The 5 Star Movement is neither left-wing nor antifascist

I know that the right-left political spectrum is slippery. Most people consider it dead and buried. End of history, post-ideological world, and whatnot.

I know that when a politician tells you “we are neither right nor left, just #populist” it gets even more confusing .

I know the face people make when I say that (on the cultural dimension and therefore by synecdoche) the 5 Star Movement is a right-wing party. Continue reading

Interview #15 – Going Negative: Causes and Consequences of Attack Politics

Nai pic

Alessandro Nai

In this interview POP discusses with Alessandro Nai about the causes and consequences of negative campaigning as well as the links with populism and attack politics.

Alessandro Nai is Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney, and Assistant Professor of Political Communication and Journalism at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR, University of Amsterdam) from August 2017 onwards. His personal research agenda is on electoral behavior, political psychology, direct democracy, and campaigning effects. His work appeared in peer-review journals such as Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies and the Journal of Political Marketing. He recently published New Perspectives on Negative Campaigning: Why Attack Politics Matters (with Annemarie S. Walter, ECPR Press, 2015) and Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity (with Pippa Norris, Oxford University Press, 2017).

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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.

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Interview #3 – Anders Hellström about Nordic Populism

Anders Hellström

Anders Hellström

Why populism in Scandinavia seems to be more and more successful? What can explain the presence of right-wing populist parties in governing coalitions in Finland, Denmark, and Norway, while in Sweden Sverigedemokraterna doubled its consensus from last elections becoming the third party?

In order to answer these questions, POP decided to interview Anders Hellström. He is associate professor in political science, currently based at the Malmö Institute for studies of diversity, migration and welfare. He chairs a comparative project on Nordic populism, funded by NOS-HS in the period 2013–2015. A new book will be published by Berghahn Books later this year. It will be titled “Trust Us: Reproducing the Nation and the Scandinavian Nationalist Populist Parties“. He has written several books and articles about Populism and nationalism in relation to European integration, identity politics, discourse theory and the nationalist populist parties in Sweden and elsewhere.

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Oxi, ley mordaza, walls and summer populism

2015-06-27 18.47.15Welcome to the Bistro POP. 2015-06-27 21.47.28

We serve fresh populism, of all types.

Hot summer in Europe. Tsipras asked the Greek people to refuse the conditions of the Troika – and the Greek people answered “oxi”, which is translated as “no” but in this case means “yes Alexis, we’re still with you”; Varoufakis announced – first via Blog and then in T-shirt, cool as usual – that he resigns from his position as Minister in order to help Tsipras with the negotiations; Spain approved a package of measures unprecedented during its democratic history, limiting freedom of expression and public protest; Hungary is preparing to build yet another wall of this Europe under siege, to halt the advance of the refugees on the eastern front.

The Greek referendum marked a watershed in the history of Europe, with consequences that will be fully understood probably in the next decades. Now it’s too early to draw conclusions. The words of Varoufakis from his blog are probably the best way to reflect on what happened:  “The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.”

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Ghosts from the past

CharlesCouglinFather Coughlin knew how to use the radio and he used it to deliver his messages to millions of people. First he supported Roosevelt and the New Deal, but later criticized him because of his relationships with the bankers. I would be curious to interview Charles Edward Coughlin now, in 2015, and to listen from his energetic, mesmerizing voice, what he thinks about the situation in Europe. Another cycle of economic recession, another time of social unrest. An age of barriers, drifting boats, night marches, proclamations.

Father Coughlin was particularly harsh with Jewish bankers, accused of being behind the Russian Revolution, and ended up backing Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini concerning social and political measures against both capitalism and Communism.

At the Congress, he once said, it is time to endorse a candidate ‘who can rise above his party and puts patriotism first. He may be a Democrat or a Republican or whatnot, but we’re through with the sham battle of politicians and now we’re on our own’.Kill the lie

In 2015, in Europe, it is time for important decisions, and the soul of Coughlin’s speeches resonates with our time, ominously, through new politicians. About democracy, and the way it was not able to prevent the great Depression, he said: ‘somebody must be blamed, of course. But those in power always forget to blame themselves. (…) And democracy once more, thinking that it has power within its soul, shall rise up to clap and applaud, because the youth of the land is going abroad to make the world safe for what? Safe for dictatorship? Safe against communism abroad when we have communism at home? Safe from socialism in France when we have socialism in America? Or safe, safe for the international bankers?

I wanted to talk about the last elections in Poland and in Spain, about PEGIDA in Germany and Salvini in Italy, but there will be time for that. Now, I just wanted to hear father Coughlin’s words again, because those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Interview #2 – Laura MacKenzie on Susanna Steptoe, one of UKIP’s newest recruits

Eccentric Party's Leader Lord Toby Jug. From cambridge-news.co.uk

Eccentric Party’s Leader Lord Toby Jug. From cambridge-news.co.uk

It is 4th May 2015, and the nation is abuzz. Newspapers have been debating the public eating skills of party leaders; internet memes of said party leaders consuming such items as bacon sandwiches have caused much merriment; mainstream politicians have been portrayed as boy band wannabies; one lot of nationalists have been accusing another lot of nationalists of racism; politicians have been outdoing each other on the ‘selfie’ front; and parties with names like Beer, Baccy and Scratchings are doing their best to convince the electorate that they have serious political objectives.

All of this can mean only one thing: the British general election is upon us.

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