Echoes of Fascism: The Radical Right in the Twenty-First Century, Wednesday 19 January at the Library

On Wednesday 19 January 2022, The Wiener Holocaust Library co-convened and hosted a conference Echoes of Fascism: The Radical Right in the Twenty-First Century, with the support of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right and HOPE not hateThe conference was organised to mark the Library’s exhibition This Fascist Life: Radical Right Movements in Interwar Europe, which looks at the experiences, motivations and impact of members of fascist movements in the 1920s and 1930s Europe. The exhibition is drawn from research conducted as part of the European Fascist Movements 1918-1941 project, who also supported the conference

The Echoes of Fascism conference explored various facets of the challenge and threat posed by the radical right and neo-fascist movements today. The conference featured many fascinating contributions examining the ideas, strategies and impact of far-right movements around the world from contributors who joined the conference remotely and in-person at the Library.

The focus of the first panel was on radicalisation, and short papers presentations by Hannah Rose, AC and Menno Hellinga explored the means by which individuals in extreme right groups become radicalised. Timo Koch examined aspects of the entanglement between the transnational Christian right and the radical right, and Eran Benedek and AC revealed how some extreme right-wing groups support jihadist extremism and violent Palestinian resistance, partly as a result of their antisemitism. Other short papers presented at the conference looked at the far right in various parts of the world including Latin America (Daniel R. Quiroga-Villamarin), France (Lise Benoist), and the United States (Dr Michael Loadenthal). Benoist examined the significance of green politics for some parts of the far-right, whilst Loadenthal looked at the utilisation of the imaginary ideal of the 1950s for parts of the American far-right. Quiroga-Villamarin and Olivier Peria considered the means by which right-wing populists promoted their ideas and built support.

Panel Discussion: Fighting Fascism Today

These diverse presentations were complemented by a stimulating discussion featuring contributions by experts in the field of challenging extremism, Dr Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust (CST), Dr Joe Mulhall of HOPE not hate, and Dr Bethan Johnson of the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), on the subject of fighting fascism today. The panellists discussed the threats posed by the rapid dissemination of extremist ideas online, including conspiracy theories to do with Covid-19, and the continued threat of violent action from the far right, and considered the difficulties faced by those trying to challenge extremism and extremist ideas.

Our keynote lecturers, Professor Ruth Wodak and Professor Julie Gottlieb, both provided rich and greatly thought-provoking talks that help to amplify and contextualise some of the themes that the conference drew out. Joining the conference online from Vienna, Professor Wodak looked at the means by which extreme-right wing views, such as anti-refugee attitudes, become normalised in the mass media and in political discourse. At The Wiener Holocaust Library in London, Professor Gottlieb reflected upon issues around gender in British fascism, and the historical and family memories of fascist women today, twenty years on from the publication of her seminal work, Feminine Fascism. The conference finished with reflections from conference co-convenor Dr Roland Clark.

Keynote Lecture by Ruth Wodak: ‘Collective Amnesia: Normalizing a rhetoric of exclusion’
Keynote Lecture by Julie Gottlieb: ‘Memory Boom and Bust’

Written by Dr Barbara Warnock co-convenor of the conference and co-curator of the exhibition.

Suggested further reading

For more related sources, try a search for any of the following keywords in our Collections Catalogue: Fascism; Antisemitism; Extreme right; Great Britain.