Radical Right Movements and Radical Right Parties: Cooperation and/or Competition
While the focus of research on the radical right in many countries has been on parties much more than on movements the latter’s investigation should also consider the former. There are several reasons for this: a) both often address the same/similar political issues, b) both draw their activists from the same group of people, c) the one’s success might lead to the decline of the other, although this should not be generalized.
The paper takes the German PEGIDA movement and the party Alternative for Germany (AfD) as an example to elaborate on the dynamic of the PEGIDA movement in general but with a particular focus on the rise of the AfD and the controversies and contradictions this created for both actors. While for a long time leading PEGIDA activists had been self-confident to be the major radical right political player (especially in Saxony) even up to the point to create a political party alongside the AfD, finally the movement spiralled down to a weekly event of some 2,000 people performing highly ritualized. With the growing electoral success of the AfD cooperation grew closer.
The paper will bring to light the interlinked, yet different dynamics of the two projects and will discuss the empirical findings in light of existing research on party-movement-relations.