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

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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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Interview #14 – The Strange Case of Dr. Populist and Mr. Corruption

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Lisa Zanotti

Lisa Zanotti is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at University Diego Portales in Chile and a Ph.D. researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis, a project that aims at studying the factors influencing the emergence of the populist/anti-populist cleavage in Italy in comparative perspective.

In this interview POP discussed with her about the role of corruption in triggering populism both in Latin America and Europe, both theoretically and empirically, with a focus on Italy, France, the Netherlands, Chile and Brasil.


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#IstandwithCEU

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.

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The rally in front of the CEU’s main building, Budapest, 2 April 2017

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.

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Rally in front of the Parliament, Budapest, 2 April 2017

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.”

Barnum Circus or European Parliament?Between Freedom of Speech and Stigma

The European Parliament is a strange place, we all know it. Politicians who could not find a suitable chair at the national level, Europhobic fellows, but also racist, crusaders and misogynists.  On March 2, Polish conservative politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke insisted that “women must earn less because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less. That is all.” Continue reading

Donald “the symptom” Trump: kakistocracy & coprolalia

One can fight the corrupt elites in the name of the people. One can oppose the caste, the establishment, the banksters. One can claim to be pure, innocent, clean, bio, and sell political enlightenment at the corner of the street. Burrito “Frederick the Great“, everybody. One can draw clear lines, divide us and them, black and white, build a wall, perch on top and indicate the mass of pariahs. One can hire a powerful computer and delegate decisions to its silicon democracy. One can open the book of answers and distribute plenty of certainties. One can set free the tiger of subconscious, and speak clear like the man in the street. Salt of the earth, hallelujah! Continue reading

Interview #13 with Benjamin Moffitt – Populism “Asian” Style

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Street Art From Japan

There’s people in this country who are sick and tired. Tired of hearing all the rhetoric, tired of Washington failing us while they pat their own backs. Finally someone comes along who says what he feels. That’s why people like him: because say what you want, at least he doesn’t sound like another politician. [1]


In this interview, Benjamin Moffitt describes his approach to populism as a political style, and offers a crucial overview about differences and similarities between Asian and European populism. Benjamin Moffitt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Government, Uppsala University, and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network. He is the author of ‘The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation’ (Stanford University Press, 2016).

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Transnational Left-Wing Populism: A Response to Trump’s Victory (?)

In this article, Panos Panayotu* introduces the concept of transnational left-wing populism and explains why it is a necessary answer to Donald Trump’s victory. Following Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, he provides a brief overview about the advantages of a populist movement which goes beyond national boundaries and that provides an alternative approach to globalization.


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Interview #12 – Historia Magistra Vitae and the Absence of Populism in Chile

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Prof. Rovira Kaltwasser

POP came back to Latin America for an interview with Prof. Rovira Kaltwasser, associate professor of political science at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile. He is the co-editor, with Cas Mudde, of Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? (Cambridge University Press, 2012) as well as the co-editor, with Juan Pablo Luna, of The Resilience of the Latin American Right (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). His new book Populism: A Very Short Introduction, written together with Cas Mudde, will be published by Oxford University Press in February 2017.

The interview is very dense and full of insights about populism in Latin America and beyond, opportunity structures, political actors and parties, similarities with Europe, and peculiarities of the Chilean case. Enjoy the reading. Continue reading