Cas Mudde Profile picture
Nov 13, 2017 21 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I think this piece, while more nuanced than "60.000 Neo-Nazis march in Warsaw", still misses many points. #thread…
1. Poland always has had a very strong far right subculture, which is quite diverse, from neo-Nazis, to neo-fascist (Dmowski) to orthodox-Christian nationalists.
2. Because of electoral system and big right-wing umbrella parties far right parties and politicians mainly operated within right-wing parties rather than separately (recent exception: LPR).
3. Far right groups have been organizing these National Independence Day demonstrations for years now. This year's was bigger, for sure, but not very different.
4. While PiS is ruling more and more like populist radical right party, it is, like Fidesz (or Trump's GOP), not same as FN or FPÖ. It is an established party of the system and many of its voters will see it as main conservative, or anti-left party, than the outsider-challenger
5. PiS has always tried to absorb the far right, and successfully did so with support of LPR (with help of Catholic nationalists like Father Rydzyk and Radio Maryja).
6. Polish radical right is quite parochial, in part because of strong focus on (Polish) Catholicism, which is also shown by Kaczynski's clumsy authoritarianism and anti-EU policies.
7. Polish extreme right has been more integrated, both in East and West Europe, with connections to BNP/EDL and Jobbik, for example. Still, these are fairly amateuristic groups.
8. The so-called "refugee crisis" has given widespread nationalism in CEE a particular Islamophobic and nativist slant, even in highly homogeneous countries like Hungary and Poland.
9. This was not surprising, almost all CEE countries scored very high on ethnic prejudices already in 1990s. The issue of immigration simply wasn't salient before.
10. The most disturbing aspect of this weekend's march was the government's embrace of it, which was even more complete than Trump's response to Charlottesville -- to be fair, there were more non-extreme right in Warsaw.
11. Radicalization of PiS, embrace of extreme right (also by Kukiz'15!), and total onslaught on countervailing powers (courts and media) is much more dangerous than this demonstration.
12. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and broader xenophobia has gone from implicit to explicit and broad parts of society openly embrace and express them -- throughout the region.
13. There is little to no counter-discourse and (true) liberal democratic parties are very weak -- in Hungary and Poland social democrats imploded after corruption scandals.
14. EU doesn't help by having two-faced policies, depending on strength of political group, criticizing Poland for things it accepts of Hungary.
15. At same time, EU leaders pay price for opportunistic critique of "multiculturalism" in the past (e.g. Cameron, Merkel, Sarkozy). CEE says: why should we introduce a policy that you said failed in your own country?
16. "Why should we treat our Roma like poor persecuted people, when you treat them like criminals and send them back to us?"
17. More than anything, current politics is outcome of problematic accession process. EU was "embraced" for economic reasons, as well as stable (minimal) democratic rule. Liberal values were accepted on paper but not embraced by many (and not really enforced by EU).
18. To change all of this will be very hard, as the illiberal right is very strong, and well-organized, and faced by a weak and opportunistic center-left and center-right.
19. And any pressure on Poland should be in line with pressures on other countries and parties, including in Hungary and Western Europe. Current policies give impression of East being singled out.
20. In short, problem of radical right goes well beyond this one demonstration or recent developments. It has gotten worse but Poland is part of a much broader problem that can only be addressed holistically, within whole EU. #TheEnd

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More from @CasMudde

Oct 6, 2018
This weekend Brazilians will go to the polls to elect a new president. #Brazil is fifth biggest country in the world, in terms of population, and symptomatic of a remarkable authoritarian turn in the world's biggest states. #thread
1. China is the biggest country and only non-democracy in top-5. But even here General Secretary Xi Jinping has taken the country in a (even) more authoritarian and nationalist direction.
2. India, the world's largest democracy, has been governed by PM Narendra Modi and his radical right BJP-led coalition since 2014. MOstly ignored by international media, India has seen sharp rise of radical and sometimes violent Hindutva activism.
Read 12 tweets
Sep 12, 2018
I have been arguing for a long time that the EU, and particularly the EPP, should stand up to Viktor Orbán, but I feel nevertheless conflicted on triggering #Article7 - let me explain. #Thread…
1. Although triggering Article 7 does not mean kicking Hungary out of EU (more below), it is starting with the "nuclear option".
2. Orbán and Fidesz have been creating an "illiberal state" since regaining power in 2010. That is 8 years of undermining checks and balances, recreating institutions and filling them with cronies, and creating a kleptocracy on Russian model.
Read 21 tweets
Jul 12, 2018
NEW! @pewglobal has just published an interesting and important report on ideology vs populism in Western Europe (full disclosure: I was consulted on it). Here are some of my quick takes. #Thread
You can find the full study here -->…
1. The main takeaway for politicians and pundits should be that populist parties are NOT the voice of the people! In fact, in almost all countries they are BY FAR the least favored party!
2. Favorability gap between populist and traditional parties is massive in North and substantial in much of South! This is even the case with left populist Podemos (less favorable than PP, although poll before govt crisis!) and most normalized populist radical right party, DF!
Read 14 tweets
Jun 29, 2018
Good piece on EPP and Orbán by ⁦⁦@PoliticoRyan⁩ although he is too forgiving on EPP’s incredible hypocrisy. A few comments. #Thread…
1. I honestly don’t see how EPP comes out of EP2019 weaker, except if Macron joins ALDE (big if).
2. S&D will be real loser of EP2019, losing one of its last big parties in big country because of Brexit while many others have recently been decimated.
Read 18 tweets
Nov 26, 2017
This is supposed to be defense of one of too many uncritical “human interest” @nytimes pieces on neo-Nazis and other far right people. It shows depth of ignorance among journalists.
1. First and foremost, it shows media’s tendency to think in clichés - the purely evil bad person and the purely good victim.
2. Second, it shows the enduring problem of white privilege in the media, undoubtedly strengthened by whiteness of newsrooms as noted by @jbouie
Read 27 tweets
Nov 5, 2017
In past months I’ve criticized high-profile initiatives on populism at Harvard & Stanford. Let me clarify why. #thread
1. I am happy that populism is (finally) taken serious by US mainstream political and social science.
2. Although I wish “populism” was used more carefully and not as short hand for anti-establishment, nativist, or protest politics.
Read 26 tweets

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