Populist tsunami in the West

We are in a very dark period in the human history right now. What we see now is a volatile political movement, and the Republican Donald Trump`s victory over Democratic Hillary Clinton last week was a triumph of populism in the U.S.

Globalisation and mass immigration from Libya and Syria to name a few, have so far made the rise of populist rhetoric, and what we see in the U.S can spread to Europe. France can be the next country to follow the U.S.

 

mark_hanna_1896_election

(Cartoon by Homer Davenport, published in New York Journal, 1896)

 

This years presidential election in the U.S saw a wave of populist sentiment in the campaigns of Bernie Sanders (democrats) and Donald Trump (republicans), with both candidates running on anti-establishment platforms.

They both appeal to economic protectionism and have criticized free trade deals such as TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). Their movements coincide with similar trend of populism in Europe.

Populism is a political ideology that holds that virtuous citizens are mistreated by a small circle of elites, who can be overthrown if the people recognize the danger and work together. Populism depicts elites as trampling on the rights, values, and voices of the legitimate people.

Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy, after all, do populists not juxtapose «the pure people» against «the corrupt elite?» In the United States populist movements have high prestige in the history books, for example, farmers movements, New Deal reform movements, and the civil rights movement that were often called populist, by supporters and outsiders.

The word populism is derived from the Latin word Populus, which means people in English. «The Roman people», not in the sense of «multiple individual persons». Therefore, populism espouses government by the people as a whole (that is to say, the masses).

This is in contrast to aristocracy, synarchy or plutocracy, each of which is an ideology that espouse government by a small, privileged group above the masses. The Populares were an unofficial faction in the Roman senate whose supporters were known for their populist agenda.

They tried to rule the by mobilizing massess of Romans, and some of the best known of these were Julius Caesar, who eventually used referenda to bypass the Roman Senate and appeal to the people directly.

There have been similar populist movements in the U.S before. The terminology was inspired by the Populist Party of the 1890s. This was the party of the early 1890s which Midwestern and Southern farmers and some labor unions denounced a system whereby

«the fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few.»

The term «populist» re-emerged in the 1950s. An anti-elitism similar to the populist wave in the 1890s, but not all academics accepted the comparison between the left-wing, anti-big business Populists and the right-wing, anti-communist McCarthyites.

The term «populist» nonetheless came to be applied to both left-wing and right-wing groups that blamed elites for the problems facing the country.

Theodore Roosevelt led a populist party in 1912, and Ralph Nader campaigned against the power of large corporations such as auto companies.

 

president_roosevelt_-_pach_bros-tif

(Theodore Roosevelt, born in 1858, Manhattan, New York)

 

From its beginnings in early 2009, the Tea Part movement has used populist rhetoric, particularly in areas and states where Democrats are in power. Boyer states:

The Tea Partys name, large outdoor rallies, populist rhetoric, and use of patriotic symbols (notably,Dont Tread On Me Gadsden Flag, which emerged as the movements standard) tapped into the historical legacy of the Antifederalist movement of the 1780s.

According to Political professors Joe Lowndes and Dorian Warren, the Occupy Movement is «first major populist movement on the U.S left since the 1930`s.»

The Occupy Movement is an international socio-political movement against social inequality and lack of «real democracy» around the world, its primary goal being to advance social and economic justice and new forms of democracy.

Among the movement`s prime concerns are how large corporations (and the financial system) control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy, and is unstable. It is part of what Manfred Steger calls the «global justice movement».

The fist Occupy protest t receive widespread attention was Occupy Wall Street in New York City`s Zuccotti Park, which began on 17 September 2011, the tenth anniversary of the re-opening of Wall Street trading after the 11 September 2001 attacks. By 9 October, Occupy protests had taken place in 82 countries and over 600 communities in the United States.

British protsters organized an occupation of the London Stock Exchange to bring attention to what they saw as unethical behaviour on the part of banks. In January 2012, Occupy protested at the World Economic Forum.

One of the organizers of the protest said the protests were to be focused against «increasing social and economic injustice in this country.» In his opinion, «the Government has made sure to maintain the status quo and let the people who caused this crisis get off scot-free, whilst conversely ensuring that the people of this country pay the price, in particular those most vulnerable.

The movement has been described as broadly anticapitalist. They want to tighten banking-industry regulations, ban high-frequency trading, arrest all «financial fraudsters» responsible for the 2008 crash, and form a Presidential commission to investigate and prosecute corruption in politics.

The Occupy movement is partly inspired by the Arab Spring, the 2009 University of California occupations, as well as the overall global wave of anti-austerity protests. The movement commonly uses the slogan: «We are the 99%».

The movement has been described as a «democratic awakening». It has also been called the reinvention of politics, revolution, and utopia in the twenty-first century.

 

 

slide_2

 

 

On 3 April 2016, hundreds of supporters of Bernie Sanders protested outside of CNNs Headquarters in Los Angeles. Sanders protestors were protesting CNNs coverage of the 2016 United States presidential elections, specifically in regards to the amount of airtime Sanders has received.

Known as Occupy CNN, protestors are claiming that major media networks have intentionally blocked out Sanders presidential campaign in favor of giving much more airtime to candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

In Switzerland the Occupy spirit lives on by annual online and offline celebrations each year on the 17th September in the village of St. Imer where modern anarchism began with the International Congress of 1872.

The Occupy Cafe along with the Decentrate Co operative continues to assist those wishing to participate in the continuing «decentralisation of the power» of banks and corporate entities; and, to encourage global activism through developing trust and value networks.

Scholars have argued that populist elements have sometimes appeared in authoritarian or fascist movements. Conspiracist scapegoating employed by various populist movements can create «a seedbed for fascism. National Socialist populism interacted with and facilitated fascism in interwar Germany.

In this case, distressed middle-class populists during the pre-Nazi Weimar period mobilized their anger at government and big business. The Nazis «parazitized the forms and themes of the populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through ideological appeals involving demagoguery, scapegoating, and conspiracism. According to Fritzsche:

The Nazis expressed the populist yearnings of middle-class constituents and at the same time advocated a strong and resolutely anti-Marxist mobilization….. Against «unnaturally» divisive parties and querulous organized interest groups. National Socialists cast themselves as representatives of the commonvelth, of an allegedly betrayed and neglected German public… Breaking social barriers of status and caste, and celebrating at least rhetorically the populist ideal of the people`s community…

People in France are familiar with populism. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution, though led by wealthy intellectuals, could be described as a manifestation of populist sentiment against the elitist excesses and privileges of the Ancien Règime.

In France, the populist and nationalist picure was more mystical, metaphysical and literarian in nature. Historian Jules Michelet fused nationalism and populism by positing the people as a mystical unity who are the driving force of history in which the divinity finds its purpose.

Michelet viewed history as a representation of the struggle between spirit and matter, he claims France has a special place because the Frence became a people through equality, liberty and fraternity.

Because of this, he belived, the Frence people can never be wrong. michelet`s ideas are not socialism or rational politics, and his populism always minimizes, or even masks, social class differences.

 

pop

 

In the 1880 there was a resurgence of French populism in the form of Boulangisme, and in the 1950`s, Pierre Poujade was the leader of the right-wing populist movement Union de Defense Commercants et Artisans (UDCA)

Jean Marie Le Pen (who was UDCAs youngest deputy in the 1950s) can be characterized as right-wing populst or extreme-right populist.

The French National Front, currently led by Marine Le Pen, is one of the most successful populist parties in Europe. After Brexit and Trump`s victory, she has declared that her victory in Frence elections is the next step in the political wave sweeping the globe.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen has led a number of polls ahead of next spring`s French presidential election, but many belive she will reach the second round of voting, beaten in the final round by a candidate from one of the mainstream parties, as her father was in 2002.

Next after France can be Italy. In 1994, Silvio Berlusconi entered in politics with his new party called Forza Italia. He created a new kind of populism focused on media control. Another populist party in Italy is Lega Nord.

They fights for the implementation of stricter rules and laws in order to contrast the expansion of Islam into Europe. It opposed to Turkish membership of the European Union and is considered one of the eurosceptic movements. It also emphasizes the fight against illegal immigration.

In 2009, Beppe Grillo founded the Five Star Movement. The M5S`s programme also contains elements of both left-wing and right-wing populism and American-style libertarianism. The party is considered populist, ecologist, and partially Eurosceptic.

We live in a dark period of the human history, and the society we live in right now is disguisting. It`s all set up for a perfect storm and what we are facing right now is historic moments, but not something new. Just read my article «The Revolution of 1848 and Europe like it is today» (written May 6, 2016).

https://shinybull.com/2016/05/06/the-revolution-of-1848-and-europe-like-it-is-today/

The history repeat itself.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s