Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-leader Alice Weidel campaigns in front of a banner that reads: ‘Crime by immigration: a flood of refugees leaves its mark!’
Current events show that the old problem of populism is making a comeback, and that populism is indeed an autoimmune disease of our age of monitory democracy.
Is populism a poison or a cure for democracy, or both, depending on the circumstances?
Louis Boilly/Wikipedia Commons
We’re not sure if the cure, the populist outsider, will work and make life better. but we are willing to experiment as the old certainties of representative politics wither.
Why are communities that need government’s help seemingly rejecting it on principle?
Susan E Adams/flickr
Why are we increasingly seeing voters support candidates whose policies are, superficially at least, against their own interests?
Wayne Swan has drawn a parallel between the the ALP’s ‘Laborism’ and New Labour’s ‘Third Way’ in the UK.
While both parties may have set out to modernise and renew their ideologies, the ALP's and Labour’s attempts to marry the old and new instead precipitated two separate identity crises.
Voters might be quite rational in refusing to give the green light to those who wield power and benefit from the status quo.
Ambivalence among voters is reason to think about how democracy is working for us as a community. To keep democracy alive we need to be sceptical about the exercise of power and keep it in check.
Political groups of all stripes recognise the enormous power of online mass persuasion, one meme at a time.
Each individual act of posting, linking, commenting and liking may look insignificant up close, but they add up. There is enormous power here for mass persuasion, one viral share at a time.
Donald Trump constantly invoked the idea of political correctness gone mad in his presidential campaign.
Populist leaders not only attack the institutions of global capital, they also disregard the checks and balances of institutional democracy.
Populism celebrates laypeople without offering them any real autonomy or integrity.
The only exceptional leaders we need today are the ones who help us to govern and take care of ourselves.
Can we avert a populist apocalypse through good old-fashioned deliberation?
Populist politics would appear to have left deliberative democracy by the wayside, but innovations that engage citizens in reasoned decision-making have much to offer.
Guillaume Horcajuelo / Frederic Scheiber / EPA
Both attack the status-quo, but for entirely different reasons.
Those on the far right already worry about finite resources and protecting traditional culture, and they see the natural landscape as a big part of national identity.
Could a randomly selected tree make a better president than Donald Trump?
If people are starting to look much worse in democratic terms, trees are starting to look much better. We are learning that plants engage in meaningful and, more to the point, truthful communication.
Donald Trump’s reinvention of the royal fiat as rule-by-tweet, or ‘twiat’, is anti-democratic and needs to be resisted.
Donald Trump is reinventing the royal fiat by novel means: the rule-by-tweet, or 'twiat'. This move is not an extension of popular democracy, but its enemy, and it needs to be resisted.
Thomas Piketty has demonstrated how inequality can be – and has been over time – fundamentally destructive of sustained economic growth.
The crisis confronting neoliberal capitalism suggests that its internal contradictions are now undermining its very foundations. What can we expect from a post-neoliberal world?
Just say no! Tyranny depends on mass subservience.
The origin of tyrannical power is irrelevant: whether by election, inheritance or force, if rulership is oppressive, it is tyrannical. And the way to beat it is deceptively simple: refuse to comply.
Graffiti on a wall in Sana'a, Yemen, denounces US drone strikes that have killed scores of civilians.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus once observed that Persian rulers indulged the habit of getting drunk when making important decisions. When sober and sensible next morning, their custom was to reconsider…
Australia displays many of the hallmarks of an ‘ethnocracy’ – albeit one cloaked in the rhetoric of multiculturalism.
Australia was designed at Federation to ensure nationals of British descent would be able to create a society populated by individuals as much like themselves as possible.
Through reframing issues, strong leaders can adopt and promote strongly humanitarian policies toward issues such as refugees.
In a globalised world, the credibility of the birthright lottery as grounds for excluding people from protection may be diminishing.
To date, Donald Trump’s campaign has offered us a powerful blend of hope and horror.
Utopia and dystopia are combined in current political thinking, from Donald Trump to the universal basic income.
What do you call a democracy that depends on the exclusion of whole groups from political participation?
Democracy today contains within itself impulses towards both inclusion and exclusion. Spinoza's thinking on aristocracy should alert us to how democratic rule by the people can be hollowed out.