The author looks, in the light of the June 2016 EU referendum vote in the UK, at the apparent rupture between Eurosceptic nationalists and transnational neoliberal elites, examining also the interlinked decline in support for Social Democratic and Conservative mainstream political parties. She examines how ultra-nationalism plays out in different parts of the EU at a time of retrenchment, austerity, terrorism and insecurity – to fortify conservatism as well as neoliberal forms of governance based on new forms of surveillance. Nationalism, racism and the political Right are discussed in terms of the EU’s uneven development – between core (ordoliberal Germany) and periphery – and Europe’s legacy of authoritarianism and fascism, evoked today through the politicisation of memory and a stress on national victimhood and the Muslim enemy within. While some national elites draw on rightwing authoritarian traditions, nationalism can also prove advantageous to neoliberal transnational forces. For in grossly unequal and socially volatile societies, rejecting austerity in favour of protectionism, only a more commanding and authoritarian state can finalise the necessary transition from nation state to market state.
The Black Power movement based the authenticity of Blackness on the position of the oppressed class, or what Malcolm X termed the Field Negro. This article examines the pitfalls of locating authenticity solely with the Black poor. The Black Panther Party aimed to attract as its members the lumpenproletariat, who would not back down from the struggle. This embrace of the ‘Bad Nigger’, a feature since enslavement, impacted on the party but also on the legacy of the movement. The strength to resist authority was seen as central but, in the absence of radical politics, the position has been taken over by a nihilistic outlook embodied in the emergence of the identity ‘Nigga’. By examining conscious Hip Hop and Gangsta Rap it is argued that this identity helps to keep the community in check. Due to lumpen authenticity, however, the ‘Good Nigga’ is shielded from the accusation of ‘tomming’ and it is therefore necessary to rework a political definition of authenticity necessary to mobilise a new generation for resistance. This article necessarily uses the controversial N-word in different forms to explicate a political process and the way the term itself has been culturally embraced.