Gloucester City Hall
Has the Alt-Right Peaked?
The sharp turn to the right in the 2016 U.S. elections and the mainstreaming of white nationalists and other extremists that followed was a surprise to many here, but not to the millions who have lived through similar shocks elsewhere.
Right-wing populists now hold power in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Turkey, India, and the Philippines, to name a few. And they’re challenging collapsing political centrists in many others. Though they do so within specific cultural and political contexts, most share a distaste for liberal values such as press freedom, gender equality, and checks on executive power.
There has been considerable pushback, but as we head into a heavily-contested midterm election, can we conclude that this movement has peaked? Our next speaker doesn’t think so.
John Feffer, who graphically described the global rise of right wing extremism in a September 2016 forum, will look at these trends today and what we should be watching and worrying about now. The director of Foreign Policy in Focus, a Washington-based “think tank without walls,” Feffer has written extensively on the emergence of such ultra-nationalist, anti-immigrant parties as France’s National Front, the UK Independence Party, the Swedish Democratic Party, and the Freedom Party of Austria. He has studied in England and Russia, lived in Poland and Japan, and traveled widely in Europe and Asia, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and other publications. His latest book is Aftershock: A Journey Through Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams. Book two of his dystopian novel series, Frostlands, is due in November.