The Rise of the Extreme Right and the Crime of Terrorism: Ideology, Mobilization, and the Case of the Golden Dawn

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The past decade has witnessed the rise in popularity of organizations and political parties founded on the extreme nationalism and populism that characterized the interwar period’s fascist and Nazi parties. These organizations have become known as the “alt-right” and include white supremacists, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, and other extreme right-wing fringe groups. Extreme right-wing political parties have also enjoyed electoral victories while promulgating xenophobia and hatred based on race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, and sexual orientation. This article examines the resurgence of such extreme right-wing political parties and the relationship between right-wing extremism, political parties, and terrorism. The goal of this article is to shift the discussion from one of political analysis of right-wing extremism to one of legal evaluation of the activities involved within the ambit of the recent advances in the criminalization of terrorism. Could the mobilization of extreme right-wing political parties be classified as terrorism? This article begins to answer this question by assessing the definitional problem of terrorism and critically analyzing the most recent legislative developments in the EU. The article focuses on the uneasy relationship between the legal nature of political parties and the crime of terrorism. It then applies insights from this debate to the specific case of Greece’s popular extreme right-wing political party: Golden Dawn. It discusses Golden Dawn’s development and political mobilization under the framework of terrorist statutes and argues in favor of a constitutional interpretation that gives political parties the necessary legal personality in order to incur collective criminal liability for such activities.

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Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law







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