Ten years and a decade of populist turmoil later, Ernaux’s testimony reads both familiar and unfamiliar. The rapid individualisation and decline of collective institutions she diagnosed has not been halted. Barring a few exceptions, political parties have not regained their members. Associations have not seen attendance rise. Churches have not filled their pews, and unions have not grown precipitously. Across the world, civil society is still mired in a deep and protracted crisis. On the other hand, the mixture of diffidence and apathy so characteristic of Ernaux’s 1990s hardly applies today. Biden was elected on a record turnout; the Brexit referendum was the largest democratic vote in Britain’s history. The Black Lives Matter protests were mass spectacles; many of the world’s biggest corporations took up the mantle of racial justice, adapting their brands to support the cause.Continue reading
The Politics Of Protection
The 2008 financial meltdown and the global economic crisis that followed put thousands of cracks into what Mark Fisher called “capitalist realism”—the idea that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. The neoliberal era appeared to be at its end. But it staggered on; the next decade saw most Western states respond with the typical neoliberal playbook.
Now, the coronavirus pandemic has made it even easier to imagine the end of the world, and the response of those same states has been quite different. Is neoliberalism actually ending? And what comes next? Political theorist Paolo Gerbaudo explores those questions in his new book, The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic.Continue reading
The Gamers’ Uprising Against Wall Street Has Deep Populist Roots
A short squeeze frenzy driven by a new generation of gamers captured financial headlines in recent weeks, centered on a struggling strip mall video game store called GameStop. The Internet and a year off in this shut down to study up have given a younger generation of investors the tools to compete in the market. Gerald Celente calls it the “Youth Revolution.” A group of New York Young Republicans who protested in the snow on January 31 called it “Re-occupy Wall Street.” Others have called it Occupy Wall Street 2.0.
The populist uprising against Wall Street goes back farther, however, than to the 2010 Occupy movement. In the late 19th century, the country was suffering from a depression nearly as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s.Continue reading
Scheer Intelligence: Don’t Believe Anything You Were Told About Populism
The word “populism” gets a bad rap these days as corporate media warns of its alleged dangers and President Barack Obama goes so far as to blame Sarah Palin for its recent rise. But, according to Thomas Frank, the founding editor of The Baffler and author of What’s the Matter with Kansas and his new book, The People, No, a detailed account about the history of populism in the United States, true populism is a force for good, not evil. On this week’s installment of Scheer Intelligence, the journalist and historian joins Robert Scheer to discuss in-depth how the Democratic Party chose to quash populism, while the Republican Party decided to use its stripped-down ideals for its own nefarious means.Continue reading
Three Populists And Three Women
Looking at the total Covid-19/Coronavirus global death statistics on Saturday, 13 June 2020, three things become noticeable. The first remarkable issue is that Donald Trump’s USA has just exceeded the total number of fatalities it suffered during World War I. In that war, the USA lost 116,516. On Saturday morning, the USA had lost 116,795 to the Coronavirus, continuing on an approximately daily death rate of between 800 to 1,000 since the last few weeks. It happened on Donald Trump’s watch and no blame shifting can change the fact that the USA did rather badly compared to all other countries on earth.
Secondly, in terms of total deaths caused by the Coronavirus, the top three positions are held by “America First” USA (1), the UK (2), and Brazil (3).Continue reading
In the years between Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Republican primaries and the 2018 midterm elections, a rash of opinion pieces compared him to Latin American leaders, contemporary and historic. A headline in The Washington Post declared, “Trump is the U.S.’s first Latin American president.” “In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did,” read another. The New York Times published virtually the same article three times: “Is Donald Trump an American Hugo Chávez?”; “What Hugo Chávez Tells Us About Donald Trump”; “Will Democracy survive Trump’s populism? Latin America may tell us.” These very pages analyzed “Trump’s Latin American model.”Continue reading
On Contact: The New Republic
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to D. D. Guttenplan, the editor of the Nation, about the history of populism in America, its current rise and the problem of democracy. His new book, ‘The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority’, focuses on nine progressive activists emerging during the Trump administration. Among them, new labor activist Jane McAlevey, racial justice campaigner and Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and environmental activist Jane Kleeb, all working to restore America’s democratic, political, and economic systems against the rise of proto-fascist forces and demagogues seeking power.Continue reading
Populism Is Not The Answer To Neoliberal Fascism
We have entered an ominous age of political conformity. Support is growing for a right-wing populism that views liberal democracy as both an anachronism and a curse. Meanwhile, many of those who oppose this growth of the right wing are turning to a left-wing populism that is dangerously susceptible to the same patterns of demagoguery and discourses of unity and exclusion. The signposts are clear. Across the globe, politicians spew out inordinate incitements of hatred and bigotry, while legitimating and often overtly supporting racism.Continue reading
Facing Populist Assault, Global Elites Regroup In Davos
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — As the world’s financial and political elites convene here in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum, their vision of ever-closer commercial and political ties is under attack — and the economic outlook is darkening. Britain’s political system has been thrown into chaos as the country negotiates a messy divorce from the European Union. Under President Donald Trump, the United States is imposing trade sanctions on friend and foe alike, and the government is paralyzed by a partial shutdown over immigration policy that forced Trump and a high-level U.S. delegation to cancel the trip to Davos.Continue reading
Two Populisms, Not One
Two very different “populisms” that have arisen in response to neoliberal capitalism in the West.
A left-leaning social-democratic “progressive populism” targets the capitalist concentration of wealth and power and the unbridled pursuit of private profit as enemies of the people and the common good. This populism is egalitarian and radically democratic. It tends towards socialism. Its attractive policy agenda, supported by working-class majorities, includes the downward distribution of wealth, the expansion of the social safety net, university quality health care, increased minimum wages and union power, public jobs programs, and the protection of livable ecology (a Green New Deal).Continue reading
The Establishment’s Bi-Partisan Fear Of Popular Revolt
The two most powerful think tanks in Washington, representing center-left and center-right political elites, have responded to the populist shocks of the 2016 presidential election by trying to reposition themselves and the Democratic and Republican Parties as more sympathetic to populist concerns even while maintaining their attachments to the interests of big business and the complex of war-making. The Center for American Progress (CAP), linked to the Democratic Party establishment, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which is close to the Republican Party, have issued two long papers in recent months reflecting their high anxiety over the rapid growth of populism on both sides of the Atlantic…Continue reading
Mexico’s New Populist President Considers Foreign Pipeline Plans Despite Indigenous Protests
Andrés Manuel López Obrador looked out at the crowd of reporters at a Mexico City Hilton Hotel the night of July 1. It was a moment that he had waited years for: his victory speech for the Mexican presidency. To win in his third presidential campaign, López Obrador, a left-wing populist whose roots are in the oil-producing state of Tabasco, had to calm business leaders, who warned that foreign investment would flee the country if he took office. However, the candidate who once said he would overturn Mexico’s 2013 reforms privatizing its energy sector — which opened the oil and gas industry to foreign investment and created a subsequent pipeline boom — struck a different tone on election night.Continue reading
Localisation: A Strategic Solution To Globalised Authoritarianism
For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again? From my 40 years of experience working in both industrialised and land-based cultures, I believe the primary reason is globalisation. When I say globalisation, I mean the global economic system in which most of us now live – a system driven by continual corporate deregulation and shaped by neoliberal, capitalist ideologies. But globalisation goes deeper than politics and the economy. It has profoundly personal impacts.Continue reading
Noam Chomsky On Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, Future Of Humanity, And More
I don’t know if you know, but as late as 1966 in Boston we could barely have an anti-war action because it would be violently broken up with the support of the press and so on. By then, South Vietnam had been practically destroyed. The war had expanded to other areas of Indochina. The Reagan administration, at the very beginning, tried to duplicate what Kennedy had done in 1961 with regard to Central America. So they had a white paper more or less modeled on Kennedy’s white paper that said the Communists are taking over. It was the usual steps, the propaganda, but it collapsed quickly. In the case of the Kennedy white paper, it took years before it was exposed as mostly fraudulent, but the Wall Street Journal, of all places, exposed the Reagan white paper in six months.Continue reading
Populism Of Hope Begins When People Feel Their Own Power
The waning years of the 1800s bore an uncanny resemblance to the present. The U.S. economy was transforming and globalizing, leaving behind many hardworking people. Then, as now, a populist uprising was underway in national politics against politics as usual. Then, as now, tough-talking contenders tried to position themselves as spokesmen for the people. That earlier populism shared many of the complaints about widespread economic stagnation and urban elites that animated voters in 2016. But, rather than in the apocalyptic preaching of a reality TV star, the movement’s backbone lay in feats of economic self-help. And this made all the difference. The proposals those populists sought called for fuller democracy, not authoritarian retrenchment. This was a populism of hope, not a populism of fear.Continue reading