The Myth of the Extreme Right

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The Dutch domestic intelligence agency (AIVD) recently released a report on the current threat level from “right-wing extremism” in the Netherlands.

Our Flemish correspondent VH has prepared a summary of the AIVD report, which tells us that the threat of violence in the Netherlands is not from the Right, but — surprise! — from the “anti-fascist” Left:

The AIVD recently released a report on right-wing extremism. What is understood as the extreme right wing is not only very marginal and forms no threat to democracy, but above all is a myth that is constructed and maintained by anti-democratic and violent left-wing extremists.

Groups such as the Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) — which seek to exclude everything from the public sphere they regard as right-wing — play an important role in this myth-building and derive their existence from “the threat that [supposedly] can arise from this, and [to that end they] cultivate the image that it is large and growing,” as the AIVD states.

AFA also tries to prevent every right-wing activity by lobbying, for instance, with municipalities. Politicians and administrators therefore run the risk of being guided in their deliberations by an inaccurate sketch of the situation, warns the AIVD. “Due to this, there can be an overreaction”.

Anti-Fascist ActionIn contrast to the extreme right-wing organizations, the extreme left-wing organizations such as the Anti-Fascists (AFA) do in fact constitute a considerable threat to democracy. Anti-Fascists are prepared “to take the law into their own hands” and seek confrontation by means of violence. The AIVD concludes: “With these anti-democratic aspirations, AFA … makes use of undemocratic methods.” [italics by translator]

Back in 2005 the AIVD stated that the vast majority of so-called “Lonsdale youth”, who are generally portrayed as extreme right-wing, do not adhere to a right-wing extremist ideology. In the media, however, the ‘problem’ of the ‘Lonsdale youth’ is being magnified: “The far-right label that is provided by the media and certain administrators is therefore not confirmed by the AIVD.”

But from the recent report also another interesting point comes forth. The extreme right-wing organizations are actually extreme left-wing, and largely consist of “revolutionary socialists” [or “social revolutionaries”]. However, the issues in which they differ from the extreme left-wing are “nationalism” versus “internationalism”, democratic attitude versus an undemocratic and antidemocratic attitude, and responding to violent actions versus instigating violent actions.

In the report, the AIVD is not yet ready to argue for outlawing extreme left-wing organizations such as Anti-Fascist Action, but does so in between the lines, and dedicates its harshest considerations and warnings — in the report on right-wing extremism — to the extreme left-wing “Anti-Fascist” groups.

The AIVD report can be downloaded here (pdf).
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