RJ Eskow: Profound social change — whether in the agrarian economy of the 1900s, the growth of labor rights, civil rights, women’s rights, or in other transformative historical moments — has always begun with a popular movement.
Populism is a term used to describe politics that appeals to the interests and sentiments of the general population as opposed to the interests of the elite. In other words, populism espouses government by the people as a whole (that is to say, the masses). This is in contrast to elitism, aristocracy, synarchy, oligarchy or plutocracy, each of which is an ideology that espouse government by a small, privileged group above the masses. Political parties and politicians often use the terms populist and populism as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as merely empathising with the public, (usually through rhetoric or "unrealistic" promises) in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.
There have been several versions of populist movements and populist parties in the United States, some inspired by the Populist Party of the 1890s. This was the party of the early U.S. populist movement in which millions of farmers and other working people successfully enacted their anti-trust agenda. Comparison between earlier surges of populism and those of today are complicated by shifts in what are thought to be the interests of the common people. Both the formation of the Tea Party and the Occupy movement have been attributed to populism.
Norman Solomon: We need to build a grassroots progressive movement — wide, deep and strong enough to fight the right and challenge the corporate center of the Democratic Party.
Norman Solomon: Demagogues in the Republican Party, and their Democratic allies, will say this is about amnesty and open borders. No matter how many times they repeat it, it won’t be true.
Bill Londrigan: While some observers have attempted to portray the Tea Party as a populist uprising against the prevailing powers, traditional populist movements support workers’ right to organize. Questions about where the Tea Party stands on workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain for better wages and benefits have now been put to rest – and they are far from any notion of populism!
Anthony Samad: With a conservative court, you never know…we just may be witnessing something we never expected to see. Neither did those living during Reconstruction. Somebody is waiting to “redeem” America a second time. It may be the national debate of the 2012 or 2016 Presidential elections. We just need to know what that really means, in terms of the return to yesterday in America. It’s not impossible…
Robert Reich: But suddenly the winds are blowing in a different direction over the Potomac. The 2010 midterms are getting closer, and the Dems are scared. Their polls are plummeting. The upsurge in mad-as-hell populism requires that Democrats become indignant on behalf of Americans, and indignation is meaningless without a target. They can’t target big government because Republicans do that one better, especially when they’re out of power. So what’s the alternative? Wall Street.
Berry Craig: The Tea Baggers have bought into Social Darwinism, the 19th century gospel of the rich and powerful that extolled the “free market” as almost divinely inspired. “God gave me my money,” Rockefeller said. Social Darwinists said if you’re poor and powerless, it’s your own fault. Some Tea Baggers feel that way about health care. “YOUR HEALTH YOUR PROBLEM,” said another sign at a Tea Bagger rally.
The argument of The Reagan Revolution belies its title: according to Troy, there was no Reagan revolution. This is not to say Reagan was an inconsequential president: Troy portrays him as a man who changed the nation’s political climate even if he never changed its topography.
Pentagon Taking Over U.S. Foreign Policy. Some idea of Pentagon dominance over diplomatic approaches may be gleaned from the Pentagon’s $664 billion annual budget compared with State’s $52 billion. “Washington employs more military band members than it does foreign service officers.” –Sherwood Ross America Needs a True Revolution of Values. What can Sen. Jim DeMint, […]
It’s nice to see that when the public gets sufficiently angry about something, Congress responds. In a rare show of bipartisanship, members are eagerly registering shock and outrage at AIG’s bonus payments by coming up with an assortment of ways to reclaim the bonanza, including taxing them away retroactively. Who says democracy is dead? But […]