The dramatic political developments of recent years – from Brexit to Trump and the dramatic collapse of major government parties in countries such as France, Spain and Italy – are often analyzed as an expression of a right-wing populist backlash in the wake of the financial crisis. Large sections of those who bother to vote at all refuse to vote for traditional parties or candidates and protest representative democracy by voting against the system. They vote populist and turn their back on a political system that, across partisanship and the traditional right – left distinction, seems to have accepted neoliberal deregulation in favor of multinational corporations as the only viable policy. And that even after the financial crisis that did not result in any significant political self-criticism in the major government-supporting parties in the US and Europe.
Populism – both the problem and the solution?
Over the past few years, neoliberal hegemony has been challenged by various parties and movements that stage themselves as opponents of the system, the so-called populists. Neoliberalism now has tremendous difficulty reproducing politically (through electoral action) and is forced to resort to technocratic governments (as in both Greece and Italy) or replace globalization with ethnonationalist rhetoric in an attempt to stem the tide of people's discontent. Wherever we look in the Old West, time stands in the sign of populism, with xenophobia. . .