Matters Arising 14 Feb 2019: Populism

When:
Thu 14 February, 2019 @ 14:00 – 16:30
2019-02-14T14:00:00+01:00
2019-02-14T16:30:00+01:00
Where:
Aula Asociaciones
calle Calatayud 45
1st Floor
Contact:
Piotr Azia and Geoff Corre

When: Thursday 14th February 14:00-16:00

Venue: Aula Asociaciones, Calle Calatayud 45, 1st floor, Moraira

Subject: Populism

Discussion led by: Piotr Azia

Populism is ubiquitous. If you’ve read any newspaper other than populist tabloids recently, you will probably have come across the word populism at least once in every issue.

Problem is, how many people actually know what the word populism means? Also, among those who think they know, most can’t agree on what actually is and what isn’t populist.

The Economist attempted to provide a definition of the term in December 2016: 

In 2004 Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, offered a definition that has become increasingly influential. In his view populism is a “thin ideology”, one that merely sets up a framework: that of a pure people versus a corrupt elite. (He contrasts it with pluralism, which accepts the legitimacy of many different groups.) This thin ideology can be attached to all sorts of “thick” ideologies with more moving parts, such as socialism, nationalism, anti-imperialism or racism, in order to explain the world and justify specific agendas. Polandʼs Mr Kaczynski, a religious-nationalist populist, pushes for a Catholic takeover of his countryʼs institutions from elite secular liberals. The Dutch Mr Wilders, a secular-nationalist populist, demands a crackdown on Islam (in defence of gay rights) and reviles the multicultural elite. Spainʼs Podemos, an anarchist-socialist populist party, pushes to seize vacant buildings owned by banks and distribute them to the poor, and attacks “la casta” (the elite caste). https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2016/12/19/what-is-populism

The term has already evolved in various directions, barely two years since the story was published.

Populism is affecting every aspect of our lives – the main challenge consists in limiting the subject, to make it manageable. E.g., some of the aspect affected by the populist worldview: vaccinations, refugees/migration, the European Referendum and Brexit, the 2016 US presidential elections, Spanish national and regional elections, etc.

Summarising:

  • What is populism?
  • Is the word populism abused?
  • Is it a euphemism for fascism?
  • Should we be concerned?
  • Is there anything we can do about it?