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Populism With Socialist Characteristics

11 25 7
13.06.2018

PHILADELPHIA – Scholars and journalists have tirelessly covered the rise of populist nationalism in Europe, and especially the hardline governments in Hungary and Poland. With a few hours and a lot of googling, one can learn much about how both countries’ governments have commandeered public media, cracked down on privately owned TV stations and newspapers, weakened constitutional courts, attacked immigrants, promoted hate speech against Jews, Muslims, and other minority groups, and unleashed online trolls. But one would still be unable to answer the fundamental question: Why are these governments so popular?

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The answer is one that most analysts have overlooked: these governments are not only nationalist; they are also socialist.

Consider Poland, where the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party won 38% of the vote in the October 2015 parliamentary election. In April 2018, despite mounting authoritarianism and official complaints from the European Union, opinion polls put support for........

© Project Syndicate