of interest today: 1) There is a definite focus on the old and rather exclusive gender divisions: women are women and men are men. The so-called leftist promotion of transgender identity and of medical research to that end is said to be counter-natural and a clear example of leftist betrayal of the norms and values of the West. The leader of the group got the opportunity to defend these ideas on national television (February 2018): He launched a personal attack on an internationally known professor, gynaecologist and transgender expert. The researcher was attacked publicly as a person. A while later members of S&V targeted students on- and offline, who enrolled for the successful and praised interuniversity MA in gender studies, urging them to make another choice of studies. In the wake of this the unabridged ‘male identity’ of the followers is emphasized: Training camps in fighting techniques were organised for the followers, showing young people in a sort of uniform (wearing the same tshirt with a Gothic S on it). 2) The group S&V promotes ethnic nationalism. It stands for a sharp distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Their web-address starts with footage showing masked muslim warriors and besieged ‘white’ people. It serves as background for the list of messages in the video: several members (all in the same uniform outfit) make statements about the weakness, the lack of backbone of ‘us’ in the present era. 3) In other messages democrats are accused of betraying ‘Flemish youth’ continuously by promoting cosmopolitanism, rejected by S&V since it is believed to weaken and harm ethnic nationalism. The message is: there is an ethnic group called ‘the Flemish’, and an essential characteristic of this population is its Christian culture. Hence, socialism, cosmopolitanism and the like are the enemy. 4) S&V members furthermore act as troll for rightist politicians, whose groups they apparently infiltrated. Not only S&V organises a sort of retweet-group to give the often bold statements by the Secretary of State on Refugees about immigrants and refugees more widespread influence, but they also acted on university campuses as his unofficial bodyguards, fight- 2.2 Rik Pinxten 156 ing against critical student groups (Maly 2018b). When a ‘dark website’ of S&V with racist messages and showing off with heavy weapons, was found, N-VA distanced itself from several members of S&V within its ranks (De Standaard 2018). Controversy, fake news and such abound, but the impact is not always clear. In an interview in an independent and widely read student publication (Schamper 2018), the leader of the group declared that “with S&V we constantly seek provocation” (my translation: o.c., 8). Any means to get publicity is acceptable to the S&V (De Morgen 2018). The Secretary of State publicly voiced harsh criticism on refugees and their lack of loyalty to the Belgian/Flemish society, to justify the jailing and expulsion of refugee groups, who are known as ‘transit migrants’. In his tweets he uses the hashtag ‘#opkuisen’. This word is a rather brutal semi-dialect expression used to speak about the ‘brushing away of filth by means of a broom’. Applied to human beings this is deliberately vexing. What S&V did on several occasions now, was to go to the streets to so-called clean them with a broom, much like responsible youth would do, but using the hashtag ‘#opkuisen’. In interviews the intention of ‘sweeping away’ refugees is recognized and claimed, in order to trigger viewers to look into other messages of S&V. Thus, this type of publicity helps to bring across the important message that with immigration and refugee crises [sic] the intrinsic Christian identity of ‘the Flemish people’ is under attack (Schamper 2018, 7f.; De Morgen 2018). Again, on these topics the links with Génération Identitaire, and Identitäre Bewegung are to be found (Maly 2018). Similarly, S&V launched a concept to summarize what is happening in present-day Europe in general, and Flanders in particular: ‘omvolken’ (to be translated as ‘trans-peopling’). That is to say, starting from the postulate that Flemish people existed for ages, embodied in a clear set of Christian values and norms, the “massive” influx of immigrants and refugees today will inevitably change the identity of the population here. The threat of dominance by a ‘new people’ is imminent. This cultural and genetic transition “in nature” is captured with the term ‘trans-peopling’ or ‘omvolken’, as a new racial discourse. A lot of the points mentioned reached a larger audience recently. A major TV news series (Pano 2018) showed actions and opinions of S&V, including their weaponizing. A magistrate pressed charges against members on the basis of a law against racism, and some members of S&V were removed from election lists within N-VA. Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium 157 Analysing the Phenomenon Who is Who? The impact, the number of ‘members’, the number of followers on Facebook and so on of the group ‘Schild en vrienden’ are very difficult to trace in non-ambiguous ways. The numbers of likes of Twitter and Web messages vary from hundreds to 80.000, but everything else is vague. This means that the group of trolls increases occasionally and decreases again afterwards. Since trolls are most of the time anonymous or use pseudonyms, a message can be addressed at an individual person with the purpose to hurt or even silence the addressee without taking responsibility for the effect. This also is typical of the virtual wars being waged by the group. As we saw in the interviews of the leader of ‘S&V’, the group claims this is unproblematic. The least I can conclude is that the rules of democratic debate are stretched, if not rejected in this move (according to the general analysis of Levitski/Ziblatt 2018). Indeed, democracy implies that your opponent should at all times be respected as the defender of an alternative view. Hence, open debate is essential, and respect for different views is a crucial rule of the game. When these elements are absent or deliberately violated, the democratic level of a political group can be estimated to be low, shifting at times toward blackmailing practices. The Conceptual Apparatus The conceptual apparatus of the group is neo-nationalistic, in line with neo-conservatism. The following argument is apparent: a ‘people’ in the jargon of the group is substantiated by its culture, and expresses itself over a territory (with a state, a nation at best). The influx of people from other parts of the world is not seen as a growth of the community of (equal) persons, but constitutes a threat to the presupposed ‘original’ or ‘natural’ unity of people, culture andnation. In anthropology this use of people/culture/nation is at best local and basically essentialistic. It is local: anthropology works with a classification system (the HRAF, developed at Yale University), which distinguishes between approx. 4000 living cultures in the world. To this very day less than 200 nation-states exist world-wide, and we know that several areas and cities in particular count tens to hundreds of different cultures. For some areas this dates back ages. In recent European history with its wars between nation-state of the past three centuries people, the concept of nation-state, 3 3.1 3.2 Rik Pinxten 158 linked with a particular language/religion/culture, is used in political discourse. With it comes a sort of essentialism on culture (and religion and language), which is basically used in order to exclude others. In the messages of ‘S& V’ this essentialism is taken for granted: ‘the Flemish Christian identity is threatened by immigrants’, and ‘the socialists are responsible for generations of treason of Flemish identity, by allowing the others (mainly the Islamic people) in’. Anthropologically speaking essentialism is a form of ‘cultural racism’. What ‘cultural’ does at best is to describe those aspects of a population that deal with the production and use of meaning. Put differently, anything that is learnt, including the learning of learning styles (in the old couple of nature/nurture: Pinxten 2004). However, there is no example whatsoever of a set of learnt products that overlap uniquely or ‘naturally’ with a group or ‘people’. If anything, people have been known to move around, wage war on neighbouring others, also trade with each other, or start forms of cohabitation in cities. Hence the collapsing of the essential unity of people, culture and nation is an ideological construct, especially flourishing in Europe over the past centuries. The example of Flanders is telling in this respect, a fact which might explain the success of neo-nationalist with/link between religion/culture movements time and again, especially in periods of heightened international uncertainty. Historically, whatever ‘cultural identity’ there may have been prior to the Roman occupation (more than 20 centuries ago), the have profoundly changed since then. Foodeducation, trade systems, languages, marriage traditions, church-state relations, norms and values have been mixed and changed all the time. Religious Identity Finally, the ideology is vested in a religious identity per se. Flanders, like most of continental Europe has been deeply secularised over the past seventy years (since World War II). The area was deeply and continuously Catholic for centuries, starting in the 7th century CE. With the advent of Belgium as an independent state (in 1830) one saw a mix of modern liberal state organization deeply entrenched in Catholicism. The Constitution was modern in 1830 in that state and church were separated: each citizen has the right to choose her religion freely. At the same time, under the last foreign ruler (the Dutch King) and after independence Belgium was known widely as the ‘Catholic’ part of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Hence, with independence the Catholic Church installed an enduring sys- 3.3 Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium 159 tem of power in the new state, by means of absolute dominance for generations in education (today still 80 % Catholic), health services (rather 90 % Catholic) and so on. Two major banks originated here have been known until some years ago to be ‘the banks of the Catholics’. Major industrialists have declared themselves to be loyal Catholics, and so on. With secularisation, as an international trend, this grip of the Church of Rome is waning and regular censuses show that the churchgoing community is dwindling today from an official 85 % a few years back to a mere 4,6 % now (Van Haeren et al. 2006). In the discourse of rightist political groups this trend of rising secularisation is identified with a loss of values and norms: N-VA speaks this way, and ‘S&V’ emphasizes this point repeatedly. Hence, the analysis reads that the destruction of Flemish Catholic identity and the loss of values and norms that follows with it, is the work of secular groups and (especially socialist) parties. Restoring a strong identity of Flemish vintage thus means for S&V to courageously develop a ‘rightist’ stand, investing in the proper Christian values and norms that are essential for the so-called ‘original’ population of these premises (May 2018 and 2018b). Conclusion After 9/11 and the start of the second Iraq War extreme right parties in Belgium still exist, but seem less attractive. However, so-called democratic versions of them emerged and managed to come to power in Belgium as in other European countries. The growth of IS, with a short-lived Caliphate in Syria, and their success in organizing terrorist actions in North Africa, as in Europe spread fear and anxiety. Meanwhile, plainly reactionary groups emerged, also in Belgium. They focus on norms and values and combine neo-nationalism with Christian identity in order to launch campaigns through the social media against societal models that are secular and/or aim at coexistence rather than conflict. I focused mainly on a local variant of this, “Schild en vrienden”, who create a platform of neo-nationalistic Christian reaction in Belgium, within an international network. The intention seems to be more that of raising fear, enhancing polarisation and even threatening ‘the other’ than to look for eventually adapted or alternative projects to live together. The important point I see in this type of movement is that, like the examples in the USA primarily, there is a new and decidedly non-democratic use of the virtual means here, together with an essentialistic cultural-re- 4 Rik Pinxten 160 ligious nostalgia. But before one can try to interact with or eventually against such neo-nationalistic and rather fundamentalist ideology, one should understand better the ways social media is used to stir wide-spread fears and anxieties. References Blitt, Robert C. (2011): Russia’s ‘Orthodox’ Foreign Policy. The Growing Influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Shaping Russia’s Policies Abroad, in: Journal of International Law 33(2011), 364–460. Engström, Maria (2014): Contemporary Russian Messianism and New Russian Foreign Policy, in: Contemporary Security Policy 35(3), 356–379. Europol (2018): Terrorist Situation and Trend. Report. Gillborn, David (2006): Rethinking White Supremacy. Who Counts in ‘White- World’, in: Ethnicities 6(3), 318–40. Gingrich, Andre/Banks, Marcus (Eds.) (2006): Neo-nationalism in Europe & Beyond. Perspectives from Social Anthropology, Oxford: Berghahn publisher. HLN (2020): Het Laatste Nieuws, Online, March 3, 2020. Levitsky, Steven/Ziblatt, Daniel (2018): How Democracies Die, UK: Viking. MacWhorter, John (2016): The Difference Between Racial Bias and a White Supremacy, TIME 11/29/2016. (accessed Dec. 3rd, 2016). Maly, Ico (2018): Nieuw Rechts, Antwerpen: EPO. Maly, Ico (2018b): Welkom in het tijdperk van het globale nationalisme, in: Sampol 2018/8, 10–16. Pinxten, Rik/Verstraete, Ghislain (2004): Introduction, in: Pinxten, Rik/Verstraete, Ghislain/Longman, Chia (Eds.) (2004): Culture and Politics. Identity and Conflict in a Multicultural World, Oxford: Berghahn Publisher, 1–19. Pinxten, Rik (2006): Neo-nationalism and Democracy in Belgium. On Understanding the Contexts of Neo-Communitarianism, in: Gingrich/Banks (2006), 125– 137. Schamper (2018): Cauwenberge, Daan van/Taelman, Hendrik/Schepens, Pieterjan: Schild en islam, islam en vrienden, in: Schamper 43, April 2018, 6–9. Van Haeren, al. (2006): Participantenonderzoek and Levensvragenonderzoek. Researches on Participants and on Meaning of Life Questions, Brussels: UVV. Zuallaert, Jeroen (2017): Dugin, profeet van het Kremlin: ‘Alles is fake news. We moeten journalistiek opdoeken’, in: Knack 15–12–2017. Neo-Nationalism, Religion and the Politics of the Right in Belgium 161 Newsmedia: De Morgen (2018): De Morgen 10–03–2018. De Standaard (2018): De Standaard, frontpages on 6 and 7 Sept. 2018. Pano (2018): TV – VRT, 5 September 2018. Rik Pinxten 162 The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined Thijl Sunier Introduction For people who intend to migrate to the Netherlands, there is an instruction film about the country. The film can be obtained when one applies for a permit to the Dutch immigration authorities. The film functions as a preparation to the course and the exam, mandatory for every immigrant from outside the EU who wants to obtain a residence permit. The film is Dutch spoken, but with a voice-over in more than ten languages. It addresses many general topics such as national history, the political system, social security and economic structure. But there is also ample attention for family structure, cultural habits, and morals, and not least attitudes towards gender and sexual equality, tolerance and freedom of speech. Although most topics are being presented as ‘facts’ about the country and its inhabitants, throughout the film a moral imperative can be discerned. The new migrant should understand that ‘the Dutch culture’ considers all sexual identities equally valid and accepted, and all women irrespective of their background equal to men. Tolerance and equality, freedom and individualism are presented as core elements of Dutch national culture, embedded in Dutch legacy of tolerance and secured by the Constitution. These qualities are supposed to date back to the time of the Dutch Republic in the 17th century when thousands of (religious) refugees entered the country. Visual information is as important as textual. The film is full of subtle and overt messages about how ‘we do things here’ and what is supposed to be normal in the country: kissing in public, men walking hand in hand, wearing scarce clothing, men doing household, women going out alone, gay-marriage, the gay parade etc. By way of compromise a full and an expurgated version of the film has been made, one with and one without footage of women bathing topless at the seashore. But as a whole the messages conveyed by the film read as a warning: ‘Be prepared! If you want to live in this country, this is what you can expect.’ It instructs where the 1 163 Dutch nation stands for and as such the film is a pedagogical narrative about Dutch civil culture. Civil culture refers “[…] to the evolving dimensions of the relation between individuals and the state, and to the trajectory that is deemed to shape individuals into citizens: civil enculturation” (Sunier 2009, 1557; see also Schiffauer et al. 2004). Once individuals in any given nation-state go through a process of discursive assimilation or civil enculturation, they may be expected to possess specific competencies that enable them to meet the civic requirements and conventions of that particular nation-state. In this regard the instruction film and the civil integration courses can be seen as instructions about the necessary prerequisites to become a competent citizen. Thus, one question in the civil integration exam could be as follows: “Suppose you see two men kissing, or walking hand in hand. What would you do?” The right answer to that question refers to a moral standard as well as to certain acting and discursive skills. Civil competencies are thus normative and limiting as well as enabling. Throughout the instruction film we can hear ‘integrated’ immigrants about their experiences and the difficulties that they sometimes encountered. However, the moral imperative that runs through the film is also a depiction of what is considered to be the proper moral Dutch citizen. In the 1990s and 2000s in the wake of the demise of multiculturalism (see Vertovec 2010; Vertovec/Wessendorf 2010) and the growing anti-Islamic sentiments across Europe, the notion of citizenship has taken on a much more substantive cultural meaning. From a principal with strong legal underpinnings referring to basic rights and duties, citizenship has evolved into an embodied set of cultural characteristics and dispositions that are not only supposed to be shared by the majority of the population, but also conditional for becoming part of the imagined national community. In other words, ‘culturalization of citizenship’ (Tonkes et al. 2010), implies a shift from culture as a collective set of principles that a group of people shares, to an understanding of culture as an embodied practice. The instruction film illustrates this shift. Where multiculturalist policies would at least imply a basic responsibility of the receiving society and its institutions for integrating migrants into the host society, culturalization of citizenship is also a shift of the responsibility towards the individual migrant. The argument I elaborate in this article consists of three strands. First, I consider the culturalization of citizenship not just as a recent development, but as a stage in an older and more encompassing process of nationbuilding. Tonkes et al. (2010), who have analysed the culturalization of citizenship in the Netherlands, argue that it is a restorative process; it is a reaction to feelings of ‘losing control’ as a result of the immigration of peo- Thijl Sunier 164 ple with ‘problematic’ cultural and religious backgrounds. Although I agree that the recent culturalization of citizenship occurs simultaneously with the nationalist backlash and the growing Islamophobia that we can witness across Europe, I doubt whether cultural citizenship is only restorative and reactive to current developments. Culturalization has longer historical roots. In the case of the Netherlands it must be traced back to the early years of post-World War immigration and the history of religious pillarization of the 20th century. Secondly, issues of culture and religion have always been an integral part of European nation-state politics and date back to the 19th century formative period, be it in different modalities and disguises, about different stakes and differently articulated. The process I refer to here is the national domestication of religion. Domestication is a process of containment and pacification based on national identity politics (Sunier 2014; see also Fetzer/Soper 2005). Domestication as a mode of governance is a broad and complex disciplining intervention that controls, but also creates appropriate subjectivities and objects of governance. This is in line with what Foucault calls ‘the conduct of conduct’ (1982, 788). He refers to the 18th century definition of government which is broader and more encompassing than techniques of statecraft, including also the exercise of power by nonstate institutions such as schools, body politics, and not least the production of relevant knowledge. He introduces the concept of ‘governmentality’ to denote this wider focus, linking statecraft and power exercise on the one hand to body politics and disciplining techniques of conduct on the other (Foucault 1994, 74; Lemke 2002, 50). The culturalization of citizenship as an embodied practice is indeed body politics in the Foucauldian sense. A crucial element of domestication politics is the religion-secular dichotomy. There is a persistent assumption that the widespread secularization after World War II is simply the retreat of religion from all spheres of society and from the lives of individuals; a secular society, in other words, is a society without religion. But, as Asad rightly argues, secularism is not simply the generic separation of religion from state and politics, nor is it the outcome of the changing place of religion in the lives of individual citizens. Secularism is a political doctrine that presupposes new notions of religion (2003, 2). A specific understanding of the secular implicates a specific understanding of the religious (see also Mahmood 2015). Religion becomes an object of political concern and entails a specific definition of the religious field. Thirdly, as I argued above, the recent nationalist, anti-Islamic and extreme right-wing backlash in Europe should not be perceived as an un- The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined 165 precedented novel development. It has its structural and discursive roots in European nation-building. But although the national domestication of religion has long been an inherent, but relatively invisible and taken-forgranted aspect of nation-building, the arrival of Muslims in Europe has rendered this form of governmentality a more explicit and more urgent character (see also Zolberg/Long 1999). Domestication of Islam became an important devise for the symbolic reproduction of European nation-states in the wake of the migration of people with an Islamic background. The result is a strengthening of a frame of governance with the aim to regulate Islamic practices and to mould outlooks, institutional settings and legal arrangements, and not least human bodies into the nation-state format. The protracting controversy in France about the ‘burkini’, or the discussion in the Netherlands about the niqab, are cases in hand. Banning this clothing is an active intervention in the public sphere. So, contrary to the dominant perception of the state as a neutral (religion-free) apparatus, nation-states are active agents that develop regulatory policies, based on a presumed secular-religious dichotomy. I will discuss the constituent elements of the domestication process of Islam in the Netherlands. Despite obvious similarities between countries, there are also important features that are typically rooted in the historical process of Dutch nation-building. My account covers the past four to five decades of Dutch politics, a period when rapid changes in the relation between religion and state and in society, coincided with the influx of labour migrants and their families, and the ‘growth’ of Islam. I will show how the development of the integration policies as they emerged in the 1980s eventually lead to the anti-multiculturalist and nationalist backlash of the past years. To understand how the relation between nationalism and religion evolved, an account of the consecutive stages of domestication and integration policies is crucial, against the background of the pre-war pillarization era. From Labour Migrant to Muslim: the Islamization of Migrants In the late 1970s the Dutch government gradually recognized that many of the temporal migrants would stay permanently. In 1983 this resulted in an official ‘change of policy’ from a deliberate isolation to economic integration. The Netherlands were probably the country that adopted one of the most elaborate integration policies of Europe in the early 1980s. It was designed to absorb immigrants economically and socially into the host society. The ways to accomplish that were not the existing legislative principles 2 Thijl Sunier 166 of citizenship such as in France, but a trajectory from ‘immigrant’ to ‘citizen’, in which ‘target groups’ were defined very explicitly on the basis of ethnic and economic markers. Here we find the origins of the ethnically specific discourse on social status and integration that is not typically Dutch but certainly unique in its consequences (see Penninx 1988; Rath 1991). It was based on the idea that ethnic origin influences the immigrant’s career in the host country, but it was different from the affirmative action programs in the United States. Ethnic and cultural background is said to influence the person’s attitude (see e.g. Lindo 1996). Immigrants quasi pass through different stages of the integration trajectory and at each stage one is able to evaluate the situation and to determine where the immigrant stands. Integration was measured by the migrant’s position on the labour market, the housing condition, and the level of schooling. The pace at which this would take place depended on ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In these so-called social fields, a complete economic and social equality should be reached. Immigrants who did not (yet) meet this level of equality were considered in a state of social backwardness. The basis for this policy was laid down in the Minderhedennota (official policy document on minorities), published by the government in 1983 (Ministry of Interior 1983). Although the policy document referred to the ‘multicultural character of society and the growing cultural diversity due to immigration’ and the ‘equality of cultures’ as stipulated in the Constitution, it was clear from the outset that this equality of cultures was purely rhetorical and should in no way infringe upon the “[…] established norms and values which are to be considered fundamental to Dutch society” (Ministry of Interior 1983, 107). To that extent there is no difference with the principles to be found in the latest policy document on integration (Ministry of Interior 2011). It was stated that: “the culture of the majority is rooted in Dutch society” (ibid. 1983, 12). Economic equality would imply cultural absorption. Economic and social equality would eventually lead to an erosion of the migrants’ cultural specificities, or at least relegate this to the non-political, private realm. Cultural diversity was a challenge that implicated a particular pedagogical program to overcome this diversity (see Schiffauer et al. 2004). In those days there was a genuine conviction among policy makers that with such an integration policy, oriented towards social and economic equality and absorption, immigrants would not only socially but also culturally become part of mainstream society. The change in the Dutch Constitution in 1983, reinforced that line of thinking. From then on, all religious denominations were equally treated. An important aspect is that the Dutch system does not grant formal religious recognition and registration like in Bel- The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined 167 gium or Germany. In fact, with this change the Netherlands moved into the direction of a more radical separation of religion and state and broke with a long Dutch tradition of entanglement between churches and the state (Sunier 2004; Van Dam 2011). The vast majority of migrants had a Muslim background, but it was only in the course of the 1980s that this background became politically relevant. The new policies of integration took shape at a time when dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of the Egyptian president Sadat, were taking place in the Islamic world. These events caused a tremendous increase in the number of publications about Islam and its adherents. Suddenly migrants from countries like Turkey and Morocco were ‘discovered’ as Muslims. A new cultural category emerged: ‘Muslim migrants’. For convenience’s sake, people with completely different backgrounds were lumped together under the heading of ‘Muslim culture’. Since predominantly Muslims were facing problems of deprivation with respect to housing, labour and education, ‘Muslim culture’ rendered specific meaning. Islam increasingly became the explanatory factor, not only for specific (collective) behaviour of Muslims, but also for all kinds of societal problems they faced. The ‘Islamization of migrants’, narrowed down perceptions on people’s acting and thinking: ‘when one wants to know what goes on in the head of a Muslim then one should study Islam’. All other possible explanations were in fact reduced to ‘the’ Islam (Rath/Sunier, 1994, 57). Although this line of thinking was not to be found explicitly in official documents, it was part of the public considerations about Islam expressed in newspapers and magazines, in statements by individual politicians in Parliament and on television. Besides that, there was a growing interest in Islam and its adherents among welfare workers and other people working with and for Muslims in various situations. As a result, a specific image of Islam made its way into public discourse. It is an image based on the idea that Muslims are the least integrated migrants. Just at the time when the Dutch said goodbye to religion, a new religious group appeared and asked for religious provisions, arrangements and accommodation. It was moreover a religious community that is known for its anti-modern ideas, it was argued. According to this view, Muslims were seen as passive, fatalist people who turned inwardly and faced hardships catching up with the pace of modern society. They would easily fall back on their faith. Although the Dutch Constitution provides the legal right to set up school with a religious identity, this right was questioned in the case of Muslims. Islamic schools would cause undesirable iso- Thijl Sunier 168 lation of young children. Islam enforces rules upon them that inhibit them from taking part in society. Pillarization The reduction of migrants to their religious background also had an unintended effect. It revived the discussion about the Dutch history of religious pillarization. The active participation of immigrant associations together with the constitutional change in 1983, in which Muslims and Christians were suddenly equals, provided Muslim organizations a political leverage based on the principles of equality rooted in the pillarization of the early 20th century. It made Christians and Muslims allies in the negotiation for arrangements. From the 1920s until the 1960s, Dutch society was organized along confessional lines in so-called ‘pillars’, corporate religious communities or blocs that dominated the political landscape. During those forty years, there were two religious pillars, a Catholic one and a Protestant one. In addition to that there was a Socialist movement and a so-called Liberal sphere. In the beginning of the 20th century Jews were gradually accepted as Dutch citizens (but not as members of the Dutch core nation), but they were not organized as a pillar. The two confessional pillars comprised more than 65 % of the Dutch population and ran through all social classes. They had their own political parties, trade unions, schools, universities, media and all kinds of other associations. The churches were at the heart of these pillars. These blocs were organized from top to bottom and exerted a great influence on their rank-and-file. An important characteristic of the system was the strong emphasis on autonomy of the pillars, particularly in issues of education, moral upbringing and social interaction (referred to as ‘communal sovereignty’). The two confessional pillars especially demanded no state interference whatsoever in matters that were related to the daily life of the rank-and-file. Although these kinds of politico-ideological divisions were not unique for Europe, the way in which the system almost completely shaped and determined relatively stable political relations during that period was unique. It rendered the system its seemingly ‘natural’ character. Towards the 1960s, mainly as a result of the emergence of the central welfare state, the system lost its function and in most sections of civil society a breakdown of the pillar structure took place. Because this break-down coincided with the rapid deconfessionalization of society, a particular narrative gradually took shape: ‘we have dismantled the pillar system and relegated religion as an 3 The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined 169 organizing principle of society because we realized that religion is a private matter.’ This is of course an oversimplified account of the course of things. However, it became the basis of subsequent policy rhetoric in the 1980s and 1990s (Sunier 2004). The rapid growth of the Islamic institutional landscape in the 1980s was basically perceived as ‘delayed pillarization’. Especially the Christian parties had a keen interest in promoting the development of an Islamic pillar as a viable emancipation trajectory for Muslims. Indeed, Muslim founded schools based on the educational system inherited from the pillar era. Although there were heated debates about this ‘pillarized emancipation’ model, there was an assumption on the part of the protagonists of pillarization that Muslims would eventually been absorbed into Dutch society. Islam and Nation-Building The beginning of the 1990s marked a shift in integration policies from a pragmatic and pedagogical approach to one that was crucially connected to the emerging discussion about Islam and the (imagined) characteristics of the Dutch nation-state. A growing entanglement of integration trajectories with nation-building could be observed (Sunier 1996). The Rushdie affair in 1989 counted as catalytic in emphasizing this line of political thinking. Since the majority of Muslims were ‘here to stay’ it invigorated a debate about the place of Islam in Dutch (‘secular’) society. The first opinion leader who explicitly referred to Islam in relation to nation-building was liberal leader Bolkestein in a speech in 1991 at the International Liberal Conference in Lausanne. In his speech he called on European societies to be aware of the presence of Muslims and to think about how ‘we’ should relate to Islam and to ‘our’ own liberal roots (Bolkestein 1991). Bolkestein referred not so much to the assumed effects of Islam on the individual migrant’s attitude, but more to the collective dimensions of the place of Islam in Western societies. In a later publication, he predicted that Muslims will eventually be absorbed by modern liberal society (Bolkestein 1997, 175). He restated the dictum that there is an inequality of cultures. Islam, he argued, is a cultural complex that cannot be equally validated as ‘our’ Western civilization. In other words, it was not only a matter of cultural accommodation of a group of religious newcomers; the very character of the Dutch nation was at stake. Western societies, according to Bolkestein, have accomplished a higher civilizational stage than Islamic societies. He urged European liberal politicians not to submit to give in to some sort of multicultural idea of 4 Thijl Sunier 170 cultural equality. By relating religion to citizenship, civilization, integration and nation building, he initiated a new stage in the debate soon to be taken up by others as well. The 1990s also marked the rise of more explicit Islam-critics such as Pim Fortuyn, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh, and later on Geert Wilders. Their views on Islam and Dutch national culture were completely in line with those of mainstream politicians. Only their tone and performance differed. So, the nationalist agenda that took shape in the late 1980s and 1990s, propounded by mainstream politicians, provided the bedrock for their prominence. Muslims Take Issue Towards the end of the 1990s, the relation between culture and social status became more complicated. Whereas the majority of Muslims still occupied the lowest social strata of society, there were an increasing number of young Muslims who performed relatively well. Their school results were close to the average. The image that ‘Muslim equals underclass’ did not anymore correspond with the statistical facts (SCP 1996; 2009). The awareness grew that especially young Muslims would demand their place in society more articulately. These young Muslims could not simply be discarded as ‘not-yet-integrated’ individuals. Many of them were born in the Netherlands and considered it their society. Their ability to articulate their demands not towards but within society brought about new challenges to the existing cultural hierarchy paradigm. Muslims were increasingly visible in those sectors of society that were long exclusively ‘white’. This threw into relief the fundamental question as to how society relates to these new citizens. Some welcomed these developments as a sign of genuine integration; others feared a gradual ‘Islamization’ of Dutch society precisely by this new articulate generation. In the late 1990s the debate took a more alarming undertone. The selfconfidence on the part of government and society about eroding effects of integration and economic mobility on religious and cultural traits, was gradually replaced by a much more pro-active intervention in religious and cultural politics. The increasing articulacy among young Muslims, the demands expressed by them, and not least their increasing visibility in the public sphere, prompted a reconsideration of the concept of ‘Dutchness’. Many argued for a deepening and dissemination of national awareness and protection of Dutch national identity, both in relation to the presence of ethnic minorities and European unification. Liberals worried about the 5 The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined 171 ‘liberal roots’ of the Dutch nation being jeopardized; Christians would emphasize the cultural and religious ‘gap’ between Islam and the proclaimed Christian (Protestant) roots of the nation. The main idea is that the Dutch seem to be at a loss when they have to define precisely what the Dutch nation is. What is Dutch about Dutch national culture? What does it consist of? Why is the nation (still) an important frame of reference (Van Ginkel 1999)? The cultural feeling of national belonging has become so ‘natural’ in the Netherlands that for a long time many thought it hardly needed contemplating. Some have mistaken this self-evidence for a lack of national consciousness, and even a denial of ‘Dutchness’. This posed a dilemma for ethnic minorities: if they were willing to integrate into the nation, what was required of them? How can one become a member of Dutch society when it is unclear what this membership implies (Sunier/van Ginkel 2006)? The uncertainty about what the Dutch nation stands for was pitted against the strong moral standards that were considered inherently connected to ‘Islamic culture’. Towards the end of the 1990s a shift occurred in the thinking about the relation between Islam and national identity. In a seminal opinion article in the daily NRC by publicist Paul Scheffer ‘The Multicultural Drama’ (2000), the author, in a worrying and alarming tone, referred to the successful integration of poor Dutch people in the mid-20th century and similar programs in earlier years. The author also referred to the “successful Dutch past in dealing with the integration of strangers”. His moral call for a more assertive Dutch national identity went hand in hand with further dismantling of policy tools that accommodated religious diversity. The attacks on the Twin Towers a year later would enhance this transition in a compelling way. The urgency according to a growing number of people to confront newcomers, especially those of ‘non-western’ origin with a dominant civil culture has only become stronger in subsequent years. A nationwide consensus emerged about the importance of a so-called dominant ‘Leitkultur’. Even leftist parties who were hitherto very hesitant to refer to national culture, were hammering on the importance of shared cultural values. When queen Maxima (Argentinian by origin) stated in 2007 that she did not yet met ‘The’ Dutch and that there is not just one Dutch identity, she was sharply criticized for her statement. Initially there was also a lot of support for the idea that one Dutch national identity is a myth, but this has gradually diminished in subsequent years. Thijl Sunier 172 Conclusion In this article I have argued that nationalist and anti-Islam rhetoric we currently observe across Europe cannot be separated from the historical roots of nation-building. As I have shown in the case of the Netherlands, these historical roots have provided the registers of argumentation for policy discourses. I have also shown that the integration policies that were developed in the 1980s are crucial in understanding how Islam as a policy category unfolded. In the 1980s and the early 1990s there was a widely held trust that a process of assimilation would evolve gradually and naturally, when immigrants would integrate socially and economically and realize that Dutch society is morally superior to theirs. In the course of the 1990s this policy has been replaced by a much more coercive approach that requires considerable efforts from individual migrants. The case of the instruction film with which I began this article illustrates this change. I have argued that the specific way in which Islam developed as a policy category in the 1980s and 1990s as part of a general integration program, illustrates the particular Dutch ‘brand’ of the domestication of Islam. The civil culture that emanated from these policies, provided a crucial register for more radical nationalist and anti-Islamic ideas. However, at this stage we should also be careful and not jump to conclusions all too easily. Currently there is a concern about growing Islamophobic sentiments and increasingly vocal and visible activities of extreme right-wing nationalists. Although these worries have to be taken seriously, they are just a relatively limited part of the more general development I sketched above. The growth of current high-profile incidents, digital super visibility and the emergence of new political actors and a reconfiguration of political alignments must be assessed as the outcome rather than the cause of the current nationalist policies. This implies that an assessment of the current political developments requires a thorough analysis of the entire political field and not just of the mediatized events. Such an analysis will reveal that there is much more continuity in European policies over the past decades than is often assumed. References Asad, Talal (2003): Formations of the Secular. Christianity, Islam, Modernity, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Bolkenstein, F. 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Cultural Incorporation in Europe and the United States, in: Politics & Society 27(1), 5– 38. The Religious Legacy: Dutch Nationalism Redefined 175 Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism Teija Tiilikainen The recent emergence of a growing neo-nationalist party, the Finns Party1, has affected the entire political field in Finland. First, the Finns Party has consolidated its position among the leading political forces in the past few elections with support levels approaching 20 per cent. And second, the party has gradually turned from a demotic populist force into a neo-nationalist movement with obvious similarities to other nationalist parties in Europe. Finland, however, represents a deeply rooted consensus society with a political identity that thus far has effectively prevented more extremist ideologies from taking root. There has been a firm ideological development towards the political centre in the party field with traditional partisan cleavages remaining relatively small. The electoral success and ideological trends of the nationalist-oriented Finns Party thus begs the question of whether Finland is experiencing a deeper cultural change that might affect the construction of its polity. The Finns Party currently hides a wide set of heterogeneous political forces but it is still obvious that it provides a platform for a highly extreme debate on immigration and the character of Finnishness. Will there still be a possibility for such a political force to finally join the traditional ideological consensus formed by the other Finnish parties? This chapter outlines the ideological roots of the Finns Party and the way its programme has emerged during the past decade. As a part of its general ideological core the role of religious tenets will be studied. The chapter is concluded by addressing the question as to whether the Finns Party embodies a more permanent change of the Finnish party field. 1 Prior to 2011 there was no official English name for the party. A direct translation of its Finnish name (Perussuomalaiset) “The True Finns”, however, was widely used. In 2011 there was a party decision to adopt “The Finns Party” as its official English name. In this chapter “The Finns Party” is used for reasons of consistency also concerning the time prior to 2011. 177 The Context of Finnish Populism The Finnish multi-party system has traditionally been characterized by a strong consensual atmosphere and lack of political extremism. Finland’s historical experiences, its two wars against the Soviet Union in 1940s together with its earlier civil war of 1918, have nourished a political culture putting a high value on national unity and conciliation. This has been reflected in a strong willingness to political cooperation across party-lines including an aspiration to involve all parties in governmental responsibility. In result, the Finnish governments have been characterized by exceptionally broad partisan coalitions with all in all six parties from the Left Alliance to the conservative Christian Democrats occasionally taking part. Ideologically, a clear trend towards the political centre can be perceived with major parties both in the left (Social Democrats and Left Alliance) and right (National Coalition Party) upholding programmes, which are more moderate than those of their European counterparts. Right-wing extremism has historically not been entirely absent from the Finnish civil society. Extremist movements’ ability to organize themselves into coherent political parties has rather been constrained by different political factors. Right-wing extremist movements were first of all forbidden by Finland’s peace treaty with the Soviet Union immediately after the Second World War. This contributed to the movements remaining split and fragmented (Kotonen 2014, 176). The post-war political culture affected the party-field also by centralizing political power to the hands of the President, who started to appear as a guarantor of Finland’s difficult relationship with its large eastern neighbor, the Soviet Union. Finland’s powerful post-war presidencies, and in particular the long-term presidency of Urho Kekkonen, controlled the role of political parties and their access to governmental responsibility. From early 1960s onwards the Finnish political field was greatly affected by the emergence of an agrarian populist party, which soon became the channel for views challenging the mainstream parties and the whole political establishment. This Finnish Rural Party was the product of its charismatic leader Veikko Vennamo. The party’s success was based on the dissatisfaction of small-holders in a society on its way towards urbanization and modernization (Jungar 2017, 21). It promoted traditional Christian-conservative values, which were argued to be threatened in a modernizing society. The party was firmly anti-communist which increased its popularity among the right-wing circles but affected also its possibilities to reach governmental responsibility. Irrespective of its agrarian background the party succeeded to channel broader mistrust towards the political elites; it grew 1 Teija Tiilikainen 178 from a minor political movement into a nation-wide political organization in the 1960s reaching support levels of around 10 per cent in parliamentary elections of 1970. Even in broader Scandinavian standards this victory appeared as a major disruption of the seemingly stabilized post-war party alignments (Matheson/Sänkiaho 1975, 217). The difficulties of the first ever Finnish populist party, however, began along with its entrance into the political establishment – first as a large political group (18 of 200) in the parliament and including, later on, also governmental responsibility. The charismatic leader Veikko Vennamo that had for long been able to mediate conflicts in a seemingly heterogeneous party was finally unable to prevent a division of the party, which also suffered from financial and administrative mismanagement. The final countdown of the party was started along with its governmental responsibility in the 1980s. The Finnish Rural Party finally went bankrupt in 1995. The current Finns Party that first became known as “The True Finns Party” was established on the ruins of the Finnish Rural Party in 1995. Many elements of continuity can be perceived in ideological and organizational terms between the two parties (Arter 2010). The new party was first of all the product of the old party leadership in the Finnish Rural Party. The Finns Party was chaired for twenty years by Timo Soini, a former party secretary of the Rural Party and a keen supporter of its leader Veikko Vennamo. Many leading figures of the old party immediately joined the Finns and ended up to the parliament or to municipal councils as its representatives. Like its predecessor the Finns Party adopted a strongly populist and anti-elitist approach presenting itself as representative of the ‘forgotten people’; thus speaking on behalf of the groups that have suffered from the alleged collapse of the Finnish welfare state. The growth of the Finns Party to the group of four largest parties in Finland thus had many features in common with the growth of its predecessor more than three decades earlier. The party’s success was essentially dependent on its charismatic leader Timo Soini who personified the alleged alternative to the ‘old parties’, which formed the core of the party’s populist ideology. Like many other European populist parties the Finns’ political programme represented a hybrid of moderate nationalism and social conservatism with a strong emphasis on the key tenets of the Finnish welfare state. Referring to Schendler’s observation on populist parties’ ‘anti-attitudes’ David Arter describes how this applies to the Finns Party in particular in terms of the party’s strong anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism. Finland was argued to be managed by a ‘consensus-alliance’ formed by the ‘old parties’ together with big unions and big business and those holding Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism 179 divergent views were argued to be dismissed as trouble-makers (Soini 2014; Arter 2010, 489). The programme that inspired the Finns’ success in the 2000s was moderately nationalist stressing the cultural dimension of Finnishness such as language and arts rather than arguing for a need of national unity ahead of a challenge of multiculturalism. References to Christian values played an important role in the party rhetoric from the outset not least due to the party leader Soini being a devoted Catholic. His openly Catholic values – opposition of abortion or the ordination of women for instance – profiled the party in an overwhelmingly Lutheran Finland. Due to the party’s Christian conservative emphasis its constituencies had some overlap with the minor Finnish Christian Democrat Party. The ‘foreign’ element that, on the other hand was strongly seen to challenge the key characteristics of Finnish politics and society was the EU with the alleged implications of Finland’s EU membership becoming one of the key themes behind the electoral success of the Finns Party between 2009 and 2015. The obvious background for the power of the party’s eurosceptic arguments can be found in the economic and financial crisis culminating in 2008–10. The Finns Party took advantage of the EU’s political and economic problems and popular dissatisfaction against the Union’s stability mechanisms and loan and reform packages in support of Southern European EU members. This topic that was highly divisive within the Finnish population brought effectively support from the traditional constituencies of in particular centre-left parties and led to the growth of the Finns’ support from 2–4 per cent first to 10 per cent in European elections of 2009 and finally to 19,1 per cent in parliamentary elections of 2011. With its 39 members of the 200-member Finnish Parliament the Finns Party had established itself as one of the largest parliamentary groups with a solid funding enabling the party to maintain a nation-wide organization and political visibility. The party was included in the preliminary soundings concerning participation in a multi-party coalition in 2011. Finally, its critical positions on EU policies prevented its participation in a coalition which was built on cooperation between the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrat Party; both highly supportive of European integration. The Finns Party as an Ideological Platform Like its predecessor the Finnish Rural Party also the Finns Party attracted various more extreme political groups to take advantage of the political 2 Teija Tiilikainen 180 platform it provided. Prior to 2007 the party profiled itself more with social-conservatism than with strictly nationalist values. It promoted fundamental Christian values including a traditional conservative family-policy and opposed the liberalization of the legislative base for same-sex relationship. It is indicative of the party’s priorities that its electoral programme did not contain a separate section on immigration and asylum policy prior to 2007. Its early programmes stressed the role of Finland and the Finnish language in an international context rather than in front of internal multiculturalism. Since 2007 the Finns’ connections to right-wing extremist groups, however, strengthened and representatives of these groups entered the party platforms2. Increasingly racist statements – and criticism of immigration and multiculturalism – started to flourish in the party framework. The party leadership allowed these extremist groups to enter the party circles, which clearly broadened the party’s constituencies and strengthened its support base. The party’s ideological stance, however, became more nationalist and pressures emerged against the party’s agenda and its moderate and general political programme. Accusations for hate speech or incitement against an ethnic group became commonplace in the case of several individuals linked with the party and the party leadership had to balance between its heterogeneous constituencies and worsening public image. One of the more consistent extremist sub-groups revolved around Jussi Halla-aho, an academic person initially an outsider to political circles, whose blog writings had engaged a large group of immigration critics. These groups organized themselves and established even a political party “Change 2011” that took part in parliamentary elections of 2011. The groups around Halla-aho focused on the alleged consequences of immigration and multiculturalism; they were firmly islamophobic and cherished Finland’s Christian heritage. In parallel with the radicalization of the party’s position towards immigration also its profile with conservative Christianity was strengthened. The legislative processes on the same-sex marriage going on in Finland during 2013–17 provided the framework for a polarization of opinions and also a further alignment taking place between the Finns Party and the Finnish Christian Democrat Party. The leader of the Finns Party Timo Soini wrote in 2014 (Soini 2014, 199): 2 Suomen Sisu (Finland’s Sisu) was established in late 1990s as an association for these more extreme nationalist groups as well as Hommafoorum revolving around a website (Jungar 2017, 62). Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism 181 “Now out of a sudden when someone dares to defend the traditional marriage, it leads to a huge uproar. I do not accept that small groups can redefine the marriage institution. Tradition, biology, common sense and theology all speak in favor of marriage. I am not interested in what happens in private bedrooms but in marriage as a societal institution.“ The party-leader’s open-doors policy had even more serious consequences for the party unity and leadership when the 2015 migration crises started. The question on immigration and multiculturalism had always played a limited role in a country with a very low level of immigration (7 per cent of overall population were of non-Finnish origin in 2018). In the context of the 2015 migration crisis Finland received 33 000 asylum seekers a majority of which entered the country across the northernmost border crossings. The political atmosphere was quickly polarized and the extremist groups gained more ground in the Finns Party. There were demonstrations against the Finnish immigration policy in many towns and cities and the topic formed one of the key themes in the parliamentary elections of 2015. In these elections the Finns Party maintained its position as the second largest group in the parliament with a support of 17,7 per cent. This time it was more successful in coalition building and entered a three-party coalition together with the National Coalition Party and the Centre Party. Its coalition parties had to make minor concessions in their policies on the deepening of the EMU and on the Union’s immigration policy to meet the more reserved approach of the Finns. Also this time, participation in the governing coalition was, however, fatal for the Finnish populists as it cost the party its unity. Leading party figures reached important portfolios with the party leader Timo Soini becoming foreign minister and his junior colleague Sampo Terho minister for European Affairs. A third long term party affiliated Jussi Niinistö took charge of defence ministry. Along with its governmental responsibility the severity of the party’s approach to EU-issues and immigration was softened and its populist, anti-elitist policy lost in credibility. As a result the party’s support dropped in opinion polls to levels below 10 per cent in 2017. This increased dissatisfaction within the more extremist party circles thus strengthening the dividing lines within the party. In the party congress of 2017 the extremist groups within the party organized themselves and competed for party leadership thus challenging the candidature of the more moderate wing candidate, Sampo Terho, who was known to be a close ally of the then incumbent party leader Timo Soini. The extremist groups with the leadership of MEP Jussi Halla-aho emerged Teija Tiilikainen 182 triumphant consequently taking over the entire party leadership. As the new leadership threatened to displace members of the old regime from their ministerial positions the latter resigned from the Finns Party and established first a new political group in the parliament with the support of the more moderate forces loyal to the old regime. Half of the 39 members in the Finns’ parliamentary group joined the new group, which later in the autumn organized itself into a political party called the Blue Party. A very peculiar situation in Finnish political history followed with a third of the cabinet positions belonging to a party, whose ideological position and relationship to the Finns’ party programme was unclear. Despite the visibility granted due to its high-ranking positions in the government the new party never succeeded in getting properly to its feet with its support remaining very low. The 2019 parliamentary elections were crushing as the Blue Party did not get a single representative to the Finnish Parliament while the Finns party with its new party leadership scored extremely well and became the second largest group in the parliament with 39 seats and 17,5 per cent of the votes. The result implied that a major part of the initial forces behind the populist Finns Party had to step aside for the more extremist nationalist forces. Next, the current ideology of the Finns party will be analysed including its religious undercurrents. The New Finns Party After the division of the Finns Party the party has been purposely developed to the direction of a typical European neo-nationalist party. The party’s old populist approach has withered and been replaced with a more focused and narrow agenda. The change is linked with the change of party leader as the personal profile of the new leader, Jussi Halla-aho, differs from the vernacularity of the long term party leader Timo Soini. Jussi Halla-aho is a linguist who prior to his political career functioned as a university scholar. His academic background is reflected in his analytical and literary way of speaking. His somewhat shy and unsociable appearance stresses his non politician-like image. Halla-aho became known to the broader public through his extreme views on immigration and multiculturalism, which he started to present in his regular blog writings since early 2000s. In 2008 he was accused for incitement against an ethnic group and violation against freedom of worship. He was condemned for both by the Finnish supreme court in 2012 due to his writings labeling Islam as a pedophilia religion and arguing that robbery and abuse of tax money is a genetic characteristic of the Somali people. Instead of showing interest to- 3 Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism 183 wards party politics Halla-aho was active in extremist movements such as Suomen Sisu, a right-wing extremist association promoting Finnish values and cultural unity. Due to his strong visibility in social media, Halla-aho, however, arose to a leading position in the more extremist circles of the Finns Party and was elected to the parliament in 2011. There, he profiled himself as the informal leader of the parliamentary group’s extremist camp, whose many members gained publicity due to their connections with neo-Nazi movements. Halla-aho was originally nominated chair to the parliament’s administration committee but had to resign due to his sentence of 2012. In 2014 EP elections he was elected to the European Parliament but he maintained still his leading position in the extremist party circles, which came to the fore when these circles in 2016 started to prepare a contest for the incumbent party leadership (Nurmi 2016). In this context, Jussi Halla-aho was then persuaded to run for the party leader’s position. During Halla-aho’s leadership the ideological profile of the Finns Party has changed in many ways. The party’s focus is on immigration, which in the party’s electoral programme in conjunction with the 2019 parliamentary elections was specified as opposition towards harmful immigration. The details of the party programme, however, reveal a general negative approach towards immigration, which is argued to have reached excessive proportions for Finland and is seen to cause a number of social and political problems. Apart from criticism of immigration – and a skeptical approach towards international climate policy, which became another key theme for the Finns in 2019 elections – the party’s position is more heterogeneous3. During the past few years its approach to European integration and Finland’s EU membership has been softened and become crystallized as opposition of the federalization of the EU. Even if the party programme in 2019 EP elections still refers to the possible withdrawal of Finland from the currency union this goal is not actively promoted by the party leadership. Jussi Halla-aho stated that this goal is not ‘very realistic’ in the current circumstances thus referring to the overwhelmingly positive public opinion concerning Finland’s membership in the EU or euro-area. 3 When studying internal divisions in the Finns Party Ylä-Anttila came to the conclusion that positions on immigration formed a highly unifying theme for the party whereas there were stronger divisions on same-sex rights or EU-issues (Ylä-Anttila 2014). Teija Tiilikainen 184 The party’s ideology concerning Finnishness – or its religious heritage – is not unitary either also reflecting the personal position of Jussi Halla-aho in this field. Whilst there are visible arguments within the party for an ethnic definition of Finnishness, Halla-aho himself has taken distance from such an extreme view. The same applies to his views on Finland’s bilingualism and the official role of the Swedish language, for which a more radical change has been demanded by for instance the party’s youth organization (Perussuomalaiset nuoret, 2019). The division of the Finns party can be seen to have ambiguous consequences for the party’s religious heritage as it meant that the party leadership was transferred from a devoted Catholic, Timo Soini, to Halla-aho, who characterizes himself as a religious agnostic. At the same time, however, visible groups of the party aligned themselves with political circles around the minor Christian Democrat Party by for instance establishing a common right-wing online publication Oikea Media (“The Right Media”). The publication defines its purpose to be to “follow and comment on public discourse and news flow from a conservative perspective, as well as support patriotic values, individual freedom and market economy”. Oikea Media has been argued to assume the role of a New Right ideological think tank in Finland and it has also given voice to several evangelical Christian writers (Saarinen 2019). These writers, according to Saarinen, do not hesitate to link the ethnocentric nationalism of the Finns Party with conservative Christianity. Saarinen argues that Oikea Media has become a platform for the convergence of the Finnish New Right identitarian movement and Conservative Christians. It is also symptomatic of the change that has taken place with respect to the anti-elitist and anti-intellectualist profile of the Finns Party. The persons linked with the Oikea Media platform are mostly professors and persons with other high societal positions. This new profile is well in line with the current party leadership, with the party leader, with his deputies being all people with university education. Another leading figure and the party’s former presidential candidate, Laura Huhtasaari, is a teacher of religion. The Finns Party’s ideological development is also reflected in the development of its constituencies. According to a study of the attitudes of the Finnish voters (The Finnish Voter 2003–2019), the voters of the Finns Party are wealthier than earlier and supporters of a right-wing economic policy. The party has strengthened its position among male voters. Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism 185 The Finns Party in a European Context The Finns Party can be seen to be in the middle of a transformation with the ideological elements of a typical European neo-nationalist party getting stronger at the expense of those of its populist predecessor. In a programme of its principles from 2018 the starting point for the party’s activities is described to be the Finnish nation, its well-being and sovereignty (The Finns Party Principle Programme 19.10.2018). Finnishness is seen to be linked with the Finnish spirit, which is explained as a mental element unifying all Finns. National independence and democracy are considered the starting points for any international activities and according to the programme, agreements that erode and limit Finland’s right to self-determination must be avoided. Also local democracy is praised. None of the most recent party programmes includes any detailed definition of the party’s conservative Christian values and it seems that, for the promotion of these values the party serves as a platform enabling more extreme opinions to flourish rather than a direct channel of promoting them. The Finns Party’s new European affiliations are another signal of change in the party’s ideological profile. During its first period in the EP (2009–14) the Finns Party joined the group of Europe of Freedom and Democracy led by the UK Independence Party and the Italian Lega Nord. During his years in the EP (2009–11) the former party leader Timo Soini, however, developed a strong relationship with the British Conservative Party. Even if he himself did not run in the 2014 elections the party’s decision to join the group of European Conservatives and Reformists with the British Conservatives and Polish Law and Justice as the largest party groups was quite obvious. Under the leadership of Timo Soini the conservative and EU critical parties formed the natural European framework for the Finns Party with cooperation with the more extreme nationalist parties such as the French Le Front National or the Dutch Freedom Party being considered impossible (Soini 2014). This, however, changed in the 2019 EP elections with the Finns Party taking part in the coalition building of right-wing nationalist parties led by Matteo Salvini. The Finns finally became a member of the Identity and Democracy group together with the Italian Lega, French Rassemblement National, Alternative for Germany and number of smaller groups. The party leader Jussi Halla-aho, however, did not run in the EP elections but was elected to the Finnish parliament with the largest individual number of votes in the whole country (30 500). As a member of the Identity and Democracy group the Finns Party was eager to stress that it does not share the close relationship with Russia typical of many parties in 4 Teija Tiilikainen 186 this group. The Finns Party has traditionally been close to the mainstream Finnish policy on Russia stressing the need of Russia to comply with international law and supporting the EU’s sanctions policy in the current circumstances. The support of the Finns Party has continued to grow after the parliamentary elections of April 2019 reaching the level of 20 per cent after the first six months in the opposition. Being the largest party in opinion polls it seems to have profiled itself successfully from the left-green coalition with its nationalist anti-immigration agenda. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the situation in favour of the leading coalition party, the Social Democrats with the support of the Finns party going slightly down. When elected for a new two-year term in June 2019, party leader Halla-aho, among other things criticized the freedom of speech situation in Finland. According to him opinions that are considered incorrect are not tolerated and people expressing them are being sanctioned. He compared the current situation with earlier times when the Soviet Union was not allowed to be criticized and claimed that Islam, sexual minorities and some other questions have become a new Soviet Union (Halla-aho 2019). Conclusions The Finns Party has currently many similarities with its European neo-nationalist counterparts. The party has lost its character as a generalist party with its key agenda being narrowed to immigration and a general skepticism of international cooperation and European integration. Being less unitary the party, however, provides a platform to extremist groups both when it comes to the promotion of extremist nationalist – or even fascist -agenda and a Christian conservative agenda. Even if the party leadership does not necessarily enshrine these goals, it legitimizes them by allowing them to flourish in the party platforms. The ideological development of the Finns Party from a populist party with a hybrid ideology towards a clearly more right-wing nationalist party with a more focused agenda is a clear expression of the consolidation of the new dividing line between internationalists and nationalists also in Finland. Whether the new neo-nationalist Finns Party could still be accepted as a coalition partner is, however, a pragmatic question in the Finnish case rather than an ideological one. The consensus-oriented political culture – and the need for political conciliation – receive their justification from Finland’s international role and in particular from historical experiences from relations with Soviet Union/Russia. With this justification still 5 Finland: From Demotic Populism to Neo-Nationalism 187 existing – and with the positive experiences gained from the previous inclusion of extremist parties – there are hardly any more principled barriers in the party field concerning governmental cooperation with the Finns Party. The question will rather be solved on a purely pragmatic basis in terms of sufficiently shared interests needed enabling a functioning coalition to take place. References Arter, David (2010): The Breakthrough of Another West European Populist Radical Party? The Case of the True Finns, in: Government and Opposition 43/4, 484–504. Halla-aho, Jussi (2019): Sananvapauden perusfunktio on suojella yksilöä vallanpitäjien mielivallalta. Oikea Media 18.7.2019. Herkman, Juha (2019): Populismin aika, Helsinki: Vastapaino. Jungar, Ann-Cathrine (2017): Populismi Pohjoismaissa, Marginaalista kohti poliittista keskustaa, Helsinki: Agenda. Kotonen, Tommi (2014): Sissisotaa kansallisen yhtenäisyyden puolesta: äärioikeisto Suomessa 1960- ja 1970-luvuilla, in: Politiikka 3/2014, 175–190. Matheson, David/Sänkiaho, Risto (1975): The Split in the Finnish Rural Party. Populism in Decline in Finland, in: Scandinavian Political Studies 1975/10, 217– 223. Nurmi, Lauri 2017: Perussuomalaisten hajoamisen historia, Helsinki: Into. Perussuomalaiset Nuoret (2019): Julkilausuma 28.8. 2019. Saarinen, Risto (2019): Finnish New Right and religious right converge (interview: ious-right-converge, 11.9.2019). Soini, Timo (2014): Peruspomo, Helsinki: WSOY. Ylä-Anttila, Tuukka (2014): Perussuomalaisten sisäiset poliittiset suuntaukset. Julkisen oikeuttamisen analyysi, in: Politiikka 37, 191–209. Teija Tiilikainen 188 “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism1 Cora Alexa Døving Introduction 22 July 2011 the right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people. It started with a bomb placed outside a government building and continued with a mass killing on the island of Utøya, where the Labour Party’s youth league was holding its summer camp. The perpetrator himself defined the massacre as an act of terrorism based on a specific ideology. The ideological message was conveyed through a manifesto which he published online prior to the killings. In this document, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, Breivik defined the attack as a legitimate act of self-defense on behalf of the European people. The core message in the document was that in the face of an ongoing Islamization of Europe, the political and social elite have entered into a pact with the enemy. The underlying motive for Breivik’s actions was, he claimed, to be found in the dream of an ethnically and culturally homogenous (pure) society, and in hating those who allow such impurity to develop (politicians, multiculturalists and “cultural Marxists”). Breivik’s ideas are in many ways the quintessence of a merge between conspiracy ideas, ethno-nationalism and racism. The overlap between notions about conspiracy, nationalism and racism is typical also for the themes and forms of communication found in online milieus of the far right. In the comment boxes of alternative news sites and on Facebook, people share variants of narratives about Europe going to wrack and ruin, but also of a rescue mission based on ethnic nationalism. Norway’s media landscape is seeing an increase in right-wing populist – sometimes extremist – alternative news sources and organized Facebook communities (Bjørgo 2018). This chapter is based on an analysis of the patterns of communication in open Facebook groups in the landscape of the 1 1 This chapter builds on material from a case-study conducted together with historian Terje Emberland published in Bjørgo 2018. Døving and Emberland further develop the concept of conspiracy talk in a newly submitted article, forthcoming. 189 far right in Norway: What makes it appealing to join online communities obsessed with images of enemies and threatening narratives? I have in a former article argued that the term ‘conspiracy talk’ is a useful analytical concept in the study of how ethno-nationalism and extremist ideology is made relevant trough dialogues centered around examples from the local contexts of the participants (Døving /Emberland 2018). I will repeat this argument here and use it to focus particular on how nationalism is rendered meaningful through supporting each other’s observations of the “downhill of society” and the “importance of Norwegianness” through an everyday language woven around ideas about conspiracy. The Case of Norway The worldview of participants in online milieus in the landscape of the far right is by no means representative of attitudes in the general population. The main discourse these milieus refer to and are part of is an established Islamophobic discourse. Still; alternative news channels as well as open Facebook-groups are not strict echo chambers, and attitudes in the general population are an important background in the analysis of the language of ethno-nationalism we find in the sub-public. Annual population surveys show that the majority of Norway’s population is positive to having a multicultural society and to immigrants having the same rights as the rest of the population.2 However, a new population survey on Islamophobia in Norway shows that negative attitudes towards Muslims are quite prevalent in the population; between one-fifth and onethird score high on the various indices: In the autumn of 2017 a broadbased population survey on attitudes towards Muslims was conducted for the first time in Norway (Hoffmann/Moe 2017). The survey mapped attitudes based on three dimensions: a cognitive dimension (prejudices), an affective dimension (feelings such as sympathy and antipathy) and one that measures degree of social distance (friends or neighbours). The findings show that negative stereotypes of Muslims are widespread in Norwegian society. As much as 34.1 per cent of the population displays marked prejudices against Muslims. Forty-eight per cent of respondents agree with the statement “Muslims largely have themselves to blame for the increase in anti-Muslim harassment”, and 42 per cent agree with the statement “Mus- 2 2 IMDIs integreringsbarometer: drere-og-integrering/fellesskap-og-deltakelse/. Cora Alexa Døving 190 lims do not want to integrate into Norwegian society”; 39 per cent agree with the statement “Muslims pose a threat to Norwegian culture” and 31 per cent with the statement “Muslims want to take over Europe”. A relatively large proportion of respondents also expressed negative feelings towards and wanted social distance from Muslims. 27.8 per cent dislike Muslims, and overall 19.6 per cent would dislike having Muslims as neighbours or in their circle of friends. Islam is the biggest minority religion in Norway and Statistics Norway estimates that around 200,000 inhabitants in Norway are Muslims (4 per cent of the population). Different immigrant groups have achieved varying levels of success in education and the labor market; nonetheless, the integration of Muslims into Norwegian society has generally been successful.3 It is therefore difficult to only give a socio-economical explanation to why negative stereotypes of Muslims are so widespread. The spreading of ideas – ideology – must be part of the explanation: a central narrative of the extreme right, that of Norwegians being part of a battle of values in which Muslims are defined as a threat, has become part of mainstream discourses. The increase in and circulation of an Islamophobic and nationalistic discourse online might explain the flow of ideas to the mainstream. In the following I will discuss what might make it appealing to join online communities obsessed with images of enemies and threatening narratives. Sources From September 2016 to April 2017 and from September to November 2018, historian Terje Emberland and I followed eleven of openly accessible homepages, news sites and Facebook pages that can all be classed as far right-wing.4 Despite variation in political opinions and breadth of themes, they had in common authoritarian or totalitarian attitudes combined with mistrust of or rejection of democracy, also ethnic nationalism, xenophobia and racism. Common is also that they are arenas for resistance to immigration, Muslims and Islam, and that the content in the postings is part of a wider Islamophobic and nationalistic discourse. The Facebook groups had 3 3 Statistisk sentralbyrå (SSB): “Fakta om innvandring 2019”: vandring-og-innvandrere/faktaside/innvandring. 4 The news website as well as the homepages and open Facebook pages of Norwegian Defence League, Folkebevegelsen mot innvandring, Norge fritt for islam, Pegida Norge, Norgesaksjonen, Norge vårt fedreland, SIAN, Slå ring om Norge, Frihetskamp and Vigrid. “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 191 between ten and thirty thousand followers and posted news and debates every day in the period. Our material is necessarily marked by the structures of the comment boxes and Facebook pages. These have an editor or owner who instigates activity by either publishing self-produced texts or by adding a link to a news item, followed by a comment. These then become the starting points for comments and exchanges of opinion in the conversation threads. Such threads are our primary data. A typical scenario: the administrator of an open Facebook group posts a news story and remarks on it. The comments from the group evolve into a kind of dialogue (rather than the individual comments relating specifically back to the original news story). The data we collected is a mix between a row of posted comments that respond to the initial post rather than to other comments and comments that relate to each other in a chronological ‘conversational way’. It is the second category of data – data of conversations – I look closer at in the following as the main question here is in what ways a dialogue develops and invites people to join in and how ‘the talk’ constructs images of the enemy. Inspired by Ruth Wodak’s framework for analysing the language of legitimation, we specifically searched for how images of conspiracy are authorized by referring to what she refers to as mythopoesis: “small stories or fragments of narrative structure about the past or future” (Wodak 2015, 6). The examples we present illustrate how historical revisionism about “who we are as Norwegians” is central. ‘The patterns of communication also revealed a way of talking in which elements of distrust, moral indignation and fear of conspiracy were central elements. Before introducing some examples and draw some conclusions regarding ethno-nationalism, I will turn to some central concept and perspective developed in the field of research on conspiracy theories. Research on Conspiracy Theories as a Point of Departure Four adjectives go far in characterizing the thinking underpinning conspiracy theories: intentional, monological, dualistic, and apocalyptic (Dyrendal/Emberland 2019). All important – and unwanted – features of societal development are seen as the result of deliberate, evil-minded actions instigated by specific actors whose intention is to seize power. The society is accordingly filled with hidden signs, patterns and connections that can reveal these intentions. The conspiracy theorist is thus often in a state of semiotic arousal and hyperactively searches for such signs. Further, conspiracy 4 Cora Alexa Døving 192 theories are monological belief systems. They become as Barkun writes, a closed system that is unfalsifiable, and therefore “a matter of faith rather than proof” (Swami et al. 2011). The conspiracy builds on a dualistic worldview. The enemy is evil, monolithic, almost ubiquitous and omnipotent. Closely linked to the dualistic worldview undergirding conspiracy theories is the apocalyptic idea that the plan of these demonic forces is now on the verge of coming to fruition. The dialogue threads from social media are, as I will show, characterized by these dimensions. Conspiracy theories reinforce mistrust of generally accepted explanations and authorities. Research has detected links between anomi, a feeling of resentment and a belief in conspiracy theories (see, e.g., Goertzel 1994; Van Prooijen/Acker 2015). Anomi refers to a state of being when a person’s social bonds to his or her community are broken, and when the world appears as uncertain and chaotic. In this situation, conspiracy theories can be used to create a new meaning and thus a sense of control. One of the most common explanations for the appeal of conspiracy theories is that they create a sense of security. They present a simple explanation, devoid of ambivalence, where complex relations are reduced to a monocausal and easily grasped theory: social tensions are ascribed to a designated scapegoat. In turbulent times, constructed images of enemies can seem calming because changes which generate fear and uncertainty are interpreted as the result of willed actions by an identified group (Campion-Vincent 2005, 104). The function, however, of being a narrative that generates a sense of security is insufficient for explaining the wide spread and appeal of conspiracy theories. In our material, minority groups seldom function as scapegoats all on their own, but are perceived as allied with powerful elite in the midst of society. The idea of there being an internal enemy who has occupied power in society can obviously be more suited to create a sense of insecurity rather than security. Despite this, the conspiracy theories can give believers a feeling of control and an overview, inasmuch as they identify a clear motive behind the fear-creating and undesired social developments. They contribute, quite simply, to recognizing and explaining evil by linking it to the intentions of specific actors. Thus conspiracy theories have an existential dimension – it relates to understanding and being able to explain what is going on. Further, they deliver “trustworthy” evidence by weaving generally known and easily identifiable phenomena from everyday life and news items into the conspiracy theories (Campion-Vincent 2005, 104–5). In our material, claims of conspiracy manifest themselves more as noncommittal identity-oriented talk than as accounts of developed and consist- “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 193 ent “theories”. The term ‘conspiracy talk’ is therefore a more precise concept of how ideas about ethno-nationalism are manifested in these online milieus (Emberland/Døving 2018). But because the content of the talk only is understandable in light of being part of an established Islamophobic discourse, I will give a brief account of the central themes in this discourse. Muslims are… Islamophobic conspiracy theories are about Muslims seizing territorial and social power and subverting a society’s traditional morality, religion and way of life. The conspiracy talk consequently is marked by stories of “evidence” of the Islamization process and how it has already come very far. One example of symbolic takeover is the frequent references to food, like the anger over Norwegians being subjected to “halal-infected meat”. Food can be a conduit of evil and can transfer ideological infection. To “infect Norwegian food” is described as a deliberate part of the seizure of power. Food and traditions, as we shall see an example of further down, is a typical start of a dialogue that develops into ‘conspiracy talk’. Typical in Islamophic discourses is referring to the religion Islam as a subject – a force with its own will. Muslims have “Allah-infested brains” or are “slaves to religion” and are thus spine-less tools in the service of Islam. “Islam doesn’t have honest intentions and exploits people”, as one commentator puts it. It is thus not only Muslims who act, but Islam itself that has agency. Dislike of ambiguity in general is an element in conspiracy thinking (Emberland/Dyrendal 2019). This is also clear in the Islamophobic variants. It is striking, for example, that the so-called Islamic State (IS) or radical Muslims are not designated as the main enemies in our material, but liberal and well-integrated Norwegian Muslims, often public debaters or politicians. The explanation for this seems to be that these people, in contrast to Islamists, represent an unbearable multiplicity and ambiguity that engenders acute cognitive dissonance. Those with Islamophobic views try to solve this situation by claiming that the well-integrated and liberal Muslims are deliberately lying about their real intentions. A normal illustration of such claims is the image of a snake in tall grass, with the caption: “Radical Muslims are snakes, moderate Muslims are the grass they hide in.” And, with reference to the concept of conspiracy talk, what might be something hidden behind their appearance is much more interesting to talk about … 5 Cora Alexa Døving 194 War metaphors are common: Islam is the new occupying power, and those who open up the society to Muslims are Quislings. In our material, there are many references to Norwegian war history, with frequent use of expressions such as “good Norwegians” and “those who resist”. In addition, it is claimed that Islam is an evil ideology similar to Nazism.5 The nation’s safety and borders are also central themes in conspiracy talk, and not surprisingly, the presence of Muslims in the Norwegian military is perceived as especially threatening. One news item about the hiring of a military imam (instead of a chaplain) precipitated a heated exchange of opinions on several Facebook pages. One argument that was specifically popular was that the military now educated the Muslims in how to conquer Norway.6 The naivety of the authorities is a common theme in conspiracy talk. Fear of Muslims is also expressed by referring to refugees; seldom to the war the refugees come from, rather on the unjustly burden of the local community they arrive in. Anger on behalf of a weak group in Norwegian society, a group who must do without benefits for sake of the refugees, soon leads to claims of hidden and intentional evil. The refugees are no longer victims of a war, but the war’s extended arm. Muslims and refugees are involved in subversive activities, but not on their own: Europe’s and Norway’s elite collaborates. Amongst the so called elites is the Labour party the most hated. Hate of the Labour Party on account of its alleged involvement in conspiracies has a long history in Norway dating back to the antisemitism of the Interwar years.7 Today, the Muslims have largely replaced “the Jewish Bolsheviks” as the “supra-state power” in this conspiracy theory. A typical dialogue starts with the Labour party being accused of “buying Muslim refugees to get new voters.” Then someone follows up by saying that the party wants to lower the voting age because there are many Muslims around 16 years old and, easy to brainwash. Several participants confirm that those with little education vote for the Labour Party; thus Labour has made itself dependent on this popula- 5 SIAN’s homepage, read 10 November 2016. 6 SIAN, read 2 March 2017; Slå ring om Norge, read 4 March 2017. 7 The right-wing political actors – particularly after the fascist Nasjonal Samling (National Union Party) was formed – saw the Labour Party as a tool for “international communism” with its main authority in Moscow. This complex of ideas was often clearly anti-Semitic, since communism was perceived as a stage in a Jewish plot. This “supra-national power” acted according to a global programme for world domination, and the Labour Party’s politics were alleged to be incorporated into the plan. “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 195 tion group.8 Labour’s weakness vis-à-vis Islam is thus largely based on selfinterest. Closely related to distrust of elites is distrust of democracy. Democracy is not rejected outright, but often claimed to be corrupted and not work as it should: today’s political system does not express the real will of the people and participants question whether citizens actually have any political influence. There are repeated calls for referendums, but it is symptomatic that the right to vote should be reserved for ethnic Norwegians. What an ethnic Norwegian is seldom defined in other ways than in contrast to what Muslims are. ‘Conspiracy talk’ – Understanding the Appeal of Nationalistic and Islamophobic Discourses The participants commenting on web-pages or discussing on Facebook form a community around “talk” about conspiracies. Conspiracy talk refers to a form of conspiracy-focused, everyday talk where people seek to create and confirm meaning and community. The conspiracy elements tend to be raised in a fragmentary, compressed, and implicit form, rather than as explicit theories and arguments. Conspiracy talk is, like other everyday conversation, often associative and anecdotal. It is typically characterized by a general mistrust of authorities and mainstream media, and of specific minority groups or threatening circumstances and forces.9 Conspiracy talk confirms feelings of distrust and images of threatening others. This tends to take the form of piecing together fragmentary information so that it collectively gives evidence about a hidden reality (Dyrendal/Emberland 2019). The talk is mainly about confirming each other’s observations of “evidence” that the Islamization process has already come very far. There is a clear degree of what we referred to as semiotic arousal: Excited hunting for and telling about traces and signs of a plot. Examples of themes shared as evidence is information about halal food in prisons, news about a prayer room established at the airport, or the use of Arabic letters in information brochures. Such things are talked about through hints of this being steps in realizing “the big plan”. 6 8 SIAN’ Facebook page, read 21 November 2016. 9 The term is, as mentioned launched by Asbjørn Dyrendal, but is further developed by Døving and Emberland in a forthcoming article: “Bringing the enemy closer to home. Conspiracy talk in the Norwegian far-right.” Cora Alexa Døving 196 Conspiracy talk in social media is often triggered by news reports from established or ‘alternative’ news sources, which are made relevant through the participants’ own experiences or by linking it to something similar happening in the local community. As a result, the threat is moved closer to home, which can explain the semiotic arousal ‘the talk’ so often is characterized by. In this kind of conversation the smallest and most trivial events can be read as a warning about a future disaster. Below is a typical example of how conspiracy talk can begin with a simple local case and end up with apocalyptic claims and calls for action: • My niece’s kindergarten has stopped serving ham!!! • Oh my God, is it true? • They now conquer more and larger areas … it’s happening fast and according to the book. • But should we do something? I mean, it’s not right, and our politicians just care about political power. • You’re right! Their blindness will ultimately destroy our culture and way of life. • We don’t have any choice, people: The Muslims must leave Norway and all other Western countries! The sequence above does not only illustrate how the talk refers to typical themes and expressions figuring in full scale conspiracy theories – such as ‘conquer’, ‘according to the book’, ‘it is happening fast’, ‘blindness’ etc. –, it also illustrates how effectively the conversation moves from a single anecdote from kindergarten to the solution of deporting all Muslims. Conspiracy talk is efficient because an already established discourse is well known to the partners: There is no need to ask why ham is not served or which book makes up the manuscript. Below is a thread of comments following the news about observed burkinis in the swimming pool of the small west coast city Haugesund. Six people take part in the sequence, one of them contributes twice: • This is another example of the Islamization of our country! I thought that immigrants who came to Norway should comply with our customs and not the other way around. • Amazing that it has gone THIS FAR … Islam has Norway in the palm of its hand. • This is not Islamization by stealth any more, but overt Islamization. Norway as a nation is falling apart. We’ve democratized ourselves to death. “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 197 • Disgusting … God knows what kind of nasty stuff they are carrying underneath their clothes. • Now the Muslims also get this [the swimming pool] to themselves … Just what happened to the barbeque-places in the municipal parks, where you can’t grill sausages and pork chops because its haram to the Muslims. Apartheid is on the rise – just as they are longing for. The shit is spreading. • A flora of bacteria … • Get this trash out of the pool! The conversation shows how de-humanizing expressions are part of confirming the apocalyptic message (bacteria are spreading). Similar to the “ham-example” it starts with an indignation concerning “a fact” from a specific place in Norway and escalates to a concern for the safety of the nation – even of democracy itself. The dialogue further illustrates a typical trait in conspiracy talk, namely that one story of evidence leads to other stories. In this case when one of the participants draws a connection between the burkini in the swimming pool and a story about Muslims having taken over a barbeque place in the park and made pork haram. Use of manipulated pictures, memes and mojis is a part of the phenomenon ‘conspiracy talk’. High five, smiley, thumb up, are found behind almost all statements. Dialogues are also often illustrated by a meme or a cartoon that one of the interlocutors has found somewhere else on the internet (often with English texts). These are usually sarcastic drawings that are not related to the concrete conversation, but to the wider Islamophobic discourse/universe the conversation is related to. The use of humor as well as the way the participants support each other’s observations of the downhill of society offer a sense of togetherness that might explain why these online milieus seem to be gaining popularity and have an increase in activity (Bjørgo 2018). Conspiracy talk is an interesting mix between cozy-talk (oh my God, really!, I agree etc.) and expressions of anger and violence. A conversation that starts with news about violence perpetrated by Muslims in particular generates violent talk. In conversations about the violent Muslim, dehumanizing expressions such as “trash”, “rats”, “scum”, “virus” and “tumor” are used. Some of these expressions allude to uncontrollable growth, thus also to something invasive. Dehumanizing expressions also illustrate how biological racism entangles with cultural arguments in Islamophobic conversations. Conspiracy talk, however, seems to set a barrier for a continuous excitement around the subject of violence: In our material we found several Cora Alexa Døving 198 examples of how a conversation starts by referring to something in the local community, followed by comments of agreements, continues with a concern for the nation and a call for violence but then stops. It is a typical pattern that dialogue stops after maximum two or three follow ups on call for violent actions. Thus even if claims to act through violence are common, they also end the conversation. The nature of conspiracy talk explains this: On the one hand the talk encourages “someone to do something” but on the other hand the style of ‘cozy’ talk and the eagerness to support each other’s understanding of “what is going on” are difficult to keep up when someone starts to talk concretely about shooting and killing. ‘Conspiracy talk’ invites participants and has an appeal for sharing your thoughts as long as it consists of a language of hinting, sarcasm and moral indignation. The Function of Conspiracy Talk European research shows that news sites and Facebook pages in the landscape of the far right play an important role in spreading ideas and claims to a wide public (Faris et al. 2017; Marwick/Lewis 2017). The review of a handful of such arenas shows that conspiracy talk – a discourse of suspicion that draws on conspiracy theories – is a significant part of the conversation. It is reasonable to suggest that this type of conversation is part of an explanation of why we see an increase in scope and activity in internet based arenas. Conspiracy talk is a way of popularizing and normalizing key claims in a nationalistic and anti-Islam ideology. It brings political ideology closer to home, makes it concrete and easy to grasp and more important – it carries ‘evidence’ that legitimates central claims of the nation being under threat. The patterns of communication we find in conspiracy talk – the use of humor and the use of words of support of each other’s meanings invite people to join a community that offers something more than macho dominated fear and aggression. Conspiracy talk is a meaning- and community-seeking form of everyday conversation. Conspiracy talk is strongly marked by the politics of identity and it is reasonable to see it as having a central role in mobilizing support for an ethnic-nationalistic ideology. Conspiracy talk’s demonizing and apocalyptic rhetoric strengthens the feeling of community by underscoring that it is not merely a unity of opinion, but also a community unified through an 7 “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 199 ongoing existential battle. The conspiracy talk is often about the majority being a victim.10 Conspiracy ideas about Muslims also underpin the rationale in today’s most common form of racism, and conspiracy talk is contributing to making racism accepted by ‘hiding’ it in a shift from referring to “race” in a biological sense, to culture and religion (Bangstad/Døving 2015). The talk about cultural and religious threats against “that which is Norwegian” contributes to legitimating the exclusion of minorities and to a politics based on hierarchizing groups in society. To sum up in points, conspiracy talk 1) animates or enlivens enemy images through locally situated stories that show the other’s evil aims; 2) creates shared emotions such as fear and solidarity; 3) underpins an ethnic nationalism and xenophobic ideology; 4) supports claims voiced in contemporary society’s most common form of racism; 5) encourages action against the enemy. If we are to understand the appeal of Islamophobic and nationalistic milieus online, it is central to study the way these milieus invite people to join in with their own experiences and opinions. This is what I suggest the concept of conspiracy talk helps us to do. References Bangstad, Sindre/Døving, Cora Alexa (2015): Hva er rasisme, Oslo: Universitetsforalget. Barkun, Michael (2003): A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Bjørgo, Tore (Ed.) (2018): Høyreekstremisme i Norge. Utviklingstrekk, konspirasjonsteorier og forebyggingsstrategier, rapport Politihøgskolens, PHS Forskning 4. Caiani, Manuela/della Porta, Donatella/Wagemann, Claudius (2012): Mobilizing on the Extreme Right. Germany, Italy, and the United States, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Campion-Vincent, Véronique (2005): From Evil Others to Evil Elites. A Dominant Pattern in Conspiracy Theories Today, in: Fine, GaryA./Campion-Vincent, Véronique/Heath, Chip (Eds.): Rumor Mills. The Social Impact of Rumor and Legend, London: Transaction Publisher. 10 In Merills/Åkerlunds analysis of anti-immigrant Facebooks groups in Sweden, they found the same way of assumed victimhood (2018, 13). Cora Alexa Døving 200 Daniels, Jessie (2012): Race and Racism in Internet Studies. A review and critique, in: New media & Society, 15(5), 695–719. Døving, Cora Alexa/Emberland, Terje (2018): Konspirasjonsteorier i det ytterliggående høyrelandskapet I Norge, in: Bjørgo, Tore (Ed.): Høyreekstremisme i Norge. 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(2017): Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway 2017, rapport fra Senter for Studeir av Holocaust og livssynsminoriteter, Oslo: Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities. Marwick, Alice/Lewis, Rebecca (2017): Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online, New York: Data & Society Research Institute. bs/oh/DataAndSociety_ Merril, Samuel/Åkerlund, Mathilda (2018): Standing up for Sweden? The Racist Discourses, Architectures and Affordances of an Anti-Immigration Facebook Group, in: Journal of Computer-mediated Communication 23/6, 1–22. Swami, Viren et al. (2011): Conspiracist Ideation in Britain and Austria. Evidence of a monological belief system and associations between individual psychological differences and real-world and fictitious conspiracy theories, in: British Journal of Psychology 102/3, Uenal, Fatih (2016): The ‘Secret Islamization’ of Europe. 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(Eds.): Handbook of Pragmatics, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 204–210. “Love your Folk”: The Role of ‘Conspiracy Talk’ in Communicating Nationalism 201 In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Religion and the Neo-nationalist Resurgence in Brexit Britain Adrian Pabst Introduction The United Kingdom has a long history of religiously influenced nationalism, stretching back to Henry VIII’s break with the papacy, the English Civil War and the violent sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland (Kumar 2003; Tombs 2014; Edgerton 2018). The recent resurgence of nationalism and the greater visibility of religion in British politics predate the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU) and the victory of Brexit – the vote to leave the EU. Both England and Scotland have a long history of nationalist parties with the strappings of Christianity, which grew significantly stronger in the 1990s and early 2000s, including the British National Party (BNP), certain strands within the Scottish National Party (SNP), the English Defence League (EDL) led by Tommy Robinson and, more recently, elements of the Brexit Party around Nigel Farage (Cospey 2004; Harvie 2004; Marzouki/McDonnell/Roy 2016). Brexit is both a symptom and a catalyst for neo-nationalism, in particular opposition to immigration and the supposedly existential threat posed by Islamisation but also the recrudescence of the sectarian split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism across England. This chapter will examine some of the fundamental dynamics underpinning these developments. My main argument is that Britain’s polity and its deep divisions are characterised by a tendency towards residually religious sectarianism rather than being defined exclusively by secular ideology. The neo-nationalist resurgence is inextricably intertwined with the permutations of ‘political religion’ and the revival of sectarian tensions across the UK. The first section of the chapter will chart the political geography of Brexit, suggesting that the vote to leave the EU cuts across both old and new binaries – including the secular categories of left and right (Gauchet 1996), but also the novel oppositions such as the ‘left behind’ versus the new, networked generation (Cliffe 2015; Goodhart 2017). There are deep inequalities of power, wealth and social status running through communities and the country as a whole, which are complex and transcend polar 1 203 opposites (Cruddas 2020). The second section will explore the deep sectarian fault-lines running through the UK, which are religiously rooted but have taken on secular forms too, often linked to political ideologies but also old and new ‘culture wars’. The final section offers some brief reflections on how the supposed threat from Islamisation fuels neo-nationalism. The Politico-Religious Geography of Brexit At first, the UK referendum result and the outcome of the 2019 General Election seems to reveal a new post-liberal majority normally obscured by party political divisions: a novel yet natural coalition of working-class Labour voters and lower middle-class Conservative supporters who are both economically solidarist and socially conservative – that is to say, voters who are concerned with greater economic justice and more social cohesion in the face of increasing insecurity in relation to precarious jobs and fragmented communities (Cutts et al. 2020). However, a deeper analysis suggests that the divide between liberals and post-liberals cuts across the opposition between Leavers and Remainers (Milbank/Pabst 2016; Pabst 2017). Among those who voted for Britain to remain in the EU, there are many affluent middle-class voters who are both economic and social liberals – and often more secular in their outlook, i.e. more interested in individual rights and freedom and less committed to mutual obligations and a sense of duty or sacrifice for community or country (Phillips et al. 2018). But besides these urban, metropolitan and often younger people, there are also others who are more communitarian and small-c conservative. Many Remainers, not least those from ethnic minorities, choose a fairly traditional family life, want to live in safe, stable places, and are generally sceptical about the pace of cultural change. Even people who are more socially liberal in their twenties and thirties have a tendency to become more conservative and communitarian as they settle down and are in long-term relationships. They worry far less about high mobility and much more about buying their own house, finding a good school for their children, having access to proper healthcare, and living in relatively stable communities with low levels of crime and a moderate degree of trust and social behaviour. Similarly, the Brexit voters are divided between a more liberal and a more post-liberal perspective. Many of the voters supported a national libertarian position with strong Thatcherite elements in the Tory shires (small towns and rural areas) and much of suburbia, and also amongst a section of the former industrial working class. As William Davies has ob- 1 Adrian Pabst 204 served, there are two groups of Conservative voters who converge towards a hard, no-deal Brexit: first, the generation of retired baby-boomers who are financially secure and, second, a group composed of maverick entrepreneurs, private equity barons and hedge fund managers (Davies 2019). Both see Brexit as an opportunity because they have financial wealth that can be shifted in and out of assets. Unlike the much more fixed capital of industry and manufacturing (sectors that fear a no-deal Brexit), this kind of capital is liquid and […] never far from the exit. I think we can therefore look at the new conservative coalition as an alliance of rentiers. No deal supporters are not classic rentiers, in the form of monopolists or exploiters of unproductive capital. However, they are at a point in life where they have paid off their mortgages, and are living off the assets held by pension funds. They are worth something, independently of what they do. This is the generation that enthusiastically backed Margaret Thatcher in their early working life, witnessed Blairism and the booming of metropolitan multiculturalism with growing unease, and perhaps felt a rising resentment towards the international elite that was making the serious money in London, while convincing themselves (with the help of the Express, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph) that London is now a foreign city (a fiction that Johnson cynically endorsed in his leadership campaign) […] the goal becomes defending private wealth and keeping it in the family. This is a logic that unites the international oligarch and the comfortable Telegraph-reading retiree in Hampshire. The mentality is one of pulling up the draw-bridge, and cashing in your chips. (Ibid.) Some (former) working-class voters buy into this vision too, which Davies terms somewhat controversially as ‘nostalgic nihilism’ because such people engage in conspicuous consumption and care only about little else than their own private wealth – certainly not wider society. By contrast, other Leave voters are genuinely worried about economic inequality and social fragmentation. Rightly or wrongly, they consider the EU to promote globalisation rather than protecting people from its effects, and they also have misgivings about the pace of change connected with high volumes of economic immigration that is facilitated by the free movement of people. This other Leave constituency composed of working class voters often feel abandoned and trapped in poverty, dependent on meagre state handouts following rapid de-industrialisation in the 1980s and the absence of any proper regeneration in regions like the Midlands (in the centre of Britain), large parts of the North (especially the North-East), the eastern se- In the Shadow of Sectarianism 205 aboard and South Wales. These areas, where the Brexit vote reached sometimes more than 70 per cent and where the Conservative Party won its parliamentary majority in the December 2019 election, are characterised by a concentration of low-skilled blue-collar workers who have been marginalised not just in terms of the economy but also by the socially liberal culture of the political class and the media. The anger of these Brexiteers centres just as much on the lack of proper jobs, a shortage of housing, inadequate pay, a decline in the provision and quality of both health care and education as it does on the lack of public recognition and appreciation for their traditional ways of life, their patriotism and their support for both the monarchy and the armed forces. There is also a strong generational dimension to the Brexit vote that ties in with attitudes towards the nation and the European project. Young people (under the age of 35) and people over 75, especially those with memories of World War Two and its immediate aftermath, are more pro-European than the 45–70 year olds. This is particularly true for the numerous baby-boomers who, after enjoying a protected childhood during the 1950s, went on to embrace a left-wing culture of unfettered desire in the 1960s that in many ways laid the foundations for the triumph of right-wing capitalism in the 1980s (Lawrence 2019). Many of them were driven, not by backward-looking regret, but by the desire of the often youthful Conservative Right to continue Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution and to release the UK from EU constraints upon the exploitation of labour and the environment and the quality of goods and services. As members of a ‘new class’, the baby-booming Brexiteers now seek further release from EU constraints on free trade with the rest of the world, which is a code for an ever-greater deregulation of labour, the continual privatisation of public services and the further liberalisation of global finance. Following the EU’s 2004 eastern enlargement, there was a substantial inward migration into the UK as a result of European free movement of labour or rather the decision by the then British government not to adopt transitional controls. The New Labour government led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 workers per year would come to the UK. But in the period 2004–2011, it was more than 150,000 per year and reached nearly 2 million in total. The sheer volume and pace of immigration not only exacerbated pressure on public services but also had the effect of eroding a sense of shared identity in local communities and across the country. In large part, this explains the 2.8 million new voters (compared with voter turnout in general elections) who helped swing the result in Brexit’s favour. Nevertheless, the demographic patterns alone do not represent the whole story: cities with high immigration but a Adrian Pabst 206 more multicultural climate, like Bristol in the South or Liverpool in the North, voted Remain. Meanwhile, many ex-industrial areas and small towns with low levels of immigration, such as Sunderland in the North or Clacton-on-Sea in Eastern England voted Leave. Thus the ‘imagination’ rather than direct experience of a transformed England was very much at work here. If a substantial part of the Conservative Leave vote is on the libertarian right, it is equally the case that a large number of Labour (or, by now, ex- Labour) supporters who backed the exit from the EU are on the libertarian left. In this sense, Brexit highlights a significant and fast-growing libertarian minority that is to some extent helped by the state of party politics and the centrist consensus which has dominated British and US politics since the 1990s: the convergence of the two libertarian liberalisms is reflected in the oscillation between the liberal right as the ‘party of greed’ and the liberal left as the ‘party of lust’ (Milbank/Pabst 2016, 13–67). Similarly, the Remain vote cannot be reduced to the establishment and cosmopolitan liberal elites who despise tradition and the more small-c conservative communitarian outlook of the provinces. Such a more conservative, communitarian outlook also applies to many people in urban, even metropolitan areas such as London. Indeed, the capital city where the winning margin for Remain was the largest in the country has some of the highest levels of social capital and religious practice, cutting across class, colour and creed (Davies, G. 2014; Goodhew/Cooper 2018). It has certainly the highest levels of religious observance, including churchgoing, which is in considerable part due to immigrant communities – for example African mega-churches in East Ham with more than a thousand worshippers at individual services on a Sunday. The resurgence of religious practice extends to higher levels of churchgoing among the upper middle classes, more concentrated in London and the South East, but extending over to the Cotswolds, north of Oxford, which significantly voted Remain, and often expressing itself in the modes of a more defined Anglicanism, whether Evangelical or Anglo-Catholic. On top of this, the relative intimacy of London can sometimes sustain the community life of its constituent villages as much or more than that of rural villages robbed of shops and pubs and dominated by cars rather than pedestrians. The same applies to areas such as Cambridge and its surroundings as well as Oxford and the Cotswolds. Nor was the pro-EU vote confined to the urban, metropolitan population of London, Liverpool or Manchester. On the contrary, Remain did well across Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as in parts of the North West and Yorkshire. This, as we In the Shadow of Sectarianism 207 shall see in the following section, has important religious and sectarian dimensions. In short, the Brexit vote does not fit neatly a narrative of binary categories such as the metropolis versus the provinces, urban versus rural, rich versus poor, young versus old, business versus workers, north versus South – even if it is the case that Remain tended to be associated with more highly skilled affluent city-dwellers while Leave was concentrated about low-skilled working-class voters. Rather, the referendum result reveals a new divide between libertarians and post-liberals which cuts across the opposition of Remainers and Leavers. This new divide reflects the ‘culture wars’ that have been raging below the political radar for some time. One could call it a new tribalism that fuels the flames of neo-nationalist rage but also possibly the awakening of a new political consciousness. While this divide tends to be couched in terms of the conflict of ‘cosmopolitan’ versus ‘provincial’ (Cliffe 2015; Jennings/Stoker 2017), it is far more accurate to say that these ‘culture wars’ are about another clash. It is a clash between an aggressively amoral libertarian liberalism and the more small-c conservative disposition and common decency of ordinary people who hold dear the kind of things that both Brussels and London elites have at times dismissed as anachronisms: tradition; a respect for settled ways of life; a sense of local place and belonging; a desire for home and rootedness; the continuity of relationships at work, in one’s neighbourhood and local community; a sense of pride and patriotic solidarity; the importance of national language and cultural traditions in the face of an aggressively capitalist culture. In the 1990s the elites used to say ‘it’s the economy, stupid’, but now cultural loss appears to trump economic pain – though the coronavirus pandemic might change this tendency going forward. In Britain there is evidence for several trends that bear out the primacy of culture, including religion, over economics – or spiritual values over a debased secular materialism. First of all, since the so-called ‘Teddy Boys’ of the 1950s sections of British society have tended towards a post-solidarist proletarian individualism, cynicism and anarchism. Indeed, many of the working-classes and lower middle-classes have become more like their American equivalents. They favour a culture of mere ‘equal opportunity’ and rugged individualism over a culture of reciprocity and mutual assistance, even if perhaps the majority among them would still favour the latter. Second, there has been a gradual decline in British working class culture that is no longer much offset by the paternalist influences of the BBC, the public library and the Grammar School. The sway of Church, Chapel, Union and working men’s club – all modes of civil voluntary association in Adrian Pabst 208 the spirit of Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville – have declined and largely vanished. As the Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty recently reported, More than 760 youth clubs have shut across the UK since 2012. A pub closes every 12 hours. Nearly 130 libraries were scrapped last year, and those that survive in England have lopped off 230,000 opening hours. […] Britain is being stripped of its social infrastructure: the institutions that make up its daily life, the buildings and spaces that host friends and gently push strangers together. Public parks are disappearing. Playgrounds are being sold off. High streets are fast turning to desert. These trends are national, but their greatest force is felt in the poorest towns and suburbs, the most remote parts of the countryside […]. (Chakrabortty 2019) Here the UK echoes to some extent the evolution of the US (Putnam 2000; Skocpol 2003). Along with the sharp decrease of associations, we are witnessing a marked decline in the more generous, international horizons that once ensured that the British working classes were exercised about the international slave trade and the American civil war in the nineteenth century as much as the rise of fascism, National Socialism and Communism in the twentieth century. Today, thanks to the internet, the whole world is equally and vaguely near and yet distant, while even the relatively near and yet foreign is ‘nothing to do with us’ – starting with neighbouring European countries. Thus one can readily sympathise with marginalised people in coastal towns like Clacton-on-Sea, and yet feel aggrieved when they express indifference to the re-incitement of the sectarian trouble in Ireland that could ensue upon a hard Brexit at the end of the transition period (currently scheduled for December 2020). This is not to mention the resurgence of revolutionary left utopianism and far-right nationalism in both Britain and parts of continental Europe (Camus/Lebourg 2017; Katsambekis/Kioupkiolis 2019). No degree of deprivation justifies a lack of human fellow-feeling and even, arguably, ought to promote it more than a retreat into isolationism and a slide into atavistic ethnocentrism. Moreover, the biggest British immigrant communities, from the Commonwealth rather than Europe, sustain stronger British values (for example attachment to the playing and the ethos of Cricket) than do the marginalised areas. Meanwhile, some European communities – for example, the Poles and the Italians, many of whom are practicing Catholics – have longstanding histories of integration with Britain and Britishness. A capacity for such integration is an important a part of what authentic Britishness means – and neither the liberalism of the domi- In the Shadow of Sectarianism 209 nant elites nor the anti-liberalism of populist insurgents is fostering a civic culture on which citizenship and the building of bridges between different communities depend. Sectarianism and the Neo-Nationalism of the Leave Vote In the light of these reflections on the politico-religious geography of Brexit, it is worth asking how far the vote represented divisions other than economic and region disparities, besides new cultural differences as to abstract values such as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’. It is important here to remember that geography is but one way of dividing up the electorate, especially given that in many regions respective majorities were small and minorities variously substantial, even in Scotland. Above all, as now often noted, the divisions across the UK by education and age are significant and now the single most important determinant of people’s voting behaviour (Phillips et al. 2018). Connected with this is the replacement of the old opposition between left and right with the new divide between Remain and Leave: “The EU referendum seems to have resulted in a classic in-group versus out-group response, especially from Remainers. The social and emotional intensity of these Brexit identities – held by almost everybody – is far higher than those for parties” (Evans/Schaffner 2019, 19). Given the rapid rate of secularisation since the 1960s, one key question that arises is the degree to which religious adherence and the legacy of past religious adherence helps us to analyse and understand the rise of neo-nationalism (and there I am indebted to conversations with John Milbank). Among the reasons to ask this seemingly irrelevant question is that British political history has been peculiarly dominated by a sectarian divide between Anglicans and Dissenters and to some degree between High and Low Anglicanism ever since 1689 (Tombs 2014). This stands in stark contrast to the growing religious uniformity of other European states, ever since the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 (cuius regio eius religio) and especially the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia with its doctrine of ruling out foreign meddling in the affairs of sovereign states (Philpot 2000; 2001). Of course no European country is a monolith, but arguably parts of the continent of Europe have greater confessional conformity than the British Isles. This still matters today as the sectarian divide between establishment Anglicanism and dissenters has been, until recently, more determinative than the Continental one between religious and anti-religious, which can also be broadly expressed as that between the religious Right and the secular Left in the wake of the French Revolution (Gauchet 1996). The English 2 Adrian Pabst 210 historian Robert Tombs argues that the lasting legacy of this divide remains in the tendency on the part of the British to identify politically by ‘sectarian tribes’ rather than ideology and to express identities rather than to argue clearly defined positions. One can see the relevance of his argument in the endless arguments over symbols of England and Britain: the NHS, public and private education, the establishment and its institutions (Eton, Oxford, Cambridge), the style of sports, as well as differences in the structure and evolution of social classes. Tombs’ observation might seem as if it could have some relevance to understanding neo-nationalism and religion nowadays. Indeed, Britain after Brexit could go the way of a long-lasting split between Remainers and Leavers, as I suggested in the previous section. This might be not unlike the division between a cultural North and a cultural South in the United States in the nineteenth century, or the original British divide of Cavalier and Puritan and the later one of Tory and Whig (conservative and liberal). The penchant for sectarian (as opposed to coherently ideological) divide might be resurfacing in a novel way. But does it at all correspond to the older divides – Catholic versus Protestant, Anglican versus Nonconformist? What is clear is that we are not seeing a simple repeat of history. Nor are the current ‘culture wars’ a variant of older legacies, which became debased and in some respects disappeared altogether. For instance, an older Protestant and especially dissenting legacy once meant international solidarity with other Protestants and with the imperial spread of Protestant virtue, as with the anti-slavery campaign led by the Evangelical William Wilberforce (Metaxas 2007). But today, there is a resurgence in post-Protestant hostility to the Continent, which is seen as a land of papist domination and unfreedom by certain Protestants since Henry VIII’s break with Rome (Pestana 2009). This hostility takes the form of isolation around an adherence to some English ‘way of life’ that is supposedly continuous in history going back to Saxon times – conveniently forgetting the Norman Conquest and England’s territorial links with continental Europe throughout the Middle Ages and well into the modern age. On the other side, Anglican (and High Tory) opposition to European entanglements signified in the eighteenth and the nineteenth century a political preparedness to compromise with the Catholic French, to promote European peace and at the same time to focus on a more global and imperial reach. This is evinced by the building of the British Empire and its role in defeating Napoleon and then the Concert of Nations after the 1815 Vienna Congress. But today a distant echo of this attitude in the Tory shires signifies, apparently, very little concern with European partnership at all and no interest in the wider world apart from making profits and sneering In the Shadow of Sectarianism 211 at foreigners. This amounts to a politics of global trade based on a nationalism of ‘little Englanders’ – as exemplified by elements of Boris Johnson’s government. Thus if the new sectarian split in any way reflects older ones, this is often in a debased manner. Yet even so, the politico-religious geography of Brexit exhibits some confessional and post-religious features. The most extremely Brexit areas all along the East Coast (like Lincolnshire and Essex, for example), were at once the nearest to the Continent, the most genetically Anglo-Saxon and the most historically Puritan and dissenting. Perhaps this legacy is relevant, in view of the fact that the economic outlook of these areas is not all negative. Partly thanks to trade with the EU, eastern ports are doing well, whereas erstwhile Atlantic ports like that of Liverpool (a Remain city) languish. Meanwhile the East Anglican and Lincolnshire agriculture of rich cornlands and pasture continues to thrive, in part with the help of European agricultural subsidies – though these favour large-scale industrial farming over small holdings. Therefore something more intangible may also be at work in the East of England. Perhaps this could be described as a greater echo of the lone Protestant island myth and a greater tendency to English neo-nationalism of the areas most removed from Celtic neighbours and the semi-Celtic blending of the borders, especially in the South West (Devon, Dorset and Cornwall) and the North West (Cumbria, which is the borderland between England and Scotland) – bearing in mind that the Celts have tended to feel more European than others on the British isles. And if Cornwall and Cumbria, along with South Wales, voted for Brexit, then it is instructive to point out that they are areas of historically strong Nonconformity. It is again as if such areas were more inclined, in the face of a sense of crisis and decline, to reach back to isolation and a slide into a peculiar mix of ethno-cultural and religious exceptionalism. In the case of Scotland, the post-Protestant factor can operate in the opposite way, because its Presbyterian element has always defined itself over against Anglicanism and for long retained links with the Netherlands, Germany and even Jansenist elements in France. A circumstantial convergence with always Continentally-orientated Scottish Catholics and with betrayed Unionists ensures that almost all factions now embrace independence should England really enact Brexit. The vote in Northern Ireland followed very clear sectarian lines, with Protestants voting Leave and Catholics voting Remain – even though some Irish Protestant Remainers were thinking more like the Scots and continue to fear for the future of the British Union when Brexit materialises, especially a no-deal exit. Adrian Pabst 212 By contrast, those regions that voted Remain are the ones that historically were the strongest Anglican and Catholic. They include the South East, the Central South and the South Midlands (including the Cotswolds), together with London and the old English University towns. It is also notable that some of the strongest Catholic regions – in the North West and around York – also voted Remain. So did Liverpool, despite having one of the most extreme levels of economic and social decline anywhere in the UK, and so obviously because of its partially Catholic, Irish and North Welsh legacy. Therefore Britain has in some sense two norths, and what is decisive here is not economics but culture and religion. A post-Dissenting north interprets British decline to mean that the country should turn inward and embrace neo-nationalism, whereas a post-Catholic/Anglican north interprets it rather to mean that the UK needs to transcend the Westminster elite and remain connected with continental Europe. In short, this argument is about the secular continuance of an originally religious stance: new cultural divides mirror up to a point old sectarian fault-lines and confessional conflicts. Neo-Nationalism and the Supposed Threat from ‘Islamisation’ Overall, six in ten Christians voted to Remain. Interestingly, among Muslims it was only slightly more: seven in ten. A majority of Muslims were rightly concerned about the rise of xenophobic and anti-Islamic attitudes, in part fuelling Brexit and being fuelled by the actual result. To a significant extent, popular concerns about immigrants ‘changing the character of their community’ are most of all concerns about elements of the Islamic community, which tend to keep themselves to themselves, to treat women sometimes oppressively and, in the case of urban gangs of Muslim extremists and criminals in the north of England, to prey upon non-Muslim girls – as in the city of Rotherham. The focus on Islam goes to show just why ‘worries about immigration’ are mostly prevalent in rural areas, where people do not want their localities to look like certain urban areas, such as Oldham, Leeds, Leicester and London where there have been riots since the early 2000s. Fear of Islam might also explain in part why Britons have apparently abandoned their much-admired pragmatism and sang-froid. A concern about identity seems to have been more paramount than economic calculations. And the combination of concerns about immigration has been so extremely acute only with specific respect to the fear of Islamist terrorism. 3 In the Shadow of Sectarianism 213 As elsewhere in the West, the new radical right in Britain – especially the EDL – combines neo-nationalism with elements of social progressivism in ways that are intellectually incoherent but populist. Movements such as Pegida in Germany, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, and Bloc/Úsvit in the Czech Republic purport to represent the downtrodden people against corrupt elites that have lost touch with their citizens. Such movements favour economic intervention to shield populations from the worst effects of globalisation, free trade and transnational capitalism on workers’ rights, wages and living standards. They also claim to defend free speech and progressive policies such as support for feminism and gay rights, as does Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France. Much of this is driven by their desire to protect national and European culture from the impact of mass immigration and what they view as the creeping Islamisation of the West. While some neo-nationalist leaders in Britain try to draw a distinction between the supposedly fascist ideology of Islam and ordinary Muslims, others openly declare Islam to be incompatible with the West – for example the rabble-rousing former leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson. Compared with neo-Nazi and neo-fascist movements of the past, the new radical right has been more influential by injecting ideas into the mainstream and thereby shifting the political discourse to the point where some of their values have become the new norm. Part of the problem in confronting such movements is the liberal-establishment tendency to vilify their supporters (as supposed to the leaders, activists and members). As Jamie Bartlett remarks, “it’s lazy and simplistic to call the EDL supporters racist ill-informed bigots. The people who do so not only misunderstand them; they risk making the problem worse, because it provides them with the ammunition that the liberal elites are trying to silence them” (Bartlett 2018, 76). Crucially, Bartlett notes that new movements and their ability to mobilise people offer some form of common purpose and even belonging absent from mainstream professional politics – replacing “the empty consumerism, the crap precarious jobs, the fragmented communities. In a strange way, they are a form of the ‘identity politics’ they claim to dislike so much” (Ibid., 85). Of course one should not overemphasise the religious and post-religious dimensions in the rise of neo-nationalism and the greater visibility of religion in the public sphere. However, I have argued, first of all, that a certain long-term echo of past sectarian divisions has helped to determine, in often irrational ways, current responses to regional crisis. In particular, a persistent Protestant isolationism and ‘anti-Popery’ has been translated into secular terms. Second, concerns about the continuing arrival in large num- Adrian Pabst 214 bers of a religion committed to a quite different cultural and political logic have played a large part. It may be the shadow cast by Islamism that has mainly led to the British behaving in an apparently more extreme ‘European’ way, which ironically seeks to rebut the Continent. Yet for the same reasons, this demand for rupture is in danger now of being repeated on the Continent itself. References Bartlett, Jamie (2018): Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World, London: Windmill Books. Camus, Jean-Yves/Lebourg, Nicolas (2017): Far-Right Politics in Europe, translated by Jean Marie Todd, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University. Chakrabortty, Aditya (2019): Britain’s Infrastructure is Breaking Down. And here’s why no one’s fixing it, The Guardian 14 August 2019. Cliffe, Jeremy (2015): Britain’s Cosmopolitan Future. How the Country is Changing and Why its Politicians Must Respond, 14 May 2015, Cospey, Nigel (2004): Contemporary British Fascism. The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Cruddas, Jon (2020): Beyond Political Binaries: The 2019 General Election and the Dagenham and Rainham Constituency, in: The Political Quarterly 91 (1), 74– 79. Cutts, David/Goodwin, Matthew/Heath, Oliver/Surridge, Paula (2020): Brexit, the 2019 General Election and the Realignment of British Politics, in: The Political Quarterly 91 (1), 7–23. Davies, Grace (2014): Religion in Britain. A Persistent Paradox, Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell. Davies, William (2019): England’s Rentier Alliance is Driving Support for a Nodeal Brexit, The New Statesman, 1 August 2019. Online at https://www.newstate Edgerton, David (2018): The Rise and Fall of the British Nation. A Twentieth-Century History, London: Allen Lane. Evans, Gareth/Schaffner, Florian (2019): Brexit Identity vs Party Identity, in: Brexit and Public Opinion, London: UK in a Changing Europe. Gauchet, Marcel (1996): The Right and the Left, in Nora, Pierre (Ed.): Realms of Memory. Rethinking the French Past, Vol. I, Conflicts and Divisions, New York: Columbia University Press, 241–99. Goodhart, David (2017): The Road to Somewhere. The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics, London: Hurst. Goodhew, David/Cooper, Anthony-Paul (Eds.) (2018): The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present, London: Routledge. In the Shadow of Sectarianism 215 Harvie, Christopher (2004): Scotland and Nationalism. Scottish society and politics, 1707 to the present, 4th ed., London: Routledge. Jennings, Will/Stoker, Gary (2017): Tilting Towards the Cosmopolitan Axis? Political Change in England and the 2017 General Election, in: The Political Quarterly 88 (3), 359–69. Katsambekis, Giorgos/Kioupkiolis, Alexandros (Eds.) (2019): The Populist Radical Left in Europe, London: Routledge. Kumar, Krishan (2003): The Making of English National Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lawrence, Jon (2019): Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Post-War England, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Marzouki, Nadia/McDonnell, Duncan/Roy, Olivier (2016): Saving the People. How Populists Hijack Religion, London: Hurst. Metaxas, Eric (2007): Amazing Grace. William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, New York: HarperCollins. Milbank, John/Pabst, Adrian (2016): The Politics of Virtue. Post-liberalism and the Human Future, London: Rowman & Littlefield International. Pabst, Adrian (2017): Post-liberalism: The New Centre-ground of British Politics, in: The Political Quarterly 88 (3), 500–509. Pestana, Carla Gardina (2009): Protestant Empire. Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Phillips, Daniel/Curtice, John/Phillips, Miranda/Perry, Jane (Eds.) (2018): British Social Attitudes: The 35th Report, London: The National Centre for Social Research. Voting – The 2017 Election: New divides in British politics?’, 86–113. Philpott, Daniel (2000): The Religious Roots of Modern International Relations, in: World Politics 52 (2), 206–45. Philpott, Daniel (2001): Revolutions in Sovereignty. How ideas shaped modern international relations, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Putnam, Robert (2000): Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, New York: Simon & Schuster. Skocpol, Theda (2003): Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life, Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press. Tombs, Robert (2014): The English and Their History, London: Allen Lane. Adrian Pabst 216 The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany Rolf Schieder When it comes to the relation of right-wing neo-nationalism and religion, the widely held narrative goes as follows: European Nationalists are Christian only to the extent that they need a justification to reject Islam. Islam is the enemy – and neo-nationalists only refer to a Christian imaginary to fight Moslems. Neo-nationalists are actually secular culturalists – not true believers (see e.g. Arzouki/McDonnell/Roy 2016). In his essay “Beyond Populism” Olivier Roy claims that most populists tend to be secular themselves. The new populists’ religion is “a purely nominal marker of identity, without any positive content. … Put simply, most of these parties are Christian to the extent that they reject Islam.” (Ibid., 186) This might have been put too simply, though. Germany’s New Right rejects and admires Islam at the same time. For them Islam is a “phantasma” in J. Lacan’s sense: a desired object which shows what is missing in Western societies: strong beliefs, homogeneity, and most importantly: progenity. And how valid is Roy’s claim that Europe is “a continent where nobody owns religion, but where many … ‘rent’ it” (ibid., 200)? This is certainly a beautiful metaphor. But this essay attempts to show that Roy underestimates the strong beliefs many in Germany’s New Right hold. Roy claims that “in their opposition to Islam, populists contribute to the secularisation of Europe” (ibid., 198). This doesn’t seem to be true for Germany. Already the concept of a religious-secular divide cannot grasp the hybridity of the religio-politial phenomena involved. But more importantly, the New Rights’ overall aim is – as Samuel Salzborn puts it – the “resacralization of politics” (Salzborn 2014/15, 288). Four Denominational Traditions At least four quite different denominational traditions can be found in the movement of the New Right, but also three preferred theological and philosophical narratives. I will present an Evangelical, a Lutheran, a Catholic and a Neo-pagan protagonist. Beyond these denominational traditions, a strong emphasis on apocalypticism, romanticism and anti-liber- 1 217 alism can be identified. While the German right wing party “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD) is mostly supported by non-denominational voters, and the group of “Christians in the AfD” reaches hardly 3 % of the party members (cf. Althoff 2018), the discourse on the role of religion for the growth of the right-wing movement is vibrant. As Götz Kubitschek, the editor of the right-wing journal “Sezession” and owner of the right-wing publishing house “Antaios” puts it: “Would the defense of the Occident be truly Christian, it would gain a totally different spiritual weight, a self-confident identity, and all this without having to planfully relate religion to politics.”1 This is why many in the New Right are disappointed that the Protestant and the Catholic Church strongly and publicly oppose the AfD. The latter expected much more support from conservative Christian groups. But even among Evangelicals in Germany the support of the New Right is low (but see also Bednarz 2018). Still, there are some Evangelicals who attack the established churches for attacking the New Right. One of them is Hans Penner2. Dr. rer. nat. Hans Penner, an Evangelical Protagonist: “Islam is the Antichrist!” Hans Penner is particularly outspoken when it comes to criticise the Protestant church and its bishops: In weekly mails he claims that Protestant church leaders neither believe in the Bible as God’s word nor in Jesus as the son of God. What is even worse: the bishops support Islamic religious education in public schools and are willing to cooperate with Muslim communities. For Hans Penner, a physicist, Islam is the Antichrist. Islamism is not only a threat to a Christian Europe, but also to the Jewish people. In his emails he never forgets to point out that Hitler was in favour of Islam. While the Protestant bishops claim to have a special responsibility for the well-being of the Jewish people, Penner holds that in reality they endanger the Jewish minority by supporting the growth of Muslim communities in Germany. When it comes to Jews, the mentality of Muslims and Hitler’s were identical. So Penner concludes: Not the New Right is anti-Semitic, but those who welcome Muslims in Europe. Since Islam is the Antichrist, 1.1 1 The originally German quotation can be found here: efwechsel-zwischen-claus-leggewie-und-gotz-kubitschek-teil-ii 2 For further information see Rolf Schieder 218 those who support Islam are the Antichrist as well. While in the 16th century Luther labelled the pope of Rome as the Antichrist, today right-wing Evangelicals label liberal Protestant bishops as the Antichrist. How do German bishops react to such reproaches? Markus Dröge, bishop of the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz till the end of 2019, claimed that the Protestant church in Germany must “become a confessing church again” which has to “take a clear stand” against neo-nationalism in Germany. With the term “confessing church” Dröge referred to the times when Hitler’s National Socialists ruled over Germany and the Protestant church had to learn in 1934 that hailing Hitler in 1933 was not a good idea. But is the New Right in Germany just a new version of National Socialism and is today’s Protestant church in a situation similar to 1934? As bishop in the North-East of Germany Dröge faced the problem that in Brandenburg the number of AfD-voters is higher than the number of church members. Only 15 % of the population of Brandenburg belong to the Protestant church. 20,2 % voted in 2017 for the AfD. The further East, the higher the percentage of AfD-voters: in Cottbus-Land 27 % voted for the AfD and only 24 % for the Christian Democrats. While the bishop held the inclusive and universal message of the Gospel incompatible with neo-nationalist positions, protagonists of the New Right argued that he does not defend the gospel, but is driven by a neoliberal, globalist, and environmentalist political agenda as member of an elitist establishment which has lost contact to the real needs of the people. Frauke Petry3, a Lutheran Protagonist: “Remembering the Shoah is a Cult of Guilt!” Frauke Petry was a shooting star in the AfD till 2017. Then she quit her membership and founded the “Blue Party” which turned out to be unsuccessful. She was a Protestant pastor’s wife and is proud to be a Lutheran Protestant. She criticised the state’s and the churches’ emphasis on remembering the Shoah. Remembering the Shoah is seen by her and many others in the AfD as a “cult of guilt”. They consider such a ‘cult of guilt’ to be highly destructive: grandchildren hate their grandparents, there is a lack of national pride, and even the so called culture of welcoming refugees is for the protagonists of the New Right not an action born out of compassion, 1.2 3 For more information, see The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 219 but born out of feelings of guilt: many Germans help refugees because they do not want to resemble their parents and grandparents. Hitler is still alive like a zombie infusing feelings of guilt into the German people. While many left-wing commentators call the New Right “Nazis”, they would argue that they are the ones who want to overcome the permanent focus on the 1930s. In their view, the Nazi times are actually kept alive by the Left not by the Right. When Tuvia Tenenboom in his book “Allein unter Flüchtlingen” asked Frauke Petry why she was not affected by this “cult of guilt”, she answered: “First of all, I am a Protestant. As a Protestant you learn about trading indulgences. This is what the Catholics once did: to buy themselves free from sins, before Luther came and told them that this is not a good idea.”4 Rejecting to remember the Shoah is rejecting indulgences and rejecting Islam is rejecting the Antichrist: these are two particularly Protestant contributions to the formation of the political theology of the New Right in Germany. Roman-Catholic Protagnists Götz Kubitschek, a Roman-Catholic Protagonist: “Etiam si omnes, ego non!” The intellectually most influential protagonists of the New Right in Germany are confessing Catholics. One of them is Götz Kubitschek. His publishing house “Antaios” is a crucial link between the identitarian movement, the far right and the right wing of the AfD. The magazine Sezession of which Kubitschek is the editor became a platform of the formation of the ideology of the New Right. When I asked Götz Kubitschek via e-mail about his religious upbringing and his religious practice, he answered: “I was baptized in a Catholic church. For 10 years I was an altar boy in the Benedictine monastery in Weingarten (in the South-West of Germany). Till today me and my wife are Catholics and we are eager to 1.3 1.3.1 4 Tenenboom 2017, 82; translation by the author, original citation: “Zunächst einmal bin ich Protestantin. Als Protestantin lernt man etwas über den Ablasshandel. Sie wissen schon, was die Katholiken einst taten, als sie sich von ihren Sünden freikauften, bevor Luther kam und ihnen sagte, dass das wirklich eine schlechte Idee sei.“ Rolf Schieder 220 show our children how understood this tradition is for us in everyday life and on the church’s holidays. We prefer the Old Rite, but we fulfil our Sunday obligation wherever we are while travelling. Our hometown Schnellroda (west of Leipzig) and the region is: diaspora.” Obviously the Kubitschek family is deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition and would not agree that being right wing and being Christian is contradictory. The hint to their preference of the “Old Rite” shows that they are not too comfortable with the development of the Catholic Church since Vatican II. And the suspicion that these Catholics are more Roman than Catholics might not be totally off target. Since the times of Carl Schmitt there is a strand of antimodern Roman-Catholic thinking which admires the imperial past of the Roman-Catholic Church and looks at the most recent development as a disastrous decline. While there are many right-wing intellectuals who strongly believe that Christian universalism is a threat to the neo-nationalist project, like Alain de Benoist for example, Kubitschek believes in the power of traditional religion. Catholicism still seems to be a bulwark against liberalism. He is strongly inspired by Carl Schmitt – the Catholic screenplay writer of the New Right not only in Germany. Carl Schmitt’s Legacy In 1986 Jürgen Habermas claimed that Schmitt’s philosophy would have no appeal in the Anglo-Saxon world. As we know today, the contrary is true. The Neo-Conservatives who became highly influential in the Bush administration, particularly after 2001, shaped their worldview with the help of Leo Strauss’ reading of Carl Schmitt. The Teaparty and the Trump campaigns transformed the Republican Party into a populist movement. But also theorists of the political left found Schmitt’s antagonism between friend and foe as the basis of politics convincing. Schmitt’s contempt for the rule of law and proper procedures is also appealing to the New Right movement in Europe. Schmitt’s works have recently been translated into Russian and into Chinese. Schmitt’s appeal can best be understood by understanding his opponent Hans Kelsen (1881–1973). In his “Reine Rechtslehre”, Kelsen sees the foundation of the state in the law, and nothing but the law. He was a legal positivist and was eager to exclude any metaphysical or theological thinking from the justification of the state. Kelsen claims: „God and state only exist as far as one believes in them. They and their power will be annihilat- 1.3.2 The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 221 ed the moment the human soul liberates itself from this belief.”5 Kelsen wanted to make an end to any political theology. Schmitt did not believe in the power of the law. Political movements are more powerful than the law, he claimed. Revolutions are never lawful. The political process cannot be reduced to the application of proper procedures. Schmitt’s “Political Theology” (1922 [2015]) must be read as an attack on Kelsen: “The normal proofs nothing, the exemption proofs everything.” Political thinkers have to pay attention to these states of exemption which appear as states of emergency. “Sovereign is the one who determines the state of emergency.” (Ibid.) And in case there is no state of emergency, then you have to create one discoursively. Once you have convinced the people that they live in a state of emergency, the willingness to jump to radical decisions is high. This is how decisionism functions. But why should theology play a role in Schmitt’s political theory? Can he not do without? At first sight it looks as if Schmitt were interested in theology for historical reasons only: “All concise concepts of modern theories of the state are secularized theological concepts.” (Ibid.) To understand this sentence properly it is important to realize that Schmitt speaks of modern theories of the state. What is the added value of theology? Modern states lack a metaphysical foundation. Everybody knows that they are manmade. Theologies make extreme distinctions: between believers and nonbelievers, between the elect and the condemned, between good and evil, between the pure and the impure. Theologies justify inclusions and exclusions. Theological semantics of the extremes make all pragmatic compromises look weak and insufficient. Whoever wants to determine that we live in a state of emergency needs extreme semantics – and theology can deliver. Another reason why Schmitt cannot do without theology is his apocalyptic worldview. An apocalyptic drama is revealing itself in front of us – we are surrounded by powers of chaos. In such apocalyptic times a totalitarian state as the “katechon” (2. Thess. 2,7) is needed. The apocalyptic definition of the situation and the totalitarian option are complementary. Political theology tends to delegitimize the rule of law, majority voting and all the democratic procedures that peacefully transform societies. When you believe that you have to save your country, the existing law 5 “Gott und Staat sind nur existent, wenn und sofern man an sie glaubt und werden samt ihrer … Macht zunichte, wenn die menschliche Seele sich von diesem Glauben befreit.“ (Kelsen 1934 [2008], 282) Rolf Schieder 222 rather looks like an obstacle. Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology can actually be read as a manual for a coup d’etat. Thor von Waldstein, a Neo-Pagan Protagonist: “No Islambashing!” Thor von Waldstein is a lawyer who engaged in reading the German sociological classics like Max Weber and Ferdinand Tönnies. With their help he paints a dark picture of modern capitalistic societies. The anything goes of Western liberalism has created “experts without a spirit and hedonists without a heart” as Max Weber puts it at the end of his “Protestant Ethics”. With Tönnies Waldstein holds that there is only “society”, as a company of strangers, but no more “community”, as a homogeneous commonwealth. Neo-pagans believe – in the tradition of Friedrich Nietzsche – that Christianity is a religion for slaves, not for proud and free Germans. This group within the New Right supports the nativist invention of a supposedly old Germanic religion which was suppressed by the Jewish sect of Christians and which deserves to be liberated and revived. Right wing musicians draw heavily from Germanic mythology. In 2018 Waldstein engaged in a debate on how to look at Islam from a right-wing perspective (Waldstein 2018). He criticized right-wing “Islambashing”. Germans should see Muslims as their allies and Americans as their foes. Islamism is in his perspective nothing but a sound reaction to the atrocities of Western colonizers in the 19th and 20th century committed in the Middle East. Not Islamism is the problem, but the “faithless, honorless and placeless society of decadence on German soil”6. (ibid., These 10) The problem is not the Muslims in Germany, the problem is the libertarian ideology of liberalism. The churches are of no help, because they themselves engage in all kinds of liberal allotria instead of serving the religious needs of their parishioners. Another big problem for Waldstein is the castration of men. While in Muslim cultures their “thymos” is strengthened, Germany suffers from “Thymosvergessenheit”. “Thymos” is a Greek term for “courage”, but also for “rage”. While men in the West become more and more feminine, young men from the South will conquer Europe not just by their mere number, but by their uninhibited masculinity. The refugee routes are testosterone pipelines – and very soon these young male refugees will fight and castrated European men will be helpless victims. European men will 1.4 6 “die treu-, ehr- und ortlose Dekandenzgesellschaft auf deutschen Boden”. The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 223 have no power to fight back. They are castrated, weak, powerless – and even unable to reproduce. Like many others at the beginning of the 21th century, Waldstein does not consider Germany as part of the West. Accordingly he is very critical of the United States. Germany should cooperate more closely with Russia. And the New Right should realize that a “manly Islam” deserves respect. The fact that family values and progeny are highly valued in Muslim countries should make us rather envious. The process of emasculation in the West is also dangerous because Western societies are thus unable to defend themselves. The will to sacrifice oneself for one’s country vanishes as well as one’s anger at injust political conditions in need of change. The rightwing community showed considerable irritation, but Waldstein defended his position in a second piece, claiming again, that not Islam is the problem, but liberalism. He quotes the Austrian right-wing chief thinker Martin Semlitsch, alias Martin Lichtmesz: “Nations don’t perish from Islam, but from liberalism!”7 Three Religious Narratives Apocalypticism The term “Antichrist” in the writings of Hans Penner points to one of the most characteristic features of the religious mentality of the New Right. Rip the apocalyptic semantics off – and there is not much left. While the rhetoric of the “Antichrist” is popular in the U.S., it is a new phenomenon in Europe. Most Europeans don’t know what to do with this word: the majority never reads the bible. But one can promote apocalyptic thinking without being aware of the biblical imaginary. These are the basic ingredients for the “apocalyptic cocktail” of the New Right in Germany: The first apocalyptic assumption: “The end is near!” One of the most successful publications of the New Right is the apocalypse of Thilo Sarrazin, titled “Deutschland schafft sich ab!” (Sarrazin 2010). While in reality the social, economic and cultural conditions in Germany have never been better, the New Right repeats the narrative of the coming of the end. Waldstein for instance claims that Germany in 2018 is in a worse condition than in 1919 and 1945. But only the few illuminated of the New Right are able to see the catastrophic condition. This narrative of fear is 2 2.1 7 “Die Völker gehen nicht am Islam, sondern am Liberalismus zugrunde!“ Rolf Schieder 224 highly successful. Not the real economic situation is the problem, but the apprehension that things might change to the worse. The term “apocalypse” means “disclosure” or “uncovering”. What does the New Right’s apocalypse uncover? It reveals the supposed catastrophic condition the country is in. While everyone else is deceived by the seemingly well-being of the moment, an apocalyptic mind sees through the veil of deception and predicts that the West is doomed. Thilo Sarrazin is just another Oswald Spengler. The problem with these prophets of the doom of the West: once you believe your society is doomed, you will contribute to its destruction. Right wing movements in the 20th century have always been destructive movements. The second apocalyptic assumption is the phantasma of a powerful enemy. The alarming apocalyptic narrative of the New Right is the narrative of the “big exchange”: People from Islamic countries would conquer Europe mostly through a demographic jihad. The Western liberal population is weak, unmanly, consumerist, materialistic, lacking any ideals, any belief, masses steered by international companies. They live in an iron cage and in a civilization which is nothing but a catastrophe. But what is even worse: “This insidious catastrophe, this dissolution of all things lacks an alarming moment.” (Kubitschek 2014)8 The third apocalyptic strategy is the search for a scapegoat. Once you fear the worst, you need someone to blame. Minorities have always been the targets. Refugees turned from objects of welcome to objects of hate, suspicion and fear. Apocalypticism leads to a dualistic world view. The world is divided into friend or foe, us or them, pure or impure, believers or non-believers. There is good and there is evil. To defeat the evil is a good enough cause to fight it with all means. Fourth, apocalyptic thinkers believe that they know better than the massa damnata. The masses are blinded by the mass media which do not tell the truth but deliberately deceive people of good faith. An apocalyptic mind believes by definition to know better, to hold a special truth, to belong to a holy remnant. They are immune to reasoning and fact checking. Their hermeneutics is a hermeneutics of suspicion. Merkel is not just Merkel but controlled by some “deep state”. There is some conspiracy going on – and the conspirators must be unmasked. This is the end of a free and open deliberation of reasonable citizens. This is a declaration of culture war. 8 “Dieser schleichenden Katastrophe, dieser Auflösung aller Dinge fehlt das Alarmierende.” The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 225 And finally, because the end is near, there is no time for deliberation and debate, you have to make a decision now! Decisionism is the immediate ethical outcome of apocalypticism. German Romanticism Ernst Troeltsch (1865–1923), theologian, philosopher and a good friend of Max Weber, tried to bridge the gap between Western and German mentalities in his essay “Naturrecht und Humanität in der Weltpolitik” (1922) by asking for a new “Kultursynthese”, a synthesis of cultures, for a coming together of Western and German ways of making sense of the world (Troeltsch 2003 [1922]). But what is the difference between the Western and the German approach? Troeltsch claimed that romanticism was the specific German answer to the American and to the French revolutions. German romanticism, in his view, “was a full and real revolution, a revolution against a bourgeois spirit and against a universal egalitarian morality, but most of all against the Western mechanistic scientific spirit, against the utilitarianism and morals synthesizing concept of natural law ….”9 But one hundred years later this romantic revolutionary spirit had changed into something else: “The richness of the spirits of the people turned into the contempt of the idea of a universal humanity, the pantheistic deification of the state became the unimaginative esteem of success and power, the romantic revolution turned into a sated complacence with the given, individual rights became a purely positive positing of the state, the high-spirited, trans-bourgeois morals turned into an ethical scepticism as a matter of principle, the drive of the German spirit for a national body became the same imperialism as anywhere else in the world.”10 2.2 9 “Auch sie ist eine volle und wirkliche Revolution, eine Revolution gegen respektablen Bürgergeist und gegen allgemeine gleichheitliche Moral, vor allem aber gegen den ganzen westeuropäischen mathematisch-mechanischen Wissenschaftsgeist, den Utilitarismus und Moral verschmelzenden Begriff des Naturrechts …“, Troeltsch 2003 (1922), 303. (english translations by the author) 10 “Aus der Fülle der Volksgeister wurde die Verachtung der allgemeinen Menschheitsidee, aus der pantheistischen Staatsvergötterung die ideenlose Achtung des Erfolges und der Gewalt, aus der romantischen Revolution ein sattes Behagen am Gegebenen, aus dem jeweils individuellen Recht eine rein positive Setzung des Staates, aus der hochgeistigen, überbürgerlichen Moral die Moralskepsis über- Rolf Schieder 226 So Troeltsch sums up: “German political thinking today is of a strange ambivalence … on the one hand suffused with the residuals of romanticism and of sublime spirituality, on the other hand realistic unto cynicism and unto a complete disregard of all spirit and all morals, but most of all being inclined to mix both oddly, that is: to brutalize romanticism and to romanticize brutality.”11 The brutalized romanticism of the Nazi movement was the monstrous proof that Troeltsch’s reading of German political mentalities was right to the point. Since mentalities don’t follow the history of events but are phenomena of “longue durée”, as scholars of the history of mentalities point out, it is a good guess that also the New Right is influenced by German romanticism. Although Troeltsch has a clear view of the ambivalence of the romantic tradition, he also points to the modernity of romanticism: “It focusses on the individual, on the given, its ever-new productivity, its creativity …. Decisive is the idea of individuality …”12 Accordingly, the motto of “Sezession”, the journal of the New Right is: “Etiam si omnes, ego non!”. Individualism does not necessarily need to be a program of progressives and the Left. A variation of the above quotation might fit as well: “We all are individualists!” – “I am not!”. The romantic tradition is still alive in Germany, although it contributed to the rise of fascism – at least in its brutalized version. Its dissolution of boundaries, its nihilism and its vitalism had been active ingredients of the Nazi movement. How much the New Right taps into German romanticism can be studied in an article by Götz Kubitschek in which he defends romanticism against Carl Schmitt’s critique of political romanticism. In his book “Kritik der Politischen Romantik”, published in 1919, Schmitt criticises political romanticism as “subjective occasionalism”. Narcissistic romantic individuals turn everything into an occasion for self-extension haupt, aus dem Drang des deutschen Geistes zu einem staatlichen Leibe derselbe Imperialismus wie überall sonst in der Welt.“ Ibid., 307. 11 “Das deutsche politische Denken ist seitdem von einer seltsamen Zwiespältigkeit …: einerseits erfüllt von den Resten der Romantik und von sublimer Geistigkeit, andererseits realistisch bis zum Zynismus und zur vollen Gleichgültigkeit gegen allen Geist und alle Moral, vor allem aber geneigt, beides merkwürdig zu mischen, die Romantik zu brutalisieren und die Brutalität zu romantisieren.“ Ibid. 12 „Ihr Sinn geht auf das Individuelle, Positive, Immer-Neu-Produktive, Schöpferische, …. Entscheidend ist dabei die Individualitätsidee ….“ Ibid., 304. The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 227 and self-enlargement. Since they are only interested in how they feel, they are unable to act politically. They are dreamers who have a problem with reality. Schmitt sums up: “When political activity starts, political romanticism has to come to an end.”13 While Kubitschek summarizes Schmitt‘s critique properly, he points to an eruption of Schmitt’s own suppressed romanticism, when he wholeheartedly became a member of the NSDAP: “In 1933 his yearning for greatness, wholeness and vitality flashed up once again …”14. Kubitschek’s critique of the critique of political romanticism is a fine example of present-day political romanticism. The article is titled “Der romantische Dünger”, the romantic fertilizer. Kubitschek differentiates between a political, an individual and a holistic sphere. While politics has to be realistic, has to make compromises, has to see what is doable, the individual and his quest for wholeness, for the irrational, for vitality, for all sorts of dreams cannot be confined to the political sphere. While many liberal thinkers would argue for a clear distinction between the passions of romanticism and the reasonableness of politics, Kubitschek suffers under the lack of fire and enthusiasm in politics. “Nothing catches fire any more.”15 Politicians administrate politics, but they don’t have an alternative to the status quo. “Only such a politician could succeed who would introduce his benchmarks from a sphere in which politics has no role to play: faith, poetry, heterotopia.”16 Kubitschek’s ideal of a politician comes close to a messianic, charismatic leader, but also to Mussolini and Hitler: “He would offer a totally different picture, a grand narrative, and most of all he would be of terrifying, appropriately ruthless determination. The individual and his poetic kingdom – whoever wants to be creative and restaurative simultaneously must have lived there.”17 Troeltsch would have seen this essay as another proof of his impression of a derailed, brutalized romanticism in Germany. Kubitschek’s final sentence in his critique of Carl Schmitt’s critique of political romanticism is a request: “Mehr von 13 “Wo die politische Aktivität beginnt, hört die politische Romantik auf.” (Schmitt 1919) 14 “1933 blitzte seine unterdrückte Sehnsucht nach dem Großen, Ganzen, Vitalen noch einmal auf, ….“ Kubitschek 2014. 15 “Nichts zündet mehr.” Ibid. 16 “Dies könnte nur dem gelingen, der Maßstäbe aus einer Sphäre mitbrächte, in der die Politik keine Rolle spielt: Glaube, Dichtung, Anderland.“ Ibid. 17 „Er hätte ein ganz anderes Bild dabei, eine große Erzählung, und vor allem wäre er von furchterregender, angemessen rücksichtsloser Entschlossenheit. Der einzelne und sein poetisches Reich – wer wirklich schöpferisch und restaurativ zugleich sein will, muss dort gewohnt haben.“ Ibid. Rolf Schieder 228 diesem Dünger!” which one can either translate as “More of this fertilizer!” or as “More of this manure!” Anti-Liberalism Although the New Right claims that “Islam does not belong to Germany” and they suggest all kinds of discriminatory measures against Muslims who live in Germany, Islam is not the enemy. For the New Right Islam is a “phantasma” in J. Lacan’s sense: Islam is a tremendum et fascinosum simultaneously. They fear and admire Islam, since Islamic societies have what Western societies have lost: They have more children! They have strong family values! They have “thymos” and are willing to fight! They hold strong religious beliefs! What liberal Western elites despise, Muslims value. The New Right would like to reestablish these values. So the New Right and their imagined Islam are sort of brothers in arms. Although they want Muslims to get out of Europe for the sake of a more homogeneous society, they envy them at the same time. The “other” who doesn’t deserve any respect is the liberal elite. They are considered as a virus which weakens the social body. The critique of liberalism can take on many features, it can come across as a critique of capitalism, a critique of Americanism, a critique of globalism, a critique of consumerism, a critique of hedonism, a critique of diversity, a critique of gender studies, a critique of secularism. But we have to realize: The liberal, globally oriented elites are their enemy. Remember Anders Breivik! He did not kill hundreds of Muslims, he killed hundreds of children of mostly Social Democratic parents. While some think that slogans like “America first!”, “France first!”, “Germany first!” etc. contradict the idea of an international right wing movement as Steve Bannon intends to establish in Europe, there is no contradiction at all, because the enemies are not other nations, the enemy is the enemy within: the enemy is the liberal political order and are the liberal elites – in other words: us!. Whether we like it or not: We are partisans in a culture war – which can develop into a civil one. The term “Bürgerkrieg” becomes more and more popular in publications of the New Right. What can be done? We have to take this movement seriously! The strategy of exclusion has failed. The right wing movement is part of civil society. The liberal credo is inclusion. So we have to include them as well. But we have to show the strength of liberalism. The rule of law is the opposite of “anything goes”. Over against the Fascists’ contempt of institutions which 2.3 The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 229 leads to decisionism we have to make sure that our institutions are strong. This is true for the institutions of justice, but also for the institutions of truth, i.e. schools and universities. We have to make sure that everyone understands that Western individualism is not libertarianism. The contrary is true. Individualism is a social requirement: everybody in the West is expected to act as a self-responsible individual. As Émile Durkheim pointed out, the Western “culte de l’individu” is institutionalized individualism. Liberty is a responsibility. Every individual has to be an accountable individual. This is the opposite of the picture which the New Right paints of a liberal society. The phenomenal rise of the right-wing movement all over Europe reveals the weakness of a purely liberal legitimation of the state: the state as a public service system, which derives its legitimacy solely from its utility for the well-being of its citizens. A state, which consists solely of bourgeois, but has no citoyens, cannot survive. A legitimation through proper procedures and legal positivism is not enough – this is what the New Right reminds us of. In October 1978 Michel Foucault published the essay “À quoi rêvent les Iraniens?” in the newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur. It was a reportage of his stay in Teheran at the time of the Iranian revolution. When he asked people in the streets what they are protesting for, the answer was not “for a revolution”, but “for an Islamic government”. At the end of his article Foucault wonders about the obvious vitality of a “political spirituality” in Iran, and Foucault asks himself whether the West which has forgotten about the possibility of a political spirituality, might need one in the future (Foucault 2001, 694). A debate on the legitimacy of the state which goes beyond utilitarianism seems urgent indeed. A New Development: Competing Apocalyptic Scenarios Under the title “Gretas Apokalypse – und meine” Martin Semlitsch, alias Lichtmesz, showed his astonishment that his own apocalyptic vision of “the great exchange” through migration has been topped by Greta Thunberg’s apocalyptic vision of “climate change” (Semlitsch 2019). “The effectiveness of this campaign is frightening”, Semlitsch states in his introduction, but he develops considerable sympathy for Greta later. “So: yes, I can understand Greta Thunberg to a certain degree, and also many of her fans. What they want is not totally wrong and has a kernel of truth.” The New Right should not dismiss the global environmental problems. Semlitsch is even willing to make the following comparison: “‘Climate change’ is for the Left, what ‘the big exchange’ is for us on the Right.” But while Greta is 3 Rolf Schieder 230 invited to speak at the UN, in Davos, at the Vatican, no young identitarian activist will be honoured like her. Although Greta’s anger and ‘Angst’ is very similar to the feelings of the young right-wingers, they are marginalized while Greta becomes a global pop star. The reader of this essay can study the author’s puzzlement about this injustice. While the “big exchange” is obvious, no one wants to look at it – instead everyone engages in an apocalyptic hype on ‘climate change’. Hopefully Greta will serve as a mirror for the New Right ideologues to become aware of their own apocalypticism. Two Theological Remarks 1. The theological concept of eschatology is a good remedy against apocalypticism. Eschatology focuses on the coming of the kingdom of God – and on the cooperation of human beings who want to help to bring it about. The future then is not a last battle between good and evil, but it is the slow, gradual, but steady improvement of the status quo. Eschatology encourages a politics of hope and discourages a politics of Angst. 2. The biblical story of Exodus has deeply shaped the political ideas of the modern West. To welcome immigrants and refugees was considered self-evident. In the letter to the Hebrews 13,14 one can read: “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” For Jews and Christians alike life is a pilgrimage, a journey, a diaspora. This is why the New Right and Christian theology cannot meet. Götz Kubitschek named his publishing house “Antaios”. The name is chosen from Greek mythology: Antaios is the son of Dionysos and Gaja. He received his strength from the earth and by being grounded on soil. But he was totally helpless when he was lifted up into the air and lost contact with soil. This is how he was defeated by Hercules. Whoever is on his or her way to the kingdom of God will not suffer such a fate. Eschatology as a remedy from apocalypticism and the Exodus narrative as an alternative to ‘blood and soil’ ideologies are religious alternatives. They express the deep feelings politics can arouse politically as well as religiously. 4 The Political Theology of the New Right in Germany 231 References Althoff, Andrea (2018): Right-wing Populism and Religion in Germany. Conservative Christians and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Zeitschrift für Religion, Gesellschaft und Politik, published online Oct 24, 2018. s41682-018-0027-9. Arzouki, Nadia/McDonnell, Duncan/Roy, Olivier (2016): Saving the People. How Populists Hijack Religion, London: Hurst. Bednarz, Liane (2018): Die Angstprediger. Wie rechte Christen Kirche und Gesellschaft unterwandern, München: Droemer. Foucault, Michel (2001): À quoi rêvent les Iraniens?, in: id.: Dits et Ècrits II, 1976– 1988, ed. by Daniel Defert and François Ewald, Paris: Gallimard, 688–694. Kelsen, Hans (1934 [2008]): Reine Rechtslehre. Einleitung in die rechtswissenschaftliche Problematik, Studienausgabe der 1. Auflage 1934, Matthias Jestaedt, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Kubitschek, Götz (2014): Der romantische Dünger, in: Sezession 59, April 2014, 33–35. Salzborn, Samuel (2014/15): Religionsverständnisse im Rechtsextremismus. Eine Analyse am Beispiel des neurechten Theorieorgans Sezession, in: Jahrbuch Öffentliche Sicherheit 2014/15, 285–302. Sarrazin, Thilo (2010): Deutschland schafft sich ab. Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen, München: DVA. Schmitt, Carl (1919 [1998]): Die politische Romantik, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Schmitt, Carl (1922 [2015]): Politische Theologie. Vier Kapitel zur Lehre von der Souveränität, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Semlitsch, alias Lichtmesz, Martin (2019): Gretas Apokalypse – und meine, in: Sezession, September 2019. Tenenboom, Tuvia (2017): Allein unter Flüchtlingen, Berlin: Suhrkamp. Troeltsch, Ernst (1922 [2003]): Naturrecht und Humanität in der Weltpolitik, in: Ernst Troeltsch Lesebuch. Ausgewählte Texte, ed. by Friedemann Voigt, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 315–346. Waldstein, Thor von (2018): Thesen zum Islam, in: Sezession, Apr. 13th (first published in: id.: Die entfesselte Freiheit, Schnellroda: Antaios 2017). https://sez Rolf Schieder 232 “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? Religion and (Neo-)Nationalism in Switzerland Frank Mathwig Introduction In 2007 two political initiatives, launched by members of the currently largest populist radical party in Western Europe, the Swiss People’s Party (Bernhard 2017, 511), attracted the attention of the world public: the proposed popular initiative to deport foreign nationals who have committed a serious offence and the proposed referendum to prohibit the construction of new minarets. For the campaign of the first issue a poster was created, which shows three white sheep kicking a black sheep off a Swiss flag. The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène, asked the Swiss government for an official explanation and the journalist of the British Independent, Paul Vallely, raised the question: “Has Switzerland become Europe’s heart of darkness?” (cf. Manatschal 2015; NZZ 2007; Udris/Ettinger/Imhof 2008; ODHIR 2007, 129, 132) Vallely points out: “The proposal will be a test case not just for Switzerland but for the whole of Europe, where a division between liberal multiculturalism and a conservative isolationism is opening up in political discourse in many countries.” (Vallely 2007) From a Swiss perspective, the worldwide surprise about Switzerland itself is surprising. The initiative prohibiting the construction of minarets on Swiss soil (2009), the automatic deportation initiative (2012), and after that the aforementioned initiative against “mass immigration” (2014) were adopted by the Swiss people. But the so-called “self-determination initiative” (“Schweizer Recht statt fremde Richter”), which claims the supremacy of national over international law (and human rights), which was introduced by the same politicians, was rejected by the people in 2018. Behind all these concerns are essentially the same motifs: xenophobia and the claim respectively defence for a common identity. Although Switzerland enjoys a good reputation due to its non-participation in the two world wars, its stable liberal democracy and state neutrality, as well as its accommodation of international humanitarian institutions. At the same time, its 1 233 history in the last century has been marked by a restrictive policy of isolation, justified by national attitudes and the resentment against foreigners. The current national-conservative debates about cultural demarcation are not new in Switzerland; rather resistance against immigration – the socalled overforeignization (“Überfremdung”) – has a long tradition (cf. Manatschal 2015, 24f.; Skenderovic 2009, 49; cf. Skenderovic 2007; Skenderovic 2011; Ruedin/Alberti/D’Amato 2015; Ackermann/Freitag 2015; Piguet 2006). Despite these clear indications, the question of the religious dimension of neo-nationalism is not self-evident from a Swiss point of view. Does the political category of neo-nationalism offer an adequate description matrix for socio-political developments in Switzerland in the recent past? How does (neo-)nationalism go together with a civic self-understanding that cannot be based on a homogeneous conception of “nation”, but explicitly on the understanding of a “nation of will”? And is it possible to identify significant religious dimensions of politics in one of the most secularized countries in Europe? Swiss as a Nation of Will (“Willensnation”) “Switzerland is a nation of will, formed by several ethnic groups with different languages and religions. Since 1848 it has been a federal state – one of 23 in the world and the second oldest after the United States of America.” (Bundeskanzlei 2006, 14 [own translation]) These words summarise Switzerland’s national self-understanding in numerous official publications on the Swiss political system. The identity-generating image of Switzerland as a nation of will (cf. Villiger 2009) was born out of necessity. In the phase of the European nation building in the 19th century, Switzerland lacked all that the emerging neighbouring nations had: a uniform origin, a uniform language and a uniform culture (cf. Eberle 2010, 162–165). The first Swiss federal constitution of 1848 – the founding of the Confoederatio Helvetica (CH) and the beginning of the Swiss Nation implicitly based on the idea not of a nation of culture but of a nation of state (état nation). The political concept of a voluntaristic unity (“Willensnation”) owes its existence to an external perspective. The term originates from the famous speech of the French historian Ernest Renan “Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?” (March 11, 1882 in Paris): “La Suisse, si bien faite, puisqu’elle a été faite par l’assentiment de ses différentes parties, compte trois ou quatre langues. Il y a dans l’homme 2 Frank Mathwig 234 quelque chose de supérieur à la langue: c’est la volonté. La volonté de la Suisse d’être unie, malgré la variété de ses idiomes, est un fait bien plus important qu’une similitude obtenue par des vexations.” (Renan 1887, 298f.; cf. Maiolino 2013, 454) This was the ground for the special case which Switzerland claimed from then on and which was increasingly attested too by foreign side. In the 19th century, the small Alpine country became a model case of a semi-direct democracy with a federal distribution of power, whose political co-determination instruments Referendum Right (1874) and People’s Initiative (1891) promoted the identification of citizenship with the state in the long term. The National Day on 1 August, also introduced in 1891 by the liberals who won the War of Secession (Sonderbund-Krieg 1847), brought the defeated conservative Catholic cantons on board. “The young Confoederatio Helvetica thus designed itself in 1891 as a nation in genealogical succession to the ‘Rütli oath’ of 1291. ... In the narration of the young federal state, this oath was stylized into a ‘lieux de mémoire’, which was intended to symbolise the harmony, self-determination, and joint forearmness and freedom of all the Confederates. … In institutional and political terms, this establishes the principle of concordance and the involvement of the political opponent, which still shapes Swiss democracy today.” (Maiolino 2013, 455 [own translation]; cf. Linder/Mueller 2017, 363ff.; Bühlmann/Heidelberger/ Schaub 2019) “The nation of will … must be made historiographically clear to its people, especially since the diversity of wills and internal tensions among the Swiss are and were almost always much more obvious than a volonté générale hidden behind it. Seen in this way, historiography in Switzerland, even more than elsewhere, was not a phenomenon accompanying nation-state integration, but rather its precondition.” (Maissen 2009, 10 [own translation]) Those who claim a special case for themselves, on the one hand, distinguish themselves from general and obvious patterns of perception and, on the other hand, dispute the appropriateness of common and widely accepted categories of observation and assessment with regard to their own situation. Complaining about a special view of one’s own circumstances is a generalized view that stands at the beginning of every nationalism. It only brings forth what it claims: one’s own, which eludes any direct comparison. The much-invoked postmodern end of the grand narratives with the collapse of the bipolar political world view did not mean the abolition of “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? 235 the political narrative, but merely its redimensioning to the manageable range of national repetition. In place of the idea directed towards the future there comes the manifestation of the known, which averagely gifted and socialized citizens can easily identify and repeat. Swiss Special Case (“Sonderfall”) After the Second World War, the status of “special case” was increasingly shaped by foreign policy. It combined armed neutrality with political noninterference, distance from international institutions, alliances and commitments, economic internationalism and diplomatic bilateralism (Church 2016). This enabled the country and its export-oriented economy to develop useful cooperation and access to international markets while avoiding harmful political commitments. Dahinden summarizes: “As a multilingual, multiethnic (French, German, Italian, and Rheto- Roman speakers) and federal state, Switzerland is often discussed as a case that does not fit the common theories of nation-state formation. For those … who perceived linguistic and cultural homogeneity as a given condition of nationalism and nation-state formation, Switzerland was treated as an exception. For others … who emphasized a shared political history as the foundation of the national imaginary, Switzerland was a paradigmatic example. In general, the debate revolved around whether Switzerland, with its multilinguistic character, could be considered an example of civic nationalism, a multinational state or an example of constitutional patriotism.” (Dahinden 2015) The topos of Swiss special case “was formed mainly in the second half of the 19th century and included the liberal concept of a republican, decidedly federalist state with direct democracy; the militia system in politics and the army; ‘permanent neutrality’, which had become the state maxim in 1815; the principle of collegiality of the executive branch as well as the idea of a ‘will nation’ that united different languages and cultures” (Eberle 2010, 165 [own translation]; cf. Eberle 2007). Special case discourses are contingency-limiting (Imhof 2006, 199) by subjecting experienced and traditional layers to certain patterns of interpretation, with the purpose of forming a coherent political culture. The concordance (cf. Linder 2009; Linder/Mueller 2017, 263–293; Bühlmann/Heidelberger/Schaub 2019) defined by the guard rails of special case mythology 3 Frank Mathwig 236 (Imhof 2006, 200 fn. 2) determines Swiss policy to this day. The special case topos also has a scientific punch line. Until recently, the Swiss historical and political sciences have seen themselves in a research policy ghetto characterized by two essential factors. On the one hand, Switzerland hardly met as a research subject in comparative country studies, so that Swiss and international research often did not even have a common terminology. (cf. Skenderovic 2009, 1; Skenderovic 2001, 1f.; Skenderovic 2007, 45; Church 2004, 1–3; Betz 2009, 98) On the other hand, the veterans of the Second World War and their followers, who essentially determined Swiss politics and society in the postwar decades until the 1980s, claimed the monopoly on political historiography. This so-called active service generation (“Aktivdienstgeneration”) “made itself the spokesman for those who had been there and remembered – in other words, the bulwarks of the decades-long monopoly on interpreting the history of World War II against the alienating, hurtful access of professional historiography to its own biography” (Maissen 2005, 104 [own translation]). The historical and political sciences were systematically denied or at least made more difficult to study the events surrounding the Second World War. Switzerland’s history was functionally subordinated to a national culture of remembrance that created identity. This point of view only began to break up when the protagonists disappeared from their political, oeconomic and public functions and international political pressure on Switzerland increased especially with regard to assets that had fallen into the hands of Swiss persons and institutions during the Nazi era (“Raubgold”, “Nachrichtenlose Vermögen”). In December 1996, primarily as a result of US pressure, the Federal Assembly approved the establishment of an international commission (“Unabhängige Expertenkommission Schweiz – Zweiter Weltkrieg”, called “Bergier-Kommission”) with the task of carrying out a historical and legal investigation of the extent and fate of the assets transferred to Switzerland before, during and immediately after the Second World War and of submitting a final report by the end of 2001 (cf. Bundesbeschluss 1996; Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland – Second World War 2002;; Ludi 2013; Maissen 2005). The 24 thematic studies produced in the context of the commission-work go far beyond the original commission and establish a new paradigm in the research of Swiss political history. As a result of attacks by right-wing extremists – particularly during the August 1 speech to Federal Councillor Villiger on the Rütli – the Federal Council decided in 2001 to supplement the current National Research Programme NRP 40 “Violence in everyday life and organised crime” with the special module NRP 40+ “Right-wing Extremism – “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? 237 Causes and Countermeasures” (cf. Swiss National Science Foundation 2004; Niggli 2009; Niggli eds. 2009). Following Skenderovic (2001; cf. Armigneon 1995, 63) five prevalent agruments concerning Switzerland’s exceptional position can be distinguished: 1. The historical argument: During the 1930s and 1940s Switzerland did not have a fascist or national socialist regime. This finding is interpreted as evidence for a “very low tolerance in Swiss political culture for an antidemocratic right-wing stance or a demagogic revitalization of radical-right patterns of thought” (Skenderovic 2001, 2). In fact, Switzerland’s self-image is still dominated to this day by the view that strong national defence and a defensive democratic culture have made Switzerland largely immune to fascist ideologies. 2. The consociational argument: The Swiss system of association has exerted a strong integration effect on the party system in Switzerland. “The Swiss political system does not accommodate radical parties unless they follow an opposition policy loyal to the system ... A pillar of this stability is the governmental coalition, (based on the so-called magic formula established in 1959), which is composed of two members of the Radical Democratic Party, two of the Christian Democratic Party, two of the Social Democratic Party, and one member of the Swiss People’s Party.” (Skenderovic 2001, 2) 3. The direct democracy argument: Direct democracy allows a high level of citizen participation, so that the motivation to introduce and deal with politically divergent concerns via the vehicle of radical parties is only weak. “This means of exerting political pressure gives small parties as well as voters the ability to express their oppositional stance to policies embraced by the government or the established parties, without having a strong electoral and parliamentarian position. Indeed, there are many examples of the successful use of the instruments of direct democracy by smaller parties (at times in collaboration with extra-parliamentary groups) to shape the country’s political agenda.” (Skenderovic 2001, 3; cf. Helbling 2009; Stojanovič 2018; Christmann 2011) From this background Albertazzi (2008, 101) asks: “In the context of such a wealthy and stable country – one in which whatever popular discontent there might be can be expressed in a variety of ways and where special interests can find a sympathetic ear – who would ever need populists?” 4. The state-nation argument: Switzerland was stressed as the prototype of a state-nation strongly relying on political will with a strong “constitution- Frank Mathwig 238 al patriotism” (Habermas 1992). “The federal state brings together four ethnocultural distinct regions with their own languages and cultures. This and the institutional mixture of the three key elements: direct democracy, federalism and neutrality, are seen as a pillar of Swiss national identity.” (Skenderovic 2001, 3) 5. The tolerance argument: “In their willingness to defend these tolerance values, the Swiss cannot be surpassed by any other people from the other Western European countries. There are good historical reasons for this: without this tolerance, the Swiss Confederation would be unthinkable. And this tolerance, which is widespread in Switzerland, is incompatible with extreme right-wing thinking, in which ethnocentrism and the potential superiority of a nation have an important place.” (Armigneon 1995, 57 [own translation]) And Skenderovic adds: “The longstanding cooperative relationship between previously antagonistic Catholics and Protestants factions is taken as further evidence of the integrating capacity of Swiss society and politics.” (Skenderovic 2001, 4) For a long time these arguments determined the Swiss national debates and served to justify a widespread lack of interest in international research in the political conditions in Switzerland. It is often overlooked that the talk of the “special case of Switzerland” already refers to complex interrelations, which are themselves closely linked to the topic of (neo-)nationalism. With reference to the historical and political uniqueness or incomparability, a special status is claimed which aims at theoretical-methodical incommensurability as well as practical demarcation. Switzerland is not only different, it must also be seen differently, it does not stand for an alternative, but for a difference. The narrative of the special case can take on almost historical-theological dimensions and is thus withdrawn from any rational analysis and assessment. The special case of Switzerland is not the result of historical, politological or sociological argumentation, but the object of an identity-forming confession aimed at separation. The long-standing party leader of the Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei/Union Démocratique du Centre, SVP/UDC) and later Federal Councillor Christoph Blocher combines the federal self-image as a “special case” with the aforementioned second identifying feature as a “nation of will”. In a speech at the Federal Conference in 2005, he specified: “The Swiss wanted to secure their independence and autonomy and ensure their own well-being! They created an alternative to the other “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? 239 European nation states – most of which were still monarchies when the Swiss federal state was founded – which were and are based on a strong centre, a common language and a common culture. Switzerland is different: in this nation of will, Switzerland, federalism is – for historical reasons alone – the only way to live in unity”. (cited in Maissen 2015, 143 [own translation]) The equation of one culture – one language – one nation does not work in Switzerland. Federalism itself offers no national glue. Rather, it is the will to federal unity that must assume this function and is therefore conjured up with an almost biblical emphasis with reference to “federal union” and “confederation”. According to its self-understanding, Switzerland is less a community of equal citizens than a community of participation of equal collectives. The Swiss Historian Thomas Maissen summarizes: “Swiss citizens are citizens through their municipal citizenship. ... With its cumbersome naturalization procedures, Switzerland adheres to the principle of descent (ius sanguinis), according to which citizenship is acquired through blood, i.e. inherited from ancestors. In the case of naturalizations, the Individuum’s commitment to the nation is not sufficient. The receiving collective, the community of citizens, reserves the right to decide whether it considers the applicant suitable to participate in the defense of its collective interests and value. ... The Swiss nation of will is rooted in a sense of local identity that goes back a long way and is seldom shaken. It is an everyday plebiscite of the citizens to their communes, of the communes to the cantons, of the cantons to the Confederation – and not of the Swiss citizens to their nation state” (Maissen 2015, 148f. [own translation]). Swiss Nationalism and Worldwide Neo-Nationalism In contrast to expressions such as “populism”, “right-wing” or “right-wing extremism”, the term “neo-nationalism” is only marginally encountered in the relevant Swiss debates (cf. Skenderovic 2011). Its absence can be explained in diametrically opposed ways. According to one hypothesis, the high level of participation in Swiss politics prevents the expansion and radicalisation of populist currents. As Guggenberger (2005, 210–214) states, Switzerland’s central political principles (direct democracy, federalism and concordance) had prevented political extremism in the long term. Direct democracy and the participatory possibilities of the right of initiative required politicians and parties to take up all social relevant issues without 4 Frank Mathwig 240 reservation. There would be a kind of political compulsion to adapt from the bottom up. Conversely, there would be a kind of compulsion to integrate and moderate, because one’s own concerns would have to be formulated in a way that would be acceptable to a majority. Extremist positions could emerge selectively, but could hardly be sustained in the long term. Essentially, five socio-economic, political-cultural and institutional factors are named as lasting brakes on the expansion of right-wing extremism in Switzerland: 1. “the absence of uncertainties, as they are caused in particular by serious economic crises”; 2. the already for historical reasons “more pronounced culture of tolerance towards other cultures and linguistic communities”; 3. the possibilities “for the institution of direct democracy ... to address and realize fragments of right-wing extremist programs in established channels of political participation”; 4. the associated prevention of “a right-wing extremist protest potential ... that can only be unloaded through violent actions or in the context of elections”; 5. “the fragmentation of the major parties into three organizations [possess] a great ability to bind the extreme potential in elections” (Armingeon 1995, 63 [own translation]). The counter hypothesis is that precisely these factors have led to a stabilisation of right-wing national ideas and concerns, which the new rightwing national movements in Europe have been able to draw on as a resource. Guggenberger’s arguments are based less on the real political conditions in Switzerland than on the widespread identity narrative of the special case of Switzerland (see the critical counter-theses of Skenderovic 2001, 2–6). And analyses of Swiss referendums have shown that direct democracy sustainably prevents the legal equality of religious minorities (cf. Christmann 2011; Vatter 2011). Under the protection of the Swiss political system, its political culture and its relationship to Europe and the world, right-wing ideologies that appeared to be completely discredited in Europe after the Second World War were able to hibernate. In 1967 “one of the first right-wing populist leaders in postwar Europe” (Skenderovic 2011, 162), James Schwarzenbach, head of the National Action against Overforeignization of People and Homeland (Nationale Aktion gegen die Überfremdung von Volk und Heimat, ND), won a seat in the Swiss national parliament. “From a historical perspective, due to the fact that Switzerland is included in the 1960s, right-wing populist parties played a precursor role in Western Europe. With the exception of France with the Poujade movement of the 1950s, no other country after the Second World War had parties on the right-hand edge of the political spectrum so early “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? 241 that did not directly focus on fascist role models. Since then, seven different parties in Switzerland of the right-wing populist camp have managed to enter the national parliament, more than in any other Western European country. In addition, since the late 1980s, when most countries in Europe were experiencing a right-wing populist boom, Switzerland has one of the strongest right-wing populist parties in the form of the ‘new’ SVP, which also participates in the governing coalition.” (Skenderovic 2007, 45 [own translation]). Today, in addition to the Swiss People’s Party, there are the Car Party (Auto-Partei, AP), founded in 1985, called Freedom Party (Freiheitspartei, FD) between 1994 and 2009; the Swiss Federal Democratic Union (Eidgenössisch-Demokratische Union, EDU), founded in 1975; the Party National Oriented Swiss (Partei National Orientierter Schweizer, PNOS), founded in 2000; the Swiss Democrats (Schweizer Demokraten, SD), since 1990 successor of the ND; and the League of Ticinese (Lega dei Ticinesi, Lega), founded in 1991. Apart from the SVP and EDU, these parties are only represented at cantonal or communal level or have no political mandate (cf. D’Amato/Skenderovic 2009). Comparative studies of nationalism show far-reaching parallels between Switzerland and Europe (cf. Vatter 2008; Betz 2009). The closer one looks, the more the talk of the special case of Switzerland as an ideological subordination crystallizes. A special case arises for Switzerland after 1989 due to the loss of importance of its policy of neutrality during the two World Wars and during the Cold War. In a globalised world, neutral Switzerland “became almost superfluous to international politics and thus plunged into an identity crisis from which it has not yet found its way out” (Dipper 2011, 22; cf. Maissen 2009; Herrmann 2005). (Neo-)Nationalism and Religion from a Swiss Perspective In the relevant literature the subject of religion does not appear at all or only in passing or is “only treated as individual factor” (Goldberg 2014, 306). On the one hand, this observation allows conclusions to be drawn about the dominant research perspectives. On the other hand, it reflects a religious consciousness that has either penetrated social self-understanding to such an extent that it is no longer perceived as specifically religious, or that has actually disappeared in the course of advanced secularization. Because religion has massively lost weight or has become completely meaningless as an identity marker, it is uninteresting for both sides: as an object 5 Frank Mathwig 242 of research and as a vehicle for (neo-)nationalist ideologies. At first sight, this assumption is confirmed by the relevant political and social debates. The disputes about the ban on minarets, the current burqa debates, but also the older discussion about a ban on the Jewish slaughtering, which was first voted on in 1893 (Article 25bis Old Federal Constitution), were neither religiously motivated nor were they religiously justified (cf. Vatter ed. 2011). A characteristic feature of both the political and academic work on the subject in Switzerland is the fading out of the phenomenon of religion and the focus on the sociological category of religious community and the legal concept of religious freedom. This view is confirmed by an attitude that is often perceived as contradictory from the outside. There is a great deal of scepticism about the followers of foreign religious communities, above all the Islam. At the same time there is no doubt that freedom of religion – in the sense of personal freedom of belief – is guaranteed to them. A typical statement in the minaret discussion was: “I have nothing against Muslims (as people), I am only against the Islam” (Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013a, 73 [own translation]). In Switzerland, a programme that aims to impose crude restrictions on basic personal rights of individuals is not politically successful even from the right-wing side, which does not mean that political initiatives from all sides repeatedly insist on the partial grinding down of basic rights (cf. Ettinger/Imhof 2011). Conversely, there is great resentment towards the claims of foreign groups. This attitude is reflected explicitely in the remarks on religion in the SVP party programme: “The SVP is committed to the Christian-Western culture of Switzerland. This is the basis of our identity and our coexistence. It is not without reason that our country bears a cross in its coat of arms, and our national anthem takes the form of a prayer. Freedom of faith and conscience allows all citizens to think, write, speak and confess freely. ... The separation of church and state should not conceal the fact that the image of society and humanity shaped by the Christian faith is of major importance for the culture and politics of Switzerland. The loss of these roots would be disastrous. Individual freedom in particular is a consequence of the Christian view of humanity.” (SVP 2015, 90f.) Gold (2019, 29f.) comments on the passage: “The party program of the SVP illustrates how religion is connected to political autonomy and can thus be used to exploit nationalist passions. […] The SVP harnesses Christianity as a ‘traditional value’ to create a sense of shared community in opposition to foreigners (partic- “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? 243 ularly of Islamic backgrounds), blurring the distinction between religious and national values, and overlapping them with processes of democratic participation.” In fact, these passages from the SVP party programme reflect a development that became decisive for Switzerland’s national identity in the 19th century and which, typically, applies equally to politics and the Swiss churches. Morality and religion were not suppressed for the sake of unity during the transition from a confederation of states to a federal state, but were functionally integrated and absorbed. “The nation becomes a substitute of religion in a secularized society by satisfying the genuine human need for a life-world orientation and transcendent meaning. [...] Like religion, the nation exists only in the form of a spiritual community. Like religion, the ‘meaning’ of the nation and the ideas associated with it cannot be ‘proved’, but only ‘believed’.” (Guggenbühl 1998, 44 [own translation]). This interpretation is confirmed by the history and self-image of the SVP (cf. Ackermann/Zampieri/Freitag 2018; Albertazzi 2008; Bernhard 2017; Betz 2009, 94ff.; Bochsler/Mueller/Bernauer 2016; D’Amato/Skenderovic 2009; Gottraux/Péchu 2009; Grumke 2009; Hildebrand 2017; Hutter 2019; Jost 2007; Lang 2000; McGann/Kitschelt 2005; Skenderovic 2007; Skenderovic 2009, 123–172; Udris/Imhof/Ettinger 2009). Blocher’s transformation from a middle-class rural to a national conservative party, carried out with great skill and determination in the 1990s, made the SVP the largest party. The SVP, which was originally based in Protestantism, owes the increase in votes to its opening up to a conservative Catholic clientele. Blocher, son of a pastor and theologically minded, skilfully limits himself to religious allusions and plays virtuously with the religious intuitions of a society in which Protestantism still sees itself as a “people’s church” (Volkskirche) (cf. Plüss/Wüthrich/Zeindler eds. 2016). The subject of national quasi-religious convictions is made so flexible that it can be agreed to from quite different conditions. Symptomatic of this are the Reformed Churches in Switzerland, which in the 19th century gave up the confessional ties of the Church in a way that is unique in the world, and which still hold on to this peculiar understanding of the Church today (cf. Gebhardt 2003). In contrast, the Catholic Church, with its official doctrine, increasingly came into conflict with the liberal state, which reacted with repressive measures. Special confessional regulations had been issued against the political influence of the Catholic Church in the so-called Kulturkampf of the 19th century. The place in the Federal Constitution of the diocesan article intro- Frank Mathwig 244 duced in 1874 and abolished in 2001, which provided for a federal permit for the ecclesiastical construction of dioceses, has been taken since 2009 by the article against the construction of minarets (Art. 72, para. 3 FC). This coincidence shows the penetrance of a strategy in dealing with religious communities that is apparently long outdated. The conclusion is obvious: The publicly expressed beliefs of religious communities are suspect because these statements are seen as competition or threat to the own quasireligious political beliefs of Swiss community. The discussions about the ban on the construction of minarets in the Federal Constitution provide an instructive example of the religious charge of right-wing populist ideas. There, right-wing populist ideas (the discourse on “foreign infiltration” established since the 1970s) and religious-conservative convictions (the EDU’s front position against the “threatening Islamization of the Christian West”) were combined with the ideas of the New Right (essentialist understanding of culture in the demand for the “right to cultural difference”) (cf. Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013a; 2013b). With the religiously motivated assertion of the irreconcilability between Christianity and Islam only small fringe groups could be mobilized in secularized Switzerland. Significantly, the initiative was not launched by prominent party representatives of the SVP and EDU (the so-called Egerkinger Circle), and at the beginning the initiators themselves calculated that there was little chance of success, because of the religious character of the topic. The success came with the systematic religious decontamination of the initiative. This goal was achieved by rehabilitating the Huntington thesis of the clash of civilisations. “The origin of the arguments from religiously motivated positions was no longer relevant for the mass media hearing and the agreement at the ballot box.” (Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013a [own translation], 72; cf. Mayer 2011; Goldberg 2014) The secularization of the religiously motivated thesis of the incompatibility between Christianity and Islam into an essentialist political dualism can seamlessly follow on from the old political bloc dichotomy of the East-West-conflict. In their analysis of the media coverage of the minaret discussion in Switzerland Ettinger & Imhof (2011, 9) highlight two points: 1. In public communication after 9/11, a functionally equivalent dualism is again asserting itself with the Huntington thesis. 2. As in the Cold War, the new concept of the enemy is motivated by international communication events that shape the attention rules, interpretation perspectives and the set of difference semantics. The dualistic interpretation matrix became politically successful through a consistent ethnicization of its originally religious content. The religious connotations of foreigners are gradually being replaced by a national or ethnic typification of origin (on the topos “ethnicization of the politi- “Heart of Darkness” or Special Case (“Sonderfall”)? 245 cal” cf. Udris 2011). The minaret was considered a symbol for violent Islamization (the minaret was often pictured as a missile), for a different understanding of law (sharia and no separation of state and religion), an authoritarian, patriarchal society in which liberty, the rule of law and human rights – including the religious freedom (!) – would be abolished. According to Kreis (2010a, 57; cf. Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013b, 357ff.), the argument most frequently voiced is that the omnipresence of mosques and minarets promotes anti-Islamic racism and therefore its presence should not be “more than necessary displayed”. This argument is also found in the 1999 SVP election platform: Switzerland is “not an immigration country” and “xenophobia and racism can only be effectively countered by consistently combating abuse and stabilizing the proportion of foreigners” (quoted in Skenderovic 2009, 2019; Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013, 359 [own translation]). The figure of fighting racism with exclusion is old, as shown by a motion submitted by the Federal Department of Justice and Police to the Federal Council in 1938. There it says: “If we do not want to create a legitimate ground for an anti-Semitic movement which is unworthy of our country, we must resist with all our strength and, if necessary, with ruthlessness the immigration of foreign Jews, especially from the East.” (quoted in Kreis 2010b, 33f.; cf. Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013b, 359 [own translation]) Slavoj Zizek (2010) has unmasked this widespread mechanism of neutralization as the human image of late liberalism: “On today’s market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol.” With the same logic we produce foreign fellow citizens who are denied everything that identifies them as foreign nationals. “This vision of the detoxification of one’s neighbour suggests a clear passage from direct barbarism to barbarism with a human face. It reveals the regression from the Christian love of one’s neighbour back to the pagan privileging of our tribe versus the barbarian Other. Even if it is cloaked as a defence of Christian values, it is itself the greatest threat to Christian legacy.” Even if the Christian tradition is sometimes called upon rhetorically, it plays no role in the legitimation of neo-nationalist ideas in Switzerland. Those who see themselves sometimes (especially during the First and Second World War) as the Choosen people do not have to plausibilise the legitimacy of their own views by referring to a religious tradition. The minaret-discussion shows “the path from the periphery to the centre, which is typical for issues in the public sphere of modern societies” (Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013b, 384f. [own translation]). This took place in the form Frank Mathwig 246 of a double transformation, of the topic from a local construction project to a national problem with a foreign culture and of the actors from a discourse initially dominated by (self-designated) religious “experts” to a debate increasingly occupied by right-wing populists. The notorious emphasis that Islam is “political” served, on the one hand, to get public attention (as a political issue, Islam concerns the whole of society) and, on the other hand, to refute the accusation that the own concern violates religious freedom and the prohibition of discrimination. The transformation of the topic into a popular initiative meant a “ritualization” and “normalization of the conflict” (cf. Wäckerlig/Walthert 2013a, 82). At the same time, the political process made it possible to form a coalition between the religious and political rights, which were far apart on religious issues. Because the typical anti-Semitism and anti-religious hostility of extreme right-wing positions contradicts the radical-religious opposition. Conclusion The starting question about the significance of religion for (neo)nationalism in Switzerland allows different answers. Although the mainstream of political science does not categorically deny its influence, it does not deal with the question. From a historical perspective, by contrast, the influence of religious convictions on right-wing populist attitudes is obvious, even if only indirectly. The topos of the Swiss Special Case forms the large background narrative which, due to the specific history of Switzerland in the 20th century, was not forced to undergo a comprehensive revision. In this respect, the prefix “neo” in the expression “neo-nationalism” does not refer to something new, but merely to the new attention paid to a well-known figure. It is precisely the continuity of the narrative of the “nation of will” that makes Switzerland a pioneer for right-wing ideas and movements in Europe after the Second World War. The religious moment is particularly evident in view of the constitution of the nation as a federation. Significantly, Blocher makes biblical associations in completely secular political contexts: “Many important things can be found in the words of our national anthem: ‘For the pious soul suspects’ ... The Confederates [“Eidgenossen”] did not consider themselves to be the measure of all things, but solemnly affirmed their covenant through an oath, that is, through the invocation of God.” (Blocher 2000, 10f.; cf. Lang 2000, 103f.) 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Until then, the country lived under the system of dynastic loyalty: with a long chain extending from the peasant to the king and beyond, to God Himself, from whom the monarchy evolved. The Revolution in 1789 changed the given order: inspired by the philosophy of the Enlightenment and, at its heart, very specifically by the doctrine of Parliamentary “Gallicanism”, it introduced a new form of political connection which was national in this instance, as evidenced by the affirmation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen that: “The principle of all Sovereignty essentially resides in the Nation.” In the past, social connections had revolved around a vertical mechanism, that of subjection to the sovereign; but from then on, the political system was constructed horizontally along an axis of relationships between equals. The establishment of this national pattern often operated, as in the north of Europe, under the aegis of a narrative of continuity between the modern political age and the Christian religion which allowed the Church, which was predominant, to maintain a presence in the apparatus of the State. It was not such a case here in France. With the exception of the interim period after the signing of the Concordat of 1801 by Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, France constructed its idea of the nation by breaking all ties with religion, specifically with Catholicism – which as a whole seemed to be welded to the Ancien Régime. Emile Durkheim recorded that, at its very foundations, The French Republic placed the “ideas, feelings and practices derived from reason alone.” (Durkheim 1903, 3) Yet during recent times nationalism, conceived here in very general terms in the style of Ernst Gellner or Benedict Anderson as the ideology of campaigners who promoted the national structure of life, has embraced the Christian frame of reference, which until recently it had failed to acknowledge with the exception of certain groups that had evolved from the 1 This text contains the elements of a chapter published in French (Portier 2018). 255 Catholic establishment. The reference to “France’s Christian roots”, an expression that was coined in the 19th century, appeared once more. Here, we will try to understand this volte-face by re-examining the history of the relationship between nation/religion over the century that has just passed. This historical review allows us to identify two stages. The first, running from 1875 to the 1960s saw the triumph of the elective concept of the nation, in which the nation perceived itself as an essentially political community which united its members primarily by means of legal links. The second period, from the 1980s on, saw another idea of the nation becoming established, as part of a social reaction against the impotence of the legal-rational state and against the emergence of Islam. At that time the aim of the predominant discourse was to link French identity to an ethnocultural type of definition: France was no longer united only by the subjective will of its citizens, but also by the objective substance that was determined by its being deeply rooted in religion. This meant that people were caught up in a kind of nostalgia for a warm and exclusive community. The period from 1960–1970 has little relevance as it appears to be a time when the subject of the nation was rarely debated. The Secularisation of the National Essence Under the Third Republic, the idea of the nation was at the centre of political controversy. The debate was built around the question of the connection between the nation and religion. The Republican camp, which came into power at the end of the 1870s, wanted to dissociate the first from the second: with a civic concept of the nation winning the day. The Catholic camp, which was in opposition, could not for its part conceive that the nation might be constructed independently from its Christian essence. The Republican Revolution The Republicans may have belonged to different groups, with some favouring a liberal secularism, and others a “Gallican” form, yet they all shared the idea that they needed to again endorse the French Revolution whose principle notion, they explained, was to construct political links independently of any reference to a transcendent being: “We want a human race without God and without a king,” Jules Ferry proclaimed. This discourse consisted of two logical facets. 1 1.1 Philippe Portier 256 First there was a critical facet: the Republicans opposed the combination of State and religion. This combination was a key feature of the Ancien Régime, which persisted under the Concordat regime. In the eyes of the Republicans, it was not legitimate to combine the two orders. In their view, as Marcel Mauss pointed out, “The State is the sole legal instrument of social cohesion; it is the only body that incarnates the general will at the same time as condensing the public sphere within it.” (Mauss 1969, 12–13) What is the explanation for rejecting this combination? There are two premises for this. The first, which was of a philosophical nature, stressed the moral ineffectiveness of the religious discourse. Whilst defending the autonomy of the political sphere, the philosophy underlying the Napoleonic Concordat held that the State needed the support of the Churches to stabilise the civil order. This theory was based on a conception of the origins of morality that was basically very Voltairean: if the priests had to be at the centre of the State, it was because there was no social discipline without a fear of God. Guizot, a French minister (1830– 1840) added that reason is always too weak to be able to do without faith. The Republican philosophy declared, conversely, that morality could certainly be “independent.” Those who defended this view saw no need to join the church’s fold to cast aside the attractions of the Lower self and find the maxims for living a righteous life; the workings of the conscience, under the “star-studded sky” (Kant) were sufficient, they claimed. The second premise, which was of a historical nature, for its part stressed the politically dangerous nature of the religious institution. Napoleon had defended the concordat against the Ideologues by claiming that Catholicism was engrained in the common consciousness of the French as well as citing his imminent conversion to the tenets of the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Yet the Republicans discovered that what happened was the exact opposite. As demonstrated by both Pope Gregory’s encyclical Mirari vos in 1832 and by the Syllabus errorum (Syllabus of Errors) in 1864, in which all the achievements of the Revolution were censured, in particular freedom of conscience and of thought, Rome turned its back on history, retreating into an intransigence that filled it with the desire to encompass the political order within the very body of the Church, as it had done in the days of sacral Christianity. It was quite impossible, with such an associate, to stick to the partnership formula established by Napoleon. Second, the Republican discourse had an agenda-based facet, operating around the idea of the separation of the State and religion. This model was comprised of an institutional pillar and a commemorative pillar. At the institutional level, the new regime initially occupied itself in the 1880s with Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 257 the task of breaking the links between education and the churches. This affected the school system, as a result of which the government (progressively) banished religious symbols. The syllabuses were also reformed: at the primary stage, they had in the past been based around “moral and religious instruction”; but from now on they would, according to the Act passed on 28 March 1882, be based around “instruction in civics and morals”. It further needs to be pointed out that the moral instruction was based on the rationalist view. As for those employed, the loi Goblet (1886) banned the clergy from teaching in primary schools. The next link to be broken was that between the State itself and the Churches: the Act passed on 9 December 1905, whilst allowing the religious institutions some latitude, which it had failed to do under the previous regime, and whilst letting them organise themselves as they wished both internally and externally, deprived them of any recognition and any subsidies (Portier 2016). Moreover, the Republicans had introduced a new formula in the culture of remembrance. As a counterpart to the Catholic discourse of the time, which saw the emergence of France as starting with the baptism of the Merovingian king Clovis, in 1880 the Republican discourse set up a different milestone in France’s history: the Revolution of 1789. As a backdrop to accompany this discourse, the French government made the Marseillaise into the National Anthem and the 14th July became the National holiday. Whilst the streets were named after the great men of the century of the Enlightenment, Marianne, a figure that emulated the Virgin Mary became the central figure in the liturgies recited by the Republicans (see Agulhon 1989). In spite of its artificialist theory the Third Republic did not airbrush out this history: Christianity did still feature, principally in State school text books. These books handled the issue in a different way from those used in the Catholic schools. They drew a distinction between a few individual figures such as Saint Vincent de Paul or Joan of Arc and the Catholic Church itself. While the individuals were extolled for their courage or goodness; the Church was criticised as an instrument of oppression as asserted in L’instruction civique à l’école by Paul Bert in 1882. And what about the kings? The new regime deliberately omitted to point out their links with the Church: “They are included insofar as they were the craftsmen who created the unity of our native country: territorial unity with the first Capetians, moral unity with Saint Louis (Louis IX), administrative unity in the France from François I to Louis XIV. The kings therefore embody the most profound concepts of the Republican psyche.” (Nora 1984, 261) Philippe Portier 258 The Resistance from the Catholics Initially, the Catholics were mistrustful of the idea of the nation, which from their point of view was too closely linked with the revolutionary order. They preferred the idea of dynastic loyalty: moreover, they spoke of the French Kingdom, rather than the French Nation. As the 19th century progressed, things changed a third of the way through. The Catholics embraced the surge in national feelings. Furthermore, an effect of this was observed at the time of the First World War, when Catholic bishops converted the defence of the nation into a religious duty. However, in subscribing to this view, they were distancing themselves from Republican principles. This can be demonstrated on the basis of the documents issued by the Popes, which at that time shaped Catholic opinion. At first, the Popes challenged the commemorative device employed by the Republicans. The Popes absorbed the nation into Christian history. This was the case with Leo XIII. In his 1884 encyclical, Nobilissima Gallorum gens, tracing the birth of France back to the baptism of Clovis, King of the Franks, he wrote: “The very noble French nation, through the great things that it has accomplished, in peace and war, has acquired merit and entitlement to eternal recognition in the eyes of the Catholic church. Embracing Christianity at an early stage following its king Clovis, it had the honour of being called the eldest daughter of the Church, a combined token of and reward for its faith and its piety2.” In 1908, on the occasion of Joan of Arc’s beatification, his successor Pius X adopted the same perspective, addressing the bishops of France: “You are to tell the French that they must make their treasure chest from the testaments of Saint Remy, of Charlemagne, of Saint Louis, which are summed up by the words so often repeated by the Maid of Orleans: long live Christ, who is the King of France.” For the Popes, it was a matter not only of a commemorative reminder, but also of a reminder of doctrine. It was a case of paying due homage to the moral culture, for which the Church was the standard bearer. The Gesta Francos per Dei (a narrative based on the First Crusade), which made its mark on history, was written at the instigation of the Church. The moral standards imposed by the State were only able to establish their principle of legitimacy by conforming with the moral laws authenticated by the Magisterium. Pius XI was to bring this issue to a climax when he referred, 1.2 2 The concept of the “eldest daughter of the Church” only emerged in the 1840s. There was a shift at that time from homage to the king as the “eldest son of the Church”, to an apology for the nation, assuming that it was Christian. Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 259 in documents like Quas primas, to the “Social Royalty of Christ,” the future establishment of which the intercession of Saint Joan of Arc will no doubt contribute. In such texts, Joan of Arc was not only seen as a patriotic heroine as she is in school textbooks but as a primarily spiritual figure. Next, the Popes rejected the political device used by the Republicans. They claimed that the political order could not be based on a morality that excluded God: forgetting God would lead nations to sink into an immoral world of violence and injustice. This downward spiral found its basis in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, which was heavily criticised by the encyclical Libertas for giving everyone the freedom to act as they wished. Everything had to be done to restore the moral objective that the Church represented to the principle of national life. This view of things led the Catholic establishment to reject the legal secularisation undertaken by the Republicans, namely that of the education system and of the State. With regard to the separation of the Churches and the State, the encyclical Vehementer nos (1906) was a document of prime importance: it reminded people that the separation was both an act of violence against the Church and an act of violence against morality. It was impossible to imagine a good society without the Church and the State being allies. The idea put forward was a return to a model based on Bellarmine’s ideas (the theory of the Catholic state) and not only to the model based on Napoleon’s concordat. This message, transmitted by the bishops, was to be accepted by the majority of committed Catholics. These were split, however, into two very different camps. Although they agreed over the French nation’s origins in the baptism of Clovis and were hostile to the idea of separation, they diverged over the very meaning of Christianity. One camp, centred around Jacques Piou’s Action Libérale Populaire movement, envisaged Catholicism as a set of moral and theological standards on which the Holy See bestowed the weight of truth: this was the camp that focused on the “primacy of the spiritual”; the other camp, centred around Charles Maurras’ Action Française, saw Catholicism as a set of cultural and even ethnic values which the political authorities have a duty to promote: this was the “politics first” camp. The indictment of Maurras’ movement in 1926 highlighted the conflict between these two factions, which as we will see later, still governs the positions adopted today by the opposing Catholic camps. This reference to France’s Christian roots was to disappear from the political discourse apart from a few utterances by General de Gaulle in which he defined France, as he did to Pius XII in 1958, as the “eldest daughter of the Church.” Even the Christian democrat movement, which had very close ties with the bishops, was to remain very reticent about this subject. Philippe Portier 260 What is the explanation for the disappearance of these roots from the debate? There were three factors involved. First, the use of this theme by Marshal Pétain, which had won him the support of the bishops; but post-war it was very difficult to take up the arguments used in this discourse, which people linked with collaborationism. The second factor was the growth of the modern frame of reference: between 1950 and 1970 the idea of happy modernisation was deployed in France without there being any need to refer to the traditions, nor even, from 1965–1966 on, to refer to the idea of the nation at all. The third factor was the radical changes within Catholicism itself. The camps hostile to the Republic were then in the minority. Their members included Jean Ousset (from the traditionalist splinter group La cité catholique) and the Abbot of Nantes, writing in publications such as Verbe, Itinéraires or La nation française. Steeped in Maurrassism, these magazines continued to nurture the memory of the Christian west, especially when it was a case of combatting decolonisation and communism. Most Catholics, for their part, supported the modern worldview and barely created any discourse around the relationship between the nation and Christianity. However, that world was about to change, bringing with it a renationalisation of the religious frame of reference. The Renationalisation of the Religious Frame of Reference The context was to change in the period from 1980–1990. Three components came into play. First there was a political component: the political sphere was immersed in a crisis. Raymond Aron saw the first signs of the crisis in May ‘68 in his book Les désillusions du progrès. The crisis then continued to deepen. Indeed, the futuristic ideology of historicity, typical of the early modern period (Beck), found itself being challenged: the French were confronted with economic problems and ecological uncertainties, along with globalisation, and saw that the State was unable to solve these problems. Second, there came a religious component: the Catholic discourse moved in a different direction. Jean Paul II called to mind both the Christian roots of Europe, and the “Christian roots of France,” as he did in the sermon he delivered at le Bourget in 1980 when he declared: “France qu’as-tu fait de ton baptême? [France, were you not baptised?”]. He was followed by the French bishops as shown in the public speeches of Mgr. Decourtray and Mgr. Lustiger. Third, there was a social component: society suddenly seemed to be falling apart. The French were finding it particularly hard to accept the rise in power of an Islam that demanded greater visibility, as demonstrated by its demands concerning the construction of 2 Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 261 mosques, religious dress or dietary rules, especially when, without being linked, these demands for an identity were concomitant with terrorist attacks. This new context was occurring against a backdrop based on the principle of the reculturalisation of people’s lives. There was a need to re-establish a strong, protective identity, what the sociologist Manuel Castells called a “refuge identity.” In France, this stage was to take the form of the reactivation of the topic of secularism as a component of the national identity, sometimes equating it with rationalism (as in the neo-Republican camp) (see Portier 2018), and sometimes combining it with Christianity (according to an interpretation that is more commonly, but not exclusively, encountered on the Right). In both cases, a shared nostalgia for a homogeneous political community is felt. We will now move on from the “Christian” discourse. The Changes in the Far Right In recent years we have seen the emergence of a self-assertive national narrative that links modern France with its Christian origins. This discourse is in fact the work of the Front national [National Front] on the far Right. The history of the LePenist movement is made up of two stages. The first covers the period from 1972–2011 when Jean-Marie Le Pen ran the movement. Created in 1972 with nostalgic (memories of Vichy France, and the dream of the Empire), and anti-communist foundations, the Front national carried out an ideological rebranding in the 1980s under the influence exerted at its core by former members of Alain de Benoist’s ethno-nationalist think-tank: the Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne [The Research and Study Group for European Civilisation]) and of another right-wing think-tank, Henri de Lesquen’s Club de l’Horloge [Clock Club]. At the same time of replacing the rejection of the immigrant with the rejection of the Muslim3, its discourse increasingly made room for the concept of national identity, which it based on foundations that were both cultural and ethnic.4 There was, in fact, a conflict of interpretation about the question of national identity between two opposing camps: 2.1 3 In 1985, the Front national launched its slogan: In twenty years, France will be an Islamic Republic”. 4 The Front started up the magazine Identité in 1989, on the initiative of Bruno Mégret, previously from the Club de l’Horloge. Philippe Portier 262 the neo-pagan camp, which centred around Pierre Vial, editor of the magazine Terre et Peuple, linked France with its Indo-European roots, minimising the place of Christianity in its cultural make-up5. The other, centred around Bernard Antony, the founder of the Alliance Générale contre le Racisme et pour le respect de l'Identité Française et chrétienne, presented an opposing argument of the centrality of the Catholic contribution to the national psyche. The two camps were able to exist in the same organisation because they shared the same obsessive concern over the “big change” (the Islamification of society), and because neither of them could accept the egalitarian and individualist Enlightenment. Jean-Marie Le Pen made both components of his party welcome. Catholic culture was very much present in his speeches: the President of the Front National borrowed his rhetoric from Catholicism (“Do not be afraid! Enter into Hope!”, he was to say on the evening of the first round of the 2002 election, paraphrasing Jean Paul II). It was also present in his heroes such as Joan of Arc, whom he commemorated every year on the 1st May6, and in his liturgies (a traditionalist mass was celebrated by a priest from the Fraternity of Saint Pius X at the Front’s big rallies). The pagan camp was likewise able to consider itself represented: apart from the fact that Jean-Marie Le Pen liked to be photographed in front of the Mussolinistyle bust of a Roman legionary and that he barely mentioned the values of peace and love inherent in the Gospel in his speeches, he also defined politics not as the art of dialogue, but as the waging of conflict, and the nation as an everlasting substance that could barely make room for those who had not always been members of its ethno-cultural make-up. This pagan-Christian discourse, which contained more than a hint of a Maurras or a Schmitt, culminated in an agenda of exclusion: it allowed its author to set the “we” of the “true population” against those who were not part of it: the Muslims and the globalised élites often of Jewish origin – “the establishment” as Le Pen called them, who supported their settlement on French soil. The second stage, from 2013 on, corresponds with the Marine Le Pen’s presidency over the party. It is characterised by the abrupt appearance of a theme that was absent (despite a change from 2007 onwards) during the preceding period: that of secularism. This openness to one of the central 5 Indeed, this neo-paganism saw the Bible as the focus of the Rights of Man. Itself, it held the view that the European culture that is shared by the white race sees history as a conquest, politics as a struggle and society as a hierarchical entity. 6 He made her his heroine from 1978 on and arranged a parade in her honour from 1988 on. Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 263 principles of republican thought has provoked the opposition of the national-catholic camp in the extreme right, and in particular of the Civitas movement, which together with the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, pushed forward plans against the Judeo-Masonic forces, to once again make France a “Christian country7.” However, Marine Le Pen has given a very restrictive definition of the concept of secularism – the mention of which forms part of the plan for the modernisation of the Front as an organisation: in her view, secularism is a device to make religious beliefs invisible and neutralise the social space. From this angle, of great significance is proposition 95 in her Presidential agenda for the 2017 elections, in which she said: “I am committed to the promotion of secularism and the struggle against communitarianism, to incorporate in the Constitution the principle: “The Republic does not recognise any community; I am committed to re-establish secularism everywhere, to extend it to the entire public space and include it in the Labour Code.” These restrictions are clearly targeting Islam, and perhaps Judaism too8. Do they affect Christianity? The President of the Front National, which has been known as the Rassemblement National since 2018, wants, in fact, to serve the interests of the nation’s twin roots, which are extremely intertwined: “France is France. She has Christian roots. They are what forged her identity. She is a secular state and we are attached to this part of her identity. We will not accept a change in this identity.” Proposition 91 of her agenda set out the consequences of this change, pointing out that in the event of victory, her government would strive to “defend the national identity, the values and the traditions of French civilisation, and incorporate in the Constitution the defence and promotion of our historical and cultural heritage9.” This discourse of rootedness, which also allows for a neo-pagan dimension as indicated by the presence of members of Générati- 7 Marine Le Pen on the other hand, was to win the approval of agencies from a Left that saw itself as Rousseauist, like Riposte laïque or Résistance républicaine. 8 Marine Le Pen intended to ban halal menus and Islamic headscarves; and also kosher food and skullcaps; she made no mention of fish on Fridays or of Catholic religious garments. Regarding skullcaps, she declared in an interview with Famille chrétienne on 8 March 2017: “To counter this Islamist fundamentalism, it will require some sacrifices for the other religions, in particular for our compatriots of the Jewish faith, that is, to give up wearing the skullcap in the public space”. 9 In the interview cited in the previous footnote, she gave this explanation of her agenda: “In this heritage, its Christian roots clearly play an important part. Secularised by the Enlightenment, they inspired our view of the human race, and they still very much determine France’s identity and her view of human relationships. Even secularism is derived from these roots”. Philippe Portier 264 on Identitaire [Identity Generation] – a far-Right white nationalist group within the organisation, keeps its distance, as did Jean-Marie Le Pen, from the principles of established Catholicism. This can be seen with regard to the familial ethics that the Front has been rather slow to defend (as demonstrated by the fact that Marine Le Pen refused to take part in the demonstrations against “mariage pour tous [equal marriage]” in 2012–2013 and has defended a flexible position in the field of abortion) as well as with regard to immigration, which it is fighting against. We can see from this why the Catholic hierarchy10, despite including within it a strong anti- Muslim camp – which has led it perhaps to be less incisive than it was in the period from 1980–199011, showed very little support for the propositions put forward by Marine Le Pen which, as in the case of Maurras, seemed to reduce Christianity to nothing more than vague cultural memory that was far removed from the “primacy of the spiritual”. In the discourse employed by Marine Le Pen we find the classic components of the populist brand of neo-nationalism, in the form developed by authors such as Duncan McDowell or Olivier Roy. It is structured around two components, with one pole that presents the positive angle: the true population, characterised by a culture that is defined not by moral principles that are in phase with the doctrines of the Church (especially when it is conciliatory), but by a way of inhabiting the world (table manners, landscapes, styles of dress). The other pole presents the negative angle: the population of Muslim invaders that is supported by a Europeanist élite that refuses to respect national culture (Marzouki et al. 2016; see also Michel 2008). The Conversion of the Moderate Right Confronted by competition from the Front’s brand of nationalism (which is trying to win over part of its traditional Catholic clientèle, as we saw in the second round of the Presidential elections with the stances adopted by the Manif pour tous [Demo for all – a collective that demonstrated against 2.2 10 About which Marine Le Pen, although she described herself as a “strong believer” said she was “angry”, because the “Conférence des évêques de France often interferes with things that are not its concern, particularly by giving political instructions” (Interview with La Croix, 14 April 2017). 11 Mgr. Louis-Marie Billé, the President of the Conference of Bishops, declared in 1998:“In the doctrines of the Front National there are elements that run contrary to the respect for human dignity.” Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 265 the Equal Marriage bill], by Sens commun [Common Sense – a splinter group with a similar agenda], or the collective Antioche [a group within the clergy that supported Marine Le Pen], but also with the changing voting patterns of practising Catholics12), the republican Right has also undergone a doctrinal change in the last few years. As we have seen, the Christian tradition of the nation, which had been glorified to excess by the Vichy regime, no longer cut any ice within this camp. A few traces of the old discourse certainly persisted in the addresses given by General de Gaulle but basically that was all. Things changed from the 1980s on: the idea of the Christian nation then came back in vogue as the fear of an “Islamification” of society gained credence. The discourse was created in the columns of the Figaro Magazine, penned in particular by Alain Griotteray (2018), who deliberately attacked a Left which at that time based its idea of national identity on the principle of a juxtaposition of the French cultures (as demonstrated by the discourse adopted by SOS Racisme [an anti-racist movement]). It was also nurtured by the historical narrative that Philippe de Villiers presents in his books following the show he produced at his theme park Puy-du-Fou in the Vendée, as he did in his diatribe against the progressive historiography of the Revolution, published in 1989, and entitled Lettre ouverte aux coupeurs de têtes et aux menteurs du Bicentenaire [Open Letter to the Head-choppers and Liars of the Bicentenary]. In his own way, despite his proclaimed attachment to separatist secularism, President Jacques Chirac reinforced this movement when he declared in his speech in January 1996 to the Lateran Palace: “My emotions were shaped by the memory of the historical links, which since the time of King Pépin le Bref and Charlemagne, have united the French nation into Christianity’s first Church. Here, more than anywhere else, France can remember its title of ‘eldest daughter of the Church’ (…). The presence in front of you in this place of the head of the French state means far more than the mere perpetuation of an old tradition. It is intended to demonstrate my country’s loyalty to its origins, to the sources of its culture and of its civilisation.” (Chirac 1996) Following Chirac, François Baroin went on to play a key role in the remodelling of the French psyche by bringing secularism and Christianity togeth- 12 Practising Catholics long resisted the attractions of the Far Right. It has been far less true since 2015. On this point, see Tincq 2018. Philippe Portier 266 er. In a report submitted in 2003 to the Prime Minister of the time, Jean- Pierre Raffarin, and significantly entitled Pour une nouvelle laïcité [For a new secularism], the MP for l’Aube, who was a very close associate of President Chirac’s, revived the issue of Europe’s religious heritages. Three years earlier, the French government had opposed the inclusion of a reference to Europe’s religious heritages in the European Charter of Basic Rights that Italy, Germany and Poland had asked it to approve, with moreover the support of Pope John Paul II and also of French intellectuals (such as Paul Ricœur or René Rémond13). But when the European Union was discussing its future Constitution, François Baroin put forward a counter-proposal whilst calling for a ban on religious symbols in state schools in the same document, saying: “In the current debates on the convention on the future of Europe, the representatives of the religions, particularly of the Catholic Church, have been campaigning for a specific mention to be made of the Christian roots of Europe. This request is strongly endorsed by several states and by the European People’s Party. A reference to the religious heritage of Europe, assuming that it does not exclude other forms of thinking or cultural heritages, would not be unjustified.” President Nicolas Sarkozy was likewise to say his piece. During his term as president (2007–2012), on the issue of secularism, his speeches were organised along the lines of a dialectic of identity and integration. How did he see identity? Well, the president indeed began by creating a Ministry of Immigration, Integration, of National Identity and Unified Development. Once again, it was necessary to define the concept of identity. The address he gave at the Lateran Palace [in Rome] in December 2007 outlined the concept as follows: “The roots of France are essentially Christian. I fully embrace France’s past and this specific link that united our nation with the Church for so long (…). Secularism does not have to cut itself off from Christianity: it does not have the power to cut France off from its Christian roots.” And how did he see integration? His reminder about the substance of France was accompanied by a word to the Muslims – which during the “Great Debate on national identity” launched in 2009, became an exhortation: they had to learn not to disrupt the way of life that was proper to the French. Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his views as follows in December 2009 in a forum published by Le Monde, a few days after a Swiss referendum had outlawed minarets: “The populations of Europe are welcoming, they are tolerant, it is part of their nature and their culture. But they do 13 In a manifesto published in Témoignage Chrétien in 2000. On the debate over the European Charter of Basic Rights see Willaime 2004. Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 267 not want the environment in which they live, their way of thinking and of conducting social relationships to be altered. And a feeling of having lost one’s identity can be a cause of profound suffering. Globalisation is helping to engender this feeling.”14 Of course, it must be pointed out that this reference to the Christian heritage did not run counter to the principles derived from the Enlightenment, in particular it did not run counter to the modern freedoms of behaviour, including the area of personal relationships: strange to say, our politicians have not stopped reminding us that the subjectivist world of modernity is not the antonym of the Christian world, but an extension thereof. This singular reference to the religious tradition is in its own way an example of the secularisation of society. After Nicolas Sarkozy left office, the Right remained faithful to this imagined concept of France’s roots. It can still be seen today with Laurent Wauquiez, the new president of the movement Les Républicains [The Republicans], as with François Fillon and Alain Juppé during the 2017 presidential campaign. Encouraged by the radical changes in public opinion as demonstrated by the success of the books by Philippe de Villiers (Les cloches sonneront-elles encore demain? [Will the bells still ring tomorrow?] 2016) or by Éric Zemmour (Le suicide français [The French suicide] 2016), some public figures like Nadine Morano, Éric Ciotti or Jean-Frédéric Poisson have suggested even more explicitly than Marine Le Pen, that a reference to the “Christian roots” of France” be included in the Constitution. Is there any difference between the Right and the Far Right in this use of the Christian frame of reference? As Pierre Birnbaum observed, there are differences, even though bridges are starting to be built at the basic level, especially in the south of France, between the Right and the Far Right (see the proposals put forward by Thierry Mariani): the Right is proving to be much more in favour of Europe, it is insisting much more that public freedoms be respected particularly with regard to Muslims and it values Judeo-Christianity (as much as Christianity). However, the two opposing camps do have some points in common. These can be found: - At discourse level, in an attempt to define France on the basis of a reinvented culture, characterised by a common way of inhabiting the world (in which external aims and the equality of the sexes play a major part), and culminating in the indictment of the Muslim minorities who fail to adapt to the host culture. It is not a case of promoting Christian values as such but ways of life that are wrongly attributed to Judeo-Christianity. 14 On Nicolas Sarkozy’s secularism policy, see Baubérot 2012. Philippe Portier 268 - At the level of practices, whilst calling for secularism, there was a temptation to indict the model of liberal secularism that originated in 1905, and replace it with a substantive secularism which is very much marked by a strong desire for control, as can be seen in the policy regarding the wearing of the Islamic headscarf (Acts passed in 2004 and 2010), moreover, often with the support of the neo-Republican camp, which itself rejects the idea of the “Christian roots of France”. - At the level of their reception, in the way the established Church is showing some reticence over this appropriation of Christianity. Its attitude is ambivalent: it is both glad to see Christianity re-emerging as public force but at the same time it is refusing to see itself deprived of its monopoly over the interpretation of its values. Conclusion It will have been evident that there has been a considerable change in recent times regarding the task of defining the nation. This change does not only affect the factions on the Right. From now on it has been spreading to factions on the Left and Centre-Left, even if its proponents are not defending a discourse that is as stigmatising as on the Right. We might think, under the Presidency of François Hollande, of the words of Bernard Cazeneuve, who was then Minister of the Interior, delivered in October 2015 in Strasbourg cathedral: “Even if France has welcomed onto her soil believers of all faiths, who themselves also contributed to her cultural wealth, historically speaking, she is a country with a Christian tradition15,” or of those uttered by President Macron in his speech to the French ecclesiastical community in Rome in June 2018: “These [Christian] roots are there. And failing to see these roots, to think them, to incorporate them, not simply in order to examine a heritage, but also in order to understand what we are, is to deprive ourselves of the power to tackle contemporary challenges, with great strength and calmness16.” This use of the Christian frame of reference, which is redolent of nostalgia for an ethno-cultural conception of the nation, is in phase with a radical change in the French population. On one hand, it reflects the reactivation of Christian feelings in public opinion. A recent survey by the Pew Re- 3 15 Benoît Hamon was also to adopt this stance in December 2016, during the socialist Primaries: “We all have indisputable Christian roots”. 16 On the position of President Macron, see Portier 2018a. Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 269 search Centre showed that 64 % of French people currently call themselves Christians. This was only the case for 49 % of them in the Survey of European Values in 2008. The survey added that declaring that one subscribed to the Christian faith was accompanied by a strong propensity to defend the idea of a homogeneous nation, defined by its objective characteristics, and to maintain that Muslim culture was incompatible with French culture. On the other hand, it also reflects the population’s attachment to cultural liberalism. The French see themselves as having an affiliation without a fully-fledged faith, a belonging without believing. The discourse adopted by the political players goes along these lines: the use of the religious frame of reference is identity-based; it does not imply membership of the theological and moral body of the Church. From this perspective, we cannot fail to subscribe to the remark made by Olivier Roy in a report he wrote in 2016 entitled the (re) construction and formatting of religions in the West: “If the Christian identity of Europe has become an issue, it is precisely because Christianity as faith and practices faded away in favour of a cultural marker which is turning more and more into a neo-ethnic marker (‘true’ Europeans versus ‘migrants’).” (Roy 2016, 3; see also Roy 2018) References Agulhon, Maurice (1989): Marianne au pouvoir. L’imagerie et la symbolique républicaine de 1880 à 1914, Paris: Flammarion. Baubérot, Jean (2012): La laïcité falsifiée, Paris: La Découverte. Chirac, Jacques (1996): Discours du 20 janvier 1996. Durkheim, Emile (1903): L’éducation morale, Paris: PUF, 1903. Griotteray, Alain (2018): Les Immigrés, le choc, Paris: Plon. Marzouki, Nadia/McDonnell, Duncan/Roy Olivier (Eds.) (2016): Saving the People. How Populists Hijack Religion, London: Hurst. Mauss, Marcel (1969): Œuvres, vol. 3, Paris: Minuit. Michel, Patrick (2008): Conclusion. Religion, identités nationales, identité européenne, in: Capelle-Pogacean, Antonella/Michel, Patrick/Pace, Enzo: Religion(s) et identité(s) en Europe. L’épreuve du pluriel, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 313– 33. Nora, Pierre (1984): Lavisse, instituteur national, in: id.: Les lieux de mémoire, vol. 1, Paris: Gallimard. Portier, Philippe (2016): L’Etat et les religions en France. Une sociologie historique de la laïcité, Rennes: PUR. Philippe Portier 270 Portier, Philippe (2018): ‘Les racines chrétiennes de la nation’. Parcours d’une controverse, in: Da Lage, Olivier (Ed.): L’essor des nationalismes religieux, Paris: Demopolis. Portier, Philippe (2018a): Emmanuel Macron at the Vatican. Observations on the Catholic-secular Republic, in: Bulletin de l’Observatoire international du religieux n° 20, Paris: CERI-GSRL, August 2018. oir/emmanuel-macron-au-vatican-note-sur-la-republique-catho-laique. Roy, Olivier (2016): Rethinking the place of religion in European secularized societies. The need for more open societies. Rapport final du projet de recherche ReligioWest, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies/European University Institute. Roy, Olivier (2018): L’Europe est-elle chrétienne?, Paris: Seuil. Tincq, Henri (2018): La grande peur des catholiques de France, Paris: Grasset. Willaime, Jean-Paul (2004): Europe et religions. Les enjeux du XXIe siècle, Paris: Fayard. Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France 271 The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy* Raffaella Perin In the Italian collective imaginary, there is only one circumstance in which people express their patriotism: when the national football team plays, and hopefully wins. That is also the rare occasion when Italian flags are dusted off, waved and exhibited out of windows and balconies. If this statement were true, if Italian people had no interest in their national identity, how is it possible to talk about a neo-nationalist revival in the last decades in Italy? Did Italian people ever have a sense of nationalist belonging? And if yes, have they rediscovered it recently? Does religion, in particular the Catholic religion, play a role in this revival, if there has been one? I will try to answer these questions in this chapter, in which I will briefly retrace the history of nationalism in Italy, stressing when and how it crossed, mixed, used and distanced Catholicism. The historical excursus will lead to a deeper understanding of the just past situation in which one of the two Vice-Presidents of the Italian Cabinet (on duty from 1 June 2018 until 5 September 2019) made a political use of religion to gain consensus. A Historical Sketch of the Relationships between Church and State in Italy The Risorgimento led to the reunification of the Italian peninsula and the foundation of the Kingdom of Italy on 17 March 1861. The discourse around Italian identity was promoted all along the 19th century by outstanding highly educated intellectuals and political leaders who based their national-patriotic ambition above all on the common language, which was, actually, literary Italian, whereas just a small number of Italian people 1 * This article was written in Summer 2019 during the political changes that were taking place in the Italian Government and before the struggle against the spread of covid-19 in Italy. 273 used Italian as a spoken language1. Despite the initial difficulty to make the national idea appealing to the masses, from 1815 to 1861 lower classes participated in the insurrectional uprisings. According to recent historiography these intellectual leaders succeeded in their intent to promote their national ambition thanks to the special way of communication, i.e. to appeal to the universe of emotions of the semi-illiterate people (for example, through the diffusion of romances, poems, theatre dramas, pictures which conveyed myths and images of national ideals and idols). These myths and symbols were: the idea of a common lineage (one does not decide to be part of a nation, but it is a biological fact), the idea of a common culture and religion; the experience of suffering was also included as part of the patriotic discourse, using keywords such as “sacrifice” or “martyr” which pertain to the Christian tradition. There was also a reinterpretation in Christological terms of the figure of national heroes2. The battles fought for the unification, called “wars for independence”, affected the papacy, which had seen its State restored at the Congress of Vienna. On the one hand, Catholic authors, such as the Jesuit Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio, tended to differentiate between the Catholic idea of homeland and the modern idea of the national State. According to Taparelli, the first one was good since the nation was intended as a community with a natural origin, whereas the second one, depicted as an artificial order of powers, was unacceptable (Traniello 2007, 63–64; see also Menozzi 2007). On the other hand, the aspiration for a political unity found the support of several Catholic intellectuals such as the writers Alessandro Manzoni and Nicolò Tommaseo, or the theologian Antonio Rosmini, who thought that the Church should have regained its freedom from the political interests in order to concentrate on its specific mission. Among others who were somehow sensitive to the Italian political requests, the priest and philosopher Vincenzo Gioberti is worth to be mentioned. He suggested that Italy were unified in a confederation of States under the guide of the Pope: this was his way to conciliate both the intransigent Catholics, who wanted to remain faithful to the Pope and were against the end of the temporal power of Church, and the liberal Catholics who wanted to join the national 1 There is a huge literature on the history of the Italian reunification. Publications flourished especially on the occasion of the celebration of the 150th anniversary. Among others: Banti 20062; Banti/Ginsborg 2007; Banti 2011, 7f. 2 See for example a lithography of 1850 in which Giuseppe Garibaldi was portrayed as a patriotic Christ. Images like this one evoked a sacral dimension of the discourse of Risorgimento. See Banti 2011, 32. Raffaella Perin 274 cause and were in favour to find a deal with the Italian State. The clergy too was divided in their attitude towards Italy (Traniello 2007, 22–23)3. After the conquest and the proclamation of Rome as capital of the Kingdom of Italy on 20 September 1870, Pope Pius IX proclaimed himself “prisoner of the Vatican” and did not recognise the new Italian State. The laws promulgated to guarantee several privileges to the Church were rejected by the Pope and in 1873 theological faculties at public universities were suppressed by the Kingdom. In 1874 Pius IX declared that it was non expedit (it was not convenient) for the Catholics to take part in the political election of the Italian State. As an alternative to the legal liberal Italian State it was spread the idea of a real Catholic Italy faithful to the Pope (Paese legale vs Paese reale). Besides, there were discussions about a possible reconciliation between the Church and the State but the disagreement lasted until 1929. The so called nationalization of the masses followed the legal constitution of the Italian State, and coincided with the Umbertinian period (1878–1900), an “imperialist age” characterized by a colonialist expansion and the rise of the “Southern Question” (Nani 2006, 10). In these years the Catholic culture played a role in the nation building, for example providing patterns to solve labour and economic questions or promoting models of education (Traniello 2007, 193–194). In the last years of the 19th century and in the first decade of the 20th, a certain number of Catholic intellectuals, supported by a press favourable to a reconciliation between the Church and the State (Baragli 2018, 77– 78), was seduced by the nationalist rhetoric, which led them to support colonialist wars such as the one in Libia in 1911–1912 (Ganapini 1970, 171–91). The Church gave its support to a war fought “for the civilization and against the Muslim barbarity” as it was written in a funeral inscription in a Church in Pisa, while the archbishop, cardinal Pietro Maffi, celebrated the requiem for the fallen soldiers in 1912 (Cavagnini 2015, 42)4. Nationalism was seen as a vehicle for a Catholic reconquista of Italian society assuming that the Christian doctrine and ethics were not incompatible with the obligations of the citizens toward their patriotic duties (Gentile 2006, 136–37). 3 In these pages Traniello explains the difference between the intransigent way of conceiving the Catholic nation and the liberal one inside the Italian Catholicism. See also Formigoni 2010, 17f. 4 See also what the Catholic journalist Filippo Crispolti wrote in the Catholic newspaper “L’Avvenire d’Italia”: Baragli 2018, 154f. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 275 The First World War fostered a link between religious and patriotic feelings through the spread of the idea that Italian identity found its roots in the Catholic faith, which conveyed a model of civilization that had to be defended even by a war (Traniello 2007, 223–24). According to the military bishop, Angelo Bartolomasi, the war was an opportunity for the Church to regain a leading role in the Italian society. Despite his patriotic zeal, Bartolomasi expressed concern for the transfer of sacredness from the Christian tradition to the national realm, as emphasised in the “war culture” vocabulary and narratives: “Who falls for the nation is a martyr Nation and the cause for which they fight should be called holy One pays tribute to the altar of the nation One invokes hell as the highest punishment for those who provoked the war One exalts the faith for the destiny of the nation Neutralists must be excommunicated”5 In 1917, the Franciscan father Agostino Gemelli, later the founder of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Milan, encouraged the consecration of the Italian army and of the whole Italian nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Lesti 2015). The consecration was a way to collectively recognize the spiritual supremacy of Catholicism over politics and the social order as well as a wish for victory of Italy. This was a celebration of the victorious holiness of war martyrdom through the evocation of the sufferings of Jesus. To sum up, during the First World War the nationalization of the masses melded the Catholic people and the national State, strengthening the idea of Italy as a Catholic nation (Menozzi 2008; Menozzi 2015; Veca 2015), a concept that will be promoted as an alternative to secularization and a few years later as an alternative to the Fascist idea of nation, when in the 1930s the Fascist regime tried to marginalize the Catholic component and build up a totalitarian State. Meanwhile a “political nationalism” took root in Italy and many nationalist reviews were published such as “Il Carroccio”, “La Grande Italia” and in 1911 “L’idea nazionale”, founded by Enrico Corradini, who would have been the leader, together with Luigi Federzoni, of the political movement Italian Nationalist Association (Associazione nazionalista italiana – ANI) (Fonzo 2017; Coccia/Gentiloni Silveri 2001). In 1912 the ANI opened a di- 5 Notes of mons. Bartolomasi published by Lesti 2011, 57. Raffaella Perin 276 alogue with the Catholics thanks to the suspension of the non expedit that was officially extended to all the national territory in 1913 with the Gentiloni Pact, an unofficial agreement between the Prime Minister, Giovanni Giolitti, and the President of the Catholic Electoral Union, Ottorino Gentiloni. Five ANI’s candidates were elected due to Catholic support (Fonzo 2017, 75–76). There is no doubt that a crucial moment in the history of Italian nationalism was the Fascist period. Fascism, in fact, seized the concept of Italian nation and made it coincide with the idea of the Fascist nation6. According to Mussolini, the Italian nation was something that could be described as “spiritual” but also, as a “genealogical community” that could be intended as a “race” (Banti 2011, 153–54). The “Manifesto of races” issued on 14 July 1938 claimed: “The ‘Italian race’ exists. This statement … is based on the very pure blood relation which bonds Italians of today to the generations that have been populating Italy for ages. This ancient purity of blood is the greatest title of nobility of the Italian Nation.” Whereas at the beginning the Catholic Church was sympathetic with a regime that demonstrated affinities in terms of opposition to socialism and liberalism, Pope Pius XI had always a cautious attitude towards nationalism. He condemned the “immoderate” or “exaggerated” expressions of nationalism (Menozzi 2011). In fact, the Fascist racist policy was one of the reasons that made Pius XI change his mind concerning his possible support for the regime. In order to oppose to the racist ideology, he wanted to issue an encyclical on the unity of human race. The document was never published because of the death of the pope, but it expressed his thought that Christian universality could not agree with a nationalism that created a hierarchy of human races while Christian universality claims that all peoples descended from the one unique God (Passelecq/Suchecky 1995; see also Perin, 2016; Vian 2016). Nonetheless, before that occurred in the second half of the 1930ies, in many occasions such as the Ethiopian war, the nationalist Fascist rhetoric could count on the Catholic support. The National-Catholicism raised the acme with the Ethiopian war. The regime launched the “Gold to the nation” campaign in order to fund the war, and people donated their wed- 6 On the authoritarian tendency of the “architect” of the “New State”, Alfredo Rocco, and on the totalitarian idea of the State of Giuseppe Bottai see Gentile 19992, 171f. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 277 ding rings (Ceci 2010). Fascism and Catholicism mixed up, creating a sort of common sense of what being and feeling Italian meant. The Second World War and the fall of Fascism represent another turning for the history of Italian nationalism. In the 1940s, the idea of the nation promoted by the Fascist regime failed. The end of a fatuous nationalism caused a sort of disaffection of Italian people with the same idea of Italian nation, which remained empty of significance. The link between Fascism and nationalism failed in the project to foster an Italian identity. They had brought the nation into a terrible war from which Italy and its civil institutions got out destroyed (Romero 2002). The only institution that survived the war in Italy was the papacy and the Catholic Church which, in fact, Italian people turned to (Chabod 1961, 124–25). In the postwar period the Italian government and intellectuals were not immediately able to restore and settle a new idea of an Italian nation. Among other reasons, this was due to the huge disparity between the North and the South of Italy. In the Italian political context, the decades between the end of the war and the Nineties, are characterized by the predominance of the Christian Democratic party (Democrazia Cristiana). This party had the role of a mediator between the Church and the civil society, and was supported by the Holy See, which fostered the political unity of the Catholics (Durand 2002, 192–93). This pattern, thanks of course also to the democratic system, prevented a new strict connection between nationalism and Catholicism (namely that the vote of Catholics went to the far right). The Christian Democratic Party made every effort to redefine the idea of Italy as a Catholic nation keeping together the concept of universalism and patriotism (Formigoni 2010, 150). In fact, Europeanism was one of the fundamental principles promoted by the Christian Democratic Party, which was inclined to underline the universalism of Christianity in opposition to the particularism of nationalisms that had brought the war. But the idea of a Christian Europe was no more linked to the concept of Christendom (Christianitas) that had characterized the intolerant anti-modern Catholic intransigentism. The “European spirit” was the basis for a supranational project that aimed to go beyond the national order of the States. Three Founding Fathers of the European Union were Catholic: the Italian Alcide De Gasperi, the French Robert Schuman and the German Konrad Adenauer (Cellini 2018, 81). In a speech in 1948 in Brussels De Gasperi talked about the “path of our Western civilization” appealing to “the European alternative” and the commitment of Italy to “voluntarily renounce to her sovereignty in order to collaborate for a united Europe”. Another important turning point was the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989, the end of the Cold War and the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Raffaella Perin 278 The change of the international order and the rise of new nationalisms affected also the Italian discourse on the topic. But in Italy another event pushed towards a new reflection on Italian identity: the end of the so called First Republic in 1993–1994 when investigations brought to unveil a system of generalized political corruption known as “tangentopoli” (Patriarca 2016). In these years new political parties entered the scene of Italian politics: Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi, National Alliance (Alleanza Nazionale, a successor of the neofascist Italian Social Movement) and Northern League (Lega Nord). After a period of general indifference to national identity, in the 1990s the problem of Italian identity and in general the problem of “nation” exploded in political and, as a consequence, in academic discourse. The new debate was revived especially because of the electoral success of Northern League, which demanded the secession of the North (the so called Padania) from the rest of Italy. Italian intellectuals were called to support (and create) the national identity of the new Republic conveying a collective memory of the Italian history (Gozzini 2010). Politicians tried to link the task of historiography to a civic function which caused the reaction of the community of historians who could not agree to a public use of history that would have brought a revision of the past. From 1991 to 2007 cardinal Camillo Ruini, whose ideas regarding the Italian Church were very close to the ones of John Paul II, was the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). After the collapse of Christian Democratic Party, in 1994 pope Wojtyła sent a letter to the Italian bishops, which was clearly inspired by Ruini, in which he said that Italy was a very special nation that had the “duty to defend all over Europe the religious and cultural legacy inserted in Rome by the apostles Peter and Paul” (Galavotti 2011). After Berlusconi won the political elections in 1994, Ruini and the Episcopal Conference realigned praising whatever Berlusconi could do to guarantee the social Christian teaching. It was the endorsement of a political coalition including the Northern League and the nationalist party of National Alliance that had defeated the Italian People‘s Party (which was created from the ashes of the Christian Democracy) previously supported by Ruini. The Pope coming from Poland saw the opportunity to recreate a Christian Europe, encouraging ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church, in opposition to the processes of secularization that were investing the States freed from Communism. This plan was supported in Italy by various political Parties, including the Northern League, which in the early 2000s adopted and supported the idea of a Christian Europe, backing the request for recognition of Europe's Christian roots in the European Union Constitution. Actually, the Northern League had no historical awareness of The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 279 Christian roots. In fact, they formerly propagandized the Celtic roots of the Venetians and the exaltation of the divinity of the river Po. When they realized that people were not happy with a pagan cult, they turned to traditional Catholicism, supporter of the idea of a Catholic Italy, and not inclined to inter-religious dialogue. Therefore, in starting to support a Christian Europe they had a unique goal: opposing Muslim immigration. The idea of a Catholic Italy was an ideal construction, the projection of a coveted confessional State, a model that did not take into account the changes occurred in the meantime within Italian society (Guolo, 2011). Neo-Nationalism without Nationalism In the last decade the political culture has changed. I would like to concentrate on just one political actor that is in my opinion emblematic of the relationship between neo-nationalism and Catholicism in Italy. I refer to the Northern League – which was rebranded in 2017 as “League” – and his leader Matteo Salvini. As previously mentioned, the Northern League was secessionist and has always anchored its ideology on the distinction between “us” and “them”, but what “them” was has changed over time. First, “them” were the people living south of Rome, the Southerners. Now the hostility is no more directed against the south of Italy but against foreigners, immigrants, and the European Union. In fact, now the League has become the new nationalist party in Italy, mouthpiece of “sovereignism”. For this purpose, they changed the name of the Party which is only “League” and no more “Northern”, and therefore also the symbol: the shape of the mythical Antonio da Giussano has remained whereas the “Sun of the Alpes”, the green flower with six petals enclosed in a circle that recalls a Celtic figure, has disappeared together with the word “Padania” with its reference to the former autonomist wish for the regions of the Po Valley. 2 Raffaella Perin 280 Symbols of Lega 7 One week before the national political election, which took place on 4 March 2018, Salvini held a public speech at Piazza Duomo in Milan. During the rally, he took a rosary and showed it to the crowd claiming that he always brings it with him. While brandishing the Christian symbol, he gave a personal interpretation of the Gospel saying that the verse “the last shall be the first” (Matthew 20:16) meant that Italian people would never be the last anymore (a sort of “Italy first”). Then he said that he was going to make a public oath regarding all the 8000 Italian municipalities from the north to the south: “I swear to be faithful to my people, to the 60 million Italians to serve you with honesty and courage.” And while showing the Italian Constitution and the Gospel he continued: “I swear to apply what is provided by the Constitution and respecting the teachings contained in this sacred Gospel.” 7 It must be noticed that the green color that has always characterized the Northern League has switched into blue. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 281 Milan, Piazza Duomo 24 February 2018 The archbishop of Milan, Mgr. Mario Delpini, replied that in political meetings the only topic to be afforded should be politics. Marco Tarquinio, the editor of “Avvenire”, the newspaper of the Italian Episcopal Conference, had to reply to many astonished readers who wrote him after having seen Salvini’s show with Christian symbols. He wrote: “The rosary is ‘medicine’, not an amulet and the Gospel is not a leaflet, it’s life.” (Tarquinio 2018) After the elections, the new government was formed by a coalition between League and Five Star Movement (Movimento 5 stelle), a populist party funded by the comedian Beppe Grillo. On 10 June 2018, the ship Acquarius, a search and rescue vessel of the NGOs SOS Méditerranée and Médicins sans frontières, asked to dock in an Italian harbour with 629 immigrants from Libya on board. Salvini, as Minister of Interior, refused the permission to dock at the Italian coast. The Raffaella Perin 282 ship was allowed to berth in Valencia thanks to the agreement of the Spanish government. Several personalities of the Catholic hierarchy complained against the League’s leader’s order. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council of Culture, tweeted: “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me”, reminding that Salvini had sworn on the Gospel but his policy was not in agreement with the content of the Gospel. The Archbishop of Agrigento and President of Caritas Italy asked: “The European Union must recognize that no one can stop these epochal flows and closing harbours is not the solution. … What would we do next time? Shall we wait that each time a country generously offers its availability? We cannot play with human lives!”. The President of Pax Christi Italy, Mons. Giovanni Ricchiuti, claimed: “Listening to the proud words of self-satisfaction of the ministers of our country for raising their voices is miserable satisfaction”8. The Archbishop of Bologna, Matteo Zuppi, after expressing his complaint about the closed harbours was summoned by negative comments and racist insults against immigrants. The Facebook webpage “You are from Bologna if”, which had reposted Zuppi’s words, was deluged by so many violent comments that it was obliged to delete the post9. The Bishop of Noto said that “all foreigners have the right to be welcomed” but also Archbishops of Milan, Palermo, Turin and the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Gualtiero Bassetti, they all took a public position in defence of immigrants. The famous Italian Catholic magazine “Famiglia cristiana”10 released an entire report on the matter of the ship Acquarius. The cover title employed the expression of Jesus reported in Marc 8:33 but with a slight adaption: “Satan” was substituted by “Salvini”: “Vade retro Salvini”. 8 See other reactions of the Catholic world in P. Lambruschi, «La sconfitta della politica». La Chiesa scende in campo, in «Avvenire», 12 June 2018, p. 4. 9 Other reactions from the Catholic hierarchy and organizations in Aumenta la richiesta di maggiore solidarietà, in “Avvenire”, 13 June 2018, 6. 10 Founded in 1931 by the Pia Società San Paolo, a Catholic religious Congregation committed to spread the Christian message using all technological means. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 283 “Famiglia Cristiana”, 29 July 2018 The European elections held on 26 May 2019 were preceded by a new electoral rally of Salvini at Piazza Duomo, in which Marine Le Pen, leader of the French sovereignist party Rassemblement National, took part. The League’s leader concluded the campaign with a speech, again holding a rosary in his hands, with a reference to the former Popes Wojtyła and Ratzinger, as champions of sovereignism: “We want the Europe of which Pope Benedict XVI spoke, the Europe of which some deny its Jewish-Christian origins”, and with a reference to Pope Francis: “With government action I have given answers with deeds not words. I also say this to Pope Francis, who today said ‘we need to reduce the number of deaths in the Mediterranean’: the government is eliminating the number of deaths in the Mediterranean, with pride and a Christian spirit”. Replying to Luigi Di Maio, the M5s’ other Vice-Premier during the League-M5s government, who stressed that the participants at Piazza Duomo were much less than Raffaella Perin 284 the number expected, Salvini said “We love ‘Madonnina’11 who looks at us from above”. He continued: “I personally entrust Italy, my life and yours to the immaculate heart of Mary who I am sure will lead us to victory”. On the stage was also Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV), who said: “We must defend our nation states, demand more national sovereignty and take responsibility for our countries. Enough diktat from the super-state of the European Union: no more immigration, no more Islam. Salvini is an example”12. The Catholic hierarchy intervened again against the use of Christian symbols for political purposes. The Secretary of State, cardinal Pietro Parolin, alerted that “Politics divides whereas God unifies. Invoking God for ourselves is always dangerous”. Similar expressions came from Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Council of the European Episcopal Conferences. The Jesuit father Antonio Spadaro, director of the Jesuit review “La Civiltà Cattolica” was also very sharp in his posts on Facebook and Instagram regarding the political use of Christian values13. “Avvenire” published a non-signed brief article of comment: “Comparisons and rankings between Popes, ostentation of the Rosary to invoke heavenly help in the polls, proclamations of identity: the League leader Matteo Salvini once again proclaims himself the standard bearer of Catholicism, but of a Catholicism of his own, ‘politicized’ and contradictory, rather distant from the magisterium of the Pope and the universal and Italian Church. One cannot discuss the faith that each one claims to have, but neither it is licit to deform the Gospel message. And with the Rosary one prays, one doesn’t make rallies.” (Avvenire 2019) According to the examples given here, it seems that the Italian Catholic hierarchy, at least at a high level, does not acquiesce the measures inspired by 11 Madonnina is the statue of the Virgin Mary laying on the highest spire of the Cathedral of Milan. While I was writing the Italian Senate approved the discussed security decree (Decreto Sicurezza bis) proposed by Salvini. Immediately afterwards Salvini commented: “It is a beautiful day … and I like that this day falls on August 5th which, for those who have been to Medjugorje, represents the birthday of the Virgin Mary. … I thank you, the Italians and the Blessed Virgin Mary.” There would have been other expressions of thanks to the Holy Mary by the League’s leader from August 2019 until the publication of the present article. 12 All quotations are taken from here: Un semi-flop la piazza dei sovranisti, in: “Avvenire”, 19 May 2019, 9. 13 Other statements were gathered by G. Cardinale, see Cardinale 2019. Cardinal Bassetti’s comments also in Muolo 2019. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 285 a neo-nationalist ideology of the former ruling party, which still winks at her14. On the contrary, the clergy position, namely the position of the base of the ecclesiastical hierarchy is hard to investigate. It probably fluctuates from Salvini’s position to Pope Francis’ positions to whom the Italian ecclesiastics do not dare to oppose openly. A comparison of the Italian case with other national cases could be worthwhile to better understand the position of the Italian Church, which is maybe still influenced more than other national Churches by the Pope’s proximity. Anyway, in a historical perspective we can observe that the Catholic hierarchy is no more inclined to endorse a nationalist policy in Italy, even when its leaders present themselves as the upholders of the Christian society. However, we wonder why Salvini continues to employ Christian symbols in his campaigns if the Italian Church hurls at him every time he does so. Not to mention that the consensus around him and his party continued to grow at least until he brought down the government in August 2019. On the basis of the history of relations between the Church and the Italian State summarized in the first part of this chapter we can try to advance a hypothesis. As pointed out before, the creation of the nation between the 19th and 20th centuries aimed not only at the territorial (re)composition of the peninsula but also at defining the Italian identity. By contrast, the new nationalism is rather an ideology built with reference above all to what is seen under a negative perspective such as immigrants, Muslims and the European Union. Religion is an element that has often been used as a glue in Italian history, especially by nationalist movements, to the point that during Fascism the Holy See reached an agreement with the State, which provided for mutual exploitation. Now Salvini, also in the wake of other sovereignist leaders (e.g. Bannon, Söder, Le Pen, Orbán), is trying to become a champion of Christian values, but inspired by a concept of religion that does not seem to find conformity with that of those who are its direct representatives: the Pope, the bishops, the congregations, the religious and the laity of Catholic organizations. Salvini drums up support from a kind of religiosity that is still widespread in Italy (but clearly not only in Italy [Botti 2019]) that cannot renounce to the exteriority of gestures and symbols and all that devotional apparatus with which the Church has fed her flock for 14 Surely, there are exceptions, for example the bishop of Chioggia, Adriano Tessarollo, who disagreed with “Famiglia Cristiana”, when it released with the cover on Salvini-Satan. Raffaella Perin 286 centuries and that neither secularization nor the Second Vatican Council could sweep away. A religiosity that feeds on devotional images, pilgrimages but also on web pages and magazines such as “Santi e miracoli” or television programs of commercial networks. In short, Salvini has the consent of the most traditional Catholics, who are less favorable to the style of the government of Francis (in fact, Salvini more willingly refers to Benedict XVI). A sociological survey should therefore be carried out on the characteristics of religion and religiosity practiced by most Italians in order to fully understand the consensus around the League of Salvini and the use he continues to make of Christian symbols. The cultured and ecumenical Christianity of the hierarchies and lay movements most closely linked to Francis and inspired by his vision of the Catholic Church will continue to be indignant, rightly, faced with the exploitation of the Gospel, but the scholar who wants to understand the current religious-political relationship in Italy should perhaps look beyond this and into the neo-traditionalist Catholicism, which, as seen before, was formerly allied to the League. The question remains: Is there a neo-nationalist revival in Italy and what does religion have to do with this phenomenon? On closer inspection, Salvini does not propose an idea of what “Italian” is in opposition to what is “not Italian”. Racism towards immigrants, Muslims and Roma is included in the otherwise unexpressed features of “Italianity”. Except for one aspect. In my opinion, Salvini relies (again) on Catholicism as a common feature of the Italian identity. Those symbols that he waved in Piazza Duomo probably aimed to re-propose the idea that Italians have something that still unites them: the Catholic religion. Neo-traditionalist Catholicism is used to convey the fears of people against the élites or immigrants, being they, for the populist rhetoric, the culprit of the oppression felt by the everyman. Therefore, I do not think that Italian people that give their consent to Salvini have suddenly become nationalist. Nonetheless in this “epochal change”, as Francis called it (Pope Francis 2015), people are struggling to understand the new challenges of these times, and the sense of order given by the ancient religious precepts is perhaps more in tune with the sense of security that inspires Salvini’s policy, although the Pope, inspired by the same Gospel as Salvini, said “Wherever you may be, build neither walls nor borders but village squares and field hospitals.” References Avvenire (2018): Aumenta la richiesta di maggiore solidarietà, in: Avvenire, 13 June 2018, 6. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 287 Avvenire (2019): Un semi-flop la piazza dei sovranisti, in: Avvenire, 19 May 2019, 9. Banti, Alberto Mario (2006)2: La nazione del Risorgimento. Parentela, santità e onore alle origini dell’Italia unita, Torino: Einaudi. Banti, Alberto Mario/Ginsborg, Paul (Eds.) (2007): Storia d’Italia. Annali 22. Il Risorgimento, Torino: Einaudi. 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Italia e Stati Uniti, in: Contemporanea 2/2002, 343–349. The Response of the Catholic Church to Neo-Nationalism in Italy 289 Tarquinio, Marco (2018): Il rosario è “medicina”, non amuleto e il Vangelo non è un volantino, è vita, in: Avvenire, 27 February, 2. Traniello, Francesco (2007): Religione cattolica e Stato nazionale. Dal Risorgimento al secondo dopoguerra, Bologna: Il Mulino. Veca, Ignazio (2015): “Le nazioni cattoliche non muoiono”. Intorno alle origini del nazionalismo cattolico (1808–1849), in: Menozzi, Daniele (Ed.): Cattolicesimo, nazione, nazionalismo, Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 11–39. Vian, Giovanni (2016): Il ripensamento dell’antisemitismo da parte di Pio XI. Una chiave di lettura del pontificato?, in: Perin, Raffaella (Ed.): Pio XI nella crisi europea / Pius XI. im Kontext der europäischen Krise, Venezia: EDF, 261–271. Raffaella Perin 290 Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary István Povedák Confined among clever madmen, We suffer, like hidden bread. The eternal love of our captive hearts, The wide world calls us in vain! (Attila József ‘Hungarians’, 1924)1 Introduction “Monks! On your knees, to prayer!” The view still persists in Hungarian political folklore that those words were spoken by Viktor Orbán in 1991, in the first parliament following the change of system. Although it is not possible to prove that he shouted precisely those words, the story is unquestionably based on reality. Bertalan Andrásfalvy, at that time minister for culture and education made the following remarks regarding Viktor Orbán in his speech in parliament on 25 February 1992: “Democracy not only tolerates but also values otherness, the opinion, world-view, party allegiance, culture and origin of others. In the same way as it values itself. I know it is difficult when we are often trying to make the convictions of the other person look ridiculous, even here in Parliament ... when the Christian Democratic side is saying something about religion or the church, the faction leader behind me [Viktor Orbán] shouts: To prayer, or let’s sing the national anthem.”2 Twenty-eight years later, on 13 May 2019 Donald Trump received Viktor Orbán in the White House. At the press conference held in the Oval Office, after words of praise, the US President said to the Hungarian Prime Minister: “And you have been great with respect to Christian communi- 1 1 Attila József (1905–37) was one of the most important lyric poets in Hungarian literature. 2 Andrásfalvy’s speech can be read in the official parliamentary record: https://www. 291 ties. You have really put a block up, and we appreciate that very much.”3 The photo in which Trump welcomes with outstretched arms the visibly happy Orbán soon appeared on the website of FIDESZ (the Hungarian ruling party). The caption quotes the words spoken by Orbán in the Oval Office: “we are very proud to stand together with the United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism, and to protect and help the Christian communities all around the world.”4 On the basis of the media representation, this was a meeting of two leaders who attach importance not only to the protection of national interests, but also to the cause of Christianity, and indeed who openly confess their religion. It is not the intention of the present article to determine whether the ideology of Viktor Orbán, one of the poster figures of the neo-nationalist wave, is ignominious or not; it is not the aim here to adopt a position on questions of current politics.5 Rather than expressing an opinion I consider it more important here to show the process whereby the neo-nationalism that has dominated Hungarian political life since 2010 and the Christian churches with their steadily weakening social base have found each other. As a cultural anthropologist I do not consider it my task to qualify contemporary political happenings, but rather to throw light from several directions on those political processes that can show 1) that the religious orientation of contemporary neo-nationalism has roots not only in the present political circumstances, 2) it appears not only at the level of “high” ideologies and institutional connections, and 3) it cannot be simplified merely to a connection of subordination-superiority in which religion is simply a defenceless tool, but it is propelled by basic human mass demands. Accordingly, in this study I approach the analysis from two angles: on one hand I analyse at the official, institutional level and on the other I examine the empirical dimension of nationalism, the everyday culture that began as a grassroots movement. On the basis of empirical experience in Hungary it is justified to take the two levels into account simultaneously since the neo-nationalism is shaped not only by the rhetoric of party politics but also by cultural products and discursive forms emerging within civ- 3 4 See the image on page 293. 5 After his third election victory – with a two-thirds majority – Orbán’s voters have almost blind trust in him, while researchers of the Central European University or the Hungarian Academy of Sciences that have been the target of political attacks warn of the danger of autocracy. István Povedák 292 il and market frames, that are expropriated in the course of everyday practice (Feischmidt 2014, 20). „we are very proud to stand together with the United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism, and to protect and help the Christian communities all around the world.” Source: ype=3&theater 2 Intertwining. Nationalism and Religion It is well known that religion and nationalism come into contact in many areas and have many common features. It is also known that the appearance of nationalism at the turn of the 18th to the 19th century was closely connected to Christianity. However, the connections between the two cannot be approached uniformly: they can assume various forms in time and space, by denomination and ethnic group. Nationalism was shaped and functioned differently for example in the years of the Cold War on the two sides of the Iron Curtain, or today in Islamic, Jewish or Christian contexts, or even in individual EU member states. What Hayes wrote more than half a century ago remains true for today’s neo-nationalism: “Let me stress, however, that there are variant kinds and degrees of nationalism. Some can be reconciled or allied with historical supernational religion. Others can be utilized to give quasi-religious sanction to an intrinsically materialist and atheist movement like communism. Still others can be religions in themselves, mutually jealous and exclusive.” (Hayes 1960, 18) Although the European Union’s religious indicators are extremely complex and we are well aware that we cannot speak uniformly of “European” religious changes, nevertheless it is as though Hayes was to some degree right when he spoke about how nationalism as a quasi-religion takes the place of religions. Of course, we „we are very proud to stand together with the United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism, and to protect and help the Christian communities all around the w rld.” Source: 372818434307/?type=3&theater Intertwining. Nationalism and Religion It is well known that religion and nationalism come into contact in many areas and have many common features. It is also known that the appearance of nationalism at the turn of the 18th to the 19th century was closely connected to Christianity. However, the connections between the two cannot be approached uniformly: they can assume various forms in time and space, by denomination and ethnic group. Nationalism was shaped and functioned differently for example in the years of the Cold War on the two sides of the Iron Curtain, or today in Islamic, Jewish or Christian contexts, 2 Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 293 or even in individual EU member states. What Hayes wrote more than half a century ago remains true for today’s neo-nationalism: “Let me stress, however, that there are variant kinds and degrees of nationalism. Some can be reconciled or allied with historical supernational religion. Others can be utilized to give quasi-religious sanction to an intrinsically materialist and atheist movement like communism. Still others can be religions in themselves, mutually jealous and exclusive.” (Hayes 1960, 18) Although the European Union’s religious indicators are extremely complex and we are well aware that we cannot speak uniformly of “European” religious changes, nevertheless it is as though Hayes was to some degree right when he spoke about how nationalism as a quasi-religion takes the place of religions. Of course, we can now see that because the classical secularisation theories were not realised in practice, quasi-religious (neo)nationalism does not replace religions but occupies a place beside them. Indeed, in our region, joining forces with institutionalised religion, it offers everyone – the religious and non-religious masses – a basically religious world-view. One that is based on the mythological world-view operating with bipolar oppositions, in which “foreign”, “evil”, “other” forces have conspired to overthrow the “good”, “Christian”, European world order and the “Christian family model”. This Manichean-type black-and-white thinking that runs throughout human history basically functions as a conspiracy theory, based partly on the need for identification/opposition (Rokeach 1960), and with the cognitive characteristic that it is always easier to see things in black and white rather than in the complexity of real causes, and the more uncertain the grasp of cultural/political, etc. processes, the greater the demand for such attractively simple, readily understandable explanations. For this reason neo-nationalist discourse focuses on an enemy image,6 and opposition to it provides the foundations of the neo-nationalist identity. As a consequence of these paradigmatic characteristics – as shown by Gingrich and Banks – neo-nationalism must be regarded as a form of nationalism appearing under the changed social and political circumstances, principally under the influence of globalisation and the transnational processes, and to a great extent as a response to those processes (Gingrich/ Banks 2006). Its basis in society is created largely by the social insecurity of 6 Before the wave of migrants and refugees in 2015 in Western Europe this enemy image appeared mainly as certain immigrant minorities, while in Hungary (in Eastern Europe) it was the Roma. After 2015 the Eastern European discourse was entirely dominated by the super-conspiracy of migrants with the secret intention of destroying the culture (Barkun 2003), providing the point of departure for all political action. István Povedák 294 certain social strata that perceive the “national” as “endangered identity”, and that express the feeling of danger and uncertainty in the national language, in a national narrative (Feischmidt 2014, 15–16).7 In Search of Hungarian Neo-Nationalism However contemporary and recent the examples presented here of the operation of neo-nationalism in Hungary, the phenomenon should not be examined only under the circumstances of the 21st century. We must be aware that Hungarian public thinking and national politics are still under the influence of the “Trianon trauma”, and in the popular culture of neonationalism, rejection of the Treaty of Trianon (4 June 1920) that dismembered the country is practically the wellspring of everything. The “Trianon trauma” forms the foundation of national thinking at the national level: both contemporary neo-nationalist symbolical politics and the neo-nationalist material mass culture turn back towards the Horthy era of the interwar years (1920–1944). A thesis repeatedly expounded at the level of government policy is return to the Christian-nationalist spirit of the Bethlen era (1922–1931), holding up as an example the leading politicians of that time (István Bethlen prime minister, Pál Teleki prime minister, then Kunó Klebelsberg minister for religious affairs and education), and this orientation is also manifested in the restoration of Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian parliament which aims at a perfect recreation of the square as it stood in the last year of the Horthy regime.8 If we examine the materialist side of the neo-nationalist mass culture that appeared after the change of system, then spread explosively largely from Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2004 and the widespread use of the internet by the general public, we find here too that the great majority of the symbols that appear today arose from the irredentism of the interwar years and many of them are revivals of those same symbols. Just as in the Horthy era, the symbols of Greater Hungary, the Calvary of the Hungarian people, symbols referring to its divinely chosen role have appeared on objects of everyday culture. Just as they were close to a century ago, they can be seen today on plates, wall decorations, decorative objects, newspapers, wall hangings, etc. 3 7 Not only Gingrich and Banks, but also Appadurai (2006) and Kalb (2011) have highlighted the importance of social insecurity, fear and anger in generating popular receptiveness for populist ideologies of ethnic or religious neo-nationalism. 8 On the reconstruction of Kossuth tér in Budapest, see: http://hungarianspectrum.o rg/2011/10/26/stopping-time-back-to-the-horthy-regime-kossuth-square-1/. Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 295 recreation of the square as it stood in the last year of the Horthy regime.8 If we examine the materialist side of the neo-nationalist mass culture that appeared after the change of system, then spread explosively largely from Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2004 and the widespread use of the internet by the general public, we find here too that the great majority of the symbols that appear today arose from the irredentism of the interwar years and many of them are revivals of those same symbols. Just as in the Horthy era, the symbols of Greater Hungary, the Calvary of the Hungarian people, symbols referring to its divinely chosen role have appeared on objects of everyday culture. Just as they were close to a century ago, they can be seen today on plates, wall decorations, decorative objects, newspapers, wall hangings, etc. 8 On the reconstruction of Kossuth tér in Budapest, see: Wooden “great Hungary shaped” plates representing irredentist symbols (e.g. map of pre-Trianon Hungary, ancient Sekler-Hungarian “runic” scripts, the doublecross) Photo by I. Povedák, 2013. István Povedák 296 In addition to all these, in the Horthy era there was full agreement between the Christian churches, and even the Jewish denomination and the government9 on that the Hungarian people have the right to recover the territories of Saint Stephen. The feast of Saint Stephen, founder of the Hungarian state (20 August) became the principal national day, and there were frequent references in the religious and political press and discourses to “Hungary, the country of the Virgin Mary”10. As Hanebrink writes: “Hungary’s political leaders made innumerable speeches praising István’s legacy as a Christian ruler ... politicians and public intellectuals insisted that Christian values were essential to Hungary’s recovery. They maintained that Hungarians, shattered and humiliated, needed to remember a fundamental truth: Hungary was a Christian nation. Hungarians, they argued, had lost sight of this truth in the decades before the war and invited disaster. Only by embracing Christianity again could the nation beat back the destructive forces of revolution, regain its sense and purpose, and make the country whole again. In a reconstructed Christian Hungary, Christian values would again dominate national life.” (Hanebrink 2010, 61) This heated Christian nationalism hibernated from 1947/48 for four decades until it gradually reawoke from this state of suspended animation after the collapse of communism and the dismantling of the Iron Curtain. The Triumphant March of Neo-Nationalism The wave of demonstrative religiosity that swelled up after 1989 had long subsided11 when, in the early 2000s, a somewhat more consolidated but still racist and chauvinist mass culture and identity industry with a considerable degree of hatred for Roma people began to emerge from the farright subculture of the 1990s (Glózer 2013). The neo-nationalism that at first built mainly on the intellectual and support basis of the radical rightwing Jobbik party, following the parliamentary elections in 2010 increasingly became a characteristic also of the governing Fidesz party. Indeed, af- 4 9 On how the Jewish denominations supported the irredentism and nationalism of the Horthy era, see Glässer/Zima (2011). 10 According to the legend of Saint Stephen, he dedicated Hungary to the Virgin Mary before his death (Györffy 1994). 11 In the majority of post-socialist countries – including Hungary – there was a sharp rise in religious indicators for a short while after the change of political system. However, this wave ended by the mid-/late 1990s. In Hungary there has been a decline in the religious indicators for the population in the 2000s (Tomka 2005). Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 297 ter the international refugee and migration crisis in 2015, neo-nationalist discourse became the main determining factor of Fidesz that was being radicalised and shaped into an all-right party. Religion in Politics The first aspect of the intertwining of neo-nationalism and religion, one that thanks to reports in the media is most obvious to everyone, comes when politics turns towards religion, involving religion in its ideology and discourses and among its preferred areas to receive support. This can be seen both in the trend that results in a) the visibly increased role and public representation of religious persons with church ties in the top-level political decision-making process; and in b) increased religious references, weight and presence of religious language and symbolism in official political communication, and c) an increase in the volume of church-related projects among the areas given priority for support. In the case of neo-nationalism in Hungary the process has been present on all three planes, with growing intensity, practically since the elections in 2010. At first this appeared to be natural: the principles and activity of the socialist-liberal government in power between 2002 and 2010 had not been in harmony with the aims of the main Christian churches. Of the four churches with the largest following, only the Pentecostal-charismatic Faith Congregation had been a constantly openly committed supporter of the liberal political trend since 1989, while the two biggest churches – the Catholic and Calvinist denominations – obviously supported the Fidesz- KDNP (Christian Democratic People’s Party).12 It was therefore not surprising when, from 2010 Viktor Orbán appointed two theologians to leading government posts. The Catholic Zsolt Semjén – who cultivated good relations with conservative members of the conference of bishops and was even regarded as their political spokesman – became deputy prime minister and minister responsible for national policy. Zoltán Balog, a Calvinist minister, who was already a personal advisor to the prime minister between 1998 and 2002, was appointed state secretary from 2010, then from 2012 to 2018 headed the ministry responsible for culture, education and health, the Ministry of Human Capacities.13 4.1 12 On this, see the next chapter! 13 Already in 2002 Balog and Semjén published an article titled A magyar modell [The Hungarian Model], in which they outlined the vision of the future that con- István Povedák 298 In 2011, the new constitution adopted despite its rejection by all opposition parties, gave a legislative frame to rechristianisation. Accordingly, while individual freedom of conscience can be assured also for those who are not Christians, they are obliged to respect the Christian direction of the state as set out in the constitution and the dominance of cultural Christianity. The constitution contains “references to God, Christianity, the fatherland, the ‘Holy Crown of Hungary,’ and traditional family values, raising opposition fears about the future rights of Hungary's atheists, homosexuals and single-parent families.” According to the extensive international protests, the constitution “forces its Christian ideology on the country and limits civil liberties.”14 Use of the word Christianity in referring to the only path to be followed has become an almost everyday practice among the political leaders and basically with two different contents. We find a) manifestations emphasising the importance of the rechristianisation of Europe and Hungary, and b) speech defining the religious enemy image. An example of the former was when, after the victory in the 2018 parliamentary elections Viktor Orbán concluded his first public speech with the words: “I owe everything to, soli Deo gloria!” (Glory to God alone!)15 But it was not particularly surprising when in 2017 at the national commemoration held for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Orbán declared that “It is a manifestation of the grace of God that Hungary today is led by a committed Christian government.”16 He also uses a religious image when he paints a vision of the future paradise that will be ushered in thanks to the Fidesz government, with the spiritual extension of the Trianon borders: “We want a future not only where everyone has work – we have practically already achieved that – but also one where all forms of work serve the glory of God ... the final and great unification of the nation will tained the long-term plans of Fidesz, including their dissociation from the church policy of “a few western countries guided by the secularist myths of the past century”, the equal standing of church and state, the need for their harmonious cooperation that also meant that if the church undertakes a public task it must be financed in full by the state (Balog/Semjén 2002). 14 Hungary’s parliament passes controversial new constitution. Deutsche Welle 18.04.2011. w-constitution/a-14998392 15 The Soli Deo Gloria also appeared on Orbán’s social media site. https://www.orig 16 lt-es-megerosodott.html Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 299 need the truth that not only makes us free but also keeps us together, and binds together not only the different parts of the nation, but also the Hungarian souls ... We are struggling together and praying together for God to bless the Hungarians.”17 In 2015 Fidesz launched a “national consultation” on “immigration and terrorism”, in which it flooded public spaces in Hungary with giant posters financed from public funds. A counter-campaign soon began in response to the anti-migration political messages displayed on a blue background. Humorous messages using the same background colour and the same font attempted to hold up a distorting mirror to the nationalist, Christian Democratic government. One quoted a passage from the Gospel of Matthew: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Mt 25: 31)18 In this seemingly paradoxical situation the Christian Democratic government intending to defend Christianity was attacked with a biblical quotation in an effort to convince people that their government’s proclaimed religious narratives were only political tools to gain the support it desired. Speeches defining the religious enemy image – in a natural way following the migration crisis – refer to the expansion of Islam, its dangers and potential apocalyptic outcome. This mood is well reflected in the following statement by deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén: “If the Muslim immigrants settle here, we will never be able to rid ourselves of them because there will then be family reunification, with 3–4 wives and 8–10 children, in no time a parallel society will arise. We could become a minority in our own country.”19 All these examples show that on the one hand interpretation of the nation is the subject of rival discourses and on the other that the characteristic and community of this discourse can always be produced with reference to the foreign and otherness. In the words of Verdery, pressure exercised in the direction of homogeneity always attributes significance to such differences as ethnicity, gender, locality and race, that appear as individual forms of difference from the viewpoint of the state’s unifying program 17 lt-es-megerosodott.html 18 kai_szombathelyen 19 at_hazankban/2597312/ István Povedák 300 (Verdery 2004, 385). Besides this, Girard’s scapegoat mechanism can be observed behind the statements that discover some kind of conspiracy (e.g. George Soros, Emmanuel Macron, European liberal parties) as the “cause of the crimes” behind every happening and tendency regarded by the government as negative; they define the enemies of Christian identity against whom they launch a “propaganda crusade”. In possession of overwhelming political support, from 2010 the Orbán regime set about building, step by step, a new economic, ideological, cultural and legal system in which actors loyal to the regime were given the leading role. Among state investments, special attention was paid to preserving and developing the Christian cultural heritage. In the words of Miklós Soltész – the secretary of state responsible for church and nationality relations – in 2019: “While in the western part of Europe churches are being closed one after the other, in Hungary and the Hungarian-inhabited settlements of the Carpathian Basin in the past nine years 2800 churches have been renovated and 120 built with the support of the Hungarian government.”20 Practically all the cathedrals in the episcopal sees have been or are being renovated and at the same time provided with visitor centres, new exhibition spaces and exhibitions. Special support is given to the church educational institutions and Christian education because, as János Lázár, the minister defining the period 2014–2018 declared “the Hungarian successes of the past thousand years depended on whether young Hungarians were Christians and whether they dared to become good Hungarians ... these are the two most important pillars of Hungarian upbringing and Hungarian education”.21 But in addition to all this, among others, a football stadium and sport centre was built from state funds in Szeged, in the diocese of Bishop László Kis-Rigó, a personal friend of Viktor Orbán.22 20 _alatt_a_kormany_tamogatasaval. 21 22 In his youth Bishop Kiss-Rigó was a football goalkeeper. Even as a prelate he continues to be an enthusiastic fan of football. Among others this is manifested in the establishment in his diocese of a football academy with a team that reached the second league in 2019. Bishop Kiss-Rigó and prime minister Orbán share a love of football. Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 301 The Nationalism of Religions Does this mean that religion is the handmaiden of neo-nationalism, nodding to the regime only as a consequence of the material and ideological support? The answer is considerably more complex than that. We have to see not only that the Christian churches, visibly weakening as the census figures indicate, found themselves in a political situation controlled by a government with an explicitly Christian orientation that offered the churches its ideological and material support as a lifebelt, but also what led up to this situation. We must take into account, for example, that 2004 brought a personal and at the same time politically significant success for Viktor Orbán: thanks to the efforts of Zsolt Semjén and the Catholic hierarchy, Pope John Paul II awarded him the Grand Cross (civil division) of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, one of the most prestigious recognitions from the Vatican. From then on, he regarded himself as the unquestionable leader of Christian Hungary and defender of the Christian West. Catholic bishops, priests, monks and civil organisations then openly took a position in support of him, even though he lost two elections between 2002 and 2010 and was not a factor in the power equation. At the same time, due to the corruption scandals of the socialist-liberal government, the financial crisis, the falling standard of living, growing unemployment and the inability of people to repay escalating loans taken out in foreign currency, between 2002 and 2010 broad masses became disillusioned with the liberal government and global capitalism, and also with the European Union that proved incapable of warding off the crisis. The public mood also influenced the Christian churches, strengthening their Fidesz orientation. It definitely cannot be claimed that the Fidesz orientation of the Christian churches dates from after the elections of 2010. However, in that year both the Catholic and the Calvinist churches covertly encouraged their followers to support Fidesz: “We all experience the tragic situation of health care and public education, the widespread impoverishment and the growth of unemployment ... the erosion of the values of the family ... the discrimination faced by our church schools and other institutions from year to year. On top of this is the general corruption and the disillusionment with insti- 4.2 István Povedák 302 tutions ... Our country needs major change, and the elections now offer an opportunity for that.”23 The paradigmatic change occurred in 2010. The Calvinist church that earlier tended to be more in support of Jobbik24, the Catholic church, then from 2015 the Pentecostal-charismatic Faith Congregation that earlier had been quite anti-Fidesz and close to the liberal trend, have all consistently represented the position of Viktor Orbán in both foreign and internal affairs.25 László Kiss-Rigó, Roman Catholic bishop of the Szeged-Csanád diocese said the following about his relationship to Orbán and Fidesz in an interview by a journalist from Magyar Hang [Hungarian Voice]: “I did not support Fidesz. The question arose of which political force was most behind Christian values. At the time and since then that was quite clearly Fidesz. It is the duty of church people to speak about this, just as it is of all decent people … It is true, I have known the prime minister for a long while. – Friends? – Ask the prime minister. I am not worthy to say how famous people whom I respect regard me. We agree on almost all things, and it is morally an honour for me to be able to support such a person.”26 This support can be observed most strikingly in connection with the assessment of the migration question. Although Pope Francis declared already 23 Circular letter of the Hungarian conference of bishops on the election. 23.03.2010. erlevele 24 Jobbik had a number of Calvinist ministers among its members before 2010. 25 A number of former liberal PMs were among the members of the Faith Congregation. The church, with the fourth largest number of members, operates its own radio and television station and publishes a weekly paper. At the time of the first Orbán government (1998–2002) its relationship with Fidesz was distinctly cool. From 2012 under the provisions of the Act on Churches the Faith Congregation was given the status of officially recognised church. Parallel with this the church replaced its liberal political orientation with rapprochement towards the conservative Fidesz. Sándor Németh, the minister at the head of the church has expressed his loyalty to Orbán on a number of occasions, principally in connection with the handling of the migration crisis. Before the 2019 parliamentary elections he openly adopted a position on the side of sovereignism, in face of the “imperialists”, at the same time expressing indignation at the infringement proceedings against Hungary. k-meg-brusszelben-orbannal-szemben-ami-minden-jo-erzesu-magyar-embert-serth et 26 ktorral-a-teljes-letiltott-interju/ Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 303 in 2015 that “with hundreds of thousands of refugees flowing into Europe, Catholics across the continent had a moral duty to help by opening their churches, monasteries and homes as sanctuaries,27 bishop László Kiss-Rigó said to the Washington Post “They’re not refugees. This is an invasion ... They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over ... I’m in total agreement with the prime minister ... The pope, by contrast, ‘doesn’t know the situation’. The situation, as Kiss-Rigó describes it, is that Europe is being inundated by people who are posing as refugees but actually present a grave threat to the continent’s ‘Christian, universal values.’ ... he judged them unworthy of assistance because most of them ‘have money’. They leave rubbish in their wake, he said, and refuse when offered food. ‘Most of them behave in a way that is very arrogant and cynical’.”28 In the light of events, it is not by chance that in spite of the request from the Catholic church, Pope Francis has not visited Hungary. On 1 June 2019 he celebrated mass in Şumuleu Ciuc [Csíksomlyó], the most important place of pilgrimage of all Hungarians, before a crowd of hundred thousand. From the viewpoint of Hungarian Christian democracy, the fact that Şumuleu Ciuc lies 600 km from the Hungarian border, in Transylvania, Romania, rather detracts from the situation. The Popular Culture of Religious Neo-Nationalism An approach differing from previous ones is to analyse neo-nationalism and its religious connections not top-down, from the institutional level, but from the bottom up, from its appearance in popular culture. Although analyses of this kind naturally resemble deep drilling and rarely bring readily quantifiable results, this basically cultural anthropological method is able to throw light on the extent and the way the two intermingle in everyday culture, and the degree to which they become a basis of vernacular world-views. The Hungarian example confirms that what we call neo-nationalism can be discovered not only in state rhetoric, but also to at least the same extent in “civil” forms (Feischmidt 2014, 19), that often appear independently of and before the neo-nationalism of high politics. Thus the 4.3 27 out-refugees/2015/09/07/fcba72e6-558a-11e5-9f54-1ea23f6e02f3_story.html?noredi rect=on&utm_term=.3d24c3977a7b 28 out-refugees/2015/09/07/fcba72e6-558a-11e5-9f54-1ea23f6e02f3_story.html?noredi rect=on&utm_term=.3d24c3977a7b István Povedák 304 neo-nationalism and religiosity appearing in vernacular culture can definitely not be regarded as static, but as Edensor also stressed, national identity is being continuously recreated as a consequence of globalisation, it is embedded in new cultural elements and fertilises new areas, cultural forms and practices (Edensor 2002, 33). This everyday nationhood (Brubaker et al. 2006; Fox/Miller-Idriss 2008) can be found in practically every segment of today’s Hungarian culture, confirming Edensor’s opinion that the forms of nationalism operating today must be sought in popular culture (Edensor 2002). Its religious colouring first appeared in the local ethno-paganism, that from the mid-1990s draws heavily on alternative historical writings emphasising the glorious history and prophetic role of the Hungarian people (Hubbes/Povedák 2014; 2019). Alternative historical ideologies attributing a prophetic role to the Hungarian people were first spread by individuals who had lived in emigration before 1989 (mainly in Argentina that took in persons associated with fascism!) and returned to Hungary after the Iron Curtain came down and started to publish their ideologies on the mysterious origin of the nation. Their “doyen” BadinyJós returned from Argentina, established a university department at Miskolc and published books and articles on the genetic connection between Hungarians, Scythians, Parthians and Sumerians, stating that Jesus was basically of Hungarian origin (Badiny Jós 2003). According to him, Hungarians were the first Christians and their “Scythian Christianity” (curiously resembling Zoroastrianism and Manicheism) was the original Christianity. The ideology, drawing a contrast between Scythian-Hungarian Christianity and “Judeo-Christianity”, contains strong anti-Semitic attitudes and easily found its way to far-right political circles and to neo-pagans who intended to revitalize Hungarian shamanic traditions. These ethno-pagan ideologies affected mainly the base of the radical right-wing parties until Fidesz opened towards the radical right, and they were regarded as an alternative subculture. However, with this political expansion a series of phenomena previously regarded as alternative, radically right-wing became officially supported or accepted by the government. Authors earlier qualified as pseudo-scientific and their writings with quasi-religious characteristics (Hammond 1980) emphasising the national prophetic consciousness, and events (Povedák 2012) based on the folkloresque (Foster/Tolbert 2016) representation of the invented myth of a glorious history that fell outside and in many cases specifically opposed academic scholarship, received state support during the third and fourth Orbán government (2014–18, 2018-). As they won the support of the highly popular Fidesz they began to be covered in the government media and what had been an alternative, radical right-wing subculture has now been transformed into a mass culture in- Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 305 dustry. It can be observed that while earlier the government played the main role in defining Hungarian nationalism, today the grassroots movement of neo-nationalism and the identity policy industry based on it has become at least as important as a determining factor.29 The collective selfjustification made use of the symbolic resources that could serve as sources of pride and dignity (Miller-Idriss 2009).30 A special manifestation of this mingling of neo-nationalism and religion in popular culture, differing from any previous forms, is the personality cult that has arisen around Viktor Orbán. It is true of the Orbán cult too, that if we analyse it only in the context of the contemporary neo-nationalist environment and strongly authoritarian government culture, we could draw mistaken conclusions. The Orbán cult certainly cannot be regarded as an artificial product of the present Orbán regime. Our earlier investigations showed the atmosphere of awaiting a messiah around the person of Orbán already in the period between 2002 and 2010, in which his veneration had already taken on a religious colouring. (Povedák 2014) This did not change after 2010 and it can now be said that a substantial part of the Fidesz support base is made up of not “only the Fidesz voters”, but of Orbán’s personal “faithful”. So, once again we find religious forms, but in this case, they can be interpreted quite differently. For if the veneration of Orbán shows religious patterns, its consequences can also be understood on the basis of religious mechanisms. The slide of politics into the field of religion not only suspends argumentation based on reasoning or the rules of logic, but also attributes an exclusive role to an absolutistic and exclusively emotional attitude that is “beyond reason”, based on the unconditional nature of faith. For it follows from the essence of the religious attitude that all other directions than its own are regarded as mistaken, departures from the true path, a betrayal of the “one and true God”. In this way those who reject Orbán’s patriotic views come to be regarded as “traitors of the nation”, “henchmen of Soros”, people serving the interests of foreign 29 Feischmidt notes that it creates an identity industry that affects many different areas of individual and collective social action, from cultural consumption to philanthropy, from remembrance to sport or tourism (Feischmidt 2014, 13). 30 It is a regrettable consequence that these “alternative knowledges” have preserved their most important characteristics and continue to be strongly anti-academic, with a tendency to conspiracy thinking. And the fact that they have come under the protective umbrella of the neo-national government (indeed, László Kásler, head of the Ministry of Human Capacities himself believes in such ideologies) has considerably increased their influence and the consequences can already be felt in the forced reorganisation or quasi dissolution of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. István Povedák 306 powers (gods). Power acquires a sacral character, “civil religion” (Bellah 1967) becomes a basic criterion, the leader blessed with a sense of mission for his community enjoys absolute respect. What we are actually talking about here is political fundamentalism in a religious guise, the most dreadful examples of which we have already met in the time of the 20th century dictatorships. Conclusion Although Fidesz under the leadership of Viktor Orbán won an absolute majority in all European Parliament and national elections since 2009, its neo-nationalism has not become its exclusive policy. Its overwhelming success does not mean that the earlier forms of nationalism have disappeared or that all Christians, Christian Democrats, nationalists have lined up behind the neo-nationalism. As Katalin Lukácsi, a former KDNP MP31 remarked: “In our country there are two forms of patriotism, Christianity, civil thinking, perhaps even two sets of democratic values. There are two forms of pro-Europeanism and Atlantic commitment, there are even two right wings. One does not willingly acknowledge the existence of the other, and the other barely understands the former. One right wing makes the values mentioned dependent on loyalty to Viktor Orbán – or perhaps I should say – on trust in Viktor Orbán, the other is guided by its own internal compass … It is sad that how individuals judge Viktor Orbán’s policy is a stronger dividing line than whether they regard themselves to be Christian or a citizen.”32 Neo-nationalism (in Hungary) is present not only in the political culture, it also imbues the dimensions of everyday culture. Its religious character is not only the result of an alliance of interests in which either the political side or the church institution participates merely for the sake of the benefit 5 31 Katalin Lukácsi left the KDNP in 2017 when for a short while the FIDESZ-KDNP party alliance adopted a position in opposition to Pope Francis, bought up and closed down Népszabadság, the biggest opposition newspaper and launched an attack against the CEU. 32 Lukácsi, Katalin. Két jobboldal, egy ország. [Two right wings, one country] Magyar Hang, 07.20 – 26.2018, 10. Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 307 inherent in the cooperation; it is rooted more deeply than that.33 There has long been a mass demand from grassroots level for the sacralisation of the nation, that Fidesz as an umbrella party of the right wing has sensed. Similarly, the personality cult of Orbán preceded the emergence of religious neo-nationalism and recognising this he succeeded in creating in the media the image of a celebrity politician (Wheeler 2013) working tirelessly for the fate of his nation and strongly defending it. But paradoxically, the search for an enemy also greatly contributed to development of the religious character, an enemy that was found in the international refugee and migration crisis and what was thought to be the spread of Islam associated with that crisis. However, if we examine the process from the angle of the benefit principle, we do not necessarily find a relationship of subordination in which one side is the user and the other side the means; instead we can often observe a symbiosis in which the borders between the two are blurred. And this is the point where the most important questions arise regarding the regime. What will be the long-term outcome of the intertwining of Christianity and neo-nationalism, because we know that the ideology of neo-nationalism does not rest basically on the creation of enemy images? Which ideology will prove stronger? The nationalisation of Christianity or the Christianisation of nationalism? And finally, will there ever be a Hungarian political culture not based on hatred and a Hungary that does not hate and exclude? References Appadurai, Arjun (2006): Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger, Durham NC: Duke University Press. Balog, Zoltán/Semjén, Zsolt (2002): A magyar modell [The Hungarian Model], in: Egyházakra vonatkozó hatályos jogszabályok gyűjteménye [Compendium of Regulations in Force Applying to the Churches], Budapest: Nemzeti Kulturális Örökség Minisztériuma. Badiny Jós, Ferenc (2003): Jézus király a Pártus herceg [King Jesus Prince of Partians], Budapest: Magyar Ház. Barkun, Michael (2003): A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press. 33 How much political capital the government has acquired by emphasising Christian identity is itself a question in Hungarian society that is increasingly turning away from religions. István Povedák 308 Bellah, Robert N. (1967): Civil Religion in America, in: Daedalus. Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 96 (1), 1–21. Brubaker, Rogers/Feischmidt, Margit/Fox, Jon/Grancea, Liana (2006): Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town, Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press. Edensor, Tim (2002): National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life, Oxford, Berghahn. Feischmidt, Margit (Ed.) (2014): Nemzet a mindennapokban. Az újnacionalizmus populáris kultúrája [Nation in Everyday Life. The Popular Culture of Neonationalism], Budapest: L’Harmattan – MTA TKI. Foster, Michael Dylan/Tolbert, Jeffrey A. (Eds.) (2016): The Folkloresque: Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World, Logan, Utah State University Press. Fox, Jon/Miller-Idriss, Cynthia (2008): Everyday Nationhood, in: Ethnicities 8 (4), 536–562. Gingrich, Andre/Banks, Marcus (2006): Neo-nationalism in Europe and beyond. Perspectives from Social Anthropology, New York/Oxford: Berghahn. Glózer, Rita (2013): A ‘cigányok’ mint ellenség diszkurzív konstrukciói a hazai online szélsőjobboldali médiában [‘Gipsies as Enemies’ Discourse-constructions in Hungarian Extreme-right Online Media], in: Feischmidt, Margit et al. (Eds.): “Csak másban”. Romareprezentáció a magyar médiában [“Only in Other” Representation of Romani in Hungarian Media], Budapest/Pécs: Gondolat Kiadó, 123–140. Glässer, Norbert/Zima, András (2011): Unchangingness In Change: The Changed Self-image of Budapest Jewish Groups in the Interwar Years as a Result of the Changed Borders in the Carpathian Basin, in: Acta Ethnographica Hungarica 56 (1), 63–92. Györffy, György (1994): King Saint Stephen of Hungary, Highland Lakes, N.J.: Atlantic Research and Publications. Hammond, Phillip E. (1980): The Conditions for Civil Religion. A Comparison of the United States and Mexico, in. Bellah, Robert Neely/Hammond, Phillip E. (Eds.): Varieties of civil religion, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 40–85. Hanebrink, Paul (2010): Christianity, Nation, State. The Case of Christian Hungary, in: Berglund, Bruce R./Porter-Szűcs, Brian (Eds.): Christianity and Modernity in Eastern Europe, Budapest/New York: CEU Press. Hayes, Carlton J. H. (1960): Nationalism: A Religion, New York, The MacMillan Company. Hubbes, László Attila/Povedák, István (2014): Competitive Pasts. Ethno-paganism as a Placebo-effect for Identity Reconstruction Processes in Hungary and Romania?, in: Religiski, Filozofiski Raksti (17), 133–152. --- (2019): New National Mythologies: Re-Paganization of Christian Symbolism in Hungarian and Romanian Ethno-Pagan Culture, in: Roussou, Eugenia/Saraiva, Clara/Povedák, István (Eds.): Expressions of Religion. Ethnography, Performance and the Senses, Zurich: LIT Verlag, 245–290. Religious Neo-Nationalism in Hungary 309 Kalb, Don (2011): Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class. Working-Class Populism and the Return of the Repressed in Neoliberal Europe, in: Kalb, Don/Halmai, Gábor (Eds.): Headlines of nation, subtexts of class. Working Class Populism and the Return of the Repressed in Neoliberal Europe, New York/Oxford: Beghahn, 1–36. Miller-Idriss, Cynthia (2009): Blood and Culture. Youth, Right Wing Extremnism and National Belonging in Contemporary Germany, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Povedák, István (2012): MOGY. A Vessel Ritual in Post-Socialist Hungary, in: Traditiones 41 (1), 147–158. --- (2014): One from us, one for us. Viktor Orbán in Vernacular Culture. In. Povedák, István (Ed.): Heroes and Celebrities in Central and Eastern Europe, Szeged: MTA-SZTE Vallási Kultúrakutató Csoport, 153–171. Rokeach, Milton (1960): The Open and Closed Mind, New York: Basic Books. Tomka, Miklós (2005): Church, State and Society in Eastern Europe. The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington D.C. 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In 1872, the pan-Orthodox Synod in Constantinople condemned “phyletism”, i.e. religious nationalism, as a modern ecclesial heresy: the Church should not be confused with the destiny of a single nation or a single race. But the official doctrine notwithstanding, the spectre of nationalism continues to haunt the Orthodox Churches. The Russian Orthodox Church, which will be in the focus of this chapter, is no exception. Orthodox Christianity, Nationalism, Neo-Nationalism During the Balkan Wars of the 19th century, the Orthodox nations under Ottoman rule did not only free themselves from the foreign yoke in their liberation struggles; they also strove to create national Orthodox Churches, independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople which remained under the control of the Turks. It is this religious nation-building nationalism, which the Orthodox Synod of 1872 denounced as heresy. The creation of autocephalus Orthodox Churches (in Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece) threatened the status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. History repeats itself, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, also the Orthodox Churches in countries under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate sought independence, namely in Estonia and in Ukraine. The Ukrainian strive for the creation of a national Orthodox Church falls into the pattern of the religious nation-building of the 19th century, and the protests of the Patriarch of Moscow against this move in 2018 echo the Patriarch of Constantinople a century and a half earlier. Today, just like then, the accusation of religious nationalism is rooted in anxiety over loss of status and influence for the dominant Orthodox Patriarchate in the region. 1 311 However, also the Russian Orthodox Church’s opposition to the transition of churches formerly under its jurisdiction to autocephalous churches is motivated by a religious political idea: the idea of the “Russian World” (Russki Mir). The Russian World concept is the expression of a political religion built around Orthodoxy, the Russian language, and the imperial legacy of the Russian Empire. Inasmuch as it is imperial, it goes against the grain of standard definitions of nationalism. The study of the Russki Mir concept can add one additional facet to the conceptual lens of neo-nationalism explored in this volume: religious neo-nationalism can be transnational and civilizational. Such a transnational and civilizational neo-nationalism develops around the idea of a religious civilizational identity against the ‘Other’: in the Orthodox context the ‘Other’ is the West, in the Western Christian context, the other is Islam. The “Russian World” One has to understand the concept of Russki Mir in the context of past empires – the past Tsarist Russian Empire and the past Soviet Union. The Russian World is an imaginary space that extends beyond the borders of the Russian Federation. It is said to include ethnic Russians or, more correctly, native Soviet citizens and their descendants, in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Notwithstanding this primarily ethnic and political definition, its marker is held to be Orthodoxy Christianity. The Russian World is treated by some like a real territory with physical boundaries, the “real” Russia as opposed to the Russian Federation, which by a mistake of history finds itself confined to the political borders of the present state. Through the concept of Russki Mir, Russian nationalism becomes something which scholarship usually sees as the opposite of the nationalist idea: it becomes imperial (Dunlop 1995). According to the definition put forward by the Russki Mir Foundation (established by President Putin in 2007), the concept refers to a community of ethnic Russians and citizens of the Russian Federation of non-Russian ethnic origin, the Russian diaspora, Russian-speaking foreigners, and all the people who express concern about Russia’s future. The Russki Mir Foundation, in particular through its website, makes Russki Mir sound a bit like the Russian version of the German Goethe Institute or the French Instituts Français. A more substantive definition is put forward by the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, who defines Russki Mir in terms of a “Russian civilization” with a unique civilizational identity based on common language, faith and 2 Kristina Stoeckl 312 culture and created by a “strong and independent Rus”, the “successor to the Byzantine Empire” and continuing the “historical heritage from Rome to Constantinople to Kiev and finally to Moscow” (cited in Naydenova, 42). From the perspective of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russki Mir is therefore akin to the concept of canonical territory, that is, the territory over which the Moscow Patriarchate claims ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Conflicts over canonical jurisdictions have erupted in numerous peripheral zones of the Moscow Patriarchate’s claim-zone: in Moldova and Transnistria, in Ukraine, in Lithuania and Estonia, and also in Western Europe. The concept Russki Mir is only the last in a long list of concepts which expressed Russian nationalistic ideas in the past: One precedent for Russki Mir was the notion of Moscow the Third Rome, which in the middle-ages founded the myth of Russia as successor to the Byzantine Empire. Another was the concept “Orthodoxy, monarchy, and nation” (pravoslavie-samoderzhavie-narodnost’), en vogue in Slavophile circles in the late 19th century (Hovorun 2018). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, during the 1990s, Orthodox fundamentalists devised yet another key-concept “Orthodox state-power” (Pravoslavnaya Derzhavnost). For Russian Orthodox fundamentalists, Russian society and the Russian Orthodox ecclesiastical community were two basically identical categories. They imagined Russian history in terms of a golden age to which Russia must return. This implied the restoration of the pre-1905 Russian empire, full-fledged autocracy, imperial structures, a privileged status for the Russian Orthodox Church, and state- Orthodox paternalism (Verkhovsky 2003). The term Russki Mir connected to all of these preceding concepts, but in order to understand its persuasiveness in post-Soviet Russia, one has to consider one more factor. What is maybe less known, but of utmost importance for understanding the phenomenon of Russki Mir today, is that Russian Orthodox nationalism not only has precedents in pre-revolutionary Russia and the Orthodox world of civilizational ideas, but also in the Soviet period. During Soviet times, dissent with the Soviet regime came in two kinds: there were those dissidents who disagreed with the Communist regime for reasons commonly described as “liberal”, “democratic” or “human rights oriented”, and there were others who disagreed with the Communist regime for reasons summed up as “nationalist”, “conservative”, “traditionalist”, even “racist”. In the literature, this Soviet nationalist movement is usually described with the term “the Russian Party” (Russkaya Partiya). Alexander Mikhailovsky has described the Russian nationalism of the 1960s and 70s as a “pressure valve” (Mikhailovsky 2015). The ideology of the Russian Party included ideas from Slavophilism; nostalgia for old rural Russia destroyed by Soviet collectivization; it produced a popular lit- The Russian Orthodox Church and Neo-Nationalism 313 erary genre called “village prose”; some sort of Orthodox religious revivalism; and even a kind of ecological agenda directed against the land-moving mega-projects in Siberia. All in all it was a thriving intellectual movement, which grew into a veritable opposition from the right to the regime. The majority of Russian nationalists during the Soviet period rejected the idea of dismantling the Soviet Union. In their minds, every imperial acquisition was incorporated into Russia’s identity. They wanted the Soviet Union, an empire, to survive. In their search for the ideological basis for the “Great Russia” they planned to overthrow communism and establish the new political order on the principles of Orthodox Christianity. Orthodoxy should become the ideological basis for “Great Russia” (Mikhailovsky 2015). This is precisely where Russki Mir came into play today: the term merged the idea of superiority of the Russian nation with the imperial legacy of Tsarist Russia and with the hegemonic legacy of the Soviet Union. Russki Mir was not an invention of the post-Soviet Russian present, not a Russian culture-initiative, but the rebranding of a set of ideas that had been in place for a long time and that had been shared in the past among elite circles of the Soviet Nomenclature and Russian nationalist dissidents. These ideas determine today the geopolitical and cultural outlook of political elites clustered around Vladimir Putin and the current leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. A Neo-Nationalist Institution One starch defender of the idea of the Russian World is World Russian People’s Council (Vsemirniyj Russkij Narodnyj Sobor, VRNS), founded in May 1993 and active until today. The VRNS was founded as non-governmental organization and “civil-society-branch” of the Moscow Patriarchate. Its presidency is held by the acting Patriarch of Moscow and it has its seat in the Danilov Monastery on the premises of the Patriarchate. According to its statutes, the VRNS seeks to “promote the spiritual, cultural, social and economic revival of Russia and the Russian people”, to “contribute to the strengthening of Russian statehood, strengthening the role of the Orthodox Church in the life of society”, to “facilitate the moral improvement of Russian society” with the help of Russia’s traditional religions, and to “promote the peaceful and non-violent unification of the Russian people” (VRNS 1993). The imperialist ambition of the VNRS is based on the idea that there exists a sphere of the Kremlin’s political influence and interest beyond national borders, extending, in particular, to territories inhabited by ethnic Russians in Georgia, the Baltics, Ukraine and Belorussia 3 Kristina Stoeckl 314 (Richters 2013). “Greater Russia”, understood in this way, coincides with those areas to which the Moscow Patriarchate lays claim as its historical canonical territory. The expressed aim of the VNRS “to promote the peaceful unification of the Russian people” must be understood as a reference to both of these territorial concepts – greater Russia and the Patriarchate’s canonical territory – and is therefore a clear indicator of the religious nationalism and the imperialist expansionism at play in the Council. Hovorun has called the World Russian People’s Council the “ecumenical council” of Russia’s new civil religion: Russki Mir. It is in the battlefields in Eastern Ukraine where this agenda has proven terrible effectiveness. Russki Mir is the ideological container that collects Eastern Ukrainian separatists, Russian right-wing militias, Orthodox fundamentalist priests, nationalist intellectuals, and all other sorts of people that identify with the cause. The ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine expresses itself with symbols and keywords of Orthodox Christianity. Hovorun has described the content of a video clip on YouTube, in which a priest teaches the newly recruited soldiers of the “Russian Orthodox Army” why and how to use their weapons. We hear him say: “The Antichrist is coming to the Holy Rus. What we’re seeing now – it’s primarily a spiritual war, because the Antichrist comes to Holy Russia, against Orthodoxy.” Then the priest passes to the practical lesson of how to win the war against the Antichrist, whom he apparently associates both with the West and with the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians seeking to maintain their country’s territorial integrity: “I will teach you how you should properly load cartridges— to make bullets flowing into the goal, to destroy the enemy.” He continues, “So the Holy Fathers teach us that when you take the cartridge and load your weapon you should utter the following words of prayer: Blessed Mother of God, save us. Holy Father Nicholas, pray for us. Holy Tsar Nicholas, pray for us.” Hovorun writes that this perverse use of prayer illustrates how the ideology of the Russian World adopts the powerful traditions of Orthodox Christianity, but in a way essentially antithetical to Christianity (Hovorun 2014). The presence of paramilitary militias in Eastern Ukraine is an ascertained fact, as is the ideological background to their engagement (Barbashin and Thoburn 2014). In an instance of striking and indeed shocking ideological coherence, in spring 2019 the VRNS elected Konstantin Malofeev to the function of vice-speaker. The oligarch Malofeev has been put on the list of individuals sanctioned by the United States and Western countries after the Russian annexation of Crimea because said to finance Russian fighters in Eastern Ukraine. Malofeev has also collaborated with the extremist thinker Alexander Dugin, who openly supported the military aggres- The Russian Orthodox Church and Neo-Nationalism 315 sion in Ukraine and sees himself as the intellectual leader of a populist uprising against liberal democracy across Europe (Laruelle 2006). In other words, today the VRNS, the institution that formulated post-Soviet neo-nationalism, is headed by the man who appears to have provided the financial means for its paramilitary implementation and ideological justification. Conservative Ecumenism in a Neo-Nationalist Key The paramilitary implementation of civilizational Orthodox neo-nationalism is not the only context in which the oligarch Malofeev plays a central role; he is also a key person behind transnational networks of neo-nationalists. In their introduction to this volume, the editors point to the rise of EU-critical movements across Europe, not only in the UK, where Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party has successfully led a campaign to vote for a ‘Brexit’, but also in the Netherlands (Geert Wilders’ ‘Partij voor de Vrijheid’), in France (FN), in Germany (AfD), in Italy (Lega), in Austria (FPÖ), in Poland (PiS) and in Hungary (Fidesz). Gringrich and Banks label these parties “neo-nationalist” (Gingrich/Banks 2006), because they appear like a defensive retraction into the seemingly secure borders of the nation-state (Eger and Valdez 2015). However, while they seek the security of the nation state in their desire for legal sovereignty, the very same actors actively connect among each other and across national borders. The uniting feature between these parties is their rejection of migration and Islam in the name of a European “Christian civilization”. They form a curious network of conservative ecumenists in a neo-nationalist key. The term “conservative ecumenism” has been coined by Andrey Shishkov (Shishkov 2017) in order to denote newly emerging alliances between the most conservative branches of different Christian denominations, who rally around shared causes like opposition to same-sex marriage or the ban on abortions. From a North American perspective, the interdenominational collaboration between likeminded religious actors at the expense of denominational loyalties is a common feature of conservative norm-mobilization (Hunter 1991, 86–88). In the Russian Orthodox and in the broader European context however, the interdenominational (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical) collaboration between conservative religious actors actually constitutes a novelty. It also constitutes a novelty that these conservative religious actors are now courted by populist parties on the right in an attempt to give themselves a conservative, traditionalist and “Christian” profile against Muslim migrants and against the EU. 4 Kristina Stoeckl 316 And this is where one finds once again Malofeev, who has been rewarded by the VRNS for his “support” of the Russian World. Besides sponsoring paramilitary activities in Eastern Ukraine, Malofeev also finances conservative civil society activism that connects right-wing populist parties across Europe and conservative Christian groups. He is, in particular, among the sponsors of the World Congress of Families (WCF), a transnational non-governmental organization that promotes a traditional, heterosexual family model and conservative gender roles while opposing abortion, surrogate motherhood, same-sex marriage and any other egalitarian measures in the policy area of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Russian chapter of the WCF is called Vsemirnyj Kongress Semej, and it is directed by a close associate of Malofeev (Shekhovtsov 2017). The Russian participation was visible during the WCF’s annual conference entitled “The Wind of Change: Europe and the Global Pro-Family Movement” in Verona, Italy, in March 2019. The event marked a striking identity change of one of Europe’s most successful right-wing populist parties, the Lega. Most of the European populist parties on the right did not start as conservative parties with a religious profile; the Lega Nord of Umberto Bossi worshipped the Gods of the river Po and kept a distance from Catholicism. The present leader of the Lega, Matteo Salvini, champions a cross or a rosary at every occasion and vows to defend “Christian Italy” against Muslim migrants. He has also adopted a conservative pro-family agenda, despite a personal history that does not recommend him as devout Catholic. The WCF in Verona was the thirteenth congress organized by this group, with the previous recent congresses having taken place in Moldova (2018), Budapest (2017), Tbilissi (2016), Salt Lake City (2015) and Moscow (2014). If the World Russian People’s Council is, as Hovorun defined it, the “ecumenical council” of the Russki Mir, then the World Congress of Families is the ecumenical council of European Christian neonationalism. And as of 2019, the two organizations are connected, however indirectly, through the figure of Konstantin Malofeev. In the past, the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate have condemned nationalism out of a mix of self-interest and defence of Christian doctrine against heresy. In what is probably a similar mix of motives, also the Catholic Church has reacted to the rise of religious neo-nationalism among the populist parties in Europe. In a long article in La Civiltà Cattolica and a quote worth quoting at full length, the Catholic theologian Hollerich sends a message of the Vatican against neo-nationalism in a Christian guise: The Russian Orthodox Church and Neo-Nationalism 317 “Steve Bannon and Aleksandr Dugin are the priests of populism which invokes a false pseudo-religious and pseudo-mystical reality that negates the central message of Western theology, i.e. the love of God and the love of the neighbour. Love cannot exist without freedom, and freedom is the indispensable condition of human interaction, of political action and responsibility. Without freedom our faith does not exist. Let us therefore stir up the sense of freedom, responsibility and solidarity in our citizens, let us give priority to lived faith, which lives in relationships, a faith that does not require sacrifices on the altar of Baal.” (Hollerich 2019) The religiousness of the populists is, in other words, condemned as a heresy by the Catholic Church, just like religious nationalism has been condemned as heresy by the Orthodox Churches in the past. Religious nationalism as well as religious neo-nationalism, on the long run, undermine the Churches. They turn religion into political religions. Conclusion Recent history teaches that neo-nationalism can be civilizational (“Russian World”, “Christian Europe”) and transnational (networks of populist parties on the right across Europe and Russia). Neo-nationalism therefore, as much as it separates, attacks and antagonizes, also creates ties across national and even confessional borders. Religious neo-nationalism has turned out to be a unitive force for Western European populist parties on the right, who rally against ‘Others’ variously defined as the European Union, Islam, or simply “liberalism”. These right-wing populist parties and many of the conservative Christian groups who associate with them look with admiration to Putin’s Russia and some of the figures that have defined Russia’s current ideological and institutional shape. Civilization and transnational Christian neo-nationalism is an ideology and it has already proved its violent potential, both in territorial conflicts like in Eastern Ukraine as well as through the radicalization of individual terrorists who identify with the civilizational cause against the proclaimed “enemy” (in the case of the attack in Norway in 2011 against secular liberal youth, in the case of the attack in New Zealand in 2019 against Muslims). What a volume like this one, which collects the study of religion and neo-nationalism across a wide range of countries, may possibly achieve is the complete analysis of the phenomenon and of the challenges it poses to liberal democratic society and the mainstream churches alike and the search for efficient responses. 5 Kristina Stoeckl 318 References Barbashin, Anton/Thoburn, Hannah (2014): Putin’s brain. Alexander Dugin and the philosophy behind Putin’s invasion of Crimea, Foreign Affairs, 31 March 2014, (accessed 4 December 18). Dunlop, John B. (1995): The Russian Orthodox Church as an ‘Empire-Saving’ Institution, in: Bourdeaux, Michael (Ed.): The Politics of Religion in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, Armonk/New York: M.E. Sharpe, 15–41. Eger, Maureen/Valdez, Sarah (2015): Neo-Nationalism in Western Europe, in: European Sociological Review 31 (1), 115–30. Gingrich, Andre/Banks, Marcus (Eds.) (2006): Neo-Nationalism in Europe and Beyond. Perspectives from Social Anthropology, New York/Oxford: Berghahn. Hollerich, Jean-Claude (2019): Verso le elezioni europee, in: La Civiltà Cattolica, II (4052), 105–17 ( e/). Hovorun, Cyril (2014): The Church in the Bloodlands, First Things, 01.10.2014, (accessed 11.11.15). Hovorun, Cyril (2018): Political Theologies. The Unorthodoxies of the Church Coerced, Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Hunter, James Davidson (1991): Culture Wars. The Struggle to Define America, New York: Basic Books. Laruelle, Marlene (2006): Aleksandr Dugin. A Russian Version of the European Radical Right?, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Kennan Institute Occasional Papers Series 294. Mikhailovsky, Alexander (2015): The pressure valve. Russian nationalism in late Soviet society, Eurozine, 09.12.2015, (last accessed 01.02.16). Naydenova, Natalia (2016): Holy Rus. (Re)Construction of Russia’s Civilizational Identity, in: Slavonica 21, no. 1–2 (2016/07/03), 37–48. 3617427.2017.1319120 Richters, Katja (2013): The Post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church. Politics, Culture and Greater Russia, London/New York: Routledge. Shekhovtsov, Anton (2017): Russia and the Western Far Right. Tango Noir, London/New York: Routledge. Shishkov, Andrey (2017): Two Ecumenisms. Conservative Christian Alliances as a New Form of Ecumenical Cooperation, in: State, Religion and Church 4 (2), 58–87. Verkhovsky, Alexander (2003): The Orthodox in Russian Nationalist Movements, SOVA Center, (last accessed 02.08.2006). VRNS (1993): Ustav, Website of the World Russian People's Council, (accessed 22.01.2013). The Russian Orthodox Church and Neo-Nationalism 319 Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans Dino Abazović “At the end of twentieth century, people spoke as if the Balkans had existed forever. However, two hundred years earlier, they had not yet come into being. It was not the Balkans but ‘Rumeli’ that the Ottomans ruled, the formerly ‘Roman’ lands that they had conquered from Constantinople. The Sultan’s educated Christian Orthodox subjects referred to themselves as ‘Romans’ (‘Romaioi’), or more simply as ‘Christians.’ To Westerners, familiar with classical regional terms such as Macedonia, Epirus, Dacia and Moesia, the term ‘Balkan’ conveyed little. ‘My expectations were raised,’ wrote one traveller in 1854, ‘by hearing that we are about to cross Balkan; but I discovered ere long that this high-sounding title denotes only a ridge which divides the waters, or a mountain pass, without its being a necessary consequence that it offers grand or romantic scenery.’” (2007, xxv) The above cited passage from Mark Mazower’s Short history of the Balkans is an illustrative example of the initial argument that the very definition of the “Balkans” implies a great deal of things but should by no means be understood as clear and self-evident; neither could what would be designated as its “Western” part be understood as clear. However, this is not a unique uncertainty in history – the situation has been even more complex in other cases, for example, during the period when “Turkey in Europe” (yet another commonly and frequently used syntagma for that designated part of European territory) needed to be renamed due to political reasons – in particular after the end of the war known as the “First Balkan War” (1912– 1913). As a matter of fact, the end of the First Balkan war was de facto the end of the Ottoman rule in Europe, so since then the space between the Adriatic and the Black Sea has been termed “the Balkans”, or “Balkan Peninsula”, and started to be in official use in political and diplomatic circles of the European capitals, alongside scholarly works, journals and newspapers. “The Balkans” firstly included Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro. Not much later, the terminus technicus included Albania as well, and then all variants of Yugoslavia – finally, after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, it included Mace- 321 donia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, and sometimes Slovenia too. In the new millennium one can observe a new turn-out, again either due to geopolitical reasons or reasons of “political correctness”, so in the official diplomatic and political communication linked to present-day European Union, there is almost no “the Balkans”1, but South-Eastern Europe instead. Be that as it may, as Amila Buturovic argues, “… from the very start ‘the Balkans’ was more than a geographical concept. The term, unlike its predecessors, was loaded with negative connotations – of violence, savagery, primitivism – to an extent for which it is hard to find a parallel. ‘Why savage Europe?’ asked the journalist Harry de Windt in his 1907 book. ‘Because … the term accurately describes the wild and lawless countries between the Adriatic and Black Seas’.” (Buturovic 2006, 351) I cannot go into a more detailed explication of the semantics and contextuality in terms of terminology, especially not in terms of geography and geopolitics, but I think it is necessary to give insight into the problem, namely because Maria Todorova’s (1997) most powerful point concerning the Wars of Yugoslav Succession (the late Twentieth Century) is one about terminology as well: “These wars brought back Balkanism with a vengeance. Even though it was only the Yugoslavs who were involved in the war, journalists called them Balkan wars and restored the term ‘Balkanization’ to its unfortunate preeminence. But Todorova persuasively argues that these wars, rather than invoking processes that are unique to the Balkans – ‘these people have been fighting each other for hundreds of years’ – constitute instead the ultimate Europeanization of the peninsula. Homogenization has been a basic theme of European history, not just in post-French Revolutionary times, but from the crusades, the reconquista, the expulsion of Jews from England, and so forth.” (Stokes 1997) 1 The Imagining the Balkans (1997) is a well-known work of Maria Todorova concerning the history of the Balkans that deals with the region’s inconsistent (but usually negative) image inside Western culture, in which she develops a theory of Balkanism. Brief outline of a major Todorova argument is as follows – “The central idea … is that there is a discourse, which I term Balkanism, that creates a stereotype of the Balkans, and politics is significantly and organically intertwined with this discourse. When confronted with this idea, people may feel somewhat uneasy, especially on the political scene ...” (Todorova 1999). Dino Abazović 322 That I have discussed the terminological problem of the later part of this chapter title, does by no means imply that the former – religious nationalism – were unambiguous or less complex. Accordingly, the explication that follows will focus precisely on the phenomenon of “religious nationalism”, that is, contextualization through the discussion of the situation in the societies and the states in the Western Balkans, or Balkan Peninsula, or South-Eastern Europe … All these societies, regardless of their state structure and character of government, in the relatively recent past, have been marked with a religious pluralism, sometimes in greater ratio (e.g. Kingdom of SHS, First and Second Yugoslavia, Albania) or to a lesser extent (e.g. Turkey and Greece).2 Religious pluralism is prior to all a consequence of the general modus operandi of the Ottomans that ruled over the conquered territories, and it has been all about the division of the population according to the millet system. The Millet system separated populations based on the subjects’ religious affiliation. No other characteristics has been used, be that ethnic, linguistic or any other specifics, but the religion. However, although in the first period of Ottoman rule the religious affiliation of the population was almost completely in the line with its (sometime earlier, and sometime later, differentiated) ethno-national composition, this was not necessarily reflected in the difference of social status – e.g. both the military and the feudal elite in the first period of governance were equally Christians and Muslims, as it was the case with their subordinates, that were, rayah (tax-paying lower class) (Bugarel 2004). Only in the later period of the Ottomans’ rule, and certainly when it comes to large landowners, the majority of these landowners were Muslims, while the lower class were Christians (both Orthodox and Catholic). But it is more important to point out here that the millet system was not related to the territorialisation of the population, but to the economic and social structure (and above all to the collection of taxes). In political terms, religious identity has become an important element during the second part of the Ottoman rule period, when a national idea is strongly articulated among the population, above all among the Slavs (Malcolm 1994, Ramet 1996, Allcock 2000, Mazower 2003, Bugarel 2004). National awakening 2 Certainly, after the dissolution of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the former territory of a religiously heterogeneous population was split into the territories of the successor states, so today situation is that states are either homogeneous (Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo) or heterogeneous (Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia). Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans 323 ultimately aimed at liberation from the Ottoman rules and at exercising rights to have independent states. However, even in the immediate aftermath of the liberation from the Ottomans, and especially when the Treaty of Berlin allowed the Austria- Hungary Empire to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was a specific shift in political relations based on religious identities, but with a clear and consistent respect for the legacy of the previous period. For example, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, already after the Annexation in 1910, Austria- Hungary adopted the country’s first Constitution (modelled according to Moravia Agreement), which introduced into the province’s political life a system of proportional representation of the “three main denominations” (31 seats in parliament were reserved for Orthodox MPs, 24 for Muslim MPs and 16 for Catholic MPs). It is extremely important to note here that religious identities are now used not only for the purpose of recognizing religious rights and freedoms, but also as a criterion for securing collective rights as such (ethnic/national prior to all). Other minority groups (except Jews3) are not granted collective rights unless they are based on religion4! Be that as it may, in the abundant noteworthy literature that investigates the specificities of the historical periods through which the region has evolved, the religious affiliation of the population appears as a constant in the analysis, regardless of the author’s scholarly approach or the disciplinary orientation and foundation of the text. This scholarly attention for religion is not unusual, given the place and role that the religious consciousnesses and identity, and subsequently the religious institutions, played in the process of national differentiation of the indigenous peoples. However, exponents of political power in different periods have also inherently insisted upon religions’ societal role in forming national identities, and through various mechanisms of institutionalization contributed to the preservation of this continuum.5 3 The Jews also had two seats reserved in Parliament. It is interesting to note that seats in Parliament – as “persons of rank – virilists” – were granted to Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Sarajevo and Mostar Muftis, four bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of the Archbishopric of the Roman Catholic Church and two Roman Catholic Diocesan bishops, two Provincials of Franciscan Order in BiH, and Sephardic Rabbi from Sarajevo. 4 E.g. linguistic minorities like Ukrainian or Roma people. 5 Furthermore, one should not overlook the fact that during this period of “national awakening” religious institutions were often perceived as landowners and/or collaborators by oppressive and exploitative elites, so that ecclesial hierarchies were also extremely unpopular among peasants and poorer sections of the urban population. Also, religious leadership had little in common with the modern urban middle Dino Abazović 324 Ultimately, this use of religious identities in the formation of ethno-national identities was a result of political implications of the development of ethno-religious identities, which begun as early as the pre-Ottoman and Ottoman rule, but this time with exceptions between the Christian and Muslim populations, respectively, in accordance with the specifics of understanding the relationship between religions-nations. Indeed, when it comes to the relationship between religions and nation, some religions are, by the criterion of ethnicity, entirely ethnic/national religions. To put it simply, their God(s) is/are only the God(s) of that people/ nation. Even though this is much disputed for good reasons, Jewish religion has often been understood as an ethnic religion. Ethnic religions are an expression of the collective folk spirit too, in which case the religious and national communities are congruent. Religion and nation are identical, and no distinction is made between belonging to a religious community and belonging to a national community (of course, not all Jews are practicing believers). The long history of the Jewish people is vivid testimony to how religion plays a significant role in one peculiar history – in its beginnings, it was a specific history of awakening among tribes of belonging to one community. Still, the designation of the Jewish people as the “chosen people”6 is illustrative. However, the great paradox of Jewish history is that class, whose nationalism was often inspired by influences from the West, especially European secular nationalism. The difference between popular religious sentiment and attachment to religious traditions (especially among the rural population) and the extent to which religious leadership was understood in the role of “leadership” with respect to the nation and the national issue are noticeable (Allcock 2000). Political parties also included anti-clerical sentiment (e.g. socialists led by Svetozar Markovic, membership of the Radical Union – Radical Party in Serbia, circles gathered around the Croatian Peasant Party, or the Macedonian VMRO Party), as well as open clashes between the clergy and the government (as in the case of the Serbian Orthodox Church); the Church and the Government of Serbia about the signing of the concordat with the Vatican. 6 Even though the narrative of “chosen people” is far too ‘famous’ and highlighted, a number of authors points out the fact that in the Hebrew Bible there are very few places explicitly speaking about “chosenness”. The most quoted passages in this regard are from Deuteronomy and Book of Amos – “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deut. 7:7); “for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” (Deut. 14:2); “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins” (Amos 3:2). The concept of “chosenness” was not only characteristic of the Jewish tribes, this tradition was also present in some other peoples, but it was first brought into the context of monotheism and salvation with Judaism. Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans 325 a people who provided the model of a nation-state to the modern world, lived without it for almost two millennia. Unlike ethnic religions, Christianity is a universal religion because it transcends the boundaries of tribes and peoples and gathers adherents regardless of their racial, national and social affiliation. With its branches – Catholic (Western Christianity), Orthodoxy (Eastern Christianity) and Protestantism, it is the world’s largest religion when it comes to numbers of followers. It is a less “common knowledge” that Christians often see themselves as “chosen” as well, and the term “chosen people” is also mentioned in the New Testament.7 But even the self-concept of being a “chosen people” the idea of border transcending unity in faith does not eliminate, for example, the specificity and diversity of approaches towards the modern political concept of nation. It can be argued that the Catholic model fosters universality, but not universality that will deny peoples’ national identity; Orthodoxy fosters a model of “ethnic” Christianity, which is closely linked to one nation (in that model, the interests of the Church and the nation are often very similar); and the Protestant models are more inclined towards universality, but historically often negatively related to national symbols. Islam is also a universal religion, a supranational religion, and the ideal and desired form of community is the ummah. Given that the Qur’anic verses in which the word ummah is found are so diverse, many authors believe that its meaning cannot be easily demarcated. However, most agree that it is certain that there are everywhere national, linguistic or national communities who are subject to the divine plan of salvation.8 By the teachings of Islam, until the early twentieth century, the tendency in Muslim 7 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9–10) Yet, in Christianity, every nation has considered to be a potentially chosen (Rom. 3: 29–30), and Christian universality does not abolish the specificity of any nation. Nevertheless, Christian universalism is most visible in the New Testament, the Book of Galatians: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:26–28) 8 In Qur’an – “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Al-Hujurat, 13) Dino Abazović 326 communities has been more anti-national since Islam does not prefer the nation, but it only tolerates it. Overall, in universal religions, a religious group always represents a broader group than a national one. Thus, a member of the religious group “we” can be a member of the group “they” from the nation’s point of view. But one should not neglect, that in certain societies religious communities are structured in a way that their universal vision is extremely narrowed due to specific socio-political circumstances, and even universal religions sometimes run into ethnic/national religions. For the Western Balkans, “never it was possible to determine precisely how faith is a matter of one’s experience and spiritual need for a relationship with the sacred, with God, with transcendence, and from where – the object and means of collectivistic identification, always in the most active and intimate relationship with politics and ideology, subject to manipulation and instrumentalization, occasionally with the most dire consequences.” (Lovrenović 2002, 330) Indeed, religious communities (and religion) were the most important sources of resistance to the former socialist regimes and had an impact on almost all social structures (institutional and cognitive), so that there was no other power9 of approximate size and effect to that. At the same time religious communities were also a source of preservation and transmission of national cultures and their immanent values. But on the global scene, as Mark Juergensmeyer argues, “[t]he fading of the nation-state and the disillusionment with old forms of secular nationalism have produced both the opportunity for new nationalisms and the need for them. The opportunity has arisen because the old orders seem so weak; and the need for national identity persists because no single alternative form of social cohesion and affiliation has yet appeared to dominate public life the way the nationstate did in the twentieth century. … In the increasing absence of any other demarcation of national loyalty and commitment, these old staples – religion, ethnicity and traditional culture – have become resources for national identification.” (Juergensmeyer 2004, 5) 9 In this sense, eventual political opposition, small and closed intellectual circles within the humanities and social sciences, or political dissidents, did not have nearly as strong significance and influence as religious communities. Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans 327 Thus, the political revitalization of religion, not only in post-socialist countries but also in the West, has been the very topic in scholarly work now for some time, especially after September 11, 2001 and the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In addition, the presence of religious nationalism results in the insistence on a symbiosis of the political and the religious, on nationalizing the religion that precedes the sacralization of politics, a reminiscence of the pre-political era, when religious establishment invoked the right to govern the state because religion was an essential (or sole) element for its establishment. Religious nationalism is a form of modernist paradigm and is most commonly used as a substitute for (post-) civic or (post-) ethnic nationalism. It seeks to take the place and role of any secular nationalism because the despair and disappointment caused by such nationalism (secular) is too great and unbearable for the bearers and supporters of religious nationalism. The key elements for its constitution are the politicization of religion and the sacralization of politics; the supremacy of the collective over the individual and aggressive distinction in relation to others; totalitarianism and extremism; an alternative vision of the social order; radical change in the place and role of members in society. The new paradigm offered by religious nationalism calls for “more”, “purer”, “inclusive” and “timeless” forms of collective grounding, legitimation and commitment, but in a concrete social context. According to Friedland (2001) religious nationalism is a special form of collective representation and a new ontology of power. Making religion the exclusive basic of national collective identity is a form of politicized religion and religious politics (whereby politics is considered a religious obligation), with the aim of re-arranging social relations on pseudo-religious grounds and functions. “Religious nationalism grows out of modernity’s institutional heterologies. Religious nationalism extends the institutional logic of religion into the domain of the democratic nation-state, deriving authority from an absolute divine writ, not the subjective aggregations of the demos; pushing toward redemption, not progress; locating agency in a disciplined self-bound to God, not a sacralized, self-interested monad; constituting society not through the abstract, disembodied individual of the market but through the erotic and gendered flesh of the family. Religious nationalism posits an institutionally specific substance of the Dino Abazović 328 social, neither the procedures of reason nor the play of self-interest, but rather the communal solidarities of faith.” (Friedland 2001, 142) In a certain way religious nationalists act as fundamentalist movements that offer a religious revelation based, universal, absolute, comprehensive recipe for the radical transformation of social, cultural, economic and political relations between structures and institutions. However, the qualitative distinction is that fundamentalist movements are universal in their doctrine, that is, they are oriented towards each individual member of a religion, regardless of his place of residence, ethnic origin, citizenship or the language he or she speaks. Religious nationalists, however, are particular, that is, their doctrine concerns a very specific community, and applies only to those who have other common characteristics of identity in addition to religious affiliations – and above all, the same ethnic origin. It can be said that religious nationalism is in fact one of the most current responses to modern secular individualism in the contemporary nation-state. Religious nationalists are aware of the significance of a process, which could be named globalization in the broadest sense, a process that redefines not only individual but also collective identities Out of this awareness, religious nationalists mobilize their energy and their adherents in defense of these collective identities. Through their elaboration of the situation they seek to challenge the sustainability of the positive impression that secular society and the modern nation-state can secure a moral bond that unites the community, or that they have an ideological force that will sustain a state fraught with ethnic, economic and military failures (Juergensmeyer 2003). As the failure of the nation-state to resist the onslaught of globalization is increasingly apparent, the rhetoric of religious nationalists is becoming more acceptable to the masses. The growing uncertainty about determining what constitutes a valid basis for national identity is also in favour of religious nationalists who offer their answers ready for digesting. In the Western Balkans, “the seeds of Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian religiosity were not stamped out under communist rule, even among so-called secularized masses; but neither were they nurtured. Scattered and left untended, they were eventually planted in the crude soil of ethnonationalism.” (Appleby 2002, 71) As I have argued elsewhere (Abazović 2015), during the war 1991–1995, politicized and ethnicized religion became a powerful tool for mobilization against ‘ethnic enemies’, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although many scholars who have worked on the armed conflict in Yugoslavia do not consider it a religious conflict, col- Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans 329 lapsing religious and ethnic identities and involvement of religious institutions and their leadership in the war made various sites – including religious ones – targets of actual and symbolic violence. In post-war period, “it is of central importance that ethnicization restores the primacy of the political sphere over all others, that solutions are sought in politics, whether appropriate or not. From that moment on, political programs tend to be oriented towards an ethnic and ethnicized nation rather than a civic identity, so that ideas, goals and the future are mobilized and interpreted in accordance with the imperatives of ethnicity ... Societies are practically losing the ability to define their goals according to material civic criteria and communication by any means other than discourse on identity and personal loyalty.” (Schöpflin 1995, 164) Thus, ethnopolitics is in stark contrast to the processes, which in theory are referred to as the civic nationalism, that is, ethnopolitics is a state of inability to build a (supra-) national identity inclusive of different affiliations. Therefore, ethnonationalists here are the first echelon to recruit religious nationalists. Religious nationalists understand the relation between nations-religions on the principle that any change of national as well as religious identity is interpreted as destructive to the nation, although the dominant religions in the Western Balkans are universal. At the same time, religious nationalists oppose modern (secular) nationalism and national movements, which in their theoretical and ideological settings insist on the dominance of (supra-) national over other identities and affiliations (e.g. religious or local). Therefore, religious nationalism is positively correlated with processes that prevent the creation of a common state identity, that is, the identity that arises from assimilation as civic inclusion. Religious nationalism is also positively correlated with the interchange of political and religious products and goods in transitional societies. “... Religions and religious institutions enter this exchange primarily with their very significant, historically accumulated ‘symbolic and cultural capital’ .... political institutions, in turn, enter this exchange primarily with their ‘capital of power and influence’.” (Vrcan 1999, 51) Therefore, in the “naked public square”, clerics and leaders who use religious reasoning primarily to win or maintain power, may also be called “political para-theologians” (Miles 1996, 526). What is important to emphasize is that “persons who are based in religion-inspired political activism anyway deny the possibility that meaningful distinction between politics and religion can be Dino Abazović 330 made at all, since political neutrality, for example, legitimizes the suffering of the oppressed.” (Miles 1996, 528) Political para-theologians ask their adherents to act non-religiously, and often anti-religiously, to achieve their goals. Still, religious arguments are used as arguments to reinforce the demands for political action. Therefore, in order to truly achieve the functionality of multi-religious societies in the political field, one of the first interventions is the necessary re-institutionalization of public space, but with the previously necessary demystification of ethnic and religious irrationalities10, especially if they are the product of the ideology of religious nationalism. In doing so, Rogers Brubaker’s call for a rethinking of ethnicity seems, at least from a sociological perspective, extremely plausible: “... thinking of ethnicity, race and nation not in terms of substantial groups or entities but in terms of practical categories, cultural idioms, cognitive schemas, discursive frames, organizational routines, institutional forms, political projects and contingent events. It means thinking of ethnicization, racialization and nationalization as political, social, cultural and psychological processes. And it means taking as a basic analytical category not the ‘group’ as an entity but groupness as a contextually fluctuating conceptual variable.” (Brubaker 2002, 167–8) References Abazović, Dino (2015): Religious Claims during the War and Post-War Bosnia and Herzegovina, in: Borderlands e-Journal, Special Issue 14(1), 1–23. http://dinoaba Allcock, John (2000): Explaining Yugoslavia, London: Hurst. Appleby, R. Scott (2002): The Ambivalence of the Sacred. Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Brubaker, Rogers (2002): Ethnicity without Groups, in: European Journal of Sociology/Archives Européenes de Sociologie 43(2), 163–189. S0003975602001066. Bugarel, Ksavije (2004): Bosna. Anatomija rata, Beograd: Fabrika knjiga (Edicija Reč). 10 “Indeed, perhaps the basic insight into a thematic assembly covered by the notion of the people is the absence of any logical consistency in the self-identification of members of a people: sometimes it is the origin, sometimes the language, sometimes the customs, sometimes the religion, and sometimes it is a political organization (which ... leads to overlap with the concept of nation.” (Molnar 1997, 1) Religious Nationalism in the Western Balkans 331 Friedland, Roger (2001): Religious Nationalism and the Problem of Collective Representation, in: Annual Review of Sociology 27, 125–52. Buturovic, Amila (2006): Christianity and Islam in the Balkans from the Fifteenth to Twentieth Century, in: Neusner, Jacob (Ed.): Religious Foundations of Western Civilization. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Nashville: Abingdon Press. Habermas, Jürgen (2003): The Future of Human Nature, Cambridge: Polity Press. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2003): Terror in the Mind of God. The Global Rise of Religious Violence, Berkeley et al.: University of California Press. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2004): Religious Terror and Secular State, in: UC Santa Barbara: Global and International Studies. tk. Katunarić, Vjeran (2003): Sporna zajednica. Novije teorije o naciji i nacionalizmu, Zagreb: Naklada Jesenski i Turk. Lovrenović, Ivan (2002): Pitanje iz vjere, pitanje iz života, in: Thomas Bremer (Ed.): Religija, društvo, politika. Kontroverzna tumačenja i približavanja, Bonn: Deutsche Bischofskonferenz. Malcolm, Noel (1994): Bosnia. A Short History, London: Mac Millan London Limited. Malcolm, Noel (2007): Kosovo. Kratka povijest, Sarajevo: Dani. Mazower, Mark (2007): The Balkans. A Short History, Modern Library Chronicles, Random House. Molnar, Aleksandar (1997): Narod, nacija, rasa. Istorijska izvorišta nacionalizma u Evropi, Beograd: Beogradski krug i AKAPIT. Miles, William F.S. (1996): Political Para-theology. Rethinking Religion, Politics and Democracy, in: Third World Quarterly 17(3), 525–535. Ramet, Sabrina Petra (1996): Balkan Babel, Colorado/Oxford: Westview Press. Schöpflin, George (1995): Civilno društvo i nacionalitet, in: Pavlović, Vukašin (Ed.): Potisnuto Civilno Društvo, Beograd: Eko Centar. Stokes, Gale (1997): Review of Todorova, Maria: Imagining the Balkans. Habsburg, H-Net Reviews, September. Todorova, Maria (1997): Imagining the Balkans, New York: Oxford University Press. Todorova, Maria (1999): Bones of Contention, in: CLASnotes, November. https:// les/199911_todorova.html. Vrcan, Srđan (2001): Vjera u vrtlozima tranzicije, Split: Dalmatinska akcija. Dino Abazović 332 Right-Wing Populism and Religious Conservatism: What’s the Connection? Philip S. Gorski Not surprisingly perhaps, American academics have become increasingly interested in the phenomenon of right-wing populism since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. For many years, the study of populism was confined primarily to scholars of Latin American politics along with some US historians of the Progressive Era (Jansen 2017, Kazin 1998). They focused mainly on left-wing populisms. Inspired by the rise of right-wing populists such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Viktor Orbán in Hungary, European scholars took up the subject as well (Mudde 2007, Mudde/Kaltwasser 2017). Starting in 2016, American scholars joined the fray as well (Brubaker 2017). Since then, there has been a veritable deluge of writing of Trump’s rise. Academic analysts and journalistic observers have variously described Trump’s election as a: 1) working-class backlash against growing inequality and stagnating wages, exacerbated by financial crisis of 2008 (Frank 2016). 2) racial backlash against the first black man in the White House, following a historic pattern of racial progress and regress in American history (Coates 2017). 3) nativist backlash against mass immigration, especially in more culturally homogeneous small towns and rural areas, sparked by fears of economic competition, and cultural change (Chace 2016). All of these explanations have some merit. But they are not complete, not even when taken together. One of the most important things they leave out is religion, particularly white evangelical religion. A significant plurality of white evangelicals voted for Trump during the Republican Presidential Primaries, despite the fact that there were a number of avowed evangelicals in the race (Smith 2016). Then, an overwhelming majority of white evangelicals – over 80 % – cast their ballots for Trump during the General Election (Goodstein 2016). No other demographic supported Trump so strongly, not even the white working class voters who are commonly described as his “base.” Nor has evangelical support for Trump flagged in the years since the election. While white-working class support for Trump has declined somewhat since he took office, white evangelical support has remained rock solid at around 80 % (Smith 2017). 333 This is something of a puzzle. After all, a thrice-married serial adulterer hardly seems like the best standard-bearer for the self-appointed defenders of “family values.” The usual explanation for evangelicals’ unwavering support of Trump is essentially transactional: Trump supports evangelicals and their issues, so they support him. This is the preferred explanation not only amongst academics and journalists but also the one most often advanced by evangelical leaders themselves. (Tackett 2019) But it is not entirely convincing. It certainly does not explain why white evangelicals preferred Trump over, say, Ted Cruz. He would also have appointed “pro-life” judges. Nor does it explain why other white evangelicals have actually warmed to Trump since the election, despite the mounting evidence of his extramarital affairs, corrupt business dealings and Russian collusion. The explanation advanced in this essay takes another tack. It emphasizes the cultural resonance between white Christian nationalism and Trumpism. I argue that white evangelicals support Trump if and insofar as they are white Christian nationalists. They do so because Trumpism is inter alia a secularized form of white Christian nationalism. White Christian nationalism is a cultural narrative about the history of the United States. As with Grimm’s fairy tales, many regional and historical variations have accumulated over the years. But the core claim – the common denominator – is the claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and built by white Christians who therefore occupy and also deserve a privileged place in American history and society (Haselby 2015). For white Christian nationalists, the recent growth of the non-white and non-Christian population threatens to “destroy” America (or at least America as they envision it). Trump himself may not be a white Christian nationalist in the strict sense. However, he has discovered and exploited various themes that resonate deeply amongst white Christian nationalists, specifically: disaster, blood, victimhood, and messianism. What is “white Christian Nationalism”? In her award-winning book, Strangers in their Own Land, sociologist Arlie Hochschild sought to explain why white working-class voters would vote against their own material interests (Hochschild 2018). To that end, she spent the better part of five years talking to downscale whites in rural Louisiana trying to understand why they supported Republican politicians who opposed workers’ rights and environmental regulation. The answer, she concluded, was that they perceived their interests in terms of a certain, background narrative, what she calls a “deep story.” Her subjects imagined 1 Philip S. Gorski 334 themselves standing in a long line, waiting patiently to receive their share of the American dream. Up ahead, they saw immigrants and minorities cutting into the line with the help of left-wing politicians. This is why they voted for political conservatives: they would stop the line-cutting; liberals would not. The line-cutting story was “deep” in the sense that most of Hochschild’s informants could not fully articulate it on their own. But they immediately recognized it as “their” story when Hochschild articulated it for them. Hochschild’s theory of the “deep story” is very useful. But it does have its limitations as a method. The main problem is that a deep story can also be a cover story, in this case, a story that covers up racial animus beneath a cloak of moral outrage. Its unspoken assumption is that working-class whites have been standing in line longer than, say, working-class blacks and working harder than, say, working-class immigrants. It assumes that “we (whites) were in line first” and “you (non-whites) are not as deserving as we are.” As such, the deep story of line cutting involves a high degree of historical amnesia (e.g., about the role of black slaves, Chinese “coolies” or Mexican “braceros” in the building of the American economy) and sociological repression (e.g., about the social dysfunction in white working-class communities) (Murray 2012). Which implies the following methodological caveat: while it is useful to begin with “deep stories” it is dangerous to stop with them. Folk narratives of this sort must be read against the historical and sociological records, lest the stories be used as alibis. Deep stories can also be half-truths. With that caveat in mind, let us now interrogate the “deep story” of Christian nationalism a little further. It is also a “deep” story in the sense of being historically deep: it is very old. Indeed, its beginnings can arguably be traced all the way back to Antiquity (Grosby 1991). While some scholars insist that nationalism first emerges in the modern era, others, including myself, have argued that modern Western nationalism is originally rooted in a Christian appropriation of the Hebrew scriptures (Gorski 2000). There, Christians found the nationalist triptych of “people, land and state.” Further, premodern Western nationalisms typically involved claims to be the New Israel, or the New Jerusalem or the New Chosen People (Smith 2003). More to the point, few groups in early modern Europe had such a strong sense of national chosenness as the English Puritans (Gorski 2006). And they carried this sense of chosenness with them to the New World. Indeed, they imagined their journey across the North Atlantic as a recapitulation of the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt (Cherry 1998). Hadn’t they, too, been prevented from practicing their religion by the English Pharaoh, King Charles I? Hadn’t they fled across the water? Hadn’t Right-Wing Populism and Religious Conservatism: What’s the Connection? 335 they wandered in “a howling wilderness”? Weren’t they trying to build a Promised Land? This is not to say that the New England Puritans were all white Christian nationalists; they were not (Gorski 2019). Rather, it is to say that they carried the seeds of white Christian nationalism to the New World. Those seeds sprouted a few generations later, during the Puritans’ brutal wars with the Native American peoples. Consider one example, a 1678 “artillery sermon” delivered by the Puritan military commander and lay preacher, Thomas Nowell (Nowell 1678). He assured his listeners that “the Lord is a Man of War” and that soldiering is the true vocation of every Christian man. Nowell then went on to narrate the conflict between Puritans and Natives as the opening salvo in the great war between “Gog and Magog” foretold in the Revelation of John. He also characterized the Natives as Children of Satan who could never “joyn or mix with us to make one Body.” This mixture of blood rhetoric and apocalyptic narrative was the original recipe for Christian nationalism. Or rather, for white Christian nationalism. For it was now racially inflected: white was opposed to red. Over the three-and-half-centuries since its initial crystallization, American religious nationalism has undergone a series of migrations and mutations that have changed and ultimately strengthened it. The first migration was from North to South. For the first two centuries of American history, New England was the home base of Christian nationalism (McKenna 2008). This changed during the Civil War, when both the Union and the Confederacy cast themselves as the legitimate defenders of a Christian America (Stout 2006). One result of the conflict was a Southern version of white Christian nationalism, popularly known as the “Lost Cause” ideology (Wilson 1983). On this account, the sons of the South had died defending a noble way of life – “states’ rights” rather than slavery. They were not only virile heroes; they were also Christ-like victims. And, like Christ, they – and the South itself – would rise again, redeemed by bloody sacrifices made on the battlefield. The Lost Cause ideology injected a new ingredient into the old Puritan narrative: a story of white victimization. In the process, it also redrew the color line from red vs white to black vs white. The next migration was from South to North. After the Civil War, the Lost Cause ideology became entwined with the Jim Crow system – the system of racial apartheid that was put in place to re-subordinate Southern blacks during the closing decades of the 19th Century. Southern churchmen provided theological sanction for the new system of white supremacy. In this, they had help from Protestant laymen (Tisby 2019). The most notorious defender of “white Protestantism” was the Ku Klux Klan (Baker 2011). The first iteration of the KKK was relatively short-lived. It was effec- Philip S. Gorski 336 tively suppressed by the late 1870s (Chalmers 1965). The KKK was then refounded in 1915 (Pegram 2011). It soon grew into a mass movement of several million and expanded beyond its original strongholds in the rural South. Local “klaverns” were established in many Northern states and cities, particularly in the Midwest. Around this same time, many Southern blacks began moving north in search of greater freedom and economic opportunity (Wilkerson 2011). This “great migration” was not the only catalyst for the Klan’s revival. The other was mass immigration, which brought millions of Catholics and Jews from Southern and Central Europe as well as many Chinese and Japanese immigrants to America’s shores (Takaki 1989, Daniels 1959). White Christian nationalism now acquired a more pronounced ethnic and religious edge. It framed itself as a defense of “white Anglo-Saxon Protestantism” (Blum 2005, Tuveson 1968). Other mutations in white Christian nationalism were due to broader changes within the American religious landscape. The first was a slow shift in Protestantism’s geographical and theological center of gravity, from the increasingly liberal Protestant churches of New England to the increasingly conservative churches of the South and later the West. The two main drivers were secularization and demography. Beginning in the 1960s, the “mainline” churches steadily lost members; in effect, they became “halfway houses” on the road to secular progressivism (Hollinger 2013, Chaves 2011). Meanwhile, the evangelical churches grew, primarily because of high birth rates (Hout/Greeley/Wilde 2001). By the late 20th century, the evangelical churches could credibly claim to be the legitimate representatives of “traditional Christianity.” This was important because by then, they were also the principal (if not sole) carriers of white Christian nationalism (Andrew Whitehead 2020). A second important mutation was more theological in nature: a gradual shift in Protestant eschatology. For most of American history, most American Protestants were “postmillennialists” (Moorhead 1999). That is, they believed that the Second Coming of Christ would occur after the millennium. On this reading of Biblical prophecy, it was the job of the churches to establish the Kingdom of God on earth by means of gradual moral, social and political reforms that would fully “Christianize” America, and also missions that would convert the rest of the world. By the early 20th century, however, “premillennialism” was gaining the upper hand (Sutton 2014). Premillennialists believe that the Second Coming will precede the millennium. On this literalist reading of Christian prophecy, a final battle between the forces of good and evil, natural and supernatural, led by Christ himself, will rapidly usher in the Kingdom of God. Today, the overwhelming majority of American Protestants are premillennialists. Accor- Right-Wing Populism and Religious Conservatism: What’s the Connection? 337 ding to modern-day “prophecy belief”, the Kingdom of God will be established through violent, geopolitical struggle, not peaceful social reform, and the apocalypse will not take place in the backwoods of New England, as the Puritans had imagined, but rather in the battle zones of the Middle East (Boyer 1992). White Christian nationalism was a crusader nationalism as well (Jewett/Lawrence 2003). A third key mutation was ecclesiological: the growth of large evangelical and Pentecostal churches centered around charismatic pastors. It has injected an element of messianism into white Christian nationalism, an admiration for “strong leaders” who have succeeded in business. The “megachurch” as an organizational form is not really new; they have been in existence since the mid-19th century. But they have grown enormously in numbers and influence since the 1960s. In 1970, there were only 50 megachurches; by 2005, there were over 1200 (Thumma/Travis 2007). By that time, 40 % of all church-goers were concentrated in the top 10 % of congregations by size, while the smallest 50 % of congregations by size claimed only 10 % of the churchgoing population (Chaves 2004). Meanwhile, a tiny handful of celebrity pastors (e.g., Rick Warren, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Joel Osteen) exercise an outsize influence over American Christianity by means of their massive cultural empires, which include publishing houses, television stations and universities, amongst other things. Such mega-church pastors blend a variety of roles: religious revivalist, self-help guru, political activist and, not least, corporate CEO. These men have at least as much in common with a real estate mogul and reality television star such as Donald Trump as with a great theologian and revivalist such as Jonathan Edwards. Amidst these many mutations, however, there are also some key continuities. The most important is the persistence of blood rhetoric. Blood sacrifice plays a central role in Christian theology, of course, particularly in the Western Churches. There, Christ’s crucifixion has often been interpreted as an “atonement” for the sins of humanity, a “ransom” paid to release all believers from Satan’s clutches, or a “penalty” paid for their transgressions. This soteriology of “substitutionary atonement” often goes together with a “supersessionist” reading of the Hebrew Scriptures, in which Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is prefigured by, and consummates, the blood sacrifices performed by the ancient Israelites. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of blood metaphors in the American version of white Christian nationalism. For it is the metaphor of blood that tacitly connects an otherwise disparate array of nationalistic themes: the blood purity of a chosen “race”; the blood sacrifices of holy warriors; the bloody conquest of God’s enemies; and the blood conse- Philip S. Gorski 338 cration of holy lands are amongst the most powerful and persistent of these tropes. Even in the early 20th century, explicit blood talk was still quite even in respectable Protestant circles (Blight 2001, Tuveson 1968). In recent decades, however, public forms of blood rhetoric have usually been watered down with polite euphemisms: politicians spoke of “culture” rather than “race”; “ultimate sacrifice” instead of “Christian martyrdom”; and battles against “evil” rather than “for God.” To be sure, more explicit forms of blood rhetoric could still be heard outside the public square and still reverberate through the collective memories of many American Christians, for whom talk of “blood” still awakens feelings of both fascination and horror. So we should not be surprised if a political candidate who spoke openly about blood would send a frisson through certain sectors of the voting public. To summarize: the original recipe for white Christian nationalism had two main ingredients: blood rhetoric and apocalypticism. The present-day version of white Christian nationalism has at least two additional elements: tropes of Christian victimization and messianic leadership. With this four-point definition of American religious nationalism in hand, it is not that difficult to see why so many conservative white evangelicals connect so strongly with Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Trumpism as a Secularized Version of White ChristianNationalism Unlike other Republican politicians, such as George W. Bush, Trump does not make any allusions to the “end times.” Indeed, it is doubtful that he could do so, given his Biblical illiteracy. However, Trump does have a dark view of the present age, a view that is filmed in black and white. He frequently uses catastrophizing language – “disaster” is one of his favorite words – and espies secret plots and Manichean struggles most everywhere he looks. And so do the many conservative evangelicals who see the world through a premillennialist lens, which disposes them to look for “signs of the times” – fulfillments of Biblical prophecy – in news of contemporary events. Again unlike other Republican politicians, including George W. Bush, Trump does not employ the euphemism of “ultimate sacrifice.” On the contrary, he exhibits a morbid fascination with blood, particularly women’s blood, which he evidently regards as polluting. There was, to begin, his shocking remark about former Fox News anchorwoman, Megyn Kelly (Rucker 2015). Piqued by her probing questions during the Republican Presidential debates hosted by Fox, Trump claimed that she must have 2 Right-Wing Populism and Religious Conservatism: What’s the Connection? 339 had “blood coming out of her whatever” (i.e., that she must have been in a foul mood because she was menstruating). Similarly, when another anchorwoman, Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC, expressed her outrage over the now infamous recording of Trump’s remarks about groping women (“grab them by the pussy”), he tweeted that he had once seen her at a party with blood streaming down her face due to a cosmetic procedure (Glenn Thrush 2017). But by far the most chilling example of Trump’s blood rhetoric was an apocryphal story concerning General John Pershing that Trump frequently recounted in his campaign speeches, often to raucous applause (Papenfuss 2019). During the Philippine-American War, Trump claimed, Pershing captured fifty “Muslim terrorists.” He then had fifty bullets dipped in pig’s blood. Forty-nine of the bullets were used to execute forty-nine of the prisoners. The fiftieth bullet was then given to the fiftieth soldier, who was instructed to return to “his people” and warn them not to engage in terrorism. For Trump, as for his evangelical followers, then, blood is full of danger and power; it can pollute but also purify. Evidently, it can also redeem. In his 2017 Inaugural Address, recall, Trump spoke of an “American Carnage”, of shuttered factories spread across the American heartland, like so many “tombstones.” The implication is that he would raise them from the dead, that they would be redeemed by the blood and toil of good (white) Americans. Needless to say, Trump does not hesitate to portray himself in messianic terms. In his speech accepting the Republican nomination, for example, he told the “forgotten men and women of America” that “I am your voice.” Speaking of America’s purported decline, he then insisted that “I alone can fix it”, as if he possessed magical powers of some sort. White evangelicals were quick to accept this self-portrayal, comparing Trump to messianic leaders from the Hebrew Bible. Some initially likened Trump to King David – another adulterer, after all (Sheldon 2019)! For those evangelicals who found claims of Trump’s piety and righteousness a little too hard to swallow, and that may well be the majority, the favored Biblical typology was King Cyrus the Great, the Persian Emperor who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity (Stewart 2018). For hadn’t American Christians been driven from their American Israel? Didn’t they live under the oppressive rule of a cruel dictator named Barack Obama? Sometimes God uses ungodly men for divine purposes, they argued. From this perspective, Trump’s election seemed a genuine “miracle”, his administration as a merciful deliverance from the Kenyan captivity of the Obama years. The fourth and final area of resonance between Trumpism and evangelicalism is a discourse of victimization. Despite his messianic powers, Trump constantly complains that he and his allies are being treated “unfairly” and Philip S. Gorski 340 persecuted by their enemies. Like the great heroes of the Old Confederacy, he is virile but also a victim. During the campaign, he repeatedly warned that the electoral system was “rigged” against him. After the election, he consistently claimed that he had lost the popular vote only because “millions” of people had voted “illegally.” Since its inception, Trump vociferously denounced Robert Mueller’s investigation of his campaign as a “witch hunt.” Trump may be a “winner”, but, in his own eyes, he is also a victim, a man who was wrongly excluded from the upper echelons of New York society despite his (supposed) business successes. American evangelicals feel some fellowship with Trump in this regard. For like him, they also feel rejected by America’s “cultural elites.” And, like the early Christians in the Roman Empire, they, too, expect to be persecuted for their faith. To the secular observer, these claims of persecution usually seem overstated. American Protestants have in fact lost numbers and influence and do face increasing hostility and criticism from educated elites and secular progressives, largely because of their stances on cultural and economic issues. Conclusion: Religious Nationalism and Liberal Democracy in Global Context In a much discussed book a year after Trump’s inauguration, the Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt examined “how democracies die” (Levitsky/Ziblatt 2018). Their answer is: gradually and peacefully rather than suddenly violently, by elections rather than coups. The dismantling of democracy tends to follow more or less the same script: the democratic election of an authoritarian leader; the systematic violation of democratic norms; rigging the electoral system to lock in power; packing the judiciary to thwart legal challenges. When the book was first published, Levitsky and Ziblatt concluded that the first two steps had been taken. In the meantime, Trump and his supporters have made considerable progress on the third and fourth as well. Democracies do not always or inevitably die. Levitsky and Ziblatt point to cases where the march towards authoritarianism was halted. The key actors, they argue, are political conservatives, particularly the leaders of conservative parties. Conservative party elites can block the rise of a would-be authoritarian, uphold democratic norms of civility and fair play, and the political neutrality of law enforcement. Or not. Thus far, the leaders of the Republican Party have shown themselves unwilling or unable to do any of these things. Like most political scientists, Levitsky and Ziblatt pay little attention to religion. That is a serious omission. Religious conservatives and especially 3 Right-Wing Populism and Religious Conservatism: What’s the Connection? 341 the leaders of the religious right played a crucial role in Trump’s rise. Without the endorsements of prominent evangelicals like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, and the overwhelming support of evangelical voters in the South and the Midwest, it is unlikely that Trump would have been elected. Nor is the American case exceptional in this regard. Much the same could be said of populist demagogues in Brazil, India, Poland, Russia and Turkey, to name only the best known examples. Could religious conservatives succeed where political conservatives have failed? The question is not as far-fetched as it might seem, and for two reasons. The first is that not all religious conservatives are white Christian nationalists. In a series of path-breaking quantitative studies, sociologist Sam Perry and political scientist Andrew Whitehead found that white evangelicals exhibit racist, nativist and militarist attitudes only if and insofar as they are also white Christian nationalists (Whitehead/Perry 2016, Whitehead/Perry 2015, Whitehead/Perry/Baker 2018). As they show, the most devout evangelicals – those who attend church frequently, pray regularly and describe religion as very important in their lives tend to be much more accepting of interracial marriage, mass immigration and gun control. They therefore conclude that the correlation between white evangelicalism and right-wing populism is largely spurious: the real connection is white Christian nationalism. So why did so many white evangelicals and other religious conservatives still vote for a racist, nativist and jingoist candidate like Trump? Because of their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and because of the thenopen seat on the US Supreme Court. Will these “culture wars” issues continue to trump all others, older issues such as racial reconciliation and newer ones such as “creation care”? Will policy victories on the culture wars front be pursued even at the expense of democratic governance? The future of American democracy may well be determined by how white evangelicals respond to these questions. And how they will respond will largely depend on how their leaders respond. Will they decide that they must try to “change the culture” by any means necessary, including non-democratic ones? Will they conclude that “family values” are more important than human rights? Viewed from the outside, the likely response may seem foreordained. Viewed from the inside, it appears less clear-cut. A closer look at Trump’s so-called council of religious advisers reveals that it is dominated by Pentecostal clergy and Prosperity Gospel preachers. Most mainstream evangelical leaders have been excluded from Trump’s inner circle, and younger, emerging leaders were never invited to begin with. Meanwhile, the few non-white evangelical leaders who were invited have all since left in re- Philip S. Gorski 342 sponse to Trump’s perpetual race-baiting and nativism. Will they all remain quiet? Or will they speak up? Again, the future of American democracy may well depend on what they decide. In mulling over their decision, they might well reflect on the historic relationship between Christianity and democracy. As Tocqueville first noted nearly two centuries ago, there has long been a positive relationship between Christianity and democracy in the United States, and to the benefit of both, unlike in his native France, where a century of cultural warfare between secular liberals and Catholic conservatives contributed mightily to the unchurching of France. In their efforts to make America great again, which is to say, white and Christian, Trump’s supporters may end up making it French instead. References Baker, Kelly J. (2011): Gospel According to the Klan, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. Blight, David W. (2001): Race and reunion. The Civil War in American memory, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Blum, Edward J. 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Gorski 346 Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past: Revisiting some Discourses on Nationalism and its Discontents in South Africa in a Changing Political Landscape Robert Vosloo Introduction “I love my country too much to be a nationalist.” The South African political philosopher Johan Degenaar used these often-quoted words from Albert Camus as the epigraph to his paper on the “Philosophical Roots of Nationalism,” published in 1975 in the book Church and Nationalism in South Africa (Degenaar in Sundermeier 1975, 11). This book contains essays by leading South African public intellectual figures of the time, and was the product of a conference hosted by the Missiological Institute at the Lutheran College at Mapumulo on the theme “Nationalism in South Africa”. At this conference – held in September 1974 – 70 delegates from churches met to examine the concept of nationalism from philosophical, sociological, historical and theological perspectives, often with reference to what is described as Afrikaner nationalism. In the Introduction to Church and Nationalism in South Africa the editor, Theo Sundermeier, writes: “Nationalism appeals to deep emotions, if not instincts, in man. It activates feelings that cannot be activated in any other way: idealism, love of splendour, power and glory – but also feelings of vengeance and hatred. Nationalism has shown itself to be a will to power which is accompanied by the belief that power, once in one’s own hands, will be curbed of its danger, and will be able to solve all problems.” (1975, 7) Sundermeier continues by noting the way in which nationalism and religion are closely related, and that it has often been the case that clergy have given to nationalism “a religio-Christian gloss in that they exalted the idea of the Volk too much, and gave to it qualities that, if not divine, were derived directly from creation” (1975, 7). As part of the findings of the conference, moreover, it is stated that the type of nationalism that focuses exclu- 1 347 sively on one ethnic group is not feasible, given South African realities, and that the ‘homeland’ policy (as envisaged by the apartheid government, and that was being put into practice at that time) is not desirable. Hence, an alternative political model was proposed that stressed plurality rather than a narrow ethnic nationalism (Sundermeier 1975, 146–148). The conference findings do not reject every form of nationalism, though, and viewed some elements of nationalism as potentially being helpful in building an inclusive South African nation. References were made, for example, to constitutional nationalism, which defines the juridical relationship between individuals, groups and the state within one nation state; nationalism as a state of mind that functions symbolically to cultivate a healthy patriotism for the South African nation without deifying the state; and nationalism that functions as a model or frame of reference for understanding and giving direction to human actions (Sundermeier 1975, 147). These brief references to this conference on the church and nationalism are meant to indicate that by the mid-1970s an increasingly critical attitude to nationalism (understood in a particular way) was acquiring greater traction in some church, ecumenical and academic circles in South Africa. In this article my emphasis will not so much be on tracing the growing critical voice – also on a theological level – against white Afrikaner nationalism from, say, the 1970s onwards. My focus here will rather be on highlighting as a case study the way in which Afrikaner nationalism, especially from the 1930s onwards, was also often accompanied by uses of the past that sacralized history, resulting in, among other things, a type of commemoration fever. Brief references will also be made to the views and role of some churches and theologians, mostly from the Reformed tradition, in this regard. The reasons why nationalism and religion became entangled in this way in South Africa are certainly complex and multifaceted. It does seem, though, that a strong sense of beleaguered identity fuelled the rise of Afrikaner nationalism and its accompanying discourse of separation and apartheid. Against the backdrop of the rise of, and discontent with, Afrikaner nationalism, the final part of the article attends to ways in which the political discourses in the context and wake of the transition to democracy in South Africa have been viewed (with reference to papers by Johan Degenaar and Dirkie Smit). The article also suggests that while one probably cannot speak of neo-nationalism in a strict sense in current public political discourse in South Africa (in the way this phenomenon is currently experienced in many countries around the globe, and as associated with signifiers such as Trump and Brexit), there is indeed a growing tendency in some circles towards the type of discourse that affirms exclusionary and polarized understandings of identity. In these discourses, as was the case during Robert Vosloo 348 the rise of Afrikaner nationalism, the past is still often evoked in a way that contributes to a hardening of fixed identity constructs. The Rise of Afrikaner Nationalism and the Sacralization of the Past The history of apartheid is often closely associated with the rise of Afrikaner nationalism. It should be noted, however, that although there are obvious overlaps between Afrikaner nationalism and apartheid, one should not conflate these terms as if they are fully equivalent. One should call attention, though, to the way in which Afrikaner nationalism, apartheid and the conceptualization of ‘race’ in the 20th century became increasingly intertwined (cf. Dubow 1992, 209–237). In reflecting on Afrikaner nationalism one should also consider Benedict Anderson’s definition of “the nation,” namely that “it is an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign” (2006, 6). For Anderson the nation is an imagined community, “because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (2006, 6). The nation is imagined, furthermore, as limited, “because even the largest … has finite, if elastic, boundaries”, and the nation is also imagined as sovereign, “because the concept was born in an age in which Enlightenment and Reformation were destroying the legitimacy of the divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm” (2006, 7). According to Anderson’s definition the nation is also imagined as a community, “because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship” (2006, 7). When speaking of the rise of Afrikaner nationalism, the ways in which this nationalism was “invented” and the nation functioned as “an imagined community” should therefore also be kept in mind. In 1948 the National Party came to power in South Africa, with “apartheid” as its slogan, and Dr D F Malan, a former Dutch Reformed Church pastor and newspaper editor, became the Prime Minister. The following year, on 16 December 1949, Malan gave a famous speech at the inauguration of the Voortrekker monument, in which he asked the question “Afrikaner, Quo Vadis, where are you going?” (Botha 1952, 277). The cornerstone of the Voortrekker monument had been laid more than a decade earlier, on 16 December 1938, as the culmination of a year of events and celebrations commemorating the centenary of the Great Trek. The Great Trek was the movement of a group of Dutch-speaking settlers who, from 1838 on- 2 Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past 349 wards, travelled by ox wagon into the interior of Southern Africa in order to escape British Rule. In 1938 the heroic spirit of these pioneering Trekkers, or Voortrekkers, was also re-enacted through a symbolic ox wagon trek (organized by the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Organizations). Nine ox wagons left Cape Town in August 1938, with one group travelling to the site for the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, while another undertook the journey to Blood River in Natal (in the eastern part of the country). Blood River was the site of a battle on 16 December 1938 between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus under the leadership of Dingaan, in which the Voortrekkers created a circle (or laager) with their ox wagons and managed to withstand the attack. In Afrikaner collective memory this became an important event, in part also because it became associated with a vow made to God that if God would give them victory, they and future generations would commemorate this day as sacred. From the mid-1860s onwards, with the growing threat of British imperialism, this memory was, so to speak, “re-heated,” and in the decades following the South African War or Anglo Boer War (1899– 1902), the 16th of December (often referred to as Dingaan’s Day, or later the Day of the Vow, or the Day of the Covenant) took on great symbolic value (Kistner in Sundermeier 1975, 73–90; Müller 2015, 111–130). The Women’s Monument that commemorated the women and children who died in concentration camps during the South African war was inaugurated on 16 December 1913, as was the Voortrekker Monument in 1949. The Day of the Vow, and its commemoration as public holiday and religious event, continued to stir up emotions in the latter part of the 20th century as well. This is seen, for instance, by the fact that when the Afrikaner historian Floors Van Jaarsveld gave a more critical rendition of the historical account of Blood River and the Vow at a conference at the University of South Africa in 1979, he was forcefully tarred and feathered by members of a right-wing political group – called the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) (see Van Jaarsveld in König/ Keane 1980, 8–59). The symbolic ox wagon trek of 1938 caught the imagination of a large section of the Afrikaner people. People dressed up in Voortrekker clothes and met the wagons as they moved through towns and villages. Streets were renamed after Voortrekker heroes, and monuments were erected, often at churches, to mark this event. As the historian Lindie Koorts writes: “With each turn of the wagons’ wheels, the enthusiasm gained momentum and swelled into a phenomenon that could only be described as mass hysteria” (Koorts 2014, 323). The event can rightly be described as a “climax of emotional Afrikaner nationalism which projected its needs, Robert Vosloo 350 anxieties and self-image on history and at the same time ‘discovered’ itself in the past” (Van Jaarsveld in König/Keane 1979, 32). D F Malan was the main speaker at the celebrations at Blood River on 16 December 1938. Malan saw the centenary year as a God-given moment, saying: “At the battlefield of Blood River you are standing on holy ground. It is here that the great verdict fell regarding the future of South Africa, Christian civilization in our country, and the survival and responsible position of power of the white race. It is here where the Voortrekkers’ human heart, lion’s courage, and steadfast faith in God and his volk speak most clearly and powerfully to the next generations.” (Malan 1938, 3, my translation) Malan utilized the memory of the Voortrekkers to call attention to new challenges. A key emphasis in Malan’s speech was on the need to heed the call for a ‘new great trek’ to the cities, since it was in the cities where whites and blacks met in the field of labour that the new Blood River would be fought. “The battle field has moved. Your Blood River is not here. Your Blood River lies in the cities,” Malan exclaimed (1938, 5). The symbolic ox wagon trek as a whole, and Malan’s speech in particular, point to the way in which the past was also used to face contemporary challenges within the broader framework of Afrikaner nationalism and unity. The reasons for the rise of Afrikaner nationalism are certainly complex and multifaceted. On one level it can be understood in the light of the traumatic experiences of British imperialism and the wounds in the collective psyche associated with the South African War. “The nation” was viewed positively, while the “empire” (i.e. British rule) was loathed. One of the sermon titles in a collection of sermons preached by the Afrikaner pastor C R Kotzé between 1930 and 1946 is indicative of a general mood in some nationalistic circles: “God created the nations and the devil the empire” (Kotzé not dated, 10–11). To this aspect one can add that the rise of Afrikaner nationalism was marked by a sense of beleaguered identity that served as an important driver for the emphasis on the importance of the volk and “one’s own” (“die eie”). In addition, the past was used in a sacralized way, as seen for instance in the events around the inauguration of monuments that were used to strengthen Afrikaner identity vis-à-vis perceived dangers. The historian Herman Giliomee speaks in his book The Afrikaners: Biography of a People of the “return to history” in Afrikaner circles in the 1930s (2004, 432). One is reminded in this regard of the work of Tzvetan Todorov, who wrote extensively on the misuses of commemoration. In his book publis- Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past 351 hed in English as Hope and Memory: Reflections on the Twentieth Century he writes: “Memory … should not be used only to celebrate one’s own heroes, to mourn one’s own dead, and to stigmatize the wrongs committed by others” (2014, xxi). He adds: “While history makes the past more complicated, commemoration makes it simpler, since it most often supplies us with heroes to worship or with enemies to detest, it deals in desecration and consecration” (2014, 133). Todorov warns that the benefits of memory can be neutralized through both a sacralization and a trivialization of the past: “We can fall into the frying pan of making the past sacred and thus isolating it completely from the present; and we can fall into the fire of making it trivial, by seeing the present exclusively through the lens of the past” (2014, 161; cf. Vosloo 2017, 79–82). What Todorov describes as a sacralization of the past seems indeed to have been the case within the context of the rise of Afrikaner nationalism and the commemorations it gave birth to. Religion and the church, moreover, played a central role in this regard, for as Richard Elphick has remarked: “The Afrikaner cultural campaign was imbued with the language of ‘Christian Nationalism’” (2012, 239). The Church and Afrikaner Nationalism How did the religious discourse in the church, and particularly the white Afrikaans-speaking Reformed churches, influence or reflect the rise of Afrikaner nationalism and the concomitant strong identification of church and volk? This is a broader question than can be addressed here, but a look at the material pertaining to the centennial of the Great Trek and the symbolic reenactments in Die Kerkbode (the official Dutch Reformed Church newspaper) makes for interesting reading. An editorial of 17 August 1938 sums up what would be restated in different ways by author after author in this church periodical in the months leading up to the commemoration: “The deepest nerves in the “volksgevoel” (the feeling of being a people, a volk) have been touched” (Editorial, Die Kerkbode, 17 August 1936, 278). In contributions after contribution the heroism of the Voortrekkers is emphasized, together with their perseverance and religiosity. And on the ox wagon itself as a symbolic object near sacred qualities are bestowed in the sermons, prayers and poems published in Die Kerkbode between August and December 1938. In addition, reference is made to the hand of God in the history of the Afrikaner people (cf. Kestell, Die Kerkbode, 23 November 1938, 917). The positive impact the commemorations might have on missi- 3 Robert Vosloo 352 on work was also emphasized (Gerdener, Die Kerkbode, 23 November 1938, 59–62). A common thread in the religious response to the centennial of the Great Trek and the nationalistic upsurge that accompanied it was the emphasis on the need of the Afrikaner people to return to the church, religion and the God of their fathers. This was also a central tenet in some of the political rhetoric of the time. When D F Malan, for instance, spoke more than a decade later – now as Prime Minister – he concluded his Quo Vadis speech at the inauguration of the Voortrekker monument with the call: “(T)urn back. Back to your volk, back to the highest ideals of your volk, back to the inheritance that was given for you to conserve; back to the altar of the volk, where you must lay your sacrifices; back to the holiness and purity of family life; back to the Christian way of life; back to the Christian faith; back to your church; back to your God.” (Botha 1952, 277) One can argue that this “back to” discourse, often accompanied by a romanticized and idealized view of an “invented” past, played an influential role in the rise and consolidation of Afrikaner nationalism, and the way it became intertwined with the logic and policies of apartheid and white hegemony. In the process Afrikaner nationalism and religious discourse became tightly interwoven. It should be noted, too, that for some, the critique of Afrikaner nationalism was motivated by religious convictions. In the Introduction of this article, I already referred to the papers read at the conference on Church and Nationalism in 1974 as indicative of a growing critical attitude towards narrow understandings of nationalism, such as the way in which Afrikaner nationalism found its embodiment in a way that coupled it with the logic of apartheid. In one of the papers read at this conference entitled “Christianity and Nationalism in the light of Pentecost” the Afrikaner pastor and anti-apartheid activist Beyers Naudé (who grew up in intensely Afrikaner nationalist surroundings) remarks that the church should withstand the suffocating grip “which any kind of nationalism eventually and inevitably gets on the witness and life of the church” (Naudé in Sundermeier 1975, 144). He concluded his speech, saying: “In the history of South Africa white nationalism (especially Afrikaner nationalism) has inevitably and understandably called forth the reaction of black nationalism. When the pendulum of black nationalism (especially when political liberation comes to the blacks) swings its full course and completes the circle, may God give the black Christian lea- Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past 353 ders the courage and wisdom to help their people not to repeat the tragic and terrible mistake which we as whites (and especially we as white Afrikaners) have made by imposing upon the blacks in the name of Christian nationalism a system of domination and oppression that has evoked so much bitterness, anger and hostility and which threatens to destroy the Afrikaner volk. Therefore my plea to you as Christian leaders of the black community: do not allow yourselves to be destroyed in soul and being in the way we are destroying ourselves, if we continue to enhance or idolize group identity and national culture as of greater importance than the glorious truth of unity, fellowship and willing acceptance of one another in the spirit of Pentecost!” (Naudé in Sundermeier 1975, 144) Naudé’s warning against the dangers of exclusive nationalism in its various guises was motivated by a vision of a more inclusive South African society in the light of his theological convictions. The Nation, Neo-Nationalism and Political Discourses in South African Today? Following the release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the African National Congress and other organizations in 1990, the emphasis in political discourse understandably shifted towards talk about a “new South Africa.” In the process a new form of nation-talk emerged in the build-up to the first democratic elections in April 1994. In this context the political philosopher Johan Degenaar delivered a thought-provoking paper entitled “The Myth of a South African Nation,” published by the Institute for a Democratic South Africa (IDASA). As he did in his paper at the conference on Church and Nationalism in 1974, he again used a quotation from Albert Camus as epigraph: “I want to love my country but I also want to love justice.” For this article he also added another epigraph, this time by Nelson Mandela: “Our country, which continues to bleed and suffers pain, needs democracy” (Degenaar 1993, 1). What is significant in Degenaar’s paper is that he did not share the uncritical enthusiasm of the time for the project of nation-building, given the negative characteristics of the concept of nation within the practice of nationalism. Hence his conclusion: “At this stage of our history my advice to fellow South Africans is the following: instead of wasting energy in trying to build a nation, rather accept the shared responsibility for creating a democratic culture” (1993, 15). 4 Robert Vosloo 354 Degenaar admitted that the creation of a democratic culture is a long and difficult road, and that one must be aware of the complex nature of democracy. This difficult task, furthermore, lacks the romanticism of the project of nation-building, hence the need for “eternal vigilance, holding off gods and tyrants whether in the form of totalitarianism …, or in the guise of the myth of a nation, which absolutizes the sovereignty of the people and submerges the individual into the romanticism of the collective personality” (1993, 15). Therefore, for Degenaar, nationalism “has to be abdicated in favour of constitutionalism and the concept of nation has to make way for the concept of civil society” (1993, 21). And the democracy that he had in mind should “accommodate common citizenship as well as communal identities” (1993, 21). Looking back at the South African political landscape over the last 25 years or so, it is clear that Degenaar’s suggestion was not taken to heart. The South African theologian Dirkie Smit has recently argued in an important article “Religion and civil society in ‘South Africa’: Searching for a grammar of life together,” in which he engages with Degenaar’s paper, that the public discourses of the last 25 years in South Africa have their roots in different “social imaginaries” and ways of envisioning “South Africa.” In the process he puts forward a typology of social imaginaries operating in public discourse in South Africa in which the categories of “the nation” and “democracy” are central. On the one hand, Smit contends, some remain committed to the ideals of nation-building and national reconciliation. He writes: “Whether they strove for national identity, national reconciliation, national development or national moral regeneration, many remained committed to the expectations concerning one national project and its common good, with major implications for the expectations concerning the role of civil society – and religion – in this future ‘South Africa’” (Smit in Welker et al. 2017, 70). Others, on the other hand, emphasized in diverse ways, in line with Degenaar’s suggestion, the need to sustain a democratic culture, albeit in diverse and deeply contested ways. Smit also points to the fact that there seems to be an increase in the lack of trust in democratic forms that has resulted in a new enthusiasm for radical or populist politics. An example of this is the popularity of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), under the charismatic leadership of Julius Malema. As a registered political party, it made gains in the 2019 elections (receiving more than 10 % of the national vote). In his typology Smit also refers to the fact that some people have lost trust in both these projects associated with “the nation” or “democracy” respectively, resulting in other social imaginaries gaining prominence in certain circles. Smit refers to the way in which the talk of an African renais- Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past 355 sance (see Thabo Mbeki’s “I am an African” speech) was not a nation-building project as such, but an attempt “to mobilise people in the service of a more inclusive African identity and future” (Smit in Welker et al. 2017, 79). Smit also refers to other social imaginaries, such as the plea by some for the commitment to dignity and human rights, the call for a new humanism, and the popularity of the discourse and social practice of decolonization. He adds that one can perhaps even claim that a type of political nihilism is also discernible among some, displaying among them the lack of any coherent functioning social imaginary. Smit also points to the fact that religious communities and theological traditions are part and parcel of these various imaginaries, “and in many ways have been and still remain part of the problems and difficulties” (Smit in Welker et al. 2017, 82). What makes Smit’s typology of these various social imaginaries in more recent South African political discourse helpful is that it points to the fact that it is not so easy to speak of one dominant political discourse. One should therefore also be careful of using the label neo-nationalism uncritically to describe certain general trends or certain groups that manifest populist leanings. One does not find in South African political discourses influential groups that use slogans along the lines of “Make South Africa great again” or “South Africa first.” This said, in the wake of the growing disillusionment with, and loss of trust in, political projects associated with “the nation” or “democracy”, a political climate is created that opens up space for populist figures to propagate, with some success, hardened identity constructs that are built on a strong sense of an all-good “us” versus an allbad “them.” This fosters a cultural and political climate that is increasingly being marked by what Achille Mbembe describes as “a politics of enmity” (Mbembe 2016). In the current South African political discourse these new emerging forms of discourse are often accompanied by what is perceived by many as a type of nostalgia for the past. This is seen, for instance, in the popularity in certain circles of the Afrikaans singer and celebrity Steve Hofmeyr. At his concerts he often sings the old national anthem, Die Stem, and it seems to strike a chord with some Afrikaners who feel marginalized and victimized in the new South African political landscape. In other circles, the rhetoric of an idealized pre-colonial African past is often dominant. One is reminded in this regard of sociologist Zygmunt Bauman’s book Retrotopia, in which he looks at various “back to” movements characterizing our contemporary cultural, political and religious landscape. According to Bauman, the tide has turned away from futuristic utopias towards “visions located in the lost/stolen/abandoned but undead past” (Bauman 2017, 5). In his analysis of “the Age of Nostalgia,” Bauman identifies four distinct but Robert Vosloo 356 interrelated ‘back-to’ currents, and he devotes a chapter to each: ‘Back to Hobbes’, ‘Back to Tribes’, ‘Back to Inequality’, ‘Back to the Womb.’ Bauman ends his provocatively titled book with the following comment: “There are no shortcuts leading to a quick, adroit and effortless damming of the ‘back to’ currents – whether to Hobbes, to tribes, to inequality or to the womb … We need to brace ourselves for a long period marked by more questions than answers and more problems than solutions, as well as for acting in the shadow of finely balanced chances of success and defeat … More than in any other time we – human inhabitants of the Earth – are in the either/or situation: we face joining either hands, or common graves” (Bauman, 2017, 166–167). To conclude: talk about neo-nationalism and other possible social imaginaries in current South African political discourse cannot be dealt with in an ahistorical way, also not in isolation from the history of Afrikaner nationalism and the critical responses it evoked. One of the possible lessons from this complex history is that the past was also used in a way that served fixed identity constructs, and that the church and religion played a pivotal role in sacralizing history. This points to the fact that also in our current changing political landscape a historical hermeneutic is needed that engages responsibly with South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past. References Anderson, Benedict (2006): Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Revised Edition), London: Verso. Bauman, Zygmunt (2017): Retrotopia, Malden, MA: Polity Press. Botha, M C (Ed.) (1952): Die Huldejaar 1949, Johannesburg: Voortrekkerpers Beperk. Dubow, Saul (1992): Afrikaner Nationalism, Apartheid and the Conceptualization of ‘Race’, in: The Journal of African History 33/2, 209–237. Editorial, Die Kerkbode, “Die Ossewatrek,” 17 August 1938, 278. Elphick, Richard (2012): The Equality of Believers, Protestant Missionaries and the Racial Politics of South Africa, Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. Degenaar, Johan (1995): Philosophical Roots of Nationalism, in: Sundermeier, Theo (Ed.): Church and Nationalism in South Africa, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 11–39. Degenaar, Johan (1993): The Myth of a South African Nation, in: Occasional Papers 40, IDASA. Gerderner, G B A (1938): Betekenis van die Groot Trek vir ons Kerklike-Godsdienstige Lewe, in: Die Kerkbode, 23 November 1938, 945–947. Afrikaner Nationalism, Religion and the Sacralization of the Past 357 Giliomee, Herman (2004): The Afrikaners: Biography of a People, Cape Town: Tafelberg. Kestell, J D (1938): Die Hand van God in Ons Geskiedenis, in: Die Kerkbode, 23 November 1938, 917–918. Kistner, Wolfram (1975): The 16th of December in the context of Nationalistic thinking, in: Sundermeier, Theo (Ed.): Church and Nationalism in South Africa, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 73–90. König, A and Keane, H (Eds.) (1980): The Meaning of History: Problems in the interpretation of history with possible reference to examples from South African History such as the Battle of Blood River, Pretoria: University of South Africa. Koorts, Lindie (2014): D F Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner Nationalism, Cape Town: Tafelberg. Kotzé, C R (no date): Die Bybel en ons Volkstryd: Preke tussen 1930 en 1946 geskryf en gelewer deur Wyle Ds. C. R. Kotzé, Bloemfontein: SACUM Bpk. Malan, D F (1938): Die Nuwe Groot Trek: Suid-Afrika se Noodroep (Dr. D.F. Malan se Rede op Bloedrivier, 16 Desember 1938), Kaapstad: Nasionale Pers. Mbembe, Achille (2016): Politiques de l’inimitié, Paris: Editions La Découverte. Müller, Retief (2015): Afrikaner Reformed Missionary Enthusiasts and the Voortrekkers: with special reference to Dingaansdag/ Geloftedag and also the 1938 Eeufees, in: Studia Historia Ecclesiasticae 41/3, 11–130. Naudé, Beyers (1975): Christianity and Nationalism in the light of Pentecost, in: Sundermeier, Theo (Ed.) (1975): Church and Nationalism in South Africa, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 141–144. Smit, Dirkie (2017): Religion and Civil Society in ‘South Africa’? Searching for a grammar for life together, in: Welker, M, Koopman, N and Vorster, J M (Eds.): Church and Civil Society: German and South African Perspectives, Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 63–106. Sundermeier, Theo (Ed.) (1975): Church and Nationalism in South Africa, Johannesburg: Ravan Press. Torodov, Tzvetan (2014): Hope and Memory: Reflections on the Twentieth Century, London: Atlantic Books. Van Jaarsveld, F A (1980): The historical mirror of Blood River, in: König, A and Keane, H (Eds.): The Meaning of History: Problems in the interpretation of history with possible reference to examples from South African History such as the Battle of Blood River, Pretoria: University of South Africa, 8–59. Müller, Retief (2015): Afrikaner Reformed Missionary Enthusiasts and the Voortrekkers: with special reference to Dingaansdag/ Geloftedag and also the 1938 Eeufees, in: Studia Historia Ecclesiasticae 41/3, 11–130. Vosloo, Robert (2017): Reforming Memory: Essays on South African Church and Theological History, Stellenbosch: Sun Press. Robert Vosloo 358 Part IV: Ethical and Political Perspectives Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? Marcia Pally Introduction Much work has been done mapping out populist movements across the world, their policy positions, and their relationships to the state, press, other nations and economies, minorities, and immigrants. In this chapter, I explore a narrower but hopefully incisive question: why is populism persuasive? Why do people believe populist positions improve their lives? An undergirding premise of this inquiry is that a populist vote is not a vote against best interests but rather a vote for what people think best. The task is thus to identify what is thought best and importantly, why. To essay an answer, I will look not only at right wing populism, often identified as anti-elitist, anti-intellectual, and claiming the “moral purity” of representing the “single, homogeneous, authentic people (Mueller 2016, 3). With Chantal Mouffe (2016) and Cas Mudde and Christobal Kaltwasser (2017), I seek to account also for (i) populism on the left, (ii) stronger and weaker types, and (iii) cases where populist movements are productive responses to unresponsive governments and economies. For any theory of populism, to count as theory, must account for populism’s iterations across the political range. My litmus test is whether theories of populism account for the left-populist Bernie Sanders, who partakes of an us-them binary of a weaker type but neither imagines an exclusionary homogeneous people nor trades in images of moral purity. I’ll begin with a rubric that allows us to justify identifying a movement as populist. Once we are so justified, understanding why and how a specific movement works requires drilling down into the surrounding society’s historico-cultural materièl, most importantly its beliefs, traditions, and narratives about the nature of society and government. Following Thijl Sunier’s illuminating study of historico-cultural materièl in French and Dutch populisms (2010), I’ll look at the historico-cultural materièl and populism in the U.S. 1 361 Definitions and Rubric The Pew Research Center’s 2017 “Political Typology” finds that current political identification no longer follows classic left/right positions. Thus, to clarify terms, populist “right” marks the belief that society is economically and demographically changing in unwanted ways but can be fixed by protectionist trade and immigration policies and sometimes the exclusion of domestic groups from societal resources and opportunities. In the U.S., this is often accompanied by “small government-ism,” market deregulation and the reduction of social services through tax cuts. Populist “left” marks the belief that the economy is also changing unproductively but can be fixed by civil society and government efforts, including social services and programs that broaden access to resources and opportunity. In Europe, certain left populisms advance moderate protectionist positions as push-back against the open borders and trade of the European Union, seen as a neoliberal transgressor of national interests. As populism is a response to unwanted political, economic, and demographic changes, the first rubric point is: 1. Populism, left and right, is a way of presenting solutions to economic and way-of-life duress, and often the two together (Lamont 2002; Pearlstein 2018). Way-of-life duress refers to a sense of threat to the “way things should go,” to knowing what’s fair, what’s due you and others (Stenner 2010). It is a sense of loss of control, prompted by demographic or other societal shifts such as changes in technology or gender roles. Economic duress includes current un- or under-employment but also the sense that opportunity is unfairly distributed and familiar paths to self-betterment are disappearing. Both way-of-life and economic duress may be present or anticipated, fear of future duress for oneself or one’s children. Analyzing eight hundred elections and one hundred financial crises in twenty advanced democracies from the 1870s to the present, Funke et al. (2016) found that “financial crises put a strain on democracies … far-right parties see strong political gains.” Left populism also gains, as Adam Tooze notes (2018), “the financial and economic crisis of 2007–2012 morphed between 2013 and 2017 into a comprehensive political and geopolitical crisis … Europe witnessed a dramatic mobilization of both Left and Right.” 2. Populist solutions aim at answering: (a) who is under unfair duress – the “emotionalised us” in Andre Gingrich’s apt phrase (2006, 199) 2 Marcia Pally 362 (b) why and how “we” have been wronged (c) by whom – “them.” 3. These questions/answers are binary in form. “We” does not mark any school, work, or church group but the binary of my group in struggle against those who are unfairly doing “us” harm. “Large groups,” Vamik Volkan writes, “like individuals, regress under shared duress … They may see the environment as more dangerous than it is, while expecting others to be more powerful than they are … The more stressful the situation, the more neighbor groups become preoccupied with each other” (1997, 27, 111). Feelings of unfair harm, Jeanne Knutson, founder of the International Society of Political Psychology, notes, are wounds that persist. “One never erases the identity of a victim. The first blows make the victim permanently on guard for the next attack by the next victimizer. Even if the latter – a tribe, another ethic group, or nation – loses power or the ability to mount a credible threat, the victim’s fear continues even if diminished … … a victim thus simultaneously grieves over the past and fears the future.” (cited in Volkan 1997, 160–161) Knutson concludes that political violence begins with the belief that “only continued activity in defense of oneself (one’s group) adequately serves to reduce the threat of further aggression against oneself.” Such binarity is part and parcel of much thinking about society and politics – for instance in the Schmittian idea that political orders are based on the friend-enemy distinction (Schmitt 1927/2007) or in the work of René Girard (1986, 2011). Girard posits that, because people in society are mimetic, internalizing values and practices from others in the group, they necessarily compete for the same valued things. The accruing competitive tensions are released by identifying a scapegoat – a “them” – who is exiled or murdered in a sacrificial rite. Volkan brings to Girard the idea that societies identify not only a single scapegoat but large group “others,” which become the “them” to be exiled or destroyed. 4. The degree of binarity locates a movement along a continuum from strong to weak populism. Degree of binarity depends on: • The possibilities for understanding “them” as a “worthy opposition,” a legitimate part of the vox populi • How inclusive “we” are of a variety of societal groups • The permanence of the us-them “struggle” and the ability to work with what Else Frenkel-Brunswick called “ambiguity tolerance” (Adorno 1950, 463). Can those who are opponents on one issue be allies on ano- Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? 363 ther? Can groups have multiple interests (e.g., environmental protection and manufacturing jobs) and thus be on more than one “side”? • 5. In order to “feel right” and be thought effective, populist “solutions” must be understandable. While new ideas are not precluded from understandability, the most easily grasped “solutions” are often familiar. That is, a society’s historico-cultural materièl including foundation narratives, symbologies, and normative ways of thinking – grounds the pool of ideas about society (who’s in and out) and government (its composition and responsibilities) from which “us-them” formations are drawn. Judith Butler explains that “performative” speech that accomplishes something (like bolstering a sense of “us”) works because that speech-action echoes prior actions and accumulates “the force of authority through the repetition or citation of a prior and authoritative set of practices” (1997, 51). Speech that unites the group relies on the familiar and history. The American Case How does this play out in the American context? We may begin with the un- and under employment especially in “old-industry” regions (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 2018; see also Piketty 2014; Stiglitz 2013), prodded somewhat by globalized trade but substantially by automation and productivity gains accounting for 88 percent of job loss (Hicks/Devaraj 2015). While the U.S. GDP grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in 2018 and income for the lowest quintile of workers rose 32 percent since the year 2000 (owing to employment and social assistance transfers), the 15–17 percent income gains for working and middle classes were outstripped by rises in health care, education, food, and housing costs (Samuelson 2018), fostering a sense of present insecurity and future hardship. Two problems arise in addition: loss of what Gene Sperling calls “economic dignity” and rises in morbidity and mortality. “Economic dignity” includes the capacity to provide for family and “enjoy its greatest joys”; the opportunity to pursue one’s potential and purpose; and “economic participation without domination and humiliation” (Sperling 2019). Writing on morbidity and mortality, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 reported a decline in American life expectancy for the third year in a row. A substantial factor is “deaths of despair,” including suicide, alcohol, drug abuse, and associated illnesses. While in 1999, the mortality rate of high-school-degree whites was lower than that of blacks, by 2015, 3 Marcia Pally 364 the white mortality rate was higher, and among the middle-aged, by as much as 30 percent (Case/Deaton 2017). Alongside these economic pressures is demographic change: non-Hispanic whites will comprise less than 50 percent of the population by 2044 and less than 50 percent of American children this year, 2020. White working-class voters who fear that American culture is in danger from immigrant influence were 3.5 times more likely to prefer Donald Trump in 2016 presidential election than those who did not share this concern (Cox/ Lienesch/Jones 2017). In sum, economic and technological change, associated health problems, and shifts in way of life come together to yield substantial duress and pressures for solution. Ernst Kris, echoing Girard, adds that economic duress, if understood as resulting from competition, is perhaps the strongest motive for the choice of an “us-them” solution. He finds economic stress to be one of the factors most closely associated with increases in prejudice (Kris 1975, 468–469). In presenting solutions, both left and right populisms propose an “us” and “them” but construct these groups differently as they draw on different readings of America’s historico-cultural materièl. The materièl most foundational to ideas about society (who’s in, who not) and government (its size and role) is America’s liberal covenantal republic, and I’ll briefly describe the understanding of society and government in each part of that hybrid. The liberal covenantal republic was built first from Reformed Protestant political theory, come to America through the Puritans and other religious dissenters. Understanding society as a covenant, it saw the polity as reciprocal commitment where each gives for the common good. Government emerges from the people for its benefit against the rich and politically ambitious. As for them, John Winthrop explained (1630), “The care of the public must oversway all private respects.” The Aristotelian republic, important in eighteenth century American thinking and in the founding of the country, too sees humanity as social, as living in community. Inclusion in the community/republic entails both rights (e.g., freedom of speech) and social assistance. It is by contributing to the republic that the individual achieves her fullest potential (Pettit 1997). The unjust person is one who shirks societal responsibilities and grabs undue benefits. The third component, liberalism, sees the individual not so much embedded in covenant or republic as free to separate from the polis to pursue opportunity. Alexander Hamilton spoke for this position, defining liberty as “natural rights” that must be shielded from government interference (Hamilton 2001, 30, 100). He considered freedom a means to private ambi- Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? 365 tion and check on government overreach rather than a condition for participation in government. The idea of the separable person was persuasive in America. As many immigrants had fled oppressive states, their flight reinforced the advantages of separability. The harsh frontier advised self-reliance, trust in one’s local community, and a wariness of far-away federal authorities, which, when they did act locally, were seen as bringing interfering regulations and taxes. The Shays (1786–1787) and Whiskey (1791– 1794) rebellions against federal taxation began almost as soon as the country did. Though national government grew along with the nation, localism retained a vaunted place in American identity and practice, fostering a democratic critique of authority and the robust civil society of “voluntary associations” that Tocqueville so admired. Today, localism is the ground for state and city policy across the political spectrum – both strong and weak state environmental protections, lax and tight state gun control, and both cooperation with federal deportation agencies and local “sanctuary movements.” American Left-Populism Covenantal/republican ideas about society and government are important in the pool of materièl from which many left-populisms draw. As foundational to America’s political thinking, they contribute to the familiarity and persuasiveness of left populist proposals. “Them” are identified as the wealthy who take an unfair share of societal resources and resist fair contribution to the common good. “We” is inclusive for race, immigration, and importantly, for national government, seen as emerging from the people and not only responsible for broad-based opportunity but able to implement it. There is clear but not strong binarity where “them” is identified on adjustable economic positions rather than essentialist traits such as race. Business and wealthy individuals are not unalterably “them” but are evaluated on policies that may be debated and changed. Tolerance for ambiguity is present where a business is recognized, for example, as societally beneficial on one issue (e.g., environment protection) and hobbling on another (e.g., minimum wage). The 2016 and 2019 Sanders campaigns fall within this variant of populism. They critiqued private/corporate wealth that resists fair share contribution to the common good and called for substantial government role in addressing inequality and in providing medical care, affordable housing, 4 Marcia Pally 366 etc. A contrast with Hillary Clinton’s more centrist platform may be useful.1 Sanders Clinton increasing taxes on Wall Street to enable free public colleges X; increases in college scholarships; free two-year but not all public colleges taxing speculative trading; breaking up major investment houses retain existing regulations separating commercial from investment banks (Glass-Steagall Act) opposed Federal taxation on coal-powered plants X eliminating tax breaks for fossil fuel companies X expanding Social Security Social Security as is Medicare for all keep the present private health insurance system expanding immigration maintain current levels Not only Sanders but Sanders supporters showed greater binarity than Clinton or Obama supporters, consistent with Sanders’s more populist stance. The three groups have similar views on income and wealth inequality, “moral issues,” gender roles, and the role of government, yet Sanders supporters show a more binary view of mainstream politics as “rigged” against “us” (Drutman 2017, June) and they were “clearly farther to the left than Clinton supporters” (American National Election Studies 2016; Murphy 2016). American Right-Populism The liberal/localist tradition and its ideas about society and government are important in the historico-cultural background of much right-popu- 5 1 both sets of policies are taken from the candidates’ official 2016 campaign websites:; Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? 367 lism, with its preference for civil society, the market, and local institutions over central government. While this tradition has yielded much the best in America, under duress (present or anticipated), as people find solutions in binary frameworks, (a) commitment to community may become my-community-in-struggle against others – that is, the determination that “outsiders” are threats to be constrained, and (b) wariness of oppressive government may become suspicion of government per se, whose activities should be limited – except to implement the constraints on outsiders required by (a). Nye, Zelikow, and King (1997) add that wariness of government is linked to resentment of associated elites such as intellectuals, bankers, and “cosmopolitanism.” There is stronger binarity and less notion of a “worthy opposition” where “them” is identified on essentialist criteria such as race or the non-locality of national government. That is, immigrants and minorities are seen as taking an unfair share of societal resources (in crime and reliance on social services) much as the populist left sees wealthy businesses taking an unfair share. Federal government is seen unfairly constraining “the people” through taxes and regulation. But because the immigrant and government “them” are identified on essentialist criteria, the binary allows for less ambiguity tolerance and is more enduring. Jerry Taylor, president of the center-libertarian Niskanen center, explains the Republican party under Donald Trump as believing that a strong economy is “only reliably ensured when government is minimized, taxes are nearly inconsequential, and free markets and property rights are given the greatest scope possible” (Edsall 2019, Jan. 30). Brink Lindsey, Niskanen’s vice president for policy, was more pointed: the Republicans start “in ideological self-delusion – that government is simply incapable of performing well, so starving it of funds is always a good idea and trying to make it work better is a waste of time … And, of course, this ideological stance turns out to be incredibly convenient for rich donors looking for any excuse to keep their taxes down” (Edsall 2019, Jan 30). Wariness of government and other outsiders was prominent in the 2016 presidential and 2018 congressional elections. Districts that in 2018 shifted from more conservative Republican to more progressive Democrat had income and educational levels higher than the state medians. That is, they are under less duress. Districts that shifted Democrat to Republican had lower levels (Edsall 2019, Jan. 30). In short, people who are losing ground and suffering greater duress moved towards Republican immigration reduction and small-government-ism (tax and regulation cuts) – that is, to contain the traditional “them” of government and other outsiders. Marcia Pally 368 We observe this double wariness in other, non-election arenas, for instance in attitudes about gun ownership: “An assault-weapon ban…” David French (2018) explains in the National Review, “would gut the concept of an armed citizenry as a final, emergency bulwark against [government] tyranny”.2 Three-quarters of American gun owners associate gun ownership with “freedom.” Republican non-gun-owners are more likely (61 percent) than Democratic owners (43 percent) to hold that the right to own guns is essential to their freedom. Government-wariness is found also in the opposition to federal social services even among beneficiaries. Those who, under the Republican replacement for Obamacare, would have lost $5000 in government subsidies voted for Trump by 59 to 36 percentage points (Cohn 2017). As Applebaum and Gebeloff write, “as more middleclass families like the Gulbransons land in the safety net in Chisago [Wisconsin] and similar communities, anger at the government has increased alongside… they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it” (Applebaum/Gebeloff 2012).3 Moving from wariness of government to wariness of other “outsiders”: anxieties about immigration (and at times about non-white citizens) were equally or more decisive than economics in support for Trump among white working-class voters (Mutz 2018). These concerns continue in the alt-right cry, “you will not replace us,” in the Confederacy as a symbol of white pride, in the “Latino Threat Narrative,” and demand for a “border wall.” The “Latino threat” narrative, Jamie Longazel explains, runs roughly like this: our town used to be “close-knit, quiet, obedient, honest, harmless, and hardworking” but now it’s filled with foreigners who are “loud, disobedient, manipulative, lawless, and lazy.” The narrative holds though the Latino population in Longazel’s study revived the local economy, abandoned by the coal mines and twentieth-century manufacturing. It has attracted such firms as Amazon, Cargill, and American Eagle, creating jobs 2 A National Rifle Association lawyer similarly explained in the 2009 Harvard Law Journal: the right to bear arms is “to protect against the tyranny of our own government,” see, Henigan 2009, 143. Ninety-one percent of Republican and Republicanleaning gun owners report that gun ownership is “essential” to their freedom compared to 43 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning gun owners. see, Igielnik/Brown 2017, June 22. 3 While reliance on government programs rose from 7 percent of average income in 1969 to 17 percent in 2014, animus against such programs has also risen, owing to the perception that “other people” are taking advantage of “our” tax dollars, see Mettler 2018. Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? 369 and giving the local tax base a boost that took the local hospital out of bankruptcy (Longazel 2016). Anxieties over immigration more generally hold though: immigrants are disproportionately entrepreneurial, spurring business and increasing employment (Blau/Mackie 2017)4; commit fewer crimes than native-borns (Bernat 2017); though the U.S. faces a labor shortage at every skill level (Porter 2017); and though the U.S. has an aging population and a declining birth rate such that immigration is needed for economic development (Ozimek/Fikri/Lettieri 2019). “Over the next 20 to 25 years,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, notes, “a labor shortage is going to put a binding constraint on growth” at all skill levels (Porter 2017).5 Arlie Hochschild (2016) describes the belief – “the deep story” – in which both government and other “outsiders” are suspect. In this “deep story,” minorities and immigrants are “cutting in the job line” ahead of “us” – and worse, cutting in with the help of a government that gives these outsiders aid. Fifty-five percent of American whites hold that government “is treating them unfairly compared with other racial groups” (Perez 2018). Thus “we,” who have worked hard and deserve fair reward, should: (i) shrink government regulations and programs by reducing taxes, (ii) return the money to “us,” and (iii) close borders to alien people and products. While other Republicans propose pieces of a “solution” that keeps “them” out, Trump’s persuasiveness lies in melding them into a bold assertion of “us.” “We have one of us in that White House,” a Trump supporter told Newsweek in 2018 (Norris 2018). His policies aim at reducing the size of federal government, including its involvement in health care, reducing government regulation of business and finance, cutting taxes, building a border wall, establishing import tariffs, temporarily banning Muslims, and renegotiating/withdrawing from NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, international environmental protection agreements, and the Iran nuclear treaty. Stephen Moore, Trump’s 2019 nominee for chairman 4 The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine finds that immigrants spur innovation and new businesses, increase employment, contribute $30 billion to the tax pool in the second generation and $223 billion in the third, see, Blau/Mackie 2017. 5 Similarly, Vermont’s Republican governor Phil Scott said, “our biggest threat is our declining labor force. It’s the root of every problem we face. This makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to recruit new employees and expand, harder for communities to grow and leaves fewer of us to cover the cost of state government,” (Vermont Official State Website 2019). Marcia Pally 370 of the Federal Reserve Bank (which regulates U.S. monetary policy), advocates eliminating all corporate and federal income taxes, the Departments of Labor, Energy and Commerce, the IRS, and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. He questions the need for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, and Social Security. Trump’s rhetoric, his way of advancing his policies, too appeals to government- and outsider-wariness. In addition to his derisive comments about Mexican rapists (Wolf 2018) and immigrants of color coming from “shithole” countries (Dawsey 2018), in 2017 he described opening formerly protected land to business development as freeing Americans from government: “Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of bureaucrats located in Washington … They’re wrong” (Turkewitz 2017). His policies and rhetoric resonate with the 45 percent of Americans who say there is too much government regulation of business and industry (23 percent think there is too little, 29 percent, the right amount; Swift 2017). Concluding Thoughts This chapter has sought to shed light on why populism, left and right, is persuasive. After a rubric that allows us to identify a movement or group as populist, the U.S. is used as a case study to illustrate rubric points about duress, binarized solutions, and the importance of historico-cultural materièl. Both the left-wing Bernie Sanders and the right-wing Donald Trump fall within rubric parameters for populism, each proposing weaker (Sanders) or stronger (Trump) binarized solutions to present duresses. Both also draw upon longstanding American ideas about society and government, which makes their proposals familiar and convincing. By longstanding I mean, for instance, that resistance to Obama’s health insurance reform long preceded the Trump candidacy – though through it, over 20 million acquired health insurance. The complaint, as stated to the appeals court by the states that brought suit against it, was that it “rests on a claim of federal power that is both unprecedented and unbounded” (United States Department of Health and Human Services Et Al. v. State of Florida Et Al. 2012). By contrast, then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan assured that, under the Republican proposal, “People are going to do what they want to do with their lives because we believe in individual freedom” (Face the Nation 2017). Republicans in the right wing of the party (but less so business centrists) also showed significant support for a border wall as much as two decades before Trump’s candidacy. “In the years leading up 6 Why Vote Against Best Interests or Why is Populism Persuasive? 371 to the [2016] primaries,” Sides, Tesler and Vavreck (2018) write, “Pew Research Center surveys [2012] showed that large majorities of Republicans supported building a border fence along the Mexican border. Most Republicans also said that ‘immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care,’ and nearly all Republicans said they wanted tougher restrictions on immigration in general.” Trump’s is a populist strategy of hunting where the (historico-cultural) ducks are. 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Marcia Pally 376 Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations Christian Polke I. The difficult entanglements of religion and politics represent one of the most prominent topics in current debates between social scientists, philosophers, and the wider public. In face of neo-liberalism some liberal intellectuals together with mostly left-wing politicians are still trying to save our civil discourses by keeping religious and other not merely liberal ideological arguments and convictions out of public debates. However, religious motifs are already “in”, not only when it comes to issues regarding religious freedom or cultural identity. Especially since 2015, questions of migration policy dominate the political arena. Therein, the problem of foreign religious traditions plays also a crucial role. Thereby, religious ideas and motifs can easily be instrumentalised from both sides. Not only neonationalist voices often underpin their claims with arguments from religious, mostly Christian and sometimes Jewish traditions. Throughout history religion therefore has been one, if not the most important source for all kinds of identity-making, including ethnocentrism and nationalism. However, in our contemporary age of social media, it is hard to see who or which institution could function as an effective and normative discursive authority in distinguishing correct uses of religious ideas, symbols, and arguments from their misuses. We are currently facing a significant loss in trust in formal structures of representation. And even under different conditions, at least for Protestants, there would not be any Holy Office that can prevent faith from its abuses and misinterpretations in form of political instrumentalisation. In this situation we are then in need of more realistic approaches of contemporary social life and its structural and institutional conditions. Now, our democratic cultures and societies primarily consist in different sets of social practices of inclusive excellence. One can think of a variety of communal associations, trade unions, groups, and collective agents, including sports, clubs, (religious) congregations, and even the arts. Moreover, various discursive practices of ethical and political deliberation domi- 377 nate our political debates (cf. Stout 2004, 291–300). Thereby, different ideas of the common good are often fused with strategic alliances and arguments on the one and economic interests on the other side. And again, this is true not only for conservative, neo-liberal, or neo-nationalist parties and movements, but also for their opponents. In my view, instead of complaining the loss of cultural or religious neutrality in politics or even in the public space, we are in need of once, the deepening of our sensitivity for all kinds of political, ideological, cultural, and religious differences, and second, the strengthening of power of political judgement. Both tasks concern all citizens. However, when I speak about the “political”, I do not mean any kind of political theory or ethics nor do I restrict the term to legal norms, administrative procedures or executive power. Also, the “political” includes issues and questions of identity and therefore refers to our basic sources for solidarity. This is another reason why the “religious” and the “political” can never be completely separated. To deepen the power of critical political judgement, our special attention should be given to schools and other institutions of public education regarding younger and next generations. This does include religious institutions and communities insofar as they often contribute with their communal life to critical citizenship. Therefore, political education is not simply a task for public schools, medias, and political parties. At least, when we are facing the challenges of contemporary neo-nationalism, we have to ask for responsibilities churches and other religious congregations do have when religious motifs of our cultural heritages are used for exclusionary political and social identities and imaginaries. Thereby, any defence of pluralistic democratic life must take seriously queries that are decisive for the rise of neo-nationalism. If John Dewey was right – and I think he was – that “the classroom” should function as a “microcosm of democratic learning in both substance and process” (Bellah 1992, vi)1, our main question, how to meet such challenges cannot sufficiently be answered without looking at our educational processes, forms, and aims, including religious education. 1 Dewey has developed this grounding idea most broadly in his book Democracy and Education (1916) (2008). Christian Polke 378 II. Now, before we can discuss in what sense “neo-nationalism” is a current challenge for our educational practices, I have to outline very briefly my own definition of the term “neo-nationalism”. In recent literature on the topic it does often function as a collective term for a variety of different political movements and ideologies which strive for social cohesion by emphasizing the importance of nationhood as a main source for collective identity. Most neo-nationalist thinkers do so by taking over ideas of 19th and early 20th century political thought and in reaction to challenges of global market-economy, mass migration, cultural diversification. Thereby, they stand in sharp contrast – as they think – to the political regime of cultural liberal élites – how they call them. In this sense, Benedict Anderson was completely right by saying, a nation is “an imagined political community – imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign” (Anderson 1991, 6–7). For him, a nation is a sort of moral community “regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each”, because “the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately”, he continues, “it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings” (ibid.). One has to keep in mind that in every form of nationalism or neo-nationalism an idea of social solidarity is at work, even though the mechanisms of its implementation go hand in hand with aggressive social exclusion of groups which are not seen as members of the “horizontal comradeship”. Moreover, Anderson´s description is helpful to identify a religious meaning in these struggles for collective identity. Again, we should be cautious and be aware of not too easily identify nationalism with expansionism, nativism, racism, or even ethnocentrism. However, I do not fight for any justification of Anderson´s theses here. The only thing I want to point out: Every deeper analysis of current forms of nationalism, and so of neo-nationalism – if there is a phenomenon like this, has to follow the different historical and social pathways in which political movements with their programs and symbolisms have arised. Insofar it is not surprising that neo-nationalist movements share some crucial aspects of classical modern nationalism.2 Maybe even more than the latter neo-nationalist movements identify themselves as parts of an ongoing pro- 2 At least in my view it is still an empirical and categorial question whether one can clearly distinct nationalism from neo-nationalism. In any case, classical nationalist Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 379 cess of struggling for identity, calling for “difference” in the age of felt standardisation of all spheres of life. However, in their fighting for collective recognition, they need some real or constructed “others” which are framed as “outsiders” (cf. Taylor 2011). The “nation” functions as symbolic prism of collective identity, shaping who is “in” and who is “out”, to whom we feel (absolutely) obliged and loyal, and to whom (relatively) not. “Modern nationalist politics is a species of identity politics” (ibid.) and this is why religious motifs and ideas, like other elements of constructed cultural heritages, can so easily be integrated in this process of identity- and policymaking, not only by their substance, but even more as sources of moral and political legitimation. Needless to say, this has impacts on the ideas of education and their implementation in schools and other educational institutions. III. Of course, political education is not the primary task of religious education, neither at public schools nor in religious communities. As a school subject established in at least most German states, religious education mainly works for religious literacy, for the hermeneutical understanding of one´s own religious tradition – in comparison to others, and for the cultivation of critical power of religious judgement. However, moral and political issues play a role as well, because they are shaped by religious opinions and world-views. Therefore, it should not be surprising when new challenges in society in general and in the political realm in particular take place in the classroom, too. Besides the fact that school teachers are obliged to the “rule of political neutrality” and in awareness that religious communities can only indirectly play their role as “schools of public virtue” (R.F. Thiemann) or “schools of critical citizenship”, the main question is to what extent political discussion should be part of religious school education. From the point of a public theology (in the broadest sense of the word), religious communities but also religious education in public schools do not simply “exist for the purpose of strengthening citizenship” (Bellah 1992, xii). However, what in Christian terms is called movements going back to 19th century always fight for national independence. In this sense also anti-colonist movements had some national(ist) agendas. Whereas most of contemporary nationalist movements and parties do argue and fight for people´s sovereignty within an existing nation. This is why migration policy is so important to them. The main exception represents (current) forms of separatism. Christian Polke 380 “discipleship which has primacy in the religious life, nonetheless properly understood entails citizenship in a democratic society or on trying to be more democratic.” (Ibid.) This is why I speak of an indirect influence religious education has on political and moral understanding of our present. So far, mere doctrinal questions like “How democracy can be legitimated for Christian people?” or “How to reconcile religious freedom and tolerance with the absoluteness of a specific faith?” may be important, but are not enough. Even more, because there is no singular Political Ethics, esp. of Christianity3, no definite answers could be given to these questions. Therefore, it seems more important to me to learn and to cultivate democratic attitudes for and self-criticism in controversies and discussions about the common good and on our collective identity as community, as country, as nation, as European Union etc. Insofar as religious traditions always include visions of living well together, of the social and common good of communities, they are political in substance and will take a place in these debates. In monotheistic traditions, as Christianity certainly represents, however a basic tension lies in their inherent spiritual and moral universalism on the one hand and their different mundane moral particularities on the other. In the best case, this tension leads to a self-relativization of these mundane spheres of life, including culture, ethnos, state and nationhood. Nevertheless, this is in no way a plea for an abstract universalism that simply denies particular loyalties in their moral quality. In this respect, H. Richard Niebuhr was right when he wrote at the end of a small paper, entitled “Nationalism, Socialism, and Christianity” from 1933: “to be a Christian and a patriot” – and a patriot for Niebuhr is one who shares a positive vision of “nation” – “is not be merely a patriot, but neither does it appear that to be Christian one must be an internationalist of the type which decries patriotism” (Niebuhr 2015, 218). And here one can easily replace “Christian” by “Jew” or “Muslim” in the quotation and it still remains true. Thus, regarding neo-nationalism, its claims and the reasons why it rises again in our days, one has to be cautious, as I have said. A careful under- 3 There is nothing in history like a singular version of a Political Ethics of Christianity, neither of Protestantism nor of Roman Catholicism. We are therefore in need of more differentiated reconstructions of “Christian“ ideas and values in the face of political systems, problems and challenges in each period of time. One result out of a comparative look on these issues could be that every construction of a Christian political ethos appears to some extent in the form of a compromise. For these issues see: Ernst Troeltsch Political Ethics and Christianity (1904) (1991). Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 381 standing of what is meant and what is feared, of what is argued for and what or to whom is argued against by neo-nationalist voices must be the primary task. Thereby, religious education should follow the maxim “All voices have to be heard” without too quick prejudgements. In addition, talking about real or perceived fears could have a better place within religious education classrooms than in others. Why? Because finding a religious identity always goes hand in hand with some sort of “othering”, with all its dangerous implications. So, a critical judgement of religious identity can also help to identify blind spots in other spheres of identity-talk and help to overcome their negative impacts. In any case, for identifying the abuses of religious motifs and ideas for nationalist – as for any other kind of political – propaganda requires a kind of rudimentary religious literacy. Moreover, the historical fusions between nationalisms and nativisms on the one and different forms of Christian thinking on the other side must also be known.4 Thus, critique of ideological ferments and fusions between the political and the religious, including ideological self-critique of how religious motifs can also be (ab)used, represents a basic component of religious political education. Thereby, without ignoring different loyalties and forms of community, “ways of belonging”, so to say, Christianity never can give up the priority of ultimate reality, which is named “God”. IV. Besides the fact that the meaning of “nation” and “nationhood” widely differs in European and North American political traditions, especially if one looks at Germany and its “right wing” history of nationalism, one can further ask whether there is a positive understanding of “nation” or “nationhood” which does not contradict moral universalism towards all humans? Here again we need to distinguish between aggressive forms of nationalism which deals with the idea of a superiority of one particular nation that allows it “to trumple upon others in pursuit of its vital interests” and a kind of “liberal nationalism”, to quote David Miller, “that recognizes the equal rights of all nations to protect their culture” (which for him is not a static one) “and pursue their interests”(Miller 1995, 9). Miller´s book “On 4 In his most recent book, Die Macht des Heiligen (‘The Power of the Sacred. An Alternative to the Narrative of Disenchantment’), German sociologist Hans Joas has convincingly proposed to reconstruct human, but in particular modern history of religion and politics in direction of these elementary tensions between different universalistic and particularistic values and value-systems (cf. Joas 2017, 446–488). Christian Polke 382 Nationality”, written almost twenty years ago, is still very helpful in this respect. His plea for national identity as a part of both, the common political and cultural identity on the one side, and the different personal identities of the citizen on the other side, results from two general observations: First, constitutional patriotism and mere lawful conduct besides any other social bonds are not enough for political communities in need of their viability. Especially, when theses states define themselves as welfare-states. Social, civil, and cultural aspects of the never-ending process of integration have therefore to be interlinked (cf. Miller 2016, 144). And this concerns both, natives and immigrants. Hereby, religious education at school and within religious communities can play a central role in overcoming “cultural gaps” – think about the growing percentage of migration churches here in Germany. Second, to be a nation with a national identity is in no way something static or exclusive. Instead, it is principally open for different minorities and majorities. Thereby a nation always represents as well an ethical community. Following Miller, “five elements together – a community (1) constituted by shared belief [note: not religious beliefs; C.P.] and mutual commitment, (2) extended in history, (3) active in character, (4) connected in a particular territory, and (5) marked off from other communities by its distinct public culture – serve to distinguish nationality from other collective sources of personal identity.” (Ibid.) In consequence, national identities need not stand in contrast to an universal ethos of “weak cosmopolitism” with its strong insistence on basic human rights. Moreover, they do not consist in again static, homogenous, and once-forall fixed beliefs and practices. In contrast, national identities are fluid due to their ongoing reconstruction by all citizens.5 For Miller, a liberal kind of nationality represents first of all the focal point of a collective identity that sustains social solidarity but includes a variety of different religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, cultural and social classes. This “principle of nationality implies that schools should be seen, inter alia, as places where a common national identity is reproduced and children prepared for democratic citizenship” (Miller 1995, 142), not by ignoring cultural, political, and religious pluralism but by discussing it in a common language and by considering the background of a shared history and common space all are responsible for. 5 Miller’s argumentation follows the same lines than Michael Walzer´s does in how to balance universalism and particularism in our cultural plural and sometimes even divided world (cf. Walzer 2007). Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 383 What then can be said in respect to the relation between monotheistic faiths to this kind of national identity? Can there actually be a constructive contribution to educational tasks of schools, mentioned by Miller? As long as we ignore any possible kind of model combining national identity with our religious identities, p. e. as Christians, we would miss the point. Whereas, when we accept this need for many people, one answer could be to look for a reconstructed sort of civil religion as another term for what is being asked for in our quest for national identity. In this respect, the German cultural sociologist Andreas Reckwitz has described the danger of “becoming culturally alienated” or estranged (cf. Reckwitz 2017). Many followers of neo-nationalist movements are afraid of losing their common cultural identity which stands for social bonds and mutual solidarity across and besides of economic classes. Of course, like populism, neo-nationalism is also caused by economic and social injustice6, but one should not ignore these “softier” cultural reasons. In any case, there are legitimate concerns of people in complex movements, even in current neo-nationalisms. What may differ then are the answers how to meet best the challenges of populism and neo-nationalism. V. In consequence, there is a double task of religious education in the face of neo-nationalism, namely, criticism of ideological abuse of religious motifs and ideas on the one side, and differentiated assessment of challenges which have been treated in these movements, on the other side. Thereby, the fundamental tension between perceived true challenges and misdirected ways of solution reminds us of an even more fundamental tension regarding any ethical issue dealt within Christian tradition. These more fundamental tensions can be indicated especially within monotheistic religious traditions, like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. For all of these traditions, faith is always unfolded between “overcoming the world” (Welt- überwindung) towards God and at the same time “feeling at home in the world” (Weltbeheimatung), at least partly (cf. Polke 2018, 246–247). The first aspect is a consequence of radical monotheism, be it a Trinitarian or a 6 There is currently an ongoing debate under social scientists (in Germany) whether new populisms result mainly from economic and social reasons or must also be seen as a cultural counter-reaction against modern liberalism. As always, both sides do not really contradict each other. A prominent voice for the more socio-economic strand of argumentation is Philip Manow (2018). Christian Polke 384 Unitarian form of, whereas the second follows from the belief in God´s own good creation. Both aspects lead to different kinds of fidelity or loyalty7 as a basic human attitude towards and in life and both have to be balanced again and again: Radical loyalty to God and his “universal community of being” (H.R. Niebuhr) and particular but relative loyalties towards different kinds of associations, groups, communities, and maybe also nations. Therefore, the most important religious and moral question against any kind of neo-nationalist agenda or ideology is whether it is aware of and tries to balance politically the complex tensions between different particular loyalties and between these and the radical loyalty towards a nonmundane or spiritual “cause”, which of course can also be “humankind”. In any case, the antagonism to which a pluralism of loyalties and moral obligations sometimes leads to, must not be underestimated or even only simplified. Here, we get aware of the crucial problem of all kind of ideologies, including nationalism and his twin “brothers”, ethnocentrism and religious fundamentalism. It consists in an oversimplification of social cohesion and order by a mistaken view of how to deal with the plurality of values, value-systems, life-attitudes, social imaginaries, and world-views. And one of the first places of learning where younger people get in touch with this pluralism is of course the classroom, at least in public schools which are not segregated. VI. So far, we have already dealt with some aspects of substantial democratic learning in or by the help of religious education. However, as I already mentioned above, I do not see the only task of religious education in finding good arguments for a more complex view on social issues from religious traditions. Therefore, it can help a strengthening of democratic citizenship to remind one that religious faith and belief cannot primarily be 7 Thus, the tension between these two kinds of loyality is grounded in their different „causes“ and their „nature“, of a transcendent God or of some mundane instance(s). Whereas the structure of loyality remains the same: „Yet fidelity“, or loyalty „whether practiced in church, home, profession, or nation-state, always has the same general form; it is always a set of mind, a habit of devotion to a cause, and a disciplining of action in service to a cause.“ (Niebuhr 1970, 65) Niebuhr is following here some crucial insights from Josiah Royce and his (moral) philosophy of „loyalty“ and „trust“ as essential components of our social and religious life (cf. Royce 1995). Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 385 seen as a source of political legitimation or even partisanship. Monotheistic faith remains critical towards any sacralisation of politics or of the sovereign, even that of the people. Faith can only be strong enough for political critique as well as for political contributions if it first of all remains faith in God or the ultimate transcendent(al) source of all values.8 Moreover, religious faith can contribute to the struggle of tension between our different kinds of loyalties by insisting again and again on the need for reconstruction of a balance between cosmopolitan Human Rights based and transnational – in the German case mostly European – obligations on the one and collective solidarity and cultural identity of nations as political communities and welfare-states on the other side. When it now comes to the “procedures” of educational processes, one has to insist that these can never be understood as merely formal. Instead, they correlate to their substantive components. Educational procedures in classrooms – and also institutional infrastructure and didactic forms of religious educations – are in no sense “neutral”. They provide an atmosphere in which people can learn and form their identity together by cultivating several virtues for the better or vices for the worse. Briefly, I will therefore focus on self-criticism and tolerance as private and public virtues. Of course, religion is not the only source from which one can learn these attitudes, but religious traditions can help to understand and maintain why it is really important to cultivate these virtues in oneself as well as in others. Both virtues are directly linked to the idea of a living democracy. Democracy in this sense results in a mixture of public and private social – and therein always political – practices and responsibilities of all citizens. If we understand neo-nationalist agendas – like similar versions of contemporary left- or right-wing populism9 – as challenges for our democratic way of life, then we have to ask to what extent they also oppose to what politically and religiously can be understood as virtues of self-criticism and tolerance. Regarding the first, it is important to notice that current populisms, neonationalisms, but also some of their liberal, Christian and multiculturalist opponents too easily use resentments as a tool for moralizing political is- 8 It should be clear that my argumentation above refers to insights from the crosscultural Axial Age Debate, mostly in social comparative science. One of its key results is that moral universalism is deepened and also self-critically enhanced by the idea of a radical transcendence which stands with its ethical claims in permanent tension to its mundane partly fulfillments. For this see: The Axial Age and its Consequences (Bellah/Joas (Ed.) 2012). 9 For current analysis of populism, see p.e.: Populism. A Very Short Introduction (Mudde/Kaltwasser 2016). Christian Polke 386 sues and debates. In consequence, for both sides, it seems natural to classify and divide political camps into “good” and “bad”. Now self-criticism – in the Christian sense of self-repentance – is exactly the opposite of this ongoing false moralisation of political opposition because first of all, it includes and starts with a critique of one´s own resentments towards the “others”. Religious Education at school thereby can function as an experimental space for providing and testing procedures of open discourses in which all participants are trained to see and to be addressed to their own “blind spots”. It is no incidence that crude nationalisms as “quasi-religions”, as John E. Smith once has argued, have no sense neither for “personal despair, guilt, forgiveness, and repentance” nor “for the self-critical voice … who warns against arrogance and knows the value of humility” (Smith 1994, 118). Thereby, we shouldn´t forget it is often not the level of national politics where self-arrogance begins. In consequence, as a personal virtue, self-criticism is at the same time a public virtue, et vice versa. In similar ways, tolerance is important as democratic virtue. By tolerance I do not mean indifferentism nor relativism. In contrast, being tolerant basically refers to the acceptance of a person´s right of opinion – including the freedom of speech, of religion, and of political partisanship – in the face of rejecting their concrete personal opinions, beliefs, or political convictions at the same moment.10 Because religious and moral issues remain for many people the most personal and existential ones, learning to be tolerant in such discussions, might be a good test case, even for later or interlinked political discussions. No critique is excluded as long as one accepts the other´s right to speak and to disagree. But this is only one side of the coin. The other clearly refers to the mutual commitment of remaining in contact with each other, not stopping discussions about what is or might be our partly partial, but also common good. As personal and public virtue, tolerance can therefore only remain vital if people do not segregate from each other. In testing the range of our tolerance and in trying to expand it, we are always in need of ongoing mutual self-criticism. And again, this starts “at home”. In light of many co-fellow Christians who currently support partly the political agenda of neo-nationalist movements, it would be absolutely misleading if churches and community leaders try to declare anathemas by too easily fusing religious convictions with political arguments. 10 Nevertheless, tolerance as a key concept of modern liberal and critical theory of democracy remains a highly contested category (cf. Brown/Forst 2014). Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 387 VII. In the end, one can ask whether this is not all too naïve in spite of dangers of current neo-nationalist movements? Is education in “substance and procedure” really the best way of dealing with it? And if so, what about aggressive discrimination and violence against others, dissidents, outsiders, cultural and religious minorities? I have to admit: For me these questions require different answers; powerful responses by our police, maybe sometimes even by our secret services in applying legislation, and always a democratic jurisdiction by courts. In other words: This is simply another story. But the real challenges of neo-nationalist agendas and attitudes start somewhere else, namely at home, in our families and friendships, in our communities and churches, and above all in our classrooms as well. It is here where we already struggle with this simple question hard to answer: How to defend our common culture of civility without ignoring the need of a common understanding of “us” as but one “nation” among others and within humankind? References Anderson, Benedict (1991): Imagined Communities. Reflections on Origins and Spread of Nationalism. Revised Version, London/New York: Verso. 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Miller, David (2016): Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration, Cambridge (Ma.): Harvard University Press. Mudde, Cas/Kaltwasser, Cristobal Rovira (2016): Populism. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. Christian Polke 388 Niebuhr, H. Richard (1970): Radical Monotheism and Western Culture. With Supplementary Essays. Foreword by James M. Gustafson, Louisville: Westminster/ John Know Press. Niebuhr, H. Richard (2015): Nationalism, Socialism, and Christianity. In: The Paradox of Church and World. Selected Writings of H. Richard Niebuhr, ed. by J. Diefenthaler, Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Polke, Christian (2018): Über kulturelle und nationale Identität. Anmerkungen zu einem verdrängten Thema, in: ZEE 62, 244–247. Reckwitz, Andreas (2017): Die Gesellschaft der Singularitäten. Zum Strukturwandel der Moderne, Berlin: Suhrkamp. Royce, Josiah (1995): The Philosophy of Loyalty (1908). With a New Introduction by J.J. McDermott, Nashville/London: Vanderbilt Univ. Press. Smith, John E. (1994): Quasi-Religions. Humanism, Marxism, and Nationalism, Houndmille and London: The Macmillan Press. Stout, Jeffrey (2004): Democracy and Tradition, Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press. Taylor, Charles (2011): Nationalism and Modernity, in: Dilemmas and Connections. Selected Essays, Cambridge (Ma.)/London: Harvard University Press, 81– 104. Troeltsch, Ernst (1991): Political Ethics and Christianity (1904), in: Ernst Troeltsch. Religion in History. Essays translated by James Luther Adams and Walter F. Bense. With an Introducation by James Luther Adams, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 173–209. Walzer, Michael (2007): Nation and Universe, in: Thinking Politically. Essays in Political Theory. Selected, edited and with an Introduction by David Miller, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 183–218. Religious Political Education and Neo-Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations 389 Religious Internationalism? German Protestantism, Neo-Nationalism and Populism Torsten Meireis German Protestantism as a Bulwark against Neo-Nationalist Tendencies? Some Doubts In Europe as elsewhere, political parties, agents and political ideologies favoring a nation-centered approach to economic and social issues are on the rise. Many of those ideologies and party platforms usually labeled ‘populist’ include xenophobic or identitarian elements that presume a homogenous body of the people, thereby othering all those citizens and denizens who do not belong to the alleged ‘us’. In that view, religious affiliation becomes a central marker of exclusion: Thus, a xenophobic movement with right wing tendencies uses the name ‘PEGIDA’, a German acronym for ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident’. Increasingly, acts of exclusion and even violence against those ‘others’ ensue. Phenomena that illustrate this development aren’t hard to find: When a 35 year old German of Cuban descent was knifed to death in Chemnitz during a brawl following a local festivity in 2018, and the police looked for suspects