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TOPIC: far right


Milei's Victory In Argentina: The Cult Of Personal Freedom At All Costs

Javier Milei has scored a stunning victory on a populist far-right platform promising maximum personal liberties and a shrunken state. But the deep rifts and economic hardship in Argentinian society present huge risks for the nation and its incoming president.

Updated Nov. 20, 2023 at 12:55 p.m.


BUENOS AIRES – Riding the cult of unfettered personal liberty, Javier Milei, the far-right populist Libertarian candidate, has scored a stunning victory to become Argentina's next president. The rival to Milei in Sunday's second-round runoff, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, called him to concede, trailing by a 10-point margin after nearly 90% of the vote was counted.

It's another populist victory in a major country (Indeed, former U.S .President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Milei whom he said would "Make Argentina Great Again!"), and defied pollsters and the political establishment that questioned whether voters would elect someone who'd vowed to "blow up" the central bank and carry out major changes to the economy and politics.

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Milei had seemingly swayed a significant enough portion of public opinion by promising to unleash a new era where personal freedom would be supreme. Regularly exercising his freedom to shout at viewers, he had declared that, if elected, he would maximize liberties at the expense of state powers. But after October’s first-round results showed Miei trailing Massa, the runoff realized the worst fears of many that a society based almost solely around individualism was here to stay in Argentina

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Lampedusa, The Far Right's Favorite European Island

The European migrant crisis is once again making headlines, this time from the small island of Lampedusa, Italy. It exposes not only the far right's eagerness to exploit the issue of immigration, but also the delicate balance of power in electoral terms.


PARIS — Europe is facing a new test of its unity and strength. In recent years, it had to tackle challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This time, the test comes from the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.

This 20 square-kilometer island saw more migrants arrive last week than it has inhabitants, some 8500 people, largely from Tunisia, arriving on 200 boats. While this is a large number for the island to handle, it's s important to have perspective before using terms such as "invasion." We are far from the numbers seen in 2015 when one million migrants arrived, particularly from Syria.

The issue is humanitarian, but also, ultimately, political. It challenges the hard line on immigration of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and her coalition that spans from center-right to far-right allies. The arrival of migrants en masse serves as an ideal opportunity for political exploitation as the campaign for the European elections begins. It also disrupts the shaky migration policy of the European Union and the agreement narrowly reached in June.

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The Big Questions (And Coalition Headaches) Ahead For Spain

The country finds itself without a clear majority following yesterday's parliamentary elections. Amid such inconclusive results, what are the country's best options to avoid prolonged political limbo?

MADRID — The prospect of a right-wing government in Spain, formed by an alliance between the moderates of the Popular Party (PP) and the extreme right-wingers of Vox, seems to be receding. The country is left without a clear path forward, with the possibility of new elections being called between now and Christmas.

Still, none of this should hinder Spain's six-month presidency of the European Union, since the current government will remain in office until a new one is formed.

The immediate results of last night's parliamentary elections show a deeply divided country faced with a series of unsolvable questions: although the opposition conservative People’s party (PP) came out on top, with 136 members of parliament in the 350-seat institution, their victory is much smaller than had been hoped. To take power, they would need the support of far-right party Vox.

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Sławomir Mentzen: The Tiktok Star Leading Poland’s Rising Far-Right Party

With Poland's parliamentary election approaching, a controversial far-right political alliance, Konfederacja, has made its way to third place in national opinion polls. With a series of past scandals, a strong presence on social media and steadily increasing numbers in the polls, Konfederacja and party leader Sławomir Mentzen may be headed for a king-making role.

Sławomir Mentzen, a 36-year old former tax advisor and one of the leaders of far right Polish political alliance Konfederacja, has emerged as a star personality ahead of Polish parliamentary elections, scheduled for autumn 2023.

As his party has risen from the margins of Polish politics to a potential kingmaker, Mentzen's image has shifted from that of a relative unknown to a burgeoning force within the country’s current political climate.

He has never held any elected government office, but has been active in the far-right political scene since 2017, when he served as vice chairman of Janusz Korwin-Mikke’s New Hope party. Mentzen took hold of Konfederacja in Oct. 2022, after then-leader Korwin-Mikke announced his resignation as the party’s chair. Korwin-Mikke made international headlines for doing a Nazi salute in the European Parliament, referring to migrants as “human garbage" and for justifying the gender wage gap by saying that women are “weaker” and “less intelligent” than men.

Konfederacja has become a major player in Poland, rising from around 7% support to as much as 14.5%, based on recent polls published in the national newspaper Rzeczpospolita. Some of Mentzen's success can be attributed to his strong presence on TikTok, where he currently has the largest following of any Polish politician on the platform, with over 770 million followers. Many of his short videos are viewed millions of times.

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Pierre Haski

Israel-Palestine, The Eternal Proof That Violence Is The Absence Of Politics

Israel's military operation in Jenin is the latest escalation of bloodshed. Once again, the language of violence has prevailed because there is no political solution on the horizon.


PARIS — Who still believes that a military solution is possible between Israelis and Palestinians? No reasonable person, apparently. And yet, once again, the language of violence prevails when there is no political solution possible or foreseeable.

This observation could have been made half a century ago just as it is being made today, following a rapid-fire full-scale war operation carried out by the Israeli army in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank. A terrorist attack claimed by Palestinian Hamas islamists has also occurred in Tel Aviv.

We hadn't seen anything like this from Israel in 20 years — airstrikes, tanks, hundreds of soldiers assaulting a densely populated Palestinian city.

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Katarzyna Skiba

Why Poland's Male-Run, Far-Right Party Is Popular With Educated Women

Similar to recent breakthroughs of right-wing parties in other countries, Poland's anti-immigrant political party has a somewhat different formula that has found surprising support among professional women. And Konfederacja may be decisive in next fall's national elections.


For years, Polish politics has largely been a head-to-head battle between the Catholic, conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, and its pro-European centrist rival, Civic Platform (PO). But now a young far-right party has broken through ahead of next fall's national elections, promising to shake up both politics and society at large.

The emerging party is called Konfederacja, and its rise since launching six years ago largely echos other recent right-wing upstarts in Italy, Greece, Spain and beyond. Yet experts note that this is also a uniquely Polish phenomenon, where everything from family policy to the war in Ukraine follows its own particular logic.

Since regaining the presidency in 2015, the conservative PiS has passed some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws, and clashed with the European Union on climate action and LGBTQ+ rights. But among these controversial policies, there has been the widely popular "500+" program, which provides a stipend of 500 zloty ($119) for every child within a family, and has become a staple of the party’s platform.

In response, the PO opposition has introduced its own social programs, including monthly allowances to women returning from maternity leave, which was a stark departure from the centrist party that had first emerged as a stern defender of the free market. Another small left-wing party has also proposed generous new paternity leave benefits.

At a PiS convention on May 14, longtime party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced that the government will be increasing childcare benefits from 500 zloty to 800 ($119 to $191), and that medication will be free for Poles under 18 and over the age of 65. In the same statement, the party leader also promised to remove tolls along national highways.

This rush to allocate social spending has created an opening for Konfederacja, which describes itself as an “anti-system,” nationalist and right-wing party — but also decidedly pro-free-market and opposed to government subsidies. The party's positioning has now begun to pay off, just ahead of the elections slated for either October or November.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage

After Belgorod: Does The Russian Opposition Have A Path To Push Out Putin?

The month of May has seen a brazen drone attack on the Kremlin and a major incursion by Russian rebels across the border war into the Russian region of Belgorod. Could this lead to Russians pushing Vladimir Putin out of power? Or all-out civil war?


We may soon mark May 22 as the day the Ukrainian war added a Russian front to the military battle maps. Two far-right Russian units fighting on the side of Ukraine entered the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation, riding on tanks and quickly crossing the border to seize Russian military equipment and take over checkpoints.

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This was not the first raid, but it was by far the longest and most successful, before the units were eventually forced to pass back into Ukrainian territory. The Russian Defense Ministry’s delay in reacting and repelling the incursion demonstrated its inability to seal the border and protect its citizens.

The broader Russian opposition — both inside the country and in exile — are actively discussing the Belgorod events and trying to gauge how it will affect the situation in the country. Will such raids become a regular occurrence? Will they grow more ambitious, lasting longer and striking deeper inside Russian territory? Or are these the first flare-ups at the outset of a coming civil war? And, of course, what fate awaits Vladimir Putin?

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Matheus Santino

Why Is This Brazilian Town Displaying Nazi Photographs?

In a small town in southern Brazil, photos of Nazi flags and Hitler supporters are displayed in the entrance hall of a publish building. An investigation by independent media Agência Pública looks into how the Santa Catarina state, a bastion of support of former president Jair Bolsonaro, has a long history of extremist groups and hate speech.

DONA EMMA — Whoever visits the entrance hall of the building of the head of education in Dona Emma, a town with just over 4,000 inhabitants in the southern Brazilian, is faced with a wall full of historical photographs of local families. Among them there are images of flags with the Nazi swastika.

One of the photographs shows children and a man in front of a school. In the background there is a Brazilian flag and a flag of Nazi Germany. The image is accompanied by the caption: "The private German school was maintained by the parents of the students with funds from Germany.”

In another photograph, seven men appear posing while one of them holds a Nazi flag. In the caption, they are described as "Hitler supporters in Nova Esperança," a neighborhood in Dona Emma. The photographs bearing Nazi symbols are mixed with images of the families who founded the region. There is no indication of the names of the people in those in which the swastika appears.

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This Happened

This Happened — May 7: Emmanuel Macron Is Elected

Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on this day in 2017, after winning the second round of the presidential election.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

New Ukraine War Beheading Videos, And The "Russian Andrew Tate" Spreading Them Online

Having gained notoriety for his Male State movement, which was deemed too radical, even for Putin, Vladislav Pozdnyakov has now come up in connection with brutal videos being shared online.

MOSCOW — A video has begun circulating online showing men in military uniforms with white ribbons — a typical symbol used by Russian military in Ukraine — killing a man who is in uniform and wearing Ukrainian insignia.

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The faces of the men in the minute-and-a-half-long video are covered by masks. One of the men, presumed to be Russian, can be heard talking over a radio and gives instructions to a second man who carries out the killing with a knife. The victim can be heard screaming in the first part of the video.

Towards the end, a voice can be heard saying “Put it (the head) in a f***ing bag and send it to the commander.”

The origins and precise content of the apparent beheading video are unclear. What we know more about is how it began to circulate: it was first shared online by Russian influencer and misogynist Vladislav Pozdnyakov, the man behind the notorious Male State movement, which is known for its patriarchal, racist and nationalistic views.

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Pierre Haski

Why Ben-Gvir's Explosive Visit Is Really Aimed At Netanyahu

Less than a week after being sworn in for the sixth time as Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was defied by a highly charged visit his far-right coalition ally, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, that has enflamed the entire Muslim world. Netanyahu has a choice to make.


PARIS — Pick an arsonist to head the fire department and you’re sure to have blazes to fight. That's exactly what is happening in Israel right now, since far-right leader Itamar Ben-Gvir was installed as Minister of National Security.

It didn't take more than a week for the new minister, who had been convicted in the past for incitement to racial hatred, to do what his Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wish he hadn't: to make a visit to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque compound (a.k.a. Esplanade of the Mosques, or Temple Mount), the third holy site of Islam, and one of the most sensitive spots on the planet.

Ben-Gvir has a clear objective: He wants to challenge the status quo, which exists since 1967, that bans Jews from praying on the esplanade, on which stood their Holy Temple, some 2,000 years ago.

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Dominique Moïsi

Is Israel's Far Right More Extreme Than In Italy Or The U.S.?

French writer and political scientist Dominique Moïsi was in Israel last week for the country’s latest elections, which saw the victory of a hard right coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu. He warns that there is an inherent conflict between the self-declared "start-up nation" and the anti-science, anti-liberal program of the new government.


PARIS — In his autobiography Things Seen, seminal French author Victor Hugo describes daily life in Paris during the revolution of the 1830s. He writes about the “limited reach of tragedy,” where one street is covered in barricades and the next is completely peaceful.

On Nov. 1, the day of the elections in Israel, I was walking around the streets of Tel Aviv with those images from Victor Hugo in mind. There was no indication that the future of the country might be at stake despite the huge election signs on buildings and buses. But for their fifth general election in four years, the people of the country's largest economic and cultural metropolis seemed jaded, if not indifferent.

This impression was quickly contradicted by a turnout of more than 70%, a significant increase over previous elections. But nothing seemed to suggest that Israel was on the brink of a tipping point.

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