populism-panel_thumb
populism-panel_thumb This article is more than 3 years old
News

We Asked 3 Progressive Voices What ‘Left Populism’ Looks Like. They Said Solidarity, Anti-Racism and the Working Class.

Broadbent Institute panel discusses shares its thoughts on how to fight hateful demagogues and the rise of the far-right

As far-right nationalist movements gain ground in Europe and North America,  the Broadbent Institute’s 2019 Progress Summit in Ottawa confronted the question with a panel titled “this is what right populism looks like.”

In the wake of waves of hate-motivated attacks, such as the recent massacre of 5o Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, panelists weighed in on how the Left can counter narratives that inspire hate and the rise of authoritarian leaders.

But as the panel noted, the term “populism” is often used to whitewash more hateful and dangerous beliefs.

“Populism has become, in a way, a euphemism,” said columnist and broadcaster Michael Coren, who moderated the panel.

“It often describes racism and xenophobia, but the term populism itself seems cuddly. Nobody will say ‘I’m a proud racist’ even in contemporary Canada. But they will say I’m a populist. Should we try to take the term back?”

PressProgress asked the three panelists about their thoughts on “Left populism” and what its most important ingredients are:

Todd Tucker, political scientist and Roosevelt Institute fellow

“In the US you start to see candidates on the left who try to claim the idea of populism as something that belongs more on the left than on the right. The argument is that if you’re talking about people versus the elites, the people are really working class people, its people of colour, it’s the diversity that we have, its you, against the few that want to divide you.”

Zita Gurmai, Vice President of the Hungarian Socialist party

“I think its time to look in the mirror. We’re seeing people divided into smaller and smaller parties. This division is dangerous. We need new ideas. A new dream. We need solidarity at this time, and a vision of a future where no one is left behind.”

Emilie Nicolas, anthropologist and Québec-based columnist

“I think it’s very dangerous for the left to only focus on class. That’s what people do when they aren’t comfortable talking about race. People are still trying to make it not about race, people are still trying to make it not about white supremacy. This is part of Canada’s foundational ideology, and that’s a conversation we need to have. What are the founding myths of Canada and how are they connected to violence?”

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2020-01-06 Exclusive

Top Doug Ford Adviser Sent Premier’s Office Backchannel Message About Meeting With Russian Government

Related Stories

News

WestJet asked non-union staff to provide scab labour in case of Calgary, Vancouver strike

View the post
News

This Right-Wing Québec Media Website Has Mysterious Ties With Alberta’s Oil Lobby

View the post
News

Top Conservatives Attended Closed-Door Conference Featuring Panel Disputing Residential Schools History

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get All Your Canadian Labour News in One Place
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? Good news! We’ve launched a newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.