Political Responses to the Far Right
- This event has passed.
Political Responses to the Far Right
8 October @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
In recent years, the Western world has been rocked by a number of terrorist attacks which can be broadly categorised as “far-right”. The groups targeted have been diverse – Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh and Poway, Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, African-American churchgoers in Charleston, and Hispanic people shopping in El Paso. In the British context, far-right terrorist attacks have seen the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and the killing of Makram Ali at Finsbury Park mosque. However, the far-right is not simply about violence. There is a body of critical thought and ideas within it, and it asks both ideological and political questions of contemporary societies. What should be our response to the ideas that lie behind the far-right? To reduce both its impact and appeal, what action should be taken? What do we need to improve on in the fields of politics, counter-extremism and social policy?
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to the event ‘Political Responses to the Far-Right’ at which Dr. Paul Stott, Jacob Guhl and Professor Eric Kaufmann will discuss how to respond to the challenges posed by the far-right.
Dr. Paul Stott joined the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism as a Research Fellow in January 2019. An experienced academic, he received an MSc in Terrorism Studies (Distinction) from the University of East London in 2007, and his PhD in 2015 from the University of East Anglia for the research “British Jihadism: The Detail and the Denial”. He is a frequent commentator in both the British and international media on terrorism, security and the political fringe.
Jakob Guhl is a Coordinator of Policy and Research at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, where he mainly works with the digital research team. Jakob has co-authored research reports on reciprocal radicalisation between far-right extremists and Islamists, coordinated trolling campaigns, hate speech and disinformation campaigns targeting elections. Additionally, he has published articles in the Journal for Deradicalisation, Demokratie gegen Menschenfeindlichkeit and co-authored an essay for an edited volume of the Munich Residence Theatre about the origins of contemporary political anger. Jakob holds an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King’s College London. His dissertation focused on the radicalisation processes of converts to Islam who became violent extremists.
Prof. Eric Kaufmann is Professor and Assistant Dean of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Future of White Majorities (Penguin/Abrams, 2018/19); Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (Profile Books 2010), The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America (Harvard 2004), The Orange Order (Oxford, 2007) and one other book. He wrote a report for the think tank Demos entitled Changing Places: mapping the white British response to ethnic change (Demos 2014). He is co-editor, among others, of Political Demography (Oxford 2012) and editor of Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities (Routledge 2004). An editor of the journal Nations & Nationalism, he has written for Newsweek International, Foreign Affairs, New Statesman and Prospect magazines and his work has been covered in major newspapers and magazines in the UK and US since 2007.
Dr. Rakib Ehsan is a Research Fellow in the Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism. Rakib specialises in the socio-political behaviour and attitudes of British ethnic minorities, with a particular focus on the UK’s Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups. He holds a BA Politics & International Relations (First-Class Honours), MSc Democracy, Politics & Governance (Pass with Distinction), and a PhD in Political Science, all from Royal Holloway, University of London.
On the 8th of October the Henry Jackson Society hosted the event “Political Responses to the Far Right”, chaired by Dr Rakib Ehsan, a Research Fellow in the Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society. Prof Eric Kaufmann, a Professor and Assistant Dean of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and an author of multiple books tackling the subject of changing demographics in the West, and Jakob Guhl, a Coordinator of Policy and Research at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, were both hosted for a discussion on the political responses to the far right, as well as the prevalence, causes and perceptions of far right extremist violence. They were joined by Dr Paul Stott, a Research Fellow in the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society.
Dr Ehsan began the event by giving a brief context of the discussion, outlining the recent cases of right-wing terrorism in the West and introducing the three speakers, starting with Dr Stott, who began with a definition of the far right – supporters of the Fascist and Nazi parties of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as those who subscribe to various biological race theories. The centre-right’s standard response to the far right, said Dr Stott, is to attempt to exclude them from infiltrating and subverting the mainstream right, adding that the Conservative Party in Britain have always been the biggest opponents of Nazis ever since the 1930s, and have been carefully monitoring far-right movements in Britain ever since the end of the Second World War. Dr Stott noted that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which started out as the Anti-Federalist League, have an explicit rule that prohibits ex-members of far right parties such as the British National Party (BNP) from joining, and for a good reason – UKIP’s recent association with Tommy Robinson has coincided with a significant decrease in support for UKIP. Dr Stott stated that the far right’s attempts to co-opt the centrist Eurosceptic position and voter base have been an issue at least since the 1990s, when there was an attempt by BNP to infiltrate UKIP that resulted in the making of a documentary that painted UKIP in a very negative light. Dr Stott also touched on the attempts to pin the label of ‘far right’ on UKIP and even the Conservative Party, saying that it in no way helps our understanding of the far right to expand the definition to the point when it includes Jacob Rees-Mogg and Carl Benjamin; instead, such behaviour is more likely to take away any real meaning from branding a group or an individual as far right.
The event was continued by Prof Eric Kaufmann, who expanded on the phenomena of concept-creep that was touched on by Dr Stott, adding that the temptation to define things as far right or racist risks contaminating the quest for rooting out genuine extremism. Prof Kaufmann noted that the number one issue of the populist right was immigration, and connected it to the recent demographic shifts in Western countries, saying that it is perceived a threat by parts of the population who dislike change and lack of stability, thereby making it a potential pool of recruitment for the extreme right. Prof Kaufmann emphasised the danger created by overreach by a section of the progressives causing a panic in society, noting that reports of hate crime decreased among the pro-Trump and pro-Brexit parts of the USA and UK respectively, while the reports increased among the anti-Trump and anti-Brexit populations, indicating that it was largely an issue of perception, not a tangible change in the far right sections of the populations of the USA and the UK. Prof Kaufmann called for a focus on quantitative rather than qualitative research on the subject of the far right, noting that qualitative research methods leave too much leeway for confirmation bias and selective research sampling. Prof Kaufmann also noted that ostracising figures like Carl Benjamin – centrist rather than far right – creates martyrs and risks creating an even stronger blow-back. Prof Kaufmann concluded with stating that the focus should be on violent rather than non-violent far right extremism, adding that there is possibility that hateful messages, much like violent video games, don’t have much of an impact in and of themselves.
Prof Kaufmann was followed by Jakob Guhl, who agreed on the importance of qualitative research, but noted that the term ‘non-violent extremism’ is somewhat misleading because the goals of non-violent extremists are often hard or even impossible to achieve without the use of violence. Mr Guhl also stated that no country has successfully deradicalised the far right on a large scale before, and added that an essential part of countering far right extremism is not ignoring people’s problems and perceived problems, whether valid or not, because if they are ignored, it creates opportunities for far right recruitment. Mr Guhl emphasised the international nature of the far right movement, and suggested that that necessitates an internationally co-ordinated response, even though the specific challenges posed by the rise of the far right vary between countries. Mr Guhl then continued with noting that radicalisation rarely happens exclusively online, but online spaces almost always are an accelerant part of it. He concluded with touching on the role of tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and the effect that their current algorithms might have on the nature of online radicalisation.
The event then closed with a Q&A session.
The prewar history of the Japanese intelligence community is an indictment of the effects of power and bureaucratic arrogance without … Continued
From the early 1970s, the three regions of Taiwan, Mainland China and Hong Kong have experienced divergent democratic fortunes, as … Continued
The Henry Jackson Society and the British-Korean Society are delighted to invite you to the invitation-only roundtable with … Continued
Britain currently ranks 17 out of 129 across the world in terms of women’s equality, with Iceland being the leader … Continued
How is the US Government tackling Anti-Semitism? With growing concern over Islamist extremism, Far-Left hate speech against Jews and the … Continued
Russia has been at war with Chechnya twice since 1991, and Chechnya has been involved with the gravest of national … Continued
Vibrant international engagement has often been suggested to have gone out of the proverbial window in modern nation-state geopolitics. Indeed, … Continued
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to the invitation-only roundtable discussion with Mihoko Matsubara, Chief Cybersecurity Strategist, … Continued
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to the invitation-only roundtable discussion with His Excellency Erlan Idrissov, Ambassador … Continued
President Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to foreign policy and the uncertainty caused by Brexit have led to a period of … Continued
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to this invitation-only workshop on Vietnam, the Indo-Pacific and Global Britain. … Continued
With yet another closely contested Israeli election having just concluded, and coalition-forming prospects looking confused, it is an appropriate time … Continued
As the 21st century continues, it has become increasingly apparent that humanity is operating within a constantly shifting and multi-polar … Continued
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to the invitation-only roundtable discussion with Admiral (Ret’d) Chen Yeong-Kang ‘Taiwan’s … Continued
These days the world is facing an unprecedented wave of violent extremism by non-state actors of various stripes. The causes … Continued
2019 marks the ten years of the launch of the Eastern Partnership initiative. Although the initiative has provided the necessary … Continued
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum on EU membership has generated fierce debate … Continued
It is important to discuss what drives social and economic exclusion among British Muslim women. Levels of female unemployment continue … Continued
How is the US Government tackling anti-Semitism? With growing concern over Islamist extremism, Far-Left anti-Zionism and the rise of Neo-Nazi … Continued
The UK has suffered at the hands of far-right terrorism in recent times. This includes the killing of Labour MP … Continued
Everyone knows that populism in the US and UK today is rooted not only in resentment toward elites but also … Continued
According to Elif Shafak, culture and literature matters. It becomes especially relevant in the age of populism, pessimism and political … Continued
The unfolding crisis in Venezuela represents a major challenge not only for the country’s citizens, but also for the international community. … Continued
As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the events culminating in the Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 4th 1989, it is important to note … Continued
As the strategic environment changes, planning for state-on-state military confrontation has re-emerged. Non-state actors – perhaps assisted by revisionist powers … Continued
The BJP had an impressive victory in the 2019 General Election, emerging as the single largest party garnering more vote … Continued
In the twenty-five years after 1989, the world enjoyed the deepest peace in history. In The Rise and Fall of … Continued
In recent times, national populism has been on the march in much of the Western world. 2016 was a year … Continued
Twenty years after NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, the Western Balkans countries are beset by economic, political, and social uncertainty. The … Continued
In light of the publication of the Modernising Defence Programme in December 2018, which recognised the emergence of a more … Continued
The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis. A major reason for this is that … Continued
The special relationship is under strain. President Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to foreign policy together and the uncertainty caused by … Continued
On March 29, the United Nations adopted Security Council Resolution 2367 on sexual violence in conflict. Questions have been raised, … Continued
In late 2013, the People’s Republic of China began building and fortifying islands across a number of reefs in the … Continued
The Wealth Effect: How the Great Expectations of the Middle Class Have Changed the Politics of Banking Crises
The rising wealth of middle class households and voters has transformed the politics of banking crises. At this event, Jeffrey … Continued
In the state elections in December 2018, the big loser was the BJP, which had won 62 of 65 Lok … Continued
Belarus has received increased international attention over recent years, much of which has focused on Russia’s ambitions towards the country. … Continued
With returning IS fighters and uncertainty over Brexit, concerns surrounding human rights, civil liberties and national security have never been … Continued
Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian Political Prisoners of the Kremlin is a documentary about the roughly 70 Ukrainians political prisoners incarcerated … Continued
In the eyes of many, the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is diminishing. With peace talks … Continued
Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, on ‘Preserving the Freedom of the Asia Pacific’
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to host Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Former Australian Prime Minister, for a special event chaired … Continued
Five years ago next month, Russia annexed Crimea in the first forcible annexation of the territory of a European country … Continued
Western liberalism is under attack, not only at home also but from newly-emboldened authoritarian states abroad. Across the West, states … Continued
Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the … Continued
Though mankind has traded tangible goods for millennia, recent technology has changed the fundamentals of trade, in both legitimate and … Continued
China’s Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land … Continued
Why Middle Eastern Jewish Refugees Are Key to Understanding and Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Jews lived continuously in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 3,000 years. But in just 50 years, indigenous communities … Continued
India and Turkey were the two exemplars of twentieth-century ‘secular states’ outside of the West. Professor Sumantra Bose believes that … Continued
The political events of recent years have sent shockwaves throughout the established order of Western liberal democracies. Election after election … Continued
Prof. Andrew Lambert’s new book, Seapower States examines how Britain and four other seapowers used their special identities to inform … Continued
Dave Rich’s updated edition of The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Antisemitism (2018) contends that antisemitism is a … Continued
Moneyland is the secret country of the wealthy and unscrupulous, the place where they put their assets, their children and … Continued
The Afghanistan War has now lasted for 17 years, and estimates suggest has cost the US government upwards of $750 … Continued
The Middle East remains one of the most tumultuous regions in the world today, with its many ethnic and religious … Continued
The past 18 months have seen an immense amount of economic, diplomatic, and even military activity relating to the Korean … Continued
As one of al-Qaeda's most respected bomb-makers, Aimen Dean rubbed shoulders with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and swore … Continued
The most dangerous threat we face today is no longer military, but rather the increasingly pervasive exposure of our personal … Continued
SPEAKER: Professor Carl Minzner, author, End of an Era China’s reform era is ending. Core factors that characterised its political stability, … Continued
SPEAKERS: His Excellency Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisano - The Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Dr. Shimon Samuels - … Continued
SPEAKERS: Dr Michael Green - Author of By More Than Providence and Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair … Continued
In the midst of some great changes in the international system, countries have been left with the qaundry of how … Continued
SPEAKER: Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat The destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shocked the … Continued
SPEAKERS: Humphrey Hawksley, author of Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the Asia-Pacific and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion ; Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow … Continued
PROFESSOR NIGEL BIGGAR, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford University, in conversation with Douglas Murray The nation-state is … Continued
SPEAKER: EHUD OLMERT, former Prime Minister of Israel It’s been 10 years since the last meaningful peace deal was put … Continued
Whatever one’s feelings toward the outcome of the 2016 US elections, there can be no doubting the historic impact and … Continued
As Britain considers its relationship with Europe, European security has never been more precarious, with Russian revanchism on the rise … Continued
As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, geopolitics is returning to the European continent. Germany and France are squabbling … Continued