Interview #8 with Kirk Hawkins. Caracas Burns: Post-Chavismo and Populism  

You the people are the giant that awoke, I your humble soldier will only do what you say. I am at your orders to continue clearing the way to the greater Fatherland. Because you are not going to reelect Chávez really, you are going to reelect yourselves; the people will reelect the people. Chávez is nothing but an instrument of the people.

Hugo Chávez

Kirk Hawkins
Kirk Hawkins

POP interviews prof. Kirk Hawkins. He is the coordinator of Team Populism, a cross-regional scholarly network that studies the causes of populism. He published Venezuela’s Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective (2010, Cambridge University Press). He is currently editing a volume that presents Team Populism’s latest work. 

In this interview prof. Hawkins analyses the Venezuelan case from a ‘populist perspective’, answering questions about the links between Maduro and Chavez, their populist discourses, and the future of Venezuelan democracy. Continue reading Interview #8 with Kirk Hawkins. Caracas Burns: Post-Chavismo and Populism  

Latvia Pop: Three Cases of post-Soviet Populism

to whom belongs the state
Who owns the State? is the new populist actor in Latvia.

Like a salmon swimming upstream, while scholars on populism debate about Brexit, the Spanish elections, the Icelandic new President, and Italian local elections, POP presents an article written by Ilze Balcere about the story of populist movements in Post-Soviet Latvia. Although they have been mainly short-lived and ephemeral experiences, a couple of populist parties made it to the national parliament (Saeima). Ilze Balcere traces the evolution of populism in Latvia in the last 20 years and claims that  in her country populism does not seem to be a particularly successful political strategy, but this might change in the future. Continue reading Latvia Pop: Three Cases of post-Soviet Populism

Interview #7 – A talk with Cas Mudde on American and European Populism

trump tower.jpg
Trump Tower in Chicago – April 2016

POP interviewed Prof. Cas Mudde about populism in the US and Europe, the presence (or rather absence) of populism in the current American Presidential campaign, and the conditions triggering different types of populism in the Old continent.

Are “the people” and “the elites” relevant categories in the discourses articulated by Trump and Sanders?

The economic crisis, combined with terrorist threats and a constant flow of migrants create a widespread fear among the European electorate: which political actors benefit from this situation?

These and other issues on the interview with Prof. Mudde.

Enjoy…

Continue reading Interview #7 – A talk with Cas Mudde on American and European Populism

To break, or not to break? Brexit and the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe #2

This is the second part of Laura MacKenzie’s article about Brexit. In the first episode she presented the two opposing factions and the key political figures. Today she analyses the key arguments of the leave and remain campaigns. In the meantime, former London mayor Boris Johnson declared that the EU – as well as Hitler and Napoleon – is trying to unify Europe under a superstate and to bring it back to the golden age of the Romans.

Continue reading To break, or not to break? Brexit and the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe #2

To break, or not to break? That is the question #1

Politics is ultimately a numbers game, and the figures just don’t add up [1]

On 23 June, British voters will go to the polls to solve a very large maths problem.  The United Kingdom is currently in a battle over its identity as a European nation, and both sides of the debate are clamouring for attention and support.  However, no matter how convincing the arguments; no matter how witty the speeches; no matter which celebrities sign up to which campaign; the ‘Brexit’ battle will, ultimately, be won on numbers.

When faced with the question on the ballot paper, “should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” voters will respond by asking their own question:  do the figures add up?

Continue reading To break, or not to break? That is the question #1

Unmet expectations and Panama Papers – Yet Another ‘Perfect Storm’ on European Democracy

Perhaps representation in politics is only a fiction, a myth forming part of the folklore of our society[1]

 

Populism finds its place in the political debate when politicians’ promises are not kept and people’s expectations about democracy remain unmet. This happens in particular during scandals of corruption or – more in general – when there is a diffused perception of a failure of the representative system.

Iceland and France are two perfect examples, while Brazil and Chile – so far – constitute negative cases.

In France something is moving, and from the end of March it took the name of Nuit Debout, a left-wing protest movement against labor reforms. They are similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement and to the first version of the Indignados in Madrid. Will they find a political expression like Podemos and Bernie Sanders, or dissolve after a few weeks of intense mobilization? In other words, are they the future in a nutshell of French left-wing politics or just a bunch of unemployed Parisian hipsters?

Continue reading Unmet expectations and Panama Papers – Yet Another ‘Perfect Storm’ on European Democracy

Donald Trump: the Perfect President for the Divided States of Europe?

On March 13th the elections in three German regions brought once again on the table a fundamental question about Europe: will we be able to overcome our fears and open our political-economic project also to those that so far have been excluded? Or will we rather entrench ourselves in our fortress?

It is time to define our collective identity. And it is time to consider that the way we are doing it now will be marked in history books as one of the biggest European shames.

In other words: let’s imagine that we have to elect a supreme leader for Europe in 2017. Let’s assume Donald Trump would participate. Would he win the elections? Continue reading Donald Trump: the Perfect President for the Divided States of Europe?