Europe’s two-faced authoritarian right: ‘anti-elite’ parties serving big business interests



If the more pessimistic projections are to be believed, authoritarian right-wing politicians will do well in the upcoming European Parliament elections, reflecting a surge in EU scepticism and disillusionment with establishment parties, many of whom have overseen a decade or more of punishing austerity.

These authoritarian right parties are harnessing this disillusionment using the rhetoric of ending corruption, tackling ‘elite’ interests, regaining ‘national’ dignity and identity, and defending the rights of ‘ordinary people’. However, the contrast between this rhetoric and their actual actions is stark. From repressive laws to dark money funding; from corruption scandals to personal enrichment; from corporate deregulation to enabling tax avoidance, the defence of ‘elite’ interests disguised as the defence of disaffected classes is a defining characteristic of Europe’s rising authoritarian right parties.

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