Populism the Dutch way: a double interview

The Dutch elections quickly disappeared from the first pages of international newspapers and from the debates of the prime time TV shows: the populist wave of Geert Wilders has not swept away democracy, and the country is already focused on other issues such as banning hidden costs on concerts tickets.  However, the government coalition is not formed yet, and the political consequences of the elections which were held last March are still unclear.

POP asked Matthijs Rooduijn and Stijn van Kessel – both Dutch experts on populism, see profiles after the interview – to explain what is going on in the country and what should we expect next. Do you want to know who won the elections, which coalitions might be formed, who is Jesse Klaver, and mostly, which one is the funniest Dutch political party?

Keep reading and enjoy.

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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

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

laurent

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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Zombies in Fortress Europe: the migrants as a metaphor

Lega Nord _ Abbiamo fermato l'inavsione (We stopped the invasion)

Lega Nord _ Abbiamo fermato l’inavsione (We stopped the invasion)

“In its contemporary manifestations, the migrant figure has been imagined variously as a mechanical, animalistic, spectral, zombified, vampiric or cyborg entity”

   Nikos Papastergiadis

The frame used by politicians and mass media to describe migrants and refugees recalls the tradition of horror movies. A devilish, dangerous, elusive and relentless presence threatens the borders. They come from the sea.

Zombies.

A shapeless horde, a scary multitude.

The zombies are what we do not (want to) understand. They are the American Indians, the slum dwellers, the colonized, Iraqis and Afghans, Eritreans. They are the by-product of an (internal and external) Apartheid imposed by relationships of strength.

The doors of the fortress (or hotspots) are the critical junctures of the system, the crumbling bastions of a civilization under siege: Melilla, Lesbo, Ventimiglia, Calais, Budapest, the Eurotunnel, Lampedusa. Between land and water, the entrance to “heaven” is strewn with rotting corpses, and the stench goes straight to the nostrils of all. Continue reading