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Once seen as a fringe phenomenon, populism is back. While some politicians and media outlets present it as dangerous to the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, others hail it as the fix for broken democracies. Not surprisingly, questions about populism abound. Does it really threaten democracy? Why the sudden rise in populism? And what are we talking about when we talk about "populism"? The Global Rise of Populism argues for the need to rethink this concept. While still based on the classic divide between "the people" and "the elite," populism's reliance on new media technologies, its shifting relationship to political representation, and its increasing ubiquity have seen it transform in nuanced ways that demand explaining. Benjamin Moffitt contends that populism is not one entity, but a political style that is performed, embodied, and enacted across different political and cultural contexts. This new understanding makes sense of populism in a time when media pervades political life, a sense of crisis prevails, and populism has gone truly global.
Once seen as a fringe phenomenon, populism is back. While some politicians and media outlets present it as dangerous to the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, others hail it as the fix for broken democracies. Not surprisingly, questions about populism abound. Does it really threaten democracy? Why the sudden rise in populism? And what are we talking about when we talk about "populism"? The Global Rise of Populism argues for the need to rethink this concept. While still based on the classic divide between "the people" and "the elite," populism's reliance on new media technologies, its shifting relationship to political representation, and its increasing ubiquity have seen it transform in nuanced ways that demand explaining. Benjamin Moffitt contends that populism is not one entity, but a political style that is performed, embodied, and enacted across different political and cultural contexts. This new understanding makes sense of populism in a time when media pervades political life, a sense of crisis prevails, and populism has gone truly global.
In the current climate of dissatisfaction with "democratic" Western political and economic systems, this is a timely book that demonstrates a true political Third Way. Populism is distinguished from other political movements by its insistence on two things conspicuously missing from modern systems of political economy: genuine democracy based on local citizen assemblies, and the widespread distribution among the population of privately-owned economic capital. Fixing the System offers a comprehensive historical account of populism, revealing the consistent and distinct history of populism since ancient times. Adrian Kuzminski demonstrates that populism is a tradition of practice as well as thought, ranging from ancient city states to the frontier communities of colonial america-all places where widely distributed private property and democratic decision-making combined to foster material prosperity and cultural innovation. In calling for a wide distribution of both property and democracy, populism opposes the political and economic system found today in the united states and other Western countries, where property remains highly concentrated in private hands and where representatives chosen in impersonal mass elections frustrate democracy by serving private monied interests rather than the public good. As Kuzminski demonstrates, as one of very few systematic alternatives to today's political and economic system, populism, offers a pragmatic program for fundamental social change that deserves wide and serious consideration. Populism is a genuine "third way" in politics, a middle path between the extremes of corporate anarchy and collective authoritarianism. As America takes stock of her current situation and looks toward the future in the 2008 election year, Fixing the System offers a trenchant and timely study of this deep-rooted movement.
The first cross-regional study to show that populism can have both positive and negative effects on democracy.
A definitive collection, edited by one of the world s pre-eminent authorities on populism.
From the protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square to the Tea Party in the United States to the campaign to elect indigenous leader Evo Morales in Bolivia, modern populist movements command international attention and compel political and social change. When citizens demand "power to the people," they evoke corrupt politicians, imperialists, or oligarchies that have appropriated power from its legitimate owners. These stereotypical narratives belie the vague and often contradictory definitions of the concept of "the people" and the many motives of those who use populism as a political tool. In The Promise and Perils of Populism, Carlos de la Torre assembles a group of international scholars to explore the ambiguous meanings and profound implications of grassroots movements across the globe. These trenchant essays explore how fragile political institutions allow populists to achieve power, while strong institutions confine them to the margins of political systems. Their comparative case studies illuminate how Latin American, African, and Thai populists have sought to empower marginalized groups of people, while similar groups in Australia, Europe, and the United States often exclude people whom they consider to possess different cultural values. While analyzing insurrections in Latin America, advocacy groups in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and populist parties in Asia and Africa, the contributors also pose questions and agendas for further research. This volume on contemporary populism from a comparative perspective could not be more timely, and scholars from a variety of disciplines will find it an invaluable contribution to the literature.
As Europe enters a significant phase of re-integration of East and West, it faces an increasing problem with the rise of far-right political parties. Cas Mudde offers the first comprehensive and truly pan-European study of populist radical right parties in Europe. He focuses on the parties themselves, discussing them both as dependent and independent variables. Based upon a wealth of primary and secondary literature, this book offers critical and original insights into three major aspects of European populist radical right parties: concepts and classifications; themes and issues; and explanations for electoral failures and successes. It concludes with a discussion of the impact of radical right parties on European democracies, and vice versa, and offers suggestions for future research.

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