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Yellow vests, standing Up, La France Insoumise : What remains of the populist Left?

in view of the deepening crisis in Venezuela Conservative to refer to it in the United States and elsewhere gloating on the disaster of Chavismo, in order to wa

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Yellow vests, standing Up, La France Insoumise : What remains of the populist Left?

in view of the deepening crisis in Venezuela Conservative to refer to it in the United States and elsewhere gloating on the disaster of Chavismo, in order to warn against the dangers of "socialism". And given the appearance of cleavage, the left-wing party Podemos in Spain and steady popularity of the losses of Syriza in Greece for 2015, could get an impartial observer to the conclusion that the "pink tide" of left-wing populism of the low tide makes the place.

But the mix of such assessments of political phenomena that have little to do with each other. The only program that claimed to represent only "the people", and at the same time, any Opposition to the "socialism of the 21st century. Century“ to be illegitimate, explained, is of Chavismo, which is actually a clear threat to democracy. However, the Chavismo represents, under left-wing ideologies, a special feature; it is inserted in a frame, the all-wing populists have in common.

Finally, both to the left and right populist pose as the sole representative of a homogeneous, virtuous, and hard-working people. You characterize all the other candidates for Power as a corrupt and all the citizens who bring them no support, as a traitor. Your policy elite is not hostile, but also pluralism hostile.

left populism is usually the attempt to save social democracy

However, you should understand all the other contemporary forms of the so-called left-wing populism as Attempts to reinvent social democracy. These efforts are within the boundaries of democratic pluralism (even if some of concern, these limits have been tested: Syriza has made of the trial, guilty of the independence of the judiciary and the free media to undermine). Where they had success and the democratic rules of the game respected, you have opened up to the citizens of new decision opportunities, and thus a feeling of political representation is restored, that was lost.

The instinctive response to these parties is that they are automatically as a "system enemy", and thus as a part of the problem, decry or. However, this convenient way of the horse to the cart before the tail, just as the view that "the people" screams everywhere, according to more polarized and more emotional forms of politics. These parties and movements have not achieved, therefore, political gains and the election result, because they are "populist", or even because they want to undermine democracy, but because they have something Left to be decided in the offer.

The leading thinkers of the populist Left to make two claims about their political strategy. The first is that populism is filling the vacuum created by the traditional Left, as they brought the rights and is a Form of policy, described the policy theorist Chantal Mouffe, a consultant of Podemos and La France Insoumise (The non-diffracted France), in the 2000s as "post-democratic". As the social Democrats acquisitions everywhere in the West as "Thatcherism with a human face" - described centrism of the third way, would have had the people have no real choice. The difference between the established parties, thus Mouffe, is not bigger than the one between Pepsi and Coke.

From the point of view Mouffe's right-wing populism of Jean-Marie Le Pen in France and Jörg Haider in Austria, an "Outcry of the peoples was" against the lack of choice. The deeply moving memoir of the French sociologist Didier Eribon "returning to Reims" from the year 2009, a surprise bestseller, in Europe, also because you illustrate the of Mouffe and other diagnosed dynamics perfectly. While Eribons mother supported once the Communists, she chooses today to Protest against the Neoliberal converted socialists, Marine Le pen's extreme right-wing Rassemblement National (formerly National Front).

The citizens of the Left sorry

of Course, you can agree with the diagnosis of the populist Left, without accepting her second important claim: to believe that the best response to the current crisis of Representation is to politics as a conflict between citizens from across the political spectrum and a small cohort of oligarchs (also known as "la casta"). This point of view, the idea is inherent that citizens – as Eribons mother – to-be and all the suffering, what with the traditional Left, and a fresh approach to search. Or, in the words of Podemos: "If you want to do it right, not doing what would make the Left."

During the Euro crisis, the populist Left-therefore, they have developed a "transversal strategy" to bridge traditional ideological opposites. It was based on the assumption that the citizens are open to it, to give a financial oligarchy the blame for their hardships. You wanted to win not only Left, but also supporters of right-wing populist parties, by worked out a Position that was, in practice, to the left, from the name, but less. The voters, it is hoped, would stop giving the immigrants the blame for their own problems, if the financial capitalism was identified as the real culprit.

regardless of how the criticism of the financial capitalism may be justified: today's populist Left-right with the assumption that the appeal to "the people", the citizens – especially the workers – will mobilize, while a reinvigorated left-wing language will not do? Even if one accepts that more than one or two elections are required to answer this question empirically, do not support the data so far, a populist-nationalist approach.

So, elections of 2017, Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France Insoumise), from the French presidency, its usually a universalistic, class-centric rhetoric and took over the language of "the people". At his election rallies, red flags have given way to the Tricolor, and the International was replaced by the Marseillaise. However, while Mélenchon section of the urn well and it almost succeeded in the second ballot, according to the French sociologist Éric Fassin, La France Insoumise was only able to pull about three percent of the voters of the National Front, to his side.

Left should turn instead to the rights of non-voters

Mélenchon is not quite the only European Left, has come to the conclusion that the "transversal strategy" requires a pivot in the direction of nationalism. In Germany, Sahra wagenknecht of the party founded by "The Left" is a collective movement to supporters of the various left parties to make a and at the same time, the extreme right-wing Alternative for Germany voters away. But so far, their rejection is the only distinctive feature of their campaign "get Up," "open borders".

such A strategy could easily backfire. If anything, it seems more likely that it strengthens the Position of the right-wing populists, by accepting the premise of their immigration policy, while it reduces the internationalist Left. This seems to be the result in Italy, where the extreme-right Lega and not their larger coalition partner, the 5-star movement, determines the Agenda of the government.

According to Fassin, the Left should be to inform rather than to workers, their devotion may be determined by the right-wing populists by their rejection of unrestrained capitalism or not, prefer to take the non-voters focus on the back could be attributed to the urn. The latter could very well be motivated by the Ideal of social solidarity and not of a once again worsening nationalism.

The Left had been success, when they offered a clear Alternative on issues such as housing policy and financial regulation, and not, when you referred to "the people" (or even "the Nation"). Consider, for example, to the Chairman of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator, led in 2016 in the primaries of the Democrats to the U.S. presidential election, a grassroots campaign against Hillary Clinton and for 2020 to the candidacy. What propose this, people, is not "socialism", but a social-democratic Cocktail that could all like those of Pepsi, Coke and all the other neoliberal Plörren in the offer enough.

More about

democracy theorist Chantal Mouffe Why not a populism of the left?

Isabelle-Christine Panreck

- Jan-Werner Müller is a Professor of politics at Princeton University. His most recently published book has the title What is Populism? Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2019.

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