Skip to main content

Exclusion, Community, and a Populist Political Economy: The Radical Right as an Anti-Globalization Movement


This article examines the anti-globalization message of three radical right populist parties: the Austrian Freedom Party, the French National Front, and the Italian Lega Nord. Anti-globalization movements have received much attention as of late from social scientists and journalists alike. However, one anti-globalization force that has not received adequate scholarly attention is the radical right. Since the 1990s, radical right parties have emerged as some of the strongest opponents of neo-liberalism, European integration, and immigration. Radical right parties campaign against the elite nature of globalization, arguing that financial and political elites, American hegemony, and the growing influence of the European Union destroy the natural fabric of civil society. The radical right also associates European integration with the forces of globalization and with a loss of national sovereignty. And finally, adopting La Nouvelle Droite's notion of the ‘right to difference’, radical right populist parties associate globalization with multiculturalism and with overly liberal immigration policies. The article then examines both survey data on European sentiments towards neo-liberalism, European integration, and immigration and public opinion polls that highlight the reason why voters support radical right parties. I argue that if we closely scrutinize the reasons why voters support radical right parties, keeping in mind how these same parties frame the issue of globalization, it becomes clear how and why the political message of radical right parties resonates with a small but significant portion of the electorate who demonstrate apprehension towards economic globalization, European integration, and immigration.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Art, D. (forthcoming) ‘The organizational origins of the contemporary radical right: the case of Belgium’, Comparative Politics.

  2. Austrian Freedom Party. Program: Kapitel X: Faire Marktwirtschaft.

  3. Austrian Freedom Party. Program: Kapitel III: Österreich zuerst!.

  4. Austrian Freedom Party (2007) ‘Strache: EU-Verfassung: Sozialpolitische Eiseskälte und Globalisierungsdiktatur’, 6 July.

  5. Bale, T. (2003) ‘Cinderella and her ugly sisters: the mainstream and extreme right in Europe's bipolarising party systems’, West European Politics 26 (3): 67–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Beirich, H. and Woods, D. (2000) ‘Globalisation, workers and the northern league’, West European Politics 23 (1): 130–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Betz, H.-G. (1993) ‘The new politics of resentment: radical right-wing populist parties in Western Europe’, Comparative Politics 25: 413–427.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Betz, H.-G. (2002a) ‘Contre La Mondialisation: Xénophobie, Politique Identitaires et Populisme D’exclusion Europe Occidentale’, Politique et Sociétés 21 (2): 9–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Betz, H.-G. (2002b) ‘Rechtspopulismus in WestEuropa: Aktuelle Entwicklungen und politische Bedeutung’, Õsterreichische Zeitschrift Fűr Politikwissenschaft 31 (3): 251–304.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Betz, H.-G. (2002c) ‘Xenophobia, Identity Politics and Exclusionary Populism in Western Europe’, in L. Panitch (ed.) Socialist Register, London: Merlin Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Betz, H.-G. (2004) ‘Exclusionary populism in Western Europe in the 1990s and beyond: a threat to democracy and civil rights?’, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Identities, Conflict and Cohesion Program Paper Number 9.

  12. Betz, H.-G. and Johnston, C. (2004) ‘Against the current — stemming the tide: the nostalgic ideology of the contemporary radical populist right’, Journal of Political Ideologies 9 (3): 311–327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Biorcio, R. (1997) La Padania Promessa, Milan: Il Saggiatore.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Conti, N. (2006) ‘Party conflict over European integration in Italy: a new dimension of party competition?’ Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans 8 (2): 217–233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Corriere della Sera (2002) ‘Bossi: mobiliterò i popoli contro l' Europa stalinista’, 01 March.

  16. Davies, P. (1999) The National Front in France: ideology, discourse, power, New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Della Porta, D. and Caiani, M. (2007) ‘Talking Europe in the Italian public sphere’, South European Society and Politics 12 (1): 1–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Eatwell, R. (1998) ‘The dynamics of right-wing electoral breakthrough’, Patterns of Prejudice 32 (3): 3–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Evans, J.A.J. (2000) ‘Contrasting attitudinal bases of Euroscepticism amongst the French electorate’, Electoral Studies 19 (4): 539–561.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Flash Eurobarometer 151b (2007) ‘Globalization’, EOS Gallup Europe.

  21. French National Front. Program.

  22. Ignazi, P. (2003) Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, New York: Oxford.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  23. Ignazi, P. (2005) ‘The Extreme Right’, South European Society and Politic 10 (2): 333–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. La Padania (2000a) ‘Prima gli oriundi veneti’, 1 August 2000.

  25. La Padania (2000b) ‘Bossi: vogliamo seguire il modello cristiano’, 30 March.

  26. La Padania (2000c) ‘Trincea d’Europa, un’associazione in difesa dei popoli’, 16 March.

  27. La Repubblica (2003) ‘Bossi invoca dazi contro la Cina’, 17 August.

  28. La Repubblica (2005) ‘Lega, da Pontida assalto all’Europa’, 19 June.

  29. Le Monde (2005) ‘Le traditionnel defile du FN placé sous le signe du rejet la Constitution européenne’, 01 May.

  30. Lega Nord (1994) ‘Antitrust per abbattere i monopoli’, December.

  31. Luverà, B. (1999) I Confini dell’Odio: il nazionalismo etnico e la nuova destra europea, Rome: Editori Riuniti.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Mayer, N. (1999) Ces Français Qui Votent FN, Paris: Flammarion.

    Google Scholar 

  33. McGann, A.J. and Kitschelt, H. (2005) ‘The radical right in the Alps: evolution of support for the Swiss SVP and Austrian FPÖ’, Party Politics 11 (2): 147–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Mény, Y. and Surel, Y. (2000) Par le people, pour le people: le populisme et les démocraties, Paris: Fayard.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Minkenberg, M. (2003) ‘The West European radical right as a collective actor: modeling the impact of cultural and structural variables on party formation and movement mobilization’, Comparative European Politics 1 (2): 149–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Minkenberg, M. and Perrineau, P. (2007) ‘The radical right in the European Elections: 2004’, International Political Science Review 28 (29): 29–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Mussa, G., Corti, C. and Ronchi, R. (1998) ‘Padania, Identità e Società Multirazziale’, December.

  38. Padania: Lega Nord (2000) ‘Un’Europa a misura di popoli’, April.

  39. Riedlsperger, M. (1998) ‘The Freedom Party of Austria: From Protest to Radical Right Populism’, in H.-G. Betz and S. Immerfall (eds.) The New Politics of the Right, New York: St. Martin's Press.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Rydgren, J. (2005a) ‘Is extreme right-wing populism contagious? Explaining the emergence of a new party family’, European Journal of Political Research 44 (3): 413–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Rydgren, J. (2005b) The Populist Challenge: Political Protest and Ethno-nationalist Mobilization in France, New York: Bergham Books.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Simmons, H. (1996) The French National Front; The Extremist Challenge to Democracy, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Spektorowski, A. (2003a) ‘The new right: ethno-regionalism, ethno-pluralism and the emergence of a neo-fascist ‘Third Way’’, Journal of Political Ideologies 8 (1): 111–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Spektorowski, A. (2003b) ‘Ethnoregionalism: the intellectual new right and the Lega Nord’, The Global Review of Ethnopolitics 2 (3): 55–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Standard Eurobarometer 67 (2007) Brussels, Belgium, June, 2007.

  46. Svåsand, L. (1998) ‘Scandinavian Right-Wing Radicalism’, in H.-G. Betz and S. Immerfall (eds.) The New Politics of the Right, New York: St. Martin's Press.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Thalmhammer, E., Zucha, V., Enzenhofer, E., Salfinger, B. and Ogris, G. (2001) Attitudes Towards Minority Groups in the European Union, Vienna: SORA.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Zaslove, A. (2004a) ‘The dark side of European politics: unmasking the radical right’, Journal of European Integration 26 (1): 61–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Zaslove, A. (2004b) ‘Closing the door? The ideology and impact of radical right populism on immigration policy in Austria and Italy’, Journal of Political Ideologies 9 (1): 99–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. I would also like to thank Phil Triadafilopoulos for his comments on earlier drafts.

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zaslove, A. Exclusion, Community, and a Populist Political Economy: The Radical Right as an Anti-Globalization Movement. Comp Eur Polit 6, 169–189 (2008).

Download citation


  • radical right populism
  • anti-globalization
  • Euro-skepticism
  • immigration
  • xenophobia
  • European integration