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.
RJ Eskow: Make no mistake about it: the public’s mood, despite years of attempts by most Republicans and many Democrats to placate them, is distinctly populist.
John Peeler: Our present plight is rooted in the loss of consensus about social justice, management of the economy, and most fundamentally, about who we are as a people.
Stephen Lendman: When Chavez or other Bolivarian candidates win, it’s fair and square. In contrast, US elections have no credibility whatever. Money power runs things. People have no say.
Tom Hayden: Carville and Greenberg differ from many liberal Democratic advocates, however, in arguing that deficits are a real problem, not ones invented by Republican skinflints and gold bugs.
Brent Budowsky: It is time for the true champions of the 99 percent to launch the largest voter-registration, -mobilization and -turnout campaign in the history of freedom.
Berry Craig: Elizabeth Warren kept her cool. She swore the heckler, who said he had been unemployed for more than a year, didn’t make her mad. “There’s someone else pre-packaging that poison — and that’s who makes me angry.”
Randy Shaw: If President Obama and fellow Democrats agree to a deficit reduction deal that cuts Medicare, Social Security, and other programs serving the 99%, expect an electoral calamity for Democrats in 2012.
Robert Reich: Will the Wall Street Occupiers morph into a movement that has as much impact on the Democratic Party as the Tea Party has had on the GOP? Maybe. But there are reasons for doubting it.
Brent Budowsky: I believe this new surge of all-American protest could be the beginning of a new American Spring that could rejuvenate the progressive and populist movements and win majority support throughout the nation.
Joseph Palermo: Obama and the Democrats are in trouble politically not because they did too much to help hurting Americans, but because they did too little.
Brent Budowsky: I propose this: Don’t wait for Obama. Don’t get mad. Organize. Mobilize. Champion the proposals we support in the battle of ideas. Fight for them.
Tina Dupuy: The Tea Party will tell you it’s not the government’s job to make life better for the middle class. Ok, fine. Then whose job is it? Oh, the unions. Which the Tea Party is also apparently against…because the Tea Party is anti-populist.