Joerg Haider in historical perspective
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Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 16:01:56 -0600
From: Mills Kelly <tkelly@TTACS.TTU.EDU>
While I would certainly bow to Mark Pittaway's knowledge of the specifics of Haider's rise, knowing of it only through reading the news media (Austrian, Slovak and American), I would like to take up his second point about the deeper roots of this phenomenon. As I have been reading the coverage of what is happening in Austria, I have been reflecting on how much what has happened there reflects events in Slovakia and the Czech Republic...that is, the continuity between radical populists in the following pairs: Karl Lueger--Joerg Haider, the Slovaks Andrej Hlinka--Vladimir Meciar, and the Czechs Vaclav Klofac--Miroslav Sladek. There may be others, but these are the ones I know best. A Slovak political scientist, Vladimir Krivy, has already published a book to this effect on the Hlinka-Meciar connection and argues, I think pursuasively, that there are strong similarities not only between where there voters live(d), but also the underlying socioeconomic and cultural conditions upon which their appeal rested/rests.  My own research on Czech radical politics indicates strong parallels between those who supported Klofac's radicals in the first decades of the 20th century and those who vote for Sladek's Republican party today. I would be interested to hear from those who know Lueger's supporters better than I whether the Lueger-Haider parallel is as strong? Thus, I think the Western media are wrong when they stress continuity with Austria's Nazi legacy...in my view it goes back into the Monarchy.
Department of History
Texas Tech University
 Vladimir Krivy, Co prezradzaju volebne vysledky? (Bratislava: Institut pre verejne otazky, 1999)