Anti-Neoliberal Neoliberalism: Post-Socialism and Bulgaria’s “Ataka” Party
The last elections (2014) for European Union deputies once again confirmed the popularity of far-right parties. Despite scholarly attention, racism and xenophobia in the easternmost part of the EU, remain relatively unexplored. This essay focuses on Ataka, the first far-right political party to enter Bulgaria’s parliament after 1989. Specifically, the article focuses on its official media discourse in order to explain its complex position on neoliberalism. While this party engages in criticisms of neoliberalism, its understanding of it is non-economic and ambiguous. A rhetorical analysis of the party’s newspaper reveals that angry attitudes towards neoliberal economics fuel movements such as Ataka. However, Ataka often presents neoliberalism as a cultural project focused on multiculturalism, “Islamization”, and anti-nationalism. The essay explores this strategy to fuse economic demands with issues of identity. As such, this piece calls for a more nuanced understanding not only of the discourse of contemporary far-right movements, but also of neoliberalism itself.
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