Skip to main content

Why the ruling classes afraid the Left populism of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders more than the Right populism of Donald Trump


Leo Panitch, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at York University in Toronto, explains to Gregory Wilpert and the Real News, the huge difference between Left populism and Right populism and why, at the moment, the global neoliberal regime afraid the Left one much more:

Populism in general needs to be understood as an appeal to the masses, to the working classes, to farmers, to peasants, etc., of a kind which targets the existing political and economic establishment, derides them, denigrates them, engages in promises to make those people's lives better, but does nothing to organize and mobilize them as powerful social forces from below. It's an attempt to ride on the discontent of the great mass of people in a way that doesn't increase their power vis-a-vis either the populace or the existing establishment. And to some extent, it may actually involve decreasing their power, insofar as it disorganizes their organizations, whether it's trade unions or farmers' movements or what have you.

That type of populism is very different from left populism, of the kind that the Davos people would identify Jeremy Corbyn as representing, or Bernie Sanders as representing, which is explicitly oriented to motivating, educating, and organizing forces from below. So it's a very different type of populism, and I think the ruling classes in Davos are as worried about the right-wing version as the left at the moment. But in the long run, they will always be much, much more worried by the left, because it may be oriented, and often is oriented, at taking away their private property, taking away their capital, taking away their means of production, distribution, and exchange, which they use to exploit people.

That's not the case with right-wing populists, for the most part, as Trump obviously shows. That said, the danger is that they're playing with nationalist fire. Since globalization doesn't involve bypassing nation-states, all of the ruling classes, political establishments in each nation-state who have bought into neoliberal globalization have had to coexist with a reproduction of national identity, a legitimation of the notion of the national interest, even as they've opened up their economies, their societies to the free movement of capital, to treating foreign capitalists the same as domestic ones, etc.

By reproducing that national consciousness, they have, in the wake of the delegitimation of neoliberal globalization, they have left the door open for a nationalist populist type of rhetoric and politics that we've seen in the United States, in Germany, in France, in Eastern Europe most explicitly, etc.

You know, they're afraid of that, because the danger is that they will not be able to control some of the figures who may indeed turn out to be the kinds of nationalists who would turn inwards. We have no evidence that that is happening yet. We don't even have evidence that in Hungary and Poland that is happening. What they are doing, of course, is behaving in an extremely ugly manner vis-a-vis the human rights of refugees, of migrants, and indeed of minorities who have been in their societies as significant elements for millennia, not least the Roma and so on.

This is something that's distasteful to them. This is something they look at carefully, but I don't think that they think it's over either. They're probably more afraid now by what Corbyn represents than the danger that Le Pen appeared to represent, but I don't think they think it's over.


As has been described in previous article, it is quite evident that the far-right in the West managed to gain significant power, not only because it grabbed the role of the central anti-establishment force, but because it has stolen all the basic positions of the leftist ideology and transformed them into easily-consumed slogans for the masses.

The far-right leaders frequently attack on bankers and the political-economic elites, yet they direct their main rhetoric firepower against the usual victims: vulnerable parts of the population, like immigrants.

The fact that the far-right has stolen the positions of the left and put them into its own framework, permitted the establishment apparatus to put under the sign of 'populism', almost anything that resides between, say, neo-nazi formations, up to the non-parliamentary far-left, except of course the traditional political powers that faithfully serve neoliberalism to date. However, this broad range of ideological shades includes numerous and often opponent ideologies.

Furthermore, the concept of 'populism' itself had to be changed. The establishment apparatus had to 'relocate' some basic features of populism, away from the new conditions that the elites want to impose.

Therefore, it is 'unrealistic', for example, to believe that healthcare should be provided by the state for everyone (which is something taken for granted less than two or three decades ago), simply because the rich want to pay less and less taxes in order to gain more and more. It is 'irresponsible' to support people in just keeping their benefits under the pretext of economic instability. The economic chaos of course always comes from this system that propagates this perception.

As a result of all these, people who are coming from the left and speak about pro-people policies, are stigmatized by the establishment apparatus as 'populists' who try to manipulate the masses. They have been placed next to far-right politicians who have totally different agenda and actually do the dirty job for the elites. In reality, these leftist politicians are just trying to defend what has been conquered with struggles and blood by the people in previous eras, against this new brutal onslaught of neoliberalism.

The ultimate goal of the establishment is simple: drive the electorate away from the 'dangerous' and 'radical' left, back to the neoliberal center, which is promoted as the only 'serious' and 'realistic' political regime capable of running societies efficiently.

The conclusion here is that the neoliberal regime has to deal with the Left populism first, exactly because it represents a direct threat to current status quo by supporting, mainly, a radical wealth distribution from top to bottom.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's definite: Elizabeth Warren is the female Obama, can't be trusted

globinfo freexchange

One year from the 2020 US presidential election, things start to become clearer day by day. In the US political scene, we can now recognize the authentic progressives from the fakes, and certainly, from the establishment neoliberal centrists. 
In the presidential-candidates level we can now identify only Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard as the ones who are willing to fight the establishment and try to implement progressive, anti-imperialist policies. After her latest position, concerning the military coup in Bolivia against the democratically elected Evo Morales, Elizabeth Warren could be considered a pseudo-progressive, equal to a female Barack Obama. Therefore, progressives definitely can't trust her.
Warren tweeted:
The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible. Bolivia's interim leadership must limit itself to preparing for an early, legitimate election. Bolivia's security forces must protect demonstrators, not commit …

It's now or never: the first step for a Sanders/Corbyn synchronization in power must be done on 12 December in UK

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the global working class
by system failure
Two years ago, we wondered whether a US government under Bernie Sanders, together with a UK government under Jeremy Corbyn, could mark a decisive victory against neoliberalism. Whether it could mark the beginning of the end of the Reagan/Thatcher awful legacy.

It seems that the time has come for the first step towards this prospect.

The oncoming UK general election on Thursday 12 December 2019, will be the most critical for decades, especially for the global working class. The outcome will determine to a significant degree, whether the capitalist West will change course away from the destructive neoliberalism, towards a form of Democratic Socialism. A new model that will resurrect the social state, while at the same time, will seriously deal with the great environmental challenges, defying big interests and rejecting the for-profit-wars model.



As we already pointed out, the whole Brexit issue is pri…

Latest WikiLeaks revelation and its treatment by the mainstream press explicitly demonstrate why the imperialists are determined to eliminate Julian Assange

globinfo freexchange
On November, 23, WikiLeaks published an e-mail, sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he expresses his gravest concern over intentional bias introduced to a redacted version of the report he co-authored.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team of experts to investigate allegations that a chemical attack took place in the Syrian city of Douma on the 7th of April 2018. The author of the e-mail was a member of that team and claims the redacted preliminary version of the report, misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground. The e-mail is dated 22nd of June. It is addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and forwarded to his deputy Aamir Shouket and members of the fact-finding mission to Douma.  


In short, the OPCW whistleblower actually claims that the report has been somehow altered. And it was done in a way to fit the scenario, according to which, the Assa…

Mainstream media pro-Johnson propaganda gets into full swing

by Craig Murray
We are now under election broadcasting rules.

Ian Austin left the Labour Party nine months ago. He was then appointed by the Tories as Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Israel. As of yesterday, he is neither a MP nor a candidate for election. He is a minor politician who achieved only the most junior ministerial rank, PUSS, and for only seven months. He is best known for heckling Jeremy Corbyn while Jeremy Corbyn was delivering the official Labour response to the Chilcot Report on the illegal invasion of Iraq, shouting “Sit down and shut up” and “You stupid disgrace” at Corbyn for criticising the war.
We are now under election broadcasting rules. How and why was Ian Austin invited onto the BBC Radio 4 Today programme today? He left the Labour Party six months ago, and has been a huge critic of Corbyn. It is hardly a surprise that the Tory’s Trade Envoy to Israel advises people to vote Tory. So who initiated Ian Austin’s appearance on the BBC Today programme, and why? It…

LIVE: Bolivians resist military coup in La Paz

Fears for an assassination attempt against Evo Morales

BREAKING
Independent journalist, Ben Norton, tweeted that he has been informed about a possible assassination attempt against the Bolivian president Evo Morales. According to Norton:
          Sources are telling me they are afraid that Bolivia's elected President Evo Morales might be killed tonight in the right-wing coup.

Sources are telling me they are afraid that Bolivia's elected President Evo Morales might be killed tonight in the right-wing coup.

This is a full-fronted imperialist attack on democracy. It is a blatant attempt to recolonize Latin America and overthrow all efforts at progress. — Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 10, 2019
Updates

EU giving cover to the military coup that just took place in Bolivia. Neither the EU nor the US support democracy. The people of Bolivia already expressed their “democratic will” by re-electing Evo Morales. A right wing US-backed coup stole that from them, this is disgusting https://t.co/qamCSvYmz9— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek)…

Οργανισμός Αμερικανικών Κρατών: Στην υπηρεσία της Ουάσινγκτον

του Ανδρέα Κοσιάρη
Ο Οργανισμός Αμερικανικών Κρατών, που εξέδωσε την έκθεση για την εκλογική αναμέτρηση στη Βολιβία, η οποία «δικαιολόγησε» το πραξικόπημα εναντίον του Έβο Μοράλες, είναι στη θεωρία ένας ουδέτερος οργανισμός κρατών. Στην πραγματικότητα όμως έχει μακρά ιστορία υποστήριξης των επεμβάσεων των ΗΠΑ στη Λατινική Αμερική, και σήμερα χρηματοδοτείται κατά πλειοψηφία από τα ταμεία του αμερικανικού κράτους. 
Παρά την ίδρυσή του το 1948 με σκοπό την «προώθηση της ειρήνης και τη διευθέτηση διαφωνιών μεταξύ των κρατών-μελών», ήταν μάλλον από την αρχή όργανο της αντικομμουνιστικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής των ΗΠΑ.

Ο ΟΑΚ υπήρξε σιωπηλός ή και στήριξε όλες ανεξαιρέτως τις αμερικανικές επεμβάσεις στη Λατινική Αμερική, είτε αυτές λάμβαναν τη μορφή εισβολής, όπως στην Κούβα το 1961, είτε τη μορφή στήριξης σε πραξικοπήματα και δικτατορικά καθεστώτα, όπως στη Χιλή το 1973 (και στην Αργεντινή, τη Βολιβία, τη Γουατεμάλα, τη Νικαράγουα, την Αϊτή, τον Παναμά, τη Βραζιλία, την Παραγουάη και τον Ισημ…

Nos oponemos al golpe

Declaración de Noam Chomsky y Vijay Prashad
En Bolivia se está gestando un golpe de Estado contra el gobierno electo liderado por Evo Morales. Sectores de la policía han dicho abiertamente que están dispuestos a permitir que grupos de milicias fascistas ataquen el palacio presidencial en La Paz. La situación es muy grave.

Evo Morales ha invitado a los cuatro principales partidos a sentarse y conversar sobre el camino a seguir para la democracia boliviana. Ha pedido el establecimiento de un diálogo para evitar el regreso de los días de las dictaduras militares y los gobiernos oligárquicos. Morales ha hecho un llamado a las Naciones Unidas, a la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), al Vaticano y a otros más para que contribuyan a encontrar el camino para alejarse del golpe.

El golpe es promovido por la oligarquía boliviana que está enojada por la cuarta elección que sus partidos pierden frente el Movimiento al Socialismo. La oligarquía cuenta con el total apoyo del gobierno de los…

Here's why Bernie could end up being better than even FDR

globinfo freexchange

In his speeches, Bernie Sanders frequently refers to the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), and his New Deal program that helped millions of Americans after the 1929 Wall Street crash. Sanders and other progressives are proposing a similar program adjusted to the modern environmental challenges. The Green New Deal has now become a popular vision, especially among young Americans. Around it, the progressives are aiming to build a whole new model beyond destructive neoliberalism and even obsolete capitalism.

Many would argue that this is quite an extremely optimistic view. That Sanders is just an old-school moderate Social-Democrat who will only manage to revive some typical social policies of the past, and that's it. He will never manage to seriously challenge the current power structure, which, indeed, has grown enormously, controlling nearly every aspect of the political and economic life.

Yet Sanders already managed to achieve …

Bolivian UN ambassador: “racist elite” engineered coup to restore neoliberalism in Bolivia

Democracy Now!
Thousands marched across Bolivia Monday to demand the resignation of Jeanine Áñez, the right-wing senator who declared herself president of Bolivia last week after longtime socialist President Evo Morales resigned under pressure from the military. 
The coup d’état has thrown Bolivia into crisis, with violence across the country leaving at least 23 dead. On Friday, the military gunned down nine pro-Morales protesters outside Cochabamba, where indigenous people took to the streets again on Monday. Thousands more marched to the presidential palace in La Paz. 
The wave of protests are condemning the spike in anti-indigenous violence under interim President Áñez and demanding the return of Evo Morales. Áñez has a history of using racist, anti-indigenous language, and last week she issued a decree protecting the military from prosecution for violent acts and said that Morales would face prosecution if he returned to Bolivia. 
Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, a…