PROGRESSIVE POPULISM AND SOCIAL CHANGE

Reports from the Edge of Borderline Democracy

Populism as a term reappeared in everyday public discourse in Greece with the first protests against the memorandum with IMF, EU and ECB and its concomitant austerity policies. The polarisation at the base of the populism/anti-populism dichotomy has been exacerbated on both a social and a political/ideological level. Every articulation of popular demands was denounced by the predominant power block as a populist one. All collective practices were stigmatised as populist and stripped of their political meaning. Everyone who distances himself even a minimum from the dominant neoliberal crisis management discourse was and is dismissed as a “populist”.

Politicians who implement those measures and the groups of intellectuals, writers, journalists who are tasked with the ideological legitimacy of these policies use populism pejoratively as an accusation, a blame. Yannis Stavrakakis in his book titledPopulism, Anti-populism and the Crisis (in greek)[i]offers many such examples such as Anna Diamantopoulou…

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