Interview #9 with Samuele Mazzolini: Trans-Atlantic Left-Wing Populism

foto mazzoliniIn this interview, Samuele Mazzolini discusses the similarities and differences between Latin American left-wing populism (especially in Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia) and European left-wing populism ( in particular about Syriza, Corbyn and Podemos).

Mazzolini is a PhD candidate in Ideology and Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex. His theoretical research focuses on the notions of populism and hegemony in Laclau, while empirically he works on the experiences of the Italian Communist Party and the Ecuadorian Citizens’ Revolution. He previously worked for the Ecuadorian government and was until little ago a regular columnist of the State-owned daily newspaper El Telégrafo. He is a blogger for the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. Continue reading

Three Lessons From Contemporary Populism

2015 seemed like the perfect year for populist actors. All over the world more or less populist discourses were spread among the public opinion. In 2016 the diffusion of populism reached new and unexpected peaks. What changed in the diffusion and perception of populism? Essentially, there are three lessons we can learn. Continue reading

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

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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…

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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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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?

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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?

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Re-Branding Right-Wing Politics #2 – FPÖ between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Serbian migrants

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Daily Star. October 2008.

(See here the first part of the reportage. Happy new year and enjoy the first POP’s article in 2016. The schedule for the next months is pretty dense; we will take you into the very heart of contemporary populism. Follow POP on #Twitter and spread the word!).

Serbians as Well-Integrated Model Migrants

An anti-immigration party longing for migrants’ votes might sound contradictory to many, but this ‘search’ is an extension of the rhetoric of good and bad foreigners. A closer look at FPÖ’s position on Balkan politics makes this strange alliance between an anti-immigration party and Serbian migrants a little clearer. The current situation of the Balkans is an indicator of the multicultural fantasy, as its official party program writes, that descends from EU politics, whose capital infusion and political support for the central government of Bosnia-Herzegovina promote further Islamization of the Balkans. The geopolitical importance of Serbia, here, consists in its role as a buffer state between Central Europe and the Southern Balkan Peninsula; the border between Christendom and Islam. In the eyes of the ‘Freedomite’ politics, Serbia, the vanguard of the Occident in the conflict-ridden Balkans, is an example of the tragic failure of multiculturalism propagated by the European Union. Continue reading

Re-Branding Right-Wing Politics: The Freedom Party of Austria and their Serbian Migrant Supporters

Byeongsun Ahn

Byeongsung Ahn

This article, written by Byeongsun Ahn, PhD Student at the Department of Sociology of the University of Vienna, focuses on a paradoxical element of contemporary populism: the distinction between “good” and “bad” migrants. In particular, Byeongsun Ahn exposes the Austrian case, and explains why FPÖ politicians now make frequent appearances in Serbian restaurants and nightclubs, where they pose in front of Ćevapčići and dance Turbo-Folk. This is the first half of Ahn’s reportage.

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Interview #6 – Swiss populism and direct democracy. A talk with Laurent Bernhard

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Laurent Bernhard

Last October, the Federal Swiss elections confirmed that the right-wing Swiss People Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP) is able to understand and express the population’s fears, mainly about issues such as immigration and European integration. POP asked Dr. Laurent Bernhard to discuss the Swiss situation. Dr. Bernhard is a postdoctoral researcher for the NCCR Democracy project “Populist strategies in current election campaigns” together with Prof. Marco Steenbergen. His research interests include direct democracy, comparative political economy, Swiss politics, and political communication.

1) Swiss Federal elections 2015: the Swiss People’s Party (SVP/UDC) obtains almost 30 percent of the votes, its best result ever. From a “European” perspective this may sound astonishing, since one would expect populism to score well in the context of a severe economic crisis, which is not the case for Switzerland. How do you explain this result?

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2015: the golden year of populist leaders?

9091838291_9989e55b4b_n2015 is not finished yet, but for those interested in populism it has been a remarkably “populist year”. The economic crisis is (allegedly) coming to an end, but this is not the case for populist politicians. Let’s start our journey among populist leaders precisely from the “Eastern European tiger”: Poland.

kukiz rockstar

Paweł Kukiz

1) Vodka & Rock ‘n’ Roll

Paweł Kukiz. A right-winger with a left-wing heart, as he likes to say. A rockstar turned rightwing politician, say the media. Anti-system candidate, in practical terms. His movement scored 8.8% at the last elections in Poland, while in May Kukiz came third in the first round of the presidential elections.

He was the vocalist of the Breasts (Piersi) during the 80s and 90s, and in 2012 he launched a website to promote single-member constituencies. In a classically populist way, he claims that the Polish political structure privileges the elites at the expense of the population.

In 2010 Mr Kukiz opposed a ‘EuroPride’ homosexual march in Warsaw and was dismissive of the election in 2011 of Anna Grodzka, Poland’s first transsexual parliamentary deputy.

In three words: controversial, irresolute, engaged.

See more here and here. Continue reading