Interview #27 – Populism and Liberal Democracy with Takis Pappas

The promise is that in a democracy we will be able to have some significant degree of control over important issues that affect us. But even supposing that ‘we, the people’ can combine our diverse interests and opinions into a coherent collective will, the hard facts of political and economic interdependence often make that an empty promise. This ambiguity affects democracies regardless of their scale, and cannot be avoided either by participatory democracy in face-to-face communities or by the global democracy now projected in some quarters.

Margaret Canovan, Trust the People! (1999)

In this interview Takis S. Pappas presents his forthcoming book comparing populism across countries and over time, in order to address two crucial points: what causes populism’s rise to power and what happens under and during populist rule. He shows that populism is the outcome of extraordinary leadership acting within conditions of democratic representation crisis and able to set into motion a chain of specific micro-mechanisms until populism emerges as a significant political force. Moreover, engaging in a great populist travel from Fujimori to Papandreou through Cristina Fernández Kirchner, we discuss the peculiar traits of Donald Trump’s populism.

Enjoy the read.

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Interview # 26 – Populism and the future of democracy

A new interview addressing many thorny issues of contemporary democracy. Left-wing populist movements across the globe, malfunctions of representative democracy, the dialectic between people and politicians, horizontal and vertical dimensions of populist mobilisation, the potential democratic renewal inherent in forms of direct democracy, the future of social democracy. This, and much more, in a fluvial chat with Giorgos Katsambekis. 

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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

Crisis of a midsummer night

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

This blog wants to show also the paradoxical, extreme, funny, and soft aspects of complex political phenomena.

This is why, if one is prepared to cast an amused look to the Greek crisis, this link is phenomenal:

http://www.random-austerity-measure-generator.com/#

You can generate your random austerity measures from the comfort of your hammock.

random austerity varoufakis

Another aspect of this grotesque situation, is the controversial reply of Angela Merkel to a fourteen-year-old refugee. Merkel, accused of having humiliated Tsipras, had then to face the critiques for her reply to the young girl. I found the critiques to Merkel out of focus. She has not been mean. She has not been hypocritical. She just defended her policies on migration. She told the young Palestinian that Germany cannot host all the migrants. She did not make an exception for electoral purposes, even if that would have been easy. She didn’t say: we don’t want migrants, but since you’re here, in front of me, and you’re cute, and you’re crying, I will make an exception and let you come with your family. One can argue that the German policy about migrants is wrong, but not that Merkel has been mean. Here a good analysis of the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/merkel-and-the-crying-girl-five-lessons

 In case you didn’t see it yet, you can judge by yourself: 

POP goes on holidays for a while. The last suggestion for now is to read this interesting article from The Telegraph. The title is self-explanatory: Republican race has the flavour of ‘populism on crack’.

Here you go: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/11734022/Republican-race-has-the-flavour-of-populism-on-crack.html

Have a good summer folks.

“When libertarian sentiments take a populist form, it looks like this: a mix of anger, fear, anti-intellectualism, and fierce government hostility. Welcome to the Tea Party movement.”
David Niose, Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason