Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Chantal Mouffe on centrism and right-wing populism

This is from On The Political, published in 2005:
In a context where the dominant discourse proclaims there is no alternative to the current neo-liberal form of globalisation and that we should accept its dictats, it is not surprising that a growing number of people are listening to those who proclaim that alternatives do exist and that they will give back to the people the power to decide. When democratic politics has lost its capacity to mobilize people around distinct political projects and when it limits itself to securing the necessary conditions for the smooth working of the market, the conditions are ripe for political demagogues to articulate popular frustration.
For some time the case of Britain seemed to provide a counter-example to such an evolution; however the recent success of the [UK] Independence Party in the 2004 European elections suggests that things may be changing. It is of course too early to predict the fate of such a party, and the British electoral system certainly does [not] facilitate the rise third parties. But the dramatic surge in the share of votes needs to be taken seriously. It is undeniable that all the conditions nowadays exist in Britain for a right-wing populist party to exploit the popular frustration.

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