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Democratic Ideologues, Populism and Identity Politics

by Oui Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 05:54:02 PM EST

Started as a comment to a post by Cat:
What crucial attribute divides populist and democratic political ideologies?

Searching for some literature I came across Frank Furedi, an article of his published in Nov. 2016 ...

Populism: a defence

I find his writing interesting, however I miss the populist in power who set out to destroy the democratic institutions. What we see as goal in the UK with Brexit: no jurisdiction of the ECJ. The Conservatives want to establish new rules for levels of pollution and all goods such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and the financials in the City of course. In Turkey with Erdogan and creating an all powerful executive, setting the legislature and judiciary aside. Somewhat similar to Poland and Romania. The expansion of the EU is the cause of much turmoil and dissatisfaction by the earlier EU nations: migration, competition from laborers with low wages and minimum rights. This feeds into the narrative of populism in politics: the easy way out and not taking responsibility nor showing leadership. As a result the voters are in free fall, setting aside the established parties and creating a much larger swing vote making the outcome of an election unpredictable.

More below the fold ...


Links added in article are mine - Oui ...

A liberal defence of populism [Dec. 2017]

In Europe, in particular, anti-populist discourse often evokes memories of the final days of the Weimar Republic. Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission (EC), appears to believe that the fight against populism is akin to a holy war. When Juncker declared that "we have to fight nationalism" and "block the avenue of populism," he frequently evokes memories associated with the good fight against fascism. Even religious figures have internalized the populism-as-fascism cultural script. Pope Francis has not yet issued a papal bull against populism, but he has warned that populism could lead to the election of "saviours" who are similar to Hitler.

Nor is the meme exclusive to Europe. Madeleine Albright is writing a book on "fascism," which she sees rising against liberalism in the West. As with much of this narrative on both sides of the Atlantic, the words "populist," "fascist," "illiberal," and "anti-democratic" are essentially interchangeable.

The Challenges of an Ethnic-democracy: Populism, Netanyahu and Israel's Path [pdf]

Soon to become Israel's longest serving Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's fourth government is regarded as the most right-wing coalition in Israeli history. While populism is on the rise worldwide, Netanyahu has been in power intermittently since the 90's - utilising a particular kind of populism articulated by Dani Filc (2009) - post-populism - to remain in power. Examining Israel's special and delicate political status as an ethnic-democracy, this chapter concludes that the current government is promoting rhetoric and policy which entail the risk of defying the balance between Israel's Jewish-ethnic character, its obligation to Democratic values and the integrity of its ethnic and political minorities. In election campaigns and attempts to secure political capital, as well as in everyday legislation, the current government has directly and indirectly targeted minorities, left-wing opposition and civil rights group.

Exclusionary nationalistic rhetoric, a tool vastly used by right wing populists worldwide in the US, France, the UK and others, has become a common commodity in the Israeli right's toolbox. With the balance still preserved, Israel's democracy is facing grave challenges ahead - and as Israel's president Rubi Rivlin said, the Israeli society must ensure it reaches these challenges prepared.  

'White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy'
Fascism and GOP Israel - Marc Zell
Culture In Change - Identity Politics and Tribalism

Haaretz Opinion - The Hebrew neo-Nazis [cached link]

    The best of the "friends of Israel" today are fascists and evangelicals, xenophobes and Islamophobes. What's most important is that they support the occupation. It's only opponents of the occupation who are anti-Semites, and we will mount a special effort to combat them. We will forgive everyone else.

References from 2016 article:
(1) ‘The strange death of the liberal consensus', by Ivan Krastev, Journal of democracy, 18(4), (2007)
(2) See The Politics of Fear: What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean, by Ruth Wodak, Sage, 2015, pp41-43 and pp54-55
(3) ‘Trust the people! Populism and the two faces of democracy', by Margaret Canovan, Political studies 47.1 (1999), pp2-16
(4) Public Opinion, by Walter Lippman, FQ Classics, 2007, p75
(5) ‘Culture/Wars: Recoding Empire in an Age of Democracy', by NP Singh, American Quarterly, 50, 3, (1998), p13

My diaries @BooMan with keyword: [alt-right]

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What I was alluding to is a semantic paradox. "Populist" and "democratic" political activity in a society denote the same phenomenon, don't they? The "demos" is the populus, after all. wikiwtf inadvertently memorializes polemical arguments against rule by "the people" but not "the majority".

Majoritarianism is believed to be a desirable ideological objective of "modern" and liberal sovereign governance.

Advocates of majoritarianism argue that majority decision making is intrinsically democratic and that any restriction on majority decision making is intrinsically undemocratic. If democracy is restricted by a constitution which cannot be changed by a simple majority decision then yesterday's majority is being given more weight than today's. If it is restricted by some small group, such as aristocrats, judges, priests, soldiers, or philosophers, then society becomes an oligarchy. The only restriction acceptable in a majoritarian system is that a current majority has no right to prevent a different majority emerging in the future (this could happen, for example, if a minority persuades enough of the majority to change its position). In particular, a majority cannot exclude a minority from future participation in the democratic process. Majoritarianism does not prohibit a decision being made by representatives as long as this decision is made via majority rule, as it can be altered at any time by any different majority emerging in the future.
A common framework for interpreting populism is known as the ideational approach: this defines populism as an ideology which posits "the people" as a morally good force against "the elite", who are perceived as corrupt. Populists differ in how "the people" are defined, but it can be based along class, ethnic, or national lines. Populists typically present "the elite" as comprising the political, economic, cultural, and media establishment, all of which are depicted as a homogenous entity and accused of placing the interests of other groups--such as foreign countries or immigrants--above the interests of "the people". According to this approach, populism is a thin-ideology which is combined with other, more substantial thick ideologies such as nationalism, liberalism, or socialism. Thus, populists can be found at different locations along the left-right political spectrum and there is both left-wing populism and right-wing populism.

From where therefore does a distinction between the terms "populist" and "democratic" derive persuasive currency except in definition of citizenship, the eligible voter? In either case majority rule --measured by plenary ballot of individuals to elect public officers-- is antithetical to minority, or "elite," rule.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jul 16th, 2018 at 03:21:43 PM EST


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