“Elements of the Polish far-right . . .”
“The far-right German political party, Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) . . .”
“Concerns about the appearance of far-right protesters led the French government to . . .”
“Right-wing extreamists in the US are known for . . .”
What, exactly, do the reporters and commentators mean by “far right” and “right wing?” It’s hard to know, because you have to know the political leanings of the reporters, of the dominant elements in the government of the country being discussed, and something about the background of the event being decried, encouraged, or whatever. To me, if you are marching with a banner that has the Hakenkreutz under the international “NO” marking, and the Hammer and Sickle under the same NO, with your national crest in the middle, you are not Far Right. You are nationalist, firmly so, but not “Far evil fascistic white-supremacist antiSemitic Right.” Which is what the breathless journalism tried to claim.
Setting aside who inspired whom, and that Fascism died with either Mussolini or Franco (take your pick), the default in the media has lapsed to, “They are not actively Socialist/Progressive/Communist. Must be Eeeeeevil Far Right.” Yawn.
The terms right and left in politics owe their birth, like so many other bad ideas, to the French Revolution, namely the phase generally knows as The Terror. The legislative branch of the revolutionary government was centered on the speaker’s podium, with “the Mountain” the bulk of legislators in the center, the Jacobins and their allies to the left of the speaker (his left hand) and the Girondins and their allies to the right of the speaker. Now, all of these people were radical, but the Jacobins became much more pro-government, pro-total control, pro-erase history than the Girondins had a chance to become.
The Germans, being Teutonic and having the seat of their government in Berlin, seat the Communist/hard Left party members on . . . the left as you face the seats, and the Conservative-by-German-standards party members on the right. So the Communists and AfD or FDP glare across at each other.
In the US? No one knows what far-right means, other than “not a member of the Democratic, Green, or Socialist parties.” I think it means evil Alex Jones fans who own black plastic firearms, beat women, burn crosses at night, drive lifted pickups, drink the wrong kind of beer and coffee, and want to take over the world so they can beat up on everyone and restore the world o Birth of the Nation. But I could be wrong.
Short-hand is short, it doesn’t require thought. Alas, it also starts to inspire the targets of the short-hand to think, “Hmmm, why not live down to their expectations?” And responses in kind from the other side of the cultural aisle. Sort of like an acidic comment I heard to the effect that the difference between German skinheads [right, maybe] and German anarchists [hard left, maybe] was the amount of hair on the head.
If someone calls protesters marching with a “No NSDAP” sign “right wing,” well, all that shows is ignorance. And not on the part of the protesters.
“Far-right protestors called for the return of Western Civilization classes in public schools and universities.”