Exactly WHAT IS 'Far Right' ? What Does 'AntiFa' Mean ?

Every few weeks, it seems, we get questioned on definitions of various terms, or more specifically, the definitions we adhere to, here.

Labels are complex things to apply - so a firm set of definitions is a prerequisite for informed debate, and moreover, from a trusted and informed source. We try our best abide by the definitions provided by CARR - The Centre For Analysis Of The Extreme Right.

CARR is a UK-based research centre and pedagogical outreach initiative focused on the study and countering of radical right extremism and intersecting phenomena (e.g. populism, gender, antisemitism, and Islamophobia) that aims to support a variety of mainstream groups, from government agencies to grass-roots charities, through podcasts, commentary, research reports, presentations, media interviews and commissioned work.

CARR is the leading site for knowledge and resources on radical right extremism, past and present, and around the world and is the first port of call for scholarly reports, presentations and peer-reviewed research.

So here are a good set of working definitions to use. These have been slightly edited for brevity - but the full definitions are here for you to review. Hope these are useful to you.



Antifascism / Antifa

Any counter-movement to fascist or other radical right movements.

In the broadest sense, any counter-movement to fascist or other radical right movements. In the narrower sense, “Antifa” is typically based around organising to physically confront radical right activists seeking to demonstrate in public, forcing them to demonstrate meekly or under police protection.
While antifa activists tend to view some forms of violence as legitimate and have engaged in fisticuffs with radical right activists and police, there have been no murders in the US associated with either organised or lone-wolf terrorism on their behalf, unlike the radical right activists they confront.


Far-Right Extremism

A form of political extremism that describes a cluster of ideological features: extreme or ultra-nationalism; racism; xenophobia; ethnocentrism; anti-Semitism; anti-communism; demand for strong law and order/strong state; opposition to the principles of human equality; anti-democracy/anti-liberalism.

Far-Right Extremism takes many different forms. At the most extreme, far right‐wing views take the form of fascism/neo‐Nazism.

More moderate forms can present as ‘national-populism’ or ‘radical right-wing’ populism. Populist ideas are presented as ‘common sense’ and downplay links to extremism. This form of FRE will typically distance itself from fascism/Nazism and violence, and ‘buy into’ aspects of the democratic system. In some cases the core ideology of fascism remains ‘hidden’ or ‘semi-hidden’ behind the claim to moderation.

New Far Right

A more recent form of FRE where anti‐Muslim sentiment sits at the very core. The New Far Right strongly rejects links to fascism/anti-Semitism. It can be pro-Zionist, pro-LGBT, denies that it is racist and yet it is still characterised by core FRE views, such as ultra‐patriotism/ultra-nationalism/nativism.


Racism

Individual or group bigotry and prejudicial beliefs against any race or racial grouping

Racism can be used to refer to individual prejudicial beliefs, whether these are somewhat free-floating and a-theoretic (“blacks are loud,” “Jews are stingy”) or operate as part of an elaborate worldview guiding the person’s ideology (“blacks are outbreeding whites and will soon overwhelm and destroy white civilisation,” “Jews are controlling the world behind the scenes.”)
“Racism” can also refer to collective practices that reproduce a relatively advantaged position for members of certain groups, regardless of whether these practices rely on consciously held racist (in the first sense) beliefs and motivations.

Racism - Biological or ‘Scientific’

An attempt to use proto-science, faux-science or simply false-science to 'prove' that one race is superior to another.
An attempt to (1) assert non-socially-constructed existence to racial groups and to (2) explain socially relevant differences between them on the basis of these objective biological differences. Among radical right groups that endorse this worldview, the most relevant distinctions are (1) an intelligence hierarchy in which Jews and East Asians are the most intelligent, followed by non-Jewish whites, followed by all other groups, (2) a cooperativeness hierarchy in which whites are seen as innately honest and cooperative, and all other groups less so, (3) a violence hierarchy in which whites and East Asians are seen as refraining from violence, and all other groups more so, (4) a nepotistic hierarchy in which whites are the least racist in the sense of preferring their kin, which allows them to be exploited by inherent group-mindedness of other groups (and which must be counterbalanced by the acceptance of radical right ideology in self-defence,) and (5) a creativity hierarchy in which non-Jewish whites are the most talented at intuitive insights and creative expression.
(Obviously, non-white radical right groups, such as those in India or Korea, present different ideas of how to characterise groups.) Together these add up to a worldview in which whites are beset by intelligent, groupish, dishonest Jewish elites on one side and stupid, violent subhumans on the other (providing elective affinities with producerist ideas). Sometimes this worldview is cast as “Human Biodiversity” to sound more value-neutral.

Racism - Cultural Racism

A form of Racism which argues that a selected minority ethnic groups hold cultural values that prevent them from developing loyalty and affection for their ‘host’ country.
It is therefore (in this view) not a question of racial superiority or inferiority but of cultural difference whereby it is only ‘natural’ that people of a common ethnicity share a kinship towards each other. This, in the case of some ethnic minorities (particularly Muslims), prevents their assimilation/integration into the broader society.


Xenophobia

A deep-rooted and irrational dislike/hatred of foreigners.

Xenophobia can result in hostile and violent reactions, typically aimed at ethnic minority populations.


Anti-Semitism

Any form of Prejudice against the Jewish Race or the Jewish Faith, especially as part of a conspiratorial worldview which regards their collective actions as a 'driving, malevolent force in world affairs'.

In this worldview, “the Jews” simultaneously control and seek to undermine or destroy Western civilisation through finance and the media. Jews – understood as an elite, coherent force – can thus function as a scapegoat for elite or systemic dysfunction in general. The more extreme radical right groups tend to have antisemitism as the heart of their world views, while more liberal radical right groups often say that they oppose Muslim immigration on grounds that Muslims would be antisemitic.


Islamophobia

Different forms of anti‐Muslim sentiment.

Islamophobia might be usefully defined as an ideological outlook or ‘world-view’ that involves an unfounded fear and dislike of Muslims, which can result in practices of exclusion and discrimination.


Islamism

Usually understood as an ideology which, in the broadest sense, promotes the application of Islamic values to modern government.

In other words, Islamism is a system of thought that projects Islam as a political ideology. Islamism therefore includes centre-right democratic parties analogous to Christian Democratic ones (as Turkey’s AKP largely presented itself prior to its more recent nationalist turn), the reigning “juridical” theories in Iran since 1979, and the radical right apocalyptic Salafism of the Islamic State.
In other words, although Islamic scriptures generally have more to say about specific legal questions than do the scriptures of most other world religions, there is no more a single family of “Islamic politics” than there is, say, a single family of “Christian politics.”


Nationalism

The belief that states should correspond to the Nation.

Whether the nation corresponds to a cultural group, a biological group, or loyalty to a state itself defines the difference between cultural, racial, and civic nationalism, and the extent to which loyalty the nation trumps other possible ethical concerns defines ultra-nationalism from more modest kinds.

Nationalism - Nativism

Nativism is a term used to refer to ethnocentric beliefs relating to immigration and the nation.

Nativism is a defensive response on the part of the indigenous population(s) to newcomers who are seen as threatening the culture and basic values of the indigenous population.

Nationalism - Civic Nationalism

A form of nationalism in which the boundaries of the nation are understood to be defined by loyalty to a particular state rather than by ancestry, or by nonpolitical practices such as language.

Historically, civic nationalism has been promoted and associated with states that were highly culturally diverse at least at the time of their emergence, such as the United States, France, and India. Civic nationalism is compatible with, but does not require, militarism and other forms of national “groupishness.” Some radical right groups, especially in the American militia movement, define themselves in civic nationalist terms, while most adopt a cultural nationalist or racial nationalist framing.

Nationalism - Cultural Nationalism

A form of nationalism in which membership in the nation is understood to be defined by participation in a broad set of practices, especially language rather than biological ancestry or loyalty to a particular state.

Nationalism - White Nationalism

An ideology which seeks to establish a state, or set of states, by and of whites alone.

'Whites' are defined according to the particular white nationalist in question. Some white nationalists, especially in Europe, seek to transform existing nation-states into explicitly racial ones, while others, especially in the United States, seek to found a small breakaway state on racial principles, possibly after a general social collapse has destroyed the existing state’s monopoly on violence.


Cultural Marxism

In a narrow sense, this can refer to a group of Western academic Marxists centred around the New School for Social Research in the postwar decades.

As used by contemporary radical right groups, “cultural Marxism” expands this to include (1) many groups of socially liberal academics, most of whom (such as postmodernism and post-structuralism) were actively hostile to Marxism, (2) an account of this as driven by a desire to undermine or demoralise “Western civilisation,” and sometimes (3) an account of this as driven in turn by either the interests or proclivities of Jews in particular.


Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of the social or cultural group that a person belongs to.

Also, to a belief that one’s loyalty must lie with one’s “own” ethnic group. “Ethnocentrism” can also sometimes refer to the habit of thinking in ways that are normative for one’s own birth culture, or that privilege its categories; this latter sense of ethnocentrism is functionally universal, while the former is not.


Fascism / Neo Fascism

There is no commonly agreed definition of fascism.

This is primarily because the self-identified fascists of the interwar period were – at least compared to relatively loquacious liberals and communists – reluctant to state their doctrines in a highly coherent form. Roger Griffin has defined fascism as “palingenetic populist ultra-nationalism,” palingenesis meaning a promise to restore national dignity corrupted by liberal weakness and degeneracy; Michael Mann has defined it by its commitments to state power, nationalism, paramilitary violence, transcendence of class conflicts, and cleansing of non-national or otherwise unacceptable elements.

(In lieu of a firm definition from CARR on Fascism, we use the '14 Points of Fascism'. But even this can be problematic as being 'over-simplified'. Wikipedia has definitions from no less than 23 sources.)


Neo‐Nazism

A form of fascist ideology based on the ideas of Adolf Hitler and/or other inter‐war Nazis.

Unlike the more populist radical right or new far right, neo‐Nazis advocate a more violent form of politics outside the normal democratic process.


Pathological Normalcy

The idea that populist radical right parties are reflecting widely held values.

Especially refers to ideas related to loyalty to “one’s own” people, a feeling of betrayal by political elites, and so on, taken to their logical conclusion, rather than what one might call a “normal pathology,” that is, a special derangement of a small number of supporters.


Populism

A pattern of rhetoric that is organised around a rejection of elites (or subset of elites) as having failed a broader category of “the people.”

Populism in this sense is a persistent feature of democratic contestation, compatible with very different kinds of ideologies, and neither necessarily “radical” nor necessarily “right.” Radical right expressions of populism are defined by their invocation of a nationally-defined people against elites which are cosmopolitan and disloyal to the nation.


Welfare Chauvinism

Policy approaches which emphasise defending the state’s ability to materially provide for members of the nation by rejecting claims to other “foreign” groups to access it.

Whether this is defined in the terms of civic nationalism, ethnic nationalism, or something else, rhetoric in favour of welfare chauvinism can frequently take a producerist cast which simultaneously promises to protect a “hardworking” native ethnic group both from international (Jewish, Western, or whatever) exploiters and from a “lazy” subordinate ethnic group.


White Genocide or Population Replacement

A characterisation by white nationalists of demographic changes that might lead to a reduction of the percentage of the white population.

This included nonwhite immigration, intermarriage between whites and nonwhites, and white birthrates being below those of other groups. Unlike all other known forms of genocide, which typically involve forced movement, restrictions on reproductive freedom, and violence, white “genocide” results from the freedom (most prominently of whites themselves) to move, marry, and reproduce as they wish.
This phenomenon is typically attributed to the action of Jewish interests, even though Jews in most Western countries are also declining as a percentage of the population through intermarriage, lower birth rates, and non-Jewish migration.


Alt-Right Misogyny

Rejection of feminism, regarding of women with hostility, the view that household life is the sphere of women while public life is the domain of men.

While some anti-immigrant parties attempt to use feminism as a wedge issue – painting it as part of the Western heritage that supposedly cannot be assimilated by others – rejection of feminism as such is almost universal among the alt-right.
Among certain kinds of radical right ideologies, especially the most violent and socially isolated, the misogynistic elements are most explicit, and regard women with hostility for having turned away from the “proper” sort of men (normally whatever kind is making this complaint.) In others more connected with traditional social conservatism, however, a more benevolent sexist approach is taken, which mirrors traditional conservatism in its exaltation of “separate spheres” in which household life is the sphere of women (yet ruled by men – from afar, as it were) while public life is dominated by men.