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.
We serve fresh populism, of all types.
Hot summer in Europe. Tsipras asked the Greek people to refuse the conditions of the Troika – and the Greek people answered “oxi”, which is translated as “no” but in this case means “yes Alexis, we’re still with you”; Varoufakis announced – first via Blog and then in T-shirt, cool as usual – that he resigns from his position as Minister in order to help Tsipras with the negotiations; Spain approved a package of measures unprecedented during its democratic history, limiting freedom of expression and public protest; Hungary is preparing to build yet another wall of this Europe under siege, to halt the advance of the refugees on the eastern front.
The Greek referendum marked a watershed in the history of Europe, with consequences that will be fully understood probably in the next decades. Now it’s too early to draw conclusions. The words of Varoufakis from his blog are probably the best way to reflect on what happened: “The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.”
This is the first of many interviews that POP will propose in the next months. Scholars, journalists, politicians and experts will answer timing questions about the nature and development of populism. For this first interview, we have Samuele Mazzolini. He is a PhD candidate in Ideology and Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex. His research focuses on the declining hegemony of the Italian Left, read through the lenses of post-Marxist discourse theory. He is also interested in Latin American and European left-wing populism. He previously worked for the Ecuadorian government and is now a regular columnist of the state-owned daily newspaper El Telégrafo. He is also a blogger for the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Today, New Zealand counts seven sheep for every person, but the proportion was 20/1 in 1983. Why mentioning such a trivial statistic? Because the populist guys – those who share the concerns of the man of the street – will explain the phenomenon telling us that some conspiracy lurks in the background, maybe some international corporation is stealing sheep in order to manipulate the oil price through the wool price, and the people must know where the sheep have gone. They have the right to know. OK, maybe I am not fair: some of these populist guys are probably smarter than this, or less practical, but this point will become clearer later on.