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Started by TinyMcOtter on Nov 26, 2017 1:12:27 AM
Populism! Populism! Populis!

The word populism is often derided, used as a dismissive folly of the young or marginalised, or compared with a range of historical dictators and unsavoury characters.

Momentum in the UK, Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain and other left of centre political movements have been called a populist.

Likewise, right wing parties have also had this term applied – The French FN, UKIP and anti-immigration protests in Germany.

But wan't Tony Blair also a populist? Thatcher certainly was. And Macron seems to be a huge populist for a swooning class ranging from apparent centrists to out and out neoliberals.

So, what is populism? What's actually wrong with presenting your politics in an accessible way?

Discuss the use and misuse of populism here.

TinyMcOtter - 26 Nov 2017 01:18:04 (#1 of 68)

<bumps thread, to increase its popularity>

widenation - 26 Nov 2017 02:24:59 (#2 of 68)

Blair was indeed a populist. He rode the train into the buffers.

widenation - 26 Nov 2017 02:27:50 (#3 of 68)

In other words populism is like a train. Corbyn is making the necessary stops and showing his ticket every now and again.

Bleu11 - 26 Nov 2017 03:48:18 (#4 of 68)

Populist is someone who says the truth to the masses about what is going on but whose solution may not be reasonable. So it is also a put down that insinuates someone has nothing to offer as far as true leadership is concerned.

RosyLovelady - 26 Nov 2017 07:25:06 (#5 of 68)

< Populist is someone who says the truth to the masses about what is going on >

Without exception? Surely not.

rearranged - 26 Nov 2017 07:28:59 (#6 of 68)

Trump is a populist but little of what he says is the truth.

browserbutton - 26 Nov 2017 07:30:06 (#7 of 68)

The current version of Trump 'n' Brexit Angry Populism has several identifying features: mono-culturalism over multiculturalism, national self-interest over international cooperation and development aid, closed borders over the free flow of peoples, ideas, labour and capital, and traditionalism over progressive and liberal social values.

Intowntonight - 26 Nov 2017 09:52:08 (#8 of 68)

and certainly in the past, Imperialism and Colonialism.

Bleu11 - 26 Nov 2017 21:15:52 (#9 of 68)

#4: I purposely left the meaning of 'truth' open because a more cynical interpretation of "populist" means that a populist doesn't even tell the truth in describing the problem but even his descriptions (or the problems he brings up) are BS.

IMO, someone who does that is not a populist but a bullshitter. I think calling everyone a populist as if all populists were the same is part of the problem.

Jacob_Richter - 26 Nov 2017 21:21:26 (#10 of 68)

'You' are a populist 'I' am a grown up.

RosyLovelady - 03 Dec 2017 09:16:14 (#11 of 68)

It didn't look all that open.

1OffManMental - 03 Dec 2017 10:01:29 (#12 of 68)

Populist is someone who says the truth to the masses


TinyMcOtter - 03 Dec 2017 11:36:19 (#13 of 68)

Populist is often incorrectly used in place of demagogue.

It’s lazy, or uneducated, journalism again. Trump is a demagogue, Corbyn isn’t. Thatcher was a demagogue, as was Scargill.

guigal - 03 Dec 2017 23:47:28 (#14 of 68)

Populist is often incorrectly used in place of demagogue.

A demogogue is a populist with the gift of the gab.

goldwing3 - 09 Dec 2017 18:42:00 (#15 of 68)

A principle characteristic of progressive societies is their expanding middle class a result of their growing economies and increasing affluence which favours those of higher market value which is why in some economically developing parts of the world the expanding middle class are staging pro-democracy rallies because the growing middle class now constitute the majority interest in those societies and a democratic political system would favour their interests. I suppose such a movement could be seen as populist by the established order of those societies.

In the west which is facing a era of secular stagnation and austerity as it reaches the limits of economic growth and social progress, the population in adapting to those new conditions will see a decline in the middle class demographic which will no longer constitute the majority interest in western society. So the middle class who have come to dominate the institutions, political class and media of western progressive society are subsequently growing sceptical about democracy and the emerging majority interest of western society which is now challenging its dominant middle class values and which is now described disdainfully by that middle class establishment as populism.

Populism is a pejorative establishment term for majority opinion which challenges an established order when that order no longer constitutes that majority opinion.

Hilary - 09 Dec 2017 18:48:50 (#16 of 68)

And 'democracy' used to have pretty much the connotations which 'populism' has now.

Yammoto - 13 Dec 2017 13:34:22 (#17 of 68)

Interesting post GW, have you read Schumpeter?

My take on this is that rather than declining, the middle class now dominates. Opinions around the usefullness of democracy are interesting, the progressive left seems to moving towards a type of enlightened theocractic approach, naturally with their people in the priesthood, unencumbered by a residue of "uneducated" plebs.

Have you read Peter Turchins article on "elite overproduction" ?

Elite overproduction generally leads to more intra-elite competition that gradually undermines the spirit of cooperation, which is followed by ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class. This happens because the more contenders there are, the more of them end up on the losing side. A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions.

Yammoto - 13 Dec 2017 13:38:13 (#18 of 68)

Schumpeter's theory is that the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism; it will be replaced by socialism in some form. There will not be a revolution, but merely a trend for social democratic parties to be elected to parliaments as part of the democratic process. He argued that capitalism's collapse from within will come about as majorities vote for the creation of a welfare state and place restrictions upon entrepreneurship that will burden and eventually destroy the capitalist structure. Schumpeter emphasizes throughout this book that he is analyzing trends, not engaging in political advocacy.

In his vision, the intellectual class will play an important role in capitalism's demise. The term "intellectuals" denotes a class of persons in a position to develop critiques of societal matters for which they are not directly responsible and able to stand up for the interests of strata to which they themselves do not belong.,_Socialis

GyratingTrampoline - 13 Dec 2017 14:04:04 (#19 of 68)

Sounds great. Does he provide any timescales?

MsCharDonnay - 13 Dec 2017 14:09:09 (#20 of 68)

Populism involves portraying your opponents as "the elite" or "the establishment", regardless of whether this is true or not and, indeed, whether you yourself are part of the elite and the establishment.

Eg Trump, Farage.

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