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Right-wing extremism: Activities

Some of the activities taking place in right-wing extremist environments in Denmark are described here.

Activities in the right-wing extremist environment in Denmark are generally less outward-facing and traditionally activist-oriented than in the left-wing extremist environment. Nevertheless, they can fundamentally be divided into the same two categories:

  1. Clandestine activities typically aimed at reinforcing the social cohesion of right-wing extremist groups and creating a foundation for recruitment of new members. These internal activities may include everything from schooling in a right-wing extremist world view of politics to planning and execution of attacks on, or harassment of, political opponents or citizens with immigrant backgrounds and other non-Christians.
  2. Open activities may include various demonstrations against Islam and immigration. They may also mark events on special memorial days for fascist or Nazi leaders. Many extreme right-wing activities do not take place physically in public, where they often encounter counterdemonstrations, but in online debate forums, on social media websites and so forth.

The clandestine activities include social events such as solstice celebrations and suchlike which aim – in part – to collect funds and reinforce social relationships and hence underpin a spirit of self-sacrifice within the group. Some groups also organise martial arts training and visits to allied groups abroad which train with weapons, and there is also an overlap with extreme hooligan groups known as "ultras" who organise brawls with other hooligan groups.

Right-wing extremist groups and individuals also participate in their opponents' debates and demonstrations, typically with a view to provoking unrest and fighting. As with the extreme left-wing, right-wing extremists use registration of political opponents as part of the battle against the people whom they perceive to be political opponents. The street violence and harassment for which the extreme right wing is responsible is not always planned, however: it may also be triggered by a chance encounter with a political opponent or a random individual with a different ethnic or religious background. Assaults of this kind are known as hate crimes.

Other criminal activities include racist graffiti, arson and putting up right-wing extremist posters and stickers that are in contravention of the laws on racism or blasphemy. Other right-wing extremists have specialised in creating smaller groups that masquerade as civil protection groups to patrol at night or on the border. These activist groups and initiatives involve relatively experienced individuals from right-wing extremist environments in leading roles.

The right-wing extremist groups and parties also have close links with like-minded foreign groups and parties that are visited and supported during major demonstrations and suchlike. There have been examples of these groups supporting one another financially. For example, Danish Nazi groups have profited from the international trade in right-wing extremist music, clothing and propaganda of various kinds.

The extreme right wing is less capable than the extreme left wing of mobilising major demonstrations and gatherings: this is due in part to the fact that they typically encounter violent counterdemonstrations. As a consequence, a lot of right-wing extremist activism currently takes place in the virtual world – on websites, social media, debate forums and suchlike. Political opponents and public opinion makers are subjected to targeted threats and harassment here.

The virtual activities and targets vary depending on the ideological origins of the groups and their political aims. The Nazi-inspired groups and parties generally glorify violence and are anti-democratic and racist, for example, while also denying the Holocaust. Individuals from extreme anti-Muslim environments, on the other hand, are more concerned with Muslim immigration and the concept of a political elite that has "betrayed" the nation, the people of Denmark and Christianity. Hence these differing political values and objectives are reflected in the activities of the groups, which makes it difficult for them to work together and put themselves forward as a cohesive political wing.

This text was written by researcher Chris Holmsted Larsen

last modified Jun 08, 2018