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The crisis in the banking system is having dire consequences in Eastern Europe, basically we could see the whole of the old Eastern block fall. Can Western Europe work collectively to stabilise this situation? It is looking more an more doubtful as Western European countries are teetering on the brink themselves. This is being widely reported with quite a deal of hyperbole across the MSM. This is one third of the worlds economy balanced on the brink.

All major economic upheavals bring about a certain risk within Europe that another menace will arise, and this is the objective of this diary.

We are in a depression of global proportions not some mere dip of a recession, governments are becoming isolationist both economically and nationally. That is to say they want to reduce imports and foreign workers, this is a populist message and has always been the preferred stamping ground of the extreme right. It is a wonderful way of hiding racism behind the banner of nationalism, since it conceals all the really nasty sentiments that drive this policy. Those on the right can drape themselves in the appropriate flag and pretend to be helping, the unions fall into the trap by supporting home-grown workers rather than defending the work itself. In this modern world you cannot defend jobs based on nationality but on the economy as a whole, protect all jobs and you protect those of your compatriots. Try to fight selectively based on nationality will only feed the ugly base instinct of nationalism/racism.

Germany was in the great depression with hyperinflation when it turned to the doctrine of National Socialism [Nationalsozialismus], it was a very useful word much better than Mussolini's use of 'Fascism' which was too abstract at the time. It gave the impression of one being for the the good of the country [national]and for the benefit of the people as a whole [social]. The whole idea of this Nazi movement was to appear to span both left-wing [socialist] and right-wing [totalitarian] philosophy.

The main objective was to find a scapegoat for all the countries ills [Jews, Gays, Mentally and or physically handicapped, gypsies, etcetera], then to generate a sense of false national identity by which any means of purification could be justified. [It must be remembered that immigrant populations were smaller in those times than they are today.] This populism was then fused with the Corporations and the rearmament began, women were reduced to being idealised breeders and the men worked for the military industrial complex.

Back to today:

Popular themes

Illegal immigrants can be safely blamed for many ills, and calls for deportation on the surface justifiable.

Immigration should be strictly enforced and the numbers reduced.

Employment should be for our own nationals.

Overblown budgets for the military are good for our defence and we can justify the occupation of foreign countries as being in our national interest. Anyway after all we represent what is good.

The bank bailout was absolutely necessary and should not be questioned.

Bringing corporations under the States security blanket but without nationalising them is a good idea.

The pattern seems frighteningly familiar.

We even have a global enemy that is threatening our very existence.

Islam and its multitude of terrorists.

I would say we have the perfect storm.

In the news.

Putin's worst nightmare

Their mission is to cleanse Russia of its ethnic "occupiers", with an anti-immigrant stance supported by half the population. And since 2004 their most extreme members have murdered more than 350 people. Luke Harding reports on the rise of the Russian far-right

Israeli Elections and the Rise of the Right

By Phyllis Bennis, Foreign Policy in Focus. Posted February 12, 2009.
The great victor in the election is neither Netanyahu nor Livni but, rather, Avigdor Lieberman. His racist, indeed fascist, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home) Party took third place, leaving the traditionally powerful Labor Party of the once-and-wannabe-future Prime Minister Ehud Barak struggling for fourth.

The Rise of the Right: Europe's Scary Solution to Immigration
By Handan T. Satiroglu, The Women's International Perspective. Posted January 29, 2009.

Such is the dynamic in today's European race relations. A December Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project reports anti-immigrant, and especially anti-Muslim sentiments, to be growing steadily across the continent. Noting that the increase in Muslim prejudice has occurred over a period of decades, the report claims that nearly 52 percent of Spaniards expressed a negative opinion of Muslims -- a view echoed by 50 percent of Germans, 46 percent of Poles, and 38 percent of French people. According to an April Georgetown University report, 67 percent of Dutch, and 80 percent of Danes agree with the statement, "the growing interaction between the Muslim world and the West is a menace to freedom."

Is the BNP becoming Cumbria's cup of tea?

The far-right party is on its best behaviour in the North-west – and may win its first seat in the European Parliament. But scratch the surface, says Paul Vallely, and the familiar anti-immigrant message shines through.

"I've always voted Labour," says Winifred Elliott, 80, opening the door of her terraced house on Wigton Road, "but look at the state of the country. Immigration is the main thing and Labour have made that worse. I'll definitely vote for you."

"We're too small a country to take this number of immigrants," says Thomas Brecken, 85, "and as for the EU we definitely want to be out of it."

On and on it goes, populist to the core.

These messages are on 24/7 via your friendly MSM and many of them being taken up as reasoned thinking.

Now add to this mix religion and we really do have a bomb waiting to explode and detonate WWIII. [The cold war was still WWII]

My message:

Be very careful before embracing popular theories and especially those selling them.

We have moved steadily away from the freedoms detailed in our constitution via

The Patriot Act.
The Military Commissions Act.
Protect America Act of 2007.
NSPD # 51 HSPD # 20

All done under the banner of internal and external threats.

We have seen the Republican Party banging the drum and moving further away from its roots with every passing week, they are the party of monolithic thought and obedience any who disagree will be marginalised. I know this has been going on for decades, however we are seeing them drop all pretence of being reasonable.

The screeching of their talking heads and the pandering of the MSM to fill those dull TV hours has desensitised us to the degree of their move to the extreme right wing philosophy. Any criticism of their views is met with scorn and hatred, this is highlighted by their need for party before country and the hope that we fail. They pray everyday that they are there to pick up the pieces and install their permanent Republican majority. I always thought that phrase was a dead giveaway.

So beware of populism and take care.




Populism is a discourse which supports "the people" versus "the elites." Populism may involve either a philosophy urging social and political system changes and/or a rhetorical style deployed by members of political or social movements competing for advantage within the existing party system.



popularism - music adapted to the understanding and taste of the majority
music - an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner

There is a difference.

Update 2:

I am not writing about Obama, I am writing about populist movements that could be hijacked, a warning nothing more.


The Buchanan campaign incorporates themes of right Wing Populism, Scapegoating, Reactionary Politics and Fascism
By Chip Berlet. 24 February, 1996

Originally posted to LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 03:59 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  TJ for being wary. (24+ / 0-)

    I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

    by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:00:36 AM PST

    •  Thanks for attacking a big part of my ideology. (4+ / 0-)

      -5.38, -5.90 Deus mihi iustitiam dabit.

      by cjallen on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:04:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're absolutely spot-on here (10+ / 0-)

      Fascism, National Socialism, Nazism, American Nativism, Skinhead movements, whatever the label, is a manifestation of the social scapegoating instinct.  

      Scapegoating arises whenever any community is under stress and can be manipulated by existing elites to mobilize against helpless "outsiders" and distract a population that would otherwise turn on and overthrow the ruling circles.  It's engineered populism - revolution from above.

      •  Nice summary. (5+ / 0-)

        Just what I tried to say in so many more words.


        I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

        by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:44:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It certainly is convenient to claim that the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theran, yellow dog in NJ

        tendency to lash out at excluded/excludible peoples emerges from outside of the volk, rather than emerging from within.  I don't think I buy it, though.  When a whole bunch of people say they don't like group X because of reasons M & N, I don't see reason to disbelieve them and posit some CT theory of false consciousness.  

        We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

        by burrow owl on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:05:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The consciousness doesn't have to be false (3+ / 0-)

          Advertising works, for example, to manipulate the public discourse.  In particular, it works well when it amplifies something already present.  

          The typical pattern of the populist right is to connect some actual policy issue to an unrelated prejudice that already exists, not to make up new prejudices.

          "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

          by theran on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:21:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Instinctive behavior - very much from within (0+ / 0-)

          "the Volk", as you say.  Ritual sacrifice is practiced by carnivores who live in hierarchical packs.  

          Alpha wolves occasionally tear into a less dominant member of the pack as an object lesson to the others, a behavior that is mimicked right on down the "pecking order".  Instead of ganging up on the aggressive bully, less dominant members turn on even weaker members.  The entire pack will hunt down and kill most any outsider they encounter.  Even alpha wolves "engineer" the sacrificial behaviors of the pack.  

          But, the rituals of sacrificial memesis in humans is much more subtle and elaborate than that example conveys.  This ritual mimesis (mimicry or memes) is a basis of key religious and political behaviors, and there's a whole branch of communications theory that's evolved from it. Go ahead and read some of Girard's work and the many writings about it on-line, Violence and the Sacred is a good place to start.

      •  "Engineered Populism" (5+ / 0-)

        Just who did the engineering? The way I see it it was the greedy corporations who did this to us. These are the people who shipped American jobs overseas, employing cheap foreign labor, in an attempt ot increase their profits. Mattel toys for example, are now all made in China. These toys were once made here in the U.S. by U.S. workers, adhereing to U.S. regulations, no lead, and other such regulations put in effect to protect our children. If you buy Mattel toys, they are not any cheaper in price to the consumer, even though the cost of manufacturing is cheaper. Someone made huge profits here.
        Other corporations and industries who didn't ship jobs overseas used "illegal immigrants" for cheap labor. Example here, the construction industry, rather than use union workers, they employed "illegal immigrants" to build homes. Not only did they get their homes built cheaper than ever, but they paid no worker's compensation insurance, nor did they feel it was necessary to comply with OSHA regulations to protect these workers. All these "shortcuts" greatly increased profits, the lower cost of labor was not reflected in the price of homes.
        Since there were jobs, there was also a never ending sources of "illegal workers", if one got injured on the job they just replaced them with another. Low wages, and lack of health insurance coverage, put a strain on the economy of the boarder states, as well as taking jobs away from American union workers.
        These immigrants who risked life and limb for a  better life in America were exploited by these corporate entities. Sure they all were in favor of a "guest worker" program, it would have given them the best of both worlds. The ability to continue to use this cheap labor, send them home and then import more cheap labor.
        They resisted amensty because to make these folks citizens would force them to comply with minimum wage requirements as well as supplying worker's compensation insurance, and following OSHA regulations.
        I don't know what the textbook definition of Facsism is, but sounds to me, when Corporations control the government and it's people, it is as close as you can get to Facsism.
        It is similar to the story of Dr. Frankenstien, this experiment went very wrong. Now the corporate entities are dealing with the populist monster of their own creation. We no longer manufacture much here in America, people are out of work, and are taking out their frustration. At first they scapegoated the "illegal immigrants", however, attitudes have changed, and the frustration is now being directed at those who were actually responsible for it all. People realize now why immigrants came to this country, they simply wanted an opportunity to support their families, now Americans find themselves in that very same position, they are forced to walk in another's shoes, and I think it makes them more understanding and compassionate. Sure there are still many who are buying into the rhetoric, but this economy has opened the eyes of others, they now know who the real enemy is.

  •  I'm always wary (6+ / 0-)

    of extremes on any side, which is really what makes me a liberal in the classic sense - a reliance on reason. I believe the passions of my fellow travelers are necessary, but also always frighten a part of me.

    Anyway, thanks for all the time that went into the diary.

    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. Winston Churchill

    by ThinkItThrough on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:12:52 AM PST

  •  On immigration and right-wing populism in Europe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To study root causes of immigration and right-wing populism in Europe, I recommend reading this essay ... and the texts on the website of Kenan Malik ...

    Enlightenment and Responsibility ... P.S.: In the Palestine conflict debate, "Justice" is nothing but a code word for "more dead people".

    by anaxiamander on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:32:53 AM PST

    •  It pretty much decides on defeat. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yellow dog in NJ

      Rather depressing.

      The again this can be heard in the chants of USA USA USA and the propaganda surrounding our self perceived vision of ourselves on the world stage.

      I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

      by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:37:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Popularist (4+ / 0-)

    a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people

      Has History proven that the common man is unable to make political descions on their own? That they will eventually do the "wrong" thing if left to their own devices.

      Are the "threats" posed , real or imagined?

      Is there a difference between Democratic principles and Popularist principles?

      Is a fear of Popularism also a fear of true Democracy?

    My opinions are based on my personal experiances and observations, Thus they are subject to change as I continue to experiance and observe.

    by Theodwulf on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:35:30 AM PST

  •  There's a movie line: "While I agree with your (9+ / 0-)

    observations, I don't share your conclusions."

    I think you accurately point out the backlash, but does that backlash come from innate bigotry or from a failure to reasonably address a real problem for citizens caused by giving economic benefits (wage reductions) to business.  I think mostly the latter.

    Immigration causes real dislocations in the receiving countries.  Whether it's increased H1-B usage, or cheap labor from displaced Mexican campesinos, people willing to work for half of what should be the going rate is going to cause a lot of frustration and/or rage.  The fact that that frustration is less than articulate should be no surprise.

    If immigration was controlled, especially illegal immigration, it would appear that government is addressing the real problems of real citizens, to those same citizens.  Not doing so is just another sign of the lawlessness that seems to be so pervasive nowadays.  A lawlessness that people are increasingly unable to do anything about, on the good side, and embrace, on the bad side.

    TFTD.  Needs discussing.

    "Peace be the journey. Cool Runnings!"

    by Terra Mystica on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:35:38 AM PST

    •  Historically (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Its never been a good move, good intentions get mislead.

      I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

      by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:41:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And there's cultural dislocation, too: (7+ / 0-)

      different cultures have different norms, and those differences can be very grating.  

      We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

      by burrow owl on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:07:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you have any evidence (3+ / 0-)

      During the heyday of the immigration trolls on this site, posts like this got made again and again.  As it turned out, every immigrant could have been sent home, and the actual problems in the economy would have not changed, and everything still would have been blown up.

      People gambled away their net worth on real estate, blaming immigrants on the way up, and apparently now, on the way down.  If it wasn't scary, it would by humorous.

      "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

      by theran on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:25:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure what you're asking. Is there evidence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that people will pay less given the opportunity?  That the downward pressure on wages is real?

        Sure there are other equally major problems with the economy.  They combine into one big mess with limited positive fix options.  Immigrants get easily scapegoated because they are the "other." They are used by monied interests to deflect from the overall pillage of the lower 75% of earners in this country.  But that doesn't mean the problem isn't real and significant for the people (disproportionately at the bottom) affected.

        "Peace be the journey. Cool Runnings!"

        by Terra Mystica on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 09:32:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was going to disagree with you but (4+ / 0-)

    thought I'd ask for some clarification first.

    Those on the right can drape themselves in the appropriate flag and pretend to be helping, the unions fall into the trap by supporting home-grown workers rather than defending the work itself. In this modern world you cannot defend jobs based on nationality but on the economy as a whole, protect all jobs and you protect those of your compatriots. Try to fight selectively based on nationality will only feed the ugly base instinct of nationalism/racism.

    What, exactly do you mean by "defending the work itself"?

    What is meant by "the economy as a whole"?  The nation's economy?  The world's economy?

    •  Defending the work itself. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, bronte17, Terra Mystica

      Against the corporate drive for greater profits by locating/relocating work where labour is cheap and the people easily abused.

      I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

      by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:39:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)

        I don't see American Labor Unions falling into that trap.  The big fight now is against offshoring, particularly against companies that plan to take stimulus or bailout money, then offshore, as IBM is currently doing.  H1B visas are also a problem because they enable these companies to set up their offshore units comfortably by bringing in their future employees to train in the US, then sending them home to start up the new office.

        In fact, I hear very little from US labor organizations excluding "foreigners" per se.  Rather, what I'm hearing is that workers here who are not citizens should be given paths to citizenship, and be encouraged to stay and work alongside everyone else.  (Assuming there's anything left to work at.)

        •  My problem is that there appears to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mem from somerville, theran

          be little distinction.

          I work as an expat in another country, I have had the same comments aimed at me. I just say find someone else who does it better and I will leave. Quite frankly all that is needed is that they cancel my contracts since I work for myself.

          I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

          by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:52:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And so the model of your sad life (5+ / 0-)

            should be the model for everybody?

            Not everyone wants to play by your rules. A lot of people want to stay where they grew up. In a lot of cultures, the graves of one's ancestors, one's parents, the children one may have lost, is an important part of one's identity.

            "Can't cut it? Move on!" is not the rule most of us want to live by. You've been accommodated; congratulations.

            If you kids don't behave, I'm turning this universe around RIGHT NOW! - g_d

            by Clem Yeobright on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:01:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is an excellent model of a life-- (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theran, LaFeminista

              to have used one's skills and education to create an important niche is absolutely a worthy model.  And very American.

              I wish more people got sufficient educational system support for that.  I wish we taught entrepreneurship for more people.  Because it is possible to create a life and a living where you grew up.  

              Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

              by mem from somerville on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:44:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  One's personal experience (4+ / 0-)

            isn't very useful in arguing about trends.  I would find it hard to reconcile your stance in "fighting for the work" vs. "just find someone who does it better and I will leave."

            Your situation probably isn't causing a great deal of harm to anyone, unless you're part of a larger corporate effort to undermine the local workforce.

            However, the same laws that would allow you to work at any job you liked in a foreign country would also allow large companies to ship in platoons of foreign labor (which they have done), claiming that "the skills don't exist here", (which is a lie), and then lambasting anyone who objects as a populist.

            This is a trap we'd better not fall into.

            •  I did not mean it as a be all and end all (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the argument is in the body of the diary not my short reply.

              I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

              by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:39:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't understand the point of your comment then (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                if it's not meant to be a comment that uses your own personal experience to prove your wider point, then how is it relevant?

                •  Do you understand English? (0+ / 0-)

                  "be all and end all" mean anything to you?

                  Its a part not the whole.


                  I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

                  by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 09:18:41 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No need to be insulting (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Do you understand how to write for comprehension?

                    I fully understand "be all and end all".  Do you understand that people expect that when you reply to a comment, it's meant to add to the discussion?  To further your point, or to argue against another point?

                    Do you commonly just blabber out words with no intention that they mean anything at all in the discussion?  

                    I recommend against that if you'd like people to understand what you're saying.  I'd also recommend against insulting people who are simply trying to join in a conversation you started in a public place.

                    Its a part not the whole.

                    I asked how this part of your argument was meant to support your argument, and your answer was..."Well it's not my whole argument!"


      •  Nice doublespeak (0+ / 0-)

        Sunshine on my shoulders...

        by pkbarbiedoll on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:06:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It should be noted (0+ / 0-)

        That American unions are (because of their rather dire situation) happy to organize any worker.  It's the populist right that doesn't recognize the rights of all workers.

        "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

        by theran on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:10:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing is what it seems... (0+ / 0-)

    I can safely say that contemporary fascism/totalitarianism will have zero resemblence to that of the early 20th century.  We're in the middle of it right now and we've elected just another figurehead to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Why do we even bother to vote?  There seems to be no point in doing so anymore.  The NWO is in full effect now.  This whole economic/geo-political mess we find ourselves in today is working out as intended.  

    "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

    by TheKost on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:51:34 AM PST

    •  That's what worries me although (0+ / 0-)

      I optimistically think there is a small chance it wont succeed.

      I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

      by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:53:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate this use of the word Populism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prfb, blueoasis, pkbarbiedoll

    I realize this usage has perhaps become common in Europe, but it is completely opposite of the original meaning of the term and what it has always meant in the United States.

    There is really no such a thing as "right-wing" populism in US history. And Populism was never in any way associated with nationalism or anti-immigrant sentiment.

    The perversion of the word has been primarily a propaganda tool of the right, who don't want to discuss what it really means. The bastardization of the word began in the elitist East coast press even in the Populist era, as the corporate elites sought to portray this movement of farmers and working people as something ignorant, violent and dangerous. The effort to somehow associate Hitler with "populism" has always been a deliberate effort to sully the term, akin to conservatives today who love to claim that Hitler was a "liberal". It's completely ignorant historically, in addition to obviously promoting a corporatist agenda.

    Please educate yourself on the true historic meaning of the word.

    •  Well if you hadn't put such a snarky last (0+ / 0-)

      sentence I might have bothered to think about what you said.

      I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

      by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:54:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The fact of letting the last sentence... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paul Goodman, pkbarbiedoll

        get in the way of considering the substance being presented is not very indicative of an open mind.

        The overall comment is instructive and the response is childish.

        •  I think it's kinda silly. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's defense by way of tautological redefinition: define "populism" as "good populism," and then conclude that there's no such thing as bad populism.  Q motherfucking ED.

          We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

          by burrow owl on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:10:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not the one redefining (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bronte17, pkbarbiedoll

            The word has an original meaning which was far and away it's one commonly understood meaning for nearly a century.

            The effort to create alternative definitions is an effort to create ambiguity and impede clear thought. It is a matter of framing. And it just so happens that the original intended meaning of this particular word remains very relevant today.

            I might similarly object to people using the word "liberal" only with a negative connotation and the word "conservative" only with a positive connotation. Or to anyone innocently repeating Rush Limbaugh talking points.  Or perhaps unwittingly using an expression that historically has racist connotations and which some might consider offensive.

            The effort made by right wing academics in recent decades to redefine this word clearly has an agenda behind it.

            •  You're fighting a losing battle with this person (0+ / 0-)

              This diary is a thinly veiled attempt to reframe labor in the context of a make-believe world without borders.   Many libertarians and republicans also beleive people should be able to relocate and work wherever they want.  Corporations spend billions on lobbying for the same.  Why?  Cheap fucking labor.

              Sunshine on my shoulders...

              by pkbarbiedoll on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:09:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Not snark (6+ / 0-)

        I assumed you were coming from a European perspective and perhaps not aware of the historic meaning. It was a sincere request for you to Educate yourself on this important area of US History.

        Populism is the one great left wing movement in US History. We never had any strong influence from socialism or Marxism in the US. At around the time those things arose in Europe, in the late 19th century, it was Populism which arose in the US.

        And the word referred exclusively to the political and economic philosophy of the People's Party.

        The core of it was opposition to the control of the US banking system and money supply by private interests, which had led the economy into recession and deflation.  These corporate interest further had corrupted government, through the influence of money, and were feeding at the public trough of taxpayer funds, while government no longer represented the interests of common people.

        Populists favored political reforms to reduce the influence of money (such as an end to patronage, and creation of a merit based civil service) and only favored socializing specific industries which were natural monopolies or critical to the public interest, specifically railroads and banking.

        I only meant to warn you, as a matter of cultural understanding,  that your usage of the term will come across as ignorant to anyone properly educated in the U.S.

        •  The relevant question, then, is to what degree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theran, LaFeminista

          the US populists were racially / ethnically progressive.

          (and that assumes your rather non-populist method of definition by way of top-down institution: "this is how the educated elite define populism, so we can ignore its definition in practice by the commoners.")

          We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

          by burrow owl on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:22:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Much moreso than the population (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bronte17, pkbarbiedoll

            The country as a whole was certainly not all that racially/ethnically progressive. So you can find individual examples of racist Populists.

            But as a whole it was much more "progressive" in that since than the country as a whole (moreso by the way than the Progressive movement).

            The Knights of Labor, one of the founding organizations of the Populist Party, admitted women and blacks, and fought for equal pay for women. As a matter of political strategy, Southern Populists emphasized racial reconciliation by attempting to form a new political alliance between economically repressed working class whites and economically repressed former slaves. This is what they campaigned on.

        •  Eh, not so much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          By your logic, then, you oppose the use of the word "fascism" to refer to anything other than the Italian political movement of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s?

          I would submit, rather, that just as "fascism" tends to represent the larger totalitatian ideology typified by "Fascism" (the Italian Mussolini party) even though there may well be significant variations between its manifestations, so "populism" has come to refer to the larger political movement that included the late 19th century American "Populist" philosophy.  

          The larger populist ideology is marked by a rebellion against perceived elites with a call for "the people" to reclaim control, while being distinct from Marxist formulations of a similar thrust.  Like the original Populism, there is almost always an Us v. Them rhetorical meme.  There also seems to be a tendency, in its 20th century iterations, to become a vehicle for "strong man" rule. See Huey Long and George Wallace for examples.

  •  I'm a free trader, generally speaking (5+ / 0-)

    and supportive of immigration, as it is generally necessary for societies with such low birth rates to replenish themselves from the outside.

    But let's not also be naive. Immigration, in both its legal and illegal forms, is and has been used by certain economic sectors (high tech and agriculture) to lower wages. H1B workers are presumably brought in to work that no American can be found to do.... but given that the software industry never fully recovered from the dot bomb era, who can really believe that Microsoft can't find resident people to do the work of the people they claim they need to import by HB1?

    Bipartisanship: what happens when an unstoppable force tries to reason with an immovable object!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:00:24 AM PST

    •  Have you ever worked full-time in Microsoft? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, LaFeminista

      95% of the H-1B employees were educated in the US where they received Masters or Phd's. Should we allow them to run our university's and then boot them out? I worked with people from China, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Australia, Canada, India, and France. And yeah they were paid as much or more than native born Americans like myself.

      •  so what's your point? (0+ / 0-)

        Is attending a university the equivalent to "running" a university?

        And why should the privilege of attending a US university also guarantee the privilege of working a US job?

        I don't get this logic at all.

        •  Take away a future and they stop coming (0+ / 0-)

          And then associated research slows down and the US will begin it's decline into nothingness. Masters/Phd programs in hard science and engineering at our top Universities are filled with > 50% foreign students. Yes we should guarantee any foreign student with a Masters/Phd a green card upon graduation.

          •  a green card (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            is quite a different thing than an H1B visa.

            Also, don't discount the fact that US enrollments in these majors has dropped since offshoring became popular here.  It's like asking students to train for jobs in the steel industry...some future!

            I don't think you're trying to say that American students cannot fill these positions, at least I hope you're not.  If there were any incentive for American students to enroll in these programs, then we wouldn't have to rely on our popularity with foreign students.

  •  Talk about a broad brush... (6+ / 0-)

    being applied and context stretched to the limit.

    In the runup to Durban 2, which Obama has now decided, like Bush, to boycott, many participants label Israel a Nazi state.

    I believe that, similarly, you take Populism and pervert its meaning to something that it simply is not.

  •  Obama...Populist (4+ / 0-)

    Combative Obama vows to fight for his budget
    Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:00am GMT:

    "The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don't. I work for the American people," Obama said.

    "I didn't come here to do the same thing we've been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November."

  •  Populism v Repro Rights (0+ / 0-)

    This has only been hinted at, but part of opposition to immigration includes forcing non-immigrant women to have more children.  This was true during the great migration from Europe to the U.S. a century ago.  WASP women weren't having enough babies to compete with "the breed like rabbits" pouring in from Ireland,Italy and China.  This was behind the opposition to Margaret Sanger and the movement for birth control and it has affected the discourse on the subject ever since.

    It reared its head again in the 1970's to oppose the Zero Population Growth movement.  Not only were women getting too uppity, Latins were pouring in and making Spanish the "official" language.  No matter where the hoard of surplus labor comes from, behind them they leave a lot of women broken by childbearing.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:50:21 AM PST

  •  Progressive populism brought about some (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Goodman

    great good in the Midwest back in the day. The biggest concern I have with Populism is the use of emotional rhetoric, which is something I see here everyday, but is a double edged sword.

    Vacuum the pliers that sound like a bull, cash in my money-back trou, Oh I've found the lie of my future wife, beyond the Yellowbrick Row-w-w-w..

    by the fan man on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 06:05:10 AM PST

  •  Thank you for the enlightening post (2+ / 0-)

    Awareness is the key to avoid being manipulated into unhealthy mindset.

    Propaganda is alive and well - perhaps not as Orwell conceived - but strong just the same.

    Just to throw in a current financial context in your discussion - from The Telegraph

    Markets have been rattled this week by warnings from rating agency Moody's that Austrian, Swedish and Italian banks may face downgrades over their heavy exposure to the ex-Soviet bloc. The region has borrowed $1.7 trillion (£1.2 trillion) – mostly from European banks – and must roll over $400bn this year.
    Austria's central bank governor, Ewald Nowotny, said the regional crisis had become "dangerous" and called for a pan-EU rescue strategy to prevent contagion.
    Bartosz Pawlowski, from TD Securities, said the recent plunge in currencies across Eastern Europe had come as a brutal shock. "The rout could potentially lead to substantial problems, if not an outright collapse of the financial system," he said, citing the rising real burden of debt taken out in euros and Swiss francs.
    Even Poland – a pillar of stability in the region – may ultimately need a bail-out by the International Monetary Fund. Latvia, Hungary, Ukraine and Belarus have already been rescued. Romania's premier, Emil Boc said his country would decide over the next two weeks whether to seek an IMF loan. Turkey is next.

    Some speculate that a breakdown of the Eastern European economies will ricochet throughout Europe and across the Atlantic.

    The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. - Zeno

    by yellow dog in NJ on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 06:19:18 AM PST

  •  On the economic of immigration & trade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is a very good diary; didn't mean to hijack it with my response to the (I thought) provocative title. On the intended topic, though, the potential for backlash against immigrants and trade, it is right on target.

    The problem with the economics of these issues is that when the economy is operating near capacity, these things tend to be positive. When the economy is below capacity, and you have high unemployment, they can turn into negatives. When the worker who becomes unemployed, because his job is taken by an immigrant or shipped overseas, then ends up on unemployment, there is no net economic benefit. Indeed, society ends up paying twice, as taxpayers then have to pay the worker who is no longer working. The theory of "comparative advantage" only works when the economy is actively managed to remain near full employment.

    The trick is in convincing people that the real culprit is the mismanaged economy, and not the immigrant or foreign worker who is only trying to provide for his own family.

    Bill Clinton as president managed to do this fairly well; free trade at that time likely had a net positive impact, as his economic team got the economy to a low unemployment rate, and the government actively instituted aggressive programs to help retrain workers who were displaced. But, we also have to recognize that the economic costs of the trade deficit which also resulted.

    Large trade deficits can be unsustainable over time. They essentially represent a relative loss of wealth in the US, as more is owed to foreigners. This doesn't mean that trade must be completely "balanced"; the US is a wealthy country which can probably afford to lose a bit of ground in relative terms if it means we are all better off (a smaller share of a larger global pie).

    But, there are limits, and negative effects of persistent large trade deficits. One under emphasized impact is the effect on the banking sector. If the economy as a whole is borrowing in order to consume more than we produce, then this gets mediated through the banks: banks end up with more loans than deposits.

    Banks thus must raise the additional capital either directly from foreigners (such as by "securitizing" mortgages and selling them overseas) or from the US government (more borrowing from the Fed, while the treasury itself concurrently sells more bonds to foreigners). So even the banking crisis is related to our policy on trade.

    The ultimate solution is likely to be some middle ground, where the deficit is still there but smaller than it has been, and US export industries play a larger role. In order for this to happen, however, there likely needs to be some devaluation of the currency.

    But, the economic elites would prefer to have deflation, rather than full employment. The banks themselves would prefer deflation, as inflation would cut into future profits for lenders. In the current deflation, banks are very profitable on the loans that are actually being paid off; so they would prefer to simply sell off the bad loans to taxpayers, keeping those future large profits for themselves.

    And so, in a roundabout way we are somehow back to the original meaning of the word Populism, and the "cross of gold".  In the years leading up to this crisis, while lending, and broader money measures went through the roof, it is instructive that the expansion of the actual currency was no more than it would have been under a gold standard.

    I am optimistic that Obama, and a Democratic Congress, will be able to engineer some form of economic recovery, through a greatly improved fiscal policy.  But policy will still be far from ideal without the full co-operation of the Federal Reserve, as well as without some global international co-operation aimed towards achieving some reasonable balance in trade and foreign currency exchange.

  •  Fear (0+ / 0-)

    Nice way to demonize everyone advocating for populist economic agendas - including Democrats like me.  

    Sunshine on my shoulders...

    by pkbarbiedoll on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:00:26 AM PST

    •  As I recall your "agenda" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was to remove the brown menace, which, you told us, was the cause of the problems in the economy.  The excitement of the past few months should have conclusively convinced any reasonable person that you were completely full of shit.

      "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

      by theran on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:08:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am insulted by your accusation of racism (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        acerimusdux, arlene

        I am 100% pro union, pro labor, and pro worker.  I don't care what color or sex you are, or what language you speak.  I don't care who you sleep with, or what kind of music you groove to.  I don't care if you identify as man woman or something entirely else.  

        That doesn't mean I support scabs crossing picket lines during an organized strike.  Nor do I support wage suppression through "free trade", outsourcing, H1-b visa abuse, or offshoring.

        The fact that NAFTA decimated Mexico's ag industry isn't the fault of the Mexican people.  But a direct result of NAFTA is greater levels of illegal immigration.  Do you want people coming across the border unchecked, possibly carrying contagious diseases?  I don't.  Do you mind mass murderers strolling in under the radar, to your hometown where your daughers and sons attend school?  I don't.  

        Since you already wrongly accused me of racism and xenophobia, I am NOT insinuating that illegal immigrants are disease carrying ax murderers.  Nor have I ever, nor would I ever.  

        If we want to discuss improving immigration processes - fine.  Let's have that discussion.   But let's also have an honest discussion about removing subsidies from American agribusiness - the same subsidies that (in my opinion) encouraged greater instances of illegal immigration by Mexican, Chilean, and other people.  I'd rather build Mexico up as a strong fair trading partner and work on immigration law,  than continue with our current situation.  

        I'm sorry if that sounds racist to you.

        Sunshine on my shoulders...

        by pkbarbiedoll on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:28:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You really jumped to that conclusion? (0+ / 0-)

      Populism can be manipulated, if you don't worry about that then you are ready to be used, it can be very pernicious and very well done.

      Be sceptical do not rush in head first as you did with my diary.

      Examples were given, and history is littered with populist movements gone sour.

      Its a warning not a prediction.

      I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

      by LaFeminista on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:48:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can see where it comes from (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    acerimusdux, theran, LaFeminista

    and the insecurity that feeds it.  It is so hard to battle those fears for some people, especially those who aren't so self-aware.

    Group Bragging Betrays Insecurity, Study Shows

    Pickett and her co-investigators found that groups that boast, gloat and denigrate outsiders tend to be of low social status or vulnerable to threats from other groups.

    I'm more shocked to see people who are otherwise aware falling into some of the traps--such as scapegoating numerically small segments and inflating their actual proportion of the workforce.  

    But what's the solution?  We need to make those people secure and less vulnerable.  How?  I have no idea--there are systemic issues with our educational system, and our economy, that are out of their hands.  And that aren't amenable to quick fixes.  In the meantime, there will be awful rhetoric and it will lead to violence.  

    Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

    by mem from somerville on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:33:03 AM PST

  •  Can't we all try to get along? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

    by publicv on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:00:14 AM PST

  •  If you are saying "Don't follow leaders" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, Jagger, pkbarbiedoll

    and by extension "isms," then I'm right there with you.

    But you do seem to be twisting "populist" all out of plumb to get it to mean "evil, wicked, mean and nasty stuff I disagree with." I implore you to find a different word. "Ignorant" or "malevolent" will do.

    I have ancestors who were prairie populists because they thought the corporations/robber barons/bankers of the day had a lock on money and government.

    They were not mistaken.

    And they weren't fascists (They were, if anything, a kind of rudderless, leaderless, amorphous mob...) or anything else you rail against here.

    Fuzzy thinking.

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