Right-wing extremists focuses more on media and online activism

Bild av Kelly L

The number of activities motivated by racial ideology is decreasing in Sweden for the third year in a row. At the same time, right-wing extremist media production is increasing and young people are choosing to apply to online communities. With 2022 being an election year in Sweden, this increases the risk of misinformation being spread and aggressive campaigns against political opponents. This is shown by an annual report conducted by Expo, a Swedish antiracist foundation.

The decrease is due to the fact that NMR, (one of Swedens largest neo-nazi organisations) which was previously a dominant group, continues to have problems with regrowth and internal division. At the same time, other groups do not have the same focus on external activism as NMR. The decrease can also be explained by a generation gap where teenagers and young adults are attracted by Swedish and international digital racial ideological communities where terrorism and political violence are glorified, says Jonathan Leman, one of the authors of the report.

In 2021, the number of documented activities in the racial ideological environment decreased from 2041 to 1482 activities, a decrease of 27 percent. This was also among the lowest Expo had noted since they started their research in 2008 for their reports. At the same time, the largest groups besides NMR seem to have either stabilized at about the same level as previous years or even increased in number of activities, this despite two pandemic years. The total number of activities decreased in 18 of 22 Swedish counties. Most significant are the declines in activity in Skåne (210-86); Västra Götaland (396-242) and Värmland (111-55).

Invest in own media

The report shows that the racial ideological environment continues to invest in its own media. Over the past five years, the number of far-right podcasts has increased significantly, from 6 to 38.

The Swedish far right has not been as visible on streets and squares, but instead manages to spread their ideas through news sites and podcasts, says Jonathan Leman.

Our report also shows that the far right has partly merged with the conspiracy movement. The protests against vaccine passes meant a new recruitment base for the racial ideological environment and radicalized parts of the conspiracy theory environment.

Ahead of the elections, several right-wing extremist parties are investing in winning seats. In all probability, this will mean that the number of activities will increase again. According to the report, this also means an increased risk of misinformation, severe racist outbursts, aggressive campaigns against political opponents, accusations of electoral fraud and, in the worst case, political violence from the far right’s various actors and sympathizers during the election campaign.

By Team Signature Reports
By Team Signature Reports