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Posts Tagged ‘Populism’

Voters turn against the populist right

Posted by hkarner - 5. Oktober 2019

Date: 03-10-2019
Source: The Economist

After a series of reverses, they are down, but certainly not out

Look back a year, and remember how disquieting European politics seemed. Matteo Salvini, by far the most popular politician in Italy, and France’s equally xenophobic Marine Le Pen had just teamed up with Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former strategist, as part of what Mr Bannon called The Movement. This alliance of nativist parties of the right, soon to acquire a “gladiator school” based in a monastery near Rome, intended to sweep the forthcoming European elections and tilt the continent’s politics firmly away from the liberal centre ground. They had their difficulties, of course. The Eurosceptic and anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (afd) decided to steer clear of Mr Bannon, and other right-wingers were wary too. But, with or without the American Svengali, populists seemed in the ascendant. In France the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets), who drew support from the radical right and left, were about to explode onto the streets. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Centrist politics will not defeat Boris Johnson’s rightwing populism

Posted by hkarner - 2. Oktober 2019

Date: 01-10-2019
Source: The Guardian by Chantal Mouffe

Democratic politics always involves ‘us’ against ‘them’ – so the way to fight the populist right is to build a bigger ‘us’

In his determination to deliver Brexit “do or die”, Boris Johnson is planning to launch an election campaign that will pit “the people” against “parliament”. He promises to take sovereignty back from the political elites – and return it to “the people”. The announcement of these tactics has caused alarm among those who fear democracy will be threatened by a “populist” politics of polarisation between “us” and “them”.

But this fear of populism reveals something troubling about how we currently understand democratic politics. What most people seem to find shocking about Johnson’s strategy is that it involves an “us v them” confrontation – as if democratic politics could avoid conflict between irreconcilable political projects. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why are happy people voting for angry parties?

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juli 2019

Date: 13-07-2019
Source: The Economist
The rise of populism comes at a time when people say they are feeling fine

“Happy?” splutters a middle-aged man at a polling station in central London, when asked about his feelings on voting in a recent European election. “I’d be happy if I could kick all the bastards out.”

He is not with the programme. In 1972 the king of Bhutan decided his country would adopt gross national happiness as a goal. At the time it seemed eccentric. But over the past decade, politicians in democracies have started to pay more attention to the idea that they should give priority to the well-being of their citizens. Thomas Jefferson argued that “the happiness of every individual [is] now acknowledged to be…the only legitimate object of government”. That view is now mainstream.

In 2008 the French government set up the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi commission to create new national accounts which go beyond gdp and reflect things like the quality of life and the state of the environment. Two years later Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, set up a “well-being index” to measure Britain’s happiness and social progress. And this year New Zealand produced the world’s first “well-being budget” in which health and life satisfaction—not wealth or economic growth—would guide some public-spending choices. In practice, this has meant more money to combat child poverty, domestic abuse and mental health problems. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How conservatives—on the left and on the right—can defeat the populists

Posted by hkarner - 13. Juli 2019

Date: 12-07-2019
Source: The Economist: Open Future

Oakeshott! thou shouldst be living at this hour: the world hath need of thee

MICHAEL OAKESHOTT is largely forgotten. Even at the peak of his powers, as a professor of political science at the London School of Economics from 1951 to 1969, he was overshadowed by more demonstrative talents of both right and left: Karl Popper, F.A. Hayek and Harold Laski (all more or less contemporaries at LSE). Yet Oakeshott has more to teach us about our turbulent, populist times than the others, let alone the more illustrious names in the Conservative canon.

Oakeshott’s focus was on the conduct of politics itself, with governance. Unconcerned with the minutiae of policy proposals or manifesto pledges, his work was to articulate a praxis of politics to serve a nation. He was writing at a time when –isms dominated politics. Keynesianism, socialism and central planning had captured the politics of the West, while varying degrees of collectivism and Communism prevailed behind the Iron Curtain. But Oakeshott’s was a rare voice rejecting the received wisdom of the day.

In his most famous essay, “Rationalism in Politics”, published in 1962, he attacked the intellectual conceit that underpins all these –isms, namely the misplaced faith in “rationalism” that stemmed from the 18th-century enlightenment. “To the Rationalist”, Oakeshott wrote, “nothing is of value merely because it exists (and certainly not because it has existed for many generations), familiarity has no worth, and nothing is to be left standing for want of scrutiny.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What’s Driving Populism?

Posted by hkarner - 9. Juli 2019

Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, is the author of Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy.

If authoritarian populism is rooted in economics, then the appropriate remedy is a populism of another kind – targeting economic injustice and inclusion, but pluralist in its politics and not necessarily damaging to democracy. If it is rooted in culture and values, however, there are fewer options.

CAMBRIDGE – Is it culture or economics? That question frames much of the debate about contemporary populism. Are Donald Trump’s presidency, Brexit, and the rise of right-wing nativist political parties in continental Europe the consequence of a deepening rift in values between social conservatives and social liberals, with the former having thrown their support behind xenophobic, ethno-nationalist, authoritarian politicians? Or do they reflect many voters’ economic anxiety and insecurity, fueled by financial crises, austerity, and globalization?

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Europe’s Populists Are Here to Stay

Posted by hkarner - 16. Juni 2019

Date: 15-06-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Matthew Goodwin

New parties are finding success by addressing the concerns of voters who feel neglected and disdained by liberal elites.


“Only five years ago the newspapers were talking about the League being extinct. Now we are the biggest party in the north and the south [of Italy].” This was the triumphant statement of Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister, after his national populist party, the League, finished first among Italian voters in last month’s election for the European Parliament.

“It is not only the League that is the first party,” continued Mr. Salvini, the de facto head of Europe’s growing national populist family. “Marine Le Pen is the biggest party in France. Nigel Farage has the biggest party in Great Britain. It is a sign of a Europe that has changed.”

Mr. Salvini and his allies have reason to feel confident. The percentage of seats in the European Parliament now held by populists of all stripes—whether left populists, right populists or others that aren’t easily defined, like the 5 Star Movement in Italy or Britain’s new Brexit Party—hit an all-time high of 29%. But it is the national populists who are most successful. From the League in Italy to National Rally in France, Vox in Spain and the Sweden Democrats, this party family has a record 16% of seats in the European Parliament. They are nowhere near a majority, but they have consolidated and are now a more disruptive force.

National populist parties share a common approach and program. They seek to advance what they see as the interests and culture of their country’s ethno-cultural majority; they present themselves as giving voice to people who feel neglected, even held in contempt, by distant, self-serving liberal elites. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can the West Still Govern?

Posted by hkarner - 7. Juni 2019

Date: 06-06-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Daniel Henninger

Trumpian nationalism may be on the rise, but most democracies are in gridlock.

Following European election wins by nationalist and populist parties in Italy, France and Britain, former White House strategist Steve Bannon says European integration is „dead in its tracks.“

Donald Trump, the best golfer ever to set up shop in the Oval Office, announced in London this week that because of departing Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts, the Brexit deal is “teed up.” Teed up? With this remark, Mr. Trump gives new meaning to “mulligan,” golf’s infamous do-over for a failed shot. Britain’s politicians are at least 40 shots over par on Brexit, having shanked, hooked or topped every ball they’ve tried to hit.

In truth, there’s nothing funny about the British elites’ hapless efforts to make good on voters’ decision in 2016 to separate the United Kingdom from the European Union. The referendum was a classic expression of democratic will: Brexit won narrowly (with 51.9%), but in a democracy that still counts as a victory. More troubling is the possibility that the great and the good of Britain’s elected political leadership will simply fail to execute the referendum’s mandate, raising the possibility that the very idea of governance is approaching a dead end in one of the world’s oldest democracies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why cosying up to populists rarely ends well for moderates

Posted by hkarner - 25. Mai 2019

Date: 23-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

“Ibizagate” in Austria is just the latest example

On a freezing morning in Vienna in December 2017, Charlemagne heard a tempting case for what might be called “the hug strategy”. He was drinking coffee with an ally of Sebastian Kurz, the young leader of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party who was hours from a coalition deal with the hard-right Austrian Freedom Party (fpö). “He has grown up,” said the Kurz-ite of Heinz-Christian Strache, the fpö’s leader, adding that, in any case, Mr Kurz would be able to manage his new ally. Having already edged towards some fpö positions and won back some of its supporters, the incoming chancellor would render his coalition partner irrelevant in government and thus contain the hard-right while governing pragmatically. It all sounded very clever.

It proved otherwise. Mr Kurz’s big hug failed to stifle Mr Strache. At recent rallies in the South Tyrol and Linz your columnist watched the vulpine vice-chancellor charge in to the boisterous oomph of Johann Strauss’s Radetzky March before unveiling his latest designs: Austrian passports for German-speakers in northern Italy, mosque closures, an end to the “population replacement” of white Europeans by immigrants. Support for the fpö remained high and stable at around 25%. Its ministers undermined the independence of Austria’s state broadcaster and attacked the rights of asylum-seekers. Karin Kneissl, the fpö-backed foreign minister, danced with Vladimir Putin at her wedding. Some containment this was turning out to be. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s ‘Nationalism’ Turns Out to Be Local

Posted by hkarner - 11. Mai 2019

Date: 10-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Joseph C. Sternberg

Le Pen, Salvini and Brexit all have an appeal limited to particular regions of their respective countries.


Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini

Rising nationalism is widely assumed to be driving European (and global) politics. Perhaps it’s time for a rethink. There’s growing evidence that the real force behind so much political upset is far more localized. This regionalism has been staring us in the face all along.

The starting point has to be how nonnational most European “nationalist” movements are, a fact that will again become apparent in raucous elections for the European Parliament later this month. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party could be more correctly labeled the Northeast and a Sliver of the South Rally, to judge from the geographic concentration of votes for Ms. Le Pen in 2017’s presidential election. The Alternative for Germany party is really the Alternative for a Slice of the Former East Germany.

The Brexit vote in 2016 wasn’t truly “British,” it was English and Welsh—or English Midlands and Welsh, if you go by the areas where support for leaving the European Union was strongest. Scotland and Northern Ireland very much prefer the U.K. to remain a part of the EU.

Fair enough, one might say, but “nationalism” still means something because those voters who support nationalist movements share a particular sense of identity and culture not shared by the urban elites who vote the other way. But recent years have seen allegedly cosmopolitan voters rediscover a sense of nationalism, or nationhood, that can be as strongly held as the type attributed to the original nationalist voters. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Warum der Kapitalismus den Populismus braucht

Posted by hkarner - 8. Mai 2019

Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 2013 to 2016, is Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the author, most recently, of The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind.

CHICAGO – In den Vereinigten Staaten stehen die großen Konzerne unter Beschuss. Amazon hat seine Pläne für ein neues Hauptquartier im New Yorker Stadtteil Queens angesichts starker lokaler Widerstände aufgegeben. Lindsey Graham, republikanischer US-Senator für den Bundesstaat South Carolina, äußerte Bedenken hinsichtlich der unangefochtenen Marktposition von Facebook während seine demokratische Senatskollegin Elizabeth Warren aus Massachusetts die Zerschlagung des Unternehmens forderte. Warren hat außerdem einen Gesetzesentwurf vorgelegt, wonach 40 Prozent der Sitze in den Unternehmensvorständen den Arbeitnehmern vorbehalten sein sollen.

Solche Vorschläge mögen im Land des freien Marktkapitalismus deplatziert erscheinen, aber genau diese Debatte ist in Amerika notwendig. Während der gesamten Geschichte des Landes waren es die Kritiker des Kapitalismus, die sein reibungsloses Funktionieren sicherstellten, weil sie gegen die Konzentration wirtschaftlicher Macht und den damit verbundenen politischen Einfluss kämpften. Wird die Wirtschaft von wenigen Konzernen beherrscht, schließen sich diese unweigerlich mit den Instrumenten der staatlichen Kontrolle zusammen und bilden so eine unheilige Allianz zwischen den Eliten des privaten und des öffentlichen Sektors.  Genau das passierte in Russland, das nur auf dem Papier demokratisch und kapitalistisch ist. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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