The alt-right sometimes uses sneaky methods to promote their ideas without directly showing their extremist views. For example, people like Jordan Peterson may talk about controversial topics in a way that sounds academic and respectable. They might use coded language to appeal to certain groups without openly expressing extreme beliefs. They focus on divisive issues like gender pronouns and political correctness to get attention and draw people in. Some of them might act like they are being attacked or silenced, so they seem like defenders of free speech. They may also talk to or associate with groups linked to the alt-right, even if they don’t openly support extremist ideas.
Lunch with Tom Frank is a totally American experience. He’s a proud native of Kansas but far from a country boy: he got his doctorate from the University of Chicago and has written a series of influential books. He likes people, food, and telling it like it is. He teases the waiter, talks about a healthy salad, and then orders an overstuffed sandwich that he wolfs down as he dissects the increasingly crazed American political world. He’s not just a guy who happens to be bright and unpretentious and a lot of fun who has chosen to focus on American politics; he’s a political prophet who two decades ago saw what others could not glimpse and published What’s the Matter with Kansas?
All regimes based on class antagonism require a discourse to legitimise class oppression and this discourse in turn requires a vocabulary of its own. The neoliberal regime too has developed its own discourse and vocabulary and a key concept in this vocabulary is “populism”. This concept is given great currency by the media, which is peopled by members drawn from the upper middle class who have been major beneficiaries of the neo-liberal regime and have therefore developed a vested interest in its continuation. So pervasive is the reach of this concept that even well-meaning and progressive members of the literati have fallen victim to its abuse and employ the term with the pejorative connotation typically imparted to it by the corporate-owned media. The term “populism” of course is not an invention of the neo-liberal intelligentsia.
I have spent time listening to leaders and activists from across this country, and I have learned one thing: we as civil society must step up and provide courageous leadership in this time of crisis. Unions, racial and climate justice organizations, faith leaders, students, residents’ groups, health care activists – all of us have a role to play to help overcome this polarization, to bridge divides and to focus on crucial issues of social justice. We need to start organizing at the national and local level – bringing together people from all walks of life to determine strategies that will address the realities of each region of our country. There is no magic slogan that can turn this around. It’s about deep organizing. We know that public health measures are about saving lives, just as mandatory seatbelt laws save lives.
The 2008 financial meltdown and the global economic crisis that followed put thousands of cracks into what Mark Fisher called “capitalist realism”—the idea that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. The neoliberal era appeared to be at its end. But it staggered on; the next decade saw most Western states respond with the typical neoliberal playbook. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has made it even easier to imagine the end of the world, and the response of those same states has been quite different. Is neoliberalism actually ending? And what comes next? Political theorist Paolo Gerbaudo explores those questions in his new book, The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic.
A short squeeze frenzy driven by a new generation of gamers captured financial headlines in recent weeks, centered on a struggling strip mall video game store called GameStop. The Internet and a year off in this shut down to study up have given a younger generation of investors the tools to compete in the market. Gerald Celente calls it the “Youth Revolution.” A group of New York Young Republicans who protested in the snow on January 31 called it “Re-occupy Wall Street.” Others have called it Occupy Wall Street 2.0. The populist uprising against Wall Street goes back farther, however, than to the 2010 Occupy movement. In the late 19th century, the country was suffering from a depression nearly as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The word “populism” gets a bad rap these days as corporate media warns of its alleged dangers and President Barack Obama goes so far as to blame Sarah Palin for its recent rise. But, according to Thomas Frank, the founding editor of The Baffler and author of What’s the Matter with Kansas and his new book, The People, No, a detailed account about the history of populism in the United States, true populism is a force for good, not evil. On this week’s installment of Scheer Intelligence, the journalist and historian joins Robert Scheer to discuss in-depth how the Democratic Party chose to quash populism, while the Republican Party decided to use its stripped-down ideals for its own nefarious means.
Looking at the total Covid-19/Coronavirus global death statistics on Saturday, 13 June 2020, three things become noticeable. The first remarkable issue is that Donald Trump’s USA has just exceeded the total number of fatalities it suffered during World War I. In that war, the USA lost 116,516. On Saturday morning, the USA had lost 116,795 to the Coronavirus, continuing on an approximately daily death rate of between 800 to 1,000 since the last few weeks. It happened on Donald Trump’s watch and no blame shifting can change the fact that the USA did rather badly compared to all other countries on earth. Secondly, in terms of total deaths caused by the Coronavirus, the top three positions are held by “America First” USA (1), the UK (2), and Brazil (3).
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to D. D. Guttenplan, the editor of the Nation, about the history of populism in America, its current rise and the problem of democracy. His new book, ‘The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority’, focuses on nine progressive activists emerging during the Trump administration. Among them, new labor activist Jane McAlevey, racial justice campaigner and Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and environmental activist Jane Kleeb, all working to restore America’s democratic, political, and economic systems against the rise of proto-fascist forces and demagogues seeking power.
We have entered an ominous age of political conformity. Support is growing for a right-wing populism that views liberal democracy as both an anachronism and a curse. Meanwhile, many of those who oppose this growth of the right wing are turning to a left-wing populism that is dangerously susceptible to the same patterns of demagoguery and discourses of unity and exclusion. The signposts are clear. Across the globe, politicians spew out inordinate incitements of hatred and bigotry, while legitimating and often overtly supporting racism.
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — As the world’s financial and political elites convene here in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum, their vision of ever-closer commercial and political ties is under attack — and the economic outlook is darkening. Britain’s political system has been thrown into chaos as the country negotiates a messy divorce from the European Union. Under President Donald Trump, the United States is imposing trade sanctions on friend and foe alike, and the government is paralyzed by a partial shutdown over immigration policy that forced Trump and a high-level U.S. delegation to cancel the trip to Davos.
Two very different “populisms” that have arisen in response to neoliberal capitalism in the West. A left-leaning social-democratic “progressive populism” targets the capitalist concentration of wealth and power and the unbridled pursuit of private profit as enemies of the people and the common good. This populism is egalitarian and radically democratic. It tends towards socialism. Its attractive policy agenda, supported by working-class majorities, includes the downward distribution of wealth, the expansion of the social safety net, university quality health care, increased minimum wages and union power, public jobs programs, and the protection of livable ecology (a Green New Deal).
The two most powerful think tanks in Washington, representing center-left and center-right political elites, have responded to the populist shocks of the 2016 presidential election by trying to reposition themselves and the Democratic and Republican Parties as more sympathetic to populist concerns even while maintaining their attachments to the interests of big business and the complex of war-making. The Center for American Progress (CAP), linked to the Democratic Party establishment, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which is close to the Republican Party, have issued two long papers in recent months reflecting their high anxiety over the rapid growth of populism on both sides of the Atlantic...