Concern has been raised over the ideological doctrine of Danskernes Parti (DP), a far-right and nationalist party that is running in November’s local elections.
In a report by the left-wing “research collective” Redox, DP is accused of maintaining strong ties to anti-democratic and neo-Nazi groups.
Redox adds that while the party members try to present themselves as national democrats, the difference between their policies and neo-Nazi ideology is merely rhetorical.
“Heavily inspired by similar neo-Nazi parties in Sweden and Germany, Danskernes Parti is trying to promote Nazism in a modern package,” Redox stated on its website. “Using policies in which racial biology is only officially swapped out with ethnicity, the party promotes ethnic cleansing of non-Western Danes and is working to introduce a dictatorship in Denmark.”
Against non-Western immigration
Danskernes Parti, which is fielding candidates in six councils and all five regions, is unashamed of its anti-immigration stance.
In its party programme, it argues that ethnic Danes risk becoming a minority in their own country.
“The immigration of non-Western people has to stop immediately, while those who are already here must be repatriated regardless of whether they have been given Danish citizenship,” the party writes. “Non-Western people should not be granted citizenship because we feel they are too foreign.”
Leader posed with a swastika
DP's leader is the 23-year-old Daniel Carlsen, who started the party in 2011 after leaving the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement of Denmark (DNSB).
Carlsen is known for his far-right views and has alleged that non-Western migrants have low IQs. In 2011 he lodged an appeal with the press complaints board, Pressenævnet, after it referred to him as a Nazi.
He lost because he has previously been referred to as a Nazi and had allowed himself to be photographed in front of a flag with a swastika. Redox’s report also contains a photograph allegedly taken in 2010 in which Carlsen is shown raising his arm in a Nazi salute.
Distancing himself from Nazi past
According to Susi Meret, an assistant professor at the department of Culture and Global Studies at Aalborg University who specialises in the far right, Carlsen’s strategy with his new party is to distance himself from the DNSB and its associations with Nazism.
“They have a core of supporters who sympathise with their extreme far-right views, but if they are to stand a chance in the local elections, they need to appeal to voters who are concerned about immigration, but who do not approve of connections with neo-Nazi ideologies,” Meret told The Copenhagen Post. “Until they can convince potential voters that there is no connection, they won’t get enough support to get elected.”
Despite their small chances at getting elected, Meret attributes their ambitious push in the local elections to two things.
First, that many Danes who are concerned by immigration do not think that Dansk Folkeparti is doing a good enough job in parliament and that there is no party that represents voters with a more extreme position on immigration.
And second, that the rise and success of far-right parties in Europe, such as Sweden’s Sverigedemokraterna, has demonstrated that parties with neo-Nazi roots can develop political credibility.
Sverigedemokraterna – which has donated 5,000 kroner to DP’s election campaign – was formed by former members of the neo-Nazi Bevara Sverige Svenskt (Keep Sweden Swedish) party and took 5.7 percent of the vote in Sweden’s 2010 general election.
Redox members charged
Redox is itself a controversial organisation that rose to prominence in August 2011 when it revealed a secret far-right network in Aarhus known as ORG.
Redox's website was subsequently shut down by the data authorities, Datatilsynet, after allegations that the material was gathered illegally through hacking.
In April, Copenhagen Police charged seven Redox members with hacking, assault, vandalism and illegally collecting personal information.
Its website was reopened on September 1, followed by the release of the report that argues that DP is simply continuing the same racist ideologies founded in neo-Nazism.
“Danskernes Parti's project is fundamentally about one thing, which is promoting modern Nazism and the idea of a racially pure Denmark in new, legitimate, and seemingly democratic packaging,” the report states.
They add that while DNSB members only make up at most 15 percent of Danskernes Parti, these members are concentrated in the party leadership.
Carlsen rejects allegations
But Carlsen rejects Redox’s findings and argues that the research collective has a known connection to the far-left.
"We are not Nazis, we are national democrats,” Carlsen told The Copenhagen Post. “This is simply a scare campaign and I think people can see through it given that Redox is made up of left-wing extremists who call all Danish-friendly people Nazis. It’s not a new phenomenon.”
Carlsen also argued that while some members of DNSB joined Danskernes Parti, the vast majority had a range of political backgrounds.
"We have former members of Venstre and Socialdemokraterne and a few also came along from DNSB. But we don’t care about the backgrounds of our members, even if they’re Communists. What matters is that they sign up to our party programme,” he said.
Update 21:23, 10/09/2013: The title of assistant professor Susi Meret was changed, and it was clarified that Sverigedemokraterna, not Bevara Sverige Svenskt, won 5.7 of the vote in Sweden's 2010 general election