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.
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.
Populist actors use an emotional, dramatized and colloquial language, and for this reason their messages are more convincing. Or, at least, that is what many commentators have been arguing for quite some time. In her research, Dominique Wirz* found out that this is actually the case. In this interview she explains that populist messages are very likely to trigger emotions – negative emotions towards the bad people and positive emotions towards the good people. Moreover, since negative emotions are unpleasant, people feel a strong need for immediate solutions and this seems to makes populist appeals especially persuasive.
POP finally interviewed Hans-Georg Betz, one of the major experts of populism. He has been professor of political science at various North American universities (Marquette University, Milwaukee; SAIS, Washington; York University, Toronto), and author of several books on radical right-wing populism and numerous articles and chapters on the radical right, populism, and nativism. Currently he teaches political science at the University of Zurich.
Since more than twenty years prof. Betz studies American and European populism in historical perspective. For this reason POP asked him to link the present situation of intolerance, racism, and new walls, with the roots of nativist and illiberal populism in the 19th century. This is particularly important because it allows to understand under which socio-economic situations populism and nativism become successful, which lessons we can learn from past populist outbursts, and what can be done to contrast them. Enjoy the read.
The day after #Charlottesville, POP interviewed Nadia Urbinati. After one hour on the phone, it was clear that the quantity and quality of issues discussed, topics explored, and cases mentioned, came to form an extended and vivid portrait of modern populism in the US and its historical roots, the populistization of politics in Easter Europe, the advent of techno-populism, the future of Italian democracy, post-colonial populism in Latin America, and racism all over the world.
Nadia Urbinati teaches Political Theory at the Department of Political Science, Columbia University. She published extensively on democratic theory, representative government and the interpretations of democracy. Her most recent book is Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth and the People (Harvard University Press 2014).
Enjoy the read.
In his SNL monologue, Aziz Ansari urged President Trump to confront a “new, lower-case KKK movement” in America https://t.co/VKJWkUvoQK
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 24, 2017
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
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.
I am not afraid of words.
If necessary, tomorrow I would proclaim myself the prince of the reactionaries. Continue reading
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.
Last summer I met a person with a role in the Republican party. We had long and vibrant chat on several topics, including the next elections in the United States. Although we often disagreed, it was very enjoyable to talk and discuss together until late at night.
Recently, I thought it would have been interesting to transpose some of those discussions into an interview. The person agreed on that, so I prepared my questions.
You can find them below.
However, these questions never found an answer.