The far right gets respectable

A note from the editor

Jo Lateu

Time to retoxify the far right

Nearly 20 years ago, I moved to Vienna. The city, on the fringes of ‘Western Europe’, had suddenly found itself dealing with an influx of refugees from the civil war raging in nearby Yugoslavia. On my arrival in the Austrian capital, I had to go to the local police station to register. I – a white, English, 20 year old on a work visa – was graciously led by the police officer past queues of tired and confused asylum seekers. What shocked me even more was the swastikas daubed on Vienna’s walls, and the fact that Austrians would come up to me – a foreigner – in the street and moan about the Yugoslavs and how they were taking the locals’ jobs.

Fast forward two decades, and, as K Biswas and Rowenna Davis report in this issue, the situation has worsened. What was once the domain of the far reaches of rightwing politics – racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and the obsessive fear and hatred of ‘the other’ – has edged into the mainstream, almost under our noses. By taking advantage of the current economic climate and people’s genuine concerns about their jobs and security, extremist parties have managed to ‘detoxify’ their image and gain popular support across Europe and beyond. So this month’s magazine is a call to ‘retoxify the far right’ and to reclaim the political ground we have lost.

Jean Kayigamba fled his own war-torn home country – Rwanda – a decade ago. His return is an emotional journey of hope and renewal.

And elsewhere this month we tackle a topical question which has divided the environmental movement: is nuclear energy necessary for a carbon- free future?

Jo Lateu for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

A candlelit vigil in opposition to Barbara Rosenkranz, presidential candidate in 2010 for Austria’s far-right Freedom Party. Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

A candlelit vigil in opposition to Barbara Rosenkranz, presidential candidate in 2010 for Austria’s far-right Freedom Party.

Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

Eyes to the far right

Extremists have been making inroads across Europe with a sanitized version of some very dirty politics. K Biswas looks into the heart of the beast.

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Jean and Patrick arrive at Kigali International airport. They are accompanied by Jean’s sister Martha.

Holidays in Rwanda

Ten years after fleeing his home country, Jean Kayigamba makes an emotional return.

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Tea and paranoia Brian Snyder / Reuters

Tea and paranoia

Politicians in the US and Australia play the anti-immigration card.

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Anarchism: the A word Ben Rubin, Emma Goldman/Celebrate People's History, 2002, courtesy of

Anarchism: the A word

Uri Gordon offers insight into what anarchism – a word bandied about carelessly by the press – really means.

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Camioneta, a public bus in Guatemala City.

Driving gangs off Guatemala's buses

A new public transport system is designed to halt the terrorizing of drivers and their passengers, but residents fear the state is powerless against criminal gangs.

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Carry on regardless: China is pushing ahead with its nuclear power programme, with 13 reactors in operation and 35 more, including this one in southeast Fujian province, under construction.Zhang bin fj / AP / Press Association Images

Is nuclear power necessary for a carbon-free future?

Environmentalists Chris Goodall and Jose Etcheverry argue for and against - plus your chance to join the debate.

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Palm trees in the snow Alex Habermehl; (Bill O'Reilly); Eccentric Scholar (palm trees) both under a CC Licence.

Palm trees in the snow

There are no palm trees in Wisconsin – but there’s a red-faced newsreader at Fox News.

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Is animal testing necessary to advance medical research?

Is animal testing necessary to advance medical research?

Pro-testing activist Laurie Pycroft and Helen Marston, who heads an organization that campaigns against the use of animals, focus on the key issues. Join the debate!

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A stitch in time saves... Illustration: Sarah John

A stitch in time saves...

Maria Golia’s tailor has the currency markets stitched up.

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Family ties: Bashar and Maher al-Assad.Str Old/Reuters

The al-Assad family

Syria’s ruling al-Assad family.

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Churchgoers walk through the ruins of Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince on the first anniversary of the 2010 earthquakeJacob Kushner


A profile of the troubled Caribbean nation.

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Banks and robbers

Banks and robbers

New Internationalist columnist Anna Chen asks whether we should care about a few smashed (but fully insured) plate-glass windows.

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Ben Okri Alma Robinson / / Alma Robinson / EMPICS Entertainment

Ben Okri

The award-winning Nigerian poet and novelist tells Rowenna Davis why now is the time for new dreams.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Just Do It: a film on climate activism

Just Do It: a film on climate activism

Sylvia Rowley catches up with exceptional filmmaker Emily James.

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