With the success of the 5 Star party in Italy’s recent elections (despite the fact that success might not actually convert into parliamentary power), the term ‘populism’ is being thrown about quite a bit these days. 5 Star joins such diverse groups as Syriza (Greece), Golden Dawn (Greece), both Bernie Sanders and Trump (USA), Momentum & Jeremy Corbyn (British Left), Nigel Farage and UKIP (British Right) and many more as having that ‘populist’ title appended to them.
It’s weird, when we think about it. What is the common thread through these groups other than they come from outside of the traditional political mainstream?
I can’t help but think that their supposed direct-line connection to the people, the proletariat, the mass, the workers, is kind of a gloss. Not that they don’t enjoy large democratic support from sectors of society who might previously have not been that interested in politics – that’s a given, right?
But I’m always wary of terms like ‘the people’ and politicians or demagogues speaking on their behalf. It’s kind of an amorphous catch-all for a sea of different individualities, right?
As something to research – it might be more practical to talk about all the above being to some extent anti-globalist parties rather than ‘populist’ ones.