In this double interview, Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter look at Brexit and Trump as *white* phenomena rather than working class revolts. They argue that the ‘working class’ narrative grew in recent years and it has uncritically suggested that the far right has become predominantly supported by the working class, while this is not the case. The first step in the creation of this narrative has been to ignore the role of abstention in the working class. In turn, the working class has become increasingly represented as the white working class, ignoring its diversity. Therefore, Mondon and Winter claim, those pushing these agendas are not only legitimising racist ideas, but also encouraging classism in an extremely condescending manner. This also obscures that in both cases (Trump’s election and Brexit), the bulk of the reactionary vote comes from the wealthier parts of the population.
Populism was the Cambridge Dictionary word of 2017 (although some argue that nativism should have been the real word of the year). The attention of public opinion about populism keeps rising, and many articles are published every day (this article appeared on Jacobin Magazine and has originated a lively debate on Twitter). The last months have been full of topics to discuss, interviews, and articles from all over the world, while in parallel this small blog experienced its peak in terms of traffic. It has been a deeply challenging and rewarding experience.
Yesterday, Sunday 2nd April 2017, 10.000 people rallied in the streets of Budapest to reclaim academic freedom and ask that the Central European University (CEU) remains in the Hungarian capital. Today the government discusses the faith of one of he most important universities in Europe.The Hungarian government has proposed amendments to the National Higher Education Law that would make it impossible for CEU – and possibly other international institutions – to continue operations within the country.
What can you do:
- Send a letter of solidarity (here the sample)
- Make a pubic and official statement of support as many other institutions, organizations and academic departments and faculties already did (here the list of statements of support)
- Sign the petition (here)
- Check for updates on the official CEU’s website, section #IstandwithCEU (here)
The pacific demonstration was a response from the academic component of the city but also the mobilization of thousands of citizens worried about the authoritarian drift of Orbán’s government.
Soon there will be news about this story, because it seems like there is an urge to silence such a cumbersome voice. Hopefully the government will listen to the people who mobilized to reclaim academic freedom, and to Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, who said: “Central European University is one of the most important higher education institutions not only in Hungary, but also in the European Higher Education Area. Therefore, I think it’s important that after the correction of possible irregularities, it can continue to operate in Budapest undisturbed.”
POP interviewed Eiríkur Bergmann, Professor of Politics at Bifrost University in Iceland and Visiting Professor at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He is also Director of the Centre for European Studies in Iceland, and he wrote Nordic Nationalism and Right-Wing Populist Politics: Imperial Relationships and National Sentiments (London: Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming in 2017). This (phone) interview came in the aftermath of the recent turbulent elections in Iceland, and Prof. Bergmann argues that although the Pirate Party did not win the elections, the status quo has been broken. Moreover, the key to understand the diffusion of populist discourses in the Icelandic political debate relies on the country’s nationalist and post-colonialist history. Continue reading
In 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