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Populism in Global Perspective. A Performative and Discursive Approach

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Preface
List of Contributors
1 Introduction
Part I Theory
2 Populism, Hegemony, and the Political Construction of “The People”: A Discursive Approach
3 Who Would Identify With An “Empty Signifier”?: The Relational, Performative Approach to Populism
Part II Populist Identification in Global Perspective
4 Populism as Synecdochal Representation: Understanding the Transgressive Bodily Performance of South American Presidents
5 Rafael Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador: A Case of Left-Wing Non-Hegemonic Populism
6 Trump and the Populist Presidency
7 Populism, Race, and Radical Imagination: #FeelingTheBern in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter
8 Populist Politics and the Politics of “Populism”: The Radical Right in Western Europe
9 Populism in Government: The Case of SYRIZA (2015–2019)
10 The High-Low Divide in Turkish Politics and the Populist Appeal of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party
11 Beyond Demagogues and Deplorables: Democratizing Populist Rhetoric in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines
12 Out With the Old, In With the New?: The ANC and EFF’s Battle to Represent the South African “People”
13 Conclusions: Reflections on the Lessons Learned

Citation preview

“This volume fills a major void in the study of populism, as it pulls together different strands of scholarship that highlight populism’s socio-cultural and performative dimensions. The editors and other contributors build on the foundations of Laclau’s discursive approach to analyze the relational character of populist appeals, the cultural construction of populist identities, and the performative element in populist practices. The contributors illustrate the utility of these conceptual and theoretical insights through case studies of populism from around the world. This is an original and pathbreaking book, one that is sure to shape the agenda of populism studies for many years to come.” Kenneth M. Roberts, Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government, Cornell University “Hitherto, even most sympathetic theories of populism have recoiled from the corporeality of populist politics. This wonderful volume does more than put empirical flesh on the bones of theoretical abstraction; it takes the flaunting fleshiness of populist politics as its starting point.” William Mazzarella, Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago “One cannot understand contemporary politics without understanding populism, and this anthology offers a cornucopia of theoretical and empirical insights about the concept and its multiple and protean uses around the world. It is a scholarly achievement of the highest order.” Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University “In the increasingly crowded space of populist studies,  Populism in Global Perspective stands out as a pathbreaker: it inaugurates a post-Laclauian approach to populism. The authors take on board Laclau’s discourse-theoretical framework and move it in another direction by offering a refreshing sociological grounding to the formalistic arguments about empty signifiers, the leader, and the people.” Benjamin Arditi, Professor of Politics, National University of Mexico (UNAM) “Few doubt the challenges and opportunities posed by the resurgence of populist politics in the current political conjuncture.  Populism in Global Perspective: A  Performative and Discursive Approach  is an excellent collection of essays and reflections, which brings together leading experts in the field to problematize and engage with the populist moment. Articulating and developing a distinctive perspective, while injecting a valuable comparative and global focus, the volume adds vital theoretical, methodological, and substantive contributions to characterize and explain a pressing political issue across a range of highly pertinent cases.” David Howarth, Professor, Department of Government, University of Essex

“This volume constitutes a major contribution to the study of contemporary populism. With its broad range of diverse cases, its fair and balanced treatment of the populist phenomenon, both left and right, and its theoretical richness, it stands out in the field. A  masterful tribute to the groundbreaking work of Ernesto Laclau, it extends and enriches his insights by illustrating the central importance of style and performance for the understanding of populism’s appeal. Its innovative and theoretically sophisticated approach is bound to challenge and inspire anyone interested in the appeal of contemporary populism, which is likely to persist in the foreseeable future.” Hans-Georg Betz, Lecturer of Political Science, University of Zurich


Pathbreaking theoretically and innovative in treatment, Populism in Global Perspective is a seminal addition to the literature on arguably the most controversial and fervently discussed topic in political science today. The book brings together established and rising stars in the field of populism studies, in an integrated set of theoretical and empirical studies centered on a discursive-performative notion of populism. Contributors argue that populist identification is relational and sociocultural, and demonstrate the importance of studying populism phenomenologically together with anti-populism. The truly global series of case studies of populism in the US, Western and Southern Europe, Latin America, South Africa, the Philippines, and Turkey achieves a deliberate balance of left and right instances of populism, including within regions, and of populism in government and opposition. Written in a style approachable to students and specialists alike, the volume provides a substantial foundation for current knowledge on the topic. Populism in Global Perspective is a must read for comparativists, political theorists, sociologists, area studies specialists, and all educated readers interested in populism worldwide. Pierre Ostiguy is Professor in the Escuela de Administración Pública of the University of Valparaiso, in Chile. He received his PhD in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught as a regular faculty member in Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Chile. He has been a visiting scholar at the Kellogg Institute (Notre Dame) and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence. He worked extensively on Peronism and anti-Peronism in Argentina, before turning to the political and social theory of populism and the comparative global study of populist politics. He is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017) and one of three contributors to its Concepts section. He has

authored numerous articles on populism and on party systems in Spanish, French, and English. Extended interviews with Ostiguy have been featured in Esprit (France), Birikim (Turkey), and, on many occasions, in Argentina. Francisco Panizza is Professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has been a visiting professor in universities in Argentina, Brazil, France, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, and Uruguay. His main research interests are populism, democratic politics, and Latin American politics. He has written extensively on populism and on left-of-center governments in Latin America. He is a Routledge author and editor. Among his main publications are “Populism and Identity” in The Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017); Conceptualizing Comparative Politics (ed. with Anthony Peter Spanakos) (2016); Moments of Truth: The Politics of Financial Crises in Comparative Perspective (ed. with George Philip) (2014); The Triumph of Politics: The Return of the Left in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador (with George Philip) (2011); Contemporary Latin America: Development and Democracy Beyond the Washington Consensus (2009); and, key for this volume, Populism and the Mirror of Democracy (Verso 2005). Benjamin Moffitt is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow at the Australian Catholic University (Melbourne). He received his PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on contemporary populism across the globe and is located at the intersection of democratic theory, comparative politics, and political communications. He is the author of The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation (Stanford 2016); Populism (Key Concepts in Political Theory) (Polity 2020); and Political Meritocracy and Populism (with Mark Chou and Octavia Bryant; Routledge, 2020). He has also authored articles on populism in journals including Political Studies and Government  & Opposition, and chapters in numerous edited collections, including The Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017) and Routledge Handbook of Global Populism (2019). His work has appeared or been cited in media outlets including The Economist, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, BBC News, and The Guardian. In 2018, he was named among the Top 5 Humanities and Social Sciences early career researchers in Australia by the Australian Broadcasting Company.

Conceptualising Comparative Politics: Polities, Peoples, and Markets Edited by Anthony Spanakos (Montclair State University) Francisco Panizza (London School of Economics)

Conceptualising Comparative Politics seeks to bring a distinctive approach to comparative politics by rediscovering the discipline’s rich conceptual tradition and inter-disciplinary foundations. It aims to fill out the conceptual framework on which the rest of the subfield draws but to which books only sporadically contribute, and to complement theoretical and conceptual analysis by applying it to deeply explored case studies. The series publishes books that make serious inquiry into fundamental concepts in comparative politics (crisis, legitimacy, credibility, representation, institutions, civil society, reconciliation) through theoretically engaging and empirically deep analysis. 10. The End of Communist Rule in Albania Political Change and The Role of The Student Movement Shinasi A. Rama 11. Authoritarian Gravity Centers A Cross-Regional Study of Authoritarian Promotion and Diffusion Thomas Demmelhuber and Marianne Kneuer 12. Politics as a Science A Prolegomenon Philippe C. Schmitter and Marc Blecher 13. Populism in Global Perspective A Performative and Discursive Approach Edited by Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt

POPULISM IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE A Performative and Discursive Approach

Edited by Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt

First published 2021 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-55934-2 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-62656-3 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-11014-9 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Apex CoVantage, LLC


Series Prefacexi Acknowledgementsxiii List of Contributors xv  1 Introduction Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt



Theory19   2 Populism, Hegemony, and the Political Construction of “The People”: A Discursive Approach Francisco Panizza and Yannis Stavrakakis


  3 Who Would Identify With An “Empty Signifier”?: The Relational, Performative Approach to Populism Pierre Ostiguy and Benjamin Moffitt



Populist Identification in Global Perspective


  4 Populism as Synecdochal Representation: Understanding the Transgressive Bodily Performance of South American Presidents75 María Esperanza Casullo   5 Rafael Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador: A Case of Left-Wing Non-Hegemonic Populism Samuele Mazzolini


x Contents

  6 Trump and the Populist Presidency Joseph Lowndes


  7 Populism, Race, and Radical Imagination: #FeelingTheBern in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter Laura Grattan


  8 Populist Politics and the Politics of “Populism”: The Radical Right in Western Europe Benjamin De Cleen, Jason Glynos, and Aurelien Mondon


  9 Populism in Government: The Case of SYRIZA (2015–2019) Grigoris Markou


10 The High-Low Divide in Turkish Politics and the Populist Appeal of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party Toygar Sinan Baykan


11 Beyond Demagogues and Deplorables: Democratizing Populist Rhetoric in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines Nicole Curato


12 Out With the Old, In With the New?: The ANC and EFF’s Battle to Represent the South African “People” Sithembile Mbete


13 Conclusions: Reflections on the Lessons Learned Francisco Panizza, Pierre Ostiguy, and Benjamin Moffitt




In 1985, Barbara Mandrell released a song written by Kyle Fleming and Dennis Morgan in which she reminisced “I was listenin’ to the Opry/ when all of my friends/ were diggin’ Rock ’n Roll and Rhythm & Blues,” before she sang the title “I was Country, when Country wasn’t cool.” Social scientists go through phases when they more or less enthusiastically “engage” in the “issues of the day,” and the last few years have led to a rather boisterous engagement. Specifically, in recent years, there has been a spate of academic and popular production by academics over “what went wrong?” and “is democracy dying?” questions which seem to beg some commentary on populism. There is much in the recent literature but, to be fair, much seems a response to events, rather than the result of a sustained study of the subject. Most students of Western democracies had devoted little attention to populism in their course of graduate study, unlike students of other regions where populism played a more perennial and robust role in politics (Ostiguy and Roberts 2016). Where populism was studied in Western European democracies, it was often seen as an aberration and pathology, rather than connected directly to the concept of democracy. Few dared to think of populism as “the Mirror of Democracy” (Panizza 2005). Moreover, much of the scholarship on populism—either not recognizing the connection to democracy or, for that very reason, seeking to further pathologize it—often overlooked anti-populism (Moffitt 2018). So how should scholars think about and investigate populism? The editors of this book, each of whose scholarly agenda has focused on populism, have put together an excellent collection of essays about populism that looks at manifestations of populism through the words and acts of political leaders, parties, movements, and governments in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. While the chapters draw from diverse contexts and focus on distinct units of analysis, the essays follow a compelling approach to populism, which is laid out

xii  Series Preface

in full in Chapters 2 (Panizza and Stavrakakis) and 3 (Ostiguy and Moffitt). This approach begins with Ernesto Laclau’s understanding that there is no preexisting notion of a, let alone, the people (2005). It must be constituted. For Laclau and his students, it was especially important to look at how discourse was used to include and exclude people, groups, ideas, and desires within the so-constituted people. The people was an “empty signifier” in that it did not have predetermined content but could be filled, (re)shaped, and embodied differently at different times. Populist language often is indignant and dichotomous (the people are slighted, ignored, deserving and so on; the elites and outsiders are not), and it is most visibly associated with a political leader. This leads many to study populism in terms of how a leader constitutes a people through speeches (and, for critics, how he or she tricks and manipulates them) or how a people is yearning for some messianic figure to speak to them in ways no one has before. Such studies correspond with supply- and demand-side approaches to politics, respectively. In some ways, they replicate the dichotomies presented in populist rhetoric. The editors of this volume are careful to note that populism is not simply a strategy of leaders (parties, movements, governments) or a yearning of people. It is relational. We must understand why followers follow, why leaders use certain appeals and not others, and what role is played by anti-populists in opening and closing opportunities for populism. Relationality can be seen in discourse between peoples (speaking and listening) and in public and private performances. Discourse and performances demonstrate an allegedly agonistic struggle within a polity which, while fully political, is often expressed primarily in socio-cultural terms that Ostiguy has characterized as “high” and “low” (see Chapter 3). Populist vulgarity and transgressions of “proper” norms is intentional and constitutive, as is the condemnation of it. This is true for political struggles and is not without import for academic writing on the subject. The above mingling of discursive logics, performance, and socio-cultural approaches contribute to a remarkably comprehensive and agile concept of populism, which offers considerable leverage to scholars trying to explain and understand one of the most enduring phenomena in modern politics. This concept is proved in compelling empirical studies from across the world and is offered for other scholars to consider as they try to make sense of one of the most powerful mobilizing forces in modern politics. I thank Mishella Romo Rivas for her comments on an earlier draft.

References Laclau, Ernesto. 2005. On Populist Reason. Verso: New York. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2018. “The Populism/Anti-Populism Divide in Western Europe.” Democratic Theory 5 (2). Winter: 1–16. Panizza, Francisco Ed. 2005. Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. Verso: New York. Roberts, Kenneth, and Pierre Ostiguy. 2016. “Putting Trump in Comparative Perspective: Populism and the Politicization of the Sociocultural Low,” Brown Journal of World Affairs, XXIII (I), Fall/Winter: 25–50.


This edited collection has had a long gestation. Pierre and Ben noticed back in late 2014 the strong similarities in their theoretical approach to populism, though they came from very different world regions. In 2015 while in London on a brief trip from Chile, Pierre decided to pay an impromptu visit to Francisco, whom he had met only once before, in Paraná, Argentina. Noting their shared concerns regarding the current state of the field of populism studies, they discussed the neglected role of identification and the possibility of a very fruitful theoretical dialogue between current “post-Laclauian” approaches and Pierre and Ben’s performative, relational approach. A panel convened at the American Political Science Association annual conference of 2016 brought six of the fifteen current authors (from the US, Turkey, South America, Europe, and Oceania) to Philadelphia to discuss the project, its core ideas and purpose, and the viability of a volume. The full-fledged project then took off, in nearly its current form, in the truly global workshop held in 2017 at the University of Oregon, a stimulating South-North encounter that drew scholars from five continents to beautiful Eugene. Given the subsequent countless rounds of revisions and pointed theoretical discussions, the product may be described as a collective work, helmed by editors working across three continents and time zones—in Santiago, London, and Melbourne. Given the long road travelled, many people deserve our thanks for their help in bringing this volume into being. Certainly, as editors, we wish to thank the contributors to this volume. Very far from being “just” a collection of chapters coming from a workshop, this book represents a genuine engagement and conversation arising from an intellectual community spread across the globe. Our contributors have been kind, thoughtful, curious, and critical in all the best ways, always willing to “engage and revise”,

xiv Acknowledgements

not shying away from big questions, and we are extremely grateful to them for their excellent chapters, as well as all the illuminating and thought-provoking discussions and correspondence along the way. At a practical level, we wish to thank, first and foremost, Joe Lowndes for organizing and receiving us at the University of Oregon workshop in October  2017 and, second, Dennis Galvan, Vice Provost for International Affairs. The volume, clearly, would not exist without Joe’s efforts—we thank him not only for his hard work in terms of the logistics of the workshop, but for his great warmth and hospitality in welcoming us all to Eugene. We thank the Department of Political Science at the University of Oregon for their sponsorship of the workshop; as well as the College of the Arts and Sciences and the Office of International Affairs for their generous financial support, which made our friendly “tribal gathering” possible. We also wish to thank those behind the scenes. At Routledge, we wish to thank Anthony Spanakos, academic co-editor of the “Conceptualising Comparative Politics” series, and Natalja Mortensen, senior editor in political science, who were enthusiastic from the get-go with this volume and who, together with Charlie Baker, editorial assistant, made this book a reality. Finally, we want to thank the three anonymous reviewers who took the time to engage with the original manuscript and offered valuable suggestions and feedback that improved the volume immensely. Pierre would like to thank the Catholic University of Córdoba in Argentina, and Martha Díaz in particular, for allowing him to carve out time for the volume during 2019. He also wishes to thank the Scuola Normale Superiore, in Florence, for hosting him as a visiting scholar in January and February 2019, providing him time and support to work on the project. In particular, Manuela Caiani was unforgettable for her tireless energy, hospitality, and ability to “make things happen”. The SNS seminar’s participants provided very helpful and thoughtful feedback on a first draft of the volume’s third chapter, including notably junior colleagues Beatrice Carella, Jacopo Custodi, and Enrico Padoan. Most importantly, certainly, Pierre wants to thank Elaine Thomas, who, more than a patient spouse, clearly has been a true intellectual partner in this odyssey, as well as a thorough editor, up to the very last version of the volume’s title. Francisco would like to acknowledge the LSE Department of Government Staff Research Fund for their financial contribution to the project, and to thank Andreas Sorgen for his help in the editing and proofreading of the manuscript. Ben would like to thank Ash, Will, and Finn for their endless love and support in all endeavors academic or otherwise, and to acknowledge that this research was supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award funding scheme (project DE190101127), and by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (project MMW.20180035). Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt June 2020


Toygar Sinan Baykan, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Kırklareli University, Turkey. María Esperanza  Casullo,  Professor, School of Social Sciences, Universidad

Nacional de Rio Negro, Argentina. Nicole Curato, Associate Professor, The Institute for Governance and Policy

Analysis, University of Canberra, Australia. Benjamin De Cleen, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Stud-

ies, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium. Jason Glynos, Professor, Department of Government, University of Essex, UK. Laura Grattan, Jane Bishop ’51 Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley

College, USA. Joseph Lowndes, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Ore-

gon, USA. Grigoris Markou, Postdoctoral researcher, School of Political Sciences, Aristo-

tle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Samuele Mazzolini, PhD, Government Department, University of Essex, UK. Sithembile Mbete, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

xvi Contributors

Benjamin Moffitt, Senior Lecturer in Politics & DECRA Fellow at the National

School of Arts (Melbourne), Australian Catholic University, Australia. Aurelien Mondon, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath, UK. Pierre Ostiguy, Professor, Escuela de Administración Pública, University of Val-

paraiso, Chile. Francisco Panizza,  Professor, Department of Government, London School of

Economics, UK. Yannis Stavrakakis, Professor of Political Discourse Analysis, School of Political

Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

1 INTRODUCTION Pierre Ostiguy, Francisco Panizza, and Benjamin Moffitt

Form is often also content. Populists, more than any other kind of politicians, are certainly highly aware of this. As Samuel Beckett once wrote: “Here, form is content, content is form. . . . It is not only to be read. It is to be looked at and listened to” (2005, 1067). Form is a way of relating to people; or more accurately, specific forms are ways of relating to specific publics. Form includes rhetoric and style, but also logics, emotions, and affects. That this fundamental and distinctive aspect of the populist mode of identification, apparent to most observers, has gone under-theorized is at the very least surprising—particularly in a context in which the mediated performances of populists, from Donald Trump’s public rallies, Hugo Chávez’s hours-long improvisations on his television show Alo Presidente, and the inflammatory social media behavior of many a populist is understood as central to their political appeal. This volume aims to change this situation by elaborating a distinctive approach to the study of the topic centered on the relational, performative role that populist appeals play in relating to their publics, and in the constitution of popular identities—one that links content and form. Several years ago, it was common to begin an article on populism stating how little consensus there was on its definition. In European political science in particular, we may now have gone to the other extreme—with perhaps undue consequences for intellectual life. Moreover, the presence of a normative debate around the term should positively be thought of as a source of politically stimulating debates, including in the scholarly world, especially when populism is assessed across global regions. In this book, we partake in the claim that the division of the political field into two antagonistic groups—the people and its “other” or the establishment—is a central feature of populism, a notion that had already been formulated in similar terms by other, earlier versions of populism, not least by Ernesto Laclau in his

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early writings (1977) and later in Canovan (1999). The volume offers a distinctive approach to the study of populism centered on how populist appeals construct and shape popular identities, and on the relational nature of populist identification. Contributors argue that populist actors constitute popular political identities through performative practices that range from political speeches to transgressive “low culture” performances (Ostiguy 2017), where the relation of the leader and “the people” is co-constitutive. We moreover highlight the importance of studying populism together with anti-populism, to understand both political polarization and each side of the political cleavage. In showing how the performative operations that actually constitute the equivalential chain operate (in processes of popular identification), we thus strongly link the Laclauian and performative schools. Our approach is, in fact, broadly “post-Laclauian”, an umbrella term that brings together works that draw on Laclau’s seminal theorization of populism, but also questions, re-formulates, and develops his concepts and arguments  to different extents and in different directions.1 It is furthermore “post-Laclauian” not only in terms of theoretical advances made, but also in the sense that, in sharp contrast to the way Laclau’s writing has often been characterized, our depictions attempt to be significantly down-to-earth, concrete, and “immanent”. Certainly, two broad approaches have been particularly influential in recent decades in contemporary debates on populism: the ideational and the strategic approaches. The former, particularly strong in Europe, sees populism as a “thin ideology”, and is associated with the work of Cas Mudde (2007), Jan-Werner Müller (2016), Kirk Hawkins and Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser (2017), among others. This approach, and more specifically Mudde’s (2007, 23) much-quoted definition of populism as a thin-centred ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, “the pure people” and “the corrupt elite”, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people, has become the most used definition of populism particularly in European academic circles. The dichotomic division of society and politics into a “people” and a “non-people,” where “the people” should be dominant, is in fact a widely accepted and not particularly novel or recent characterization of the populist logic, across approaches and schools. However, like others we must dismiss that populism can be defined as an ideology (Aslanidis 2016; Freeden 2017); and we take it that the divide between the people and its other is political (and perhaps socio-cultural as well), rather than normative in nature.2 While most ideologies can usually be positioned broadly (with diverse degrees of standard deviation) on the left-right spectrum, from anarchism and Marxism

Introduction  3

on the one hand, to various forms of conservatism on the other, populism as such (that is, independently of the “right-wing” and “left-wing” adjectives often attached to the noun) absolutely escapes this trait. Moreover and yet more importantly still, in contrast to even “thin” ideologies such as ecologism, nationalism, and feminism—which Michael Freeden (1996, 2017), the scholar who coined the concept, identifies—one is at a loss here to know how populism provides determined, specific, and differentiated answers to societal problems or to general themes.3 Looking for populism in the realm of political ideas and even more so in that of specific ideologies would therefore seem to be misguided, and for several reasons impossible. Populism operates somewhere else, as a logic, as a kind of argument, as a rhetoric, or more broadly as a style or way in politics of stating, framing, and performing particular political projects. The notion of a “corrupt” elite, moreover, while part of the populist repertoire, travels somewhat poorly and is particularly Eurocentric. It does not resonate well, as the main negative adjective, in many instances of populism, not least in Latin America, one of the main historical world regions of populism, throughout its history. There, the populist leadership has in fact generally been (and quite often proudly so) much more openly corrupt, in practice, than the social elite they were displacing from power; the rub being the perception that although they might be corrupt, at least populist leaders are “on the side of the people” materially, politically, and symbolically. More so, second, “the people” in Latin America may have been “suffering”, “hard working”, “neglected”, “despised”, but they were (and are) never seen as “pure”, whether morally, ethically, ethnically, or otherwise. Rather, they are the damaged, the plebs, the un-heard and un-represented who see themselves as discriminated, exploited, or excluded from civic life. Normatively, what distinguishes populism is not the expression of certain moralism (present in fact in all ideologies), but the performative staging of a wrong. Thus, neither are the people necessarily characterized as “pure”, nor the elite as “corrupt”, as claimed by the ideational approach. Lastly, the notion that policies should be the product of the volonté générale, or general will, is absolutely not distinctive of populism, but has been a (if not the) main tenet of democratic theory ever since Rousseau—from whom the term even comes. A second influential approach in the study of populism, the “strategic approach”, is associated with the work of Kurt Weyland (2001, 2017) and Robert S. Jansen (2011). It regards populism as a political strategy of power accumulation and mobilization through which a personalistic leader seeks or exercises government power based on, according to Weyland, direct, un-mediated, and uninstitutionalized support from a large number of mostly unorganized followers, and where ideas or principles or “ideational views” are not particularly important. This book shares with the strategic approach the notion that populist politicians deploy populist appeals strategically to gain political support. However, it diverges with the strategic approach in a number of regards. First, scholars in our tradition

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have always been puzzled by the lack of attention, if not straight disinterest, on the part of scholars in the strategic approach to what makes those followers actually follow, and often over a very long period of time and with a strong sense of loyalty, that personalistic leadership. In a way, our work begins where theirs stops. Second, implicit in the work of many in the “strategic approach” is that the masses, or numbers, following the leader are not particularly rational, smart, or enlightened, with a concomitant mépris des masses—also viewed as fickle and unable to put forward interests. In contrast, we study populism in a relational, rather than necessarily top-down, way, and reject the strategic approach’s normative assumption that customarily associates populism with demagoguery, manipulation, and authoritarianism.4 Other scholars of populism have argued that populism can in certain instances and circumstances play an emancipatory role as, particularly outside Europe, it has been associated with different forms of inclusion (economic, social, political, symbolic) of the popular sectors (Aitchinson 2017; Canovan 1999; Collier and Collier 1991; de la Torre 2016; Mouffe 2009, 2018; O’Donnell 1973; Panizza 2005). Such has been the case in the very separate traditions of populism studies in the US and in Latin America. In both traditions, populism, in contrast to elitism or “oligarchical rule”, normatively stood for a movement of the people (even if led heteronomously) and for the people, with a strikingly plebeian form to it. Analytically, moreover, populism can be both personalist and highly organized—there is absolutely no contradiction there (as was also the case with fascism). It can refer to a movement, a political party, a leader, or even a regime, as exemplified by a number of case studies in this volume. To understand populism adequately, therefore, it is essential not to be cognitively restricted to Eurocentric or even Latin America–centric readings of the phenomena, but be global and truly cross-regional. We hope to achieve this aim, not only in terms of the actual phenomena here analyzed, but also with regard to the backgrounds and regional specialties of the authors. To this purpose, this book brings together a set of theoretical and empirical studies of populism that offers a distinctive approach to the study of the topic. Theoretically and conceptually, the volume brings together the Laclauian school and the socio-cultural and performative approaches to populism—a convergence that should be of consequence in the field. Certainly, the populist mode of identification does not (truly or falsely) describe a certain set of beliefs, or refer to “the people” as a pre-existing and well-characterized socio-political entity. Rather, as stated earlier, populist actors constitute popular political identities through performative practices ranging from political speeches to transgressive “low culture” performances which resonate locally. The praxis of populism, in our joint approach, can be analyzed by putting greater accent on two closely related, complementary dimensions: the logico-discursive and the socio-cultural or stylistic. We outline each of them here.

Introduction  5

The logico-discursive approach to the study of populism is associated with the work of the late Ernesto Laclau (1977, 2005a, 2005b). It has proven to be one of the most influential and seminal approaches to populism, spawning a body of literature that has both engaged with the conceptual claims made in his work, as well as applying it to cases from across the globe—an influence that has not just been limited to the halls of academia, but has also included the practice of leftpopulist politicians and parties in Latin America and Europe. For Laclau, populism refers to a particular logic of articulation (Laclau 2005b, 33–34)—the logic of equivalences—that involves a “spatial” dimension of social reality. According to him, the socio-political field can be structured by an equivalential chain of unfulfilled demands into an antagonistic relation between two socio-political blocs: the people (the plebs or the underdogs) and its Other (the power block or an establishment that is unwilling or unable to address the demands of the people). In this logico-discursive approach, the signifier “the people” operates as a nodal point around which different and often politically antithetical signifiers and ideas are articulated in order to define who are the people and represents the people. According to Laclau, the performative constitution of the people does not take place in a political vacuum. Articulatory practices are the defining elements of hegemonic struggles for the constitution of popular identities: “It is because hegemony supposes the incomplete and open character of the social, that it can take place only in a field dominated by articulatory practices” (Laclau and Mouffe [1985] 2001, 134). Moreover, hegemonic struggles are never limited to the political sphere. Hegemony always extends beyond the political realm. It involves social and cultural elements that are essential for understanding how and why identification takes place and thus how hegemonic struggles are won (and lost), a concept of hegemony that is highlighted by both Panizza and Stavrakakis as well as Mazzolini in this volume, and the study of which has also been the focus of Ostiguy and Moffitt’s approaches to populism (Moffitt 2016; Ostiguy 2017; Ostiguy and Moffitt, this volume). This seminal theory of populism has since been further developed by Chantal Mouffe (2005, 2009, 2018) and other scholars associated with the so-called “Essex School” of discourse analysis, including among them Panizza (2005) and Stavrakakis (2017), authors of one of this volume’s two theoretical chapters. There is much theoretical and phenomenological room for complementarity and convergence between the discourse analyses of the Laclauian school and the socio-cultural and performative understandings of populism, which began in the 1990s5 and have now taken a significantly larger presence in the study of populism.6 The study of the socio-cultural dimension of populism has been particularly associated with Pierre Ostiguy’s (2017) characterization of populism as a particular form of political relationship between political leaders and their social base through “low” cultural appeals that have the capacity to resonate and receive positive reception within particular sectors of society for socio-cultural reasons

6  Pierre Ostiguy et al.

(linked to an antagonistic understanding of socio-cultural differences). The notion that populism is characterized by a set of performative repertoires—already present in the work of Laclau—and stylistic tropes has been advanced by the works of Benjamin Moffitt (2016) among others, and seeks to make clear populism’s relationship to our contemporary media environment. These approaches highlight that when encountering speeches of populist leaders or attending rallies, one is generally struck by the fact that one of their most noteworthy or peculiar features is not just the use of particular words or ideas, but the “kind of words” used, the level of language, the way the speech acts are performed, and even the (informal or vernacular) way many populists dress, as well as the affective component, which is often passionate, embodied, and full of emotion. Moreover, populists’ performances tend to display publicly that they embody, in the sense that they represent in their “flesh” and out-of-place words, “a people”—and perhaps more precisely, “the plebs from here”. They argue that we therefore need to examine discourse in the broad sense of meaning-creating praxes—precisely what we do in this volume.7 This is a praxis marked not by “properness” and formality, but rather by informality and transgression. The informal stands in many ways as substantive content for both proximity and antagonism to a certain kind of establishment. Indeed, populism’s transgressive nature sets itself up in a clearly antagonistic relationship towards more “proper” ways of doing politics, as well as proving it is bona fide in terms of proximity to the “real” people. In many ways, this is the “low” Ostiguy has been writing about (2017) and the “bad manners” Moffitt has emphasized (2016). This is perhaps best illustrated by a New York Times article describing the way Trump, in his transgressive, informal “low” manner, mocked the “proper”, “high” behavior of mainstream politicians. At one point on one of his most un-presidential of days, President Trump insisted that he knew how to be presidential: “It’s much easier being presidential, it’s easy”, he told a stadium full of more than 20,000 boisterous supporters in MAGA hats and T-shirts cheering his every word. “All you have to do is act like a stiff .” He buttoned his suit coat, pursed his lips, squared his shoulders and dropped his arms rigidly at his sides. “Ladies and gentlemen of Texas”, he then droned in a sleep-inducing staccato monotone the way he imagined most of the other 44 presidents had done. “It is a great honor to be with you this evening”. The crowd loved it, roaring with laughter. Transforming back into the un-presidential president America has come to know, Mr. Trump added, “And everybody would be out of here so fast! You wouldn’t come in in the first place!” Being presidential, he was saying, is so boring. Who wants that? (Baker 2019)

Introduction  7

This volume thus brings together the Laclauian school and the socio-cultural and performative approaches to populism. Drawing these approaches together in a robust whole, this volume, furthermore, also introduces several innovations, both theoretically and in case analyses, at the cutting edge of populism studies. We show how performative presence and operations contribute to the actual creation of the equivalential chain, creating popular political identification in the process. Second, the political frontier that ends up being created is not so much against an administrative “power block”, but against an equally discursive, identity-based, and socio-political anti-populism. Identification, always relational and incomplete, involves, third, both horizontal links among the people and vertical links between the people and the leader, articulating socio-cultural and political elements. Fourth and most importantly, we show that the empty signifier playing such a key role in Laclau’s theory of populism (and political identity more generally) cannot actually be completely “empty” if it is to be effective. In its stead, we introduce the notion of the “overflowing signifier”, for understanding the role of the leader (or of “bodily presence” and “performance in the flesh” for instances of populism where the leader is not central) in populism. Fifth, if traditional Marxism was indeed ontologically reductionist (with class as the central and ultimate category of analysis), we suggest that the postmodern turn has perhaps gone too far in throwing sociology “out the window” when it comes to understanding populism, as, independently of any discourse, society remains fundamentally uneven (not to speak of unequal). “Matter must be said”, and lived experiences must be interpreted, certainly; but the discursive text cannot be the alpha and omega of praxis—however tempted intellectuals may be to think so. Several of the chapters in this volume in fact argue that populism entails a particular discursive and praxis-oriented politicization of existing (and interpreted) social cleavages, whether it is between an indigenous population and a whiter social elite in Bolivia, between “White Turks” and less educated and more popular sectors in Turkey, or in the US between a certain “hinterland” (particularly in the South) and the two coasts. That is, while there is nothing sociologically predetermined about populist discourse, it does feed on existing social relations and inequalities (both of which exist outside of politicians’ discourses). It is, in fact, only in the interaction of interpellations (Althusser 1994) and lived social differences that new identities can be created, including political ones. Therefore, the current “social scientific” trend to study separately the supply side of populism (content analysis of speeches by political leaders) and its demand side (“populist beliefs” and voters’ attitudes) (e.g., Spruyt, Keepens, and van Droogenbroeck 2016) is quite problematic epistemologically. We are skeptical there are already-constituted populist beliefs just waiting to be activated by a populist politician—something which would be anomalous considering the omnipresence of good polling techniques. On the contrary, Laclau is correct that “the people”

8  Pierre Ostiguy et al.

must first be constituted. Populism springs up in the act, or praxis, itself. Of course, certain attitudinal terrains may be more fertile than others, but the so-called supply and demand sides of populism do not exist in separation from each other. This is so, particularly because populism redefines what is sayable, and hence also doable, in politics. Populism often creates a kind of transgressive cultural revolution of its own, about what behavior is acceptable in public. One may think of Rodrigo Duterte’s foul mouth and crude behavior, or Donald Trump’s bullying of his opponents here.8 Populism is thus neither a matter of an all-powerful strategic leader who manipulates the masses (as some versions of the “strategic” approach would have it), nor of an electoral demand that is just “waiting” to meet its supply. There is thus a fine theoretical line—and, in fact, a space that we occupy—between undistorted expressions of already-constituted selves and preferences in society, and the much contingent outcome of an expert strategic manipulator. Populism, rather, is a relational and performative appeal effective in certain social contexts. While the volume’s theoretical chapters show, for the first time, how the logicodiscursive and the socio-cultural and stylistic approaches can and should be brought together, the phenomenological studies of cases across different world regions also make significant theoretical contributions to this approach and to the study of populism in general—with, moreover, many case-related insights. The case studies do not just “apply an approach”, nor are they mostly descriptive; instead, they are, of their own, theoretically innovative and substantive. In the process, they demonstrate the global productivity of what can be considered a broad “post-Laclauian” approach to populism. Methodologically inductive, our case studies are informed by ethnography, participant observation, and discourse analysis. And context certainly matters greatly. Overall, the volume broadens the study of populism from political science alone: to sociology, to be sure, but also to anthropology, cultural studies, and critical studies. Moreover, while most other edited collections on populism have focused only on Europe or the Americas, this volume arguably covers one of the widest arrays of instances of populism yet analyzed in a theoretically coherent, edited collection on the topic, with chapters on populism in the “usual” settings—the US, Western and Southern Europe, and Latin America—but also less-examined countries in different world regions, including Turkey, the Philippines, and South Africa. In addition, the book provides a much-needed, significant treatment of the ever more important question of populism in government. The case studies of Ecuador, Bolivia, Greece, Turkey, the Philippines, and the US show that populists in office continue to use an antagonistic populist logic and transgressively to perform the politics of the low (Ostiguy 2017), flouting the conventions of high office, as well as the institutions that constrain their governmental power. Finally, something rarely seen in volumes on populism, in the design of the case selection the volume achieves a deliberate balance normatively of left and right instances

Introduction  9

of populism, including within regions, with both left and right populisms both in opposition and in government. The first of the theoretical chapters, entitled “Populism, Hegemony, and the Political Construction of ‘The People’: A Discursive Approach”, by Francisco Panizza and Yannis Stavrakakis, first presents an overview of Laclau’s discursive approach to populism. Drawing on Laclau, they claim that “the people” as a unified, but not necessarily pure or homogenous, political identity, is the outcome of particular political appeals—not, to be sure, a pre-existing social category. In that sense, “the people” is always retroactively constructed, a performative practice (Moffit 2016) that creates what it is supposed to be expressing. Moreover, the authors note that the constitution of the people does not take place in a political vacuum: it faces political resistance. Hence, they highlight the importance of studying populism in parallel with anti-populism, in order to grasp what is at stake in a given political conjuncture (see Ostiguy 2009; Moffitt 2018; Stavrakakis et al. 2018; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2019; Frank 2020). The chapter subsequently discusses the significant question of the relationship between populism and democracy, which brings together the works of Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Panizza and Stavrakakis argue that Laclau’s rather weak treatment in On Populist Reason of the implications for democracy of the populist mode of identification does not invalidate the argument that democracy requires the constitution of a democratic people. But they claim that in order to have a democratic people, certain practices are required that are best understood or analyzed through a relational notion of populist identification (Ostiguy 2017; Ostiguy and Moffitt, this volume), not fully developed in the works of Laclau. While not ignoring the importance of leadership in processes of identification, a relational notion also incorporates complex and heterogeneous practices of identification that include the moral, political, and cultural hegemonic struggles that contribute to constituting and defining populist identities. Everyday practices of association, solidarity, and resistance, not just the mass–leader relation, also generate the passionate attachments, relations of trust, and forms of agency that are at the heart of democratic populist identities. Panizza and Stavrakakis conclude that populism is not, per se, a danger to democracy: it is something inherent in the democratic revolutions and, like any political project, can take many different directions in attempting to express social grievances and represent sectors that do not feel represented by established political actors. The second theoretical chapter, entitled “Who Would Identify With an ‘Empty Signifier’? The Relational and Performative Approach to Populism”, by Pierre Ostiguy and Benjamin Moffitt, first outlines a performative-relational approach to populism that addresses the social and cultural conditions of identification, both in and of itself and as an indispensable complement to Laclau’s abstract and formalist theory. Not eschewing sociology (as the strictly postfoundational formal model of Laclau does)—something obviously not the same as postulating already

10  Pierre Ostiguy et al.

constituted groups—the chapter interactively connects performances, discourses, and speech acts with social differences. The chapter argues that “style” is a not a faddish, superficial topic unworthy of study by serious political scientists, but may actually be the visible face (to go to another, sociological extreme) of Lipset and Rokkan’s cleavage theory. That is, style is personal, but is also deeply social as well as cultural. In that light, the chapter posits an ontology that is mid-way between the academic extremes of social categories “in themselves” and of the fully constitutive power of words (it is, in that way, closer to Laclau’s own starting point of social demands and hegemonic struggles). The chapter centers on the embodied and particularistic dimension of populist identification, especially with regards to the incorporation of the “excess” (in Laclauian terms). The chapter’s key theoretical contribution is to introduce the notion of “overflowing signifiers”, more adequate for explaining identification and the populist logic than “empty signifiers”. “Empty” signifiers, the chapter argues, never actually become empty; quite on the contrary, what characterizes them is the inscription of both a surplus of meaning and a “fleshy excess”, itself generally on “the low” and with a “plebeian grammar”. With regard to the former, the authors show how multiple—often contradictory—meanings that can be empirically reconstructed and are grounded in reality are embodied by the populist leader, who is and acts to make himself closer, in fact, to what Laclau calls a floating signifier, and not merely a “blank screen” for projecting fullness. It is by being particularly “excessive” (in both senses) that the populist leader, the actually overflowing signifier, is able to act as a promise of fullness, responding to the lack. Identification, moreover, occurs not as the product of a mere hegemonic substitution, as Laclau suggests, but because of something in the praxis and embodied persona or personae of the populist leader or multitudes that resonates in the subject experiencing lack, with traits facilitating identification coming to the fore at the moment of collective embodiment. The chapter thus moves beyond what might be thought of as the discursively “formal” level of Laclauian political logic, which also often overlooks the mediatized nature and aesthetic dimensions of populist performances and the back-and-forth processes at play between populist leaders—qua overflowing signifiers—and “the people” in populist politics. We then turn to a series of chapters that seek not just to apply these approaches to a global set of cases, but to engage and build on these theoretical frameworks in an iterative and grounded manner. These chapters are organized on a regional basis, with the first region examined being Latin America, the region with the longest and arguably richest changing tradition of populism in the world. María Esperanza Casullo is the author of Chapter  4, “Populism as Synecdochal Representation: Understanding the Transgressive Bodily Performance of South American Presidents”. She first questions the widespread notion of populist political leadership defined as a certain type of performative self-presentation that emphasizes virile toughness and machismo. Her chapter then casts light on the ways

Introduction  11

in which socio-cultural matrixes of meaning are, and can be, transformed into political power, something that the literature on populism has often overlooked. She also explains the ways in which personal performance becomes a form of mediation, in the process of political representation. Her chapter furthermore advances populism study in three main ways: first, it moves from a fixation on the characteristics of the leader to an approach that focuses on the followers. Second, it posits that the power of populist performance is rooted in the followers’ belief that the very persona of the leader embodies their own identity, not in an ideational, but in a concrete, physical, almost synecdochal way. Third, it demonstrates that there is more than one way to perform the populist bodily transgression. In her chapter, she examines two templates of bodily performance: the body of the social or ethnic leader (particularly Evo Morales in Bolivia) and of women leaders (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina and the non-populist Michelle Bachelet in Chile). Her argument, however, is not that populism is a form of basic descriptive representation: on the contrary, an indigenous president can “go non-populist” in self-presentation, as Alejandro Toledo did in Peru, while “older white males” can transform their bodily appearances in a populist direction, as with Presidents Nestor Kirchner in Argentina and to a lesser extent Rafael Correa in Ecuador. Chapter  5, “Rafael Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador”, by Samuele Mazzolini, studies the birth, evolution, and unravelling of Rafael Correa’s “Citizens’ Revolution” in Ecuador, between 2007 and 2017, as a case of left-wing populist government in South America. Correa’s electoral appeal in 2005 was based on the populist simplification of the political space through the creation of a political frontier between “the people”, as the actors of the citizens’ revolution, and an “other”, identified as the big banks, the traditional political class, the mainstream media, the agro-exporting sectors, and foreign actors such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the US and Colombian governments. The chapter shows how, once in office, President Correa sought to mediate conflicting popular demands in an unstable compromise that addressed some demands, while he also simultaneously widened the register of the enemies of the Citizens’ Revolution. Combining the analysis of Gramsci with the approach of Ostiguy, Mazzolini argues that the absence of a strong socio-cultural relation between Correa and “the people” in what has oddly been called “technocratic populism” (de la Torre 2013), prevented the building of hegemony for that political project. We then turn our gaze northward, with two chapters centered on populist politics in the United States of America. In Chapter 6, “Trump and the Populist Presidency”, Joseph Lowndes explores the relationship between populism and the institution of the US presidency through the case of Donald Trump, arguably the most prominent populist in the contemporary political landscape. It begins with an examination of the opportunities and constraints for populism made available through the office of the presidency. It then looks at the ways Trump’s relationship

12  Pierre Ostiguy et al.

to populism operates through his identification with the ur-figure of US populism, President Andrew Jackson. It then turns to contemporary discussions of populism and “norm erosion” in the age of Trump. Finally, the chapter discusses the populist politics of the permanent campaign; the relationship of right-wing populism to the Republican Party; and the dynamic between Trump and social movements on the streets. Chapter 7 looks at a case of American populism on the left (and in opposition). Laura Grattan’s “Populism, Race, and Radical Imagination: #FeelingTheBern in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter” argues that the grassroots coalition that supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primaries is the latest example of “radical democratic populism” contesting the “conservative capture” of populism in the United States. In doing so, it contends that evaluating populism’s radical democratic potential also requires analyzing the practices through which grassroots populists enact collective identity and popular power. Through this lens, Grattan considers the ways in which the Sanders coalition sought to build collective identification around a centralizing rhetoric of resistance that foregrounded the disparate visions and disagreements at the heart of their coalition, specifically focusing on its heterogeneity. The coalition highlighted decentered sites of power (e.g., Occupy and the Fight for 15) that made Sanders’ campaign possible, and grassroots-led initiatives (e.g., the People’s Summit) through which disparate actors negotiated issues and built cross-cutting relationships to carry “the People’s Revolution” beyond the 2016 election. Yet, as this chapter shows, there are limits to such a strategy: Grattan narrates how public protests by Black Lives Matter’s movement activists at rallies and on social media signaled the embodied limits of the coalition’s radical democratic enactments of “the people” (too often embodied in the white, masculine, middle-class figure of the “Bernie Bro”). Focusing on the decentering and disruptive practices in, and at the margins of, the coalition, this chapter argues that radical democratic populisms need to engage in practices of identification and dis-identification, in order to sustain broad-based grassroots movements. The book then moves its focus to arguably the most hotly contested region in the recent political landscape when it comes to populism: Europe. In Chapter 8, “Populist Politics and the Politics of ‘Populism’: The Radical Right in Western Europe”, Benjamin De Cleen, Jason Glynos, and Aurelien Mondon question the very notion of populism in our understanding of “populist radical right” parties, with an analysis of the role of the signifier “populism” in reactions to these parties in the press, by other political actors, and in academia. In order to understand better the nature, role, and impact of populism in Western Europe, they argue— somewhat paradoxically—that the concept of populism must play a less central part in our analyses of populist parties on the ideological radical right. This argument goes against a rather prominent tendency to attach major importance to the populist radical right’s populism, or even to reduce our understanding of such

Introduction  13

parties as being essentially or predominantly populist. In doing so, they suggest that we must simultaneously reflect more on the performative effects of discourses about populism in Europe, understood as a master signifier, used in both academic writings and everyday political discourse in diagnoses of, and strategies against, the populist radical right. Turning to the most successful recent case of populism on the left in contemporary Europe, Chapter  9, “Populism in Government: The Case of SYRIZA (2015–2019)”, by Grigoris Markou, shows that in office, Syriza continued to use people-centered populist appeals to create and maintain a political antagonism between the Greek people, on the one hand, and the traditional political establishment and neoliberalism, on the other, while at the same time enacting the austerity measures prescribed by the EU, ECB and IMF “troika” Memorandum that it had previously rejected. The chapter also examines how Syriza set up an alliance with the radical right party ANEL, based on a shared national-popular antagonism against the Memorandum, and how this peculiar alliance unraveled over the issue of Macedonia, which evidenced two different conceptions of “the people”: a nationalist-nativist one by ANEL and heterogeneous and an inclusionary one by Syriza. Moving slightly east, Chapter 10, “The High-Low Divide in Turkish Politics and the Populist Appeal of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party”, by Toygar Sinan Baykan, analyses the under-examined populism of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party ( JDP) in Turkey. Baykan highlights a high-low divide in Turkish politics and further draws on Ostiguy’s understanding of populism as a cultural-affective bond between populist leaders/parties and their followers, established through the antagonistic celebration of the “culturally popular and native” in politics. Baykan argues that the JDP owed much of its initial and ongoing political success to the use of a “low” populist style and appeal. In that light, the JDP elite and the pro-JDP media convincingly depicted the party and Erdoğan as the true representatives of the despised and belittled, socially and culturally excluded, downtrodden segments of society. Erdoğan and the JDP succeeded in articulating the grievances and energy of the lower classes, in a remarkably stable cross-class electoral coalition that included upper- and middle-class conservatives. To showcase the populism of the JDP—and illustrate populism in general—the chapter draws on material other than speeches, such as images, videos, public performances, interviews, and first-hand personal observations in mass rallies and public appearances, alongside written and spoken material generated by populist and anti-populist forces in Turkey. Finally, we turn our attention beyond the “usual” homes of populism that are analyzed in edited volumes, with a case from South-East Asia and a case from Africa. In Chapter 11, “Beyond Demagogues and Deplorables: Democratizing Populist Rhetoric in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines”, Nicole Curato draws on the phenomenon of Rodrigo Duterte’s populist rise in the Philippines to

14  Pierre Ostiguy et al.

theoretically challenge the dichotomy often set up between populism and deliberation. The chapter argues that populism as a political style is normatively ambivalent, as it can either threaten or deepen democracies, depending on the context in which populism unfolds. The argument is consistent with the “systemic turn” in deliberative democratic theory, which goes beyond a micro-level assessment of discrete speech acts to a broader analysis of the ways in which discourses contribute to, or obstruct, the democratization of entire political systems. The chapter proposes shifting the gaze methodologically from the populist leader to his or her negotiated relationship with the public. As such, it builds on Ostiguy’s conception of populism as “fundamentally relational” and, like Laclau, it focuses attention on the contingent and dynamic character of populist claims-making, instead of depicting populism as a top-down, manipulative, and homogenously spiteful rhetoric. Empirically, the chapter argues that ethnographic research on what Curato call “populist publics” opens a discussion about the possible spaces for the democratic airing of populist claims. Finally, in Chapter  12, “Out With the Old, in With the New? The ANC and EFF’s Battle to Represent the South African ‘People’ ”, Sithembile Mbete examines the instance of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). A case of leftpopulism in opposition and a political party that has transformed the South African political landscape, the EFF was formed in 2013 by the ousted leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema. The party became the third-biggest party in national parliament after elections in 2014. Its impact, however, goes beyond electoral politics. By performing disruptive political engagement in parliament and cleverly using the courts, the EFF has placed corruption within the ANC, specifically that of President Jacob Zuma, firmly on the national agenda. It has revived debates about the land question and racially defined inequalities in economic ownership that still resonate in South Africa, decades after the formal end of Apartheid. The chapter draws on a performative understanding of populism to analyze EFF’s politics. The EFF’s politics of spectacle—including dressing as maids and mineworkers (like “the people”) and refusing to acknowledge President Zuma in parliament—has redefined acceptable political conduct in South Africa. Mbete uses theories regarding the performative and discursive dimensions of politics to explore how ideas of political representation, political agency, and political legitimacy have changed in South Africa since the EFF entered the scene. The concluding chapter explicitly emphasizes how—beyond case specificities— the chapters engage each other and how, together, they contribute to substantively advancing discussions of five questions at the heart of the contemporary debates on populism: the relation of identification between the leader and the people; “the people” as a relational category; populism, anti-populism, and antagonism; populism and institutions; and populism and democracy. Contributors to the volume also demonstrate that the critically minded work that takes place

Introduction  15

under the broad rubric of post-Laclauian populism research is certainly not “too abstract” for empirical analysis, quite on the contrary, and that it can be particularly relevant to skillfully thinking real-life instances of populism. Taken together, our hope is that this integrated volume pushes forward the study of populism in new and interesting directions. Theoretically, it demonstrates what a broad “post-Laclauian” approach to the phenomenon can accomplish; while empirically, it shows the way in which a truly global account of populism can be developed. The first decades of the twenty-first century have shown populism to be a more robust and enduring political phenomenon than many previously believed, and that it is here to stay with us. By focusing on the processes at play in populist representation, by considering the very methods by which “the people” are constructed and “re-presented”, and by engaging with the phenomenon “beyond the text”, this volume hopefully provides important new pathways for how we can think about and understand populism in the years to come.

Notes 1. Other prominent authors who may be read through this “post-Laclauian” lens include include Arditi (2007), Aboy Carlés and Melo (2014), Aslanidis (2016), Gerbaudo (2017). 2. Furthermore, all ideologies in fact have a strong normative component, whether it is in socialism the call for solidarity and the condemnation of exploitation; the moral imperative in liberalism of freedom, respect for differences, and aversion to authoritarians; or in conservatism the moral imperative of preserving constitutive traditions against the dissolving forces of modernity or radicalism. 3. Regarding ideology, a very different approach to that of Cas Mudde has been that of Margaret Canovan (2002), who has suggested that populism is the “ideology of democracy”. Undoubtedly, the statement is contentious, considering how many scholars view populism as fundamentally harmful for democratic values. Her smart statement, in any case, actually and however only moves the whole problem “one notch up”: to ­democracy itself, with the additional thorn that populism then becomes definitionally intertwined (in a substantive way that is not clear at face value) with the entire theoretical corpus on democracy. 4. The argument (both analytical and normative) is in fact very old. It is the same as that of Aristotle regarding demagogy in its relation to democracy. From Antiquity to the present, manipulation and “mob rule” have been set as the opposites of (intelligent) deliberation and (prudent) checks and balances. A tribune through demagogy becomes the tribune of the people, who once in power turns into, through plebiscitary means, a dictator and then tyrant. Populism as demagogy, playing on vile instincts and resentments, is negative for the republican form of democracy and tolerance. 5. Here one must mention the work of historians Daniel James (1988), Michael Kazin (1995), Alan Knight (1998), and Michael Conniff (1999), as well as, to some extent, essays of Pierre-André Taguieff (1995) and the landmark article of Margaret Canovan (1999). 6. Not surprisingly, both approaches have had a sensibility that is arguably more on the left, affiliated with traditions in critical theory, in contrast to the more “mainstream” and institutionalist defence of liberal democratic institutions (and of an older status quo).

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7. In this regard, our approach is very close to that of Brubaker, who views populism as “a discursive and stylistic repertoire” (2017, 360) made up of the following elements: “the claim to speak in the name of ‘the people’ against both ‘the elite’ and outside groups or forces; the antagonistic re-politicization of depoliticized domains of life; the claim to speak in the name of the majority against unfairly privileged minorities; the valorisation of immediacy and directness against mediating institutions; the economic, securitarian, and cultural protectionism; and the ‘low’ style and deliberate violations of rules of polite speech and demeanor” (2017, 367). 8. One only has to think of the abrupt transformation in political and discursive mores brought by the irruption of Trump in American politics, of Chávez in Venezuelan politics, or of Perón in Argentine politics. Each created a way of doing politics unprecedented in his respective country.

References Aboy Carlés, Gerardo, and Julián Melo. 2014. “La democracia radical y su tesoro perdido: Unitinerario intelectual de Ernesto Laclau.” Postdata 19 (2): 395–427. Aitchinson, Guy. 2017. “Three Models of Republican Rights: Juridical, Parliamentary and Populist.” Political Studies 65 (2): 339–355. Althusser, Louis. 1994 [1970]. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” In Mapping Ideology, edited by S. Zizek, 100–140. London: Verso. Arditi, Benjamin. 2007. Politics on the Edge of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Revolution and Agitation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Aslanidis, Paris. 2016. “Is Populism an Ideology? A Refutation and a New Perspective.” Political Studies 64 (IS): 88–104. Baker, Peter. 2019. “On Day 1,001, Trump Made It Clear: Being ‘Presidential’ Is Boring.” New York Times, 18 October 2019. Available at: www.nytimes.com/2019/10/18/us/ politics/trump-presidency.html. Beckett, Samuel. 2005 [1929]. “Dante . . . Bruno.Vico.Joyce.” In Modernism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainy, 1061–1071. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Borriello, Arthur, and Anton Jager. (Forthcoming, 2021). “The Antinomies of Ernesto Laclau: A Reassessment.” Journal of Political Ideologies. Brubaker, Rogers. 2017. “Why Populism?” Theory and Society 46 (5): 357–385. Canovan, Margaret. 1999. “Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy.” Political Studies 47 (1): 2–16. ———. 2002. “Taking Politics to the People: Populism as the Ideology of Democracy.” In Democracies and the Populist Challenge, edited by Yves Mény and Yves Surel, 25–44. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Collier, Ruth Berins, and David Collier. 1991. Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Conniff, Michael L. 1999. “Introduction.” In Populism in Latin America, edited by Michael L. Conniff, 1–22. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. de la Torre, Carlos. 2013. “El tecnopopulismo de Rafael Correa. ¿Es compatible el carisma con la democracia?” Latin American Research Review 48 (1): 24–43. ———. 2016. “Left-Wing Populism: Inclusion and Authoritarianism in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.” Brown Journal of World Affairs 23 (1): 61–76. Frank, Thomas. 2020. The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism. New York: Metropolitan Books.

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Freeden, Michael. 1996. Ideologies and Political Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 2017. “After the Brexit Referendum: Revisiting Populism as an Ideology.” Journal of Political Ideologies 22 (1): 1–11. Gerbaudo, Paolo. 2017. The Mask and the Flag: Populism, Citizenism, and Global Protest. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hawkins, Kirk A., and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2017. “What the (Ideational) Study of Populism Can Teach Us, and What It Can’t.” Swiss Political Science Review 23 (4): 526–542. James, Daniel. 1988. Resistance and Integration: Peronism and the Argentine Working Class, 1946–1976. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jansen, Robert S. 2011. “Populist Mobilization: A New Theoretical Approach to Populism.” Sociological Theory 29 (2): 75–96. Kazin, Michael. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. New York: Basic Books. Knight, Alan. 1998. “Populism and Neo-Populism in Latin America, especially Mexico.” Journal of Latin American Studies 30 (2): 223–248. Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory. London: NLR Books. ———. 2005a. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. ———. 2005b. “Populism: What’s in a Name?” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 32–49. London: Verso. Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe. 2001 [1985]. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. 2nd ed. London: Verso. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ———. 2018. “The Populism/Anti-Populism Divide in Western Europe.”  Democratic Theory 5 (2): 1–16. Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. “The ‘End of Politics’ and the Challenge of Right-wing Populism.” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 50–71. London: Verso. ———. 2009. The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso. ———. 2018. For a Left Populism. London: Verso. Mudde, Cas. 2007. Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Müller, Jan-Werner. 2016. What is Populism? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. O’Donnell, Guillermo. 1973. Modernization and Bureaucratic-Authoritarianism: Studies in South American Politics. Berkeley: Institute of International Studies. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High and the Low in Politics: A Two-Dimensional Political Space for Comparative Analysis and Electoral Studies.” Kellogg Institute Working Paper #360. Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Notre Dame. ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Panizza, Francisco, ed. 2005. Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso. Spruyt, Bramn, Gil Keepens, and Filip van Droogenbroeck. 2016. “Who Supports Populism and What Attracts People to It?” Political Research Quarterly 69 (2): 335–346. Stavrakakis, Yannis. 2017. “Discourse Theory in Populism Research: Three Challenges and a Dilemma.” Journal of Language and Politics 16 (4): 523–534.

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Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Giorgos Katsambekis. 2019. “The Populism/Anti-populism Frontier and its Mediation in Crisis-ridden Greece: From Discursive Divide to Emerging Cleavage?” European Political Science 18 (1): 37–52. Stavrakakis, Yannis, Giorgos Katsambekis, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Nikos Nikisianis, and Thomas Siomos. 2018. “Populism, Anti-populism and Crisis.”  Contemporary Political Theory 17 (1): 4–27. Taguieff, Pierre-André. 1995. “Political Science Confronts Populism: From a Conceptual Mirage to a Real Problem.” Telos (103): 9–43. Weyland, Kurt. 2001. “Clarifying a Contested Concept: Populism in the Study of Latin American Politics.” Comparative Politics 34 (1): 1–22. ———. 2017. “Populism: A  Political-Strategic Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 48–72. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



2 POPULISM, HEGEMONY, AND THE POLITICAL CONSTRUCTION OF “THE PEOPLE” A Discursive Approach Francisco Panizza and Yannis Stavrakakis

Introduction The discursive theory of populism is one of the main approaches to the study of the topic. Its main premises were originally outlined by the late Ernesto Laclau already in the 1970s, well before the current academic interest, political salience, and moral panic about this often troubling phenomenon. Academically, his works constitute an important reference for contemporary studies of populism (Hawkins 2009; Moffitt 2016; Taggart 2000). Hence, according to a recent and influential introduction to the study of populism: “The Laclauian approach to populism is particularly current within political philosophy, so-called critical studies, and in studies of West European and Latin American politics” (Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser 2017, 3). Laclau’s theory of populism centers on the priority that populism attributes to the constitution of “the people” within an antagonistic relation that pits the people against a certain Other (typically, the political and economic elite, the oligarchy, the establishment etc.). Yet, the dense philosophical prose that characterizes Laclau’s writings has often deterred empirical researchers from engaging seriously with his conceptual and methodological innovations. However, during the last few years there have been attempts at operationalising his theory, making it more accessible to a wide variety of scholars as well as showing its value for comparative political analysis (Aboy, Barros, and Merlo 2013; Biglieri and Perelló 2007; De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017; Panizza 2005; Stavrakakis 2014b; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). Laclau’s conceptualisation of populism has also influenced mainstream scholars, although the influence has not always received the recognition it deserves. Arguably, a discursive theory of populism constitutes the underlying yet too often unacknowledged kernel of the minimalist definition of

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populism that has become a common ground for many contemporary studies on the topic (for a more detailed elaboration of this argument, see Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014, 121–122). Just to give a few examples: writing in the 1980s, Margaret Canovan (1982, 544) questioned whether it was at all possible to find a “reasonably solid core of agreed meaning” behind all uses of the category only to arrive almost 20 years later at a definition of populism that focuses on populism’s (discursive) appeal: Populism in modern democracies is best seen as an appeal to “the people” against both the established structure of power and the dominant ideas and values of the society. . . . They involve some kind of revolt against the established structure of power in the name of the people. (Canovan 1999, 3, emphasis added) Similarly, Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser introduced their edited volume on Populism in Europe and the Americas by arguing that “the number of scholars of populism has increased manifold and we are probably even further from a definitional consensus within the scholarly community” (2012, 4), only to put forward in the same volume and elsewhere a minimalist definition of populism that, leaving aside its moralising adjectives (“pure”, “corrupt”), has strong elements in common with Laclau’s discursive theory (2012, 8). This chapter first presents Laclau’s discursive approach to populism. It traces its origins back to the Gramscian theory of hegemony and outlines the theory’s epistemological, ontological, and theoretical foundations. It then analyses the theory’s spatial and dynamic dimensions that distinguish populist discourse from other political discourses. The chapter subsequently discusses the important question of the relationship between populism and democracy, which brings together the works of Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Throughout our argumentation, the many affinities between discursive, socio-cultural (Ostiguy 2017), and performative (Moffitt 2016) approaches to the phenomenon will be highlighted.

Epistemological, Ontological, and Theoretical Foundations The so-called Essex School of discourse theory (Townshend 2003) originally formulated by Laclau combines a theoretically sophisticated account of the social production of meaning with an emphasis on the political and often antagonistic modality that discourses acquire through their articulation around distinct nodal points (such as “the people”). Here, meaning is regarded as constitutive of social reality and thus of subjective and collective identities as well. Discourses interpellate subjects; they seek to hegemonize the public sphere and to shape decision-making. The struggle for hegemony constitutes the broader horizon within which these processes operate. As Laclau and Mouffe put it in a text

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prefacing the second edition of their book, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: “Our approach is grounded in privileging the moment of political articulation, and the central category of political analysis is, in our view, hegemony” (2001, x). Laclau and Mouffe’s conceptualisation of hegemony has moved beyond the remnants of class reductionism still evident in Gramsci’s work and in Laclau’s early writings on populism to highlight the importance of the field of representation in accounting for the construction and partial sedimentation of political subjectivity, social objectivity, and hegemonic orders (Stavrakakis 2017a). Three points are crucial in understanding Laclau and Mouffe’s recasting of hegemony: 1. Laclau and Mouffe’s theory of hegemony is linguistic and materialist, simultaneously symbolic and affective. In their work, the term “discourse” does not refer merely to words and ideas, but denotes all “systems of meaningful practices that form the identities of subjects and objects’ through the construction of antagonisms and the drawing of political frontiers” (Howarth and Stavrakakis 2002, 3–4). 2. From an ontological point of view, Laclau and Mouffe’s stress on discourse and discursive articulations only makes sense against a horizon of continuous socio-political dislocations indicating the operation of a real (in the Lacanian sense) that marks the limits of the socio-symbolic order: “It is because hegemony supposes the incomplete and open character of the social, that it can take place only in a field dominated by articulatory practices” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 134). What they call “hegemony” comprises a permanent Sisyphean struggle to overcome the dislocations, failures, and crises that political projects encounter from within (from their inherent inability to fully capture and reshape the real (Lacan 1982, 1993) and to represent their constituencies in a definitive way), and from without (from the political challenges put forward by other antagonistic representations and political projects).1 In this sense, what is at stake in politics is never the end of history or some sort of final resolution of all contradictions and antagonisms. Rather, it is a temporary crystallisation, a partial fixation of the balance of forces and representations, which may retroactively and temporarily be accepted as the “common sense” of a community, as what the community “takes for granted”. 3. Antagonism and struggle are crucial, as all hegemonic projects eventually face their politico-discursive limits. If, as Laclau observes, all discourses are “always already dislocated”, no full identification or social closure are ultimately attainable. If, in addition, there is no predetermined way to deal once and for all with social problems and political grievances, what is bound to emerge is an irreducible pluralisation of political projects. Lacking a universal common ground, competing hegemonic projects end up engaged in antagonistic wars of positions (Gramsci 1971): “The fullness of society is an impossible object which successive contingent contents try to impersonate’ ad infinitum’ ” (Laclau 2000, 79).

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It is within this epistemological and ontological context that Laclau worked on his theory of populism throughout an academic career that spanned the best part of 40 years. His initial interest in populism arose not from some abstract academic concern but out of the experience of Peronism in his native Argentina. His view was that Perón’s political appeal could not be satisfactorily explained by standard Marxist analysis or by liberal interpretations of political life. Instead, he drew on Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and on structuralist (Saussure, Althusser) and poststructuralist (Lacan, Derrida) theories of politics and language to formulate his theory of populism and account for Perón’s ability to constitute popular identities and hegemonize Argentinean politics for over half a century.

Populism, Politics, and Hegemony: Fundamentals of the Discursive Theory of Populism Most approaches to populism rely on the analysis of the ideological, ideational or organisational content of particular political projects in order to determine whether they are populist or not. By understanding populism as a distinctive discursive logic, Laclauian discourse theory performs a significant displacement of emphasis from content to form. A formal conceptualisation of populism was already evident in his early work on the topic, “Towards a Theory of Populism”, first published in the 1970s (Laclau 1977), and was further developed in On Populist Reason (Laclau 2005a) and other later works. Hence, Laclau’s theory of populism does not focus on the ideological content of a particular discourse, such as its left- or right-wing ideological location, but rather on how populist discourse shapes our understanding of social reality and constitutes political agency. Because of its formal constitution, populist discourse has no a priori determined normative content. Hence, his approach differs sharply from—mostly liberal—approaches that denounce populism as a negative political phenomenon or even as an aberration on the road to liberal democracy, benign capitalist modernisation, social progress, and rationally driven political decision-making: The concept of populism that I  am proposing is a strictly formal one, for all its defining features are exclusively related to a specific mode of articulation—the prevalence of the equivalential over the differential logic—independently of the actual contents that are articulated. . . . Most of the attempts at defining populism have tried to locate what is specific to it in a particular ontic content and, as a result, they have ended in a self-defeating exercise whose two predictable alternative results have been either to choose an empirical content which is immediately overflowed by an avalanche of exceptions, or to appeal to an “intuition” which cannot be translated into any conceptual content. (Laclau 2005b, 44)

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From a discourse-theoretical perspective, the equivalential logic of articulation draws on Saussure’s (1959) structural linguistic distinction between the syntagmatic and the paradigmatic axes of semiotic articulation. In Saussure’s semiology, the meaning of a particular unit within a system of signification can only be established via its differentiation from other elements within the same system: “In language there are only differences” (Saussure 1959, 120; see also Connolly 1991, ix). Saussure’s relational theory of meaning deeply influenced Laclau’s theory of identification: “Linguistic identities are exclusively relational”, a point recognized as the “very principle involved in the constitution of all social identity” (Laclau 1990, 207). Following this distinction, Laclau and Mouffe have established the logics of difference (syntagmatic axe) and equivalence (paradigmatic axe) as two distinct logics for the representation of the political space: “We, thus, see that the logic of equivalence is a logic of the simplification of political space, while the logic of difference is a logic of its expansion and increasing complexity” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 130). In advancing a formal theorisation of populism, Laclau singles out two minimal criteria for the identification of populist discourses, movements, parties, and leaders. The first one, as we have seen, refers to a particular logic of articulation (Laclau 2005b, 33–34) that involves a spatial dimension of social reality. According to this criterion, the socio-political field is structured as a dichotomous, antagonistic relation between two socio-political blocs: Us (the marginalized, the underdogs, “the silent majority”) and Them (the establishment, the 1%, the oligarchy, the European Union, the liberal elite etc.). The criterion also implies that populist actors take sides by claiming to represent the excluded, the silenced (or silent), the repressed or under-represented. Of course, the politico-ideological (right or left) profile of the political agent that claims the representation of the underdogs is never predetermined in advance.2 In our modern political grammar, it is “the people” and “popular sovereignty” that most often express populism’s political sensibility, hence its “peoplecentrism”, the second criterion. The signifier “the people” operates here as a nodal point, a point of reference around which other peripheral and often politically antithetical signifiers and ideas can be articulated. Moreover, the dichotomous articulation performed by populist discourse is never limited to the political sphere. Hegemony always extends beyond the political realm and involves social and cultural processes that in the case of populism draw on high/low sociocultural divisions, as thematized by Pierre Ostiguy (2017). In addition, the discursive constitution of “the people” is not a static but a thoroughly dynamic process. When social and political demands can be addressed in isolation from each other within an existing institutional structure, they cannot escape their differential status, their own particularity. When, however, some dislocatory event intervenes—for example, a crisis destabilising the reproduction of the extant economic, social, and political order—then unfulfilled demands often coalesce together and a new representation emerges splitting the social field

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by paratactically grouping differences into a single polarity: “Vis-a-vis oppressive forces, for instance, a set of particularities establish relations of equivalence between themselves” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, xiii). This second criterion of the discursive theory of populism is grounded on Lacan’s understanding of discursive articulation. Lacan (1993) posits that the consistency of every discourse is explained through the contingent elevation of a particular signifier into a structuring position, what he called the point de capiton (Laclau and Mouffe 2001), which then morphs, in Laclau and Mouffe, into the category of the nodal point: Any discourse is constituted as an attempt to dominate the field of discursivity, to arrest the flow of differences, to construct a center. We will call the privileged discursive points of this partial fixation, nodal points. (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 112) In that sense, the structuring operation of a nodal point, around which the other signifiers pertaining to a particular discourse get organized, explains how meaning achieves a (partial) fixation without which socio-political discourse would disintegrate into psychotic rambling and no political meaning whatsoever would be possible (Stavrakakis 2007). Five implications follow from discourse theory’s formal definition of populism: 1. “The people”, as a unified (but not necessarily “pure” or homogeneous) (Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser 2012, 8) political agent, is the outcome of particular political appeals and not a pre-existing social category. For Laclau, the basic unit in the analysis of populism is not “the people” as a sociological category but the notion of demand. Populist discourse articulates unsatisfied demands in relations of equivalence against a power holder that is regarded as unwilling or unable to fulfill them. It is only when this strategy proves successful that “the people” emerges as a powerful political force to antagonize the established order. Hence, populism invariably involves the performative construction of a popular identity out of a plurality of democratic demands (Laclau 2005a, 95). In that sense, “the people” is always something retroactively constructed, an empty signifier that needs to be invoked, a performative call that creates what it is supposed to be expressing: [T]he construction of the “people” is a radical one—one which constitutes social agents as such, and does not express a previously given unity of the group. . . . [W]e are dealing not with a conceptual operation of finding an abstract common feature underlying all social grievances, but with a performative operation constituting the chain as such. (Laclau 2005a, 118, 97, emphasis added)3

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2. The performative constitution of the people does not take place in a political vacuum; it faces political resistance. Thus, it is always important to study populism in parallel with anti-populism in order to grasp what is exactly at stake in a given political conjuncture. Needless to say, the identity and consistency of each camp is predicated on their mutual antagonism. Furthermore, the ascription of the pejorative label “populist” to a political adversary is very often a political trope of anti-populist discourse aiming at differentiating themselves from populist forces by highlighting their own political integrity, even their superior purity and morality. By way of contrast, populist forces often claim that their enemies ignore or repress the popular will in order to underscore their own commitment to truly represent it (Stavrakakis 2017a). The insistence on studying populism together with anti-populism constitutes another common feature between discursive and relational, socio-cultural approaches (Ostiguy 2017). 3. Already in his early work, Laclau linked crises to the emergence of populism: “The emergence of populism is historically linked to a crisis of the dominant ideological discourse which is in turn part of a more general social crisis” (Laclau 1977, 175). Yet, as Moffitt (2015, 195) notes, the relations between crisis and populism do not lend themselves to simple causal explanations. As he puts it, populist actors actively perform and perpetuate a sense of crisis, rather than simply reacting to it: “A crisis is a phenomenon that can only be experienced through performance and mediation, whereby a systemic failure is elevated to the level of perceived ‘crises’ ”. In this light, the performance of crises should be seen as internal to populism, as a central feature of the phenomenon itself. The relation between crisis and populism can indeed be summarized along the following lines: a. A deep economic and/or social dislocation is the necessary yet insufficient starting point for the emergence of populist discourses. b. Populist crisis narratives single out the causes of the said dislocations and blame certain political or social actors for their occurrence (typically the political establishment but also the immigrants, the oligarchy, the economic elite etc.). c. A way out of the crisis is articulated by populist actors “in the name of the people” to protect the victims of the crisis (the excluded, the impoverished, the many, the hard-working people). d. The populist performance of the crisis triggers an anti-populist reaction that often involves labelling as “populists” those who claim to speak on behalf of “the people”. e. Populists are never the only ones staging such a performance. A variety of other political forces, including anti-populist ones, put forward alternative crisis narratives (Hay 1996). In addition, different types of populist performance may also antagonize each other in a given conjuncture.

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f. Both populist and anti-populist discourses can, in principle, include left-wing (egalitarian, participatory, “upward punching”) or right-wing (exclusionary, xenophobic, nativist, “downward punching”) ­ideological elements.4 Both resort to simplification and often to d­ emonization, leading to the emergence of a polarized political culture (­Stavrakakis et al. 2017, 22).5 4. Collective identifications are never merely the result of rational calculation; they mobilize the passions of those identified with a discursive appeal and energize a whole emotional apparatus (Stavrakakis 2014a, 2014b). Thus, in addition to linguistic appeals, populism also encompasses processes of affective investment. Through this process, particular representations and discursive articulations acquire deep salience and get transformed into long-term attachments, shaping the identity of particular subjects such as politicians, voters and citizens in general. 5. A  formal theory of populism still needs to provide criteria to distinguish between populism’s ideological attachments. As already mentioned, discourses do not operate in a political vacuum. Populist discourse involves a struggle between social groups that refers to power, status, and hierarchical socio-cultural positioning (Rydberg 2005; Laclau 1977; Ostiguy 2009) and not just to an unmediated conflict between the people and the political elite. There are two crucial differences between left- and right-wing populism that become apparent when they are examined through the spatial dynamics of a discursive dialectic: a. While both left and right-wing populisms utilize similar tropes when discussing the political elite, they differ sharply in their actual definition of their socio-economic Other. Left-wing populisms are typically ‘upward punching’—toward the socio-economic (not just governing, political) elites. In contrast, right-wing populisms are predominantly ‘downward punching’, against a social Other that is depicted as a cultural or ethnic outsider and often comprises socio-economically deprived groups, as well as upward punching against political elites that are allegedly aligned with the subordinate groups on which they are punching down (Ostiguy and Casullo 2017). b. In the case of left-wing populism, the signifier “the people” operates centrally as a fluid, tendentially “empty” signifier without a fixed signified (Laclau 2005a, 69–72, 161–163), while in right-wing populism it usually refers back to a fantasmatic (Glynos and Howarth 2007) transcendental signified (the nation, race etc.). Thus, what is often debated as extreme right-wing or exclusionary populism is, in effect, often a nationalist, xenophobic ideology with only peripheral and/or secondary populist elements (De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon, this volume). Even when the populist appeal is given a more central place, populist emptiness

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is moderated significantly, referring back to “race” or “nation”, that is to say to discursive units that in (extreme) right discourse often function as naturalized, original (mythical) points of reference (Mouffe 2018, 24), as Derridean “transcendental signifieds” attempting to fix signification once and for all. In this sense, whereas (predominately inclusionary) leftwing populist discourses potentially expand the chain of significations associated with “the people”—even including immigrants—(predominantly exclusionary) nationalist uses of “the people” attempt to arrest and limit this fluidity (De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017, 2020; Stavrakakis et al. 2017). The utilisation of such criteria is crucial for the operational differentiation between left-wing and right-wing populism and can also highlight the ideological hybrids articulating populism, with nativism/nationalism often discussed under the rubric of right-wing populism. In fact, whether they should be labelled as “(extreme) right-wing populism” or as the “populist (extreme) right”, whether, in other words, they should be acknowledged as primarily populist or nativist/nationalist, will have to depend, from a discursive perspective, on the spatial location of each of these elements in the respective ideological articulations under examination, and on the particular dynamics of signification established in each of them. At any rate, having addressed the epistemological, ontological, and theoretical foundations of Laclau’s theory of populism, we now turn to Laclau and Mouffe’s writings on the relations between populism and democracy.

Laclau and Mouffe on Populism and Democracy The relations between the two concepts have long divided scholars. On the one side, some scholars consider populism and democracy as mutually exclusive. The reasons for this argument are varied but concentrate on the majoritarian nature of populism that undermines the checks and balances and the minority rights constitutive of liberal democracy; on the top-down and allegedly manipulative relation between the (populist) leader and the people; on the conception of the people as a unified, homogeneous political actor and the corresponding creation of an excluded “non-people”; and in the polarising and divisive nature of populist appeals that prevent negotiations and compromise among contending political actors (Abts and Rummens 2007; Müller 2016; Urbinati 2014). Perceptions of populism as a threat or as a “problem” for democracy have also long dominated political commentators and the media’s views on populism, which are usually associated with demagogy, authoritarianism, and political opportunism (“telling the people what they want to hear”). These views have been particularly dominant after Donald Trump’s election as president of the USA and the resurgence of right-wing, nativist populism in Europe.

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In contrast to the views of populism as a danger to democracy, other scholars have vindicated populism as an actual or potential democratising force (Canovan 1999; Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser 2012; Panizza 2005). Among the latter, the works of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe are particularly influential. Laclau went against the grain of mainstream academic works by arguing that populism is an integral element of democracy. Jointly and in separate publications, the two scholars have certainly written extensively about democracy; this is particularly the case with Mouffe.6 While they are by no means the only ones to argue that populism and democracy are not incompatible with each other, and that populism can be an integral part of the democratic imaginary, the grounds for their claims merit careful examination. There is no systematic discussion of the concept of democracy in Laclau’s early works, but the notion is introduced in “Towards a Theory of Populism” through the concept of popular democratic ideological elements. In this work, Laclau was still considerably influenced by the Marxist tradition. Social classes were an important element in his early writings even if he was already highly critical of orthodox class analyses of Latin American politics and society. Laclau (1977) argues that democracy only exists at the ideological level in the form of elements present in a plurality of discourses that question the hegemony of the power bloc in the name of the people. While Laclau acknowledges that democracy can and has historically been articulated with liberalism (as well as with other ideologies), he cites C. B. Macpherson on the argument that liberal democratic ideology has tamed democracy’s Jacobin radical roots. In achieving this, he argues, liberalism neutralized the antagonistic elements of the popular democratic ideology that, at the birth of modern democracy, were identified with government by “underlings”, so that democracy could be absorbed by the dominant liberal framework (Laclau 1977, 170). The specificity of populism, he further argues, “is not the mere presence of popular democratic interpellations in a discourse, but their presentation as a synthetic-antagonistic complex with respect to the dominant ideology” (Laclau 1977, 172–173). In “Towards a Theory of Populism”, Laclau combines the outlining of his theory of populism with a historical analysis of the emergence of populism in Latin America and, more specifically, of Peronism in his native Argentina. In his regional account of populism, he claims that the divorce between liberalism and democracy was more radical in Latin America than in Europe. He argues that while liberalism was an anti-feudal ideology in Europe, in 19th century Latin America it became the ideology of the landowning oligarchy and, as such, it had little ability to absorb the democratic ideology of the masses (Laclau 1977, 179). While he acknowledges that liberalism and democracy did become articulated in early 20th century Argentina, his analysis of the rise of Peronism shows how Perón detached liberalism from its residual links with democracy

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and presented the former as a straightforward cover for “oligarchic class interests” (Laclau 1977, 189). As he formulated it, “the strictly populist element in Peronist ideology was the radicalization of anti-liberal popular interpellations” (Laclau 1977, 190). In contrast to its peripheral treatment in Laclau’s early work, the question of democracy is central to Laclau and Mouffe’s (2001) seminal book, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. The work marks a break with Marx’s sociological categories (the working class, the bourgeoisie etc.) to focus instead on the role of hegemony in the construction of plural political identities. In this study, democracy is understood not in terms of particular institutions, but as an emancipatory political logic rooted in the sovereignty of the people and in the foundational principles of equality and liberty emerging with the political imaginary of the French Revolution (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 155). Laclau and Mouffe agree with Hannah Arendt, whom they quote, in claiming that it was the French rather than the American Revolution that “set the world on fire”. But, paradoxically, their conceptualisation of democracy is distinctively anti-Jacobin. For them, democracy is a political logic that expands the principle of political equality, originally set up by the French Revolution, into a whole new series of social relations. But, they argue, it has been liberal democracy rather than Jacobinism that has driven forward the democratic revolution. As they put it: The aspect of continuity basically involves the fact that the conversion of liberal-democratic ideology into the “common sense” of Western societies laid the foundation for the progressive challenge to the hierarchical principle which Tocqueville called the “equalisation of conditions”. It is the permanence of this egalitarian imaginary which permits us to establish continuity between the struggles of the nineteenth century against inequalities bequeathed by the ancien regime and the social movements of the present. (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 160) While some scholars regard radical democracy as incompatible with liberal democracy, this is not the position that emerges from Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. The intellectual operation undertaken by Laclau and Mouffe can be described as reversing the ideological move that made liberalism the dominant ideological element of liberal democracy by restoring the hegemony of democracy in the relation between the two ideological families. Hence, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy’s radical democratic project consists in the expansion of the principles of equality and liberty at work in the liberal democratic imaginary into a more comprehensive form of democracy which they call radical, plural democracy. Key to the “democratic revolution” is the social democratic—inspired transformation of the principle of liberty from the traditional liberal definition of

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liberty as freedom from restraints into a politico-ideological lens for addressing disparities in the conditions of life (such as poverty and lack of education) that constrain the subjects’ capacity to have access to certain choices. Moreover, while Laclau and Mouffe stress the importance of breaking with the liberal notion of possessive individualism as a condition for a democratic conception of liberty, it is Jacobinism and classical Marxism rather than liberalism that they see as ultimately incompatible with their project of radical, plural democracy. There are two main reasons for this position: 1. The first one concerns the postulation by the two ideologies of a single foundational point of rupture with the established order and of a unique space in which the political is constituted. Instead, the project of radical democracy is based on the acceptance of the plurality and indeterminacy of the social “as the two fundamental bases from which a new political imaginary can be constructed, radically libertarian and infinitely more ambitious in its objectives than that of the classic left” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 152). 2. The second objection concerns the Marxist conception of a privileged historical subject (the working class) as a unitary, transparent, and sutured entity. In contrast, they argue that acknowledging the plural and un-sutured nature of political subjectivities opens the way to the recognition of different subject positions and, hence, to the deepening of a pluralist and democratic conception of the subject (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 166). Identities rely on floating signifiers open to different articulations and contending hegemonic strategies: “We are confronted with the emergence of a plurality of subjects, whose forms of constitution and diversity it is only possible to think if we relinquish the category of ‘subject’ as a unified and unifying essence” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 181). Laclau and Mouffe’s emphasis on the plural nature of democratic actors directly contradicts arguments about the homogeneous nature of the people in emancipatory projects that challenge the liberal democratic canon. A  plurality of autonomous subjects engaged in struggles against different forms of inequality (socio-economic, gender, racial, ethnic etc.) in their respective socio-political domains are the driving force of the radical democratic revolution: “Insofar as of the two great themes of the democratic imaginary—equality and liberty—it was that of equality which was traditionally predominant, the demands for autonomy bestow an increasingly central role upon liberty” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 164). Yet, for Laclau and Mouffe, autonomous democratic actors struggling against multiple inequalities and forms of oppression are necessary but not sufficient conditions for radical democracy. Plural, radical democracy requires the hegemonic articulation of different democratic demands into an equivalential chain, so that

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they do not simply establish an alliance, but modify their very identity through the process of articulation in producing a new collective political project. As they put it: “The project for a radical and plural democracy, in a primary sense, is nothing other than the struggle for a maximum autonomization of spheres on the basis of the generalization of the equivalential-egalitarian logic” (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 167). There are few other references to populism in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. However, the relation between democracy and populism is addressed in Laclau’s seminal book On Populist Reason. He argues that the populist logic is not democracy-neutral but a condition for democracy itself. For him, democracy is grounded on the existence of a democratic subject, whose emergence depends on the horizontal articulation between demands: “An ensemble of equivalential demands articulated by an empty signifier is what constitutes ‘a people’. So, the very possibility of democracy depends on the constitution of a democratic people” (Laclau 2005a, 171). As he further argues, in order to have a “democratic people”, we need a plebs who claims to be the only legitimate populous—that is, a partiality that purports to function as the totality of the community (Laclau 2005a, 81, 169). Two questions arise out of Laclau’s association of democracy with the construction of the people: 1. Firstly, if populism is characterized by the plebs claiming to be the only legitimate demos, arguably this claim cannot be sustained by the logical production of emptiness alone. It must have some—even retroactive— sociological grounding (Ostiguy and Moffitt, this volume) as well as incorporate to its articulatory logic the normative principle of the people as the demos, as holders of sovereign rights. This principle has been presented both as an argument for the democratic nature of populism and, simultaneously, for populism being a threat to the democratic order. Representative of the two poles of the debate are, on the one side, Margaret Canovan’s (1999, 7) rhetorical question as to why, if it can hardly be denied that notions of popular power and popular decision-making are central to democracy, populists are not then acknowledged as the true democrats they say they are, and, on the other, by the argument that, as an ideology claiming that the directly expressed will of “the people” trumps all other sources of authority, populism represents an existential threat to democracy (Müller 2016; Weale 2018). 2. A  second question refers to the implications for democracy of the plebs’ claim to be the only legitimate holders of sovereignty. To address this question, Laclau engages with Claude Lefort on the meaning of power as an empty place. Lefort (1986) agrees that democracy is based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people. But, he further argues, in the democratic political imaginary, power is an “empty place” so that those who exercise

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public authority (the representatives of the sovereign people) can never claim to truly occupy it: “Democracy is sustained by the tension between two principles: on the one hand, power stems from the people, on the other hand, it is the power of nobody” (Lefort 1986, 20). Laclau’s criticism of Lefort hinges on the actual meaning of emptiness. He argues that Lefort’s understanding of democracy (and of its counterpart, totalitarianism) is exclusively premised on the principles of liberal democratic regimes and does not pay due attention to the need to construct popular democratic subjects (Laclau 2005a, 166). He further argues that for this purpose it is necessary to transfer the notion of emptiness from the institutional place of power—as proposed by Lefort—to the very subjects occupying that place (Laclau 2005a, 169). Thus, while, for Lefort, the place of power in a democracy is institutionally empty, for Laclau it is a question of producing emptiness out of the operation of hegemonic logics: “For me, emptiness is a type of identity, not a structural location” (Laclau 2005a, 166). Thus, according to Laclau, the claim of a section of the community to function as its totality is the definition of hegemony and of politics itself. All political actors, populist or otherwise, claim to represent an absent totality. Yet, between total embodiment and total emptiness, there is a gradation of situations involving partial embodiments. These partial embodiments are precisely the forms taken by hegemonic practices (Laclau 2005a, 166). In the case of populism, this is expressed in the gap between the plebs and the demos, a gap that can never be completely bridged. Democracy is thus sustained by the contested nature of hegemony grounded in the impossibility of erasing the traces of particularity from an actor (the plebs) that claims to represent the totality of a community that is incommensurable with it. But, what is for Laclau the empty signifier that embodies the democratic people? There is some degree of ambiguity about the nature of this empty signifier, but ultimately for Laclau it is represented by the name of the leader. So, while for Lefort emptiness is defined in institutional terms, for Laclau it is expressed politically in the identification of the people with the name of the leader (Laclau 2005a, 100). The notion that populist identification is embodied in an empty signifier represented by the name of the leader raises important theoretical as well as political questions. Regarding the former, Ostiguy and Moffitt (this volume) argue that is difficult to understand why one would actually identify (politically, psychologically, emotionally) with an empty signifier or, in specific cases of populism, why identification takes place with a particular leader and not with somebody else. Concerning the latter, Arditi (2010, 490–491) sums up the potential dangers of hypostatising the identities of the leader and the people. He points out that the leader might be cast as an empty signifier, but s/he is also a person, so any talk

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about “the symbolic unification of the group around individuality” must also address the potential underside of the argument: This prevents him [Laclau] from engaging with those who see in the populist mode of identification unedifying traits, such as the infallibility of the leader . . . the role of the leader as indisputable broker among factions, the perceptions of challenges to the leader as treason, the suppression of dissent in the name of the unity of the “people” and so on. How can these important criticisms about populist identification be addressed in a theory of democratic populism?

The Political Conditions for a Democratic People Laclau’s rather weak treatment in On Populist Reason of the implications for democracy of the populist mode of identification as identification with the name of the leader does not invalidate the argument that democracy requires the constitution of a democratic people. The additional argument to be developed here is that in order to have a democratic people, we need a relational notion of populist identification (Ostiguy 2017; Ostiguy and Moffitt, this volume) that, while not ignoring the importance of leadership in the understanding and the operation of populism, incorporates complex and heterogeneous forms of identification. Arguably, Laclau’s notion of populist identification betrays a lack of attention to the networks of social, political, and cultural relations in which collective agents come into being (Norval 2006). The neglect is puzzling given the close relation he establishes between populism and hegemony, and the importance attributed by Laclau and Mouffe to democratic struggles as wars of positions in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. For Gramsci (1971), wars of positions as a type of hegemony are fought at the level of civil society in churches, schools, trade unions, sports teams, and all manners of voluntary associations. Included among these are the political, cultural, and moral struggles that constitute and define populist identities. Everyday practices of association, solidarity, and resistance contribute to generate the passionate attachments, relations of trust, and forms of agency that are constitutive of collective identities, including populist ones. From this argument, it follows that it is not possible to consider vertical populist identification with the (name of the) leader in isolation from the horizontal relations of identification generated by everyday struggles and cultural practices; it is ultimately impossible to conceive them as two alternative or sequential forms of identification. Rather, horizontal and vertical forms of identification constitute intertwined dimensions of democratic populist identities in which horizontal forms of identification—social, political, and cultural—are crucial conditions for the reception of the leader’s populist appeal, as well as effective barriers to

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authoritarian personalism. It is within this more complex formulation of populist identification that we can retrieve and better understand the argument developed in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 132): that the autonomy of social movements is “a requirement for the antagonism as such to emerge”. The broader point here is that populist identification involves not just a vertical affective identification between the people and the leader but also a horizontal identification among the people themselves. This is an argument that Laclau himself draws from his reading of Freud’s Group Psychology but somehow fails to develop in full. Freud’s point is that the leader will be accepted only if he/she presents, in a particularly marked fashion, features that the leader shares with those that he/she is supposed to lead. A corollary of this argument is that the “something in common” which makes identification possible cannot consist exclusively in love for the leader, but must be some positive feature that both leader and led share. As the leader participates in the very substance of the community that makes identification possible, his identity is split: he is the father, but also one of the brothers (Laclau 2005a, 59). The argument is further developed in Ostiguy and Moffitt (this volume) and in Ostiguy’s (2017) relational and socio-cultural theory of identification. As Ostiguy (2017) puts it, political appeals are public manifestations of recognisable social aspects of the self in society (as well as of its desires) that contribute to creating a social sense of trust based on an assumption of sameness, or coded understanding (Ostiguy 2017, 80). In the case of populist appeals, perceptions of immediacy are important to establish relations between the leader and the people: the leader is both an ordinary person—“someone like me”—and an ego ideal, “an extraordinary person”, but one that is accessible and understandable (Ostiguy 2017, 84). This does not mean that every form of collective identification is populist in nature. Rather, it amounts to arguing that populist identification embodies and is activated by shared negative experiences of political domination, economic exclusion, and socio-cultural discrimination, and by common positive practices of association, solidarity, and resistance. It is these practices that constitute the lived-in experiences that make the people receptive to the appeal of a particular leader allowing them to identify with the leader and vice versa. Under these conditions, vertical identification with a leader can also facilitate horizontal links between previously disconnected subjects and movements. Hugo Chávez’s populist appeal in Venezuela illustrates the importance of taking into account the relational nature of populist identification grounded in grassroots practices of association. Previous to his electoral victory in 1998, Chávez was a military officer with no organic connection to his country’s popular movements. By all accounts he was an extremely charismatic leader and a great communicator; but Chávez’s personal attributes do not explain by themselves his popular appeal. In her ethnographic study of social movements in the shantytowns

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(barrios) of Caracas, Fernandes (2010) traces the histories of the barrios, from the guerrilla insurgency, movements against displacement, and cultural resistance of the 1960s and 1970s, throughout the debt crisis in the early 1980s and resistance to the neoliberal reforms that followed. She shows how the common memories and political bonds established among the people of the barrios grounded in everyday practices of struggle resonated with Chávez’s anti-establishment appeal. She also shows how, at least in the initial years of the Bolivarian revolution, the people from the barrios did not conform to notions of the populist people as a largely unorganized mass of followers (Weyland 2017). Against notions of topdown mobilization, the relation of the Chávez government with its supporters was originally characterized by negotiations between the government and local communities with their own forms of historical memory, local organisation, internal differences, and political consciousness. Similarly, Ciccariello-Maher (2013) draws on the self-accounts of popular activists during Venezuela’s so-called Fourth Republic, to highlight their role in the emergence of Chavismo. The title of his book, We Created Chávez, resonates with similar claims in other cases of populist identification that it is “the people” that “creates” the leader as much as the leader that “creates” “the people”, as a counter-balance to top-down understandings of populist leadership.7 The same principles apply, under different contextual conditions, to grassroots populist identification in institutionalized liberal democracies. Laura Grattan draws on the American tradition of so-called radical democratic populism to draw attention to the importance of grassroots popular struggles in forging horizontal relations of trust and mutual recognition among the people (2016, 36). She makes an important point. Experiments in grassroots populism rooted in local communities and traditions can become incubators for radical democratic practices (Grattan 2016, 33). As she puts it, “[p]opulism’s ‘dangerous excess’ begins with its ability to animate the usually dormant ideal of popular sovereignty by mobilizing the aspirations of ordinary people to exert a degree of power over their everyday lives and their collective fate” (Grattan 2016, 40). Norval’s (2006) approach to political identification provides further theoretical foundations for understanding the role of everyday political struggles in processes of populist identification. Criticising what she calls Laclau’s “heroic” conceptions of the subject, she argues that foundational moments should not be understood as moments in which new forms of subjectivity are created ex nihilo. Simply put: “More often than not there has been a prolonged period of preparation for such moments, and the role of a genealogical account of these processes is absolutely crucial” (Norval 2006, 247–248). Genealogical accounts of populist identification are particularly important to challenge top-down notions of populism based on the leader’s strategic mobilisation of a vast aggregate of mostly anomic and unorganized followers (Weyland 2017). These conceptualisations of populism deny agency to the people, and although

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they may correspond to certain real-life cases of populism, they may best apply to fascism rather than to populism. By highlighting the role of shared practices of social struggle in processes of populist identification, it is thus possible to better understand the conditions under which the people become a “democratic we”. It can be argued that a notion of populist identification grounded on social practices of collective organisation and multiple identification misses what is truly radical and potentially emancipatory in populism, namely to give voice to the voiceless and make possible for those who have no place within the system to challenge the limits of the political order by identifying as a unified people represented by the figure of a leader. It can also be argued that it underplays the rupturist, transgressive nature of populism and the importance of the vertical dimension of populist identification for effecting political change. But this brings us back to Laclau and Mouffe’s critique of the Jacobin and Marxist notions of a single foundational point of rupture, of a unique space in which the political is constituted, and of populist identity as a unitary, transparent, and sutured entity. In contrast, a genealogical and relational understanding of populist identification allows for a wide variety of forms of populist identification, some of which may be strongly leader-centered and others in which the unity of the group is constituted predominantly by horizontal links of solidarity and an interplay of signifiers that include the symbols of a common struggle relationally and conditionally projected onto the figure of the leader. Thea Riofrancos (2018) makes a similar point with reference to the differences between left- and right-wing populism: Right wing populism prefers the masses atomized, individualized, and alienated from their political power, with their collective agency projected onto a leader and their ire misdirected away from the ruling class. Left-wing populism results from and reinforces bonds of solidarity among a historic bloc of the oppressed allied against a shared enemy. Yet, the distinction pertains to the authoritarian-democratic axis as much as to the right-left one. The ideological attachments of populist appeals are an important element in determining populism’s democratic or otherwise nature but they are not a determinant of populist democratic nature in isolation from the interplay of vertical and horizontal practices of identification. It is hard to imagine right-wing nationalist-populism as democratic, but left-wing populism is not necessarily democratic either. As the cases of left-populism in Venezuela under Nicolás Maduro shows, populist movements that ignore, lose touch or seek to subordinate grassroots support to the uncontested will of the leader or to the power of the state become increasingly authoritarian—especially if the broader political culture and the action of anti-populist forces help to produce this outcome. Moreover, detached from

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organized popular movements and from the people’s everyday needs, populist leaders’ antagonistic appeals fail to register the lived-in experience of their publics and end up losing the ability to constitute political identities, thus opening the possibility for alternative representations of the people (Mazzolini, this volume). However, a notion of grassroots populism merely as an aggregation of social movements or as the coming together of organized and individual actors in the politics of mass protests risks missing the importance of the vertical dimension in the creation of a people that goes beyond particular historical moments of heightened popular mobilisation (Mouffe 2018, 19). At any rate, vertical and horizontal processes are both integral to an emancipatory populist logic proper. And this is something that Laclau himself came to acknowledge in his latest works: The horizontal dimension of autonomy will be incapable, left to itself, of bringing about long-term historical change if it is not complemented by the vertical dimension of “hegemony”—that is, a radical transformation of the state. Autonomy left to itself leads, sooner or later, to the exhaustion and the dispersion of the movements of protest. But hegemony not accompanied by mass action at the level of civil society leads to a bureaucratism that will be easily colonized by the corporative power of the forces of the status quo. To advance both in the directions of autonomy and hegemony is the real challenge to those who aim for a democratic future. (Laclau 2014, 9) A third question arises out of the divide between the people and its Other; it concerns the nature of populist antagonism and its impact on democracy. This is a question that Laclau (2005a, 86) does not elaborate very much, except to state that the chasm between the plebs’ lived condition as deficient beings and those who are responsible for it is irretrievable. Political antagonism’s polarising effects open up an important flank to critics of populism that argue that the homogeneity of the people is a threat to democratic pluralism and that the setting up of a “non-people” is always necessarily undemocratic and, most certainly, anti-liberal. However, antagonism and polarization are a condition for democracy, as well as a potential threat to it. Simply put, already from Greek antiquity, antagonism and polarization have been seen as the unavoidable predicament of a democratic polity—indeed as a challenge to be actively assumed, and not as a symptom of a political pathology to be eliminated: “The polis, for example, undoubtedly knows that division and antagonism are central, and have to be safeguarded and sustained. On the other hand, the unity of the polis also had to be protected against extreme forms of political struggle, stasis, and civil war” (Stavrakakis 2018, 6). Mouffe’s (2009) concept of agonism offers a conceptual lens for exploring the conditions for the development of democratic populism. Mouffe shares the ­pluralist argument that the democratic character of a society can only be given

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by the fact that no social actor can exclusively retain for himself or herself the representation of the totality. However, against Habermas and Rawls, she rejects the very possibility of a public sphere in which a non-coercive, non-exclusionary consensus can be achieved through rational argumentation. She argues that the post-structuralist notion of the constitutive outside forces us to come to terms with the reality that true pluralism implies the permanence of conflict and antagonism: “Instead of trying to efface the traces of power and exclusion (as sought by liberalism), democratic politics requires us to bring them to the fore and make them visible so that they can enter the terrain of contestation” (Mouffe 2009, 33). The ineradicable nature of antagonism in society sets up the limits of liberal pluralism and brings Mouffe in line with Carl Schmitt’s criterion of the political as the friend-enemy divide, and into the terrain of populist antagonism. For Schmitt, the divide is unbridgeable, and its consequence is the impossibility of democratic pluralism. Against pluralist, liberal democracy, Schmitt’s (1976, 45, cited in Mouffe 2009, 52) “friend/enemy” divide postulates an undivided, homogenous demos: Only as long as the essence of the political is not comprehended or not taken into consideration is it possible to place a political association pluralistically on the same level with religious, cultural, economic, or other associations, and permit it to compete with these. Mouffe’s concept of agonism involves a reformulation of Schmitt’s category of “the political” so that it makes the institution of demos compatible with forms of pluralism typical of a liberal democratic society. Against Schmitt’s conception of the identity of the demos as pre-given and homogeneous, she argues that the demos is a political construct whose identity is based on processes of identification: Such an identity, however, can never be fully constituted, and can exist only through multiple and competing forms of identifications. Hence, the importance of leaving this space of contestation forever open, instead of trying to fill it through the establishment of a supposedly rational consensus. (Mouffe 2009, 56) Mouffe further elaborates on the relation between populism and democracy in her book For a Left Populism (Mouffe 2018). In this work, she radicalizes the critique already formulated in previous works (Mouffe 2005)—of current liberal democratic regimes in Western Europe as an expression of a post-democratic consensus between center-right and social democratic parties that underpins neoliberal hegemony. She argues that one of the normative pillars of the democratic ideal—the power of the people—has been undermined because post-politics

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eliminate the possibility of an agonistic struggle between different projects of society, which constitutes the very condition for the exercise of popular sovereignty (Mouffe 2018, 17). Thus, for Mouffe, agonism is a requirement for a democratic polity, as it implies considering the other as a legitimate adversary that is a holder of certain rights, such as freedom of expression, and of the shared values that underpin these rights. What is not fully elaborated by Mouffe is how her notion of agonism applies to populist antagonism in order to prevent the equivalential logic of populism reaching its antagonistic vortex, with the risk of becoming an authoritarian political construct—although anti-populist forces can be equally guilty of producing such an outcome. A partial response is that while antagonism can be defined as a pure logic (the logic of equivalences), agonism is not a pure logic, as per Mouffe’s definition it incorporates a set of distinctive pluralist values. However, a set of values with no institutional anchoring may be a flimsy guarantee against the potentially pernicious effects of antagonistic polarisation. It could be argued that liberal-democratic institutions are meant to provide the checks and balances that guarantee that populist antagonism remains agonistic in nature. Thus, strong liberal democratic institutions should be a condition for a democratic populism. But this paradoxical conclusion brings us back to Laclau’s argument that liberalism effectively domesticated democracy’s Jacobin roots by reducing democracy to a set of institutions and pre-political rights, against which populism reclaims the constitutive power of the sovereign people. This is an argument that cannot be discarded within a political context that involves the postdemocratic and ordoliberal mutations of existing liberal democracy. What then makes populist struggles democratic and prevents them from sliding into authoritarianism? One plausible answer would be that only by considering citizenship as a common, overarching identity, the complex, often troubled, relation between the people and its adversaries does not become a conflict between enemies, and an agonistic space for mutual recognition and negotiation, as well as for conflict and contestation, is established. Aitchinson’s (2017) concept of populist citizenship addresses long-standing objections to the depoliticizing logic of liberal discourses of rights and to the iron cage of liberal institutions. Populist citizenship is an alternative model of citizenship conceived as the active participation of the people in politics and in the re-politicisation of public spaces. This vision of democracy can coexist and complement representative democracy, though it is agonistic and anti-liberal. It involves political struggles to assert the sovereignty of the people against institutional guardianship and technocratic power. This implies that the political is a broad and expansive category in which popular participation is critical for both legitimacy and consciousness-raising (Spanakos 2008). The exercise of populist citizenship involves a range of political interventions aimed at the performative staging of a wrong that by being brought into the political domain seeks to redraw the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion

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of the political order (Norval 2012, 824). Democratic populist struggles take place whenever social groups mobilize to challenge the legitimacy of a hegemonic formation and lay claim to new demands through a direct appeal to the sovereign authority of the people. However, the forms that democratic populist struggles take, and the dislocatory power they acquire varies according to circumstances and context, including the strength of political institutions, the pre-existing political culture, and the democratic or otherwise nature of the political order. In a democratic polity, non-institutional forms of struggle exist as a shadowy presence that underlies the constitutional order, and populist citizenship straddles the relations between institutional and non-institutional forms of struggle. As argued by Aitchinson, given the limits and exclusions of formal citizenship, populist struggles have a vital role to play in political renewal, creating and securing citizens’ rights for excluded political subjects whose claims fall outside the dominant values and procedures of constitutional legitimacy (Aitchinson 2017, 352).8 It is citizenship, as much as the people, which has been hollowed by neoliberalism and globalization. But citizenship, and the rights and obligations attached to it, do not necessarily mean a liberal-individualistic conception of citizenship. Citizenship is a political construction that has been at the center of populardemocratic struggles since the advent of democracy. It was interpreted in a Jacobin key during the French Revolution, “domesticated” by liberalism, redefined in social terms by social democratic parties and in egalitarian terms by democratic struggles for gender, ethnic, and other forms of equality in the 20th century, as described in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. It has been at the centre of some of the defining struggles for the constitution of a democratic people in modern times, from the civil rights movement in the US to the struggle for the enfranchisement of black people in South Africa and the mobilisations against neoliberal exclusion in Latin America and in the fight against inequalities, unaccountable global corporations and political autocrats worldwide.

Conclusion In this chapter, we have sought to present and discuss the many—and often ambivalent—implications of the theory of populism put forward by Ernesto Laclau and his research collaborators and followers—the so-called Essex School. We have stressed the significant contributions of this orientation to the understanding of populism both in spatial terms, making possible a consistent identification of populism within political antagonism, as well as in dynamic terms, capturing the fluid, performative process of producing “the people” as a powerful political subject through both symbolic and affective means. We have also discussed the important question of the relationship between populism and democracy, which, as we have seen, has preoccupied extensively and still preoccupies

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the discursive approach to populism. Throughout our argumentation, the many affinities between discursive, socio-cultural, and performative approaches have also been highlighted. Populism is not per se a danger to democracy that has to be addressed one way or the other, as many other perspectives tend to argue. It is something inherent to the democratic revolution that, as any other political project, can take many different directions in attempting to express social grievances and to give voice to sectors that do not feel represented by established political actors. The production of “the people”, through equivalential articulation, is essential to a vibrant democracy and cannot be reduced to an anomaly or a mere symptom of the representative system. Nevertheless, to facilitate the cultivation of democratic populism within an agonistic setting is a further requirement for the discursive approach to populism, one that may be able to prioritize the characteristics that are conducive to the deepening of democracy and the curtailment of its exclusionary mutations. Alas, this outcome cannot be guaranteed in advance since it also requires a similar reflexivity and an exercise in self-limitation on the part of systemic (anti-populist) forces. In this sense, a notion of populist citizenship should be an integral part of all democratic projects. Populist citizenship incorporates populism’s democratic excess not just vis-à-vis ossified liberal democratic institutions but also against authoritarian regimes that conflate the identity of autocratic leaders with that of the people and substitute the will of the state for the sovereignty of the people.

Notes 1. Defined by Lacan as what escapes the symbolic, the real can neither be spoken nor written. See Stavrakakis (1999) for an account of its application to political theory. 2. This is the reason why in (extreme) right-wing populism “the immigrants” can perfectly function as part of the Them designation. It also indicates the proximity between right-wing populism and nativism/nationalism, which may require a very careful treatment—see De Cleen and Stavrakakis (2017, 2020). 3. See also Moffitt (2016) and Ostiguy and Moffitt (in this volume) on this key point. 4. For the notion of “upward punching” and “downward punching” in relation to left- vs right-populism, see Ostiguy and Casullo (2017) and Casullo (2019). 5. For a presentation of the different stages of populism’s performative representation of crises, see Moffitt (2015). 6. See, among other works, The Democratic Paradox (2009) and For a Left Populism (2018). 7. Writing in this volume, Grattan quotes Becky Bond, a senior advisor to Sander’s electoral campaign, claiming that “Bernie didn’t create this movement. He recognized the movement moment we are in”. 8. Drawing on Rancière, Aitchinson (2017, 349) notes that that “populist citizenship” embodies the people that has “no part” and thus goes unheard and uncounted in the ordinary course of institutional politics. “The challenge for the unseen and unheard is how to make the domination they endure visible and become recognized as legitimate partners in political debate”.

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References Aboy Carlés, Gerardo, Sebastián Barros, and Julián Merlo. 2013. Las Brechas del Pueblo. Reflexiones Sobre Identitidad y Populismo. Los Polvorines, Provincia de Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento. Abts, Koen, and Stefan Rummens. 2007. “Populism versus Democracy.” Political Studies 55 (2): 405–424. Aitchinson, Guy. 2017. “Three Models of Republican Rights: Juridical, Parliamentary and Populist.” Political Studies 65 (2): 339–355. Arditi, Benjamin. 2010. “Review Essay. Populism is Hegemony is Politics? On Ernesto Laclau On Populist Reason.” Constellations 17 (3): 488–497. Biglieri, Paula, and Gloria Perelló, eds. 2007. En el Nombre del Pueblo: La emergencia del populismo Kirchnerista. San Martín, Provincia de Buenos Aires: UNSAM Edita. Canovan, Margaret. 1982. “Two Strategies for the Study of Populism.” Political Studies 30 (4): 544–552. ———. 1999. “Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy.” Political Studies 47 (1): 2–16. Casullo, Maria Esperanza. 2019. ¿Por qué funciona el populismo? Buenos Aires: Siglo Veintiuno Editores. Ciccariello-Maher, George. 2013. We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Connolly, William. 1991. Identity/Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. De Cleen, Benjamin, and Yannis Stavrakakis. 2017. “Distinctions and Articulations: A  Discourse Theoretical Framework for the Study of Populism and Nationalism.” Javnost/The Public 24 (4): 301–319. ———. 2020. “How Should We Analyze the Connections Between Populism and Nationalism: A Response to Rogers Brubaker.” Nations and Nationalism 26 (2): 314–322. Dyrberg, Torben Bech. 2005. “Radical and Plural Democracy: In Defence of Right/Left and Public Reason.” In Radical Democracy: Politics Between Abundance and Lack, edited by Lars Tønder and Lasse Thomassen, 67–84. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Fernandes, Sujatha. 2010. Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Glynos, Jason, and David Howarth. 2007. Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory. Abingdon: Routledge. Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Edited and translated by Q. Hoare and G. Nowell Smith. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Grattan, Laura. 2016. Populism’s Power: Radical Grassroots Democracy in America. New York: Oxford University Press. Hawkins, Kirk A. 2009. “Is Chávez a Populist? Measuring Populist Discourse in Comparative Perspective.” Comparative Political Studies 42: 1040–1067. Hay, Colin. 1996. “Narrating Crisis: The Discursive Construction of the ‘Winter of Discontent’.” Sociology 30 (2): 253–277. Howarth, David, and Yannis Stavrakakis. 2002. “Introducing Discourse Theory and Political Analysis.” In Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change, edited by David Howarth, Aletta Norval, and Yannis Stavrakakis, 1–23. Manchester: Manchester University Press—St Martin’s Press. Lacan, Jacques. 1982. “Le symbolique, l’imaginaire et le réel.” Bulletin del l’Association Freudienne (1): 4–13.

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———. 1993. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: Book III, The Psychoses, 1955–6. New York: Norton. Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory. London: NLR Books. ———. 1990. New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso. ———. 2000. “Identity and Hegemony: The Role of Universality in the Constitution of Political Logics.” In Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left, edited by Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žizek, 44–89. London: Verso. ———. 2005a. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. ———. 2005b. “Populism: What’s in a Name?” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 32–49. London: Verso. ———. 2014. The Rhetorical Foundations of Society. London: Verso. Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe. 2001 [1985]. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. 2nd ed. London: Verso. Lefort, Claude. 1986. The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarianism. Edited and introduced by John B. Thompson. Cambridge: Polity Press. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2015. “How to Perform a Crisis: A Model for Understanding the Key Role of Crisis in Contemporary Populism.” Government and Opposition 50 (2): 189–215. ———. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Style and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. “The ‘End of Politics’ and the challenge of Right Wing Populism.” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 50–71. London: Verso. ———. 2009. The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso. ———. 2018. For a Left Populism. London: Verso. Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2012. “Populism and (Liberal) Democracy: A Framework for Analysis.” In Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? edited by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, 1–26. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ———. 2017. Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Müller, Jan-Werner. 2016. What is Populism? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Norval, Aletta. 2006. “Democratic Identification: A Wittgensteinian Approach.” Political Theory (34): 229–255. ———. 2012. “ ‘Writing a Name in the Sky’: Rancière, Cavell, and the Possibility of Egalitarian Inscription” American Political Science Review 106 (4): 810–826. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High-Low Political Divide: Rethinking Populism and Anti-Populism.” Kellogg Institute Committee on Concepts and Methods Working Paper Series 360. Available at: http://nd.edu/~kellogg/publications/workingpapers / WPS/360.pdf ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-Cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ostiguy, Pierre, and María Esperanza Casullo. 2017. “Left versus Right Populism. Antagonism and Social Order.” Paper presented at the 67th international conference of the Political Studies Association, Glasgow, UK, 10–12 April 2017. Panizza, Francisco, ed. 2005. Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso. Riofrancos, Thea. 2018. “Populism Without the People: On Chantal Mouffe.” n+1, 23 November 2018. Available at: https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/ populism-without-the-people/

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Saussure, Ferdinand de. 1959. Course in General Linguistics. New York: Philosophical Library. Schmitt, Carl. 1976. The Concept of the Political. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Spanakos, Anthony. 2008. “New Wines, Old Bottles, Flamboyant Sommelier: Chávez, Citizenship and Populism.” New Political Science 30 (4): 521–544. Stavrakakis, Yannis. 1999. Lacan and the Political. London: Routledge. ———. 2007. The Lacanian Left. Albany: SUNY Press. ———. 2014a. “Discourse Theory, Post-hegemonic Critique and Mouffe’s Politics of the Passions.” Parallax 20 (2): 118–135. ———. 2014b. “Hegemony or Post-hegemony? Discourse, Representation and the Revenge(s) of the Real.” In Radical Democracy and Collective Movements Today: The Biopolitics of the Multitude Versus the Hegemony of the People, edited by Alexandros Kioupkiolis and Giorgos Katsambekis, 111–132. Farnham: Ashgate. ———. 2017. “Populism and Hegemony.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Paul Taggart, Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 535–552. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ———. 2018. “Paradoxes of Polarization: Democracy’s Inherent Division and the (Anti-) Populist Challenge.” American Behavioral Scientist, advance online publication, 1–16. Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Giorgos Katsambekis. 2014. “Left-wing Populism in the European Periphery: The Case of SYRIZA.” Journal of Political Ideologies 19 (2): 119–142. Stavrakakis, Yannis, Giorgos Katsambekis, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Thomas Siomos, and Nikos Nikisianis. 2017. “Populism, Anti-populism and Crisis.” Contemporary Political Theory 17 (1): 4–27. Taggart, Paul. 2000. Populism. Buckingham: Open University Press. Townshend, Jules. 2003. “Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: A New Paradigm from the Essex School?” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 5 (1): 129–142. Urbinati, Nadia. 2014. Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth and the People. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Weale, Albert. 2018. The Will Of The People: A Modern Myth. Cambridge: Polity Press. Weyland, Kurt. 2017. “Populism: A Political-Strategic Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Paul Taggart, Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 48–72. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

3 WHO WOULD IDENTIFY WITH AN “EMPTY SIGNIFIER”? The Relational, Performative Approach to Populism Pierre Ostiguy and Benjamin Moffitt

Introduction In the social sciences and humanities, Ernesto Laclau’s theory of populism has proven to be one of the most influential and seminal approaches to the phenomenon, spawning a body of literature that has both engaged with the conceptual claims made in his work, as well as applying it to cases from across the globe—an influence that has not just been limited to the halls of academia, but has also included the practice of left-populist politicians and parties in Latin America and Europe. This literature, to be sure, has not remained static, nor has Laclau’s theory remained uncritiqued and unchallenged, even by sympathetic authors who have followed in his wake. Laclau’s approach from 1985 onward was clearly a product of the post-modern (and poststructuralist) discursive turn in circles of political theory. As such, Laclau eschewed his older original work, written from a solid Marxist analytic perspective. In doing so, Laclau ended up, in the process, equating sociological analysis with (historical) materialism, explicitly rejecting talk of social actors as objectively defined sociological categories, and, most certainly, social change as necessarily centred on a privileged “historical agent”. He embraced in any case the broad assumption that everything meaningful is discursively constructed—and conversely, that there is nothing meaningful outside of discourse. Yet something may have been lost in this shift: we want to argue in this chapter that one does not have to throw away the sociological baby with the bathwater, in the turn towards studying populism as a discourse. Instead, we would like to argue, from a more “in-between” though robust position, that the notion of “lived experience” stands exactly halfway between pure discursivism and objectivism, thus at the same time also reintroducing an embodied (and oft-times passionate) dimension

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that includes suffering, anger, envy, resentment, etc. Although Laclau and Mouffe have of course stressed the affective dimension of populism, we argue that in practice, identification is in fact only possible and effective at this crossroad of discourse and experience.1 It would of course be mistaken to locate Laclau as a proponent of an “idealist” “pure discursivism” since he takes into account material dislocations and unmet material demands. However, several discursive theorists claiming filiation with Laclau’s school, by centring their studies on performative speech acts and discourse analysis, may come to ignore or neglect the material component of what Carpentier (2017) has called the “discursive-material knot”. Like him, we believe that material change can dislocate particular discourses, making them less meaningful—and not simply because no discourse can achieve completeness as a consequence of an “ever-present lack”. But in contrast to Carpentier, who remains in his own way caught in the traditional analytical division of body and mind, we think, instead, that it is lived experience that constitutes “an invitation to be discursified” and that has a vividness that “invites for particular meanings to be attributed to them and dissuades other particular meanings” (2017, 45). This invitation, which moreover does not fix or determine meaning, but whose material component facilitates the attribution of given meanings, is the necessary flip side of discursive investment. With this in mind, this chapter posits a relational and performative approach to populism that addresses the social and cultural conditions of identification, both much in and of themselves and as an indispensable complement to Laclau’s abstract and formalist theory, thus also bringing in the process his work more “down to earth”. This relational approach incorporates socio-cultural and style elements, while avoiding the sociological reductionism of pre-constituted identities and of determinism “in the last instance”. That is, it interactively connects performances, discourses, and speech acts with “really existing” social and sociological differences. While we may not be the “very first pioneers” of that approach—the likes of James (1988), Kazin (1995), Taguieff (1995), Knight (1998), Conniff (1999), and most certainly Canovan (1999), have all proven influential for thinking through the stylistic and performative dimensions of populism—Ostiguy (2009, 2017) and Moffitt (2016) have to a large extent enunciated and consolidated that approach, particularly in a cross-regional and global way, as well as theoretically so.2 This relational, performative approach thus puts the embodied and passionate dimensions of populism at the forefront, and it also moves beyond (or beneath) what might be thought as the “formally” discursive level of Laclauian discourse analysis. The latter tends to remain focused on articulation, and thus sometimes overlooks the mediatized nature and aesthetic dimensions of populist performances, as well as the back-and-forth processes of negotiation at play between populist leaders and “the people” within populism. The odd result is to rob people of “semantic” agency. Viewing populism not only as a discourse but as a

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distinct practice3—that is, something that is done—this approach focuses on the question of how political leaders go about constructing a highly personalistic socio-cultural relation and identification with “the people” against an “elite” and a sociological Other. It also seeks to make sense of the question of why “the people” would identify with a populist leader (over other potential leaders). This distinctive praxis characterizes and distinguishes a diverse set of actors or movements, across the world. This chapter presents, first, this distinctive approach to populism. Identifying a “performative turn” in the study of populism, it outlines its key arguments, distinct features, and the approach’s epistemological, ontological, and theoretical foundations. In doing so, it explains how populism is distinct from other modes of performance and socio-culturally-approached political relations and modes of identification. It specifically considers the core differences between “high” modes of technocratic political style and the “low” mode of populism. Second, it constructively builds upon and differentiates itself from Laclau’s orthodoxy regarding the key notion of empty signifier, and specifically the role of the leader. Against Laclau’s conception of the leader and his/her crystallizing surface of inscription operating as an “empty signifier” within populism, we will argue that the leader in populism functions as an overflowing signifier. Here, we contend that the very concrete particularities of the leader’s mediatized personality, bodily performance, and aesthetic do not recede into the background, but rather co-exist with—and are sine qua non for—the multiple interpretations of the leader that are invested within that person from the side of “the people”. This back-and-forth relational dimension of populism, we contend, is overlooked (though not negated) by the formal discursive approach outlined by Laclau, and can be better accounted for by a performative, relational approach to the phenomenon.

The Performative Turn in the Study of Populism What does it mean to speak of a “performative turn” in the study of populism? While dominant schools of thought tend to see populism as an ideology (Mudde 2007; Müller 2016)—however “thin”—or a set of specific ideas, or see it as a strategy (Weyland 2001, 2017; Collier and Collier 1991) based on specific resources and/or organizational features, a number of recent approaches to populism have foregrounded populism’s performative dimension, with the communicative, stylistic, politico-cultural, and relational aspects of populism taking precedence in their analyses. The authors we identify as part of this approach may use different terms to characterize populism—political style, communication style, or discourse amongst others—yet all are united by the view that populism is something that is done, embodied, and enacted. As such, talk of a “performative turn” in populism studies echoes the wider talk of a performative turn in the social sciences in the 1990s, which forced a shift away from structure-based explanations of social phenomena towards making

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sense of symbolically mediated action in contemporary social and political analy­ sis (Bachmann-Medick 2016). The performative turn in the social sciences highlighted the importance of speech acts, the creation of meaning through performance, the role of audiences, actors, scripts, and so forth (Alexander, Giesen, and Mast 2006). In practical terms for the study of populism, this has meant a shift away from focusing strictly on ideational material (such as manifestoes or party material), as well as an undue focus on what Hawkins (2010, 39) has called “historical preconditions and policies” of populism under the strategic approach, towards the actual performance of populism. This performative focus is reflected in the different definitions of populism that are utilized by authors working under this broad approach in the comparative study of populism. As the chapter by Panizza and Stavrakakis outlines, a significant number of authors see populism as a discourse, whether from an “Essex School” perspective (Poblete 2015; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014) or not, with Aslanidis (2016, 96) arguing that populism is a discursive frame that constructs “an anti-elite discourse in the name of the sovereign People”, and Bonikowski and Gidron (2016, 1593) seeing populism as “discursive strategy that juxtaposes the virtuous populace with a corrupt elite and views the former as the sole legitimate source of political power”. Methodologically, the latter, while seemingly very close to Mudde on content, argue that it is best to focus on populist claim-making, contending that “populism is best operationalized as an attribute of political claims rather than a stable ideological property of political actors” (2016, 1593). While all of these authors clearly focus on the performative dimension of populism in the sense used by the likes of Austin (1975) and Butler (1997), whereby they acknowledge the power that language has in constructing identities and reality (in our case, in the construction of “the people”, the “the elite”, and a sociological Other), we move beyond what one might see as the “strictly” discursive level, and extend our definition to take in further performative aspects that relate to the relational, grounded, and embodied dimensions of populism. That is, while Laclau’s discursive ontology posits that “everything is discourse”, in practice the previously given authors, including Laclauians, tend to limit themselves to the study of words, without even noticing these glaring features of populist praxis. It is on these key features that we focus in this chapter. Ostiguy’s (2009, 2017) definition of populism as the “flaunting of ‘the low’ ” in politics makes this clear: High and low have to do with ways of relating to people; as such, they go beyond “discourses” that would be understood as mere words, and they include issues of accents, level of language, body language, gestures, ways of dressing, etc. As a way of relating to people, they also encompass the way of making decisions. (2009, 5)

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As such, his definition combines politico-cultural aspects (such as personalistic, strong leadership, and “immediacy” in decision-making) with more performative social-cultural aspects (such as use of local vernacular, demonstrative behaviour, “colourfulness”, and so forth). For him, both aspects together constitute a specifically populist way of relating to “the people”—particularly understood sociologically as the non-elite—that is, in a personal, personalistic mode (in contrast to a more technocratic or bureaucratic way) which is informal, at times crude and coarse, improper, and “street-wise”. This particular mode is acted out on purpose, flaunting it, antagonistically, in contrast to the ways of technocrats, Eurocrats, bureaucrats, and other “proper”-crats. Other authors have also sought to include performative aspects of populism under a conception of populism as a “political style” (Kazin 1995; de la Torre 2010; Moffitt 2016). Moffitt, for example, defines populism as “a political style that features an appeal to ‘the people’ versus ‘the elite’, ‘bad manners’ and the performance of crisis, breakdown or threat” (Moffitt 2016, 45). Here, political style is understood specifically as “the repertoires of embodied, symbolically mediated performance made to audiences that are used to create and navigate the fields of power that comprise the political, stretching from the domain of government through to everyday life” (Moffitt 2016, 38). This specific focus on the performative and stylistic dimensions of populism aims to offer a new conceptual vocabulary for studying populism, focusing on performers, audiences, stages, and the mise-en-scène of the phenomenon. This vocabulary captures the inherent theatricality of contemporary populism, while also bringing the mechanisms of populist representation into focus. The emphasis on performance shifts the focus from forms of representation to the actual mechanisms of representation: mediated enactments, televisual performances, rallies, speeches, use of certain dress, vernacular, and so forth. In doing so, it stresses the very important (and sometimes forgotten) role of presentation in representation, aiming to draw analytical focus towards how the activity of interpellating or “rendering-present” “the people” actually occurs. The combination of theatre, representation, embodiment, and making the marginal visible accounts for the oscillating impressions of populism as something superficial and untrustworthy—something of a sideshow attraction to be dismissed by serious analysts—and a form of representation in politics that strikes seemingly deeper chords than most kinds of strictly programmatic politics. In an emotional register, it is one reason why populism often oscillates between the comical and buffoonish (e.g., Huey Long, Hugo Chávez singing) and the pathos of the tragic (e.g., Eva Perón) or of doom (Donal Trump). To put it differently, populism characteristically ranges from the transgressively comical (or embarrassing) to the staged emotional representation of human suffering and neglect;4 it claims furthermore to bring into focus (and at times literally centre stage) those who were (or have become) otherwise “out of place” on

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that centre stage (e.g. Evo Morales, Eva Perón, Erdogan, or even Trump’s talk of those who have been “left behind”). As part of the performative turn, these authors understand populism not as a mere “top-down” mode of political communication, but rather as a relational phenomenon that operates as a two-way street: populist leaders and representatives make claims on behalf of “the people”, and “the people” who are characterized by these claims participate in rejecting, accepting, or modifying such claims, as well as shaping the resulting political identity itself. As Ostiguy has noted, populism is a two-way phenomenon, centrally defined by the claims articulated and the connection established between the leader and supporters, a relation that displays both a socio-cultural and a politico-cultural component. Because populism is relational, both in terms of the relationship between people and leader and—as, or even more, importantly—of this dyad’s hostile relation to a “nefarious” Other, it ends up being about identity creation and identities—more than about “world views” or “ideology”. (2017, 73) The identity of “the people”, in other words, is not “given” from above, but is a product of the interplay between populist representatives and “the people”. Moffitt has similarly stressed this co-constitutive relationship between “the people” and the populist leader, claiming that there is more to successfully ‘performing the people’ than just speaking in their name. . . . [A]udiences are not just voiceless masses waiting to be interpellated into popular subjects, but practice agency in regards to choosing to accept, reject or modify claims made to them. (Moffitt 2016, 105) While these authors draw on a wide range of theoretical influences—from Bourdieu (1979) on distinction and tastes, Elias (1982) on the “civilizing process”, Lévi-Strauss (1964) on “the raw and the cooked”, Freud, Weber on legalrationalism, and Lipset and Rokkan (1967) on the politicization of cleavages, for Ostiguy’s relational approach, to the work of Hariman (1995) on stylistic repertoires, Ankersmit (2002) on political aesthetics, and Saward (2010) on political representation for Moffitt’s performative approach, the central theoretical influence that does clearly unite them with more discursively minded scholars of populism is that of Ernesto Laclau (2005). While comparative politics scholars have sometimes shunned Laclau’s work on populism for being “extremely abstract” (Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser 2012, 7) or arcane, the authors operating under the performative turn (and the broader discursive approach) have found

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the intellectual—and terminological—investment quite worth the effort and an important source of insight. They have used Laclau’s contributions to theorizing the roles of leadership, representation, affect, and the constituting processes of “the people” in populism, and applied them to a wide array of cases. Indeed, with his claims that “the question of popular identities is grounded, precisely in the performative dimension of naming” (Laclau 2005, 103) and his argument that populism’s constitution of “the people” relies on “a performative operation” (Laclau 2005, 97), Laclau’s work clearly allows room theoretically for the performative dimension of populism, as well as the centrality of identity for the phenomenon. The issue for these authors is that this performative dimension has not been focused on enough, both in case studies and theoretically, in the literature that has followed Laclau’s work.

The Populist Leader: Empty or Overflowing Signifier? An important original contribution of this chapter is to examine a significant point of constructive divergence about the role of the leader in populism. Indeed, at the core of Laclau’s theory is the claim that the name of the leader takes on the role of an “empty signifier” in populism: a blank slate of sorts, on which “the people” invest their meanings and desires, and which crystallizes the “equivalential chain” of demands that, together and antagonistically, creates “a people”. We argue that this reading of the leader, or more precisely of his/her name as an “empty” signifier, does not translate accurately to reality. We introduce here, instead, akin to Laclau’s terminology, the notion that the populist leader functions in fact as an overflowing signifier, with the very concrete particularities of the leader (his or her mediated identity, his/her performance, his/her bodily presence) linked to the multiple interpretations of the leader that are invested within that person on the part of “the people” (that is, the different “readings” or “meanings” of the leader for his/her followers). This difference, for us, stresses the relational aspect of populism that Laclau’s theory arguably overlooks (perhaps due to its formal nature), and helps ground populism as a concrete practice. We also argue that populist leaders indeed often contribute to the creation of what political sociologists have called cleavages, but contend that such a cleavage is certainly not created ad nihilo, as an entirely post-modern discursivist perspective could have it. The reason for this is that discursive acts do not “stand alone”, as we noted in the introduction to this chapter, but must also resonate with the lived experiences and social encounters experienced in daily life. And society is, indeed, quite heterogeneous. Discursive construction of political subjects, in other words, takes place in very concrete contexts. A Laclau expert could argue that our notion of overflowing signifier is strikingly similar to Laclau’s idea of floating signifier.5 This, however, is an “optical illusion” stemming from the term “floating”. In Laclau´s theory, the floatingness

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of the signifier arises from the rival political efforts on the part of rival equivalential chains to appropriate (in a hegemonic way, in a “war of position”) the meaning of the sought-after term (such as “small man”, “the productive majority”, etc). These rival equivalential chains are clearly and explicitly opposing political projects—thus the emphasis in Laclau on political struggle and struggle for hegemony. By “overflowing signifier” we mean something simpler, and different. With an “overflowing” signifier, partisans of the same political camp associate many meanings with the term, name, or leader. For example, Trump may mean different things to many of his partisans, but they remain his partisans, his camp. While there may be internal rivalry to impose a particular meaning, rather than another, on the same object on the part of different partisans, it remains one broad equivalential chain and the same broad political camp. Our qualm is therefore not with the notion of “floating signifier”, which indeed comes “later” ontologically (and perhaps also politically), but with the theoretically central notion of “empty” signifier, which is never and can never be empty, quite on the contrary.6 To lay out our argument in more detail: we first wish to argue (paradoxically, given his poststructuralist leanings) that Laclau in his theory of the so-called “empty signifier” is overly formalist and (so to speak) “structuralist”, and ignores the lived experience of populist identification. In contrast, we want to propose a theory of what we call the “overflowing signifier”, one with a multiplicity of particular, quite concrete, and “never-lost” meanings,7 linked to traits and practices of the leader himself, which moreover acquires sense within quite situated language games (and certainly within a semantic field). Then, in something of a reverse Derridean deconstructive reading, we show—here entirely akin to Laclau—that the multiplicity of meanings of the same populist signifier is what gives him/her appeal and strength. To put it in more orthodox Laclauian language, the “non-sutured” and “non-fixed” meaning of the populist leader’s name allows a multiplicity of discursive articulatory practices to be invested within it. But in line with our greater “sociological” as well as performative immanence, we are highly sceptical that it is only “the name”, as contrasted to the actual person, of the populist that can crystallize “the unity of the equivalential ensemble” (2005, 108). Laclau correctly emphasized the “social productivity” of that name; but in our view, he mistakenly “derives it exclusively from the operation of the name as a pure signifier” (ibid.), which is moreover “empty”. This social productivity depends as well, and perhaps even much more so, sociologically, on what the leader is and what he or she does. In that sense, we restore the obvious agential component entirely missing in the more—in fact—“structuralist” theory of Laclau. Neither a “great man theory of history”, nor a pure name acting as a blank screen of projection for “the lack” and a chain of demands,8 the name that is “socially productive” is certainly that of a publicly acting person. And the populist leader is far from empty, as a signifier of significations; on the contrary (and empirically so), he/she is overly abundant of specific meanings and investments,9 linked to traits and practices of his/her persona.

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Laclau, Sartori, and the “Overflowing Signifier” Oddly enough, the logic, trade-off, and tensions in Laclau’s equivalential chain which characterize populism—between equivalence and difference, and between “emptiness” and particular content—are very similar structurally to those present in Giovanni Sartori’s “ladder of abstraction”. In Sartori’s ladder, intension (the meaning of a term) and extension (what the term designates) vary in inverse proportions. The more abstract or general a term, the more it will apply to a high variety of cases or objects, but the more it will be “generic”, bordering on emptiness. At its extreme, a totally “abstract” term, according to Sartori, could mean almost anything and everything. It would be, literally, an empty signifier. In contrast, terms with very specific, concrete intension apply to a very limited amount or variety of cases or objects. At the extreme, they are pure particularity. Indeed, the question of intension vs. extension regarding meaning is here central. According to Laclau, the more the name of the leader crystallizes a longer (tendentially infinite) chain of equivalences, the more, logically, the name of the leader tends not to mean anything in particular. That is, its intension is almost nil. Of course, for Laclau, it is precisely this emptiness of precise signification that makes that name so powerful politically, as it allows people to project a wide range of their concrete demands, grievances, and emotions onto the redemptive name of the leader. But be that as it may, for Laclau the name of the populist leader increasingly comes to mean nothing in particular—that is, comes to be devoid of any specific meaning, or intension. This may be the case in the neatness of the world of theory and pure logic. However, we contend that when it comes to populism, reality is somewhat more complicated. We put forward the thesis that in the case of populism (and more precisely, of populist appeals and identification), extension and intension in fact grow together. For this reason, instead of speaking of the leader acting as an “empty signifier”, it is more appropriate, and to the point, to speak of an “overflowing signifier”. That is, instead of becoming oddly empty (of particular meaning), the populist leader comes to encompass a multiplicity of concrete, very different meanings—not necessarily coherent amongst themselves from the standpoint of theoretical logic, but derived from games of oppositions, historically and contextually situated (i.e., of concrete hegemonic struggles). The longer the chain of equivalences, the more the populist leader (and not just his or her name) becomes an “overflowing” signifier, hinting, so to speak in a Laclauian language, to the excess in the heterogeneity of the social (that is, its hitherto non representable/represented part). The particularity, however, is not lost in the process. This particularity does not need to be only the particularity of a given demand (as per Laclau’s theoretical schema), but can also be the specificity of a given meaning (never of course “given” a priori). To provide an example, Perón may mean “social justice”, “nationalism”, “pride”, “happiness”, “comradeship”, “defiance”,

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“anti-imperialism”, “Argentine-ness”, etc. And all of these particular meanings acquire poignancy in relation to their semantic opposite—attributed politically to the elite and/or a social Other. The same semantically applies to concrete, particular demands (tendentially expendable to the infinite): Perón means paved roads, free health care, women voting, a bicycle, a house, etc. However, that the name of the leader means so many different things does not imply necessarily that its intension is close to nil; not being one specific, “well-definable” thing is not the same as being “empty” (of meaning, of intension). And yes, the name of the leader is often the condition of possibility for the equivalential chain. When it comes to populism, the meaning of the leader is multifaceted, excessive,10 overflowing with different (not logically related) readings. To be poetic here, the name and persona of the leader is full of life, not empty (hence, perhaps, the important role of affect and jouissance that many Laclauian scholars have otherwise explored). Strictly speaking, we are at a loss to understand why one would actually identify (politically, psychologically, emotionally) with an empty signifier—what affective investment is there to be had with something that allegedly means nothing? Something “full of life”, however, makes sense, and speaks very much to the passionate and antagonistic function that populist leaders have in the political landscape. That is, what is itself encompassed in the intension of the name is also full of tensions, contradictions, and (hegemonic) struggle for appropriation. For a follower of Lacan, this “Sartorian”, logical aspect of Laclau’s theory is odd and theoretically problematic. In Lacan’s theory (upon which Laclau draws heavily in constructing his theory of populism as well as in other writings), meaning is always retroactively invested in a signifier. This is most certainly what happens in the instance of the meaning of a particular successful populist leader. And there is no reason, in our view, why this retroactive investment must be limited to one meaning. Moreover, if a signifier is empty of (particular)11 meaning, how can it then act as a nodal point? Something that is empty or strictly speaking “meaningless”, instead of meaningful, cannot act as a nodal point. We understand, certainly, that Laclau understands the “empty signifier” as a surface of inscription for different narratives. But our claim is that this surface has its own topography, which is itself relevant and important in the identification process. And of course, this multiplicity of overflowing meanings is not to be confused with the “war of position” around a floating signifier—a political game that also has sociological and historical correlates. Since what defines an equivalential chain is that it crystallizes a system of semantic opposition to a power bloc, an administration, an “the elite”, the name that crystallizes that politically oppositional chain cannot thus be completely empty. As long as there is a frontier created, the “empty” signifier cannot be empty, precisely because it is the opposite of what it stands against. The “multiple presence of the [‘fleshy’] heterogeneous in the structuration of the popular

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camp” (2005, 152) can only but affect, reflect, and bear upon the connotations of the name of the “empty” (not empty!) signifier—in this case in particular, of the populist leader.12

Borrowing From Derrida’s Deconstruction to . . . Construct Meaning Here, the famous deconstructionist strategy and epistemology of Jacques Derrida can be borrowed and, to some extent, put on its head to construct meaning and observe what has been (cacophonically) constructed in the case of the particular populist leader or political force that functions as “empty” signifier. Derrida shows that various and contradictory meanings (including of course those not intended by the author) can always be found in a given text or passage. For this reason, Derrida became the bête noire of positivist social sciences. However, in line with Derrida, it may be more realistic to acknowledge that a given signifier, particularly in politics, may, and usually does, have a variety of (even contradictory) meanings or possible understandings. Such understandings or meanings can even be detected a posteriori, that is, made explicit, thematized, and studied by researchers. And probably few names can be as “deconstructed” as that of the populist leader. But deconstructed-ness is not the same as emptiness. Writing in specifically Derridean terms, the superabundance—that is, the many meanings—of the signifier is the result of a finitude, i.e., of a lack (the fact that no signifier is 100% unambiguous). As such, it must therefore be supplemented “to make it clear”, be clarified by a supplement. This is Derrida’s theory of the supplement. It is both accretion and substitution. And it occurs where there is an originary lack.13 The meaning of Perón (the person) was not “Perón” until he became Perón as what he stands for, with all the accretions and substitutions. And the latter is in large part a historical and social product—and at the very least, an interactive and relational one. The meaning of “Perón” is what you make of Perón. This, to be sure, is not “ambiguity” as criticized in Laclau (1996, 36), which could always be made more precise, but rather entirely the product of the interaction between the Derridean flux of language and the desires emerging from our lack. On the other hand, certainly, what you semantically “make of it/him” (e.g., Perón), in terms of projecting, cannot be independent of what the actual Juan Domingo in his concrete finitude did, said, and enforced—and of the reactions he/it triggered. Indeed, there is an Argentine saying that states that “Perón [after eighteen years of exile, when he came back to Argentina in 1973] is the only myth that has ever landed [at an airport]!” As such, Perón thus can not be purely a blank screen, a surface of projection; it happens that the name on which so much was projected also talked, made cabinet decisions, had to take sides as president. It is one thing to be a non-governing “banner” far away in exile onto which so many things can

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be projected; it is another to be a flesh-and-bone ruling president, have to make executive decisions, take sides, make policies, etc. To summarize: while for Laclau it is the tendential emptiness of the crystallizing signifier that makes it so powerful politically, for us it is the excess of particular meanings (as supplement to the body and words of the populist leader) that makes it/him such a powerful signifier. Both are linked to identification, but in the first instance, a generic lack invites unspecified projections, on an empty and blank signifier; while in the second instance, lack fosters comprehensible identifications with a leader who is very much the opposite of empty or blank.14 While the logic and possibilities of excess do not have to be premised upon an ontology of lack,15 it is arguably the negativity associated with lack that fuels the claims for social change, as well as the desire behind the sociopoligical identification—locating us more within an “ontology of lack” than of abundance.

The Lack, Redemption, and the Much-Needed Particularity for (Political) Identification So how do we explain the role of identification, in populist politics? Laclau, Stavrakakis (2007), and Ostiguy have each in their own way had recourse to the field of psychoanalysis to explain identification, while Panizza (2005, 10–11, 30) also implicitly does so (as does the broader literature on populism, passions, and emotions). Such a recourse, however, is not indispensable for students of politics, and the jargon-filled nature of the psychoanalytical literature has turned many a scholar off it. Nonetheless, the theoretical contribution of this chapter would not be complete without a discussion of “lack”, perhaps the central notion in Lacan’s writings—and thus key in Laclau’s understanding of the mechanism of identification under populism. In Althusser, identities were created, to simplify, by discourses of so-called “state ideological apparatuses” (or more simply, institutions) on a subject who only became subjected (in both senses of the word: subjection and acquiring subjectivity) by “freely” adopting a given discourse. Identity creation was basically a top-down affair, which to the subject, however, appeared as “soul searching”, as being interpellated (“yes, I am this!”). The ontology of “lack”, in exact reverse, starts from the subject itself, who experiencing this lack, this obstacle to his/her fullness, his/her realization, his/her happiness—and thus searches for “fullness” through identification with political and social identities. Certainly, as Lacan emphasized, such a search is ultimately in vain, as the fracture or pain created in the self from its encounter with the symbolic world is “­unfillable”—and experienced, in Lacan’s psychoanalysis, as “the Real”. This, however, does not prevent the search for (in Lacan’s psychoanalysis) “objets petits a”, or substitutes—objects of desire on which to project oneself or one’s desires. In both Lacan and Laclau, it is the lack experienced by the self in the symbolic world (the world of language, of society, etc.) that leads the subject to search for

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new identifications that would lead to “fullness”. While certainly not a Laclauian way of putting it, the populist leader does constitute such a promise, particularly in his/her redemptive component so well emphasized by Canovan (1999). He/ she, in a mode similar to Weber (1988)’s theory of charisma, triggers identification for the believer interpellated by the not-empty signifier. The main problem in Laclau’s theory is that it is not clear—analytically and/or empirically—what triggers an identification with a particular signifier/individual. That there is such a need is not in question; but why with this person or with this given signifier and not with this other person or signifier? Is it all random or nonpertinent? Because we all suffer from lack, because we all wish for something that will make us fuller, does not mean that the objet petit a on which we project this desire can be an “empty screen”. Much on the contrary. This is why we call our approach relational. Something of the leader, of his appeals, of his ways of being and praxis resonates in the subject experiencing Lacan’s lack.16 Laclau’s theory arguably makes sense at a very high level of abstraction, but lacks the “middle-range concepts” or middle-range mechanisms that allow for populist identification to happen (including in the crystallization of the equivalential chain). This is where our work, and that of the chapters present in the volume, productively operate analytically. Now one may be tempted to argue that the critique about the excessive “abstractness” and “emptiness” of Laclau’s articulating signifier is misplaced, as Laclau (following Gramsci 1971) argues that in populism, a particular, concrete object takes the place, in a hegemonic operation, of the entire equivalential chain. And this object is certainly concrete, “corporal”. Upping the stakes, he even writes: “the logic of the objet petit a and the hegemonic logic are not just similar: they are simply identical” (2005, 116). While true at the most general level, the latter is analytically unhelpful at best for case studies and misleading at worst: in one case, the Lacanian logic of an objet petit a substitutes for fullness, whereas in the case of hegemony, one objet petit a susbstitutes for another. Nothing tells us here why some people whose object of desire is not the to-be-hegemonic objet petit a would “just like that” transpose their particular desire on that object. At this mid-level of abstraction, that substitution is truly unexplained. Even a “hegemonic logic” (not purely based on power) must be accounted for at the level of the subject and his or her desires. To simply state “substitution” is not enough. Hegemony, in that sense, brings us back to a theory of the lack, and more particularly, to a theory of specific lacks—and thus of fitting objets petit a. Perhaps not surprisingly, “Excess” and “lack” are oddly, but tightly related, in the case of populism (including politically). Lack is at the root of any form of identification. The concreteness or “fleshy-ness” of populist leadership (and—why not—of populist social movements) involves what Laclau has called an “excess” that is beyond what has already been symbolically thematized (including in a field of antagonisms), a “materiality of the signifier which resists conceptual absorption” (2005, 152).

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This “excess” is what he calls “the ‘B-ness’ of the B” [not “B as the contrast to A”], an “irretrievable ‘outside’ ” of the established field of political oppositions (such as left and right) which “will always tarnish the very categories that define the ‘inside’ ” of the symbolic system of oppositions (2005, 152). The destabilization of politics through the “incorporation” of what Laclau calls the “excess”, and thus of what was hitherto outside and not within the realm of established symbolic oppositions, “reconstitutes the space of representation” and involves the construction of a new frontier (2005, 153). The populist leader as embodiment, as “excessive signifier” if we dare say so, as “public flesh”, is not foreign to this process, quite on the contrary. In the moment of embodiment, the “excess” as well as traits facilitating identification thus come to the forefront.17 Certainly, “empty” signifiers are never actually empty to begin with, on the contrary. What characterizes them is this very inscription of a surplus of meaning (see earlier) and a “fleshy excess”. Oddly enough, thus, it is by being particularly “excessive” (in both senses) that the populist leader, the actually overflowing signifier that acts as an “empty” signifier, is able to act as a promise of fullness responding to the lack—and thus, to act as so many objets petits a, affectively invested. The same can be said, we believe, of “the people”. Scholars of a Laclauian orientation should read our perspective as basically a complexification of Laclau on exactly this same phenomenon, which he characterizes bluntly as a hegemonic—i.e., to him, substitutive—operation: as “the operation of taking up, by a particularity, of an incommensurable universal signification” (2005, 70). He elaborates and clarifies conceptually that “given that this embodied totality . . . is . . . an impossible object, the hegemonic identity becomes something of the order of an empty signifier, its own particularity embodying an unachievable fullness” (2005, 71).18 We argue that the particular does not just assume (“just like that” or as a mere product of a logical necessity) the place of (unachievable) fullness; and that it is not because fullness is unachievable or impossible to fully embody that its signifier is “empty” (like a magician’s hat that everything comes out of). To borrow analogically from Christian language, “Jesus” is not simply, “just like that”, the (hegemonic) substitution of “God”. Rather, there is something in the embodied persona and praxis of Jesus that entails or signifies, in a not “empty” way, the impossible object and a horizon of fullness. The particular ( Jesus) is not a hegemonic substitution, but a credible vector of an “impossible object”/God because of what is particular (and fleshy) about it (him).19 In a certain aspect, Laclau comes very close to our perspective and to provide an answer to our key question of the reasons for hegemonic success, in his analysis of Freud in the third chapter of On Populist Reasons—insights that appear entirely abandoned, unused, and left aside in the rest of the volume where he lays out his own theory. Against the demagoguery approach to populism, represented in psychoanalysis by the now-dated work of Gustave Le Bon (1995) where the leader is “pure father” (such as in authoritarianism), Laclau takes great care to emphasize

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that the populist leader is also a “brother” in the sense that he shares traits with his followers. He is both father and (older) brother. He is like me, but better than me. He is not mainly an authority figure, as are kings, patriarchs, Founding Fathers, Pinochet, etc., but an “empowered brother” who allows transgression and emancipation. And if he is to be a father, he is a close father, physically and emotionally present, not a distant one. What exactly is Freud telling us . . .? Simply that whenever the need for a strong leader meets the individual only halfway, the leader will be accepted only if he presents, in a particularly marked fashion, features that he shares with those he is supposed to lead. In other words, the led are, to a considerable extent, in pari materia with the leader—that is to say, the latter becomes primus inter pares. (2005, 59, emphasis added) And indeed, for example, Perón is not only “my General,” but “the first worker”. Evita is not only “the first lady”, but clearly, socially and culturally, “one of us”. She is not only “for the people”, but very clearly “of the people”. The same can be said for populist figures such as Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Nigel Farage, and so forth—they are “just like us”, but not fully like us. They are, as Moffitt has noted, both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. Second, not only are they “of the people” but, equally important (especially in the European context), “of this people”. Geert Wilders is “clearly” “Dutch” (with his excessively blond hair, his invocations of personal freedoms, etc.), as opposed to here—since there is always a frontier in populism—Muslim immigrants and visible minorities in the Netherlands. Populists (here simplifying on purpose) whether right in Europe or left in South America, emphasize their belonging to “this people”, including and especially in personal features. In the “Identification” section of On Populist Reason, Laclau is emphatic that: As he [the leader] participates in that very substance of the community which makes identification possible, his identity is split: he is the father, but also one of the brothers. . . . Since his right to rule is based on the recognition by other group members of a feature of the leader which he shares, in a particularly pronounced way, with all of them, the leader is, to a considerable extent, accountable to the community. (2005, 59–60, emphasis added) And on the transgressive/typical paradox, Laclau quotes Freud: [The leader] need often only possess the typical qualities of the individual concerned in a particularly clearly marked and pure form and need only give an impression of greater force and more freedom of libido. (58–59, emphasis added)20

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Precisely to achieve identification with the leader in this way, populist leaders emphasize the two defining socio-cultural components of what Ostiguy has called “the low”: the coarse culturally popular (acting as one of “the people”—whether this means beer-swilling and smoking in the case of Farage, or happily singing folk songs in the case of Chávez) and the “from here” (that is, acting and representing a particular characterization of the so-called “real” people, who are not elegantly cosmopolitan but of a particular local and recognizably from-here typical setting). The latter, to be sure, does not definitionally imply at all, certainly, a conceptual equation between populism and xenophobic nativism.21 Moreover and third, in contrast to programmatic political parties that emphasize platforms associated with complex (and theoretically more abstract) ideologies, as studied by Freeden, populists often emphasize . . . themselves. You are voting for them as much as (if not much more than) for their policy platforms—that is, the personalistic pole of the second, politico-cultural component of what Ostiguy has called “the low”. The populist leader therefore is not just “any” surface of inscription—a blank screen ready for “the people” to project their meanings upon. He/she has, much opposite to such a characterization, a quite particular and “spectacular” topography as said surface of inscription: what you see, in many ways, is what you get, and it is certainly distinctive and divisive. The surface of inscription is “fleshy”, concrete, immanent, sensory, that is, particularly visible and audible. For this reason, the populist not only “is”, as Ostiguy has written, but also “performs”, as Moffitt has emphasized. He/she performs the spectacular topography of his/her surface of inscription. The identification process must operate bi-directionally. One must reject the top-down “great man theory of history”, which to some extent (although from a negative normative standpoint) the so-called “strategic approach” to populism adopts, according to which the wily charismatic populist leader sidesteps traditional modes of mediation and organizes the undisciplined masses by demagogically bringing them together as “the people”. Conversely, one must also reject the bottomup theory of Laclau in this regard, where the leader, with his name acting as an “empty signifier”, does not seem to be doing much, beyond providing that name as a symbol for discursive inscription. This is why we call our approach relational: it is not top-down or bottom-up, but rather emphasizes a back-and-forth process between the populist and “the people”, revolving around the question of identity. Where Laclau nails it analytically, however, is in the emphasis on “immanentization”: If the distance between ego and ego-ideal is narrower . . . the leader will be the object-choice of the member of the group, but he will also be part of the group, particularly in the general process of mutual identification. In that case, there would be a partial immanentization of the ground of the communitarian order. (62, emphasis added)

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Ostiguy’s approach is nothing else but a description and specification of this immanentization, “on the low”. Also, in both Laclau’s writings and Ostiguy’s, “the people” is not only or just “community” or “populus”, but also and as well “the plebs”—claiming to be the “national and popular”. For this reason, populism is always anti-elitist. But while Laclau only focuses on “immanentization” as a source of community identification (between leader and led), we importantly add that “immanentization” is also precisely what differentiates populist discourse and praxis from discourses and practices on “the high”, which is generally quite the opposite of immanent. That is, immanentization also serves to create a frontier, and not only a societal community. In brief, appeals and lack must resonate with one another. Even if one were to adopt the “strategic” approach so popular in studies of Latin American populism, there should at least be an analysis of why some populist leaders are so clearly popular and successful in terms of appealing to “the people” and others not, as well as why such appeals work in some circumstances and not others. A grounded analysis of identification (and perhaps “lack”) is here clearly needed, and not only at the most abstract level, as is often the case in Laclau’s theory. Second, in terms of resonance, the notion of negativity, which is much associated with the ontology of lack, is certainly part of the picture. After all, populists are angry at the way things are: they are not just “good government” administrators; they think “something is profoundly wrong”. As such, negativity is a motor for social change from a given status quo, and it explains some of the populist relation with protest movements.

Fullness and Embodying “What Is Missing”: The Concrete and Particular Populist Leader Several components can now be fully tied together. The leader is himself, qua live person, but is also “much more than himself ”. The leader is signifier and signified. The populist leader is promise of fullness, stemming from lack. The specific traits and features of the populist leader are therefore important— what Moffitt has referred to as the “political style” of populism. Style is not a “faddish”, “superficial” topic unworthy of study by mainstream political science. The fields of political communication and media studies are well aware of this, and thus concentrate their attention there. In sociology and political science, it is necessary to add that style is emblematic of something, that it can be (and is) often a re-presentation of social or social-cultural identity in the public, political arena. Style can even be understood as the visible face of Lipset and Rokkan’s (1967) cleavage theory. Style is personal, but it is also deeply social, and far from always consensual (especially outside given niches). The performance, including the traits, words, and particular practices of the populist leader, is meant to emphasize the politically desired societal cleavage;

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by focusing ire on a social Other, the populist promises to remove the obstacle that prevents communitary fullness. Style can certainly appear to be “show business for the media”, but it can also display anger, resentments, or sociocultural differences with deep roots in a given society at a given time. For that reason, a drawback of an exclusively discursive ontology is that it runs the risk of throwing sociology out of the window. To be sure, it is a known mistake to “reduce” populism or any political phenomenon to sociological categories or determinants. But there are social differences on which competing discourses attempt to throw light and to which they seek to provide meaning. Latin American Laclauians always note that populism claims to represent both the plebs (one part of the community) and the populus (all of the community). This is, respectively, the people sociologically qua non-elite, and qua community of “a people”. Populism would be the claim of the plebs—a part—to be, and to become, the (true) whole, “the real people”, in a hegemonic operation. But the frequent use in Laclau of the term “plebs” is precisely where sociology makes a comeback! Certainly, no actors constitute themselves discursively in real-world politics as “the plebs”. However, the term denotes something that has an inherently sociological texture and can act as an umbrella term for discursively constituted “exploited”, “forgotten”, “looked-down-upon”, “second-class citizens in their own country”, etc. There is therefore a sociologically understood, non-elite component present, at the core of populism. Thus, our last thesis is that the particular traits and praxis (or performances) of the populist leader are usually in line with what we have called a plebeian appeal or “grammar”. While it is possible to be a Marxist leftist without such a plebeian grammar, on the low, it is not possible to be populist (ideologically left, right, or centre) without it. Such a grammar certainly includes the mode of discourse, but also and as well, a way of presenting oneself and even a way of governing, on the low—which Ostiguy has labelled elsewhere “dirty institutionality” (2015, 135, 147–151, 157–168). A populist leader is one expressing him or herself stylistically in a “plebeian grammar”, on the low, in an antagonistic way. Therefore, while the “empty signifier” is not empty but overflowing with significations, the external scope or limit of such observed overflow must be, definitionally, something broadly “nationally plebeian”. Finally, the antagonism of populists is not only—and perhaps not even mainly—against a governing political elite, but also, clearly, against a social Other. The nature of this social Other will play a role in what given populisms accent. While populist discourse always emphasizes “the people from here”, that discourse may be more anti-immigrant, or anti–foreignizing social elites, or anti–national minorities, or anti-imperialist. But none of these entities, much emphasized in real populist discourses, are the political elite per se. Middlerange analysis, as effectively carried out in various chapters of this volume, thus becomes necessary.

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Populism, Performing the Excess, and the Media We have thus far laid out the theoretical and broader sociological reasons for engaging with a performative and relational notion of populism—one that relies on the concept of an “overflowing signifier” as opposed to the “empty signifier” of Laclauian discourse, as well as highlighting the relational back-and-forth influences over identity that lies at the heart of populism. We close the chapter by turning to a contextual argument: that is, why does such an approach make sense at this particular historical juncture when it comes to understanding and analyzing populism? There are at least two central reasons. The first is that shifts in the media landscape—and the changing modes of political representation that have come with these shifts—have encouraged and intensified the “overflowing” “abundant” nature of the meaning of the leader. The fragmentation of audiences, the hyperpartisanship of news sources, and the increasingly prominent filter bubbles that have emerged have meant that multiple particular readings of populist figures have been able to proliferate like never before. More so, in this context there is little need to engage in the struggle to “fix” the meaning of the populist leader—what Laclauians would understand as an attempt at hegemony—rather, multiple meanings and interpretations can exist without coming into contact with another at all, or at very least can ignore or simply dismiss the alternative readings, given the “gatekeeper” role of broadcast and print media is arguably much diminished in these times. This is clear in the case of Trump: for the Fox News crowd, he’s a hero with the business nous to solve problems and the cojones to cut through the usual way politicians speak and “say it like it is”; for the online Make America Great Again crowd, he’s an A-grade troll who has an unassailable ability to stir up and torment liberals; for the alt-right, he’s a coded white nationalist; while in terms of his opponents, for MSNBC viewers, he’s arguably the greatest threat the American republican project has ever faced, and for the online left, he’s a symbol of the decline of America and a proto-fascist. These are all wildly divergent interpretations of Trump, even within each ideological camp, yet there is no need (or really, any attempt) for adherents of each of these views to engage with, refute, or agree with the other meanings. The partisan divides of media outlets, the segmented audiences that follow from this partisanship, and the fact that these audiences do not tend to “meet” in any mediatic common-ground (or even to particularly encounter one another beyond ridicule on their favored broadcast news networks or flame wars on Twitter or Facebook) removes the impetus to try to provide the over-riding “true” meaning of Trump. In such a context, Trump is not an empty signifier—one can say a lot of things about him, but there’s clearly a lot more to Trump’s appeal or role than just his name—but rather an “overflowing” signifier capable of carrying multiple meanings and readings, without necessarily losing the particularities of what makes him the very singular Donald Trump.

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The second reason revolves around the relational aspect of populism. The rise of the internet—and in particular, social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—have meant that citizens are arguably now more able than ever to “answer” representation claims made on their behalf. This has the effect of playing into the perception of populism being a “direct” phenomenon. For example, Engesser et al. (2016, 1110, emphasis in original) argue that “[w]hile the mass media adhere to professional norms and news values, social media serve as direct linkage to the people and allow the populists to circumvent the journalistic gatekeepers”. While elsewhere, Bracciale and Martella (2017, 1311) claim that “political actors have been able to speak directly ‘to the people’, given that they use communication forms that are structurally disintermediate”. This does not mean, however, that populist communication is actually in any way direct and responsive to “the people” in the context of social media: as Waisbord and Amado found in their study of populists’ use of Twitter, “[p]opulist Twitter illustrates a preference for communication as representation rather than interaction” (Waisbord and Amado 2017, 1343), and that such leaders “have not taken advantage of the platform to promote horizontal communication, but instead, they have utilized it to bolster their own voice” (2017, 1342). Similarly, even the most prototypical Twitter populist—Donald Trump—“kept his social media followers at arm’s length and limited his engagement to retweeting selected tweets” (Enli 2017, 59) rather than actually engaging with his followers. However, the appearance and feeling of directness is core to the relationality around which populism revolves. This feeling of “direct” representation and immediacy—the ability to tweet straight at Trump or “like” and share Duterte’s Facebook status, or the fact that Nigel Farage can retweet me if I have a witty enough response to a post of his—may not actually equal any meaningful connection with our populist representatives, but it gives a simulacrum of it. So even if “the people” do not really have as much chance to negotiate around the identity of the leader in question as social media evangelists might otherwise proclaim, the qualitative shift that has occurred here is that “the people” simply have more opportunities to engage in this feeling of “direct” representation—we can like, share, and react to our representatives in a semipublic way now 24 hours a day. As Krämer notes, [t]his manifestation of approval and thus of both sides and directions of the relationship of representation (the claims of the representatives and the acclamation by the represented), is no longer confined to extraordinary circumstances (such as elections, rallies, etc.) but has been partly transformed into a more mundane phenomenon. (Krämer 2017, 1298) This shift, one can assume, has the effect of favoring those political actors who are more active on social media, thus providing an everlasting sense of being “connected” to “the people”. In such a situation, we have moved from the realm of

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“real immediacy”; we now have “virtual immediacy”, which “coincides with the imaginary identification characteristic of populist representation—the presumption of enjoying a direct relation with the people and the imaginary identification of the latter with the leader” (Arditi 2007, 68). The intensely mediatized landscape upon which politics plays out today also contributes to making the particular, embodied person of the populist leader more present, central, and concrete than ever in the relationship between the populist leader and “the people”. Once upon a time—before the era of televisoned broadcast media—it was theoretically possible to imagine how one could project one’s own meanings onto a populist leader—speaking in the name of “the people”— who was only encountered, except for the vary rare rally at one’s hometown, via headlines or photographs in newspapers or disembodied voices on the radio. Then, the leader remained relatively “abstract” in many regards: without visual stimuli, one had far less sense of the aesthetic dimension or concrete bodily presence of the leader, arguably leaving more imaginative space unto which audiences could project their own meanings. Once visual broadcast media hit the scene, this room for abstraction arguably narrowed: viewers now had a very good sense of who they were concretely dealing with and unto whom they were projecting their meaning. This is even truer today: one cannot turn on the television, read a newspaper online, or log into a social media site with auto-streaming videos without encountering the incessant audio-visually mediated representation of populist leaders. Videos or pictures of Donald Trump are literally on almost every news site and channel one cannot escape his very particular bodily presence and performance—the hair, the voice, the mocking of opponents, the style of speaking, the facial expressions—and as a result, it is rather difficult to abstract the signifier “Donald Trump” from the man himself. While of course any leader of a superpower is bound to unremittingly appear in world media, populist leaders very much purposely cultivate the appearances, the form, the peculiarity of their vivid and often shocking style. (Trump, in that regard, is remarkably different from George H. Bush or from Angela Merkel.) And certainly, most populist leaders have been true masters of the microphone and now television, making it a “show”: from Perón and melodramatic Evita on the balcony, to the Alo Presidente TV shows of fleshy Hugo Chavez, to Trump. There is nothing abstract about them: “Trump” is not “empty”— the “meaning” of Trump (protectionism, nationalism, racism, Making America Great Again, and so on) is utterly unable to be divorced from his mediated presence in our political life’s 24-hour news cycle. To pretend otherwise—and the case is the same for all populist leaders—is to live in a completely abstract world and to ignore the sociological reality that underlies how populist representation (and one might argue, political representation in general) operates. It is only by taking the embodied nature of populism seriously—and coming to terms not with its “emptiness”, but rather its overflowing excess—that we can come to terms with populism today.

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Notes 1. The identification that accompanies populism (or for that matter any other political phenomenon) cannot of course be random or exclusively a product of discursive interpellation. It must obviously resonate—unless one goes back to old notions of false consciousness or “brain-washing”. If analyses taking as their object traditional political or party families have usually centred on programmatic identification (e.g., agreeing with the precepts of liberalism, of socialism, with the world-view of Christian democracy), there is no doubt that in populism the leader or the “populist figure” has played a particularly central role—something also emphasized in Laclau with his focus on the empty signifier. In that very sense, populism (perhaps much more, say, than “Christian Democracy” or “Labour”) must be performed. And it must certainly be credibly performed, in order to be effective and create (at times passionate) identification. 2. Of the authors listed above, only Canovan has clearly carried out elaborate and extensive theory building, unrelated to specific case(s). Panizza (2013: 88–94) used this social-cultural approach in a masterful way in his analysis of several politicians of the Americas. 3. While Laclauian scholars would argue that the distinction between discourse and practice is irrelevant—discourses, for them, would also include practices—the fact of the matter is that in their studies of populism the central tendency has been to focus on the textual and spoken aspects of the phenomenon (i.e. the “formally” discursive), rather than the stylistic and performative practices we highlight in this chapter. 4. “The pain of the poor, of the humble, the great pain of so much humanity without sun and without sky, hurts me too much to keep quiet” (translation by the authors) (Eva Peron 1994, 31). 5. We would like to thank Benjamin Arditi for this perspicacious comment. 6. Laclau maintains that the equivalential logic that leads to the signfier’s emptiness also generates a formidable antagonistic political frontier which, in turn, stabilizes the “meaning” of the empty signifier. But here, Laclau actually confuses identity with meaning: what the strong frontier leads to is the establishment of a remarkably strong, even fanatical, identity, but one whose meaning(s) may be or remain as “overflowing” as ever. Certainly, such a signifier (more overflowing and “excessively” meaningful than empty), plays a key role in creating identification. Floating signifiers, in contrast, are coveted semantic objects of rival equivalential chains and (as, they are used) of course important signifiers of identities, particularly of rival politico-ideological camps. Perhaps the concern for exact meaning in real political struggles, for Laclau, was irrelevant, as his main goal was clearly political. What mattered were “camps” (performatively created), not meanings. To put it in Argentine terms, one needs to know what side one is on, more than what that side actually means. 7. We refer here to the specific, particular meaning that is lost when another particular signifier becomes hegemonic, for the whole. Or, which may or may not be the same, when a signifier has been emptied so that it can play its coalescing role as an “empty signifier”. 8. María Esperanza Casullo makes a similar point in her chapter “How to Become a Leader: Identifying Global Repertoires for Populist Leadership” (2019). 9. Our theory of an “overflowing signifier”, “overly abundant of specific meanings”, is still located, however and clearly, within an ontology of lack (with its correlate of negativity), rather than abundance. 10. That is, it is excessive both in the sense that it contains too many logically unrelated things and that it points toward the symbolic incorporation of a hitherto “excess”. This (destabilizing) incorporation of an “excess” is indeed at the core of populism (Laclau 2005; Ostiguy 2014).

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11. By “particular”, we mean that a particular meaning has become hegemonic at the expense of others, or to use the work of Freeden, that the meaning has become “decontested” societally (through hegemonic upper hand). 12. See Ostiguy (2014) for the incorporation of the heterogeneity of the social, in populism. 13. This is not to say of course that these accretions and substitutions are “final”, as Derrida emphasizes they cannot be. However, in contrast to the radical (or perhaps nihilist) project of Derrida, in politics accretions and substitutions do not need to proceed to the infinite in a quest for final, correct meaning: the “provisional” accretions and substitutions, in and of themselves, play a politically meaningful role in the identification process. 14. See the chapters of Casullo (particularly on Evo Morales), of Baykan (on Erdogan), and of Curato (on Duterte) for clear examples of this actual identification process with a very real and concrete leader. 15. We thank Benjamin Arditi for his clarification about not associating the possibilities of “excess” closely with an ontology of lack. Indeed, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy is probably closer to a Nietzchean ontology of “pure openness”, of pure becoming (a negative ontology of being), which certainly is the uber constructionist mode (personal communication). 16. Perhaps the very same thing can be said about “love”. We all want to feel love, fall in love with someone, but that does not mean (with some rare exceptions) that we fall in love with anybody and anyone. While the need is quasi universal (the wish for fullness), empirically there is a relational component, with concrete aspects or traits that allows the projection and fantasized desire to happen. 17. Not to be so exclusively leader-centric, the same can be said, we believe, of the specific bodily multitudes that become physically (and arguably performatively) “the people”. The “fleshy-ness” of the signifier/signified, to be sure, involves not only traits and bodies, but also ways of dressing, of speaking, etc. 18. First and last italicized emphasis is ours. 19. To continue pursuing the analogy, it is not that “Jesus” substitutes for “God”, but rather that the particularities in the flesh and in the praxis of “Jesus” are—in line with the Catholic orthodoxy of the “Holy Trinity”—a promise of the possibility of “God” (fullness) and an experienced relation, through a more, or less, charismatic “holy spirit” that leads to identification. And in the process, it thus allows for the creation of a concrete, although diverse (and often contradictory), community. The signifier is, once again, not “empty”, but overflowing and excessive. 20. Baykan’s chapter on Erdogan in this volume illustrates the point clearly. It is equally visible in the case of Perón in Argentina or Chávez in Venezuela. 21. Nationalism and a very peculiar version of it, nativism, are, in our view, “ideologies”, in the sense of thin ideologies as developed by Freeden (who indeed uses nationalism as one such example). Conversely, the emphasis on the culturally popular does not imply advocating the ideology of socialism or Marxism, or even being leftist—there are plenty of popular conservatives for example. What is emphasized here—theoretically, politically, and conceptually—is that tastes, performances, characterizations about “realness” derive from a rooted, local, and so-to-speak “low” setting or repertoire (which in turn is per se in no way related to being ethnically pure).

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Arditi, Benjamin. 2007. Politics on the Edges of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Revolution, Agitation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Aslanidis, Paris. 2016. “Is Populism an Ideology? A Refutation and a New Perspective.” Political Studies 64 (IS): 88–104. Austin, John L. 1975. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bachmann-Medick, Doris. 2016. Cultural Turns: New Orientations in the Study of Culture. Translated by Adam Blauhut. Berlin: De Gruyter. Bonikowski, Bart, and Noam Gidron. 2016. “The Populist Style in American Politics: Presidential Campaign Discourse, 1952–1996.” Social Forces 94 (4): 1593–1621. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1979. La distinction. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit. Bracciale, Roberta, and Antonio Martella. 2017. “Define the Populist Political Communication Style: The Case of Italian Political Leaders on Twitter.” Information, Communication & Society 20 (9): 1310–1329. Butler, Judith. 1997. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. London and New York: Routledge. Canovan, Margaret. 1999. “ ‘Trust the People!’ Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy.” Political Studies 47 (1): 2–16. Carpentier, Nico. 2017. The Discursive-Material Knot: Cyprus in Conflict and Community Media Participation. New York: Peter Lang. Casullo, María Esperanza. 2019. “How to Become a Leader: Identifying Global Repertoires for Populist Leadership.” In Populism and World Politics: Exploring Inter- and Transnational Dimensions, edited by Frank A. Stengel, David B. MacDonald, and Dirk Nabers, 55–72. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Collier, Ruth B., and David Collier. 1991. Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Conniff, Michael L. 1999. “Introduction.” In Populism in Latin America, edited by Michael L. Conniff, 1–22. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. de la Torre, Carlos. 2010. Populist Seduction in Latin America. 2nd ed. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. Elias, Norbert. 1939 [1982]. The Civilizing Process. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Engesser, Sven, Nicole Ernst, Frank Esser, and Florin Büchel. 2016. “Populism and Social Media: How Politicians Spread a Fragmented Ideology.” Information, Communication & Society 20 (8): 1109–1126. Enli, Gunn. 2017. “Twitter as Arena for the Authentic Outsider: Exploring the Social Media Campaigns of Trump and Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential Election.” European Journal of Communication 32 (1): 50–61. Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. New York: International Publishers. Hariman, Robert. 1995. Political Style: The Artistry of Power. Chicago, IL and London: The University of Chicago Press. Hawkins, Kirk A. 2010. Venezuela’s Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. James, Daniel. 1988. Resistance and Integration: Peronism and the Argentine Working Class, 1946–1976. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kazin, Michael. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. New York: Basic Books.

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Knight, Alan. 1998. “Populism and Neo-Populism in Latin America, Especially Mexico.” Journal of Latin American Studies 30 (2): 223–248. Krämer, Benjamin. 2017. “Populist Online Practices: The Function of the Internet in Right-Wing Populism.” Information, Communication & Society 20 (9): 1293–1309. Laclau, Ernesto. 1996. “Why do Empty Signifiers Matter to Politics?” In Emancipation(s), edited by E. Laclau. London: Verso. Laclau, Ernesto. 2005. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. Le Bon, Gustave. 1995. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. New Brunswick and London: Transactions Publishers. Levi-Strauss, Claude. 1964. Mythologiques 1: Le Cru et le Cuit. Paris: Plon. Lipset, Seymour M., and Stein Rokkan. 1967. “Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments: An Introduction.” In Party Systems and Voter Alignments: CrossNational Perspectives, edited by Seymour M. Lipset, and Stein Rokkan, 1–64. New York: Free Press. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mondon, Aurelien. 2013. The Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right in France and Australia: A Populist Hegemony? Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. Mudde, Cas. 2007. Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2012. “Populism and (Liberal) Democracy: A Framework for Analysis.” In Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? edited by Cas Mudde, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, 1–26. New York: Cambridge University Press. Müller, Jan-Werner. 2016. What is Populism? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. The High-Low Political Divide: Rethinking Populism and Anti-Populism. Notre Dame, IN: Kellogg Institute for International Studies (360). ———. 2014. “Exceso, representación y fronteras cruzables: ‘institucionalidad sucia’, o la aporía del populismo en el poder.” PostData: Revista de Reflexión y Análisis Político (19): 345–375. ———. 2015. “Gramáticas plebeyas: exceso, representación y fronteras porosas en el populismo oficialista.” In Gramáticas plebeyas: Populismo, democracia y nuevas izquierdas en América Latina, edited by Claudio Véliz, and Ariana Reano, 133–177. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento. ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul A. Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Panizza, Francisco. 2005. “Introduction: Populism and the Mirror of Democracy.” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 1–31. London: Verso. ———. 2013. “What Do We Mean When We Talk About Populism?” In Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Carlos de la Torre, and Cynthia J. Arnson, 85–115. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Perón, Eva. 1994. Mi Mensaje. El testamento silenciado de Evita. Buenos Aires: Futuro. Poblete, Mario E. 2015. “How to Assess Populist Discourse through Three Current Approaches.” Journal of Political Ideologies 20 (2): 201–218. Saward, Michael. 2010. The Representative Claim. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Stavrakakis, Yannis. 2007. The Lacanian Left: Psychoanalysis, Theory, Politics. Albany: SUNY Press. Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Giorgos Katsambekis. 2014. “Left-Wing Populism in the European Periphery: The Case of SYRIZA.” Journal of Political Ideologies 19 (2): 119–142. Taguieff, Pierre-André. 1995. “Political Science Confronts Populism: From a Conceptual Mirage to a Real Problem.” Telos (103): 9–43. Waisbord, Silvio, and Adriana Amado. 2017. “Populist Communication by Digital Means: Presidential Twitter in Latin America.” Information, Communication  & Society 20 (9): 1330–1346. Weber, Max. 1988. On Charisma and Institution Building: Selected Papers. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Weyland, Kurt. 2001. “Clarifying a Contested Concept: Populism in the Study of Latin American Politics.” Comparative Politics 34 (1): 1–22. ———. 2017. “Populism: A Political-Strategic Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul A. Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 48–72. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Populist Identification in Global Perspective

4 POPULISM AS SYNECDOCHAL REPRESENTATION Understanding the Transgressive Bodily Performance of South American Presidents María Esperanza Casullo

Populism as Performance With the rise of populism throughout the world, there is a surge in interest about the puzzling appeal of populist leaders. In this vein, some authors now view populist leadership as linked to a type of performative self-presentation.1 That is, they view populism as a personal way of doing politics in the public sphere. Populism involves a certain bodily communicative grammar that is constructed through the leader’s behavior, voice, demeanor, clothing, hairstyle, and the like (Mazzoleni 2011; Moffitt 2016; Ostiguy 2009). This paradigm is valuable since it offers new insights into an under-theorized dimension of populism: the intersection of social structures and personal agency as they are both performed in the body. In this light, the leader is seen as doing something more than representing the people: she embodies them.2 If this is true, then populist representation “manifests itself, first of all, as a performative act” (Mastropaolo 2017, 61); that is, it is done in public, in connection with others, and through the body. This chapter situates itself within this general approach, and it aims to add to the theoretical foundations of the “populism as performance” school by pointing out and exploring three important overlooked issues. First, it wants to comprehend the role of the body as the proper medium of populist representation. Second, it posits that the power of populist performance is rooted in the fact that the followers believe that the very persona of the leader embodies their own identity, not in an ideational but in a concrete, physical way; which I will call synecdochal representation.3 I  will later offer reflections on the similarities and differences between “overflowing” representation and “synecdochal” representation. I  will demonstrate that, by being able to force his or her entry into a space of power that had been off-limit so far, the leader’s body carries with it the presence of her

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followers, in a transgressive manner. This also means putting the leader’s behavior in the relevant cultural context, thus gaining a better understanding of the transactional and co-constitutive nature of the populist representative bond. Third and finally, the chapter will argue that more than one way exists to perform such populist bodily transgression and that, while the literature has focused on the macho swagger template, such as that of Carlos Menem or Silvio Berlusconi, there are other ways to make present the followers’ bodies in ways that go against “normal” politics. To explore populist and non-populist bodily representation, seven examples, all taken from South America, are examined: those of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Néstor Kirchner in Argentina, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, as well as Michelle Bachelet and Alejandro Toledo, in Chile and Peru respectively, on the non-populist side.

Populist Representation and Bodily Synecdoche This chapter’s original impulse is to be accredited to Pierre Ostiguy and his work on the socio-cultural approach to populism (2009, 2014, 2017; Ostiguy and Roberts 2017) and to Benjamin Moffitt’s (2016) book The Global Rise of Populism. Ostiguy’s definition of populism as the antagonistic “flaunting of the low in politics” (Ostiguy and Roberts 2017, 26) dovetails nicely with Moffitt’s definition of populism as a “political style” that is always performed in public for others, often mediated by mass media and social networks. Both approaches allow for a methodological focus on “performers, audiences, stages, performative repertoires and mise-en-scène .  .  .  (and) the inherent theatricality involved in populism” (Moffitt 2016, 49). Moffitt’s goal of going beyond the description of the populist style in order to bring to the forefront the issue “of how populist representation operates” (2016, 49) is one that must be applauded. In this spirit, the chapter shares the broad theoretical and empirical approach of both Ostiguy’s and Moffitt’s work, it offers a slight criticism of its scope, and it seeks to provide a robust theoretical understanding of the mechanisms that underpin performative populist representation. The issues of the body and bodily performance are crucial for the analysis of performative representation. For instance, Diehl states (2017, 361) that: the body is one of the most effective instruments in political representation. It is the physical support for political performances since it enables the politician to speak, to gesticulate and to produce facial expressions. In so doing, the body is an ideal medium for activating emotions and producing identification. As Sinclair writes, “Bodies and bodily performances—including physical stature, features, stance, gestures and voice—are central, yet ignored, elements in the accomplishment of leadership” (2005, 1).

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The populist bodily performance should be understood in contrast to that of the “regular” or “proper” form of performance, which seeks to convey the performance of technocratic competence. As such, populism and technocracy are the two polar opposites of the political spectrum along which political performances align. Moffitt postulates that populism and technocracy should be understood not as “modes of governance or ideological dispositions, but as distinct embodied, performative political styles” (2016, 47). Pierre Ostiguy’s description of the populist style as being in-your-face, aggressive/transgressive, and aimed at transmitting the idea that the populist politician “has balls” is also of utmost importance here (2009). In Diehl’s terms, technocracy as style suggests “body codes” that “suggest professionalization and a certain distance between the office holder and voter” (2017, 367, emphasis added).4 Technocratic style would thus be connected to a public performance that displays attributes of the “high” (Ostiguy 2009), the educated, the “serious”, the “appropriate”, or “mainstream” orders.5 Through clothes, demeanor, and speech, the leader seeks to project competence, education, specialization, and cosmopolitanism. A  technocratic performance is aimed at gaining the follower’s trust by inspiring confidence in them and assuring them that nobody else is better prepared to govern. A technocratic style tends to be stylistically conservative because it derives its power from the cultural, symbolic, and social capital invested in the hierarchical institutions of the status quo.6 This is emphatically not the style that most populist leaders choose. They tend to be transgressive figures that revel in displaying cultural markers from the “low”, the vulgar, the popular, and they do so moreover in purposefully flamboyant or irritating ways.7 The interesting question however is why they chose to do so, and why do populist leaders, who are so often clearly outside the idea of what a “good” politician “looks like”, manage to generate intense support and loyalty from their mass-followings. It is at this very point that I would like to expand on Benjamin Moffitt’s notion of “performance” and Pierre Ostiguy’s notion of antagonistic “flaunting of the low”. As stated elsewhere (Casullo 2020), the basic triad of populist representation is composed by three discursive functions: the leader, the people, and the élite (their common adversary). This co-constitution is performed in a crucial way through the very body of the populist leader, and its symbolic relation to the bodies of his or her followers. Through her transgressive performance, the body of the leader becomes able to “carry with it”, as it were, the bodies of her followers into spaces of power from which those bodies were previously excluded but in which other bodies (the “high” bodies of the élites) were allowed. By this act of personal, concreted, embodied “irruption”, the leader fulfills his or her promise of shaking the status quo and dislodging the élite. He or she gets there, in the “marble halls of power”; “therefore”, the people also get there. I call this act of “carrying” the people through bodily performance synecdochal representation. It is important to note that populist representation goes against the established notion that the space of power in a democracy is “empty”, or “disembodied”, in

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the Lefort tradition (Lefort 1988). While it is true that “talk of the body politic has largely disappeared from our political vocabulary following the rise of liberal democratic politics (Neocleous 2003) . . . under democracy, [that] the body politic is ostensibly ‘disembodied’, as democracy is conceptualized as an ‘empty place’ of power” (Moffitt 2016, 64), it is also true that the impact of the body in politics is now, thanks to the power of mediatization, bigger than ever (Sorensen 2017, 140).8 In more than one way, the idea of synecdochal representation is related to Pitkin’s concept of “descriptive representation”, which she defines as “the making present of something absent by resemblance or reflection, as in a mirror or in art” (1972, 11). Yet the two are not identical. Nor is synecdochal representation identical to Diehl’s concept of “mirror representation” that presupposes, as Diehl writes, “a particular relationship between the representative and the represented [which] bonds both [representative and represented] by similarity of appearance (Pitkin 1972, 74), including the similarity of lived experiences. . . . Metaphors like “map”, “mirror”, or “portrait” are used to give expression to this type of relationship” (Diehl 2017, 366). The “similarity of appearance”, the “mirroring” effect, is in fact only half of the story. Similarity between representative and represented is a necessary but not sufficient element in populist representation. As I will show, a representative must resemble their constituents in some respects, but must be completely unlike them in others. I call the process by which some elements of “likeness” are selected and others ignored “synecdochal” representation.9 Indeed, a synecdoche is a rhetorical figure in which a part is made to represent the whole, or vice versa. This term is better suited to describe populist representation than “descriptive” or “mirroring”, because the latter two concepts imply a one-directional relation between represented and representative: the representative resembles her represented in some key respect, and that is that. Yet the leader resembles the people only partially, and only in those aspects that the leader has chosen as signifiers. And more crucially, the leader does not resemble the people in other crucial aspects, because she is judged to be exceptional and charismatic by her followers. Thus, populist representation in order to function must combine ordinariness and exceptionality. Because populist representation is an act of combination (or articulation) and hybridization, I disagree with Pitkin when she states that the view of representation we have been discussing does not allow for an activity of representing, except in the special restricted sense of “making representations”, [and thus] it has no room for any kind of representing as acting for, or on behalf of, others. (1972, 90) As a matter of fact, in the processes of selecting and hybridizing which aspects to embody, there is space for “acting on behalf of others”. That process of mixing

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particular signifiers in order to transform them into a more universal hybrid is, in my view, the properly populist dimension of representation. Whether this is a similar process to that of articulation of an equivalential chain and to an empty signifier, respectively, is a question that I leave to the followers of Laclau. As such, synecdochal representation takes place in the body of the leader—which the followers encounter and react to. Thus, synecdochal representation can be understood as a triadic phenomenon, schematically represented in Figure 4.1. The body of the leader must perform three tasks simultaneously: to show closeness (including in mirroring); to show charismatic exceptionality (thus, setting the leader apart from the followers); and to appropriate and display the symbols of power. The three of them must be balanced. The leader’s body thus becomes a kind of signifying surface, a symbolic tapestry of flesh and blood that fulfills three simultaneous tasks: to establish herself as “of the people”, to project charismatic exceptionality, and to appropriate the symbols of power she aspires to wield. For the first objective, the leader’s body must mirror some of the people’s cultural characteristics: ways of dressing, ways of eating, demeanor, patterns of speech. For the second one, certain markers of exceptionality will be underscored: vigor and physical prowess are typical (Moffitt 2016, 65–66), but restraint and morality might also be chosen. For the third one, the leader’s bodily presentation must underscore her possession of markers of institutional power:10 presidential emblems, military uniforms, displays of wealth, diplomas of higher education, and the like.11

Creating Distance


Mirroring the People FIGURE 4.1 

Synecdochal Representation

Appropriating Power

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The creation of a populist bodily synecdoche involves an active work of selection, combination, and prioritization of symbols and cultural elements, which I call hybridization. Hybridization can perhaps be described as the act of creating something new by selecting and mixing previously existing elements, especially when those elements are taken out of their “normal” contexts and given a new meaning. I  have stated that the leader’s body must perform three tasks simultaneously: to mirror the followers, to project exceptionality, and to appropriate some symbols of power. It could be argued, however, that these three tasks could be performed simultaneously, although in a parallel way, like “triple tasking”. However, the triangle presented earlier requires the creation of a hybrid, and it is precisely in this act of creation where politics happens. Populism is not revolutionary—i.e., it does not want to create a new political order from scratch— it works by creating new political identities and modes of representation out of the existing, local, situated, cultural, and historical symbols and frames. However, that which is created is not a mere pastiche, but a new entity, invested with new meanings. The combination of the three aspects infuses the populist performance with transgression, and it is from this transgression that the political energy of the leader-people connection comes from, as well as the follower’s loyalty and allegiance.12 The concept of “synecdochal representation” is clearly related to the “overflowing representation” notion advanced in Ostiguy and Moffitt’s chapter in this volume, but they are not identical. I  much agree with them in their criticism of the Laclauian description of the “emptiness” of the leader-as-signifier; their description of the leader’s “overflowing-ness” is spot-on. The leader is always and already invested with multiple meanings, and as such “multifaceted, excessive, overflowing with different (not logically related) readings” (Ostiguy and Moffitt this volume, p. 56). However, I would like to posit that this multiplicity of meanings does not simply “overflow”, but that there is a certain structure and organization to it. Indeed, the leader does not need to engage in the business of “fixing” one meaning; “multiple meanings and interpretations can exist without coming into contact with another at all, or at very least one reading can ignore or simply dismiss alternative readings” (Ostiguy and Moffitt this volume, p. 65). I am convinced that both the leader and the followers are constantly performing the work of selecting, combining, and highlighting some of the meanings. Second, it is indeed this work of selecting, mixing and hybridizing that gives populist bodily representation its potency. I  do believe that such multiplicity is often performed knowingly. Donald Trump is different things to different audiences, that is true; but rather than him being a passive recipient of his followers’ representations, he performs and embodies these meanings: he might speak with religious undertones one day, use white supremacist language the other, act as a TV host another one. Sometimes, he will “pick up” a signifier that is important to his followers and perform it in an exaggerated manner, even though it was not in his “core” repertoire

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(the few occasions in which he mimics religious vernacular comes to mind, even though he was never been and still is not a committed Christian). And it is highly probable that his Christian followers feel empowered by Trump performing his being a Christian and a womanizer. He is both things at once, and with equal commitment! “Donald Trump”-as-signifier is not a simple addition of symbols, but a particular result of the process of selection and combination. However, I stand with Ostiguy and Moffitt in signaling the fact that populism’s main appeal is not its supposedly homogenizing effect, as stated by Mudde (2004, 543). In my reading, populism generates a hybrid identity, not a homogeneous one; or, to be more precise, the aspiration to homogeneity is secondary (logically and temporally) to a process of hybridization, and is forever thwarted by it. Populist leaders often embody hybridity and even diversity and in a sense have a unifying role without negating or suppressing heterogeneity—their ability to alter the “mixture” (bringing a little bit more of nationalism, or of leftism, or of indigenism as needed) is a key to their resilience in power. If a leader loses this ability, she will very probably cease to be populist and will transition into open authoritarianism.

Populist, Popular, and Technocratic: Theorizing Beyond the “Strongman” Trope The literature on populism shows a certain propensity towards focusing exclusively on male leaders who present to the world an image of machismo and uber-virility. Moffitt argues that “in ‘doing’ populism, populist leaders attempt to present themselves as strong, virile and healthy in order to present ‘the people’ as strong and unified” (2016, 64). Ostiguy has written extensively on the importance of giving the impression of “having balls”—that is, being decisive, daring, and tough—for establishing bona fide populist credentials (2009, 9). Mudde and Kaltwasser recognize that “in both academic and popular debates the populist leader is implicitly or explicitly defined as a charismatic strongman (2017, 63, emphasis in the original).13 I agree with Ostiguy and with Moffitt that “we might simply say that populists disregard the appropriate social cues and ‘table manners’ in the usually ‘gentrified domain of political performances’ ” (Moffitt 2016, 60). However, while some (or even most of) populist leaders do follow this pattern, this is by no means the only physiognomy that populist leadership can take. It is certainly not their “strongmen” image per se that “performs” populism (a term associated more to Mudde than to Ostiguy or Moffitt, in any case),14 but the way in which this type of performance goes against the established social cues and manners.15 And, I would argue, this was most emphatically not the way in which the South American populist leaders of the last “pink wave” presented themselves. In the following sections, four types of possible bodily performances are analyzed.

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Populist charismatic leadership is based on the leader’s ability to perform through, and in, his body a synecdochal operation: she carries with her body the presence of her people in a disruptive act: their common entering into a space of power from which people had previously been excluded, by the (often-implicit) norms of decorum and “appropriate politics”. Performing “aggressive macho swagger” is but one possible strategy to “épater the bourgeois”, as it were. Other self-presentation strategies might be chosen to create a hybrid between the high, the low, and the exceptionality that synecdochal representation depends on. Gender, ethnicity, regional identities, and many other features are vectors that can be brought into play, although this does not suffice in and of itself. This is made clear in the discussion of the cases in the upperright corner of Figure 4.2. Conversely, a biologically “mainstream” body does not determine a mainstream political strategy, as shown by the box in the low-left corner. The goal of the comparison, here, is to shed light on the proactive nature of synecdochal representation and on the ways in which it goes beyond simple “mirroring”. Choosing how to present oneself to others in public is in itself a political act, and to display a populist bodily performance is a political strategy. As such, both require and demonstrate a degree of agency.16 Also, a nonpopulist strategy is always a possibility as well. A woman, an indigenous person might choose to emphasize some attributes that represent the excluded or downtrodden, or they may not. And people inhabiting a body that has the advantage of representing mainstream-ness more easily because it is a white, male, tall, and thin body might want to pursue a populist route, and can do so as well. The cases that will be discussed in the next section will flesh out the categories of Figure 4.2. Evo Morales and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner should be analyzed as examples of leaders who chose to leverage their non-mainstream bodies (one is a person of indigenous descent; the other is a woman). Néstor Kirchner and Rafael Correa will be briefly discussed as two examples of white, tall, thin men who carefully sought to construct a populist transgressive style. Lastly, the cases of Alejandro Toledo and Michelle Bachelet will show that people of indigenous descent and women are not bound to become populist leaders and can certainly choose to go the technocratic route.

Non-mainstream body (woman, indigenous, minority, overtly LGBT) Mainstream body (male, white, middle-class)




Evo Morales Cristina Kirchner

Alejandro Toledo Michelle Bachelet

Néstor Kirchner Rafael Correa

Mauricio Macri Michel Temer Sebastián Piñera

Four Types of Possible Bodily Performances

Populism as Synecdochal Representation  83

Performing Hybridity in Synecdochal Representation: Evo Morales Improbable Suit The 2005 documentary “Cocalero” follows Evo Morales, who was at that time running for the presidency, as a union leader of the coca grower movement, as he traveled around Bolivia in his presidential campaign. In it, the viewer can watch him as he went to markets, played fútbol, ate, watched a soccer game on television in his small and unassuming house, and had an apparent endless succession of meetings.17 In short, through the whole movie Morales went to great pains to show the public the austerity with which he lived. Mostly, this image of self-restraint has continued during his presidency. The image that Evo Morales has sought to project is nothing like the boisterous, Epicurean, larger-thanlife image of a Berlusconi or a Menem.18 Neither is Morales an angry public speaker as Hugo Chávez was—although he often denounces American imperialism and neoliberalism, he mostly has not used the kind of personalized rhetoric that Chávez favored. He seems intent on projecting an image of self-discipline, which he bases—he says—on the indigenous moral principles of Ama Sua (Do not steal), Ama Llulla (Do not lie), and Ama Quella (Do not be lazy). When he narrates his own poor, working childhood, he reflects that he was, in fact, a happy child. (He was, he says, “un zonzo contento”—a happy fool.) It is clear that Evo Morales style, clothes, and food always perform the “mirroring” of his largely poor, indigenous base. He mirrors them in his very body and face, which are unmistakably recognizable as indigenous in a country in which racial and ethnic hierarchies are pervasive.19 His very body presents a challenge to the Bolivian structure of power. Morales himself reminded the nation, in his first inaugural address, that the very bodies of indigenous people were forbidden by law to walk in the central Plaza of La Paz up until the fifties. As a matter of fact, Morales has sought to integrate indigenous symbols and rituals into the official activities of the presidency. However, Morales also seeks to project an image of power. As such, Morales’ populist strategy differs from both a popular and a technocratic one. This is in itself a political decision. Of course, he does not speak in the technocratic “high” code that was expected of his neoliberal recent predecessors, such as Gonzalo Sánchez de Losada. Yet, on the other hand, Morales does not simply “mirror” the popular indigenous classes of Bolivia. He blends tradition with modernity, anti-imperialism and Marxism with the moral teachings of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia. His social media account abounds with pictures of him dressed in a poncho or with wreaths of coca leaves or even potatoes, doing things like inaugurating a new hospital or giving a commencement address. This is where the transgressive element lies: his self-presentation is populist, not popular. The populist body of a leader does not perform humility; and more importantly, it is not read as humble by neither her foes nor her followers. On the contrary, his detractors usually accuse him of being “resentido” (uppity, resentful).20 The

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transgression does not lie simply in dressing or eating like an “Indio”, but to do so while doing things that “Indios” are not supposed to do. It is the hybridization of popular traditions with the display of power that creates the populist effect. One might argue that Evo Morales is forced to perform a populist strategy given the pervasiveness of racial hierarchy in Bolivian political life and the biological characteristics of his body: his height, his complexion, his face. However, as will become clear during discussing the case of Alejandro Toledo in Peru, who is also indigenous and from a poor background, Evo Morales might have opted for a more mainstream technocratic strategy or perhaps have tried to go for the “humble” popular route, yet he chose to not do so. He chose instead to perform an intricate act of synecdochal representation: completely of the people, yet completely exceptional at the same time. There is a scene in the movie Cocalero that shows how difficult it is to thread this needle. At the very end of the movie, the viewer learns that Morales has, against all odds, won the election. But the director chose not to end with his victory speech or his followers’ celebrations. In fact, we never see Morales again. Instead, the viewer is treated to a discussion between two of Morales’ close advisors, on whether he will wear a tie when he gets inaugurated. Morales’ right hand during the campaign, Leonilda Zurita, and her mother ponder on this topic in their indigenous language, while they both sit on tree stumps on the dirt floor of their house and chew on coca leaves. “Will he have to wear a suit and tie?”, the mother asks. “He will not want to”, Leonilda retorts. “But he has to, he is the President now”. “Maybe if we force him, but I don’t think so”. The suit and tie is the mark of “the politician”; but Evo Morales is not “a politician”, yet he is the president, and it is important that he looks like one. What will he do? The answer is: to create a hybrid. In the very last frames of the movie, the public can see the tailor’s shop where Evo Morales’ suit is being stitched together. The very fashionable shop belongs to the late New York–based, Bolivian high-end designer Beatriz Canedo Patiño, who designed the suit. We see first her pencil sketches for the suit, then the cloth being cut, then the completed suit. We can see that it is a hybrid design: a stark plain jacket of fine black wool, with a round priest collar, designed to be worn without a tie. The jacket is adorned with stripes of a traditional Andean textile called “Aguayo”, woven from alpaca wool. The suit does not look anything at all like a standard politician’s blue suit, yet it is elegant and austere, fit for a president. It is a creative mix of expected and unexpected, old and new, “high” and “low” elements. The suit, through the creative hybridization of elements, is able to symbolize the synecdoche between Evo Morales and his followers in relation to power.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner: A Transgressive Female Body If Evo Morales’ performance draws on his poor, indigenous roots, Cristina Fernández utilizes her gendered body in her own public style by framing it

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within a very specific Argentine political tradition. As a personalistic leader who is also a woman, she can be credited as belonging to the growing group of populist female politicians such as Sarah Palin, Pauline Hanson, and Marine Le Pen. Hers is an interesting case on which to reflect on the construction of a gendered populist bodily presentation, and on the ways in which this can be both a successful strategy and a limiting one. As such, the relation between populism and gender is a complicated one (Dingler, Lefkofridi, and Marent 2017; Mudde and Kaltwasser 2017). Perhaps the most common repertoire for female populist leaders is the socalled “though mom” or even “grizzly mom”. Benjamin Moffitt argues that “while female populist leaders like Pauline Hanson and Sarah Palin have stressed their toughness and strength, they have typically combined these allegedly ‘masculine’ traits with attributes traditionally associated with femininity, including caring, empathy and maternalism” (2016, 66). However, even though she displayed images of both caring and toughness, the former president’s style does not fall entirely under this category. Christina Fernández de Kirchner did not present herself according to the “tough mom” model, but embodied and performed another model specific to Argentina: the female half of a Peronist militant couple. This model is extremely particular to the Argentine history: it derives its aura from the example of Eva Perón and Juan Domingo Perón. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became president in 2007. She succeeded her late husband, Néstor Kirchner; but she did not get elected just because she was Néstor Kirchner’s wife. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was not a newcomer to politics. Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández were a longstanding political partnership: before ascending to power, he was the Governor of the southern province of Santa Cruz, and she was a high-profile senator for the province. During the nineties, she was better known at the national level than her husband, having being expelled from the Peronist senate block for her stances against Carlos Menem. Her personal style helped: she was always fashionably dressed and wore long black hair, high heels, and quite a bit of makeup, as opposed to most other female Argentine (and international) politicians, who favor sensible suits, shoes, and non-fuss hairstyles. She inaugurated her presidency wearing a short-sleeved white lace dress and high heels, instead of the usual blue or black Chanel suit. This is not to say that Cristina Fernández ever dressed in an inappropriate manner, but she clearly wanted to be seen as elegant, womanly, and into fashion. She did not want to be seen as a “unisex” politician, like Angela Merkel or Margaret Thatcher. However, criticisms mounted over her alleged frivolity. Newspapers criticized her alleged spendings on expensive purses (she was spotted wearing a Dior purse that supposedly cost 1,700 US dollars) and Louboutin shoes. It is impossible not to come to the conclusion that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner—a Peronist—was following the most important stylistic template available for female Peronist politicians: Eva Perón. To the world, Eva became a fashion icon thanks to her glamorous gowns, jewels, and furs. But her persona was

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more complex than just a clothes-obsessed political spouse. It was she, not Perón, who was the more fiery public speaker of the two, the staunchest ally of the workers organizations, and who became known as “the standard-bearer of the poor (“abanderada de los humildes”), through her social work. The fashion side of Evita was considered “unacceptable” by the “good” society, even though the very same gowns and furs were considered (and still are) perfectly appropriate for women of “true” high class. Evita’s transgression21 was cherished by her followers of popular-sector origins: she was signaling to them that they, too, could partake in the “high” cultural signifiers from which they were excluded.22 The Peronist synecdoche is not constructed through “mirroring” the physical characteristics of the downtrodden, but by also mirroring their aspirations and showing them they, too, can partake of the “high” culture to which they feel entitled. Cristina Fernández carried on this sense of transgression, particularly on the gender front, with her long hair and expensive purses. Her glamorous, fashionable self-presentation changed, however, when Néstor Kirchner unexpectedly died of a heart attack in 2010.23 For the following two years, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner left aside her interest in fashion and wore only black ensembles, stressing her condition as widow of a very popular former president. She was as smartly dressed as always, but was very recognizable as a grieving figure. She won the 2011 presidential elections with 54% of the vote, the highest of any president in the democratic era that started back in 1983.24 This hybridization of the personal sphere with the political one, and her public display of emotion and vulnerability was nothing like the “strong, masculine” performances that we have come to expect from populist leaders (although she also certainly “had balls”). However, it became a very effective tool politically.

Inventing a Transgressive Body: Rafael Correa and Néstor Kirchner I have discussed the cases of Evo Morales and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, which show how a populist bodily self-presentation is constructed by hybridizing mainstream “high” elements with low, popular, gendered, or “private” elements in ways that make the people present, in the leader’s bodily performance, while at the same time showcasing the leader’s exceptionality. However, I want to counter the possible claim that their populist performance can be said to be “predetermined”, given the fact that their gender or ethnicity could be seen as having precluded a mainstream route. Certainly, ethnicity or biology are not, in themselves, determination. This much is shown by analyzing two Latin American populist presidents who could have built a “mainstream” bodily image, but who took great pains to create an image that was as transgressive as possible, as well as two other presidents who, though possessing a “divergent” body, chose a “mainstream” route. They are Néstor Kirchner and Rafael Correa, and Alejandro Toledo and Michelle Bachelet, respectively.

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Rafael Correa (whose populism is analyzed at greater length in the following chapter) is a US-Ph.D.-educated, thin, blue-eyed man, and thus was especially suited to embody the traditional mainstream politician, left or right. Yet he became—at least initially—a very successful populist president in South America, ruling Ecuador, a particularly unstable country, for 11  years. Over time, to remain focused here on bodily presentation, Correa’s clothing evolved into a hybrid that is somewhat similar to Evo Morales’: while he never completely abandoned suits, he combined dark jackets with crisp, priest-collared white shirts decorated with colorful embroidery that evoked traditional Ecuadorian Andean folk crafts. Néstor Kirchner’s strategy for self-presentation was similar. Coming after Carlos Menem, who became famous for his Pompadours and his two-thousanddollar Versace shiny suits, and after Fernando De La Rua, who favored the traditional Argentine high class estanciero (rancher) look of a brown capybara leather jacket over a white shirt and ascot, Néstor Kirchner chose to present himself in a much more sloppy, “low” fashion. His suit jackets were blocky and too large; he always wore them unbuttoned; he usually went tieless; and his shoes became a trademark: he favored cheap-looking, scuffed, and frayed black moccasins. One might say, then, that the Kirchners employed a double strategy: while Néstor went “low” (and purposely, markedly, anti-fashionable) with his personal style, Cristina very much emphasized publicly, or flaunted, her aesthetic femininity, instead of making it more “discreet” or of appearing more unisex. Both Kirchner and Correa had “advantages” in being male, white, tall, and thin (even though Néstor Kirchner had crooked eyes). Yet they both took great pains to develop some “transgressive” credit though their clothes and style, amongst other things. They simply did not want to be confused with regular, run-of-the mill politicians, since their appeal came from performing as populist outsiders.

Choosing the Mainstream Over the Transgressive Conversely, there are two examples of politicians who, even though they might have chosen a populist, hybrid bodily presentation, very explicitly opted not to do so. The first example is former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo. Like Evo Morales, Toledo is of poor, indigenous descent, and was born in a poor rural family. Like Morales, his family also pursued better opportunities by migrating to the city from the countryside. Through some Peace Corps volunteers, however, Toledo was able to obtain a scholarship to study in the US, where he eventually majored in economics at the University of San Francisco and at Stanford. Later, he became one of the top economists at the World Bank and a professor at the Universidad del Pacífico, in Lima. In 1994, he ran for president on a campaign that exalted his technocratic credentials and his familiarity with world

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leaders. During his campaign, Toledo posed with the required alpaca ponchos and woolen hats typical of Perú, but by and large he dressed like a “regular” politician. As president, he wore the standard uniform of blue suits with a white shirt and a tie, or informal pants and shirt. The second example is Michelle Bachelet in Chile. As a Socialist politician, the daughter of a military officer who was brutally tortured and murdered by Pinochet’s regime, a surgeon, and a divorced woman in a country that was among the last ones in the Western world to allow legal divorce, she had plenty of “material” with which to construct a transgressive, populist body image. Yet Bachelet opted, in her campaigns and while twice governing as President, for a much more conservative bodily image: short blond hair (in contrast with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s long black hair), glasses, a succession of suits with skirts and jackets in solid colors, especially blue, red, white (the colors of the Chilean flag), and black, usually with a string of pearls. There is a sense that her strategy was to present herself as close to a mainstream politician as is possible for a woman, in a country in which the margins for the “acceptable” stylistic choices are narrow. Toledo and Bachelet seem to be notable cases in that they deliberately chose not to highlight their physical commonalities with the non-mainstream or “off”, but to underscore an image of technocratic competence, propriety, and cosmopolitanism, even though both of them owned “objective” features that would have allowed them to pursue a “populist” path to representation. Conversely, Rafael Correa and Néstor Kirchner, while having the supposed advantage of being white, male, and tall, chose to create or highlight “not mainstream” body images. Populism is, indeed, something that is performed, and, as such, depends on a degree of artifice or at least “comfort zone” and choice.25

Conclusion In this chapter, I have aimed to expand on the notion of “populism as public performance” and “political style”. For that, I have presented the concept of “synecdochal representation” to describe the way in which the bodily presentation of the populist leader derives its representative ability through the performance of three simultaneous tasks: to mirror some of the followers’ typical forms of self-presentation; to symbolize the leader’s exceptionality and distance from the followers, and to show the leader’s grip on the symbols of power. Through her very body, the leader is able to “carry with it”, as it were, the transgressive act by which his or her followers finally enter into spaces of power from which they were previously excluded. The performance of these complex tasks necessarily involves a degree of hybridization between “low” and “high”, “traditional” and “deviant” elements.

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It is important to understand the appeal of synecdochal representation in its own terms, rather than simply dismissing it as a secondary, or corrupted, or frivolous version of the “proper”, programmatic and rational forms. I have tried to show that there is a logic and a rationality to the follower’s allegiance to a leader who looks like them—women, the poor, the “cabecitas negras”, the “Indios”, while performing the ascendance to social and political power. This logic explains the durability of this bond. Another factor that explains the surprising strength of populist representation is its malleability. The body is the “part” that represents or “makes present” the whole (the people); yet, because the “part” is never identical to the total “whole”, this act of “making present” is always incomplete (Rancière 1999, 77). The symbolic tapestry of bodily symbols can be negotiated, adapted, changed. Because populism involves hybridization, populist representation is, indeed, active and dynamic. The final theoretical argument to be made is that populist body representation is democratic. Claude Lefort has stated that the emptying of the symbolic space that once was occupied by the body of sovereign is a precondition and a guarantee for democracy (1988). But it is also necessary to keep in mind that the transformation of the “visible” body of the king into an empty space was interpreted by Foucault as the condition of possibility of new and more impersonal, but oppressive mechanisms of vigilance (1999, 13–25). Feminist political theory has spoken clearly about how the supposed “disappearance” of the body of the King from the focal point of representation and its replacement by supposedly “impersonal” institutions has meant in fact the ultra-visibilization of some bodies and the effective invisibilization of others (Young 1996). Rather than occupying an empty space, power in a democracy is embodied in a particularly masculine body (and) since women remain excluded and “Other”, the masculine form can be constituted as the “one”, a form in which women cannot recognize themselves. (Dean 1996, 78) Yet it is not only the bodies of women that have been effectively excluded from that space which has never been truly empty, but also the bodies of ethnic, religious, or sexual minorities, of the young, or of those who for whatever reason want to challenge the status quo. The act of creating bodies that look like them, while also looking like powerful people, is not a neutral political act, and should not be interpreted as one. Let me conclude by evoking a final image taken from the very last frames of the documentary Cocalero. As said before, the authors of the documentary chose to spend the final minutes of the movie showing the making of Evo Morales’ inaugural suit, instead of the inauguration proper. The audience can see the

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fashion designer sketching the suit, the process by which the fine alpaca cloth is cut, the tailors stitching the aguayo by hand. More and more people come into the frame, each one of them putting his touch to the suit. In the very last frame of the movie, we finally see the finished suit neatly resting in its fitting form, surrounded by all the workers of the tailor shop, who mostly look a lot like Evo Morales himself. They stand around Evo’s suit, smiling, their faces beaming with satisfaction and pride. Evo has never worn the suit yet, but they are in it, because they made it with their own hands. It is by that act that the suit becomes something more than a piece of fabric, and a person becomes more than just a politician.

Notes 1. “With these tensions in mind, there are a number of important reasons for choosing to focus on the leader as the key actor or ‘performer’ of contemporary populism. First, individual leaders are undoubtedly the most visible and prominent symbols of populism today, with much academic and popular discussion of populism hinging on their personalities and performances. The devotion of followers—and indeed, the hatred of detractors—similarly hangs on the leader in many cases rather than the party” (Moffitt 2016, 56). 2. As Moffitt states, “such leaders are extraordinary in that they are able to understand what ‘the people’ think and ultimately articulate their needs and desires. Yet the leader’s extraordinary symbolic function goes beyond mere articulation—in populism, the leader does not simply represent ‘the people’ but is actually seen as embodying ‘the people’. This embodiment has been significantly under theorized in the literature, which is problematic, given that populism needs to be understood as something that is performed and ‘done’, rather than just as a set of ideas or way of organizing followers” (2016, 84). 3. “One particular difference assumes the representation of a totality that exceeds it. This gives clear centrality to a particular figure within the arsenal of classical rhetoric: synecdoche (the part representing the whole)” (Laclau 2005, 72). 4. For Moffitt, “the difference between populism and technocracy here does not refer to modes of governance or ideological dispositions, but to distinct embodied, performative political styles. We are interested in the way that political actors present themselves along this technocratic-populist scale, not in the models of government they might present or advocate. Leonard (2011, 2) sketches the performative differences between populism and technocracy as such: ‘Technocracy and populism are mirror images: one is managerial, the other charismatic; one seeks incremental change, the other is attracted by grandiose rhetoric; one is about problem solving, the other about the politics of identity’ ” (2016, 47, emphasis added). 5. “While populists utilize ‘bad manners’ in terms of their language and aesthetic selfpresentation, technocrats have ‘good manners’, acting in a ‘proper’ manner in the political realm, utilizing ‘dry’ scientific language, dressing formally and presenting themselves in an ‘official’ fashion. This divide is also marked by the role of affect and emotion: while populists rely on emotional and passionate performances, technocrats aim for emotional neutrality and ‘rationality’. Finally, while populists aim to invoke and perform crisis, breakdown or threat, technocrats aim for and perform stability or measured progress. Here, the ‘proper’ functioning of society is presented as being able to be delivered by those with the requisite knowledge, training and standing” (Moffitt 2016, 46–47). “High” and “low” are not sociological categories, or only partially so:

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a person with a Ph.D. from an élite university (as Bill Clinton was) can at times be as good at performing on “the low” as if he or she was much less educated; and a person with a “low” social background can become very adept at performing the “high” (as I will discuss this strategy later when analyzing Alejandro Toledo). 6. Such as Ivy League universities, big corporations, multilateral diplomatic or financial organizations, and the like. 7. Such as, for instance, Sarah Palin walking into stage with a “big gulp” soda cup, or Donald Trump eating KFC fried chicken in his private plane. “High and low are in many ways about private expressions in the public sphere, or if one prefers, the publicization of the private person. This is why, particularly in the case of low ways and manners expressed in an impudent or imprudent way in a public sphere hegemonized by the high, the low is often about transgression. As importantly, in relation to existing social-cultural identities, high and low political appeals and positions triggers the voter to recognize a politician as credibly ‘one of ours.’ High and low are thus not superficially or faddishly about style, but connect deeply with a society’s history, existing group differences, identities, and resentments” (Ostiguy 2009, 5, emphasis added). 8. The rise of twenty-four-hours political media and of social networks has helped the personalization of politics. Sorensen defines mediatization as a process by which “the media become more and more of a political actor in their own right, and the ‘logic’ of the media—understood as the norms and routines that govern the media’s operations—is adopted by, and thereby transforms, political institutions” (2017, 140). 9. To be fair, Pitkin acknowledges that descriptive representation can never produce identification on its own, and that it always entails a work of abstraction and selection: “Furthermore, representation seems to require a certain distance or difference as well as resemblance or correspondence” (1972, 68). However, she does not elaborate further on the matter. 10. A counterargument to my view of hybridization may be that “the possession of markers of institutional power” only works (in populist representation) for presidents, and that it does not for oppositional populisms, i.e., for movements or parties not in government. This may not be so certain at all. While empirical studies of “aspiring populist leaders” on that front would help settle the issue, my hunch is that it is absolutely possible for populists in opposition to appropriate some symbols of the power that they aspire to acquire, precisely in order to project the image that they are able to govern effectively. Two examples come to mind. The first is Martin Luther King, whose followers made a point of calling him “Dr. King” and who always dressed in neat suits and ties. The second one is Hugo Chávez, who campaigned for the presidency in 1998 while wearing outfits designed to evoke his military trajectory, including his famous red beret (to be later echoed by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party of South African, which is analyzed in Chapter 12 of this volume.) 11. It should be noted that populist performance must be distinguished from popular bodily performance. In the latter, closeness to the people is performed, but exceptionality and appropriation of power, much less so. Popular performance stresses folksiness, while the populist one stresses transgression. 12. Hybridization opens up the possibility of better explaining the protean and multifaceted nature of populism, which can be urban-based or rural-based, distributive or neoliberal, ethnoculturally plural or homogenizing. 13. “Populist leaders in general, and strongmen in particular, also use simple and even vulgar language, a so-called Stammtisch (beer table) discourse. They present themselves as ‘one of the boys’, a man’s talk, talking sports and women rather than politics” (Mudde and Kaltwasser 2017, 64).

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14. With the one notable exception of Hugo Chávez, of course. While no one can negate the importance of Chávez in the South American populist canon, his “strongman” appeal is another of the characteristics that connects his style with the “classic” populists such as Juan Domingo Perón; more so, I would argue, than with Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, or the Kirchners. 15. “The central point is that it is the performances of populists—not just their policies, ideology, discourse or the so-called content of their populism—that are disruptive to ‘mainstream’ politics. In these technocratic times, we usually expect our political representatives, if not necessarily to act honorably, at least to make an effort to appear on the social-cultural ‘high’ of Ostiguy’s schema. We assume that they should be polished, professional, composed and ‘play the game’ correctly. In short, we expect them to have ‘good manners’. As such, the unpolished, seemingly off-the-cuff ‘bad manners’ of populist leaders can appeal in an era when political performances often seem homogenous, circumscribed, stage-managed and predictable across the political spectrum” (Moffitt 2016, 61). 16. This does not mean, to be sure, that such a performance is false or faked. 17. In the documentary Presidentes de América, shot when he is already president, we see Evo Morales’ childhood home in the high Andean plains: it was a one-room stone house with a dirt floor. 18. In Jefazo, his biography of Morales, Martín Sivak (2008) describes his austere lifestyle and his diet, which is composed mostly of peasant food even as he moves into the presidential palace. 19. At one point in the Cocalero movie, Morales the candidate has just landed at the airport of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which was at the time the heartland of the anti-MAS movement. When Morales is walking down the airport hall, a random man yells “¡Indio de mierda!” (“You shitty Indian!”) at him. 20. There is a reason why the former president José “Pepe” Mujica’s persona is generally not included in the category of South American populist presidents, even with his bona fide leftist credentials and peculiar popular manners. Mujica’s refusal to embrace the symbols of power anchors him in the popular, not populist, category. 21. Eva Perón was of popular-sector origins. She was born out of wedlock, which at the time carried a significant stigma; she grew up in poverty and worked from an early age. 22. The Perón government, for instance, distributed free tickets to working families so that they could attend opera performances at Buenos Aires’s famed and exclusive Teatro Colón. 23. His public wake in the Pink House was met with an outpour of popular support and grief not seen since Juan Domingo Perón’s funerals, with people lining down six or seven blocks to pay their last respects. 24. When she abandoned the widow’s clothes and went back to her regular style, criticisms mounted once again, with pages in the newspapers dedicated to her shoes, purses, and clothes in general. Conversely, the wife of very wealthy anti-Kirchnerist candidate and now president Mauricio Macri is routinely lauded in fashion magazines for her taste and beauty. Extensive coverage is dedicated to the various couture ensembles that she chooses for their state functions. The distinction is constantly being made between which women are entitled to fashion and which are not. Those that uphold “natural” social and gender hierarchies are; those that are perceived as going against them are not. 25. This is not to say that such performances are fake or artificial. It is hard to imagine Michelle Bachelet performing like Cristina Fernández, even if she wanted to. Old pictures and videos show that self-image and fashion were always important for Cristina Kirchner, not something that she simply chose strategically. And Néstor Kirchner was always a bit of a slob, judging from videos and pictures from his youth.

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References Casullo, María Esperanza. 2020. “Populism and Myth.” In The Populist Manifesto, edited by Emmy Eklundh and Andrew Knott. London: Rowman and Littlefield. Dean, Jodi. 1996. Solidarity of Strangers. Feminism after Identity Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press. Diehl, Paula. 2017. “The Body in Populism.” In Political Populism: A Handbook, edited by Reinhard Heinisch, Christina Holtz-Bacha, and Oscar Mazzoleni, 361–372. BadenBaden: Nomos. Dingler, Sarah C., Zoe Lefkofridi, and Vanessa Marent. 2017. “The Gender Dimension of Populism.” In Political Populism: A Handbook, edited by Reinhard Heinisch, Christina Holtz-Bacha, and Oscar Mazzoleni, 345–360. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Foucault, Michel. 1999. Las palabras y las cosas. Translated by Elsa Cecilia Frost. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI. Laclau, Ernesto. 2005. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. Lefort, Claude. 1988. “The Question of Democracy.” In Democracy and Political Theory, edited by Claude Lefort, 9–20. Cambridge: Polity Press. Leonard, Mark. 2011. “Four Scenarios for the Reinvention of Europe.” European Council of Foreign Relations. London. Available at: www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/ four_scenarios_for_the_reinvention_of_europe36149 Mastropaolo, Alfio. 2017. “Populism and Political Representation.” In Political Populism: A Handbook, edited by Reinhard Heinisch, Christina Holtz-Bacha, and Oscar Mazzoleni, 59–72. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Mazzoleni, Gianpietro. 2011. “Berlusconi? A Communication Wizard.” Zeitschrift Für Politikberatung (ZPB)/Policy Advice and Political Consulting 4 (1): 36–38. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mudde, Cas. 2004. “The Populist Zeitgeist.” Government and Opposition 39 (4): 541–563. Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2017. Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Neocleous, Mark. 2003. Imagining The State. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High and the Low in Politics: A Two Dimensional Political Space for Comparative Analysis and Electoral Studies.” Kellogg’s Foundation Working Paper # 360. Available at: https://kellogg.nd.edu/sites/default/files/old_files/documents/360_0.pdf. ———. 2014. “Exceso, Representación y Fronteras Cruzables: ‘institucionalidad Sucia’, O La Aporía Del Populismo En El Poder.” Revista POSTData 19 (2): 345–375. ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul A. Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ostiguy, Pierre, and Kenneth M. Roberts. 2017. “Putting Trump in Comparative Perspective: Populism and the Politicization of the Sociocultural Low.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs 23 (1): 25–50. Pitkin, Hannah. 1972. The Concept of Representation. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press. Rancière, Jacques. 1999. Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Sinclair, Amanda. 2005. “Body Possibilities in Leadership.” Leadership 1 (4): 387–406.

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Sivak, Martín. 2008. Jefazo. Buenos Aires: Debate. Sorensen, Lone. 2017. “Populism in Communications Perspective: Concepts, Issues, Evidence.” In Political Populism: A Handbook, edited by Reinhard Heinisch, Christina Holtz-Bacha, and Oscar Mazzoleni, 137–156. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Young, Iris Marion. 1996. “Vida política y diferencia de grupo: Una crítica del ideal de ciudadanía universal.” In Perspectivas feministas en teoría política, edited by Carme Castells, 99–126. Barcelona, España: Paidós.

5 RAFAEL CORREA AND THE CITIZENS’ REVOLUTION IN ECUADOR A Case of Left-Wing Non-Hegemonic Populism Samuele Mazzolini In 2005, after a long absence of the concept in his works, Ernesto Laclau rescued—and consistently refined—the notion of populism from general discredit in his now-renowned On Populist Reason (Laclau 2005a). The time for such an intellectual operation was ripe. In Latin America, a series of left-oriented movements led by charismatic figures took power in the 2000s, all of whom utilized a confrontational approach that defied national and foreign elites alike while assembling diverse social sectors on the basis of a rejection of neoliberal policies. Such movements and their leaders were negatively labelled as populist by mainstream media. Laclau, however, made it possible to claim the term back and see it in a more positive light. More concretely, the work of Laclau provided the theoretical tools to make sense of what was happening in much of the continent and, in some instances, to vindicate it. However, not all the experiences of the Bolivarian “pink tide” have received equal attention. One of the most under-analyzed cases of 21st-century Latin American left-wing populism is the Ecuadorian Citizens’ Revolution led by Rafael Correa. Curiously, some works on the Citizens’ Revolution harshly criticize Laclau (Burbano de Lara 2016; de la Torre 2016), but no systematic application of his theory to the case at hand has so far been provided. Yet much is to be gained by the deployment of Laclau’s theory of populism to the Ecuadorian case. The constitution of a new collective will amid a period of social and economic traumas can be persuasively analyzed through his theoretical prism. However, the use of his framework to examine this case concomitantly throws some doubts on several aspects of his theory which find, in the concrete Ecuadorian reality, an invitation for theoretical reflection. The application of the Laclauian tools to Correa’s rule can thus be a prime occasion for an illuminating to-and-fro movement between the empirical and the theoretical; that is, between

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the analysis of the case at hand and the abstract instruments that inform the methodology for carrying out the concrete research. More specifically, I propose to review a number of issues at both an analytical and normative level in Laclau’s theory, especially by recuperating the importance of some key insights of Antonio Gramsci. In particular, I focus here on the issue of populism in power (with the related and often neglected question of political economy) as well as the relationship between populism and hegemony. Insofar as the normative critique is concerned, I engage with defining which kind of left-wing populism is desirable, specifically in the light of the Ecuadorian case. Let us not forget that, for Laclau, populism is conceptualized minimally as the proposition of an antagonistic us/ them differentiation that produces a popular subject. Accordingly, the differentiating frontier is obtained by articulating unsatisfied social demands against an enemy. However, populism can exhibit very different ideological guises (Laclau 2005a, 175–199). In this sense, Laclau openly identifies in the logic of populism the only viable route available to emancipatory politics (2006). Which populism though? As observed by Francisco Panizza, populism can contingently articulate with other logics, making a case-by-case evaluation necessary in order to understand its democratic (and I would add emancipatory) potential (2008, 94). In this chapter, I advocate a strategic synthesis between populism as a “plebeian institutionality” as put forward by Pierre Ostiguy and the Gramscian hegemonic approach, while also problematizing the role of the leader. This chapter is divided in accordance with four distinctive periods/stages of the Citizens’ Revolution. The first period, “The Construction of a People”, deals with the initial anti-neoliberal crusade launched by Rafael Correa before the 2006 presidential elections and with his first steps as Ecuadorian President. The second period, “Populism in office”, begins during the 2008 Constituent Assembly and extends up to Correa’s second re-election in 2013. The third stage, which coincides with the entire third mandate of Rafael Correa until May  2017, is named “Towards the Undoing of the Popular Identity”. The fourth stage, under the title “The Unravelling of Populism”, functions as a sort of epilogue and includes the initial steps of President Lenín Moreno, Correa’s designated successor. The period considered here finishes with the seven-part referendum and popular consultation organized by Moreno in February 2018. The final section, “Theoretical Outcomes”, advances a series of theoretical considerations in light of the Ecuadorian case.

The Construction of a “People” Following the implementation of structural adjustment policies in the 1990s, a phase of acute socio-economic instability ensued in Ecuador, which culminated in the 1999 financial crisis that led to the abandonment of the Sucre and the adoption of the US dollar as the national currency. The rise of inflation, negative

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growth, corruption scandals, the upsurge of unemployment rates, and the migration of millions of Ecuadorians abroad were among the most visible factors that led thousands of citizens to repeatedly demonstrate in the streets. The mass mobilizations that Ecuador became renowned for in the 1990s and early 2000s contributed to the fall of three elected Presidents and a proliferation of social demands that were systematically neglected by existing institutional channels. Yet these grievances did not automatically lead to the consolidation of an alternative proposal capable of launching an organized and effective “assault” on the status quo. It may be worth recalling at this point that Laclau distinguishes between democratic and popular demands: while the former tend to remain isolated and fail to coagulate into a broader social identity, the latter, without yet transforming into a stable system of signification, already display a tendency to form an incipient social subjectivity by recognizing a common adversary (Laclau 2005a, 73–74). Following this schematic, it seems legitimate to say that in the stage prior to the advent of the Citizens’ Revolution, the unfulfilled demands had already gone beyond being democratic to becoming popular, thus configuring the possibility of the emergence of a new “people”. The creation of the Coordinadora de Movimientos Sociales (Social Movements Coordination Body) in 1995, as well as the failed 2000 coup d’état led by a group of junior military officers along with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, testify to the convergence of some of the demands expressed by Ecuadorian civil society. Another example is the 2005 Forajido (outlaw) movement that developed in Quito in opposition to the President Lucio Gutiérrez. Even though temporally limited and prevalently composed by the middle class, the movement managed to coalesce heterogeneous frustrations under the motto, taken from Argentina, ¡Qué se vayan todos! (Throw them all out!). The situation of crisis and uncertainty that existed in Ecuador weakened the appeal of old political discourses which until then had conferred various political identities, opening up a window that made it possible for subjects to de-identify and re-identify with new discursive appeals. It was a time that Laclau conceptualizes under the term dislocation, i.e. an experience that makes visible the contingency of social relations and identities, opening up a new range of possibilities (1990, 41–44). How was such a conjuncture exploited by Rafael Correa? Correa, a heterodox economist with no particularly strong ties to the militant left, had been appointed as Minister of the Economy by the then–interim President Alfredo Palacio. He gained political visibility by expressing stark critiques against neoliberal economic policies and by shifting the allocation of the reserve fund, constituted from oil revenues that exceeded its estimated budgeted price, away from debt servicing and into health and education programs. By the time he resigned as Minister following some disagreements with Palacio, he had already accrued significant political capital. From there, it was a relatively short step from transforming his attacks on neoliberalism into an electoral campaign.

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The creation of Correa’s political movement, Alianza País, was backed by the academic and militant prestige of many of its original proponents, many of whom were already well-known figures in left-wing intellectual and political circles, and given organizational support by some pre-existing political groups that merged in the movement. However, it was the articulation of unmet demands against the existing political and economic order that made possible the creation of a “people”; their contiguity, their proximity as demands, transformed into a fully fledged analogy thanks to the projection of a shared enemy (Laclau 2005a, 109). In other words, originally dispersed demands gained unity by becoming part of a chain of equivalences, whereby any individual demand necessarily related to one another. Two overarching themes stood out in Correa’s 2006 campaign (Conaghan 2011, 265). First, he insisted on the moral bankruptcy of the political class, which he accused of being responsible for the degradation of state institutions. Secondly, he denounced the disintegration of the fatherland (patria) as a result of the implementation of elite-driven economic policies that furthered the interests of the few at the expense of the many (Conaghan 2011, 265). He argued that addressing these issues required a radical rupture with a past made of entreguismo (the selling out to powerful interests, especially foreign ones) and the drafting of a new Constitution, as the existing one constituted a major legal hindrance for implementing the policies necessary to save the fatherland. The fatherland was a recurrent theme in Correa’s powerful narrative. In a discourse that employed dramatic tones and a quasi-religious language (Burbano de Lara 2015, 24), “fatherland” became a master signifier that articulated a variety of elements. Among other meanings, fatherland meant protecting the downtrodden and forgotten sectors of society, clamoring for social justice, recuperating the sovereignty that the country had ceded to foreign interests and reaching out towards the millions of Ecuadorians who had migrated abroad. It is important not to lose sight here that this reference often came hand in hand with very concrete policy proposals in clientelistic fashion, aimed at winning the consensus of specific segments of the electorate by targeting them with favorable material policies. However, talk of fatherland also meant creating an emotive historical connection with some of the most significant historical figures of the past in order to motivate widespread feelings of identification (Burbano de Lara 2015, 26–30). Eloy Alfaro, the leader of the so-called Liberal Revolution (1895–1912), was elevated as the ultimate source of political and symbolic inspiration. A second historic reference was Manuela Sáenz, the Ecuadorian personal and political partner of Simón Bolívar. The variety of appeals articulated to the signifier “fatherland” served the purpose of catering to different political audiences, ranging from the poorest sectors of society to those middle classes preoccupied with the sorry state of the nation and dependent upon the internal market.

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In line with Laclau’s theory of populism, the project of Correa was based on the simplification of the political space through the discursive creation of a radical political frontier between two camps: on the one hand, the “people”, as the addressees of his appeals, and on the other, the “elites”, identified by the discourse of the Citizens’ Revolution as the big banks, the traditional political class, the mainstream media, the agro-exporting sectors and foreign actors such as the IMF, the World Bank, as well as the US and Colombian governments. All these actors were portrayed as the beneficiaries or embodiments of the neoliberal economic model, which Correa often conveyed through the catchy phrase “la larga y triste noche neoliberal” (the long and sad neoliberal night). In his speeches, Correa used certain terms to signify the divide between the two camps. The “people” were those with “lucid minds, clean hands, and passionate hearts”. In contrast, he used pejorative expressions such as a “partycracy”, “pelucones” (bigwigs), and “momias cocteleras” (cocktail-drinking zombies) to refer to the adversaries of the people, such as the old party system, the upper classes and the country’s diplomats, respectively. In terms of Laclau’s theory of discourse, it is essential to identify the nodal point of the equivalential system constitutive of popular identities in the discourse of the Citizens’ Revolution. According to Laclau, the ability of this point of anchorage, which he also calls empty signifier, is that of bringing equivalential homogeneity to a heterogeneous reality. This function is best performed when the particular contents attached to a signifier are reduced to a minimum. He further argues that the most extreme expression of this dynamic is when the empty signifier consists of the name of the leader (Laclau 2005b, 40). The leader works at this stage as what Jason Glynos calls an enigma that promises meaning: i.e. a “site” in which several aspirations struggle to inscribe themselves (2000, 99). As such, the main signifier able to unify the heterogeneous elements of the popular field was the leader Correa himself. Correa made himself known as a man of popular origins who had been able to excel in life, a condition that made him best suited to be the anti-oligarchic “battering ram” and the incarnation of the fatherland (de la Torre 2008, 32; 2013a, 31). His fired-up rhetoric, his omnipresence in the media, his defiant and confrontational attitude, his well-articulated rants on the disastrous situation of the country, turned him into the nodal point of the Citizens’ Revolution (the initials of which in Spanish—RC—curiously but hardly coincidentally coincide with the initials of Rafael Correa). However, the reductio ad unum inherent to Laclau’s argument about the name of the leader in his theory of populism runs the risk of overshadowing a more nuanced and complex picture. The centrality of the signifier “Correa” notwithstanding, it would be a simplification to ignore the mobilizing power of other signifiers that were ably articulated into the discursive appeal of the Citizens’ Revolution. As we have seen, calls for the redemption of the fatherland and the promise of a new Constitution ranked high among them. Other signifiers were

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equally important. Buen Vivir or, in Kichwa, Sumak Kawsay (Good Living), a term drawn from the indigenous people’s cultural repertoire, was already perceived as a symbol of popular resistance (Laclau 1977, 180) and became quickly incorporated into Correa’s political appeal. Through these discursive operations, he managed to make his own name a signifier of polysemic symbols that already embodied a sense of political plenitude or could do so because of their potentially universal attraction. Perhaps it is the dynamic tension between the persona of a leader that attracts a broad libidinal investment and the retrieval and articulation of some of the already existing nodal points of popular resistance that constitutes the basis of a successful populist practice. However, the articulation does not end with social demands or political signifiers of abstract import. Following Ostiguy, what is radical about Latin American populism is not so much the proposition of an already symbolized position, but rather the capacity to articulate “the low”, that is an excess that “originates from the outside of the system of political meanings” (2015, 150). He refers to this as “plebeian grammar”, which represents an interesting radicalization of Laclau’s concept of heterogeneity. While this excess, this heterogeneous Other in Laclau, is tied to the conception of demand, Ostiguy goes further and has it as a “disorganized and emotive vitalism”, which can take disparate forms such as references to football, music or any other national-popular expression, typically—but erroneously—considered as unimportant or not serious by mainstream political scientists (Ostiguy 2015, 149–151).1 In the case of Correa, a vernacular speaker, his bent for giving derisory nicknames to political opponents, his macho, confrontative nature as well as his zealous Catholicism, echoed fundamental characteristics of the national ethos and the average man. In yet another example of his behavior that awoke much identification, in his Saturday nationwide radio and television program Enlace Ciudadano he often spoke about local food and other national treasures, enthusiastically recalling the typical dishes he had eaten and the beautiful places he had come across during the past week while touring the country.2

Populism in Office With the setting up of the Constituent Assembly, the promise to undo much of the neoliberal project started to be implemented. In the initial stages of the constituent process, there was a proliferation of demands that social and political actors sought to incorporate into the constitutional program. To this purpose, thousands of groups, collectives and ordinary citizens travelled to the small coastal town of Montecristi, where the Constituent Assembly was installed, to put forward their demands. The issues, however, were not restricted to traditional leftwing matters but covered a wider range of questions that were not part of the Citizens’ Revolution original equivalential chain: In fact, maintaining the unity and cohesion of the governmental block required an enormous effort. Alianza País representatives in the constitutional

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assembly were not a homogeneous group. There coexisted very different political fractions, ranging from the center-right to a variety of currents of the left, such as environmentalists, pro indigenous rights people, assemblymen close to certain trade unions, other assemblymen linked to feminist organizations or to NGOs, members of progressive churches (and of others not so progressive), traditional militants of old and new left parties, and finally citizens that were “newcomers” to politics. (Ramírez Gallegos 2008) According to Laclau, some ideological ambiguity is an intrinsic characteristic of any populist practice (2005a, 109, 118). He also argues that the empty signifier, as a name, exerts an irresistible attraction on any unmet demand, but it does not have the ability to determine which demands can enter the equivalential chain (Laclau 2005a, 108). Yet this formulation is not fully convincing: not only is the leader just not a simple name, but the equivalential chain is also the result of an articulatory process, and as such it is a project requiring agency. While it can be conceded that in the initial stages of the constituent process many demands attempted to “slip into” the equivalential chain, at a later stage, Correa, rather than being a passive recipient of grievances, took up a much more active role, thus becoming the final arbiter as to which demands were to be incorporated into the new Constitutional document and which ones be discarded or even ostracized (de la Torre and Ortiz Lemos 2016, 225). Benjamin Arditi resolves the impasse by claiming that Laclau shifts in his writings from the name of the leader to actual individuals, without noticing the structural difference between the two (Arditi 2010, 490). It is here where the radically different status between the empty signifier embodied by a leader and the empty signifier as an abstract demand or symbol (which could well be the name of a dead leader) comes to the fore. While the latter is up for grabs and can literally be filled with any political signifier (notwithstanding that such filling is always strictly controlled by some agent), the former cannot be emptied at will, but is always already an active administrator of what can enter and what cannot into an equivalential chain. This became more noticeable with the increasingly irreconcilable political divide between environmentalist/indigenous movements’ concerns for the protection of the environment and the redistributive demands of other social sectors that depended on oil rents. Environmental and indigenous demands, which were part and parcel of the original discourse of the Citizens’ Revolution, were addressed less vigorously by Correa and soon came under the pressure of a new political project, that of the Plurinational Unity of the Lefts. This political divide led to the creation of a radical left electoral alliance, made up of splinter groups from the Citizens’ Revolution (mainly urban environmentalists), the indigenous party Pachakutik and the Democratic Popular Movement (MPD in its Spanish acronym), a Marxist-Leninist party. By treating demands as signifiers, that is, as grievances with no predetermined signification and policy response, Laclau

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describes this kind of situation by making reference to the concept of floating signifier (2005a, 131–132). In other words, the “meaning [of the disputed demand] is indeterminate between alternative equivalential frontiers” (Laclau 2005a, 131). While Correa still tried to articulate environmental and indigenous demands in an unstable compromise with other claims, the radical left attempted to disentangle them from the Citizens’ Revolution’s discourse and represent them in a different discursive configuration. However, this tension did not manage to seriously break the equivalential chain of the Citizens’ Revolution, since the project of the radical left failed to constitute a “people”. Rather, this readjustment enabled Correa to create a new frontier and widen the register of the enemies of the Citizens’ Revolution that now comprised not just the traditional economic and political oligarchies, but also included those who opposed change because of their “infantilism”—as Correa repeatedly branded the political behavior of the radical left and ecologist opposition. This development calls for a revision of Laclau’s theory of populism insofar as the treatment of demands is concerned. Demands are not all strictly equal in the way the adjective “equivalential” may convey, in the sense that their salience, intensity and importance strongly vary. As suggested by Howarth (2008, 185), it would be more plausible to say that a hierarchy of demands is always already in place. This comes to the fore most visibly once a populist movement is in office and the articulation between heterogeneous demands becomes more difficult because of their oft-conflicting particular contents. More often than not, the political logic of this stage is no longer a matter of adding more grievances to the chain of equivalences, but rather of prioritizing those that elicit more support and facilitate the overall “maintenance” of the “people”. Demands with a strong social component were thus dealt with more thoroughly. Significant accomplishments in terms of social policies in health care and education as well as in infrastructure building and protection of national production addressed some of the greatest concerns of the Ecuadorian citizenry. Even more, a number of bold international moves that defied the US and international financial institutions made clear that references to the fatherland were not mere electoral rhetoric. Yet, despite a revolutionary fervor that found ample resonance in the speeches of Correa and his collaborators, a certain political disillusionment gradually reared its head during this mandate. This was evident in the distancing from the government of many social actors embodying various demands. In fact, the distancing of those sectors that advocated a more radical interpretation of the environmental and indigenous demands was later coupled with a cooling of relations between the government and a wider range of civil society actors that had supported the political process. Critical voices within the governing bloc were also treated with suspicion, and internal debate soon waned due to the habit of Correa to frequently change his ministers. The purely electoral role played by Alianza País and the lack of interest towards constructing a solid political base also deserve to be mentioned.

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Certainly, beyond the emphasis placed on elections and referenda, populism has often been accompanied by political inaction (Westlind 1996, 104), but in our case this was the result of the systematic de-activation of the constituencies that were originally articulated and preluded the unhinging of the equivalential chain. Political participation, one of the main claims that the Citizens’ Revolution originally appropriated, was neglected as participatory institutions had almost no role in the design of public policy. The setting up of the so-called Fifth Power, a wholly new branch of the state devoted to ensuring public transparency and social control and thus in principle alien to partisan politics, amounted to no more than an inefficient institution filled with people linked directly or indirectly with the governing party. As put bluntly by Santiago Ortiz Crespo, a mostly sympathetic observer of the Citizens’ Revolution and of the Latin American “pink tide” as a whole: “Differently from other ‘left’ governments in Latin America, the government of Rafael Correa did not give signs of understanding the importance of participation, or of having consistent policies on this field” (2008, 17). However, this did not affect the levels of support towards the government led by Correa, as the economic bonanza prompted by high oil prices enabled the government to carry out far-reaching programs of wealth redistribution and infrastructure modernization. These policies ensured that the population at large was still receptive to appeals to the fatherland. Thus, the tensions between the President and some of the social movements that had supported him in the past did not impact the outcome of the presidential elections of February 2013, in which Correa was re-elected with 57% of the popular vote in the first round, a result which has no precedent in the republican history of the country. Yet, as Laclau himself glimpses, if not accompanied by mass action, any emancipatory process runs risk of a “a bureaucratism that will be easily colonized by the corporative power of the forces of the status quo” (2014, 9).

Towards the Undoing of the People Correa’s 2013 re-election marks a third phase in the Citizens’ Revolution. As put by Franklin Ramírez Gallegos in relation to the profound changes brought about by this new stage of the Citizens’ Revolution shortly after the election: “In the modification of the political field are combined, perhaps paradoxically, the highest point of popular support to the project of change with a stagnation of the work of hegemonic construction on the part of the ruling force” (2014, 100). From this moment onwards, some substantial transformations followed. Politically, the new administration turned to the center. Correa adopted a mixture of measures that made it ever more difficult to straightforwardly characterize his government ideologically. While some leftist proposals survived, a certain “normalization” of the project started to take place, particularly in the area of economic policy. It is at this point necessary to bring political economy back

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into the analysis of populism. Once populism is no longer a simple amalgamation of anti-system demands from the position of opposition, the question of how demands are actually satisfied becomes central. Since Laclau avoids venturing explicitly into this terrain, we are left in the dark as to how an equivalence is (or is not) maintained once populism is in power. The difficulty resides more in an incomplete theory of populism than in its discursive origin. Discourse theory does take into account the materiality of things and knows full well that discourses are constrained by such circumstances: “This does mean, of course, that any discourse putting itself forward as the embodiment of fullness will be accepted” (Laclau 1990, 66). While the interpretive element remains active, it is important that a discourse materially resonates (or keeps on resonating, in our case). If anything, it is the Lacanian leaning of Laclau that leads him to adopt an excessively formal model which, coupled with his anti-sociological bias, impedes the factoring in of political economy. Coming back to our case, the economically difficult situation due to declining oil prices and the appreciation of the dollar led Correa to partly retract the heterodox model implemented during his first period in office. Maintaining it would have meant clashing with powerful interests that Correa was unwilling to confront, as such a confrontation would have required a radical mobilization of popular forces. By 2015, the government was no longer just in conflict with indigenous constituencies and environmentalist groups; facing the need to increase revenue and cut public spending, Correa took issue with the armed forces, various state-sponsored universities, Quito’s oncological hospital SOLCA and a variety of state contractors over funding allocations. “In the end, the distributive conflicts brought about by the crisis lead to cracks in the ‘consumption pact’ that united middle and popular sectors with business sectors, in the previous ten years of bonanza” (Ortiz Crespo 2016). In order to deal with the crisis, Correa resorted to measures such as the signing of a trade agreement with the European Union on terms very similar to those of Peru and Colombia, a possibility that had been peremptorily excluded in the past. Furthermore, the new private-public partnerships that opened the way for new privatizations and a more accommodating relationship with national entrepreneurs “implied the retraction and readjustment of state intervention, which entailed in turn a reconciliation with neoliberal arguments, previously held in disdain by the government” (Ibarra 2016). In this sense, the anti-neoliberal divide became harder to sustain and hence less central in Correa’s rhetoric. How do we account for this political shift that did away with many of the emancipatory credentials previously exhibited by the Citizens’ Revolution? As the project clearly revolved around the centrality of Correa, the changing inclinations of the leader on how to face changing economic circumstances had a preponderant influence upon the path of the political process as a whole. Laclau describes the process of identification in leaders by referring to the Freudian

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concept of primus inter pares: by sharing features with the led, he is concomitantly viewed as a brother and a father, since the leader also represents an ego ideal, although a not-too-distant one (2005a, 59). This intuition pushes Laclau to say something about the character of a practice ensuing from an identification of this kind, making leadership democratic rather than narcissistic and despotic, as the leader is “to a considerable extent, accountable to the community” and, in the end, “we are . . . not far away from that peculiar combination of consensus and coercion that Gramsci called hegemony” (Laclau 2005a, 60). However, the evidence indicates that the democratic leadership that Correa somehow embodied in the first stage was gradually replaced by an unquestionable leadership. As Ortiz Crespo clarifies: the so-called “political bureau” [an informal body of people selected by Correa, but by and large representative of the different political actors initially involved in the project] provided some shared direction with intellectuals, political leaders and technocrats up to 2011–12, but then it dissolved as the strong leadership of Rafael Correa gained impetus. (Ortiz Crespo 2016) It was not just a question of lack of debate within the popular camp—it is to be admitted that Latin American populism has never witnessed that—but that Correa was ever less in pari materia with the led. The centralization of power was indeed matched by an “increasing asymmetry between actual demands and equivalential discourse”, progressively making the equivalential popular identity produced by the Citizens’ Revolution an “inoperative langue de bois” (Laclau 2005b, 46–47). If many of the original demands—such as a reduction of inequality and poverty—were still part of the symbolic repertoire to which the executive clung, the fall in oil prices and the appreciation of the US dollar put the government in an awkward situation by posing policy dilemmas that the relative fiscal prosperity of the previous years had otherwise obscured. In the case of other demands, the divergence between campaign promises and government policies became even more evident. For instance, although the depoliticization of the public administration was an important element of Correa’s early rhetoric, he did not follow through with this promise, and instead appointed loyalists to central roles, thus effectively contributing to turn this demand into a floating signifier. But there is a further twist to the question, which makes the un-popular aspect even greater. In his modernizing impulse, Correa filled the State with experts, post-neoliberal (although many were not necessarily so post-) technocrats coming from the academic sector or other professions. According to de la Torre, “under Correa, populism has turned into elitism” (2013b, 39). Almost none of these technocrats had political links to the local communities or represented real social demands, with the further paradox here being that the

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“politicization” of the state carried out by Correa was an arguably “anti-political” act. As put by two commentators: Technocratic elements within the state became autonomous from social and territorial demands by reproducing an anti-political logic: They sought to manage and administer state capacities without making room for organized groups to shape demands through their particular experiences. (Ortiz Crespo and Burbano de Lara 2017) More generally, the government’s failure to consistently address some of the demands initially articulated by Correa led to the emergence of new potential sites of tension between Correa and sections of the people. Moreover, the society that the Citizens’ Revolution contributed to reshaping in previous years began to generate new demands. Similar to what has happened in other countries of the “pink tide”, it can be speculatively advanced that the empowerment of formerly economically lower classes and the consolidation of a middle segment led to the development of aspirations that placed them outside of the national-popular discourses. The improvement of living conditions went hand in hand with the growth of habits, customs and expectations that the very discourse that was able to bring the Citizens’ Revolution to power failed to absorb. The reason for this can be found in the lack of any “pedagogical” approach to politics in the broad sense that Gramsci attributed to the term (1975, 1331). The enactment of public policies did not proceed along a politicization of society, the cultivation of sound party bases, the promotion of a rich intellectual debate, the involvement in arts and culture, the construction of a hegemonic relationship between leaders and led, and so forth. It could be counterargued that Latin American populism is intrinsically alien to a politics of this kind. However, as made clear in the introduction, populism is not taken here as an ideological or organizational monolith, but rather as a political logic that contingently articulates itself with different traditions. In this sense, if we take seriously how the Citizens’ Revolution presented itself time and again, that is as a political project that inscribed itself in a socialist/ emancipatory tradition, it is on that basis that its achievements, or lack thereof, need to be evaluated. In an outright case of antagonism without hegemony, the invectives against the “corrupt media” no longer resonated with the electorate in the way they did in 2007, as the conditions for the reception of that particular discourse were no longer present. Emblematically, the inheritance tax bill, a set of measures designed to fight inequality, and which would have exclusively affected the upper echelons of society, met rather lively resistance from social sectors that had paradoxically been direct beneficiaries of the policies of Correismo, inducing Correa to backtrack on the approval of the bill (only a minor part of it was later converted into law). The increasing economic difficulties were paralleled by an accentuation of the antagonistic thrust in Correa’s discourse. In this period, the Ecuadorian President

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intensified his media attacks and undertook various judicial prosecutions against his adversaries. As we know from Laclau, polarization and the erection of frontiers can be performative of political identities. However, this aspect should be problematized: performativity is there only to the extent that antagonism proceeds along with articulation. As we have seen, the latter aspect became the Achilles’ heel of the Citizens’ Revolution. In a context of this sort, a polarizing strategy can rather result in processes of de-identification and be politically damaging to the enunciator when perceived as excessive, arbitrary, punitive or far removed from the existing demands. Although published by an opposition newspaper, it is still indicative that a May 2016 poll showed that 65% of the population no longer believed in Correa (El Universo 2016), thus highlighting that his politico-discursive strategy was alienating large sections of the population. As antagonism turned into a continuous barrage of abuse against political adversaries, it even opened the possibility of new political dividing lines that displaced the existing one, such as, interestingly enough, a dividing line or frontier between (populist) polarizers and conciliators. As unmet demands multiply, the antagonizing rhetoric of the government can become the societal empty signifier around which the political opposition attempt to coalesce a new discourse. The risk that such an exacerbated division becomes a source of social discomfort can be related to the fundamental incapacity to give life to some sort of stabilization of the social order. If a new common sense were generated, polarization would no longer be needed or, in the case the transition to a new order were still under way, it would at least be understood. Polarization plays a role in the construction of a popular identity at the moment of dislocation, but when in power it can easily backfire, unless the antagonizing subject is capable of persuading about the necessity to prolong such a state of tension. This aspect remains theoretically underdeveloped in the late Laclau, where populism is cherished for populism’s sake, evidencing his exclusive focus on the moment of the political, the moment when the system of sedimented signifiers is put into question.3 What about the moment of the institution of a new order? Faithful to his post-foundational approach, Laclau disdains a fully closed order, but is equally aware that “the social . . . is also the attempt . . . to domesticate infinitude, to embrace it within the finitude of an order” (1990, 91). Nevertheless, the passage from populism to a new hegemony is neglected both in Laclau and Correa. In a sense, Correa kept the “negative” sides of both populism and of institutionalism: of the former he kept the polarizing rhetoric at a time when a “one nation” discourse would have been needed,4 while from the latter he adopted the technocratic distancing from social demands.

The Unravelling of Populism In the 2015 constitutional amendment regarding indefinite re-election, Correa provided for the introduction of a transitory regulation, which made the new

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arrangement apply only after the subsequent elections. That meant excluding himself from the 2017 presidential elections, in order to reassure the population that this was not an ad hoc reform tailored to perpetuate his time in power. The search for Correa’s successor thus ensued. It is informally known that Correa pushed for vice-President Jorge Glas, his closest ally in the cabinet, with a sort of Putin-Medvedev-Putin succession in mind. However, it was not a coincidence that Correa’s former vice-President Lenín Moreno, seen as a conciliatory option, became the only candidate capable of guaranteeing the victory of the Citizens’ Revolution in the upcoming elections. Despite having been away from the country for a few years and having already manifested some skepticism about the route undertaken by Correa in the last period, Moreno seemed the only figure capable of reaching out to parts of the electorate that were no longer loyal to Correa. Even though the dependence on a single leader is fully inscribed in the Latin American populist tradition, the lack of a hegemonic consensus is partially revealed here, from an emancipatory perspective, in that after 10 years in power, no other national leaders with the potential to win a presidential election had emerged. In the electoral campaign, once he had officially become the candidate of the Citizens’ Revolution, Moreno gave signs of some distancing from the rhetoric of Correa, while not breaking entirely with him. This tactic did not guarantee him victory in the first round, and he only narrowly made it in the April 2017 run-off. However, as soon as he became President, it became clear that he was pursuing an entirely different political project. From the very start, he made dialogue with social sectors previously antagonized by Correa his political cornerstone, thus openly redrawing the previous political divides and transforming former relations of antagonism into relations of differences. These sectors included indigenous and environmentalist groups, but also chambers of commerce and, importantly, the US government. Contra Laclau, who tends to conflate populism with politics (2005a, xi, 68, 117, 154, 225), Moreno’s differential moves, which attempted to build bridges after a period of intense antagonism, testify that identificatory and hence political effects can also take place through transforming antagonisms into differences. Following this route, soon after his election Moreno made very clear statements distancing himself from the practices of his predecessor and former political godfather. He criticized the economic management of Correa that, accordingly, had left behind a difficult situation, and, by so doing, Moreno preluded to the return of full-blown neoliberal policies. In relation to the oft-mocked subservient attitude displayed by Correa’s followers, who to a large extent were also his own, he said: “That’s wonderful, little by little, people will give up their sheepish [my emphasis] behavior and start breathing once again this new freedom, which is how I feel comfortable, I feel comfortable when people get a chance to criticize” (Moreno, quoted in Labarthe and Saint Upéry 2017, 31). In spite of Correa’s

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claim that the Citizens’ Revolution had established a new hegemony, many of his former collaborators started to refer to his mandate as a period of pure ignominy from one day to another (Ramírez Gallegos 2018). However, the real rupture came with two subsequent moves. As suggested earlier, the lack of satisfaction of certain demands that the Citizens’ Revolution had initially articulated was swiftly exploited by Moreno. Along with the softening of political polarization embodied by the launch of a process of “national dialogue”, Moreno took advantage and furthered the anti-populist characterization of Correa’s government as corrupt and authoritarian, which had been strongly put forward by the private media. In this sense, the differential politics of Moreno was still predicated on a constitutive outside, without this making Moreno just another populist. From the very start, Moreno had made it clear that he would not stop any judicial inquiry against members of the governing party. That is precisely what he did by permitting the investigation, arrest, criminal conviction and eventual destitution of Jorge Glas, who still occupied the position of vicePresident, presumably imposed as Moreno’s running mate by Correa before the elections. At this point, the party became split between “Correistas” and “Leninistas”, and Correa and Moreno started to exchange bitter arguments, with their relationship becoming irreconcilable. The final straw came with the referendum and popular consultation called by Moreno, following the process of national dialogue. Among the various issues proposed, many of which were simply designed to bring people to vote Yes to all the questions, stood out the abolition of the constitutional amendment concerning the indefinite re-election of public posts, with retroactive effect; an ad hominem measure, to be sure, which made Correa’s comeback technically unconstitutional. The final result of the referendum, held in February 2018, was 64–36 in favor of its elimination. The Citizens’ Revolution had been fatally wounded.

Theoretical Outcomes Two theoretical questions emerge in the light of the previously given account of Correa’s populism: one analytical and one straddling between the analytical and the normative. The analytical one has to do with the fact that the populism at hand is in power and is not in the opposition. However, Laclau seems to regard populism only as pure opposition, at best as a strategy to take issue with the power holders. Is it possible to conceive a populist institutionality from Laclau’s standpoint at all? As pointed out by Ostiguy, one possibility is that of displacing the frontier by delinking the state from the real power bloc: in this way, the government and the people are opposed to a socio-economically defined elite (2015, 158). This is by and large what happened in the Ecuadorian case. However, according to Ostiguy this is not an entirely satisfactory solution: the government continues to be a government, and it will always be petitioned with demands,

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which is also, as we have seen, exactly what happened in Ecuador. At this point, if demands are satisfied, the antagonism which is predicated upon them fades away; if they are not, other discourses will try to articulate them against the nationalpopular government (Ostiguy 2015, 159). This may not be so clear-cut, though. Laclau sees populism as a political logic contrasted by its opposite, institutionalism (2005a, 117). Nevertheless, populism and institutionalism do not create a taxonomy as they are to be seen as two unreachable reductiones ad absurdum, two extreme poles that draw a continuum along which actual political practices find a dialectic and unstable compromise (Laclau 2005b, 45–46). In this way, populism and institutionalism are always concomitantly at play, thus opening a window for conceptualizing an institutional populism from Laclau’s theory. Moreover, demands can be satisfied to different degrees. The demand for a better education system for example is not necessarily extinguished by the improvement of primary schooling and a set of ambitious scholarships for Ecuadorians to pursue their postgraduate studies abroad, just to mention two emblematic policies in this area pursued by Correa’s executive. In this sense, the government is in a position to deliver and further foment the demand at the same time, thus strengthening and not debilitating the equivalential chain. In fact, the resolution given by Ostiguy is not too dissimilar. For him, a populist government is both government and opposition, by constantly trespassing the frontier between institutional governability and equivalential social protest (Ostiguy 2015, 160–161). This gives birth to a “dirty institutionality”, characterized by plebeian forms (Ostiguy 2015, 166). Yet Ostiguy’s theory seems to present a concrete advantage by postulating a more complex imbrication between the horizontal and vertical axes of politics, where the former represents the autonomy of demands and the latter their condensation into a hegemonic project seeking “a radical transformation of the state” (Laclau 2014, 9). For Laclau, the two dimensions remain separate. He warns against “the unilateralization of the moment of subordination” (Laclau 2005a, 130), but sees them as fundamentally autonomous and with different actors having jurisdiction over them—the populist subject over the vertical dimension and social movements over the horizontal one. For Ostiguy instead, “there is not a horizontal axis, which operates, even with points of interconnection, in a perpendicular, or autonomous way from the vertical one. It is, conceptually, . . . a ‘jumble’, a grey zone, a mixture” (Ostiguy 2015, 164). In our case, this did not take place: the institutionality was not dirty or plebeian enough precisely because of the form in which the equivalence was managed. While the confrontational approach was maintained, the exacerbation of an antagonistic dividing rhetoric went along a progressive depoliticization of society, a failure to address, sustain and surf among social demands. As put by Laclau himself: “the increasing distance between actual social demands and dominant equivalential discourse frequently leads to the repression of the former and the violent imposition of the latter” (2005b, 47). Where does the imposition

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come from? Over time, the antagonism predicated on the centrality of the leader stopped playing an articulatory role, as the bearers of many demands started to feel dissatisfaction towards the way in which they were, or were not, met. What fails to be captured by the Laclauian schematic is that the empty signifier “Correa” was no longer empty, but possibly perceived as too full and unreceptive as a surface of inscription, and consequently no longer able to absorb a panoply of grievances. The bottom line is that when speaking of populism, the attention to leadership and a polarizing rhetoric is insufficient, and what is required is a more nuanced and grounded analysis of the actual capacity to coalesce heterogeneous claims. In a sense, Correa’s populism was not populist enough, as the construction (and maintenance) of a “people” showed signs of exhaustion. The theoretical outcome is that, when dealing with populism in power, we need to be sensitive to questions such as resources and political craftsmanship, and on an accurate analysis of the relations of forces between opposing projects. Such implications are not adequately factored in the populist account of Laclau, for whom discursive strategies and political formations seem to take place in a sort of vacuum. What comes to the fore here is that the loss of Laclau’s original Gramscian roots has impoverished the capacity to analyze actual situations. The “structurality” of the openness of any structure and the actual political ability to “articulate” are no longer taken into account, and at worst, society is wrongly pictured as a blank slate upon which any articulation is equally possible. The theoretical question between the analytical and the normative has to do with the relationship between populism and hegemony. In relation to the pink tide, Correa used to emphatically say that Latin America was not living an epoch of changes, but a change of epoch. This political statement finds a theoretical parallel in Gramsci, who distinguishes between duration and epoch, with the latter signaling the establishment of a new hegemony. While duration is indeed “mere self-reproduction in the absence of historically significant changes”, epoch “fills the duration by upsetting it with an event (or a process) that modifies the rhythm, the intensity, the direction of the historical movement, giving acceleration and deciding its progress” (Burgio 2014, 115–116). Can the Citizens’ Revolution be ascribed to the latter temporal category? This does not even constitute an issue for Laclau, whose temporality is a dis-continuum, marked as it is by abrupt changes that make the present moment entirely unrelated to its past and future. In other words, his temporality is singular: epoch and duration cannot be distinguished because Laclau’s theory of populism presupposes an entirely smooth plane whereby the successful intervention of a populist practice always and necessarily displaces the whole previous social formation and installs a new one entirely coherent with itself. This emerges clearly from the fact that Laclau treats populism as a species of the genus hegemony (Arditi 2010, 492–493). Accordingly, hegemony manifests itself in two ways: through the institutionalist discourse or through the populist discourse. But is a populist discourse always already hegemonic? My wager is

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that it is not and, as a result, the Citizens’ Revolution is to be considered as an epoch of changes rather than a change of epoch. Even though it is impossible to deny a net shift in public policy-making, many of the factors highlighted in the phenomenological description of the Citizens’ Revolution seem to indicate that a more nuanced view is necessary. Populism in-and-of-itself can produce somewhat durable electoral majorities, but these can be fleeting and ephemeral in the medium run, as they do not necessarily involve a transformation of the social formation that is nominally polarized through antagonism. Following Gramsci, the populist movement may well demonstrate a fundamental incapacity to address the adaptive-educational dimension that tailors the common sense and morality of the broader popular masses to a political project (1975, 1565–1566). Hegemony speaks instead of a relative sedimentation of meaning (which does not necessarily contradict Laclau’s account, which is post—rather than anti-foundationalist as the need for an order is fully recognized5), of a particular set of social relations, of a certain way in which society is stably organized for relatively long historical periods. While it is important to acknowledge that the capacity to engender an entirely new economic, social and political order in a small country such as Ecuador is severely limited by international factors which could not be analyzed here, what is at stake is the counter-hegemonic approach of a political project, that is, its disposition to cultivate a true alternative social and political order; to give birth to a new and cohesive classe dirigeante and fight on a variety of sites of the social, rather than just limiting itself to the electoral sphere. I am already moving now to the more normative aspect of the point. If we take seriously that populism is simply a logic of politics that remains parasitic upon some substantive ideology, from an emancipatory viewpoint populism then remains an effective weapon for contesting an existing political regime or situation and to create new electoral majorities by drawing on an accumulation of grievances and creating equivalences between them out of the rejection of a common opponent. In order to be effective, the construction of the popular positionality needs to be sustained by a plebeian outlook that articulates extra-political signifiers and manages to be opposition and government at the same time. Hegemony is instead to be understood as the building of a consensus amongst the subalterns around a new culture and common sense, which envisages a war of position with a spacing and timing very different from those of populism, which is typically disposed towards a change in political society rather than civil society and has short-term political changes as its privileged temporal horizon. A sound emancipatory strategy should therefore be able to reach a mediation between the vagueness of populism and the substantiality of hegemony: a strategy, in other words, able to deal with ambiguity without being overwhelmed by it. The Ecuadorian Citizens’ Revolution seems to have fallen short from striking a compromise of that sort. As we have seen, the collapse of the consumption pact predicated on high oil prices led to the progressive unravelling of the popular subject originally built by

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Correa. Certainly, dislocatory experiences are bound to undo any hegemony, and economic crises are often the spark of wide social discontent. But in this case, we are faced with a populist experience that did not manage to consolidate its own model of society. This is true at a variety of levels. Politically, the project did not embody that permeation of top-down and bottom-up approaches which is at the basis of the “plebeian, dirty institutionality” to which Ostiguy refers, nor cultivated, in a more Leninist fashion, as an organic grassroots movement that grounded the government at a social level. The movement always remained an electoral machine, capable at best of brokering the support of local leaders, while remaining virtually non-existent at the grassroots level in many areas of the country. In the economic realm, after the radicalism of the first few years, the neoliberal repertoire was partially brought back. The diversification of the economic apparatus remained a vague project, which was never really even launched. All in all, the heterodox model initially envisioned presented remarkable shortcomings. In the cultural realm, following Gramsci, the ascendance of Correa was not matched by literary or artistic movements worth the name. Equally, consumerism was skyrocketing to the detriment of the consolidation of a more critical type of consciousness. To put it a different way, electoral political identification with Correa did not necessarily go hand in hand with the abandonment of deep-seated social practices and cultural habitus consonant with the previous socio-political formation that was only nominally being swept away. The high and protracted dependence on the role of the leader is another case in point. If Correa had been killed during the 2010 failed police coup, the whole process of the Citizens’ Revolution would have fallen apart (Ortiz Crespo 2011, 29). This remained true even seven years later, when Correa did not manage to find a presidential candidate with a strong chance of success that followed his political line. In the end, Correa had to resort to a candidate he was deeply suspicious of and who later showed “loyalty” to a project of his own making. A pedagogical and political work that allowed the transition from the centrality of the leader to the centrality of substantive political issues thus never took place. This does not seem to constitute an issue for Laclau. The problem lies in the way in which hegemony is cashed out. In New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time (Laclau 1990), there emerges what Howarth calls the third (and final) model of hegemony of Laclau (Howarth 2000, 110) and which, arguably, is implicitly sustained in On Populist Reason. In contrast to the previous model where only the contingency of the ideological elements was recognized, the subjects of hegemonic projects and social structures as such are also deemed as contingent (Laclau 1990, 28–29). The coherence of neither the hegemonic project nor of society can be assumed, and thus “the hegemonic act will not be the realization of a rationality preceding it, but an act of radical construction” (Laclau 1990, 29). However, construction by whom? There is in this sense an ever-greater detachment from the literality, from the contents, an irreconcilable split between the signifier and

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the signified. This becomes openly manifest in the proposition of the notions of myth and social imaginary. While the former consists of a “space of representation” that sutures a dislocated system and thus recreates a new objectivity (Laclau 1990, 61), the latter is a “crystallized myth” that becomes the very form of fullness, “an unlimited horizon of inscription of any social demand and any possible dislocation” (Laclau 1990, 61, 64). Both are presented as hegemonic operations, but one is led to deduce that the latter is more radical, for its elasticity is greater, even though this happens at the cost of having “the literal content . . . deformed and transformed through the addition of an indefinite number of social demands” (Laclau 1990, 67). Nevertheless, this formulation begs the question: hegemony of what? Hegemony here becomes simply the byword for the chronic instability of any system in modern times, not the predominance of a particular political project, however malleable. If a particular project lends its name to a social imaginary while its normative essence becomes unrecognizable, if compared to what it used to be, then we should rather wonder whether it has suffered the hegemony of another project. Agency here has evaporated. Surely, it is important to assume that any political project that incarnates fullness will necessarily be contaminated and will not be able to impose itself in its purest form, but if an ultimate anchorage with some substantial contents is not maintained, then speaking of hegemony eludes the point. The bearing of Gramsci on Laclau here becomes ever more faded.

Conclusion Using the theoretical tools of Laclau while also maintaining a critical distance from them, this chapter has advanced a critical account of the whole arch of the Citizens’ Revolution, the progressive populist experiment led by Rafael Correa from 2007 until 2017 in Ecuador. Amid a period of economic and social crisis, Correa managed to swiftly achieve political power by incarnating a promise of national redemption. A polarizing rhetoric against political and economic elites was deployed throughout the entire period. Initially, this made for a strong articulatory potential between heterogeneous demands so that a new, if ephemeral, collective will was forged. However, things changed after a few years as the reproduction of the political divide was no longer matched by the capacity to sustain the equivalence. The politics of the Citizens’ Revolution became ever more detached from the demands that originally coalesced in the discourse of Correa, and its institutionality was ever less “tainted” by a plebeian element. Once the fiscal crisis kicked in, the interclass union that was established started to crumble. But it was not just a matter of resources: the Citizens’ Revolution failed to go beyond electoral victory, thus demonstrating its incapacity to conduct, as Gramsci would advocate for socialism (and did Correa not present himself as a socialist, if only of the “twenty-first century”?), a wide and differentiated struggle in civil society, the cultivation of a genuine political base and, in conclusion,

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to give birth to a more sustainable hegemony. This has led to a consideration of the role of Correa. Although he can legitimately be considered the real bond that made possible the articulation of diverse demands, and provided the catalyst that removed the initial inertias running against political change, after a certain point he was no longer perceived as the site of inscription of a plurality of demands, and his persona no longer evoked the (empty) fullness offered in his beginnings. His prolonged centrality also impeded, among other things, the possibility of a truly emancipatory and counter-hegemonic populism. The empirical analysis of the case at hand has led to a critical reflection on both analytical and normative aspects in Laclau’s theory. Firstly, the question of populism in power has emerged as an undertheorized aspect in Laclau, while not being entirely unthinkable with his theoretical tools. However, he seems to miss  out the fact that populism in power—especially if it is to be successful and uphold the popular positionality—typically embodies both the vertical and horizontal axes of politics, thus giving birth to what Ostiguy calls a “plebeian” institutionality. Relatedly, Laclau is notably oblivious to questions of political economy, which do make the sustenance of the equivalential chain more complex as compared to when populism is simply a form of oppositional politics. Secondly, despite populism being presented by Laclau as a variant of hegemony, the Ecuadorian case has shown that populism is not necessarily always hegemonic. While the former term designates a construction of the political that can prove ephemeral and is mostly concerned with the outright contestation of a political regime, the latter entails an always contingent but nevertheless much more subtle, pervasive and stable influence of a particular normativity. By imbricating the two concepts to the point of almost conflating them, the formal model provided by Laclau elides complexity, thus impoverishing actual political analysis and obliterating agency. All in all, the Ecuadorian Citizens’ Revolution furnishes some tools to ameliorate the type of populism to be advocated from the left. A strategic compromise between the vagueness of populism à la Laclau and the substantiality of hegemony à la Gramsci—which used to be more operative in the early writings of the former—is proposed here as a plausible alternative in order to advance the emancipatory agenda at both a theoretical and practical level.

Notes 1. We find traces of a recognition of this kind in the “early” Laclau when he refers to “popular democratic interpellations” and “popular traditions” (1977, passim). Yet, especially the latter seem to be still tied to some ancient form of resistance, and are thus not entirely unrelated to the system of political meanings. 2. I am indebted to Andrés Chiriboga Tejada for drawing my attention to this aspect. 3. Interestingly, a more complex picture, which encompasses the whole political “cycle”, emerges from his early essays (Laclau 1977). Here, populism is the road to hegemony for those subjects that, as of yet, do not hold it. What changes once hegemony is attained? It can be inferred from those texts that once a class and its allies transform into the hegemonic power bloc, the antagonistic dimension fades.

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4. Unlike Correa, other Latin American populists—the names of Juan Domingo Perón and Hugo Chávez stand out here—conveniently oscillated between the whole and the part, the “one nation” discourse and the attack on political opponents. 5. “A discourse in which meaning cannot possibly be fixed is nothing else but the discourse of the psychotic. . . . The social is not only the infinite play of differences. It is also the attempt to limit that play, to domesticate infinitude, to embrace it within the finitude of an order. But this order . . . is an attempt—by definition unstable and precarious—to act over that ‘social’, to hegemonize it” (Laclau 1990, 90–91).

References Arditi, Benjamin. 2010. “Review Essay. Populism is Hegemony is Politics? On Ernesto Laclau’s On Populist Reason.” Constellations 17 (3): 488–497. Burbano de Lara, Felipe. 2015. “Todo por la patria, Refundación y retorno del estado en las revoluciones bolivarianas.” Íconos—Revista de Ciencias Sociales 19 (52): 19–41. ———. 2016. “En medio de la tormenta perfecta: agonía de la Revolución Ciudadana y el retiro del Caudillo.” Ecuador Debate 97: 7–23. Burgio, Alberto. 2014. Gramsci: il sistema in movimento. Roma: Derive Approdi. Conaghan, Catherine M. 2011. “Ecuador: Rafael Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution.” In The Resurgence of the Latin American Left, edited by Steven Levitsky, and Kenneth M. Roberts, 260–282. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. de la Torre, Carlos. 2008. “Populismo, ciudadanía y Estado de derecho.” In El Retorno del Pueblo: Populismo y Nuevas Democracias en América Latina, edited by Carlos de la Torre, and Enrique Peruzzotti, 23–54. Quito: Flacso. ———. 2013a. “El tecnopopulismo de Rafael Correa: ¿Es compatible el carisma con la tecnocracia?” Latin American Research Review 48 (1): 24–43. ———. 2013b. “Technocratic Populism in Ecuador.” Journal of Democracy 24 (3): 33–46. de la Torre, Carlos, and Andrés Ortiz Lemos. 2016. “Populist Polarization and the Slow Death of Democracy in Ecuador.” Democratization 23 (2): 221–241. El Universo. 2016. “Rafael Correa disminuye su credibilidad al cumplir nueve años de gobierno en Ecuador.” 23 May  2016. Available at: www.eluniverso.com/noti cias/2016/05/23/nota/5597682/rafael-correa-disminuye-su-credibilidad-cumplirnueve-anos-gobierno [Accessed 7 March 2018]. Glynos, Jason. 2000. “Sexual Identity, Identification and Difference.” Philosophy and Social Criticism 26 (6): 85–108. Gramsci, Antonio. 1975. Quaderni del carcere. Edited by Valentino Gerratana. Torino: Einaudi. Howarth, David R. 2000. Discourse. Buckingham: Open University Press. ———. 2008. “Ethos, Agonism and Populism: William Connolly and the Case for Radical Democracy.” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 10 (2): 171–193. Ibarra, Hernán. 2016. “El eclipse de la revolución ciudadana ante las elecciones de 2017.” Ecuador Debate 99: 7–14. Labarthe, Sunniva, and Marc Saint Upéry. 2017. “Leninismo versus correísmo: la ‘tercera vuelta’ en Ecuador.” Nueva Sociedad 272: 29–42. Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: Verso. ———. 1990. New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso. ———. 2005a. On Populist Reason. London: Verso.

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———. 2005b. “Populism: What’s in a Name?” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Panizza, Francisco, 32–49. London: Verso. ———. 2006. “Why Constructing a People Is the Main Task of Radical Politics.” Critical Inquiry 32 (4): 646–680. ———. 2014. The Rhetorical Foundations of Society. London: Verso. Ortiz Crespo, Santiago. 2008. “Participación ciudadana: la Constitución de 1998 y el nuevo proyecto constitucional.” Íconos—Revista de Ciencias Sociales 32: 13–17. ———. 2011. “30-S: La vulnerabilidad del liderazgo de la Revolución Ciudadana y de la Institucionalidad en Ecuador.” Íconos—Revista de Ciencias Sociales 39: 25–34. ———. 2016. “Ecuador: sismo, conmoción y ¿segunda oportunidad? Análisis de la coyuntura posterremoto.” Nueva Sociedad. Available at: http://nuso.org/articulo/ecuador-sismo-conmocion-y-segunda-oportunidad/?page=1 [Accessed 5 October 2016]. Ortiz Crespo, Santiago, and Agustín Burbano de Lara. 2017. “La revolución ciudadana gana ‘retrocediendo.’ Un análisis de la primera vuelta electoral en Ecuador.” Nueva Sociedad. Available at: www.sinpermiso.info/printpdf/textos/la-revolucion-ciudadanagana-retrocediendo-un-analisis-de-la-primera-vuelta-electoral-en-ecuador [Accessed 2 March 2018]. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2015. “Gramáticas plebeyas: exceso, representación y fronteras porosas en el populismo oficialista.” In Gramáticas plebeyas: Populismo, democracia y nuevas izquierdas en América Latina, edited by Claudio Véliz, and Ariana Reano, 133–177. Buenos Aires: Ediciones UNGS. Panizza, Francisco. 2008. “Fisuras entre populismo y democracia en América Latina.” In El Retorno del Pueblo: Populismo y Nuevas Democracias en América Latina, edited by Carlos de la Torre, and Enrique Peruzzotti, 77–96. Quito: Flacso. Ramírez Gallegos, Franklin. 2008. “Las antinomias de la revolución ciudadana.” Le Monde Diplomatique (Buenos Aires edition), September 2008. Available at: www.institut-gou vernance.org/es/analyse/fiche-analyse-447.html [Accessed 28 October 2016]. ———. 2014. “El tercer gobierno de Correa: repliegue hegemónico y agotamiento de las energías utópicas.” Revista Horizontes del Sur 1: 100–110. ———. 2018. “El 4 de febrero y la descorreización de Ecuador.” Nueva Sociedad. Available at: http://nuso.org/articulo/el-4-de-febrero-y-la-descorreizacion-de-ecuadorramirez/ [Accessed 7 March 2018]. Westlind, Dennis. 1996. The Politics of Popular Identity: Understanding Recent Populist Movements in Sweden and the United States. Lund: Lund University Press.


Introduction Donald J. Trump announced his entrance into the 2016 presidential race with a speech redolent with both the political themes and affective qualities of rightwing populism. The threats to the “American people” as he described them came from above, below, and outside. He portrayed Mexican immigrants as drug smugglers and rapists, lamented the loss of US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries, accused politicians of weakness and corruption, and presented himself as the “truly great leader” that the country needed to correct all the ills he inventoried. Throughout the election, he drew on a mixture of positions outside of his chosen party’s orthodoxy, including opposition to free trade, a call for increased corporate taxation, and sharp criticism of the Iraq War. He coupled these with openly racist, nativist, and Islamophobic rhetoric to defeat a number of formidable rivals in the primaries, and to win an Electoral College victory over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the general election (Tyson and Maniam 2016). It was one thing for a candidate to run a populist campaign, which is a matter of shaping a public performance to win an election. But what is the relationship of the presidency itself to populism? The US presidency is an office that is both enormously powerful and enormously constrained. On the one hand, presidents have wide-ranging institutional powers over domestic federal agencies and the armed forces, as well as shared powers for judicial appointments, legislation, and treaty-making. Just as important, however, presidents are powerful identificatory figures who rally people to ideas and causes. Presidential authority and power thus is dependent on relationships between the president and other entities, such as the federal legislative and judicial branches, the party system, powerful lobbies, and supporters in the electorate.

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In this chapter, I explore the relationship between populism and the US presidency through the case of Donald Trump. I begin with an examination of the opportunities and constraints for populist politics within the office itself. I then look at Trump’s relationship to populism through his identification with the urfigure of US populism, President Andrew Jackson. Next, I look to contemporary discussions of populism and “norm erosion” in the age of Trump. From there, I  discuss the populist politics of the permanent campaign, the relationship of right-wing populism to the Republican Party, and the dynamic between Trump and social movements on the streets.

Populism and the US Presidency Presidential populist leadership in the United States is limited because the key populist demands of popular sovereignty and relatively direct representation of the people are difficult to achieve in a Madisonian system. To be sure, Trump as a political leader has characteristics similar to right-wing populist leaders around the globe. They all knit together hard nationalism, xenophobia, demonization of internal populations, and appeals to tradition performed through a transgressive, masculinist politics. Yet fully understanding the distinct nature of Trumpian populism requires an examination of the particularities of the office of the presidency in the context of the political culture of the United States. As is well known, the US Constitution divides governance between three branches, breaks up representation over space and time through staggered elections and overlapping electoral units, divides sovereignty between the national government and the subnational states, and dilutes popular political expression into two great parties. Thus there are no sharply defined “populist” parties, nor the ready possibility of caesarist control of the national political system. The US Constitution is in no sense unique, and indeed many Latin American states with similar constitutions have had long experience with populist presidencies. What is distinct about the United States is that the Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and federalism are popularly revered as sacred elements of US governance. Anti-executive sentiment was powerful in the United States in the years following the American Revolution as a reaction to both British monarchical rule and the perceived despotism of royal governors. Strong distrust of centralized power more generally was basic to the republican ideology embraced by many elites in the founding generation, and has animated consequential forms of political opposition across US political history. Yet at the same time, the US presidency lends itself to being an office of populist leadership. The presidency is in part a cultural institution meant to represent—in a very literal sense—the American people. Presidents act as figures that symbolize what their supporters hold sacred about the nation. Indeed, presidential authority depends on the degree to which incumbents can credibly claim

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to embody national identity in ways that go beyond stated political objectives. Nothing in the Constitution delineates the presidency as a popular body. The oath that the officeholder takes is to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, the very document that restricts presidential power. Because the presidency uniquely embodies the nation as representative performance, it has evolved as an office increasingly available to populist authority. Political theorist Michael Rogin analyzed the office of the presidency in relation to the doctrine of “the king’s two bodies” in Elizabethan British legal theory. This doctrine separated the monarch into a Body natural with all the limits and infirmities of mortality, and a Body politic that was governed by the laws of the realm. The case of the US presidency, however, according to Rogin, points not toward separation but conflation, through which certain chief executives have “sought transcendent authority and immortality in the White House, absorbing the body politic into themselves” (1988, 82). In this way, presidential power is linked to the incumbent’s role not merely as representative of the nation, but as signifier for a specific vision of national identity. As the French diplomat and political writer Alexis de Tocqueville observed in the 1830s, In the United States as elsewhere parties feel the need to rally around one man in order more easily to make themselves understood by the crowd. Generally, therefore, they use the Presidential candidate’s name as a symbol; in him they personify their theories. Hence the parties have a great interest in winning the election, not so much to make their doctrines triumph by the president-elect’s help as to show, by his election, that their doctrines have gained a majority. (de Tocqueville 1969, 135; quoted in Norton 1993, 87) Thus, presidents and their supporters who claim to represent the nation can thus cast their opponents as enemies of the nation itself.

Trumpian Populism Tocqueville’s observation prompts the question of whether Trump is better seen as driving right-wing populism in the United States, or merely acting as a vessel for other populist forces in society. Francisco Panizza helps us understand the relationship between Trump the president and Trumpism the broader political formation by suggesting that we think of populist identification not so much in terms of the metaphor of the leader’s name as a blank canvas in which popular identities are inscribed but as a two way echo, whose reception is distorted and unhinged by the static noises of pre-existing modes of identification by competing identity claims and by the transiency of desires and affections. (Panizza 2017, 413)

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I would extend Panizza’s formula by asserting that it is not merely a two-way echo, but a multifaceted resonance that circulates through differently located actors, institutions, and contexts. Right-wing populism as a critical force in US politics certainly did not begin with Trump. It has played an important role both in and out of the Republican Party since the late 1960s. It has occasionally had a decisive impact through presidential campaigns, such as George Wallace’s and Richard Nixon’s 1968 candidacies and Pat Buchanan’s 1992 and 1996 candidacies. But Trump’s showmanship, his ten-year run as a reality television star, and his ability to channel unbridled racist and misogynist rage at a moment of political openness in national politics made it possible for right-wing populism to be given voice by a victorious majorparty candidate. Trump exemplifies what Benjamin Moffitt calls populist political style. For Moffitt, political style is neither just a matter of rhetoric on the one hand or aesthetics on the other, but “the repertoires of embodied, symbolically mediated performance made to audiences that are used to create and navigate the fields of power that comprise the political, stretching from the domain of government through to everyday life” (2016, 28–29). The resentful, alienated white “silent majority” he claimed to represent had long been in formation, made more available by decades of stagnant or declining wages with what scholars have called the second Gilded Age. Trump seemed singular in his ability to exploit the moment. Trump’s open white supremacy and misogyny, expressed through insult, mockery, and bullying, serve his political aims. He continually expresses what Pierre Ostiguy calls the “politics of the low”. The transgressive performance of populist leaders, the use of crude affect, aggressive talk, “politically incorrect” language, is meant to demonstrate that he represents what Ostiguy calls the “unpresentable other”. This other is in fact meant to be the “truest”, most authentic national self, an unpretentious figure who tells it like it is.

The Age of Jackson At the time Tocqueville was writing, Andrew Jackson became the first US president to make the assertion—against Congress and the courts—that the unique power of the office rests on the fact that it is the only national office chosen by all the people. Jackson claimed this sovereign authority in the context of being the first president to be elected in an era of rapidly expanding white male suffrage in the states. This was yet a rare instance of presidential power justified as popular power in the nineteenth century. Over the course of the twentieth century, however, the office became more defined by presidential claims of popular mandate, of being the office of the people’s tribune. Trump, like all modern presidents, speaks in the language of a national “we”, of whom he claims to be the sole representative. But in a specifically Jacksonian way, he also uses the language of popular sovereignty to combat other institutions

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of government and claim representation of the common man against the machinations of governmental elites, even down to his assertion that the 2016 presidential election was rigged, as Jackson had done in 1824. Jackson’s coalition of poor frontier farmers, white urban workers, and southern slave-owners anticipates in some ways Trump’s own coalition, just as Trump’s singular obsession with removing millions of undocumented people from the country echoes Jackson’s campaign of Indian Removal. Indeed, Jackson’s combative stance toward the Supreme Court on Indian Removal has become the stuff of popular myth in the United States, and one on which the Trump administration draws. In the early days of the Trump administration, White House officials used Jackson as a populist model for presidential governance. Trump’s former White House chief of staff Steve Bannon described Trump’s antagonistic inaugural address in just that way: It was an unvarnished declaration of the basic principles of his populist and kind of nationalist movement. . . . I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House. You could see it was very Jacksonian. (Costa 2017) Interestingly, Trump’s inaugural address was not at all similar to any speech Jackson gave as president. Jackson held to the 19th-century oratorical norms for presidents, using formal language and speaking in very specific terms about policy issues of concern to the executive branch. Trump’s speech was symbolically, as opposed to literally, Jacksonian. In the inaugural address, Trump declared that “we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People”. He blamed other nations for depleting the nation of its wealth, leaving “American carnage” in its wake (Trump 2017a). One of the first things Trump did upon moving into the White House was to hang a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office (Greenwood 2017). Soon after, he made a pilgrimage to Jackson’s grave in Nashville, Tennessee, where he laid a wreath and told the gathered reporters, “It was during the Revolution that Jackson first confronted and defied an arrogant elite. Does that sound familiar? I wonder why they keep talking about Trump and Jackson, Jackson and Trump” (Schuessler 2017). Relishing the disquiet Jackson inspired in other established elites, the new president went on, “Jackson’s victory shook the establishment like an earthquake. Henry Clay, Secretary of State for the defeated President John Quincy Adams, called Jackson’s victory ‘mortifying and sickening’. Oh, boy, does this sound familiar” (Trump 2017b). Prior modern presidents who have paid homage to Jackson have been Democrats who saw in him an icon of egalitarianism and democratic vigor. This is the image that defined him for decades, based originally on historian and John F. Kennedy

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presidential advisor Arthur Schlesinger’s (1945) profoundly influential book, The Age of Jackson. Yet Schlesinger was silent on the question of Indian Removal and made only passing reference to slavery in his celebratory account of democratic triumph. Trump, like prior presidents, sought in Jackson a figure who yoked popular energies to extraordinary warrants for presidential power. Yet Trump more accurately embraces Jackson as an avenging outsider—likely mindful of Jackson’s role as a champion of aggrieved whites, and of his mythologized fight with the Supreme Court over Indian Removal.

The Politics of Norm Erosion In many contemporary descriptions of populism, including Jan-Werner Müller’s What Is Populism, Yascha Mounk’s The People vs. Democracy, William Galston’s Anti-Pluralism, and Levitsky and Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die, it is defined primarily as authoritarian, intolerant of political difference, and crudely anti-elitist. In none of these accounts do we get a serious examination of populism as such, either theoretically or as a historic phenomenon. Rather, populism functions— through its penchant for “norm erosion” as Levitsky and Ziblatt (2018) call it— merely as liberal democracy’s menacing other. Such accounts collapse all manner of authoritarian politics into populism while, at least in the case of Mounk, reading out populisms that do not fit this definition, including—quite surprisingly— the US People’s Party of the late nineteenth century. More important for our case, they misattribute norm defiance as itself anti-Constitutional. As political scientist Stephen Skowronek has argued, the powers of the president remain partly ambiguous in the text of the Constitution, leaving room for incumbents to smash old norms and generate new ones, to redefine relationships and re-cast authority. This is evident not only in the case of Jackson or Trump, but of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan among others (Skowronek 1997). What makes Trump’s norm defiance populist is the implication by his actions that the norms he disrupts are either elitist, insincere, or corrupted forms of bureaucracy and expertise that work against common sense. In all cases, norm defiance is meant symbolically to defend the people against those who oppose them. It is the absorption of the body politic into the president’s own body as its sole representative. For example, in the final months of the 2016 campaign, Trump derided the notion that as president he required elite expertise. As he said at a campaign event in April of that year, “Oh, we need an expert. The experts are terrible! They say, ‘Donald Trump needs a foreign-policy adviser’. Supposing I didn’t have one?” Steve Bannon asserted soon after the inauguration that Trump’s aim was to “deconstruct the administrative state”. The new administration fired hundreds of civil servants, and banished many others to menial positions. As of May  2018, more than 300 of the most critical positions were left

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unfilled, which is unprecedented in a US presidential administration. Even more startling, many employees at the Department of Interior, including many scientists, were ordered not to speak publicly in ways that countered the incumbent’s political perspective. Much of Trump’s assault on other governmental actors is defensive. Various people associated with Trump’s candidacy were under investigation for possible coordination and conspiracy with Russia in committing election fraud in the 2016 election, and for obstruction of justice. The twenty-two-month investigation, called by the US Department of Justice and conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, ultimately concluded that there was insufficient evidence of conspiracy and that a sitting president could not be charged with obstruction of justice. During the investigation, Trump repeatedly made public attacks on the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice. He fired FBI Director James Comey and insulted him in numerous tweets as “Slippery James Comey” and “Slimeball”. He revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan after the latter criticized him in a New York Times op-ed piece, tweeting that “Not only is he a liar, he’s a liar about being a liar”. Trump repeatedly mocked and criticized US Attorney General Jeff Sessions before he fired him, calling him in various tweets “weak”, “DISGRACEFUL”, and “an idiot” (Osnos 2018). Soon after taking office, the Trump administration, along with sympathetic Republicans and elements of the right-wing press, began referring to the “deep state”: a powerful conspiracy imbedded not only in the intelligence agencies, but throughout the executive branch, including the Commerce Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. As former US House of Representatives Majority Leader and informal Trump advisor Newt Gingrich put it, Of course the Deep State exists. There’s a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to attack the president. . . . This is what the Deep State does: They create a lie, spread a lie, fail to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie. (Lemire 2017) Fox News commentator and Trump confidante Sean Hannity has called for firing “deep state, Obama holdover” officials, saying, “It’s time for the Trump administration to begin to purge these saboteurs before it’s too late” (Stanek 2017). The charge that there are conspiratorial elements within government, and even within the executive branch, allow Trump to claim to represent the people against shadowy elites, in classic right-wing populist style. But more important for our purposes, it bridges the populist campaign and the populist presidency. As long as Trump can claim to be threatened and under attack even in one of the most

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powerful positions on the planet, he can continue to rally supporters to his cause in campaign mode. Trump decisively defied the norm, although not the legality, of separation of powers by declaring a national emergency at the southern border. Having lost a stand-off with Congress over funding to fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico, Trump made the declaration that allowed him to appropriate previously designated military funds. The absence of a national security crisis at the border was an obvious enough Constitutional norm transgression that both houses of Congress voted to block Trump’s declaration, although not with numbers that could overcome his veto. The declaration of a national emergency is not in itself norm-defying—presidents have done so over 60 times since the law was codified in 1976 (Brennan Center For Justice 2019). What made it so was that it was contested by Congress and opposed by a majority of Americans in national polls (Shepard 2019). What made it populist was that it was declared to fulfill a central campaign promise to supporters.

The Permanent Campaign Social media has been one key mode of permanent campaigning for Trump. Direct public address by presidents has the kind of authoritarian populist potential that was long feared in United States political culture. 19th-century presidents rarely gave speeches, because they were viewed as a kind of demagogy (Tulis 1987). This began to change with Theodore Roosevelt’s public pressure on members of the US Senate around the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and dramatically changed with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “fireside chats”, weekly radio addresses to the nation meant to explain and persuade Americans to accept relatively radical New Deal imperatives, such as social security. A number of scholars have observed the increasingly blurry line between campaigning in the US presidency in recent decades, particularly since the Clinton administration after 1992. Clinton advanced his presidential imperatives through frequent travel, speeches, press conferences on small issues, political advertisements, and constant polling (Cook 2002). This emergent style of continual public presence as a way of swaying public opinion and putting public pressure on Congress continued through the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The notion of the permanent campaign is inherently populist, and its more developed forms in recent years can be seen in the governing strategies and styles of Latin American presidents as well, including Salinas in Mexico, Collor de Mellor in Brazil, both Menem and Kirchner in Argentina, and Correa in Ecuador, who have mastered the use of television, polling, and other techniques to connect with mass publics in an unmediated way (Conaghan and de la Torre 2008).

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Trump has sought to reach and rally public support against political opponents in a fully populist way through rallies, press conferences, and most notably social media. When asked about his aggressive tweeting, Trump likes to say that it provides a direct connection to the public, bypassing a corrupt media. As he said, “Frankly, it’s a modern-day form of communication. . . . I get it out much faster than a press release. I get it out much more honestly than dealing with dishonest reporters” ( Johnson 2016). This populist call for an unmediated link between the president and the people—which is in fact a strategy of mobilizing one segment of the population against others—is rooted in the US in the rise of the populist right and, perhaps not surprisingly, in Richard Nixon’s famous “Silent Majority” speech and his attack on critical press commentators that followed. Nixon’s populist showdown with the press began the era of what Skowronek has called “the plebiscitary presidency”, in which presidents regularly appeal to the public “over the heads of the elites of the Washington establishment, hoping to use their public standing to compel that establishment into following their lead”. This kind of bypassing of a press perceived as hostile is characteristic of populist presidencies world-wide. Trump fired up his electoral base repeatedly through populist performance not just in tweets but in rallies with the faithful that have become a regular practice. Moreover, his attacks in such rallies on black professional athletes, undocumented immigrants, the media, Democrats, the special investigation into possible campaign collusion with Russia, or the violation of campaign finance law by paying off a former pornographic film star with whom he had an alleged affair, intensify support among his base. Rallies are critical to right-wing populism—as they are the space of performance that brings leader and followers into a moment of affective unity. But they are not merely mass spectacles of rage and adoration. As Johannes Voelz argues about Trump rallies, the performative aesthetic is participatory. Trump’s speeches are often unscripted, and as many observers have noted he can sound disjointed and rambling. But it is this quality, which Voelz calls the “aesthetics of appearance”, that provides rally participants to help shape the rally’s energy and emotion by remaining silent, offering tepid applause, or roaring with approval or shared outrage depending on what Trump says in the unfolding moment (Voelz 2018). At a rally in Oregon I attended in May 2016, the crowd— even among those who were clearly his strongest supporters—seemed occasionally bored and even distracted by his disordered, fragmented, often incoherent speech. Trump would indeed try out different bits: an attack on Elizabeth Warren here, a recounting of his campaign primary successes there. Some of it worked; some fell flat. It was only when he got them to participate by chanting “Build the wall”, when he discussed Hillary Clinton’s emails, or when anti-Trump protesters made themselves available for collective attack that the energy was truly high. But Trump also used the institutional power of the executive branch as a kind of theater, issuing orders and enacting policies in a way that signaled to his base

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and blurred the line between campaigning and governing. Some actions, such as presidential pardons or commutations of sentence, are always symbolic. Yet even here, Trump pushed past where previous presidents have gone, as in the case of his pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for violations stemming from a decades-long practice of illegally rounding up and abusing immigrants in detention. He also pardoned Dwight and Stephen Hammond, two Oregon ranchers convicted for setting fire on federal land who inspired a month-long takeover of a federal wildlife reserve by a heavily armed far-right paramilitary group. But even his most powerful and far-reaching executive actions have a performative dimension that is constitutive of his narrative. One noted action of this sort is the ban on travelers to the US from seven majority-Muslim nations. Trump called this the “Muslim ban” during his first campaign, when he argued that “Islam hates America”. White House lawyers successfully defended the ban to the Supreme Court on grounds of national security. The Court generally defers to presidents in matters where a claim of national security is made, even though here there was little empirical basis for it. A similar case is Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy put into practice in April 2018 to separate children from parents attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, a kind of theatrical cruelty in no way necessary to carry out federal immigration enforcement law. Trump’s presidential role of chief of state also provides a distinct stage for continued populist performance. Unlike other branches of government, presidents are uniquely outward-facing, the principal governmental figure in foreign policy. US presidents do not have the power to make or break treaties or declare war, but their role in these realms is far greater than that of Congress. All presidents attempt to define their foreign policy legacy in distinct ways, but Trump’s is particularly marked by populist performance. His stated “America First” position and what Bannon called “economic populism” have been expressed through what Moffitt would call “bad manners” or what Ostiguy calls the politics of the low. Politeness is particularly important in the realm of diplomacy—hence the double meaning of the term as both the conduct of international relations and the art of handling people in a sensitive and tactful way. Breaking observed protocol, such as by calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her first name at a NATO summit, or insulting leaders, such as by calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak”, heads of state of two countries that are close allies of the US, has been a regular practice by Trump. Many commentators have remarked on Trump’s lack of preparation before diplomatic meetings, something he views as a sort of performative strength. Prior to the Group of Seven summit in June of 2018, for example, Trump said, “I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about the attitude” (Hounshell 2018). The political style employed conveys the right-wing populist resentment of outsiders seen to be parasitic on the

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American people. “We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union”, he told reporters before a July  2018 summit of the North American Treaty Organization, which he said “helps them a lot more than it helps us” (Ignatius 2018). Defying established diplomatic protocol, engaging in everything from informality to open rudeness toward other world leaders, performs a populist “America First” politics by exemplifying the masculine social norms of the “common people” while suggesting that other countries and their leaders simply are not all that important.

Trump and the Populist Party Trump’s family separation policy, while opposed by other Republican leaders, met with approval from the majority of Republican Party members (Sanchez 2018). This fact, among many others, raises the question of whether Trump has transformed the Republican Party into one similar to radical right populist parties in Europe. At the Republican National Convention in 2016, many Republican delegates in attendance had ambivalence about the nominee. In terms of public presentation, no Republican candidate had ever used such openly racist language toward undocumented immigrants and Muslims as he had in the campaign. None had been caught uttering aggressively misogynist obscenities. None had actively humiliated opponents in both his party nor described the opposing party in criminal terms the way he had. And in regard to policy, his stated opposition to free trade agreements and to the international economic order more generally was counter to what most of the GOP leadership stood for. Yet after two years in office, Trump’s support among Republican Party members was strong, hovering at around 90%. This support from Republicans in the electorate is mirrored by the party leadership, which has acquiesced to much of what Trump has demanded. As former Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner put it, “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere” (Lima 2018). Incumbents in the House and Senate must think twice about opposing the president when it comes to their own reelection. Is this the force and mode of populism at work or is it the standard relationship of a party to its own strong president? Scholars and pundits debate whether Trump has transformed the Republican Party into a right-wing populist formation. Some leading conservative public figures have denounced Trump’s influence, and others have left the party altogether. Political scientists and pollsters have pointed to Trump’s consistently strong support among Republican voters. Others have argued that, ideologically, Republican voters differ in no ways from where they stood in the recent years prior to Trump’s election (Bartels 2018). It is perhaps less the case that Trump has transformed the party than that he has brought to fruition changes already long underway in the party. In other words, while the Trump presidency represents

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a hard-right populist turn in the Republican Party, he draws on strong elements already in place. Indeed, the populist right has been building in the United States since the 1960s within the Republican Party, primarily in response to the black freedom struggle, feminism, and associated movements. Demands for civil rights, voting rights, open unions, fair housing, and welfare rights from the 1950s through the 1970s divided the Democratic Party and spurred Republican Party organizers to ensure white working- and middle-class voters that their party would protect the gains they had made across the middle decades of the 20th century. The Republican Party drew on populism by emphasizing issues of hard work, deservedness, and entitlement cast in racial terms. This expression of populism, commonly called “Middle America” in the 1970s, was directed against liberal elites, state bureaucrats, the black poor, and feminists. Right-wing populism was taken up by former White House official and media commentator Pat Buchanan in his campaigns for president in 1992 and 1996, to which he added opposition to free trade agreements, to neo-conservative internationalism. Significantly, to the chain of equivalents just listed Buchanan added non-white immigration to the US, which became perhaps the most important element of right-wing populism thereafter. Buchanan’s campaigns in 1996 and again in 2000 were increasingly marginal, but they helped spur the development of the populist right formation by connecting far-right and racist journals, organizations, and what came to be called paleoconservative intellectuals. The GOP, I would argue, was not sufficiently open to right-wing populist destabilization at that point. But perhaps more importantly, Buchanan was not the one to do it because he had too completely filled up the signifier of the movement he wanted to engender, leaving little space for his followers to define its terms. In 2008, right-wing populism in the Republican party re-emerged as a response both to the Great Recession and the election of the first black president in the form of the Tea Party movement. Tea Partiers attacked increased state spending on infrastructure, loans to failing banks and automobile companies, and health care reform, while demonizing Obama as an African immigrant outsider, a Muslim, and a socialist. The policy attack on state intervention and the racial attack on Obama were consequential and intertwined. In a country where the politics of race and class are tightly braided, where for whites the prospect of the loss of economic status can be easily translated into a politics of racial grievance, conditions ripened for right-wing populism to be expressed as a revolt against a Republican leadership seen as complicit in the declining fortunes of middle- and working-class whites (Lowndes 2016). The devotion to Trump is also connected to the idea that he, as a strong tribune of the people, is willing to act on their resentments and desires in a way that past Republican presidents have not. It is this quality that has been fundamental to Trump’s political success all along: his transgressive willingness to openly make

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racist and xenophobic utterances, to celebrate violence toward opponents at his rallies, and to publicly demean rivals. Trump links the racial grievance of working- and middle-class whites, the anti-tax and anti-regulation politics of wealthy Republicans, and opposition to abortion, among other positions. As Ernesto Laclau argued about empty signifiers, as each element becomes part of Trumpism, their political particularity is subsumed to the broader political identity in opposition to those who are seen to oppose him. Populist leaders always speak of their own supporters as “the people”, which casts opponents as outsiders. Trump’s list of un-Americans runs from undocumented immigrants to black protesters to the media, to the Democratic Party as a whole. The Democratic Party, meanwhile, has become a site of struggle between what might be seen as populist and anti-populist elements since the election of 2016. Trump’s victory on election night in November 2016 came as a shock to everyone from journalists and pundits to political scientists to the Clinton campaign itself. Clinton had survived a long battle across the primary season with her own populist rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders centered his campaign on income and wealth inequality, the political and economic power of Wall Street, and a promise to bring manufacturing jobs back into the United States. His insurgent campaign, funded largely from small, individual donations, painted Clinton as a tool of elite financial interests incapable of attending to the economic needs of the majority of Americans. Clinton ran, first against Sanders, and then against Trump, as a steady figure of rationality, expertise, and experience with statecraft. On the heels of Clinton’s defeat were intra-party recriminations. From Clinton supporters came the charge that Sanders supporters had, in their critique of the economic system as a whole, ruined the possibility of having the country’s first female president by tearing down the candidate who could have beaten Trump. Among Sanders supporters, meanwhile, was the sentiment that potential Democratic voters, disenchanted with the centrist, either pulled the lever for Trump or sat out the election altogether. Some Clintonites accused what they called “Bernie-bros” of avoiding questions of race, gender, and sexuality in their pursuit of class politics. Sandersites sometimes saw “identity politics” as a way of avoiding the “real needs” of Americans. As for how to oppose Trump, there was no clear way forward. Democrats who asserted that Trump had stolen the election through collusion with Russians risked underscoring Trump’s populist claim that the Democratic Party availed itself of the “deep state” to negate an election that they could not win among the people. Meanwhile, what was seen as outrageous, norm-eroding behavior by the chief executive hardly eroded his base of popular support. In this way, Democrats were framed as defenders of elite institutions and actors against a popular insurgent. Yet at the same time, energetic forms of public protest emerged outside of the Democratic Party, starting with the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration, which brought out more than 200,000 protesters to Washington

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DC and millions more nation-wide. These were followed by wide-spread protests against Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” at airports around the country, and direct political action against the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in support of undocumented immigrants. Many of these efforts were embraced by Democratic mayors and governors across the country, particularly where questions of jurisdiction were raised. Many states and cities instated or reaffirmed “sanctuary” laws and policies that forbade local law enforcement to cooperate with federal agents in the apprehension of undocumented people. Local Democratic organizations, meanwhile, recruited women in large numbers to run for office up and down tickets. The efficacy of this strategy was made apparent in the large increase in the number of women candidates for the US House of Representatives in 2018, and in particular the number of victorious women of color in those elections. As concerns populism, the question the Democratic Party faces is whether it can credibly assert a different notion of the people. Emergent figures such as New York freshman House of Representatives firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ties together class, gender, and ethnicity in an oppositional politics, suggests one possibility.

Trump and Populist Social Movements Trumpism also ignited a movement in the streets beyond the institution of the presidency or the reach of the Republican Party, although connected in some ways to both. The emergence of the “Alt Right” during and after the 2016 campaign occurred in cities and towns across the United States. Some of these groups are openly revolutionary, calling for a separate white nation. Such groups share public space with right-wing populist groups that call for reform of the American political system through aggressive immigration control, the imposition of an evangelical Christian agenda, or other politics that blame a combination of political and/or economic elites and oppressed or marginalized groups. All of those groups took inspiration from Trump’s election even if their aims differ. Trump’s racist language in the campaign sent important signals to these groups and helped many of them grow and intensify their activities. Importantly, the Trump White House was staffed with right-wing populist figures, particularly Steve Bannon, the former editor-in-chief of the right-wing news website Breitbart.com. As chief advisor to Trump in the White House, he avoided the language of race directly and called himself an “economic populist”. Although Bannon has openly sought to defend “the West” and “Judeo-Christian values” from outsiders, particularly Muslims and Asians, he has cast his politics in distinctly populist—and even nonracist terms. As he put it in one interview, The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over.

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If (the Trump White House delivers), we’ll get 60% of the white vote, and 40% of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. (Barbaro 2017) Some of the right-wing populist movements on the ground that either began after Trump’s election or were given a great boost by it are driven as much by public performance as anything else. “Free speech” and “Pro-Trump” rallies became theatrical spaces wherein members of right-wing groups came armed in helmets, body armor, and weaponry to oppose antiracist and anti-Trump counterprotesters. These rallies turned violent in cities such as Berkeley, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, and notoriously in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counterprotester was killed. The rallies have been heterogeneous, with open white supremacists and fascists marching and fighting alongside right-wing populist groups. In the street rallies, political style is central. The aesthetic qualities of the marchers and their costumes, and the performance of violence on the streets is meant to both antagonize and thrill, bring out opponents and new supporters. Indeed, a cohort of what we might call celebrity street brawlers emerged from these protests, known for their brutality and their distinctive looks. The energy of far-right and proto-fascist groups has now gone into the Republican Party as numerous open racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and other hard-right populist candidates have run for office. Dozens have run in primaries for local and state office across the country (Minkowitz 2018). One example is Joey Gibson, the head of Patriot Prayer, a far-right formation whose rallies in the Pacific Northwest are known for extraordinary violence. Gibson became a candidate in the Republican primary for the US Senate in the state of Washington, and his message was fully populist in content and style. What makes him distinct from other Republicans, he says, are, “two things: the message about freedom, and being genuine, and not playing by the rules. The way I dress, the way I act, everything I say. My speeches aren’t written out. I speak directly from the heart” (quoted in HoSang and Lowndes 2019). These candidates may help drive the Republican Party in a populist direction not because they pose an electoral challenge to sitting Republican elites, but because they expand the horizon of acceptable discourse aimed at Muslims, immigrants, Jews, and others seen as enemies of the people in the right-wing imaginary. In doing so, they strengthen Trump’s authority in the party and even help shape it.

Conclusion The populist presidency in the United States must be articulated and reinforced through numerous and distinct sites in order to be meaningful as an expression of populism. Over the long run, the Republican Party is the vehicle that is most important for the development of right-wing populism. Populists always claim to represent the people in toto, even while such a claim can never be true. But

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the claim might move from exaggeration to paradox in the case of right-wing populism in the United States. As Trump has appealed ever more strongly to extreme-right politics, and as his performance has remained combative and transgressive, his support among party members is high even as the party in the electorate appears to have shrunken. In any case, over the long term, a popular politics of white grievance has by no means a secure future in a country where those currently defined as white will very soon lose majoritarian status. In comparing himself to Andrew Jackson, Trump said that “Jackson was the People’s President, and his election came at a time when the vote was finally being extended to those who did not own property.” Seen this way, this claim to popular authority based on an expanded electorate is at best ironic coming from an incumbent who lost the popular vote and seeks to restrict the franchise. And yet Trump did overwhelmingly win the white male vote. Indeed, Trump’s claims to popular authority seem to ring true for many supporters who see a “real America” or “working class” out there of which Trump, despite his status as billionaire, is an authentic expression. Such is the discursive hangover from a time when a majoritarian politics could be claimed on behalf of whites as the Silent Majority or Middle America. But the reality is that the Republican Party must increasingly rely on the Electoral College, voter suppression, the gerrymandering of voting districts in states where they control the legislature, and other measures to suppress popular political expression as it commits itself more fully to racist populism.1 Yet just as right-wing populism has had a life outside the Republican Party in the United States since its origins in George Wallace’s Democratic campaign in 1964 and independent candidacy in 1968, it may continue into the future. But its viability will require transformed, more capacious notions of the people. It is not difficult to imagine. Since leaving the White House, Steve Bannon has made regular reference to “working-class blacks and Hispanics” in his description of what he calls “economic nationalism”. Right-wing social movements associated with Trumpism including the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer prominently foreground people of color. But such shifts on the margins take time to become legible, particularly within the realm of presidential campaign politics.

Note 1. Here then is one of the real paradoxes missed by liberal critics of populism such as Mounk: the Constitutional system James Madison designed to resist majoritarian control and to oppose popular passions is the very one which delivered Trump to the White House.

References Barbaro, Michael. 2017. “Steve Bannon’s War.” The New York Times, November 2017, sec. The Daily Podcast.

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Bartels, Larry M. 2018. “Partisanship in the Trump Era.” University of Southern California. Brennan Center for Justice. 2019. “Declared National Emergencies Under the National Emergencies Act, 1978–2018.” Brennan Center for Justice. Conaghan, Catherine, and Carlos de la Torre. 2008. “The Permanent Campaign of Rafael Correa: Making Ecuador’s Plebiscitary Presidency.” The International Journal of Press/ Politics 13 (3): 267–284. Cook, Corey. 2002. “ ‘The Contemporary Presidency’: The Permanence of the ‘Permanent Campaign’: George W. Bush’s Public Presidency.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 32 (4): 753–764. Costa, Robert. 2017. “Bannon Calls Trump’s Speech ‘Jacksonian’.” The Washington Post, 20 January 2017. Greenwood, Max. 2017. “Trump Hangs Portrait of Andrew Jackson in Oval Office.” The Hill, 25 January 2017. HoSang, Daniel Martinez, and Joseph E. Lowndes. 2019. Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Hounshell, Blake. 2018. “How Trump Made Diplomacy Great Again.” Politico Magazine, 11 June 2018. Ignatius, David. 2018. “Trump Is Scarred, Prickly and Needy.” The Washington Post, 10 July 2018, sec. Opinion. Johnson, Jenna. 2016. “This Is What Happens When Donald Trump Attacks a Private Citizen on Twitter.” The Washington Post, 8 December 2016. Lemire, Jonathan. 2017. “Trump White House Sees ‘Deep State’ behind Leaks, Opposition.” Associated Press, 14 March 2017. Levitsky, Steven, and Daniel Ziblatt. 2018. “How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?” The New York Times, 27 January 2018, sec. Opinion. Lima, Cristiano. 2018. “Boehner: ‘There Is No Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party’.” Politico, 31 May 2018. Lowndes, Joseph. 2016. “White Populism and the Transformation of the Silent Majority.” The Forum 14 (1): 25–37. Minkowitz, Donna. 2018. “Election 2018 Is Off to the Racists.” 18 April 2018. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Norton, Anne. 1993. Republic of Signs: Liberal Theory and American Popular Culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Osnos, Evan. 2018. “Trump vs. the ‘Deep State’.” The New Yorker, 21 May 2018. Panizza, Francisco. 2017. “Populism and Identification.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggert, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 406–425. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rogin, Michael Paul. 1988. Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Sanchez, Luis. 2018. “Poll: Majority of Republicans Back Family Separation Policy.” The Hill, 18 June 2018. Schlesinger Jr., Arthur M. 1945. The Age of Jackson. Back Bay Books. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Schuessler, Jennifer. 2017. “A History of Presidents, Mostly Democrats, Paying Homage to Jackson.” The New York Times, 15 March 2017, sec. U.S. Shepard, Steven. 2019. “Poll: Majority Opposes Trump Emergency Declaration for Building Border Wall.” Politico, 20 February 2019.

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Skowronek, Stephen. 1997. The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to Bill Clinton. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Stanek, Becca. 2017. “Sean Hannity Urges Trump to ‘purge’ Obama-Era ‘Saboteurs before It’s Too Late’.” The Week, 10 March 2017. Tocqueville, Alexis de. 1969. Democracy in America. Translated by George Lawrence. New York: Doubleday. Trump, Donald J. 2017a. “The Inaugural Address.” The White House. Available at: www. whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/the-inaugural-address/ ———. 2017b. “Remarks by the President on 250th Anniversary of the Birth of President Andrew Jackson.” The White House. Available at: www.whitehouse.gov/briefingsstatements/remarks-president-250th-anniversary-birth-president-andrew-jackson/ Tulis, Jeffrey. 1987. The Rhetorical Presidency. Princeton, NJ and Guildford: Princeton University Press. Tyson, Alec, and Shiva Maniam. 2016. “Behind Trump’s Victory: Divisions by Race, Gender and Education.” Pew Research Center. Voelz, Johannes. 2018. “Toward an Aesthetics of Populism, Part I: The Populist Space of Appearance.” Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature 34: 203–228.

7 POPULISM, RACE, AND RADICAL IMAGINATION #FeelingTheBern in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter Laura Grattan

The grassroots coalition that supported Bernie Sanders’ improbable run through the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries is part of the resurgence of radical democratic populism in the United States. Enabled by over a decade of grassroots struggles—including Occupy Wall Street, the Fight for $15, Keystone XL pipeline protests, the immigrant rights movement, and the Movement for Black Lives—the coalition represented broad-based resistance against “economic and political oligarchy” (“Bernie Sanders’ website” n.d.). Although Sanders’ campaign certainly cultivated their candidate’s popular appeal, they also encouraged people to identify themselves as part of a people-powered “political revolution”. For many activists, the campaign provided a rare opportunity to build an “opensource” populist party and movement that would enable decentered groups with different visions to shape public discourse and policy (Aronoff 2016). Like other broad-based populist moments in United States history, from the 19th-century People’s Party, to the Popular Front of the New Deal, to Occupy, Sanders and many of his supporters confronted the limits of populist identification to address demands for racial justice. Sticking to a familiar socialist script that prioritizes economic justice and cautions against divisions that weaken workingclass unity, Sanders struggled to explain how his platform would address the intersections of capitalism and anti-Black racism. It took disruptions by Movement for Black Lives activists at his campaign events for Sanders to acknowledge the racial disparities within capitalism and speak against police violence and mass incarceration. “Judging by his platform”, wrote Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Sanders should be directly confronted and asked why his political imagination is so active against plutocracy, but so limited against white supremacy” (2016). One reason for Sanders’ stunted political imagination, I argue, is its embeddedness in a populist imaginary in the United States that, even on the Left, has

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historically represented “the people” in white, masculine terms. In this chapter, I evaluate the practices of rhetorical and affective identification in Sanders’ opensource coalition and argue that, in the tradition of broad-based populisms, the coalition decentered collective identification within the people’s revolution. I then turn to the strategies through which the Movement for Black Lives, led by feminist and queer activists, contested the coalition’s terms of identification in public rallies and on social media. I argue that the ideal of building an “open-source” coalition is both the promise and the problem of radical democratic populism, so long as such efforts retain the material and affective attachments to whiteness that have characterized populist moments across the ideological spectrum. As a result, Left populisms risk reinforcing the erasure of marginalized groups that is both inherent in populism’s discursive logic and inscribed in populism’s cultural history in the United States. If radical democratic populist movements wish to engage in emancipatory politics, they will need to amplify dynamics of disruption and de-identification with inherited visions of the people and foreground, rather than erase, actors and practices of identification at populism’s own margins.

Definitions and Contexts: Populist Interventions and the Populist Imaginary This chapter engages debates in the United States and scholarly literature about populism’s emancipatory possibilities. A  long tradition of right-wing populism in the United States—ascendant from populism’s “conservative capture” during the Nixon and Reagan eras, through the Christian Right and the Tea Party, to Donald Trump—has shored up the boundaries of the body politic and reinforced hegemonic forms of capitalist, state, and social power (see Kazin 1998). Radical democratic populisms have sought to cultivate people’s aspirations not only to share in power, but to do so in pluralistic, egalitarian ways across established boundaries of collective identity (see Grattan 2016). With Left populism’s resurgence in the United States and Latin America and emergence in Europe—most notably, in Podemos and SYRIZA—scholars have returned to recurring efforts to theorize radical democratic populism (e.g. Grattan 2016; Hetland 2018; Mouffe 2018; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). A  central question is how populist interventions might negotiate structural differences and hierarchies within and at the margins of “the people”. This question has preoccupied discursive theorists of populism working in the tradition of Ernesto Laclau, and my approach to populism has debts to his work. For Laclau, populism involves a discursive antagonism that divides political space into two camps: a popular subject and its adversary. Populist discourse offers a flexible script—for example, “the 99 percent” versus “the one percent”, or “the silent majority” versus “the welfare state”—that constructs “a people” from disparate demands. What unites these demands is solely their rejection of the existing order: they enter into “relations of equivalence” through the fact that

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they are “equally unsatisfied”. A popular subject emerges through the struggle for hegemony, as one demand comes to represent the whole and to define the frontier between a people and its adversary (Laclau 2007, 70–71). Laclau acknowledges that populism’s formal logic of antagonism is only realizable through the rhetorical and affective registers of populist discourse. To construct an embodied political subject, populist interventions must animate disparate actors to identify with symbolic representations of popular power (Laclau 2007, 11–12, 71–73). Laclau barely elaborates this insight. Along with the various approaches in this volume, I am interested in the social and political contexts and the rhetorical, affective, and organizing practices in and through which disparate political actors enact “a people”. I draw on Francisco Panizza’s (2017) notion of populist interventions to signify that populism’s discursive antagonism is one “strategy of political identification” among many others used—at times concurrently— by political leaders, parties, and movements. Populist interventions take place in the context of, and often rework, what I call the populist imaginary in the United States. A prominent countercurrent to the dominant liberal, capitalist imaginary, the populist imaginary harbors more robust visions and practices of popular sovereignty, embodied and contested in a history of movements and campaigns across the ideological spectrum (Grattan 2016, 11–13, 136–142). By evaluating Sanders’ populist intervention in the context of the larger populist imaginary, my understanding of populism bridges discursive approaches with approaches that emphasize populist embodiment, performance, and praxis.1 With my focus on rhetorical and affective identification in this chapter, I am interested in populism’s “structures of feeling”, or what Deborah Gould calls emotional habitus: that is, “socially constituted, prevailing ways of feeling and emoting, as well as the embodied, axiomatic understandings and norms about feelings and their expression” (2009, 10).2 Candidates and movements use rhetoric and narrative to make sense of affective states that are widespread, if unarticulated, among certain social groups, and to authorize specific feelings and actions as fitting or necessary in response to shared challenges. Populist identification is a messy prospect once we account for social contexts divided by class, race, gender, and sexuality and for the embodied subjects whose material interests and affective attachments are shaped in and across these divisions. Laclau argues that populist identification is always incomplete and unstable. The logic of equivalential relations, however, does not capture the experiential and affective chasms that can exist between actors who might join together to resist a given order. Consider, for example, the affective attachment to white innocence (which indicates differentially structured feelings of entitlement to state protection) or the pain and rage of Black activists (which met a chorus of calls for civility during the primaries). Even if unsatisfied demands are a crucial basis for populist identification, it should be easy to see that demands are never “equally unsatisfied”. Laclau does acknowledge that populist antagonism takes place on a larger field of social heterogeneity. “An equivalential chain is not opposed only

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to an antagonistic force”, he clarifies, but also to a “heterogenous excess” that “does not have access to a general space of representation” (Laclau 2007, 139). This excess “resists symbolic integration”—perhaps because it is illegible within hegemonic discourse (as Black pain and rage are in most cultural narratives in the United States), or perhaps because it refuses representation within hegemonic discourse (as Black activists did in protesting Sanders). If a popular camp cannot “contain [excess] within certain limits” or “reduce [it] to a marginal presence”, then “social logics will have to be conceived in a fundamentally different way”. In Laclau’s terms, “incorporating” excess necessitates a “new hegemonic game” and entails a “political transformation” that can dramatically shift the field of identification and struggle (2007, 139–156). Laclau acknowledges a formal logic of erasure in populist discourse, such that equivalence always marks some actors and demands as excessive or outside the space of representation. By insisting on the incompleteness of “the people”, however, he clears the way to understand how actors from the extreme margins can disrupt and reconfigure the terms of identification in populist movements. Any theory of radical democratic populism with debts to Laclau needs to attend carefully to the rhetorical, affective, and material practices of identification that erase—and contest the erasure of—social groups at the margins of populist coalitions. Indeed, central to my arguments in this chapter are the ways in which radical democratic populist interventions always hold the terms of popular identification open to some marginalized social groups, while at the same time reinforcing closures to other actors, demands, and practices. Because of this dynamic, populism’s emancipatory possibilities hinge on amplifying what Panizza calls “processes of de-identification and re-identification” that might radicalize populist movements. Yet, re-identification may not always happen along populist lines. As Benjamin McKean has argued, because Laclau associates representation with equivalence, those marked as excess are “always defined as what is excluded from the norm and never represented directly” (McKean 2016, 812). This assumption fails to account both for racist cultural logics that systemically exclude Black people from fields of representation and for practices of identification (often from actors at the margins of the margins) that encourage solidarity without suppressing difference. If populist interventions wish to contribute to emancipatory politics, they will need to work in tandem with—and allow themselves to be inflected by—strategies of identification that foreground social heterogeneity.

Open-Source Populism: Decentering Identification and Power in the People’s Revolution Sanders’ campaign confronted the United States with a stark challenge: Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political

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oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country. (“Bernie Sanders’ website” n.d.) From his substantive message, pitting everyday people against the billionaire class, to his apocalyptic tone, exhorting people to join a political revolution to turn the tide of history, Sanders drew on textbook populist rhetoric to build popular identification with his campaign.3 Acknowledging the “competing interests” and “contradictions” in the coalition that backed Sanders, Charles Lenchner, cofounder of the People for Bernie Sanders, argues that Sanders provided disparate groups “a candidate to rally around” (quoted in Corey 2016). Sanders’ path from 1960s radical to socialist Senator made him fitting for the role of populist hero. In the words of gender violence prevention activist Jackson Katz, Sanders conveyed the rough edges of an urban street brawler who was willing and eager to take on the powers-that-be, especially the “billionaire class” and their representatives in Congress. The Democratic Party has not nominated a presidential candidate with that sort of masculine street cred since Lyndon Johnson. (quoted in Wilz 2016, 358) Sanders’ campaign captured their candidate’s anti-establishment irreverence and passion in an image (floppy white hair and glasses) and hashtag (#FeelTheBern) that gained ubiquity on social media, T-shirts, and bumper stickers. The intensity of identification with the campaign was palpable. Sanders’ followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, though fewer than Hillary Clinton’s or Trump’s, were far more engaged (as measured by likes per follower, retweets per hour, or number of reblogged posts) (see Chaykowski 2016; Holmes 2016). His campaign rallies drew massive, vibrating crowds, reaching over 27,000 people in Portland, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Los Angeles (quoted in Keith 2016). The explicit emotional appeal of #FeelTheBern underscores the campaign’s recognition of the role emotion plays in collective identification. Sanders routinely relied on emotional invective, for example, decrying “starvation wages” and declaring that voter suppression “profoundly disgusts me” (quoted in Horowitz 2015). Appeals to urgency—“must”, “need”, “fight”, “today”, and “change”— were the dominant theme in tweets that resonated with the emotional habitus of his supporters (Meyer 2016). Analyzing Sanders’ “politics of feeling”, Lida Maxwell argues that he “diagnoses . . . the bad feelings of insecurity (economic, political, social) that plague many Americans (white men and others), takes them seriously, and addresses them with material solutions”. Unlike Trump, who treats feelings “as truths in themselves”, Sanders explains them as “the product

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of concrete human decisions, policies, and laws” that can be changed. He put forward “a radical political imaginary—a vision of what government . . . could be and do if we just, simply, changed it” (Maxwell 2016). Hahrie Han and Marshall Ganz, the guru behind Barack Obama’s 2008 grassroots ground game, likewise argue that Sanders crafted a public narrative that resonated widely, enabling people to connect to a shared understanding of collective identity. “By linking stories of self, us, and now”, they write, “public narrative communicates the moral authority of the speaker, brings the shared hurts and hopes of their constituency alive, and offers a hopeful, if challenging, opportunity to respond”. Such stories are powerful because they elicit and mobilize emotions, such as urgency, anger, hope, and solidarity, that can clarify shared values and orient people toward action instead of inaction. Sanders’ public narrative followed a populist script. He pitted his campaign and constituency—everyday people who are “unjustly beleaguered economically”—against “the super-rich . . . who have ‘rigged’ the political and economic system to benefit themselves at everyone else’s expense”. Unlike most populist heroes, however, Sanders “has not been ‘chosen’ to be the instrument of redemption”. On the campaign trail, Sanders often undersold his own biography, preferring to diagnose urgent challenges and inspire people to join a movement, “your movement”, to fight for a better future. “The hope for change is not in Sanders himself but in ‘the people’ who, if they turn out to vote, can become the source of a ‘political revolution’ ” (Ganz and Han 2016; see also Horowitz 2015). Campaign advisors and grassroots activists in the Sanders coalition echoed this refrain. As Becky Bond, a senior advisor, put it, “Bernie didn’t create this movement. He recognized the movement moment we are in” (quoted in Guttenplan 2016b). Attendees at the 2016 People’s Summit—an annual gathering of activists that first met after Sanders’ defeat—described a movement energized by his campaign. “There was a sense among many activists”, observed one attendee, “that it was not an end, but a big acceleration of movements that existed preFeelTheBern—for example, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Fight for Fifteen, immigrants’ rights, etc.” ( Jeff Cohen, quoted in Knight 2017). At forums such as the People’s Summit and Netroots Nation, activists from different groups deliberate, debate strategies and tactics, and swap stories “in the hallways and over meals”. Such interactions can generate what Naomi Klein calls “the connective tissue of movements”, even as actors negotiate their points of disconnection (quoted in Knight 2017). Expecting “bitterness”, Klein and campaign strategist Steve Cobble reported People’s Summit attendees seemed “reenergized” and “ready to keep fighting” (Klein, quoted in Knight 2017; Cobble, quoted in Poole 2016). The intensity of broad-based identification in the coalition is evident in Harold Meyerson’s observation: “Like only a handful of predecessor campaigns, like no presidential campaign since Barry Goldwater’s, [Sanders’] will be judged by whether it sparked a movement that transformed America” (Meyerson 2016).

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Observers attribute the broad identification with a people-powered revolution not only to the coalition’s public narrative, but also to its decentered practices of organizing via social media and in person. Scholars refer to social network sites as “mediated publics”, or affectively charged “environments where people can gather publicly through mediating technology” (boyd 2007). Describing the “storytelling infrastructure” of these sites, Zizi Papacharissi notes that we actively contribute to stories on social media through our “affectively charged and digitally expressed endorsement, rejection, or views”. She elaborates, the affective attunement demonstrated through liking a post on Facebook, endorsing an item in a news aggregator, uploading and sharing a YouTube video, or using a meme generator to create and share a simple message via a photograph is indicative of civic intensity —though not necessarily of measurable impact on civic belonging or action (Papacharissi 2014, 25). The Sanders campaign deployed an unusually “opensource” social media strategy, even taking the rare step of opening some of its software code to more than 1000 “volunteer techies” who created innovative apps. These included organizing tools that enabled grassroots volunteers to organize phone banks or canvassing. They also included social media apps that helped turn Sanders into a viral Web hit: for example, the “Bernie Photo Booth”, which let users superimpose the candidate’s face or just his glasses and hair onto Facebook profile pictures; and the “Bernie Light Brigade”, which supporters used to organize nighttime publicity events (Samuelsohn 2016). There was also a purposeful connection between online and on-the-ground organizing, enabling local volunteers to play a pivotal role in coordinating campaign events. The campaign drew on a central insight from community organizing: giving people meaningful tasks will enhance their investment in a campaign and their motivation to act on its behalf (Han 2014). When supporters visited Sanders’ website or attended rallies, for example, the campaign was ready with concrete tasks that gave people an opportunity to call voters, generate turnout, and organize their own events (see Guttenplan 2016a; Issenberg 2016). The campaign routinely relied on local supporters to secure a venue and use the campaign’s email list to invite everyone within a 30-mile radius to attend an “official organizing meeting”. These events (and there were over 200 of them) would draw 100 or 200 or 500 people who came to meetings without a candidate in sight. According to Zack Exley, co-founder of the National Organizing Institute, the “the vast majority of attendees [were] always people who’[d] never done anything on the campaign before—and usually never for any campaign ever” (quoted in Issenberg 2016). Contrasting populism’s reputation for homogeneity, the Sanders coalition foreground their disparate visions and disagreements—fueling what many referred to

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as an “open-source” campaign and movement. “There’s a move away from formal structures”, observes Lenchner (quoted in Meyerson 2016). The goal instead is to “use the opportunity of a political campaign to generate broad unity on the Left, while creating a space for people to act autonomously to pursue their own goals and interests” (Lenchner, quoted in Corey 2016). Yong Jung Cho, a coordinator with 350 Action, described her vision of an “open-source” party as a “movement party that’s decentralized, that many people can identify with, organizationally and individually” (quoted in Aronoff 2016). We see the potential for this cross-cutting identification in the list of topics addressed at the People’s Summit, including the Fight for $15, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, fighting voter suppression, ending HIV/AIDS, climate justice, Constitutional pay equity for women, and ending deportations, among others. Political journalist Kate Aronoff highlights the internal disagreement and negotiation at the heart of “open-source political parties” when she argues, “Defining and popularizing what socialism means in 21st-century America—be it climate justice, reparations, a basic income tax, or all of the above—will be up to a generation of activists some 50 years Bernie’s junior” (Aronoff 2016). Clinton’s victory in the primaries upheld the Democratic Party establishment and exemplified the challenges facing an open-source populist party in the United States’ two-party system. Since 2016, however, organized groups—including an emboldened Democratic Socialists of America and new groups such as Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, and Indivisible—have translated the energy from Sanders’ campaign (and outrage over Trump’s election) into mobilizing support for insurgent candidates in local, state, and federal races. Their goal is to radicalize the Democratic Party from the bottom-up, focusing on electing women, people of color, and first-time candidates and on pushing grassroots-generated issues into electoral debates and legislative sessions across the country (see Rauch and La Raja 2017; Heuvel 2018). This strategy has seen notable success, with victories in state and local elections in 2017 and at all levels in the 2018 primaries (Herndon and Roose 2018; Jaffe 2017). Perhaps counterintuitively, this dispersal of populist energy stands to develop the grassroots leaders, capacities, and visions that could organize a broad-based populist party beyond a populist “hero” such as Sanders. Reflecting on the local and state victories in 2017, especially by candidates of color, Eric Robertson of Teamsters local 728 in Atlanta argued, All these candidates got elected mainly because they had established a base from the work they’ve been doing in their communities. . . . What they’re getting from the Bernie campaign is to be able to form a coalition with populist-leaning progressive white folks on a scale that has not been seen for quite a long time. (Quoted in Jaffe 2017)

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Evident in Robertson’s comments are two dissonant insights. The first is that decentered sites of popular identification and power are vital to building broadbased populist campaigns with the teeth and durability to withstand assaults from political rivals backed by wealth and establishment credentials (see Grattan 2016, 69–82, 169–174). The second is that, even in efforts to decenter popular identification and power, there is an assumed disconnect between communities of color and white populists—one that poses a challenge to open-source populist movements from the margins.

The Movement for Black Lives: Disruption and De-Identification in the People’s Revolution Whatever its successes in generating pluralistic lines of populist identification, the Sanders campaign lost by 75 percent to 23 percent among Black voters, and younger and more radical Black activists who might have supported Sanders instead protested his campaign.4 Black activists engaged in a strategy of disruption and de-identification with Sanders and his coalition to push the issue of antiBlack racism to the foreground of his campaign and the Democratic primaries. They garnered public attention when they disrupted two campaign events. At the annual Netroots Nation conference in July 2015, Tia Oso and Patrisse KhanCullors took over the stage at a town hall with Sanders and Martin O’Malley, and Black women coordinated a performance from the audience. They called on the candidates to address routine violence against Black women and transgender people by police and immigration officers. Using the people’s microphone, audience members took turns shouting the incantation, “If I die in police custody . . .”: “If I die in police custody, make sure that I’m remembered, make sure that my sisters are remembered, say their names”. “If I die in police custody, know that your silence helped kill me, white supremacy helped kill me”. “If I die in police custody, make sure I’m the last person to die in police custody, by any means necessary”. Sanders proved particularly obdurate. He gave his rehearsed stump speech on economic inequality over intermittent shouts of “Bernie” and “Say Her Name”. When protestors grew louder, he used various tactics to silence them: holding up his hand to quiet them, demanding that they let him speak first, shouting over them, and evoking his past advocacy to dismiss their concerns. “Black lives, of course, matter, and I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity, but if you don’t want me to be here, it’s okay”, he admonished, threatening to leave if the protests didn’t cease (Willies 2015). Following what they called Sanders’ “blatantly silencing response” at Netroots Nation, two Black Lives Matter activists took over the stage at a mass rally featuring Sanders in Seattle a month later (Ollstein 2015). After an intense exchange with the rally’s organizers, during which Sanders stood passively in the background, Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford took the microphone. Reminding

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the crowd that Seattle stands on “occupied Duwamish land”, Johnson decried the city’s “white supremacist liberalism” and pointed to issues of gentrification, police violence, the school-to-prison pipeline, and youth incarceration in a city that prides itself on its progressivism. “We are located in King County”, she observed, “where the silhouette of Martin Luther King, Jr., reigns high while we spend $210 million building a new jail to imprison black children”. The two activists tried to hold a moment of silence in memory of Mike Brown, the unarmed Black youth murdered by police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, while the crowd booed and jeered: “Let Bernie speak”, “Get out, get out, get out, get out”, and “How dare you” (lovelyti2002 2015). A few called for police to tase or arrest the two activists (Brunner 2015). The organizers shut down the rally, and Sanders told reporters that the country won’t see change on economic inequality unless “all people stand together” (see lovelyti2002 2015). Countering Sanders’ color-blind rhetoric, Angela Peoples, one of the protestors at Netroots Nation, insisted, “We have to center this conversation around blackness and anti-blackness” (quoted in Frizell 2015). For Sanders, that would mean connecting his economic message to the specific issues facing Black people, including discrimination in housing and employment, felony disenfranchisement, and the intersections between these issues and policing and mass incarceration. “After all”, writer and activist Darnell Moore (2015) wrote in an open letter to Sanders, “Black people can’t fight for a livable wage if they continue to be overly criminalized and disproportionately killed by law enforcement”. Jessica Pierce, co-director of the Black Youth Project 100, put Sanders’ color-blind rhetoric in the context of Left populist movements that have historically sought to contain what they perceive as “excess” that might hinder their objectives: For too long, economic justice movements have asked people from marginalized communities to bracket their identities for the sake of a cause. . . . If I’m not seeing anything in a platform that speaks to what I deal with every day as a Black person, then that’s telling me I don’t matter. (Quoted in Corey 2016) Seen in this relief, Black activists’ performative acts of disruption were a strategy to unsettle a familiar disposition toward erasure in the broad-based populism of the Sanders coalition. I use “disposition toward erasure” to refer to a cultural disposition carried in the rhetorical vision and emotional habitus of the populist imaginary in the United States. This disposition both maps onto the formal logic of erasure in Laclau’s account of populist identification and points to the ways in which such erasures are embedded, more tenaciously than Laclau admits, in the material investments and affective attachments of many who identify with populist movements. We can see this in the reflex with which Sanders, and many supporters, took for granted that Black voters would fall in line behind his economic

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platform—and dismissed them repeatedly when they did not. Joe Dinkin of the Working Families Party noted the “remarkable display of cognitive dissonance [at Netroots Nation] when Sanders said the country needed a democratic revolution, as he looked out at one staring him in the face and ignored it”. Reflecting on the crowd’s fury in Seattle, Marissa Johnson wrote later that she “could not imagine a world where Democrats felt so secure in the black vote that they would scream at [her] during a moment of silence for Mike Brown” ( Johnson 2016). “Perhaps”, Darnell Moore speculated, “the crowd’s reaction . . . betrays a liberal base that views itself as white and, therefore, only concerned with issues impacting white people” (Moore 2015). Expanding on Moore’s insight, I want to suggest that the disposition toward erasure is not only the legacy of right-wing populisms that openly foment white anxieties. It also has its roots in broad-based populist movements that have failed to untangle social democratic reforms from material and psychological investments in whiteness. In material terms, George Lipsitz chronicles the “possessive investment in whiteness” back to the formation of “racialized social democracy” during the New Deal, when legislation and policies excluded Black citizens from reforms implicitly (as with the Wagner and Social Security Acts, which excluded farmworkers and domestic workers from labor rights and social benefits) and explicitly (as with the Federal Housing Agency’s racist implementation of mortgage assistance). By channeling resources primarily to white families, social democratic reforms enhanced the “absolute value of being white” on top of what W.E.B. Du Bois and David Roediger call the social and psychological “wages of whiteness” (Lipsitz 1995, 378).5 The relative material value of being white did not disappear under the neoliberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s: as the face of poverty became non-white, social programs were gutted and turned into sites of discipline and racial control (Soss, Fording, and Schram 2011). Lipsitz warns that today’s social democratic reformers (including those who campaign as democratic socialists) will reinforce the possessive investment in whiteness unless they “acknowledge the existence and power of whiteness” and combat the ongoing legacies of economic racism (1995, 384). This is precisely the kind of analysis Sanders obscured in his rhetorical vision. In a telling interview, he reflected on why Democrats had lost “the American working class” to Republicans: There was a time—I think under [Franklin] Roosevelt, maybe even under [Harry] Truman—where it was perceived that working people were part of the Democratic Party. I think for a variety of reasons, a lot having to do with money and politics, that is no longer the case. (Quoted in Klein 2015) This quote betrays a strategic erasure of history, as Sanders neglects to address the centrality of anti-Black racism in Republican strategies to lure white working-class

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voters since the 1960s (see Lowndes 2009). More glaring, however, is Sanders’ participation in the routine erasure of Black, Latinx, and Asian people from the “American working class” altogether. Only by equating the working class with the white working class, and implying that this section of the working class is most vital to electoral politics, could Sanders say that “it would be hard to imagine” that “somebody on the street” would see the Democrats as the party of the working class (quoted in Klein 2015). The limits of Sanders’ populist imagination are also evident in his stance on reparations, which he viewed as too divisive for working-class unity: poverty is “not just Black”, he lectured critics; “it is Latino; there are areas of America, in poor rural areas, where it’s white” (quoted in Starr 2017). Whether this position stems from socialist ideology or electoral strategy, Ta-Nehisi Coates is right to challenge Sanders: Liberals have dared to believe in the seemingly impossible—a socialist presiding over the most capitalist nation to ever exist. . . . If we can be inspired to directly address class in such radical ways, why should we allow our imaginative powers to end there? (Coates 2016)6 Stretching the imagination of radical democratic populist movements will also require unsettling the affective attachment to white innocence that is deeply engrained in United States culture and politics. Populist rhetoric, which stars a righteous people confronting an immoral establishment, is fertile ground for what James Baldwin (1962) calls white innocence: the congenital desire to be innocent, or to have washed one’s hands already, of centuries of ongoing destruction of Black life. A Gawker post, titled “Don’t Piss on Your Best Friend”, typified the performance of innocence in mainstream and social media after the protests (Nolan 2015). The attachment to innocence is evident first in what the protests interrupted: the pleasurable feeling of being part of a political movement whose symbolic leader was both a class warrior and a Civil Rights hero. In this light, the appeal to “open-source” populism takes on a yearning for innocence, as if labeling a campaign non-hierarchical and structureless lifts its participants out of history and relieves them of the painful work of redressing ongoing racism.7 The attachment to white innocence, and the erasures that must attend it, is also evident in the postures of defensiveness and arrogance among many Sanders supporters upon having their self-image challenged. What may at first seem like cognitive dissonance—calling for the police to arrest two Black women holding a moment of silence for Mike Brown—falls into place once we consider the presumption of innocence white people have historically enjoyed in a state that protects them and criminalizes Black people.8 In his public letter to Sanders, Moore (2015) explained, “You should consider why the expectation that I, or any black person, should applaud your past as a way of deflecting criticism—in the mist of continued, heart-numbing violence

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against unarmed black civilians—is insulting”. “That is what the protests and the interruptions are about”, Black Lives Matter strategist Elle Hearns added, “These [candidates] who claim to be in solidarity with black people . . . actually aren’t, because they have no idea how to interact with folks who are experiencing pain and rage” (Starr 2015). Mass broad-based populist movements have rarely appreciated the seismic practical and emotional disconnect between Black and white experiences absent disruptions from the margins. This was the case with Black farmers and laborers who forced segregation, disenfranchisement, and police abetting of white terrorism into debates over the People’s Party platform in the 19th century and Black Communists who included a “tough denunciation of Jim Crow” in their “people’s platform” during the Popular Front of the New Deal era. More recently, people of color disrupted general assemblies to help Occupiers see that relieving college debt doesn’t help people who cannot pay their utility bills and that police violence (which shocked white Occupiers accustomed to protection) is a routine fact of life for many Black people.9 Black activists also used de-identification as strategy to challenge Sanders and his supporters to acknowledge what is in many cases a congenital fracture between Black and white experiences and emotional habitus. The hashtag #BernieSoBlack went viral on Black twitter in the fallout from the protests: “Bernie’s so black he convinced Abraham Lincoln to free the slaves”. “Bernie’s so black he constantly gets pulled over by the police”. “Bernie’s so black, he’s the first one killed in horror movies”. “Bernie’s so black, he’s dropping a mix tape”. Both playful and biting, the hashtag exposed the irony of a broad-based populist movement that sought to attract Black voters while canonizing its candidate as a white savior. Roderick Morrow, who created the hashtag, explains that “the joke is on the defense of [Sanders]”, as if “he can do no wrong on race. Like we should not even expect anything of him, he put in his time already, we need to just shut up” (quoted in Lind 2015). By refusing the demand for immediate and unquestioning identification with Sanders or his democratic socialist platform, people on Black twitter used their cultural power, in Morrow’s words, to “ask Bernie to do better” (quoted in Thomas 2015). This is also, in part, what the Black Lives Matter organization intended when it refused to endorse a candidate in the primaries. In the short term, this tactic of de-identification put pressure on candidates to introduce “policies and forms of governance” that overturn systemic racism (Darnell Moore, quoted in Democracy Now! 2016). In the longer term, by refusing to endorse any candidate, Black Lives Matter sought to “put a wrench in the gears” of the electoral process (Alicia Garza, quoted in The Guardian 2015). In this way, they call Black radical politics and broad-based populism beyond two-party politics, showing it to be a “flawed system that all too often marginalizes black voices and needs” (Rigueur 2016). In the short term, although Sanders often clung to a romantic vision of workingclass unity, activists’ strategies of disruption and de-identification influenced his

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campaign. He rolled out a racial justice platform that targeted policing, criminal justice, mass incarceration, voter suppression, and the “economic violence” of concentrated poverty (Aleem 2015). He also spoke out aggressively on these issues (Wallace-Wells 2016). In a televised debate, he defended the rhetoric of “Black Lives Matter” over the reactionary color-blind assertion, “All Lives Matter”. He evoked the story of Sandra Bland, a Black woman who died in police custody, to support his promise to bring “major reforms” to the criminal justice system and “combat institutional racism from top to bottom” (quoted in Sainato 2015). One reporter observed that Sanders’ “socialism began to incorporate more varied ideas of suffering” (Wallace-Wells 2016), as he began talking about high rates of unemployment for Black and Latinx youth and demanded that lawmakers need to make sure “our people have education and jobs rather than jail cells” (Sanders, quoted in Rivas 2015). As another reporter put it, the Movement for Black Lives had succeeded at “remolding [Sanders] into a candidate that champions Black causes rather than just makes nods to them” (Aleem 2015). The long-term response by the Sanders coalition also revealed shifts in rhetoric and strategy. As people of color who supported Sanders argued, the narrative of the white “Bernie Bro” erased their centrality in the coalition that made Sanders’ campaign a people’s revolution from the start.10 This is a crucial point to emphasize in narrating radical democratic populism. It foregrounds the disparate actors who enable broad-based populist movements and who help shape the symbolic representations of the people at every step. Nonetheless, after the protests, grassroots actors strategically centered the voices of the most marginalized groups in their efforts to carry the people’s revolution beyond Sanders. A majority of the 4000 attendees at the 2016 People’s Summit were non-white, for example, and Brand New Congress prioritizes recruiting women and people of color in its efforts to elect down-ballot progressives (Murphy 2017). As Demos president Heather McGhee put it in her address at the People’s Summit, “the racial panic of this moment is challenging our progressive movement to shed its self-imposed colorblindness” and see that fighting economic racism is a priority in struggles to transform the economy for all people (quoted in Poole 2016).

Beyond Innocence: Strategies of Identification From the Margins of the Margins I don’t want to understate the importance of Sanders’ campaign and the diverse coalition that backed it. Radical democratic populist interventions remain key sites for organizing passionate identification and broad-based popular power to contest capitalism’s dominance across economic, cultural, and political life. Following Black activists who urged Sanders “to do better”, however, we should ask how populist interventions might engage other efforts to democratize popular identification and power from the margins. Strategies of disruption and de-identification

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went beyond challenging the counter-hegemonic representation of “the people’s revolution” in the Sanders coalition. They also, I want to suggest, forced Sanders and his supporters to engage in a public conversation over the (im)possibilities of representation—in particular, of incorporating Black experiences and affects in representations of “the people” that routinely render Black lives illegible. Johnson and Willaford performed this insight in Seattle, when a white, cisgender male rally organizer tried to silence them by repeating, “We are trying to be reasonable”. The activists ratcheted up their intensity, getting in his face and screaming, “We aren’t reasonable, we’re not reasonable”. After taking over the microphone, they explained: “We honor Black lives by doing the unthinkable, the unapologetic, and the unrespectable” (lovelyti 2002 2015). In part, Johnson and Willaford politicized the need to amplify strategies of disruption and de-identification in populist movements that aim to build pluralistic, egalitarian lines of popular identification and power. When the Sanders campaign sought to erase the particularity of Black demands—rendering them as excess or unwanted noise—persistent protest and critique kept the nagging fact of social heterogeneity in the foreground. In part, the two activists underscored the Movement for Black Lives’ refusal to support the Sanders coalition without dramatically shifting the field of identification and struggle. In addition to “urging people to contend more openly with our racial reality”, Darnell Moore writes, disruptive actions like those at Netroots and in Seattle hopefully, will also encourage the public to imagine a new, better reality that is radically different from our present. . . . This point is critical, because it means the American public must also reimagine black politics as abolitionist and not reformist—or, at least, a mix of both. (Moore 2015) In its efforts to abolish racial capitalism and racial state violence, Black radical activists seek reparations, the dismantling of police and prisons, and an end to immigrant detention and deportation. These are not visions that can be easily folded into broad-based populist campaigns. Even if radical democratic populist movements invent counter-hegemonic stances that combat capitalism’s entwinements with anti-Black racism, there is a danger in privileging populist logics and cultural patterns of identification. What gets lost when we interpret acts of disruption and de-identification from the perspective of populist discourse—reading them as un-representable excess—are the alternative practices of identification and representation generated by groups at populism’s margins. It is no coincidence that Black women carried out the public protests against Sanders, nor that they also spoke as or evoked people who are queer, transgender, indigenous, or immigrants. Queer and feminist-led groups such as Black Lives Matter and Black Youth Project 100 experiment with practices of identification and representation that foreground,

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rather than suppress, difference. Such practices “elevat[e] the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and working class, disabled, undocumented, and immigrant” (see “The Movement for Black Lives” n.d.). To be “unapologetically Black” thus entails refusing to sideline actors whose demands are illegible or inconvenient in coalitional efforts. It means recognizing that these actors’ experiences often expose the intricacies of domination and can help shape the contours of identification and struggle in the movement (e.g. Carruthers 2018). Activists in the Black radical tradition have historically seen broad-based populist movements as strategic sites for furthering their own liberation struggles. In doing so, they have challenged radical democratic populism to live up to its ideals of enacting pluralistic, egalitarian forms of popular power.11 Seen in this relief, populism’s lingering attachment to white innocence reinforces failures that are at once moral and strategic. It risks forgetting that counter-hegemonic movements inevitably reproduce some of the structures and hierarchies they challenge. It thus risks alienating actors at the margins who might find sites for common cause with broad-based populist movements, and whose visions and enactments of popular power might carry populist imagination toward more just futures. For this to happen, actors who identify most easily with broad-based populist movements will need to recognize populism’s representative failures—rather than its innocence— as sites from which to engage in emancipatory political struggles.

Notes 1. On embodiment, see Pierre Ostiguy (2017; this volume). On performance, see Benjamin Moffitt (2016; this volume). On praxis, see Jason Frank (2017). 2. On structures of feeling, see Raymond Williams (2012). 3. On populist rhetoric in the United States, see Kazin (1998). 4. On Sanders’ missteps with Black voters, see Terrell Jermaine Starr (2016). 5. On the wages of whiteness, see W.E.B. Du Bois (1998), and David Roediger (2007). 6. During his 2020 Democratic primary run, Sanders argued that his economic programs would benefit Black Americans more than “cutting a check”. This reductive view of reparations provides evidence for Coates’ point, as Sanders again refuses to entertain the need for economic programs and narratives that directly redress the ongoing legacies of racial capitalism (see Zhou 2019). 7. I am grateful to Lida Maxwell for her insights on the pleasures of white innocence. 8. On white innocence and the law, see Lisa Marie Chaco (2014) 9. I discuss Black activism in 19th-century populism and Occupy in Grattan (2016). On the New Deal era, see Robert Korstadt (2003). 10. Briahna Joy Gray (2017) makes this argument in an article published in Current Affairs. Sanders won endorsements from prominent people of color (including NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, Representative Pramila Jayapal, public intellectual Cornell West, and Movement for Black Lives leaders Erica Garner and Shaun King), and he edged Clinton in the primaries among Black voters under 30. 11. I elaborate this point in Grattan (2016).

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References Aleem, Zeeshan. 2015. “Sanders’ Response to Black Lives Matter Shows Their Disruptions Are Working.” Mic, 10 August 2015. Aronoff, Kate. 2016. “What’s the Future of Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution.” Rolling Stone, 25 April 2016. Baldwin, James. 1962. “A Letter to My Nephew.” The Progressive, 1 January 1962. “Bernie Sanders’s website”. n.d. boyd, Danah. 2007. “Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?” Knowledge Tree, 13 May 2007. Brunner, Jim. 2015. “Black Lives Matter Protestors Shut down Bernie Sanders; Later Rally Draws 15,000.” The Seattle Times, 8 August 2015. Carruthers, Charlene. 2018. Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. Boston: Beacon Press. Chaco, Lisa Marie. 2014. “The Presumption of White Innocence.” American Quarterly 66 (4): 1085–1090. Chaykowski, Kathleen. 2016. “Why Bernie Sanders’s Social Media Followers Are More Engaged Than Donald Trump’s.” 25 March 2016. Coates, Ta-Nehisi. 2016. “Why Precisely Is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations.” The Atlantic, 19 January 2016. Corey, Ethan. 2016. “The Political Revolution Will Continue Longer After Bernie Sanders’ Campaign. Here’s How.” In These Times, 8 May 2016. Democracy Now! 2016. “We Endorse No One: Black Lives Matter & the 2016 Presidential Race.” 9 February 2016. Du Bois, W. E. B. 1998. Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880. New York: Free Press. Frank, Jason. 2017. “Populism and Praxis.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggert, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 629–643. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Frizell, Sam. 2015. “Sanders and O’Malley Stumble During Black Lives Matter Protest.” Time, 18 July 2015. Ganz, Marshall, and Hahrie Han. 2016. “What Hillary Clinton Can Learn from Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.” The Nation, 22 June 2016. Gould, Deborah. 2009. Moving Politics: Emotion and Act Up’s Fight against AIDS. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Grattan, Laura. 2016. Populism’s Power: Radical Grassroots Democracy in America. New York: Oxford University Press. Gray, Briahna Joy. 2017. “How Identity Became a Weapon Against the Left.” Current Affairs, 3 September 2017. Guttenplan, D. D. 2016a. “What’s Next for Bernie Sanders’s Grassroots Army?” The Nation, 1 June 2016. ———. 2016b. “There Was No Clear Agenda at the People’s Summit—and That’s a Good Thing.” The Nation, 20 June 2016. Han, Hahrie. 2014. How Organizations Develop Activists: How Civic Associations Develop Leadership in the 21st Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Herndon, Astead W., and Kevin Roose. 2018. “The Progressive Playbook: How These Candidates Pulled off Their Upsets.” The New York Times, 15 September 2018. Hetland, Gabriel. 2018. “The Promise and Perils of Radical Left Populism: The Case of Venezuela.” Journal of World-Systems Research 24 (2): 277–292.

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Heuvel, Katrina vanden. 2018. “The Democratic Wave Won’t Crest without Progressive Insurgents.” The Washington Post, 22 May 2018. Holmes, Ryan. 2016. “How Bernie Sanders Beats Donald Trump at Social Media.” 18 April 2016. Horowitz, Jason. 2015. “Bernie Sanders Draws Big Crowds to His Political Revolution.” The New York Times, 20 August 2015. Issenberg, Sasha. 2016. “The Meticulously Engineered Grassroots Network Behind the Bernie Sanders Revolution.” Bloomberg Politics, 24 February 2016. Jaffe, Sarah. 2017. “Bernie Sanders Isn’t Winning Local Elections for the Left.” The New Republic, 13 October 2017. Johnson, Marissa Jenae. 2016. “1 Year Later: BLM Protester Who Interrupted Bernie Sanders’ Rally Discusses the Moment and the Movement.” The Root, 9 August 2016. Kazin, Michael. 1998. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Keith, Tamara. 2016. “Campaign Mystery: Why Don’t Bernie Sanders’ Big Rallies Lead to Big Wins?” NPR.Org, 26 April 2016. Klein, Ezra. 2015. “Bernie Sanders: The Vox Conversation.” Vox, 28 July 2015. Knight, Nika. 2017. “People’s Summit Offers Hope for a Movement Bigger than Bernie.” Common Dreams, 8 October 2017. Korstadt, Robert. 2003. Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth Century South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Laclau, Ernesto. 2007. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. Lind, Dara. 2015. “#BernieSoBlack Creator Explains Why He’s Frustrated with Sanders’s Supporters.” Vox, 20 July 2015. Lipsitz, George. 1995. “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: Racialized Social Democracy and the ‘White’ Problem in American Studies.” American Quarterly 47 (3): 369–387. lovelyti2002. 2015. “Activists Disrupt Bernie Sanders Speech plus New Interview w/ One of the Ladies.” YouTube video. Available at: https://youtu.be/7VbHUI1R3IA. Lowndes, Joseph. 2009. From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism. New Haven: Yale University Press. Maxwell, Lida. 2016. “Donald Trump’s Campaign of Feeling.” The Contemporary Condition (blog), July 2016. McKean, Ben. 2016. “Toward an Inclusive Populism? On the Role of Race and Difference in Laclau’s Politics.” Political Theory 44 (6): 797–820. Meyer, Katie. 2016. “Trump vs. Clinton vs. Sanders: Who Is Winning the Election on Social Media?” Medium (blog), 7 May 2016. Meyerson, Harold. 2016. “The Long March of Bernie’s Army: Where It Came from; Where It’s Headed.” The American Prospect, 23 March 2016. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Moore, Darnell. 2015. “Dear Bernie Sanders: This Is What You Need To Know About Black Lives Matter.” Mic, 14 August 2015. Mouffe, Chantal. 2018. For a Left Populism. London: Verso. Murphy, Tim. 2017. “This Is Why Bernie Sanders Thinks His Political Revolution Is Winning.” Mother Jones, 12 June 2017. Nolan, Hamilton. 2015. “Don’t Piss on Your Best Friend.” Gawker, 10 August 2015.

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Ollstein, Alice Miranda. 2015. “Bernie Sanders’ New Racial Justice Platform Wins Praise from Black Lives Matter Activists.” Think Progress, 10 August 2015. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-Cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggert, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–98. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Panizza, Francisco. 2017. “Populism and Identification.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggert, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 406–425. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Papacharissi, Zizi. 2014. Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology, and Politics. New York: Oxford University Press. Poole, Isaiah. 2016. “People’s Summit Attendees Leave Determined to Keep ‘The Bern’ Alive.” Common Dreams, 20 June 2016. Rauch, Jonathan, and Raymond J. La Raja. 2017. “Re-Engineering Politicians: How Activist Groups Choose Our Candidates—Long before We Vote.” Brookings Institution Report. Rigueur, Leah Wright. 2016. “Young Black People Are Radically Reimagining What Political Activism Can Be.” The New York Times, 1 March 2016. Rivas, Jorge. 2015. “The Protests Worked: Bernie Sanders Said Her Name at Democratic Debate.” Splinter, 14 October 2015. Roediger, David. 2007. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. London: Verso. Sainato, Michael. 2015. “Bernie Sanders Kept a Promise Made in Secret to Sandra Bland’s Family.” Observer, 10 October 2015. Samuelsohn, Darren. 2016. “Bernie’s Army of Coders.” Politico, 18 February 2016. Soss, Joe, Richard Fording, and Sanford Schram. 2011. Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Starr, Terrell Jermaine. 2015. “Why Aren’t More Black Voters Feeling the Bern.” AlterNet, 10 September 2015. ———. 2016. “How Bernie Sanders Lost Black Voters.” Splinter, 10 July 2016. ———. 2017. “Bernie Sanders’ Black Woman Problem.” The Root, 19 July 2017. Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Giorgos Katsambekis. 2014. “Left-Wing Populism in the European Periphery: The Case of SYRIZA.” Journal of Political Ideologies 19 (2): 119–142. The Guardian. 2015. “Black Lives Matter Movement Refuses to Endorse Any 2016 Presidential Candidate.” 15 September 2015. “The Movement for Black Lives”. n.d. Thomas, Dexter. 2015. “Just How Black Is Bernie Sanders?” Los Angeles Times, 19 July 2015. Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. 2016. “How California Made Bernie Sanders a Better Candidate.” The New Yorker, 9 June 2016. Williams, Raymond. 2012. The Long Revolution. Cardigan: Parthian Books. Willies, Egberto. 2015. “Black Lives Matter Protest at Netroots Nation (Complete Version).” YouTube video: https://youtu.be/chXJq-VaXXs. Wilz, Kelly. 2016. “Bernie Bros and Women Cards: Rhetorics of Sexism, Misogyny, and Constructed Masculinity in the 2016 Election.” Women’s Studies in Communication 39 (4): 357–360. Zhou, Li. 2019. “Bernie Sanders Declines to Back Reparations.” Vox, 1 March 2019.

8 POPULIST POLITICS AND THE POLITICS OF “POPULISM” The Radical Right in Western Europe Benjamin De Cleen, Jason Glynos, and Aurelien Mondon

Introduction Western European populism has received more than its fair share of academic and public attention. More so than in Southern Europe, Latin America or the rest of the world, populism in Western Europe has been largely associated with the radical right. Indeed, the renewed and growing academic focus on populism in Europe since the 1990s has been strongly related to the rise of populist radical right parties such as the French Front/Rassemblement National and the Austrian Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs. Given the predominantly (radical) right character of populist politics in Western Europe, we focus in this chapter on the role the concept of populism should play in our understanding of populist radical right (PRR) parties and on the role the signifier “populism” should play in assessing reactions to these parties by the press, other political actors, and academia. In order to better understand the nature, role, and impact of populism in Western Europe, we argue—somewhat paradoxically perhaps—that the concept of populism must play a less central part in our analyses of populist parties (an argument we believe to hold true not only for the PRR but also for populist parties more generally). This argument goes against a rather prominent tendency to attach major importance to the PRR’s populism or even to reduce our understanding of the PRR as essentially or predominantly populist. To this first argument, we add a second argument, suggesting that we must simultaneously reflect more on the performative effects of discourses about populism, understood as a signifier, on diagnoses of and strategies against the PRR (see De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon 2018; Glynos and Mondon 2016; Stavrakakis et al. 2017b). In making these two key arguments, we draw on and further develop a discourse-theoretical definition of populism that revolves around the discursive

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construction of an opposition between “the people”, on the one hand, and “the elite”, “establishment” or “power bloc”, on the other hand (Laclau 1977, 2005a; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). Populists formulate demands in the name of “the people” and seek to interpellate citizens as members of “the people”, with “the people” being discursively constructed in opposition to an illegitimate “elite” that is said to not represent and not have at heart the interests of ordinary people. Such an approach to populism has become common in the analysis of the left-wing populisms of Latin America and, more recently, Southern Europe (e.g. Kioupkiolis 2016; Laclau 1977, 2005a; Stavrakakis 2014; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014), but has taken up a relatively marginal position in the analysis of the Western European PRR (exceptions include De Cleen 2013, 2015, 2016a, 2016b; Kim 2017; Mondon 2017; Stavrakakis et al. 2017a), the latter having been dominated by the “thin ideology” or “ideational” approach to populism (Mudde 2004). More so than other approaches to populism, a discourse theoretical positioning allows us to clarify and contextualize the specific role populism plays in populist radical right politics in Western Europe. But it also draws attention to the role discourses about populism play, in terms of how the signifier populism acquires meaning in different discourses, and in terms of the effects that such discourses produce. In the next section, we present our discourse-theoretical understanding of populism in more detail, distinguishing it from the dominant thin ideology (or ideational) framework as well as highlighting how it differs from certain elements of Laclau’s approach to populism. We then move on to an analysis of the Western European radical right’s articulation of populism with nativism, stressing how populism is used mainly in the service of a particular kind of exclusionary ethnocultural nationalism. In the final section, we consider how analyses of the radical right in Western Europe that emphasize the PRR’s populist dimension have the rather perverse performative effect of legitimizing the radical right and of shifting the political mainstream to the right. In the conclusion, we draw on our two arguments to formulate a number of broader reflections and questions that might guide future research on populism in Western Europe and beyond.

On Populism Drawing on the work of Ernesto Laclau (1977, 2005a) and the wider discourse theory tradition, we approach populism first and foremost as a form of political reason, understood here to denote the formal pattern that characterizes populist discourses (see De Cleen 2017; De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017; Panizza 2005; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). When we approach populism in this way, the focus shifts from the “contents” of populism—what are the demands formulated by populist actors; what is their ideology?—to how it articulates “those contents— whatever those contents are” (Laclau 2005b, 33).

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From a formal point of view, populism revolves around the antagonistic relation between “the people” and “the elite”. In spatial or orientational terms, populism is structured around a vertical down/up axis that refers to power, status, and hierarchical position (see De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017; Dyrberg 2003, 2006; Ostiguy 2009). While this opposition usually takes the form of “the people” versus “the elite”, populists rely on a range of labels to posit themselves as the representatives of the underdog against the powerful. They pit “the ordinary people”, “the little man”, “the common man”, “the man in the street” or even the working class as a large down-group against “the elite”, “the establishment”, “the political caste” or “the regime”. Key to this formal approach to populism is the malleability of the concepts of “the people” and “the elite”: Who exactly belongs to “the people” and who does not? What are the interests of “the people”? Who belongs to “the elite”? Why is “the elite” considered illegitimate? Whilst all populists call on a “people”, whom they claim are ignored, manipulated, mistreated, and not properly represented by “the elite”, answers to such questions vary. Populist political parties and movements—whether (radical) right or left, agrarian, nationalist, democratic or authoritarian, progressive or conservative—construct “the people” according to their specific ideological outlook. Certainly, this minimal definition revolving around the people-elite distinction is shared by both the thin ideology approach and the discourse-theoretical approach, and allows both approaches to cover a variety of populisms. The main difference is that the thin ideology definition treats the people-elite distinction and the claim that politics should represent the “will of the people” as the central idea or belief that guides populist politics, whereas the discourse-theoretical approach focuses instead on how populists discursively construct the opposition between “the people” and “the elite”, how they construct “the people” and “the will of the people”, and how they present themselves as legitimate representatives of “the people”. Distancing ourselves from an ideology approach implies a stronger recognition of the strategic dimensions of populism, but whilst we share with Weyland a concern with the political-strategic dimensions of populism, our approach attaches central importance to discourse rather than “deeds” (2017, 61), and does not reduce populism to strategy, not least because the constructed character of demands and identities cannot all be reduced to conscious and intentional actions by political agents. Still, key to our understanding of populism, including its strategic dimension, is how populists contribute to the construction of “the people” and to the construction of grievances—sometimes specific, sometimes inchoate—as concrete political demands of the people. In order to better capture populism’s strategic dimension, it is important to stress that populism is not only a form of political reason, a formal discursive logic: it is also a political logic. Logics, in discourse theory, are “constructed and named by the analyst” to help identify and understand the “rules or grammar of

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[a] practice under study” (Glynos and Howarth 2007, 136). Political logic is a term used by Laclau and Mouffe ([1985] 2001) in order to emphasize its difference from what they call a social logic. In appealing to social logics, they aim to capture the relatively stable patterns, rules or norms manifest in practices or regimes of practice. Typically, these are understood as “natural”, in the sense that they are taken for granted, internalized, and uncontested. The operation of political logics, on the other hand, often becomes clear in times of crisis when “things are not quite right”, revealing, even for a brief moment, how what appears to be natural can be otherwise. This “visibility of contingency” is central to understanding the role and function of political logics. Political logics are thus understood to be processes that seek to maintain or disrupt settled norms. When we approach populist discourses in terms of political logics the question becomes: how do populist politics interpellate subjects, how do they construct demands, how do they contest existing regimes, or how do they reinforce existing power relations (see Glynos 2008, 278). Similar questions, we will argue at the end of this chapter, can be asked about anti-populist discourses. To construct their “people” and appeal to a broad range of interests and concerns, populists bring together different societal demands and identities in what Laclau and Mouffe (2001) call a “chain of equivalence”. What gathers these different demands and identities together in such a chain—what makes them “equivalent”—is not something positive they have in common—all these different groups do not have the same interests—but the fact or the impression that they are all frustrated and threatened by “the elite”, “establishment” or “power bloc” (see Laclau 2005a, 2005b; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). Populists simultaneously stimulate and reinforce dissatisfaction with “the elite”, thus drawing on and contributing to a sense of “crisis” (see Moffitt 2015, 2016; Stanley 2008, 98). In doing so, they present themselves as legitimate representatives of “the people”, in contrast to an illegitimate “elite”. Our approach differs here from an orthodox Laclauian approach in that we stress more explicitly how populist politics do not merely bring existing frustrated demands together in a chain of equivalence against an “administrative system” or “power bloc” (Laclau 2005b, 37, 38, 40; see also Mouffe 2018), but instead co-construct such demands (along with crisis and the frustration with “the elite”). Whilst Laclau has also insisted on the specifically vertical, powerless-versus-powerful axis of populism (Laclau speaks of the “power bloc”, the powerversus-people polarity (2005b, 40), or the power-versus-underdog polarity (2005b, 38)), our definition of populism differs from that found in Laclau’s later work, in which populism becomes synonymous with politics more generally (see De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017). Populism, according to Laclau (2005a, 67), is the “the royal road to understanding something about the ontological constitution of the political as such”, because it revolves very strongly around the logic of equivalence, dividing the social into two opposing camps; see Thomassen 2016, 16)—a

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mechanism distinguished from forms of “government” or “administration” that operate according to the logic of difference (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, xiii). This conceptualization of populism as politics par excellence leads to a strong overlap between the concepts of politics, hegemony, and populism (see Arditi 2007, 225; Beasley-Murray 2003; Stavrakakis 2004, 263). Instead of identifying populism only by the degree of division or antagonism and by the number of elements that are brought together in the equivalential chain (Howarth 2015, 15 in Thomassen 2016, 16), we treat it also as a particular kind of politics. Its specificity lies in the centrality of the down/up opposition between people and elite, which is one particular way of dividing the social into two camps (see also Laclau 2005b, 38, 40). Populism is thus characterized by a particular way of constructing a chain of equivalence, rather than by the operation of the logic of equivalence per se.

On the Strategic Aspects of the Radical Right’s Populism Populism in Western Europe has been most prominently associated with the radical right. As examples such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France), the Dutch Socialistische Partij (Socialist Party) and the German Die Linke (The Left) indicate, left-wing parties and movements using populism have had some degree of success in Western Europe as well. But their success and impact pales in comparison to the likes of the French Front National/ Rassemblement National (FN/RN), the Belgian Vlaams Belang (VB),1 the Italian Lega, the Dutch Partij voor de Vrijheid of Geert Wilders (Party for Freedom, PVV), the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Freedom Party of Austria, FPÖ), the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and the German Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) amongst others. While the shift to populism as a dominant concept in the study of the populist radical right is partly an academic and media fad, there is no denying that it was a crucial development in the history of the radical right. Something did change when originally explicitly elitist parties attempted to appeal to new electorates by presenting themselves as the voice of ordinary people (Mény and Surel 2000, 2002; Mondon 2013; Mudde 2004, 2007; Rydgren 2005). Rydgren (2005) considers populism to be one of the two elements of the new “master frame” adopted by the radical right as a response to the profound delegitimation of the radical right’s anti-democratic and racist politics after the Second World War, the other crucial development being the move from biological towards “cultural racism” (that speaks of incompatible cultures and ethnic backgrounds, rather than “races”) and towards ethnopluralism (away from outright racist hierarchization of “races” towards the defence of the specificity of different cultures and ethnic groups against multiculturalism and ethnic diversity)—later increasingly focused on a rejection of Islam. The FN was the first to have success with this combination of populism and cultural racism in the 1980s and ’90s, and this new master frame

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was later adopted with more, or less, success by many radical right political actors across much of Western Europe. Whilst there is no doubt that populism is crucial to understanding parts of the contemporary radical right, we suggest there has been an overemphasis on this populist dimension. While this focus has intensified over the years, it is not a new phenomenon: starting from the 1980s and especially in the 1990s, the notion of populism became increasingly dominant in academic analysis and public debate about radical right parties (see Ignazi 2003, 29; Jäger 2016; Zaslove 2008). There are two related problems with this. One is that the focus on populism has sometimes had the effect of deflecting attention away from what lies at the very heart of the ideology of the radical right in Europe: an exclusionary ethno-cultural nationalism, also labelled nativism (Mudde 2007; Rydgren 2005, 2007, 2017) or even racism. A second problem is that, somewhat paradoxically, the intensive use of the term populism as a catch-all phrase for everything these parties stand for has not allowed for a proper appreciation of the crucial but precise and limited role played by populism in these parties’ broader political projects. Key to our argument is that, in contrast to much journalistic and political, as well as some academic, discussions of populism, we should never talk about populism alone. The concept of populism is never enough to understand or evaluate a particular political project (be it right-wing or left-wing). We are of course not the first to make this point (see for example Mudde 2007; Rydgren 2017; Stavrakakis et  al. 2017a). The thin ideology approach to populism, especially, revolves around the idea that populism is attached to other “thicker” ideologies such as nationalism, socialism or ecologism (Ivaldi, Lanzone, and Woods 2017; Mudde 2004), and that these thick ideologies need to be taken into account when normatively evaluating populist politics (Mudde and Kaltwasser 2012, 2013). As we explain in more detail later, we do have a different take on how to understand the way populism relates to nationalism, socialism etc. in that we do not treat populism as an ideology (at all, not even a thin one) but as a political logic—a way of appealing to people and of structuring a political project—that can be used to further very different political projects, ideologies, and interests. Following Mudde (2007), we believe it is useful to talk about populist radical right parties rather than radical right populist parties, or simply populist parties for example. This is because it is important to highlight that PRR parties are a particular and historically specific manifestation of an older and more encompassing radical right tradition. The term shows that there were (and are) radical right parties and movements that were (and are) not populist, that PRR parties are first and foremost radical right parties, but also that populism is vital to our understanding of this particular variant of the radical right. To understand what is populist about populist radical right politics, we need to treat populism as a specific dimension of contemporary radical right politics. We also need to ask how it relates to the other core components of the

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European radical right’s politics, in particular their nativism and their rejection of multiculturalism and Islam. Discourse theory’s relational approach to meaning allows for a systematic theorization and analysis of how populism and nativism are combined. For example, it draws attention to how the populist signifiers “the people” and “the elite” (shared by all populist politics) acquire a specific meaning in PRR rhetoric (in comparison to other populist politics) precisely through that articulation with nativism. In contrast to the thin ideology approach and the common understanding of populism in media and politics—where populism is seen as having (largely negative) ideological effects that cut across the political spectrum—we focus on the use of populism by the radical right. Moving away from an “ideational” understanding of populism implies a move away from thinking about populism as the ideological basis for why populists do what they do. Our approach is therefore also more normatively neutral about populism per se, and focuses normative evaluations on other, ideologically more central elements of radical right politics, especially nativism. To be clear, our focus in this chapter on the articulation of populism and nativism—on how populism and nativism are intricately combined—should not be taken to mean that only nativism matters or that the PRR’s populism is only relevant in relation to its nativism. The radical right’s populism also needs to be considered in relation to its authoritarianism (e.g. presenting authoritarian demands for the death penalty or for stronger law and order as the will of the ordinary people) and its conservatism (e.g. presenting resistance to feminist demands as the will of the ordinary people). Understanding the specific role of populism in radical right politics necessitates a clear conceptual distinction between populism and nationalism (and nativism as a specific kind of ethno-cultural and exclusive nationalism). Too often, they are treated as synonyms (see Stavrakakis et  al. 2017a). Of course, such a confusion or conflation can be understood to have a range of sources. It can emerge from the often frequent empirical manifestation of associations explicitly made between populism and nationalism (whether in its exclusionary or nonexclusionary forms) beyond the radical right. It also emerges from the fact that both nationalism and populism entail claims to represent a “people”. Arguments that “the people” in populism refers to ethnos rather than demos (e.g. Akkerman 2003, 151), to both ethnos and demos (e.g. Jansen 2011; Taguieff 1998, 15), that populism is inherently exclusionary (e.g. Jagers and Walgrave 2007) or that populism is fundamentally conservative and revolves around nostalgic references to a “heartland” (Taggart 2000) are strongly related to the fact that European scholars, journalists, and commentators have long based their definitions of populism on the populist radical right (see Stavrakakis et al. 2017a). Assuming or implying that nativism is necessarily linked to populism hinders the latter’s application to other, non-nativist and non-exclusionary forms of populism. Even if most populisms have indeed been nationalist as well (be it an exclusionary or an inclusionary nationalism),2 a clear understanding of any

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politics that is both nationalist and populist still relies on a clear conceptual distinction between the two. The key here is to clarify the different meanings of “the people” in populism and nationalism, and the different discursive structures in which “the people” acquires meaning. In contrast to populism’s vertical down/ up distinction between the powerless people and an illegitimately powerful elite, nationalism revolves around the claim to represent the people-as-nation, envisaged as a limited and sovereign community that exists through time and is tied to a certain space, and that is constructed through an in/out (member/nonmember) opposition between the nation and its outgroups (De Cleen 2017; De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017). To be clear, whilst the in/out distinction between the nation and its outsides, and the link to a particular territory, is crucial to any nationalism, nationalism is not necessarily exclusionary and nativist. There are very significant differences, for example, between Latin American left-wing anti-imperialist nationalisms that claim to speak for an ethnically diverse nation and the exclusionary nationalism of the radical right that limits its definition of the nation to an ethno-culturally defined nation. The radical right’s nationalism is clearly exclusionary, and is combined with a concern with the defence of larger-scale territorially, racially, ethnically and/or culturally defined identities. These are discursively constructed through an in/out structure similar to nationalism, but on the scale of nations, continents, civilizations (cf. Huntington 1993, 1996) or cultures whose homogeneity is considered to be under threat. These identities thus became increasingly defined in cultural rather than biological terms. In Western Europe and, since the 2015 refugee crisis, also increasingly in Eastern Europe, this revolves most prominently around the defence of a cultural (rather than strictly religious) Christian (or even JudeoChristian) European or Western “civilization” against Islam (see Brubaker 2017; Mondon and Winter 2017). To ensure a clear distinction, we suggest it is best to understand the relationship between populism and nativism in populist radical right politics with reference to the notion of articulation. In discourse theory, with its focus on how meaning is produced through relational structures, the concept of articulation is of central importance. It refers to the practice of bringing together discursive elements in a particular way to construct a more or less original structure of meaning. Whilst any political practice draws upon, reproduces (and excludes) existing discursive elements, the space for agency lies in the selection of such elements. This is because articulations presuppose contingent relations of “no necessary correspondence” (Laclau 1990, 35) and this means that the process of articulation can radically change the meaning of whatever is being articulated (Laclau and Mouffe 2001, 105, 113–114). Apart from highlighting the combinatory contingency of the radical right’s populism and nativism (see Taggart 2017, 252; Rydgren 2017), the notion of articulation urges us to ask the following questions: How does the articulation of

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populism and nativism shape the meaning of the central populist and nationalist signifiers? How do populism’s vertical down/up and nativism’s horizontal in/ out axes become intertwined? And, looking at the architecture of PRR politics, where are populism and nativism located respectively? Which one is most central to radical right discourse? Does the articulation of populism and nativism impact on each other to the same extent? Or does one overdetermine the other? (See De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017; De Cleen 2017.) It is only by paying attention to the specificity of this populism-nativism articulation that we can fully grasp the PRR’s use of the signifier “the people”. In some slogans and demands, “the people” only refers to the nation. An example is the VB’s longtime rally cry “Eigen Volk Eerst” (Our Own People First), itself an adaptation of the FN’s “Les Français d’Abord” (The French First) and used in the campaign for the 2018 elections by the Italian Lega in their slogan “Prima gli italiani!” (First the Italians!). But these parties also take advantage of the multilayered meaning of the notion of “the people” in their own language (das Volk, het volk, le peuple, the people) (see Canovan 2005). UKIP’s call to a “People’s Army” to defeat the European Union and the British political establishment plays on this double meaning. And when Marine Le Pen claimed to speak “Au nom du people” (In the name of the people) in the 2017 presidential election campaign, this “people” referred both to the nation and to the ordinary people. This combination is what gives this slogan its strength: it interpellates people as members of the (ethno-culturally defined) nation, as members of the ordinary people and— crucially—as ordinary members of the “true” French nation who are ignored and betrayed by the elite who, they argue, care more about foreigners and refugees than about the “true” French. In such slogans, and across PRR politics, the definition of “the people-asunderdog” and “the elite”, and the positive inflection of the former and negative inflection of the latter, strongly depend on nativist principles, and not the other way around. To understand who “the people” is, what their demands are, who “the elite” is and in what ways “the elite” “betrays the people”, we need to turn to the radical right’s nativism. The centrality of nativism to the radical right project and the more strategic nature of populism in PRR politics becomes clear if we consider removing one of them from the equation. Without populism, the radical right project would likely be less electorally successful, but the nativist radical right project for society would remain relatively untouched (for the case of the FN, see Crépon, Dézé, and Mayer 2015; Mondon 2015). On the other hand, without nativism the radical right’s societal project would lose its core principles. Most importantly for us here, without nativism, the populist interpellation of “the people” and dismissal of “the elite” would become largely emptied of its specific meaning and ideological purpose. In radical right rhetoric, the populist signifiers “people” and “elite” acquire meaning mainly through its articulation with nativism. This becomes clear in the way people-as-underdog is seen as a sub-group of the ethno-culturally defined

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nation. When PRR parties claim to speak for the people-as-underdog, they only refer to (what they consider to be) members of the nation and exclude all others. Migrants and their descendants (including those who are national citizens), who in socioeconomic terms might be close to the “ordinary people” they claim to speak for, are excluded from the category of the people-as-underdog (see Caiani and della Porta 2011; Laclau 2005a, 196–198; Mondon and Winter 2018). For the radical right, the originally empty populist concept of “the people” operates within limits clearly demarcated by a particular form of highly exclusionary and ethnic nationalism. That is, these parties do not extend “the people” beyond the limits of an ethno-culturally defined people-as-nation (Kim 2017; Stavrakakis et al. 2017a). For example, when PEGIDA3 demonstrators chanted “Wir sind das Volk” (“We are the people”)4 in marches against the “Islamization of the West”, this “Volk” has both a populist and an ethno-nationalist meaning, but the former is overdetermined by the latter: the populist category is a sub-group of the nativist category. It is only the ordinary nationals that are demonstrating. Moreover, across Western Europe, PRR parties interpellate ordinary people primarily (but not exclusively) as an underdog using nativist arguments. For PRR parties, “ordinary people” are the prime victims of immigration, multicultural society and Islam. While the socio-economic dimension is often mentioned, particularly in relation to a fantasized white working class (Mondon 2017; Mondon and Winter 2018), it is used mainly to reinforce and promote nativist claims. More often than not, the socio-economic problems of the PRR’s “people” are blamed on an Other (migrants or refugees) defined through an exclusionary ethnic nationalism. Since the 2015 refugee crisis, for example, on its social media channels the VB has regularly presented people with choices along the lines of “helping our own poor OR importing poverty”, with the image of a sad-looking white man juxtaposed to the image of a group of male asylum seekers standing in front of the federal Foreigners Office. Facebook users can vote for “helping our own poor” by clicking the like button (thumb up) or “importing refugees” by clicking the wow-button (smiley with open mouth)—unsurprisingly, on 2 November  2017, the result was 2009 likes and 22 wows. Other examples are “affordable water OR more immigration” and “affordable elderly homes OR more immigration”. Similarly, the FN/RN has always made national “preference” or “priority” a pillar of its politics, more recently linking it more directly to the welfare state, arguing that it was only natural to help “nationals” before extending generosity to others. While it remains more openly neoliberal in its approach, UKIP also made use of similar tropes during elections and the Brexit referendum, stoking fear of the impact of Eastern European and Turkish immigration on jobs for the British and on welfare. The populist signifier “the elite” also acquires much of its meaning in PRR rhetoric through the articulation with exclusionary nationalism. There is of course a vertical power/hierarchy/status dimension to populism and a number of

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oft-recurring arguments about backroom politics, abuse of power, socio-economic and cultural distance from ordinary people, and a lack of interest in ordinary people’s lives that are shared by different populists, but the exact reasons for considering the elite illegitimate largely depend on the ideology with which populism— understood as a political logic—is articulated. In PRR politics, the main argument for calling the elite illegitimate is a nativist one (not a socio-economic one, as in left-wing populisms). One of the central claims of these parties has been that the political elite has put immigrants and minorities first, and privileged their rights over that of real “nationals”. It is thus mainly its position on nativist issues such as immigration that makes the elite a traitor of the people qua ethno-nation, qua underdog. This argument is not limited to the political elite, but is also used to criticize artists, intellectuals, journalists, and academics (see De Cleen 2016b; De Cleen and Naerland 2016; Holt and Haller 2017). Again, the socio-economic dimension plays a role here, but it is mainly used in the service of nativist stances. The articulation between populism and nationalism also plays an important role in PRR parties’ demands for national sovereignty. In the case of some substate-nationalist PRR parties, populism is used to dismiss the country’s elite who stand in the way of the independent nation-state. For example, the Flemish VB has a long history of combining populism and nativism in a criticism of the Francophone Belgian elite and the “Belgicist” Flemish elite that supports the Belgian state (see De Cleen 2016a). More often, however, populism is used to defend national sovereignty against European integration (the populism-nativism combo has been far more resonant in this context than in the context of separatism). The Brexit campaign (which was not limited to UKIP or even to the right), for example, revolved largely around the construction by the Leave camp of an opposition between an anti-nationalist EU elite that threatens ordinary Britons on the one hand, and a demand for national independence that represents the will of ordinary people and would further their interests on the other. Here, the populist dimension is largely used in the service of nationalist demands for sovereignty and against the EU (itself closely articulated in many European countries with a nativist rejection of migration). “Ordinary people” are presented as the main victims of European integration (for example of the free movement of labour), and pushing back European integration is presented as being in the interests of ordinary people, as in the Leave camp’s insistence that leaving the EU would add millions of pounds to the NHS budget. Simultaneously, the figure of the Brussels elite, totally out of touch with the lives of ordinary people in the member states, plays a crucial role. Apart from the financial cost they represent, EU politicians and public servants alike are criticized for being in it for the money, as illustrated by the slogan “Stop the Brussels gravy train” used by UKIP during the Brexit campaign (the metaphor was also used by journalists and other opponents of the EU). Therefore, the articulation of populism and nationalism in Europe takes on a different shape when in opposition

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to EU decision-making, because the nation is here constructed in its entirety as the underdog (for example in negotiations with the EU). The Brexit slogan “take back control” for example, appeals to the British people-as-nation as an underdog. Populist-nationalist resistance to supranational politics can also be found on the left of course, most prominently in the resistance against neoliberal policies “imposed” by supra-national or foreign elites (in collaboration with national elites) and going against national sovereignty. On the left, populism and nationalism are combined most prominently in an attempt to resist neoliberal economic policies pushed “from above” (for example, by the EU) or by “the empire” (as in Latin American resistance to US-backed neoliberal policies). This is not to say that the nationalist dimension is merely used instrumentally by the left to defend its socio-economic positions, however; nationalism’s role goes well beyond that, also extending to the defence of national sovereignty and independence per se as well of the nation’s identity. Still, the latter is much more central to the right, where the antagonism is not at root one between opposing economic models but mainly revolves around the defence of the popular-national against multiculturalist and globalist policies imposed “from above” that threaten the identity, culture, and economic interests of the nation. Even a party like the FN/RN, which has turned decisively away from neoliberal politics, continues to describe itself as pro-market. Our focus on the articulation of populism and nativism in PRR politics has shown that nativism and populism play very different roles in PRR politics. Nativism is the ideological heart of the PRR, while populism is a political logic performed by the PRR first and foremost (but not exclusively) to legitimate exclusionary nationalist demands. It does so by presenting those nativist demands as expressions of what “the people” want and need, by discrediting those who stand in the way or threaten those nativist demands as an illegitimate and politically correct “elite” that attacks “the party of the people” or even “ordinary people” themselves. This articulation of populism and nativism has contributed to the reversal of the once relatively stable connection between the right and the (socio-economically defined) “elite”, on the one hand, and the left and “the people”, on the other. This has been strongly connected to a broader shift from a politics that revolved mainly around economic redistribution to a post-material politics focused on identity (see Dyrberg 2003, 11; Yilmaz 2016), in which the PRR’s articulation of nativism and populism has played a central role. Populism has thus played and still plays a specific and secondary, but nonetheless major, role in Western European PRR politics. In the next—final—section we argue that to understand the full impact of this articulation and of the connection between the radical right and “the people”, we must look—beyond the PRR itself—at how the political mainstream has contributed to strengthening PRR parties’ claims that their nativism represents the interests and wishes of the ordinary people.

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On the Performative Effects of the Signifier “Populism” The previous section focused in large part on the strategic aspects of the use of populism as a way to formulate and legitimate the radical right’s demands, particularly nativist ones. That is only part of the picture, however, and its success and mainstreaming cannot be grasped by looking at the radical right alone. While the radical right adapted, so did the mainstream (Mondon 2013; Kallis 2013). As the media and politicians from governing parties criticized these parties, they nonetheless also increasingly embraced parts of the agenda set by the radical right and they placed concepts such as identity, immigration, and Islam at the core of political discourse. As a result, the whole political landscape shifted, making previously unpalatable ideas acceptable and even unavoidable for governments and the media alike. Some attention has already been given to the way mainstream parties have reacted to the PRR, with a focus mainly on how other parties have altered their programmes in response to the PRR (e.g. Bale et al. 2010; van Heerden et al. 2013; Zaslove 2004). Building on our discourse-theoretical approach, we want to draw attention to one particular aspect of mainstream responses to the PRR that has received little attention so far: the role played by the signifier “populism” itself in the process of mainstreaming the radical right and some of its stances. The rise and impact of PRR politics, we argue, cannot be grasped in isolation from how media, mainstream politics, and academia have increasingly approached these parties from the perspective of populism, and from the meaning they attribute to the signifier populism (see Oudenampsen 2012). We want to highlight the potential impact of particular discourses about populism, as distinct from the impact of particular populist politics (see Stavrakakis 2017a, 2017b), in Western Europe. In this section, we focus on the central role played by the signifier “populism” in journalists’, politicians’, and academics’ reaction to the rise of the PRR. In particular, we argue that their (mis)characterization of the radical right as simply or predominantly populist (rather than treating populism as one element of their politics) produces two seemingly contradictory effects—of both delegitimation and legitimation—whose highly intertwined character actually serves to bolster their position. The signifier “populism” has by and large carried negative connotations, as the media, political actors, and academics have attributed a range of related negative characteristics to it. The term has been used to criticize the purported opportunism and demagoguery of more or less radical contenders on the left as well as the right. This denunciation of opportunism is part of a broader view of populism as a questionable form of politics. Populist politics is criticized for its emotional (as opposed to rational), simplistic (as opposed to complex), antagonistic (as opposed to reasonable and consensus-oriented), and anti-intellectual message and style that is aimed at the heart and guts of the people (rather than their brains) (see

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Mudde 2004, 542; Taguieff 1998, 7). Following from this, it is common to read that populists, left and right, are a danger to democracy understood as liberal democracy. A more nuanced and refined version of this argument that populism threatens (liberal) democracy (and particularly pluralism) can also be found in academic assessments of populism that build on the idea that populism is a thin ideology that revolves around a belief in a “pure” and “homogeneous” people, on the one hand, and a “corrupt” elite, on the other hand, with populists claiming to represent the former (e.g. Abts and Rummens 2007; Mudde 2004; Mudde and Kaltwasser 2012, 2013; Müller 2016). Specifically, in the context of the radical right, and strongly related to the characteristics of populism already mentioned, “populism” has also become synonymous with racism, xenophobia, and ultranationalism (see the previous section). This derogatory use of the label “populism”, and especially the focus on populism to the detriment of other dimensions of politics, has serious analytical limitations, but also has problematic normative consequences. The image that is produced is one of populism as an inherently dangerous thing, where left- and right-wing populist politics are seen as two sides of the same coin, presenting a similar threat to democracy. Not only does this delegitimize left-wing populist politics in the eyes of many, through association with the radical right, but it makes criticism of right-wing populism less severe. Indeed, in the context of the radical right specifically, a focus on populism rather than on nativism (and authoritarianism or even racism) has meant a shift in our attention away from their anti-democratic and reactionary ideological beliefs towards their (apparently) far less normatively problematic ultra-democratic populism (see Mondon 2013, 2015). The focus on populism makes their anti-elitism and critique of mainstream politics key, rather than their radical nativism and anti-immigrant attitudes (see Rydgren 2017). This already indicates that “populist” is not only a much weaker criticism than, say, “nativist”, “racist” or “xenophobe”, but also that approaching the radical right primarily through the prism of populism has also in fact had the perverse effect of legitimizing both radical right parties and radical right ideas. From early on, the growing electoral success of the PRR was often interpreted by the mainstream as a sign of the “gap” between “the forgotten people” and “the political elite” (Canovan 1999). Mudde (2004, 562) remarked that “[i]n most countries, these debates started among the political elites, without any indication that the masses were much concerned about them”. Whilst we should of course also take into account the structural disconnections between mainstream parties and parts of the citizenry, this statement does raise the important question of whether the populism-focused reading of the radical right’s success did not precede or at least strengthen the PRR’s systematic adoption of actual populist strategies. This is a question that has received little or no attention so far (but see Collovald (2004) on the dangers of the misuses of populism in the French

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context; and Jäger (2016) about the “looping effect” of Taguieff’s (1984) approach to the FN as “national-populist” on the FN’s adoption of populist strategies). It is also crucial to ask whether debates about the PRR as the result of a gap between “people” and “elite” in our democracies have not contributed to the delegitimation of mainstream politics as unable to connect to “the people” and to the legitimation of radical right parties and ideas as “popular”. The simplistic link created between radical right parties and populism has strengthened the PRR’s claim that they stand as the only alternative to the status quo, something extremely powerful in times of deep political distrust. This in turn shifts the frame within which PRR parties are discussed in the public arena from the evils associated traditionally with the radical right (racism, fascism, authoritarianism etc.) to something less threatening, even embodying some form of a democratic demand. While much of the mainstream discourse stands clearly in opposition to these parties, their misuse of populism inadvertently confirms the PRR’s claim that they are indeed “the representative of the people”, “the voice of the silent majority” (Mondon 2013, 2017). It is thus no surprise that, as mainstream parties and the media have increasingly focused on the radical right as a symptom of a disconnection between people and elite, their ideas have been allowed to slip into the public realm. Already in 1984, French Socialist Prime Minister Laurent Fabius declared that “the FN [was] asking the right questions, but offering the wrong answers”. Such statements from mainstream politicians about the radical right have become increasingly common across Western Europe and are symptomatic of a process whereby radical right ideas find their way into the political mainstream through the belief that these “issues” are what “really” concern “the people” (but that the radical right’s solutions are “too radical”). This was particularly clear during the EU referendum campaign in the UK, where immigration was posited as a prime concern following UKIP’s lead. The use of the signifier “populism” has stimulated the acceptance and reproduction of the PRR’s articulation of populism and nativism in the political mainstream, especially through the acceptance across the political spectrum of the association of “the people” with resistance to migration and ethno-cultural diversity. In attempting to win back “the people” qua voters, mainstream politicians adopted the rightwing and especially nativist positions they had themselves helped construct as “popular”. The flipside was of course a declining belief that other themes—pertaining especially to the economic left-right cleavage—still appealed to “the people”, even in a context of the strong performance by some left-wing alternatives such as La France Insoumise’s in the 2017 presidential elections in France. This shows how conceptual discussions about what populism actually is do have profound real-life political effects, in a looping way. “Populism” has tended to be understood as a way of appealing to “what the people want”, and the success of populist parties has been interpreted as the outcome of the opinions and

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preferences of “the people”. Oudenampsen (2012, 2013) has argued that the absence of a constructivist perspective in approaching populism has led to seeing the electoral successes of populist parties as simply a result of what people want, whilst ignoring the agency of PRR parties (and the reactions to PRR parties, we might add) in discursively constructing a particular understanding of the “people” (and of their political demands). In other words: despite, or indeed because, populism is used as a negative term to criticize demagoguery or “saying what the people want to hear”, it has too often been taken for granted that the PRR does actually represent “the people’s demands” and that their politics do actually mirror what “the people” want. Instead, we argue that we should consider the role played by populist political actors and their opponents in constructing (and reproducing) a certain definition of “the people” and a certain idea of what constitutes “popular demands”.

Conclusion: An Agenda for Critical Research on Populism as Strategy and Signifier In a context of sustained hype about populism in politics, the media, and academia, particularly in Western Europe, we need to consider the impact of that very hype on party politics, the looping effect mentioned earlier, and whether at times the hype does not conceal more than it reveals. In recent years, we have seen increased attention being paid to the ideological uses of the notion of “populism” in anti-populist discourses (e.g. Katsambekis 2016; Stavrakakis 2017a, 2017b; Stavrakakis et al. 2017b). More broadly speaking, especially after yet another populist hype in the wake of the Trump election and Brexit, there is increasing concern about the exaggeration of the populist threat and the lack of attention paid to the much bigger threats to (liberal) democracy posed by radical right parties’ nativism and authoritarianism (and the radical right politics increasingly adopted by mainstream parties) (e.g. Akkerman 2017; Mondon 2017; Mondon and Winter 2018; Mudde 2017a, 2017b; Rydgren 2017). We argue that the first step is to make a clear distinction between the populist logic and the different ideological projects within which populism is deployed. Yet this is not enough. We have come a long way in fine-tuning the concept of populism, but there is still much work left to do as far as the study of the nature and effects of the combination of populism with nativism and other ideologies goes. We have argued in this chapter that there are analytical benefits to a discourse-theoretical approach to populism in studying the way populism and nativism are combined. Such an approach, with its focus on articulation, allows for a more systematic analysis of the intricate connections between populism and nativism in PRR politics in Western Europe. But the focus on the articulation of populism and nationalism could also encourage further analyses of other kinds

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of populist politics (see De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017). For example, how do appeals to national sovereignty, national pride, and perhaps even national identity intersect with populist appeals to the people-as-underdog in left-wing populist politics in Europe such as Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and La France Insoumise in France? Somewhat paradoxically perhaps, the discourse-theoretical focus on how structures of meaning are constructed through processes of articulation is in some ways closer to Freeden’s (1994) “morphological” approach to ideology than works drawing on a “thin ideology” definition of populism. The latter approach, whilst deriving its name from a concept originally coined by Freeden himself, has mainly been used in (comparative) mainstream political science research that has not always paid much attention to the intricacies of how populism is discursively combined with other elements, a concern central to Freeden’s work on ideology (see also Freeden 2017 for a critical assessment of the idea of populism as a thin ideology). A discourse-theoretical approach also draws more systematic attention to the performative effects of how we speak about populism. In this chapter, we have emphasized the importance of drawing a distinction between the strategic use of the populist logic and populism as a signifier. This distinction allows us to better bring into focus the analytical and normative questions we need to ask about populist politics, but also about the reactions to them, and the role played by academics in legitimizing, delegitimizing, and hyping populism. Ideological positions towards different kinds of populist politics on the left and the right, as Stavrakakis has suggested (2017a, 2017b), are one crucial element in understanding how academics have used the concept of populism. However, we also need to look beyond ideology if we want to understand the nature and effects of how academics (but also journalists, politicians, and other kinds of intellectuals) speak about populism. The notion of a “hype” about populism (Glynos and Mondon 2016), for example, opens up questions about how and why the signifier populism became so omnipresent, not only because of ideologically motivated attacks on “populist” politics from mainstream political actors, journalists, and academics, but also, perhaps, because of logics prevailing in the politicaleconomic, journalistic, and academic field, and the ways they interact (see De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon 2018; Glynos and Mondon 2016). Looking past ideology might also produce insights into how, beyond strong disagreements over the nature and normative evaluation of populism, discourses about populism have largely converged on the centrality of populism in our understanding of the current political moment (an argument that extends back to long before the “current” moment). As our analysis of discourses about the PRR in Western Europe has shown, anti-populist discourses can in fact contribute to legitimizing populist and radical right politics. But we also need to consider how, in defending certain forms of populist politics, we might also be following the

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(mainly anti-populist) agenda and terms of debate (with “populism” as the central signifier) set by journalists, politicians, and funding bodies. That is, beyond ideological disagreements, we need to look critically at the nature of discourses about populism and their effects. What are we not seeing because of our focus on populism? Might we be sometimes caught up in what Péter Csigó (2016) has called (paralleling financial speculation bubbles) a “neo-popular speculative bubble”: a bubble made up of academics, journalists, politicians, and other professional producers of discourse about “the people” who “speculate” on what it is “the people” think and want, and about how they relate to politics, but who end up referring mainly to each other and strengthening “populism” as a dominant interpretive framework? What are the effects of experts’ and politicians’ discourses about populism on citizens’ political positions towards populist parties and towards political and other elites? How does expert discourse about populism contribute to the construction of populist “public opinion”? We also need to ask how and why populism became such an omnipresent term. Why is it that in our current constellation, populist politics and discourses about populism abound—and how do these two realities relate to each other, perhaps in less-straightforward (mirroring or ideological) ways than we might assume? These are important questions to which we do not have straight answers. With this chapter, centred on Western Europe, we hope to have indicated some further avenues for research about populist politics and about populism as signifier, and some indications as to how such research could be conducted in a manner that takes into account the intricacies of populist politics, the dynamics of discourses about populism, and the connections between populist politics and discourses about populism.

Notes 1. The Vlaams Blok (Flemish Bloc) was renamed Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) after a legal conviction for racism in 2004 that endangered the Vlaams Blok’s financing by the Belgian state. 2. Consider the classical, incorporating populisms of mid-century Latin America, for example. 3. Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes is a German radical right movement founded in Dresden in 2014, particularly visible during the height of the refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016. PEGIDA also has smaller and far less successful chapters in a number of other Western European countries, including Belgium and France. 4. This slogan refers to the slogan used during demonstrations against the communist state in East Germany in the late 1980s. There too, ‘Volk’ had both a nationalist (the German people as a unified people) and a populist (the people as opposed to the communist state) meaning. ‘Das Volk’ was not an ethnically exclusive anti-migrant notion in this original context, however.

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Akkerman, Tjitske. 2003. “Populism and Democracy: Challenge of Pathology?” Acta Politica 38: 147–159. ———. 2017. “Populism is Overrated—if There is a Threat to Democracy, it’s from Authoritarian Nationalism.” 31 July 2007. Available at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europp blog/2017/07/31/populism-is-overrated-if-there-is-a-threat-to-democracy-its-fromauthoritarian-nationalism/ Arditi, Benjamin. 2007. Politics on the Edges of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Revolution, Agitation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Bale, Tim, Christoffer Green-Pedersen, André A. Krouwel, Kurt Richard Luther, and Nick Sitter. 2010. “If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them? Explaining Social Democratic Responses to the Challenge from the Populist Radical Right in Western Europe.” Political Studies 58 (3): 410–426. Beasley-Murray, J. 2003. Bulletin of Latin American Research 22 (1): 117–125. Brubaker, Rogers. 2017. “Why Populism?” Theory and Society 46 (5): 357–385. Caiani, Manuela, and Donatella della Porta. 2011. “The Elitist Populism of the Extreme Right: A Frame Analysis of Extreme Right-wing Discourses in Italy and Germany.” Acta Politica 46: 180–202. Canovan, Margaret. 1999. “Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy.” Political Studies 47 (1): 2–16. ———. 2005. The People. Cambridge: Polity Press. Collovald, Annie. 2004. Le ‘populisme du FN’, un dangereux contresens. Savoir-agir, Bellecombe-en-Bauges: Ed. du Croquant. Crépon, Sylvain, Alexandre Dézé, and Nonna Mayer, eds. 2015. Les faux-semblants du Front National: Sociologie d’un parti politique. Paris: Sciences Po Les presses. Csigó, Péter. 2016. The Neo-popular Bubble: Speculating on the People in Late Modernity. Budapest: CEU Press. De Cleen, Benjamin. 2013. “The Stage as an Arena of Political Struggle: The Struggle between Vlaams Blok/Belang and Flemish City Theatres.” In Right-wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse, edited by Majid Khosravinik, Brigitte Mral, and Ruth Wodak, 209–222. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ———. 2015. “ ‘Flemish Friends, Let us Separate!’: The Discursive Struggle for Flemish Nationalist Civil Society in the Media.” Javnost—The Public 22 (2): 37–54. ———. 2016a. “Representing ‘the People.’ The Articulation of Nationalism and Populism in the Rhetoric of the Flemish VB.” In L’extrême droite en Europe, edited by Jérôme Jamin, 222–242. Brussels: Academia Bruylant. ———. 2016b. “The Party of the People versus the Cultural Elite. Populism and Nationalism in Flemish Radical Right Rhetoric about Artists.” JOMEC—Journal of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies 9 (Special issue on ‘Expressive culture and populist radical right parties in Europe, edited by Benjamin De Cleen and Torgeir Uberg Naerland). Available at: https://publications.cardiffuniversitypress.org/index.php/JOMEC/ article/view/87 ———. 2017. “Populism and Nationalism.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo and Pierre Ostiguy, 342–362. Oxford: Oxford University Press. De Cleen, Benjamin, Jason Glynos, and Aurelien Mondon. 2018. “Critical Research on Populism: Nine Rules of Engagement.” Organization 25 (5): 649–661. De Cleen, Benjamin, and Yannis Stavrakakis. 2017. “Distinctions and Articulations. A  Discourse-Theoretical Framework for the Study of Populism and Nationalism.” Javnost—The Public 24 (4): 301–319. doi:10.1080/13183222.2017.1330083.

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De Cleen, Benjamin, and Torgeir Uberg Naerland. 2016. “Editors’ Introduction: Expressive Culture and Populist Radical Right Parties.” JOMEC—Journal of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies 9: 1–8. Available at: https://publications.cardiffuniversitypress.org/ index.php/JOMEC/article/view/83 Dyrberg, Torben Bech. 2003. “Right/left in Context of New Political Frontiers: What’s Radical Politics Today?” Journal of Language and Politics 2 (2): 339–342. ———. 2006. “Radical and Plural Democracy: In Defence of Right/Left and Public Reason.” In Radical Democracy: Politics between Abundance and Lack, edited by Lars Tønder and Lasse Thomassen, 167–184. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Freeden, Michael. 1994. “Political Concepts and Ideological Morphology.” Journal of Political Philosophy 2 (2): 140–164. ———. 2017. “After the Brexit Referendum: Revisiting Populism as an Ideology.” Journal of Political Ideologies 22 (1): 1–11. Glynos, Jason. 2008. “Ideological Fantasy at Work.” Journal of Political Ideologies 13 (3): 275–296. Glynos, Jason, and David R. Howarth. 2007. Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory. Abingdon: Routledge. Glynos, Jason, and Aurelien Mondon. 2016. “The Political Logic of Populist Hype: The Case of Right-wing Populism’s ‘Meteoric Rise’ and its Relation to the Status Quo.” Populismus Working Paper Series nr. 4. Downloaded from www.populismus.gr/wp-con tent/uploads/2016/12/WP4-glynos-mondon-final-upload.pdf. Holt, Kristoffer, and André Haller. 2017. “What does ‘Lügenpresse’ Mean? Expressions of Media Distrust on PEGIDA’s Facebook pages.” Politik 20 (4): 42–57. Howarth, David, ed. 2015. Ernesto Laclau: Post-Marxism, Populism and Critique. London: Routledge. Huntington, Samuel P. 1993. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72 (3): 22–49. ———. 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster. Ignazi, Piero. 2003. Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ivaldi, Gilles, Maria Elisabetta Lanzone, and Dwayne Woods. 2017. “Varieties of Populism across a Left-Right Spectrum: The Case of the Front National, the Northern League, Podemos and Five Star Movement.” Swiss Political Science Review 23 (4): 354–376. doi:10.1111/spsr.12278. Jäger, Anton. 2016. “The Semantic Drift: Images of Populism in Post-war American Historiography and their Relevance for (European) Political Science.” POPULISMUS Working Papers No. 3, Thessaloniki. Jagers, Jan, and Stefaan Walgrave. 2007. “Populism as Political Communication Style: An Empirical Study of Political Parties’ Discourse in Belgium.” European Journal of Political Research 6 (3): 319–345. Jansen, Robert S. 2011. “Populist Mobilization: A New Theoretical Approach to Populism.” Sociological Theory 29 (2): 75–96. Kallis Aristotle. 2013. “Far-Right ‘Contagion’ or a Failing ‘Mainstream’? How Dangerous Ideas Cross Borders and Blur Boundaries.” Democracy and Security 9 (3): 221–246. Katsambekis, Giorgios. 2016. “The Populist Surge in Post-Democratic Times: Theoretical and Political Challenges.” The Political Quarterly 88 (2): 202–210.

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Kim, Seongcheol. 2017. “The Populism of the Alternative for Germany (AfD): An Extended Essex School Perspective.” Palgrave Communications 3. doi:10.1057/s41599017-0008-1. Kioupkiolis, Alexandros. 2016. “Podemos: The Ambiguous Promises of Left-Wing Populism in Contemporary Spain.” Journal of Political Ideologies 21 (2): 99–120. Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: New Left Books. ———. 1990. New Reflections on The Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso. ———. 2005a. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. ———. 2005b. “Populism: What’s in a Name.” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 32–49. London: Verso. Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe. 2001. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. 2nd ed. London: Verso. Mény, Yves, and Yves Surel. 2000. Par le peuple, pour le peuple: le populisme et les démocraties. Paris: Fayard. ———, eds. 2002. Democracies and the Populist Challenge. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2015. “How to Perform Crisis: A  Model for Understanding the Key Role of Crisis in Contemporary Populism.” Government and Opposition 50 (2): 189–217. ———. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mondon, Aurelien. 2013. A Populist Hegemony? The Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right in France and Australia. Farnham: Ashgate. ———. 2015. “Populism, the ‘People’ and the Illusion of Democracy—The Front National and UKIP in a Comparative Context.” French Politics 13 (2): 141–156. ———. 2017. “Limiting Democratic Horizons to a Nationalist Reaction: Populism, the Radical Right and the Working Class.” Javnost-The Public 24 (4): 355–374. Mondon, Aurelien, and Aaron Winter. 2017. “Articulations of Islamophobia: From the Extreme to the Mainstream?” Ethnic and Racial Studies 40 (13): 2151–2179. ———. 2018. “Whiteness, Populism and the Racialisation of the Working Class in the United Kingdom and the United States.” Identities 26 (5): 510–528. Mouffe, Chantal. 2018. For a Left Populism. London: Verso. Mudde, Cas. 2004. “The Populist Zeitgeist.” Government and Opposition 39 (4): 541–563. ———. 2007. Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ———. 2017a. “Why Nativism, not Populism, Should be Declared Word of the Year.” The Guardian, 7 December 2017. Available at: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/ dec/07/cambridge-dictionary-nativism-populism-word-year. ———. 2017b. “We Are Thinking About Populism Wrong. And it’s Costing Us.” Huffington Post, 20 March 2017. Available at: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/populismwrong cost_us_58cfeb03e4b0be71dcf63e6c. Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, eds. 2012. Populism in Europe and the Americas. Threat or Corrective to Democracy? New York: Cambridge University Press. ———. 2013. “Exclusionary vs. Inclusionary Populism: Comparing Contemporary Europe and Latin America.” Government and Opposition 48 (2): 147–174. Müller, Jan-Werner. 2016. What is Populism? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High-Low Political Divide. Rethinking Populism and AntiPopulism.” Kellogg Institute Committee on Concepts and Methods Working Paper Series 360. Downloaded from http://nd.edu/~kellogg/publications/workingpapers/WPS/360.pdf. Oudenampsen, Merijn. 2012. “De politiek van populisme onderzoek. Een kritiek op Diplomademocratie en de verklaring van populisme uit kiezersgedrag.” Sociologie 8 (1): 13–44. ———. 2013. “Explaining the Swing to the Right: The Dutch Debate on the Rise of Right-wing Populism.” In Right-wing populism in Europe, edited by Ruth Wodak, Majid KhosraviNik, and Brigitte Mral, 191–208. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Panizza, Francisco, ed. 2005. Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso. Rydgren, Jens. 2005. “Is Extreme Right-wing Populism Contagious? Explaining the Emergence of a New Party Family.” European Journal of Political Research 44 (3): 413–437. ———. 2007. “The Sociology of the Radical Right.” Annual Review of Sociology 33: 241–262. ———. 2017. “Radical Right-wing Parties in Europe: What’s Populism Got to do with It?” Journal of Language and Politics 16 (4): 485–496. doi:10.1075/jlp.17024.ryd. Stanley, Ben. 2008. “The Thin Ideology of Populism.” Journal of Political Ideologies 13 (1): 95–110. Stavrakakis, Yannis. 2004. “Antinomies of Formalism: Laclau’s Theory of Populism and the Lessons from Religious Populism in Greece.” Journal of Political Ideologies 9 (3): 253–267. ———. 2014. “The European Populist Challenge.” Annals of the Croatian Political Science Association 10 (1): 25–39. ———. 2017a. “Discourse Theory in Populism Research: Three Challenges and a Dilemma.” Journal of Language and Politics 16 (4): 523–534. ———. 2017b. “How did Populism become a Pejorative Concept? And Why is this Important Today? A  Genealogy of Double Hermeneutics.” POPULISMUS Working Papers No. 6. Available at: www.populismus.gr/wpcontent/uploads/2017/04/stavraka kis-populismus-wp-6-upload.pdf [Accessed 6 August 2017]. Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Giorgios Katsambekis. 2014. “Left-Wing Populism in the European Periphery: The Case of Syriza.” Journal of Political Ideologies 19 (2): 119–142. Stavrakakis, Yannis, Giorgos Katsambekis, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Thomas Siomos, and Nikos Nikisianis. 2017a. “Extreme Right-wing Populism in Europe: Revisiting a Reified Association.” Critical Discourse Studies 14 (4): 420–439. ———. 2017b. “Populism, Anti-Populism, and Crisis.” Contemporary Political Theory 17 (1): 4–27. doi:10.1057/s41296-017-0142-y. Taggart, Paul. 2000. Populism. Buckingham: Open University Press. ———. 2017. “Populism in Western Europe.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo and Pierre Ostiguy, 248–263. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Taguieff, Pierre-André. 1984. “La rhétorique du national-populisme.” Mots 9: 113–139. ———. 1998. “Populismes et antipopulismes: le choc des argumentations.” Mots 55: 5–26. Thomassen, Lasse. 2016. “Hegemony, Populism and Democracy: Laclau and Mouffe today (review article).” Revista Española de Ciencia Política 40 (March): 161–176. van Heerden, Sjoerdje, Sarah L. de Lange, Wouter van der Brug, and Meindert Fennema. 2013. “The Immigration and Integration Debate in the Netherlands: Discursive and Programmatic Reactions to the Rise of Anti-Immigration Parties.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 40 (1): 119–136. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2013.830881.

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9 POPULISM IN GOVERNMENT The Case of SYRIZA (2015–2019) Grigoris Markou

Introduction In recent years, populist politics have become ubiquitous across the world— prompting a number of analysts to refer to our current era as “the age of populism” ( Jakupec and Kelly 2019; Krastev 2011, 11–16). Though the vast majority of extant studies examine populism in opposition, some scholars have started to focus on analyzing governmental populism following the success of a number of populist parties and leaders in gaining office (Albertazzi and McDonnell 2015; Katsambekis 2019). In Greece, a country with a strong populist tradition (Stavrakakis 2019, 53), the 2007/08 economic crisis played a crucial role in the return of populism to the country’s political scene. Specifically, the economic crisis, along with the crisis of bipartisanship of PASOK and New Democracy (ND) and the entrance of the country into the so-called “Memorandum era”, brought the populist radical left SYRIZA, a political party consisting of socialdemocratic, democratic socialist, and communist organizations that opposed neoliberalism, austerity policies, and the technocratic structure of the European Union (EU), into power (Katsambekis 2015, 152–161). What political direction did SYRIZA follow in government? Did its leader, Alexis Tsipras, display a populist discourse/performance? How can the paradoxical co-government of SYRIZA and the radical right party ANEL be explained? These questions are the focus of this chapter. In an attempt to develop a more thorough understanding of SYRIZA’s populism, this chapter uses a combination of three interrelated but distinct approaches to the study of populism. Specifically, it combines Ernesto Laclau’s discursive theory of populism with the sociocultural approach of Pierre Ostiguy, and the performative approach of Benjamin Moffitt to analyze SYRIZA’s populist practices

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in office. Examining Tsipras’ discursive construction of antagonisms, his articulation of social demands and political style, as well as SYRIZA’s policies while in government are all of particular importance to the argument in this chapter. How can this theoretical combination help us? Many studies on populism (and anti-populism) examine the political discourse, strategy or ideological features of political parties, without taking into account the social and cultural characteristics of their political performance. Thus, these works develop uncertain and stereotypical conclusions about the internal characteristics of populist political parties, failing often to explain a number of their political decisions. This chapter’s original contribution is that it examines left-wing populism in power through a discursive and performative perspective, and attempts to analyze the populist physiognomy of SYRIZA through multiple angles in order to emphasize the reasons behind its paradoxical political choices while in power.

Theorizing Populism: Discursive, Socio-Cultural, and Performative Approaches As shown by a number of chapters in this volume, one of the most influential— and indeed, useful—theories of populism that can be used to understand the current populist wave is that of Ernesto Laclau. In contrast to some regionally specific understandings of populism, his theory can be used in many different contexts and “offers theoretical sophistication without succumbing to idealism or intellectualist reductionism” (Stavrakakis 2005, 235). According to Laclau’s theory, populism emerges in times of crisis.1 It is defined as a political logic that divides society into two opposing camps, the people and the elites. Specifically, the structural features of populism are the emergence of “equivalences, popular subjectivity, the dichotomic construction of the social around an internal frontier”, and the “discursive construction of an enemy” (Laclau 2005, 38–39). For Laclau and his co-author Chantal Mouffe, discourse is a network of meaning that articulates both linguistic and non-linguistic elements (Laclau and Mouffe [1985] 2001, 107–108). Hence, research that follows their theoretical approach should focus not just on the rhetoric of a politician (speeches, texts, political manifesto etc.), but also on the leader’s political style and performance. In an effort to capture both the rhetorical and stylistic elements of a given populist discourse, we use Laclau’s methodological insights alongside two complimentary alternative approaches that focus on these aspects of populism: Pierre Ostiguy’s (2017) sociocultural approach and Benjamin Moffitt’s (2016) performative approach. As Ostiguy states, “populism is characterized by a particular form of political relationship between a leader and a social basis, established and articulated through ‘low’ politico-cultural appeals which resonate and receive positive reception within particular sectors of society for social-cultural reasons” (2017, 73). The “left-right” and “high-low” axes form a two-dimensional political space in which anti-populist parties and leaders are placed on the high politico-cultural

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quadrants of the spectrum and populists on the lower ones (Ostiguy 2017, 75). According to him, there is an important difference between populists and antipopulists in their respective ways of being and doing politics. Populists often use colloquial language and are more demonstrative and “colorful” in their bodily or facial expressions. Additionally, they claim to be much closer to “the people” than the impersonal politicians of the high spectrum of politics. In contrast, antipopulist politicians present themselves as proper and well behaved, and tend to use rationalist and technocratic discourse, while also supporting formal and institutionally mediated models of authority (Ostiguy 2017, 77–78).2 Drawing on a similar political logic, albeit one more focused on the mediatized nature of contemporary politics, Moffitt highlights three key features of a populist performance: 1) appeal to “the people” versus “the elites”, 2) bad manners, and 3) crisis, breakdown or threat (2016, 29). According to Moffitt, it is important to focus on the aesthetic and theatrical elements of a populist performance to understand the way in which the antagonism between “the people” and “the elite” is constructed (Moffitt 2016). Thus, in order to characterize a political performance as populist, we should look for a specific set of political elements, such as the stage (crisis or media), the performer (the leader or the party), the audience (the people), and the way the actor performs their role: by displaying bad manners (performance of ordinariness) and embodying the people (extraordinariness) (Moffitt 2016, 7–10). Moffit’s work on the performance of crisis by populists is thought-provoking, particularly the effort to simplify a bad situation by providing straightforward solutions, the targeting of those responsible for the crisis, and the utilization of the media to propagate the crisis (Moffitt 2016, 121). Following a cross-fertilization of related methods, we perceive populism as both a political discourse (logic) and a performative political style, representing politics and society as structured by an antagonistic relationship between “the people” and “the elites”. Further, this conception of populism can be combined with any ideology and economic model. As shown in the next figure, we utilize three elements of these approaches to analyze the case of SYRIZA: 1) the antagonism between “the people” and “the elites” or “the establishment”, 2) the culturally popular aspect of the leader (the way of being and in the way of doing politics), and 3) the theatrical and aesthetic performance of populism (displaying bad manners, embodying the people etc.), and the performing of a crisis. The use of these theoretico-methodological tools does not aim to offer a positive or negative ascription to SYRIZA’s populism. Rather, it seeks to explain the way in which SYRIZA discursively constructs the popular subject and dichotomizes society into two antagonistic groups (people vs. elites), the way in which it forms its populist performance—distinguishing itself from the anti-populist politicians of the “high” spectrum—and, finally, the way in which the left-wing party uses the “stage” of crisis to attack its enemies and promote its political, social, and economic agenda.

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“The people” vs. “the elites” (political dimension)

Populism “Low” vs. “High” (cultural dimension)

Ostiguy FIGURE 9.1 

“Victims of the crisis” vs. “perpetrators of the crisis” (performative dimension)


A Combination of Methods

SYRIZA’s Path to Power: A Historical Overview The outbreak of the 2007/08 economic crisis, the imposition of austerity measures by the governments of the time, and social discontent against the established parties (PASOK and ND) led to the collapse of electoral support for the parties that accepted the logic of austerity in the Greek elections of 2012. SYRIZA3 took advantage of this conjuncture to launch a political attack against austerity policies and the neoliberal agenda, which received considerable support from anti-austerity popular movements, as evidenced by mass demonstrations and labor strikes.4 SYRIZA rose to office through an egalitarian populist discourse articulated as a divide between “us the people” and “them the establishment”, and its participation5 in anti-austerity demonstrations and movements.6 Within this intense political climate, the Greek radical left, led by the young politician Alexis Tsipras, managed to mobilize a large part of society and form a new social alliance through an inclusionary populist and patriotic discourse (for inclusionary and exclusionary populism, see Mudde and Kaltwasser 2013). The main aim of SYRIZA’s electoral platform was the annulment of the Memorandums of Understanding signed in 2010 and 2012 between the European Union and the Greek government of the time, which imposed harsh austerity measures in exchange for a bailout.7 In the 2015 January and September elections, SYRIZA managed to gain a majority of

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votes but failed to gain the necessary number of seats in parliament to form a government.8 SYRIZA, faced with a lack of options,9 decided to cooperate with the new radical right party of Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL/Independent Greeks), thereby forming a “radical” left-right coalition government.10 During the first SYRIZA-ANEL government ( January–September  2015), the new government tried to negotiate with the so-called “Troika” of international institutions (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) with the goal of reaching an agreement that would lessen the effects of austerity. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, and the then-president of the Greek Parliament, Zoe Konstantopoulou, were among the politicians who were the key protagonists in this intense political era. In that period, SYRIZA attempted to convey the idea that it was a party in office but not in power; a government that fought for the people’s demands against the political and economic elites that continued to have the real power (Katsambekis 2019, 36). The intransigence of the lenders led to 1) a referendum on the bailout conditions,11 2) the acceptance of the Memorandum’s tough austerity policies by the Greek government under pressure from the so-called “institutions”,12 3) the split of SYRIZA, after the refusal of 43 MPs to support the new bailout agreement,13 and 4) new elections (September  2015) leading to SYRIZA’s second victory. The second SYRIZA-ANEL government (September  2015–2019) was different. Having accepted the policies of the memorandum, the government argued that its main aim was improving the living conditions of the Greek people through a “parallel program” that would oppose the austerity policies that the institutions had “forced” the country to implement. During the first few years of the second SYRIZA-ANEL government, cooperation between the radical left and radical right parties in office did not face significant problems, as there were few disagreements between them, while some progressive bills—such as the regulation of the cohabitation agreement and the recognition of gender identity— were supported by MPs of other political parties (but not by all ANEL MPs). This situation changed following SYRIZA’s decision to negotiate and reach an agreement with North Macedonia (previously the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) concerning the name of the country. On January 13 2019, almost four years after the formation of the first government between SYRIZA and ANEL, ANEL’s leader, Panos Kammenos, argued that the “Macedonia naming dispute”14 was a point of contention between the two former coalition partners, and announced his resignation (quoted in CNN Greece 2019). Following the breakdown of the governmental coalition, SYRIZA used the opportunity to turn towards the social democratic political space and proposed the formation of a new “progressive alliance” that would resist nationalism, hate, and neoliberalism. However, SYRIZA’s failure to improve the living conditions of the lower and middle classes, and its strategy on some contentious issues (e.g.

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the Prespa agreement, refugee crisis etc.) led to a strong “anti-SYRIZA” sentiment among large sections of the population, culminating in the party’s electoral defeat in the 2019 election.15 Following its defeat, Tsipras stressed the need to transform SYRIZA into a new, mass, youthful, popular, democratic, and modern party that would be the main representative of the progressive (center-left) political space in the country (quoted in Kathimerini.gr 2019).

SYRIZA in Office: Still a Populist Party? In order to determine whether SYRIZA could still be characterized as a populist party while in office, this section makes use of the discursive, socio-cultural, and performative criteria outlined in the theoretical part of this chapter to address the following questions: Was the discourse articulated by Tsipras while in power still a populist discourse?16 Did Tsipras use a populist style different from a technocratic style? Was the crisis central to his performance? And, how did the SYRIZA-led government attempt to address the popular demands that it had supported while in opposition?

“The People” and Its “Enemies” in SYRIZA’s Discourse While in Power SYRIZA’s people-centric discourse did not change after its rise to power in 2015. Despite the fact that, after the first “radical” period of its administration, the SYRIZA-led government accepted the conditions of its creditors and the Memorandum’s austerity policies, SYRIZA argued that it could still protect “the popular classes” through its so-called “parallel program” (quoted in Avgi.gr 2015b). The signifier “the people” continued to hold a central position in Tsipras’ political discourse and functioned as a nodal point in his political appeals. For example, just a few months after the party’s victory in the elections of September 2015, Tsipras underlined the essential role of “the people” to the electoral success of his party, arguing that: SYRIZA, in just a few months, won three crucial elections and one crucial referendum. . . . And indeed, it won these crucial elections . . . with the Greek people and the Greek society as its sole ally. (Tsipras 2015) Tsipras called upon the workers, the unemployed, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and all democratic citizens to be part of the radical left party in order to lead the country to a better future and prevent the return of “the corrupt establishment”. Indeed, the reference to the closeness of “the people” and his government was key to Tsipras’ discourse. For example, in a speech in January 2016 that marked

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the end of the first year of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, Tsipras frequently referred to both “the people” and other people-centric signifiers, such as popular support, popular mandate, and popular forces-with Tsipras stating that “we are proud . . . that we gave a breath of dignity and struggle to a wounded people, that we confronted a conservative establishment in Europe” (Tsipras 2016). It is noteworthy that sometimes “the people” appeared in Tsipras’ discourse as signifiers with connotations of popular sovereignty and numerical majority, such as “we”, “the non-privileged”, or “the many”. In the electoral campaign for the 2019 European elections, the main slogan of the “SYRIZA-progressive alliance” was “For a Greece of the many, for a Europe of the peoples”. Further, Tsipras argued that the program of ND, the main opposition party, constituted a threat to the Greek people (Tsipras 2019c). “The people” of SYRIZA’s discourse is an inclusionary and heterogeneous political subject. Its appeal brings together all democratic and progressive citizens, the workers, the unemployed, the Roma people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and all those who suffered from the austerity policies of previous governments. These diverse people are unified under the banner of SYRIZA on the basis of a common anti-establishment struggle, though its popular actors maintain their particular characteristics and demands. Furthermore, the people of SYRIZA do not take the form of a “pure” people without sins or blemishes, but rather are “the underprivileged” people that seek democracy, justice, and better living and working conditions. In addition, “the people” of SYRIZA are a democratic and egalitarianemancipatory subject that eschew exclusions based on nativist grounds, as is usually the case in right-wing populism. As will be seen later, SYRIZA opposed racism and nationalism. It introduced and voted for bills related to Greek citizenship, the regulation of the cohabitation agreement, the recognition of gender identity, and the authorization of adoption by same-sex couples. Hence, SYRIZA’s populist discourse kept its distance from right-wing populism, which often displays nationalist and xenophobic features, despite SYRIZA’s cooperation with ANEL. After examining the signifier “the people” and its internal features, it is important to focus on the ways SYRIZA constructed “the enemy of the people”. While in opposition, Tsipras attacked the “corrupt” political forces of the old establishment and the social and economic elites of the country (Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). This discursive construction did not fundamentally change after the victory of SYRIZA. The radical left party claimed that the battle continued against all those who wanted the restoration of “the old corrupt regime”. Even though he had defeated them, Tsipras continued to attack the established parties of ND and PASOK, arguing that they had led the country to economic disaster and harsh austerity policies due to their corrupt way of doing politics. At the same time, he criticized neoliberalism, “the neoliberal EU” and the IMF. Despite the attacks, SYRIZA stated that it did not want to lead the country out

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of the EU. The party’s commitment to keeping the country within the EU was backed by the decision to capitulate and sign a new Memorandum with the socalled Troika. However, according to Tsipras, there was a need to change the neoliberal economic model of Europe, which created huge inequalities within and between the member states (quoted in Naftemporiki.gr 2017). Tsipras also argued that the failure of neoliberal policies to manage the economic crisis in Europe eventually fueled the monster of chauvinism and rightwing populism (quoted in News247.gr 2018). Hence, he argued that nationalism and fascism were two important enemies of “the people”. His discourse also emphasized the connections between the old political establishment, the economic oligarchy, and the “media propagandists of the oligarchy”, all of which, he argued, were fighting the SYRIZA government (Tsipras 2019b). If we examine in detail the construction of “the enemies” of the people across electoral campaigns, we can find some minor variations. Up until the January 2015 election, SYRIZA focused its attacks against neoliberalism and the “neoliberal EU”, as well as against PASOK and ND, the political forces that signed the initial Memorandums and implemented austerity policies. Thus, the two antagonistic parties were constructed as “the anti-Memorandum forces (SYRIZA) versus proMemorandum forces (ND-PASOK)”. In September 2015, after the acceptance of the Memorandum following pressure from the lenders, SYRIZA continued to oppose the old political establishment, dividing the political space between “the old corrupt parties” and “the new forces” of the radical left. Its main slogan was: “We are getting rid of the old. We are winning tomorrow” (Syriza.gr n.d.). Thus, after accepting the imposition of austerity measures, SYRIZA sought to emphasize the credibility of the “new” political space, while simultaneously emphasizing the decadency and unreliability of the “old corrupt political forces”. During his time as Prime Minister, Tsipras criticized the old political system and its chronic pathogens, namely favoritism, and corruption. He also rallied against neoliberalism and right-wing populism, arguing that neither the supporters of neoliberalism and austerity nor right-wing populism could give hope to the people (Tsipras, @atsipras, 9 June 2017). Recently, on the occasion of the Prespa agreement, Tsipras mainly opposed ND and its neoliberal agenda (Tvxs. gr, 3/3/2019), as well as the far-right parties that rejected the agreement because the Greek government accepted the use of the term “Macedonia” in the name of the neighboring country (quoted in Kathimerini.gr 2018). Tsipras supported the creation of a broad progressive alliance and claimed that “the government of SYRIZA will negotiate again for the benefit of ‘the many’ and not for the benefit of ‘the elites’ and ‘the oligarchy’ ” (Tvxs.gr, 3/3/2019). SYRIZA’s slogans in the European elections of 2019 focused on the battle against elitism, neoliberalism, and nationalism: “Greece of the many against Greece of the elite” and “a broad progressive alliance in the European elections against nationalism and neoliberalism” were its main electoral themes. The main

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alternative that Tsipras posed was between “a better future for the people and the country” and “the return to the bipartisanship of corruption and economic instability”: Our people will soon be called upon to choose whether to continue down the road that leads safely to economic and social reconstruction, or choose the way of reversing in the years of the crisis, in the IMF’s and Memorandum’s years, which we have left behind permanently. (Tsipras 2019a) It is noticeable that SYRIZA’s discourse was more populist during the electoral campaign than when in office, which is not surprising given the electoral competition between SYRIZA and ND and the antagonistic nature of electoral campaigns. However, from the previous analysis, we can see that SYRIZA’s discourse in power was also organized into two antagonistic chains of equivalences that constructed a populist divide between “the people” and “the elites”.

Alexis Tsipras’ Populist Performance When analyzing SYRIZA’s populism, it is important to focus not just on the discourse of the party and its leader in a textual/rhetorical sense, but also on the leader’s populist performance, particularly when it stands in contrast with the technocratic style of anti-populist forces. The main element of Tsipras’ performance is his self-representation as a leader that embodies “the people”. Tsipras sought to show that he was a simple person, a common (but strong) man who understands the everyday problems of the citizens and fights to improve the living conditions of the Greek people. The leader of SYRIZA aimed to convey, through his way of living and references to his humble origins, that he continued to be part of “the common people” and of “the many”—in contrast to his opponent, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (the president of ND), who was part of the elite (Mitsotakis’ family has been involved in Greek politics for several decades). Tsipras did not need to pretend to be of humble origins, as he is from a middle-class family. Furthermore, after his rise to power, he continued to live with his wife and two children in a flat in a seven-story apartment block in Kypseli, a working-class area of Athens.17 Additionally, and contrary to the anti-populist politicians who follow a formal style in their political performances, Tsipras adopted a casual political style. For example, in his public appearances, he would wear a simple shirt and no tie. It is telling that he only wore a tie once, as a sign of his government’s success in ending the “Memorandum cycle”, stating that: I fulfilled the bet [ending the Memorandum’s austerity], [so] I wore the tie, but I have to tell you that all these years I was putting up a fight [against

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the Memorandum] while wearing “the work uniform” [i.e. wearing casual clothes] and not using a tie. . . . I will continue fighting it in the same way, because the Greek people still have many great battles to win. (Quoted in Avgi.gr 2018a) Tsipras also signals his popular performances through the use of “slang” and other popular expressions in his statements and speeches (bad manners, on “the low”), which, however, do not go beyond the bounds of political decency. Moreover, the intense and passionate movements of his hands, his tight fist, and demonstrative emotions are constitutive elements of his popular style that contrasts with the rational and technocratic political style that values emotional detachment. Furthermore, Tsipras made a great effort to make evident his simple way of living. He combined his political career with everyday pleasures, such as a coffee in a cafeteria or a tsipouro (a Greek un-aged brandy) with friends in a Greek traditional tavern. Whenever he visited a traditional feast, he did not miss the opportunity to participate in traditional dances with the local people to demonstrate his localism and “down-to-earth” nature. It is very interesting that Tsipras’ popular behavior bears some resemblance to the performance of Andreas Papandreou, the former populist leader of PASOK, who also used to dress in simple clothes (e.g. the “turtleneck” known as zhivago), visited popular entertainment centers (bouzoukia) and danced popular dances like “zeibekiko”.18 Last but not least, a key element of SYRIZA’s performance was “the performance of the crisis”, as per Moffitt’s approach. SYRIZA won the 2015 elections through a populist discourse that characterized the established parties as responsible for the huge economic and social crisis that affected the country. Tsipras’ political discourse was structured around the signifiers “crisis”, “Memorandums”, and “austerity”. Some years after his rise to power, Tsipras claimed that the country was moving towards the end of the crisis and that SYRIZA had created the conditions for a return to “normality” (quoted in Economy365.gr 2018). He argued that SYRIZA had helped the country to overcome “the crisis” to a large extent, and had protected the non-privileged. However, in the pre-election period of 2019, Tsipras underlined the danger of returning to “the previous critical era of the corrupt establishment” if the people did not give his party a popular mandate. As we can see, the crisis has been the central scene of SYRIZA’s performance, but Tsipras did not fully extend the sense of crisis up to the end of his term in office. He wanted to present SYRIZA as a successful party, as a party that managed to win the battle against the Memorandums. This is not in line with Moffitt’s argument that populist actors perform and perpetuate a sense of crisis (Moffitt 2015, 195). In short, what Tsipras sought to convey through his political performance was that SYRIZA is an integral part of “the people”, that understands its difficult economic condition and other concerns, and that can help the people overcome

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the crisis and deal with the dangerous neoliberal forces of the old and corrupt establishment that wanted to return to power.

Policies: Allowances, Welfare State, and Minority Rights On a policy level, the dominant narrative was that SYRIZA was elected in January 2015 to bring to an end to the Memorandums, austerity policies, corruption, and neoliberalism (Avgi.gr 2015a). The initial strategy of the government was to negotiate hard with Greece’s lenders and implement a social agenda. The radical left party tried to reverse some of the unpopular decisions of the previous administrations, such as the shutdown of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) and the dismissal of thousands of public sector employees. At the same time, it attempted to present itself as a party that fights against the technocrats of Brussels for the good of “the people” (something that, the party argued, previous governments failed to do). The new government19 implemented a humanitarian program to tackle poverty. It included free electricity reconnection, as well as rent and food allowances for the poor. It also restructured the debt of thousands of citizens with the tax office, social security funds, and municipalities. A crucial governmental decision of that period was the provision of Greek citizenship to immigrant children, something that displeased the conservative and xenophobic parties. Over that period, SYRIZA tried to prove, through its social policies and harsh negotiations with the international lenders, that it was a government of “the people” and not the government of the oligarchy. The party leadership sought to present the image of a government that did not occupy the real seat of power (Katsambekis 2019, 35–36), but a government that fights for the people’s future. This is not an unusual element of a populist performance. After the huge victory (61%) of “Oxi” (No) in the July  2015 referendum, which rejected the bailout proposals by the “institutions”, and the subsequent acceptance by SYRIZA of the Memorandum’s austerity policies and the departure from the party of the Left Platform, Tsipras realized that it was very difficult to continue governing without the necessary majority to form a strong government. The new SYRIZA-ANEL governmental coalition stated that it “was forced” to implement the Memorandum’s policies, but that it would fight against neoliberalism and the old establishment in favor of “the people”. SYRIZA and ANEL gradually begun to assume their roles in government. As part of this role, they sought to address popular demands while simultaneously expressing strong opposition to the anti-popular, neoliberal, and conservative ideas of ND. Tsipras promised to protect the poor and underprivileged through the implementation of a “parallel” program to the Memorandum with the following axes: 1) the institutional reconstruction and democratization of the political system and the state, 2) the re-establishment of the welfare state and, 3) a peaceful foreign policy (Avgi.gr 2015b).

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At the beginning of its term in office, the aim of the government was to tackle corruption and tax evasion (Katsourides 2016) as well as the protection of minority rights. As the country was getting closer to the end of the tough Memorandum obligations, the Tsipras government focused more on the expansion of the welfare state and on a generous new package of social benefits.20 Some of the government’s much-discussed and controversial decisions of that period were the regulation of the cohabitation agreement, the recognition of gender identity, allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, the law on the licensing of private television channels, and the Prespa agreement that solved the so-called “Macedonia naming dispute”. SYRIZA, as the major partner of the governmental coalition, attempted to improve the lives of the lower classes through its social policy agenda and its aim to protect the rights of minorities (immigrants, LGTBQ people). Simultaneously, SYRIZA launched a strong battle against a section of the domestic oligarchy (e.g. the owners of some TV channels and other millionaire entrepreneurs) and the conservative and xenophobic voices of the opposition that opposed the protection of minority rights. Nevertheless, the government’s decision to pursue Memorandum economic policies similar to those of previous governments (e.g. increases in VAT and business taxes, reductions in pensions, privatizations etc.) negatively affected the lives of thousands of citizens, especially the middle class. Furthermore, a large part of Greek society continued to face huge economic problems: despite a slight reduction, unemployment remained a major problem for young people. A  small increase in the minimum wage was not enough to cover the needs of the citizens. The country’s debt remained unbearable. The state continued to face major problems in a number of sectors, while the government did not propose any radical democratic changes to the political system. However, the results of the 2019 national elections showed that SYRIZA’s policies retained the support of a large part of the lower classes. In the two largest urban centers of Greece (Athens and Thessaloniki), most of the working-class areas (Municipalities of Aigaleo, Agias Varvaras, Kaisiarianis, AmpelokiponMenemenis, Kordelio-Evosmou, Neapolis-Sikeon, Pavlou Mela etc.) mainly voted in favor of SYRIZA (For the results see: Ministry of Interior). This is particularly impressive in the case of Thessaloniki, if we consider that a huge nationalist propaganda effort was launched in northern Greece by various parties and organizations over the government’s decision to support the Prespa agreement.

SYRIZA and ANEL: A Paradoxical Governmental Coalition How can a coalition between a radical left and a radical right party be explained? The cooperation between the radical left and the radical right was justified by both parties on the basis of a common battle against neoliberal forces. Tsipras argued that SYRIZA and ANEL had important differences but that cooperation was crucial for the country and was based on specific convergences on specific

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targets (quoted in Thetoc.gr 2017). ANEL was the only parliamentary party that had a common “anti-Memorandum” agenda; thus, cooperation was based on the goals of re-negotiating the bailout conditions (first period) and leading the country to economic growth through the reform of the state and social policies (second period).21 ANEL’s leader, Kammenos, vigorously defended his decision to co-govern with the radical left, and utilized the historical example of cooperation between Napoleon Zervas (nationalists) and Aris Velouxiotis (communists) in the blasting of the Gorgopotamos bridge in World War Two to support his argument (Kammenos, quoted in Newpost.gr 2015). As he stated: “We have worked with Alexis despite our ideological differences to save our homeland and promote national reconciliation” (Kammenos 2018). How did these two parties with different ideologies manage to maintain their alliance for four whole years? A populist style of doing politics and the common battle against the forces of the establishment and the austerity policies of the EU were the main features behind their decision to cooperate. Specifically, SYRIZA and ANEL expressed a populist performance and shared a common narrative for explaining the Greek crisis, centered on an anti-austerity logic (Kutlay 2018, 179). According to Mazzolini, “ANEL was the only party available to make an anti-austerity alliance. They had to do it” (Mazzolini, 10/4/15). In addition, during the coalition government, anti-populist attacks against SYRIZA and ANEL by ND and PASOK (and vice versa) resulted in high levels of hostility between the populist and anti-populist parties, thus sharpening the divide between them and strengthening the cohesion of the two antagonistic blocks. However, the elements of ANEL’s populist discourse were very different from those of SYRIZA’s populism. The discourse of ANEL combined nationalism and populism, and the mixture of the two resulted in an exclusionary construction of the people. The people of Kammenos are the Greek people, “the people” as “the Greek nation”. Kammenos’ populism is less inclusive; as can be seen in its founding declaration, ANEL emphasizes the importance of the principles of national independence, popular sovereignty, respect for the Constitution, and parliamentary democracy. It also upholds the principles of Christian Orthodoxy and the party’s support of the nation (ANEL, Founding Declaration 2012). ANEL’s strong nationalism and conservatism became evident not just in the “Macedonia naming dispute” but also in other issues, such as the provision of Greek citizenship to immigrant children who were born in Greece, the legislation on gender change from the age of 15, and the possibility of same-sex couples adopting children (Katsambekis 2019, 38). As noted earlier, SYRIZA and ANEL have different views on who should be considered part of the people (“the people as the demos” vs. “the people as the nation”).22 Thus, it was not surprising that the rupture of the governmental coalition came as a result of the re-emergence of an old national issue, the “Macedonia naming dispute”, as ANEL decided that it could not accept the Prespa agreement with North Macedonia about the new name of the country. Kammenos stated

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that he could not accept the term “Macedonia” in the compound name of the neighboring state, because “Macedonia is one and it is Greek” (quoted in Onalert. gr 2019). As he argued: I met the Prime Minister. We had a fairly long discussion. There was cooperation for four years in a government of national consensus between two parties from different political spaces. We took the country out of Memorandums, so the goal was achieved. I thanked the Prime Minister for the cooperation and I explained that for me, for reasons of national interest, this cooperation cannot continue. ANEL are leaving the government. (Kammenos, quoted in Alphanews.live 2019) Within this political context, SYRIZA tried to appear as a democratic and progressive party that fights for peace and reconciliation with neighboring peoples and countries. Hence, it called upon all left-wing, progressive, and democratic forces to support the government and the agreement of Prespa. In order to pass the vote on the Prespa agreement and make possible the formation of a new “progressive alliance”, Tsipras conveyed an anti-nationalist discourse through a new political frontier: progressivism versus nationalism. SYRIZA’s choice to negotiate and reach an important agreement with the neighboring state of North Macedonia led to new negotiations and alliances (mainly) within the center-left space, in an attempt to create a new ideologically broader alliance. Nevertheless, despite SYRIZA’s rupture with ANEL, the inclusion of right-wing politicians with conservative ideas (such as Elena Kountoura and Terens Quick) in SYRIZA’s ballots raises questions about the “progressive” character of the party.

Conclusion The case of SYRIZA provides a challenge to mainstream theories on populism, particularly ideational approaches. These theories take a moralistic reading of populism that presents “the people” as a “homogeneous unit” with a “pure” character. However, as we have seen in our analysis, the dichotomy between “the people” and “the elites” in SYRIZA’s discourse was mainly of a sociopolitico-economic nature. In this divide, the people were constructed as a heterogeneous collective subject that opposed the political and economic establishment of the country.23 In addition, through the combination of different theoretical approaches, we attempted to show that Tsipras’ discourse continued to be populist during his time in office, while his political performance included populist characteristics that are different from the political features of his anti-populist main rivals. This chapter has also aimed to show that the cooperation between SYRIZA and ANEL can be explained by their common populist and anti-austerity logic, as well as by the lack of alternative strategies and partners for the radical left

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in that period.24 While the Prespa agreement made evident the ideological and political differences between left- and right-wing populism, it is important to discuss the problems of such a paradoxical alliance. In this regard, SYRIZA has its share of responsibility for the normalization of the radical right in Greece, despite Tsipras’ numerous claims to oppose right-wing populism. Tsipras’ cooperation with Kammenos contributed to the normalization of the party’s xenophobic and nationalist ideas. In addition, this paradoxical alliance showed that the cooperation between these two antithetical political spaces created obstacles for a progressive and democratic dialogue on important issues within parliament and society. For instance, ANEL’s stance on the “Macedonia naming dispute” did not contribute to a fruitful dialogue, but rather polarized the political landscape and prompted the spread of nationalist and intolerant ideas.25 The path that SYRIZA decided to follow was not in line with the ideas that the party once expressed when it was a small, radical opposition party. Its political discourse, performance, and politico-economic agenda in office became more pragmatic. SYRIZA accepted liberal democracy with its huge problems and the logic of the market, while it sought to become a force of “political realism” that would replace PASOK as one of the country’s two main political forces. Thus, it is not surprising that SYRIZA capitulated to the country’s lenders, accepted the “austerity context”, recognized fiscal discipline and the adoption of neoliberal reforms as necessary tools of governance, and recognized entrepreneurship as the driving force of the economy. Politically, it cooperated with social-­democratic forces from the anti-populist spectrum (e.g. Theocharopoulos, Ragousis etc.), began a dialogue with social-democratic academics and politicians (e.g. the initiative of the “Bridge”), maintained very good relations with US imperialists, and entered into an alliance with Israel’s conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Thereafter, SYRIZA in power was neither a radical left party with democratic-socialist ideas, nor an anti-imperialist party. SYRIZA was transformed into a center-left party that continued to embrace a strong populist rhetoric and promoted a number of social policies as a counterweight to (its) austerity policies. In fact, the paradigm of SYRIZA in power is certainly paradoxical, as, on the one hand, it supported minority rights and progressive policies, defended peace in the Balkans, and promoted a social agenda in favor of the lower classes. On the other hand however, it cooperated with the radical right party of ANEL and some anti-populist politicians, as well as implemented harsh Memorandum policies like the previous governments. Clearly, the Memorandum context that was formed in the country after the eruption of the economic crisis played its part in the contradictory choices of the left-wing party. Despite the fact that Tsipras’ populist performance managed to convince a large part of the popular sectors to support his candidacy in 2019, his contradictory policies coupled with the great tension within Greek society about the “Macedonia naming dispute” led a large part of the lower and middle classes to oppose him. The kind of party SYRIZA

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will become, and whether it will continue to express a populist and progressive discourse, remains to be seen.

Acknowledgements Many thanks to the editors of this volume, whose comments and guidance helped improve this chapter immensely.

Notes 1. As Laclau states, “the emergence of populism is historically linked to a crisis of the dominant ideological discourse which is in turn part of a more general social crisis” (1977, 175). 2. It is crucial to note that populists do not always display “bad manners” in their political performance, but they tend to express specific “low” socio-cultural characteristics, thus achieving a more direct communication with lower classes. In contrast, many anti-populists, who attempt to use some elements of “low” culture, often fail to communicate successfully with lower classes and become caricatures. The opposite, of course, can also happen. 3. SYRIZA was founded in 2004 by Synaspismos and several small leftist (ecologist, socialist, and Euro­communist) groups. For over six years, it was unable to undermine the bipartisan dominance of PASOK-ND (Katsourides 2016, 53–67). 4. Populism in Greece is a principal feature of the Greek political culture and history. There are many political parties that have been classified as populist during the last four decades, such as PASOK of Andreas Papandreou (Pantazopoulos 2001), the small radical right party of LAOS (Ellinas 2010), and the political parties of ANEL and SYRIZA (Aslanidis and Kaltwasser 2016). 5. SYRIZA participated in several demonstrations, strikes, and movements. In 2011, the radical left party supported explicitly the movement of “Aganaktismenoi”, which was inspired by “the Indignados” of Spain. 6. The transformation of SYRIZA’s discourse in a populist direction intensified after 2010 (Chrysogelos 2018, 58). 7. Greece has had two adjustment programs in the period 2010–2015. The first program was announced by the Eurogroup on 2 May 2010, and the second was endorsed by the Eurogroup on 9 March 2012 (see Consilium.europa.eu n.d.). 8. SYRIZA secured 149 out of 300 seats in January and 145 in September 2015. A political party needs to secure 151 seats in parliament to form a majority government. Election results are available on the webpage of the Ministry of Interior (n.d.). 9. ANEL was the only other party that had a common narrative with SYRIZA, given that ANEL also campaigned on an anti-Memorandum and anti-neoliberal platform. KKE was against any cooperation with any party. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn was by no means an option for cooperation. 10. ANEL is a nationalist and conservative party without significant electoral support, created in 2012 by Panos Kammenos, a former Member of Parliament (MP) of New Democracy (ND). It was formed in the context of the economic crisis and the crisis of the established parties. Kammenos realized that there was a crucial political gap in the right-wing space. After his removal from ND, he tried to fill this gap by forming an anti-establishment party. 11. The referendum of 2015 aimed to determine whether Greece would accept the bailout proposals by the “institutions” (the EC, the ECB, and the IMF) as opposed to whether Greece would leave the EU (Grexit). The result was a decisive victory

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of oxi (no) over nai (yes). The “no” campaign was supported by SYRIZA and other smaller parties. 12. The Greek government failed to use the referendum result in the negotiations with the “institutions”. Hence, after long discussions with its lenders, the government decided to accept an agreement (the third Memorandum) in order to avoid new problems, especially after the imposition of capital controls. 13. The new parties that were created by major politicians that left SYRIZA are the following: “Laiki Enotita/LAE” by Panayiotis Lafazanis; “MeRA25” by Yanis Varoufakis; “Plefsi Eleftherias” by Zoe Konstantopoulou. 14. After its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, FYROM entered into a conflict with Greece over the use of the name “Macedonia”. Greece was against the use of the name “Macedonia” in FYROM, because it believed that FYROM could have territorial claims to the Greek region of Macedonia (Halikiopoulou 2011, 87). This issue created tensions in both countries. In Greece, the radical and extremist parties based their political discourse in their opposition to an agreement with a name that includes the term “Macedonia”. 15. The Prespa agreement is a bilateral interstate agreement that was signed on 12 June 2018 by Greece and North Macedonia (under the United Nations’ auspices) and resolved a long-standing dispute over the latter’s name (see Government.gov.gr 2019). 16. This analysis draws on a random sample of 50 statements, interviews, and speeches of SYRIZA’s leader Alexis Tsipras, between January 2015 and April 2019. 17. The simplicity of Tsipras’ life attracted the attention of the international media (Squires 2015). 18. The fact that Tsipras adopts a popular (populist) political style is widely accepted within the radical left party today. However, the populist performance was not always an acceptable political orientation for the Left. During the period of the populist hegemony of PASOK (1980s), a large part of the “reformist left” strongly criticized Andreas Papandreou for his populism and, through an initiative against “kitsch”, adopted positions against some aspects of popular culture. Contrary to this left-wing anti-populist criticism, PASOK embraced the Greek popular culture and tried to protect it (see Markou 2017, 66–68). 19. ANEL did not play a central role in the formulation of every government policy, and they did not vote in favor of progressive government bills. 20. Specifically, the re-elected SYRIZA-ANEL government implemented the “Social Solidarity Income”, which provided cash support and in-kind services to the citizens who were most affected by the aftermath of the crisis. In addition, an important breakthrough in social policy was the provision of nursing and health care to uninsured and vulnerable people, as well as the protection of children, who in the first years of the crisis had experienced difficult conditions such as fainting due to hunger. Furthermore, the government raised the minimum wage from 586 to 650 euros, abolished the sub-minimum wage, regulated the debt of thousand people to tax offices, reduced VAT on a number of products, and founded the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (ELIDEK) to help researchers to complete their research. 21. The government initially consisted of SYRIZA’s MPs and a small number of ANEL’s MPs, but there were also some other politicians who joined it in the govern­ ment’s reshuffles (independent politicians, center-right politicians, ecologists, socialdemocrats etc.). 22. As Maik Fielitz notes, ANEL incorporates “a rejection of immigration as an instrument that harms the homogeneous composition of the Greek ethnos” (2019, 109). 23. A similar opinion can be found in Katsambekis (2019, 40–41). 24. ANEL did not have a good electoral performance after their decision to co-govern with SYRIZA. In the elections of September 2015, they received 3.69%, while they received just 0.8% of the votes in the European elections of 2019, leading to their

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decision to refrain from participating in the next national elections. See the Ministry of Interior (available at: www.ypes.gr). 25. Is the “normalization” of the radical right a phenomenon of the crisis? In particular, the eruption of the crisis led mainstream parties to seek “political legitimacy” through cooperation or political dialogue with non-mainstream radical parties. In Greece, this normalization was first made by PASOK and ND when they agreed to cooperate with the radical right party, LAOS, within the context of Lucas Papademos’ government. Moreover, there are some ex-members of LAOS who are prominent members of ND (such as Adonis Georgiadis, Makis Voridis, and Thanos Plevris), while Georgiadis is currently one of the two Vice-Presidents of the party.

References Albertazzi, Daniele, and Duncan McDonnell. 2015. Populists in Power. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. Aslanidis, Paris, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2016. “Dealing with Populists in government: The SYRIZA-ANEL coalition in Greece.” Democratization 23 (6): 1077–1091. Chrysogelos, Angelos. 2018. Laikismos. Athens: Papadopoulos, 58 [Greek]. Ellinas, Antonis. 2010. The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe: Playing the Nationalist Card. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [Greek]. Fielitz, Maik. 2019. “From Indignation to Power: The Genesis of the Independent Greeks.” In Radical Right Movement Parties in Europe, edited by Manuela Caiani and Ondřej Císař. Oxon and New York: Routledge. Halikiopoulou, Daphne. 2011. Patterns of Secularization: Church, State and Nation in Greece and the Republic of Ireland. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Jakupec, Viktor, and Max Kelly. 2019. Foreign Aid in the Age of Populism: Political Economy Analysis from Washington to Beijing. Oxon and New York: Routledge. “Interview #1—Samuele Mazzolini about Populism in Europe and the Americas.” Politicalobserver.com, 10 April 2015. Available at: https://populismobserver.com/2015/04/10/ interview-1-samuele-mazzolini-about-populism-in-europe-and-the-americas/ [Accessed 15 May 2019]. Katsambekis, Giorgos. 2015. “The Rise of the Greek Radical Left to Power: Notes on Syriza’s Discourse and Strategy.” Línea Sur 9: 152–161. ———. 2019. “The Populist Radical Left in Greece: Syriza in Opposition and in Power.” In The Populist Radical Left in Europe, edited by Giorgos Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis, 21–46. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. Katsourides, Yiannos. 2016. Radical Left Parties in Government: The Cases of SYRIZA and AKEL. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Krastev, Ivan. 2011. “The Age of Populism: Reflections on the Self-enmity of Democracy.” European View 10 (1): 11–16. Kutlay, Mustafa. 2018. The Political Economies of Turkey and Greece: Crisis and Change. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: NLB. ———. 2005. “Populism: What’s in a Name?” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 32–49. London and New York: Verso. Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe. 2001 [1985]. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso.

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Markou, Grigoris. 2017. “The Rise of Inclusionary Populism in Europe: The Case of SYRIZA.” Contemporary Southern Europe 4 (1): 54–71. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2015. “How to Perform Crisis: A Model for Understanding the Key Role of Crisis in Contemporary Populism.” Government and Opposition 50 (2): 189–217. ———. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2013. “Exclusionary vs. Inclusionary Populism: Comparing Contemporary Europe and Latin America.” Government and Opposition 48 (2): 147–174. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-Cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pantazopoulos, Andreas. 2001. “Gia to Lao kai to Ethnos”: I  stigmi Andrea Papandreou, 1965–1989. Athens: Polis [Greek]. Squires Nick. 2015. “The Flat from Where Greece’s Che Guevara is Planning Europe’s Downfall.” The Telegraph, 25 January 2015. Available at: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ worldnews/europe/greece/11368269/The-flat-from-where-Greeces-Che-Guevarais-planning-Europes-downfall.html [Accessed 15 May 2019]. Stavrakakis, Yannis. 2005. “Religion and Populism in Contemporary Greece.” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 224–249. London and New York: Verso. ———. 2019. Laikismos: Mithoi, Stereotipa kai anaprosanatolismoi. Athens: EAP [Greek]. Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Giorgos Katsambekis. 2014. “Left-wing Populism in the European Periphery: The Case of SYRIZA.” Journal of Political Ideologies 19 (2): 119–142.

Primary Sources Alphanews.live. 2019. “Panos Kammenos: Oi ANEL apoxoroun apo tin kivernisi.” 13 January  2019. Available at: www.alphanews.live/greece/tsipras-kai-kammenos-anoigoynta-hartia-toys [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. ANEL. 2012. “Founding Declaration.” Available at: http://anexartitoiellines.gr/files/idri tiki%20diakirixi.pdf [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Avgi.gr. 2015a. “To programma tou SYRIZA: Thessaloniki plus.” 4 January 2015. Available at: www.avgi.gr/article/10842/5187671/to-programma-tou-syriza-thessalonikeplus [Accessed 15 June 2019] [Greek]. ———. 2015b. “To parallilo programma tou SYRIZA.” 6 September 2015. Available at: www.avgi.gr/article/10842/5823166/to-parallelo-programma-tou-syriza# [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. ———. 2018a. “Al. Tsipras: I chora mas gyrizei selida sti thesi tis litotitas I koinoniki dikaiosyni (video).” 22 August  2018. Available at: www.avgi.gr/article/10842/8989794/ omilia-tou-al-tsipra-stis-ko-syriza-anel-stis-19-30-sto-zappeio [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. CNN Greece. 2019. “Kammenos: ‘Oxi’ se psifo empistosinis stin kivernisi—Dimopsifisma gia tis Prespes.” 13 January 2019. Available at: www.cnn.gr/news/politiki/story/161696/ kammenos-oxi-se-psifo-empistosynis-stin-kyvernisi [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Consilium.europa.eu. n.d. “Financial Assistance for Euro Area Member States.” Available at: www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/financial-assistance-eurozone-members/ [Accessed 14 October 2019].

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Economy365.gr. 2018. “Al. Tsipras: Telos mnimonion, pername se nea epochi kanonikotias.” 1 May  2018. Available at: www.economy365.gr/article/75064/al-tsipras-telosmnimonion-pername-se-nea-epohi-kanonikotitas [Accessed 15 June 2019] [Greek]. Government.gov.gr. 2019. “I  Simfonia ton Prespon.” 21 January  2019. Available at: https://government.gov.gr/simfonia-ton-prespon-apantisis-se-sichna-erotimata/# 1548098167162-b70cafcd-de04 [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Kammenos, Panos. 2018. “Ομιλία Πάνου Καμμένου στο Εθνικό Συμβούλιο.” YouTube video of speech delivered by Kammenos, 36:59. Posted 21 October 2018. Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoCepnFVnpg [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Kathimerini.gr. 2018. “Tsipras: I simfonia ton prespon vazei telos stin paraxaraxi tis istorias mas.” 14 December  2018. Available at: www.kathimerini.gr/1000202/article/ epikairothta/politikh/tsipras-h-symfwnia-twn-prespwn-vazei-telos-sthn-paraxara3hths-istorias-mas [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. ———. 2019. “Al. Tsipras stin KE tou SYRIZA: Theloume ena komma maziko.” 13 July  2019. Available at: www.kathimerini.gr/1033792/article/epikairothta/politikh/ al-tsipras-sthn-ke-toy-syriza-8eloyme-ena-komma-maziko [Accessed 15 May  2019] [Greek]. Naftemporiki.gr. 2017. “Al. Tsipras: Anagki allagis tou oikonomikou montelou stin Europi.” 17 November  2017. Available at: www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1296122/al-tsiprasanagki-allagis-tou-oikonomikou-montelou-stin-europi [Accessed 15 May 2019]. Newpost.gr. 2015. “Kammenos gia Tsipra: Tha synergastoume opos o Aris me ton Zerva.” 15 May  2015. Available at: http://newpost.gr/parapolitika/5c125a8756dccb7e13e1d 97f/kammenos-gia-tsipra-tha-synergastoyme-opws-o-arhs-me-ton-zerba [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. News247.gr. 2018. “Tsipras: I Europi den kindinevei apo to SYRIZA kai tin aristera.” 11 September  2018. Available at: www.news247.gr/politiki/tsipras-i-eyropi-den-kindyneyeiapo-to-syriza-kai-tin-aristera.6647033.html [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Onalert.gr. 2019. “Kammenos: ‘I Makedonia einai mia kai einai elliniki’ me video tou ethnarxi meso twitter.” 24 January  2019. Available at: www.onalert.gr/stories/kam menos-h-makedonia-einai-mia-kai-einai-ellhnikh-me-binteo-tou-e8narxh-meswtwitter/75752 [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Syriza.gr. n.d. “Kseberdevoume me to palio—Kerdizoume to avrio.” Available at: www. syriza.gr/article/id/62362/KSemperdeyoyme-me-to-palio—Kerdizoyme-to-ayrio1. html [Accessed 12 August 2019] [Greek]. Thetoc.gr. 2017. “Tsipras: I sinergasia mas me tous ANEL den einai mias xrisis.” 20 October  2017. Available at: www.thetoc.gr/politiki/article/tsipras-i-sunergasia-mas-metous-anel-den-einai-mias-xrisis [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Tsipras, Alexis. 2015. “Ομιλία Αλέξη Τσίπρα στην ΚΟ του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ.” YouTube video of speech delivered by Tsipras, 56:30. Posted on 1 December 2015. Available at: www. youtube.com/watch?list=PLuNakDeJpsb0SR1xSdIfwyw8f59DHkT__&v=6gWFLLt I6Es [Accessed 15 May 2019]. ———. 2016. “Αλ. Τσίπρας: ‘Ένας χρόνος Αριστερά, Ένας χρόνος μάχη. Προχωράμε’.” YouTube video of speech delivered by Tsipras, 24 January 2016. Available at: www. youtube.com/watch?v=5TLqQky8KcU [Accessed 15 May 2019]. ———. (@atsipras). 2017. Twitter. 9 June 2017. Available at: https://twitter.com/atsipras/ status/873113956696506368 [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. ———. 2019a. Speech, published on Syriza.gr, 13 March 2019. Available at: www.syriza. gr/article/id/79408/Al.-Tsipras:-Synechizoyme-mazi-me-to-lao-to-megalo-agwnagia-th-nea-epochh-toy-topoy-mas.html [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek].

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———. 2019b. “Ομιλία στην Καλαμάτα.” Facebook live video of speech delivered by Tsipras. Posted on 18 April 2019. Available at: www.facebook.com/tsiprasalexis/vid eos/ομιλία-στην-καλαμάτα/276165086623015/ [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. ———. 2019c. “Εκδήλωση για την παρουσίαση του ευρωψηφοδελτίου του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ.” YouTube video of speech delivered by Tsipras on 22 April  2019. Posted on 27 April 2019. Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EME2DS2H5lk [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek]. Tvxs.gr. 2019. “Tsipras: proodeftikos polos enantia se elit neofileleftherismo ki akrodexia.” 3 March 2019. Available at: https://tvxs.gr/news/ellada/synedriazei-simera-i-ke-toysyriza [Accessed 15 May 2019] [Greek].

Other Source Ministry of Interior. n.d. “Election Results.” Available at: www.ypes.gr/en/Elections/ [Accessed 13 June 2020].


Sakarya, has this burden fallen upon you? This cause is despised, this cause is orphan, this cause is great! [. . .] You are the poor in your own homeland, you are a pariah in your own country! [. . .] Sakarya; you are the pure child of innocent Anatolia [. . .] You have suffered on your face too long, stand up, Sakarya! (N. F. Kısakürek 2017, 399–400)2 You are like a scorpion, my brother, You are in a cowardly darkness like a scorpion, [. . .] You are like a mussel, my brother, Closed and at ease like a mussel, And you are scary like a dead volcano mouth, Not one, not two, unfortunately you are millions, You are like a sheep, When the coated drover raises his club, You hastily join the pack, And you proudly run to the slaughterhouse. You are the strangest creature on Earth, Stranger than the fish that is in the sea but does not know the sea. (Nazım Hikmet 2013, 892)3

Introduction There is a widespread tendency in studies of Turkish politics to underline the conservative-religious content of the political appeal of Erdoğan’s Justice and

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Development Party ( JDP—Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), which has been in power since 2002 and is still in office at the time of writing. In this chapter, by shifting the focus from religion to a broader socio-cultural bond between the party and the electorate, I argue that, to a great extent, the JDP owes its political success to a “low-populist” political appeal (Ostiguy 2009a, 2017). Following the approach and methods proposed by Ostiguy, I illustrate that the JDP’s elite and Erdoğan appealed to the so-called “poor in their own homeland, pariah[s] in their own country” not only through their words but also through their images,4 performances, and political practices. In the following sections of this chapter, after providing some brief historical, theoretical, and empirical background to the populist dimension of Turkish politics, I focus on the populist appeal of Erdoğan and the JDP as well as the anti-populist reaction it provoked. Therefore, this chapter is also an attempt to demonstrate the discursive and performative struggles between populism and anti-populism, the struggle to define the people either as “pure children of Anatolia” or as “cowardly and terrifying millions lacking consciousness”. I also show that by articulating the “love” and “resentment” of Turkey’s lower classes within a hegemonic cross-class coalition, the populist appeal of the JDP has been vital to the party in several recent important political developments.

Formation of the Turkish Party System and the Rise of the Populism–Anti-Populism Divide At first glance, the main political confrontation in modern Turkey since the foundation of the secular republic in 1923 appears to have been the cleavage between secular urban nation builders and modernizers (Kemalists) and conservative and traditional rural-provincial power holders—an amalgam of social segments ranging from tribal leaders to local notables and respected religious authorities.5 Immediately after the foundation of the republic, during the 1930s and 1940s, the Kemalists tried to politically incorporate the popular sectors (the low-income rural segments, either with or without land, and the poor urban populations) through top-down ideological narratives of “populism” (halkçılık) and “peasantism” (köycülük). But they failed mainly due to their positivist and secularist worldview which was deeply suspicious of mass mobilization in politics.6 Furthermore, Turkey’s transition to a multi-party system took place well before its rapid industrialization and urbanization, and, therefore, before the rise of the political salience of the urban working classes during the 1960s and 1970s. Hence, a political divide between secular nation builders (the Republican People’s Party) and their opponents (the Democrat Party—Demokrat Parti) was already present and well established by the mid-20th century. Suffrage for men and women had already been introduced, and, therefore, the considerably weak working classes and poor rural segments were not able to establish their own vigorous political institutional expression in the form of an agrarian, mass socialist, or social

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democratic party for the pursuit of political and social rights. Instead, the working classes, alongside poor rural segments, were incorporated, to a large extent, into the parties of the conservative and traditional rural-provincial power holders, or of the “elite victims” of the secular nation-building process.7 These circumstances were the main factors that inhibited the growth of a predominantly left-right divide in the country since, unlike in Western European party systems, Turkey’s working classes had no clear and politically vigorous institutional expression—either through an alliance with the secular nation builders or through the construction of a mass socialist or social democratic party (Bartolini 2000). Instead, the early political developments of the Republican Era created a predominant high-low (or anti-populism-populism) divide.8 As a consequence of the formation of the Turkish party system described previously, one of the most enduring features of Turkish politics since the transition to a multi-party system has been the strong social support for the center-right political parties among most of the lower-income urban and rural masses. For example, the first influential socialist political organization of the modern Turkish Republic, the Labor Party of Turkey (Türkiye İşçi Partisi), was strikingly lacking in lower-class support compared to the center-right Justice Party (Adalet Partisi). As Hikmet Kıvılcımlı, one of Turkey’s prominent 20th-century socialists, graphically noted at the end of the 1960s: Two parties campaigning side-by-side were observed. Meetings of the Justice Party were full of shabby (külüstür) “common rabble” (ayak takımı) with callous hands (nasırlı eller), peasant caps (kasket), peasant moccasins (çarık) or black rubber shoes (kara lastik). Those who attended the meetings of the Labor Party of Turkey were more or less well and nicely dressed citizens with ties and leather shoes (iskarpin). In Turkey, “the people”, as everybody knows, is the congregation of the penniless (züğürt) poor. Despite the fact that the Labor Party of Turkey uses the language of the poor, the poor continue to support the Justice Party. Well-dressed gentlemen support the Labor Party of Turkey more than the Justice Party. (Kıvılcımlı 1974, 20) When competitive politics in Turkey began with the foundation of the Democrat Party in 1945, there was a great deal of confusion amongst both the founders of the party and the public regarding the position of this new party along the left-right axis (Demirel 2009, 417). However, when the party started to gather momentum in the mid-1940s, there was a growing conviction among both the rural and urban poor people that, compared to the single-party rule of the Republican People’s Party, this new party was “taking them seriously” (adam yerine koymak) and “treating people humanely” (insanca davranmak) (Demirel 2011, 123). Not surprisingly, even from the perspective of the established Turkish bourgeoisie, the

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successor to the Democrat Party, the Justice Party, was considered to be rural and far removed from civilized life, whereas the leader of the “left-wing” Republican People’s Party was deemed more familiar, “Westernized”, “refined” (kültürlü), and “civilized” (uygar) (Demirel 2004, 91). It is no surprise then that the historical tension between the center-right parties and the Republican People’s Party has always been perceived, first and foremost, as a clash between two lifestyles: an allegedly Westernized, modern, civilized (çağdaş, uygar) one vs. an allegedly native, national (yerli, milli) one in line with custom and tradition (göreneğe ve geleneğe uygun). Little importance was attached to attitudes towards economic policies and authority either by right-wing intellectuals (those supporting center-right parties such as the Democrat Party and the Justice Party, as well as more radical rightwing parties such as the Nationalist Action Party [Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi] and the Islamist National View parties [Milli Görüş Partileri]) or by left-wing intellectuals (those supporting the center-left Republican People’s Party, the socialist Labor Party of Turkey, and other minor legal and illegal left-wing parties and factions). Instead, as Demirel illustrates, attitudes have been very much determined by socio-cultural factors. According to the left-wing narrative, Turkey’s rightists are “first of all, ignorant” and are not “individuals”; they are prone to violence; “they do not read and interrogate”; they are peasants and/or provincial town dwellers, and, therefore, “they lack understanding and they are shallow and rude” (Demirel 2009, 425); they are philistines and they lack manners (2009, 426); and they exploit the religious inclinations of the ignorant masses (2009, 427). On the other hand, according to the right-wing narrative, leftists are anti-religious and anti-Islam; left-wing ideology is the ideology of the anti-religious “minority elite” (Demirel 2009, 431); left-wingers are “cosmopolitans” and lack “notions of country and nation” (2009, 435); they are “rich”, and, as the “heirs of the Westernized elite”, they have been lapping up the “cream of the system” (2009, 436).

Approaches to Populism: Some Theoretical and Methodological Implications for the Study of Turkish Politics In this part of the chapter, I will briefly touch upon the methodological and theoretical consequences of different approaches to populism for the study of Turkish politics, and discuss why the cultural-relational approach proposed by Ostiguy provides researchers with the most suitable tools for analyzing contexts like Turkey. Approaching populism as an ideology or a formal political logic, as proposed by Mudde (2004), in the Turkish case, might lead scholars to miss the populist characteristics of political actors since these actors might downplay the populist logic in their discourse when necessary while remaining deeply populist in style and socio-cultural appeal. Weyland’s (2001) definition is no less problematic since

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many Turkish parties with markedly populist features in terms of style and sociocultural appeal are, in fact, much better organized than the populist movements and parties of Latin America analyzed by Weyland.9 Instead of just relying on a content or straightforward discourse analysis, researchers should employ additional methods to understand the populist phenomena, ranging from the observation of the day-to-day activities of parties and spontaneous speeches of leaders to watching and observing numerous videos and meetings (Ostiguy 2009a, 49). In order to grasp the populist components of Turkish politics, one should focus on the relations between parties, leaders, constituencies, and the wider socio-cultural and political-cultural contexts. Most notably, to identify and understand populism, researchers require a fundamentally relational approach that takes into account the concept of antipopulism (De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon 2018; Moffitt 2018; Stavrakakis et al. 2018). This is because one of the hallmarks of populism is that it antagonizes the political space and makes evident its enemies’ anti-populist ideological convictions and socio-cultural attitudes (Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2019, 39). In this context, a thoroughly discursive approach that, inspired by Laclau’s work (2005), takes non-linguistic components into consideration may contribute significantly to the analyses of populism, as other works in this volume have convincingly revealed. The populism–anti-populism divide can be seen in regions with quite different political systems encompassing Western Europe (Moffitt 2018); Southern Europe, most notably Greece (Galanopoulos 2018; Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2019); and Latin America, particularly Argentina (Markou 2018; Ostiguy 2009b). It is a difficult task to locate Turkey within the context of these different reflections of the populism–anti-populism divide. Yet, as the evidence put forward in this chapter demonstrates, the Turkish case should be seen as something akin to the Latin American examples. Turkey’s high-low divide (or “populism–anti-populism” divide, as its political embodiment) is, historically and sociologically, a rather deeply rooted phenomenon as a result of the country’s drastic and traumatic modernization process. As a consequence, a more ocular-centric and, even, a more corporal experience of the populism–anti-populism divide reveals itself in Turkey.10 That is to say that the reflections of the populism–anti-populism divide in these contexts are to be found not only in political discourse but are also evident in the political practices and performances of populist and anti-populist actors. As demonstrated by the two excerpts at the beginning of this chapter from two of Turkey’s most important poets, one should also highlight the fact that the populism–anti-populism divide is an extremely emotionally loaded one, whereby populism presents itself with the deepest pathos while anti-populism appears as markedly disdainful. This constitutes a thoroughly vertical relationship between the two styles in the political realm.

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Given its great complexity, Turkey’s populism–anti-populism divide cannot simply be seen as something strongly related to the notion of political crisis (Moffitt 2018; Stavrakakis et al. 2017), unless the entirety of the multi-party political system is understood as a state of crisis composed of objective as well as performed components (Stavrakakis et al. 2017). Yet, the multi-party politics that started in Turkey in the mid-1940s could also be understood as a constant crisis of political representation due to the traumatizing memory of the political modernization that had taken place in the preceding decades. However, during such prolonged experiences of crisis (something Turkey appears to share with many Latin American nations), the populism–anti-populism divide moves beyond popular-national discursive struggles over politics and policies and penetrates into the day-to-day politics at the national and local level. Works on Turkish local politics, for example, support the claim that the populism–anti-populism divide, and its stylistic repercussions, could also be found in the everyday and mundane practices of Turkish parties in local politics.11 Therefore, to understand the reflections and prevalence of the populism–antipopulism divide requires a more ethnographic approach that focuses on images as well as on the wider and more diffuse social interactions between populist politicians, their constituencies, and their enemies. It is important to highlight that, in these contexts, anti-populism ceases to relate merely to the condemnation of the mental faculties of one’s political opponents at the national level—as is very well documented by Katsambekis (2014) and Galanopoulos (2018) in the Greek case. It becomes something that also relates to the “manners, demeanors, ways of speaking and dressing, and tastes displayed in public” as well as “forms of leadership and preferred decision making modes” (Ostiguy 2009a, 6–9) at the national and local level. Hence, I rely to a large extent on the methods proposed by Ostiguy, which mainly stem from analyses of Latin American politics and embrace a “culturalrelational” approach to populism. Understanding populism as a cultural-relational phenomenon demands better, more detailed, and richer observations of the cases under examination, and it requires researchers to provide a “thick description” (Geertz 1993) of their examples and to pay attention to the so-called “trivial” details that reveal themselves in even the most mundane practices (such as greetings, ways of touching supporters, manners of eating food, use of idiomatic expressions, etc.), which are vital for strengthening the bonds between populist leaders, parties, and their constituencies. In modern-day mass politics, which has become increasingly ocular-centric and “dramatized” (Williams 1975), populist scripts and populist modes of identification lack a fundamental element unless backed up by a convincing populist “performance” (Moffitt 2016). From the perspective of the cultural-relational approach, populism constitutes a stylistic appeal embraced by certain political actors to politicize the sociocultural and political cultural divides—or “the high-low divide”, as termed by

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Ostiguy (2009a, 2017)—in a given society. However, it cannot be stressed enough that the high-low divide does not deterministically create populist actors and their enemies. Instead, populist political parties and leaders must politicize the socio-cultural divide.12 Although it is easier to intuitively understand what is (and is not) populist in socio-cultural terms since we all have a sense of the social and cultural distinctions between “high” and “low”, it is somewhat harder to grasp the essence of the politico-cultural content of the populism-anti-populism divide. A key concept in this sense is “immediacy” (Arditi 2005, 85). While the populist mode of leadership and decision making relies on personalism and the (virtual or real) immediacy it entails, anti-populism tends to be non-personal, procedural, and institutional (Ostiguy 2009a, 9). This is why leaders are central in the phenomenon of populism and populist leaders are usually criticized by their antipopulist opponents for their repudiation of rules and institutions. In the following part, therefore, I start to demonstrate the impact of the populism–anti-populism divide in Turkish politics by focusing on the leaders of parties representing each side of the divide. But before moving on to this part, I would like to re-assert the importance of a relational and reflexive perspective of populism. The cultural-relational approach helps researchers by equipping them with multiple points of entry to see the phenomenon of populism not only through the eyes of an upper-middle-class academic with liberal or left-leaning political convictions, but also through the lens of the actors/audiences engaged in the populist drama located in various positions in the social space. Thus, the cultural-relational approach to the phenomenon can help researchers overcome the weaknesses and lack of reflexivity inherent in the mainstream definitions of populism highlighted by De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon (2018). With specific regard to the Turkish case, this approach also helps researchers to overcome the limitations of evaluating the country’s politics from just the perspective of the left-right or secular-religious divide.

The High-Low Divide in Contemporary Turkish Politics: Socio-Cultural and Politico-Cultural Profiles of Leaders and Voters Voters in Turkey have always been inclined to see political options through the prism of their socio-cultural experiences. Apart from the overall representation of parties in the media, one of the central mediums of socio-cultural information that leads to an association with a certain party and a dislike of others is the party leader13 (and, less importantly, prominent figures in the leadership circles). In this sense, a contrasting socio-cultural pattern can clearly be observed between the recent leaders of the Republican People’s Party and Erdoğan. Deniz Baykal, the leader of the Republican People’s Party for almost two decades, studied in the US and lectured as a law professor at Ankara University until the mid-1970s.

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He is very articulate yet somewhat distant, serious, and rigid. His successor, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, despite coming from provincial Turkey and a very modest family and having a lower, more populist appeal than his predecessor, is also located somewhere higher than Erdoğan in terms of his socio-cultural appeal. Kılıçdaroğlu was a relative late-comer to politics, with his political career only starting in the 1990s, after a previously successful career in the state bureaucracy, including top positions in the Ministry of Finance and related state institutions. With his proper and official appearance, his appeal is certainly more high than low. One should also recall that Erdoğan used to contemptuously refer to Kılıçdaroğlu as “general director” (genel müdür) to emphasize his bureaucratic origins and, perhaps, his alleged lack of political experience. In contrast to the leaders of the Republican People’s Party and the party’s high appeal, Erdoğan’s appeal and image is remarkably lower. Erdoğan was never academically bright,14 and until he became the mayor of Istanbul in the mid-1990s, he did not have any experience of public sector bureaucracy. However, he did spend his youth and adult life in the midst of very intense party activities, and worked in every possible position within the Islamist predecessors of the JDP,15 something which also helped him meet all kinds of people from every walk of life (Interviewee 28 2014, April 10). The son of a low-income, migrant family, he grew up in one of the rough neighborhoods of Istanbul.16 His very peculiar, slightly bulging posture resembles that of traditional Turkish roughnecks, and, indeed, there have been many instances when he has behaved rather roughly and harshly.17 Erdoğan is a football lover, and it is well known that many popular media figures were quite supportive of him, ranging from pop and arabesk (a genre mostly listened to by low-income, immigrant populations of Turkey’s urban areas) singers to former models. Therefore, it came as no particular surprise when a pop singer wrote the following lyrics (which serve to highlight Erdoğan’s “lowpopulist” appeal): He is the strong voice of the oppressed He is the free voice of the silent world He is as he looks, he gets his strength from the nation, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The man of the people, the lover of God, He is the light of hope to millions, He is the confidant of the downtrodden, He is a comrade of the excluded, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has always been loyal to his word, He did not return from the way he has chosen, He is determined in his cause, He is in the prayer of mothers,

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. His word is true and he has no hypocrisy, He is the nightmare of the oppressors, He walks the way he believed is right, He is the leader who has been awaited for years, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.18 Needless to say, Erdoğan and the supporters of his party have always been perceived with hostility by the cultural elite, particularly by educated secularist upper- and middle-class artists and intellectuals, as will be illustrated at length later.19 The socio-cultural affinity between voters, parties, and leaders in Turkey has always been grounded in concrete socio-economic and educational distinctions. According to Aydın and Dalmış (2008, 215), for example, the JDP deputies, despite their present high socio-economic and educational levels, overwhelmingly came from underprivileged backgrounds like their voters. This pattern was also clearly observable in the fieldwork that I conducted for my PhD research (Baykan 2018).20 For example, one of my interviewees, a former JDP deputy, mentioned that his father was an illiterate (ümmi) farmer (Interviewee 23 2014, March  7). Another former JDP deputy highlighted that he came from a lowincome, provincial family (Interviewee 21 2014, February 28-March 4). One of the founders of the JDP in an inner Anatolian province also stated that he had had a blue-collar occupation when he had started out in politics in the Islamist National View Parties in the 1980s (Interviewee 18 2014, February 26). Since the JDP’s rapid rise, many studies have underlined the strong support for the JDP among the less-educated and lower-income segments of the electorate (e.g. Erder 2002, 74; Şentürk 2008b, 112). Başlevent’s study on the correlation between the JDP vote and levels of education in 39 sub-provinces (ilçeler)21 of Istanbul confirms previous assessments of JDP voters’ sociological profiles: as the level of education increases, votes for the Republican People’s Party increase; conversely, as the level of education decreases, votes for the JDP increase (2013). Hence, in Istanbul, the best-educated sub-province of the city, Beşiktaş, is the stronghold of the Republican People’s Party, while it is Sultanbeyli, the leasteducated sub-province of the metropolis, where the JDP’s vote gets close to 70%. In order to make clearer the dramatic difference in the electoral support for the JDP in these two sub-provinces of Istanbul, it may help to provide some details about each of them. Beşiktaş is a central sub-province in the European part of the city which stretches along the Bosporus Strait. The sub-province is known for its touristic neighborhoods (e.g. Ortaköy) and extremely wealthy areas (e.g. Bebek). Some of the most important historical heritage of the lateOttoman period, such as the Çırağan, Dolmabahçe, and Yıldız Palaces, is located in Beşiktaş, reflecting the Empire’s modernization efforts. The sub-province also

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includes one of the city’s financial centers: Levent. Nightlife in Beşiktaş has always been vibrant, and the central parts of the sub-province are full of bookstores, cafés, and live music venues. It is also home to some of the country’s best higher education institutions, such as the universities of Boğaziçi, Yıldız, and Galatasaray. According to a socio-economic categorization report prepared by real estate market information service REIDIN, the highest socio-economic and socio-cultural levels in Turkey are to be found in the Bebek neighborhood of Beşiktaş (Trthaber 2014). Not surprisingly, in the 2014 local elections, the Republican People’s Party received around 3,000 votes in this neighborhood, while the JDP received only around 500.22 In sharp contrast, when we look at the Sultanbeyli sub-province, what we see are both a remarkably different social setting and very low levels of support for the Republican People’s Party. Sultanbeyli is far from the historical centers of the Anatolian part, namely Üsküdar and Kadıköy, and, therefore, well removed from the wealthy seaside. The population of the sub-province began to increase during the 1990s as a result of large numbers of poor domestic migrants from provincial Turkey settling there. Immigration to the region also brought rapid and unorganized urbanization.23 Despite the remarkable development that Sultanbeyli has undergone throughout the rule of JDP local governments, for a long time, the most noticeable landmarks of the sub-province have been its squatter buildings (gecekondular).24 In the sub-province, it is hard to come across pubs or shops selling alcohol. There are only a few book stores in the center of Sultanbeyli, and there is no higher education institution within the boundaries of the district. The subprovince hosts Istanbul’s poorly paid workers.

Populist Appeal of the JDP and the Anti-Populist Reaction In this section of the chapter, I show how Erdoğan and the JDP have politicized the high-low divide described in the previous section through a populist script and style and have mobilized popular sectors. I would like to emphasize that this analysis of the JDP’s populist script and style does not simply aim to spot (or quantify) key expressions like “the people” and “the elite”, but also strives to illustrate a politically salient and effective tension between populist and anti-populist performances in Turkey that comprises images, narratives, and political practices.

The JDP’s Populist Script In many of the interviews I  conducted for my PhD research, party members tended to refer to an abstract notion of the party “cause” (dava) (Interviewee 11 2014, January 22; Interviewee 36 2014, April 24) when it came to explaining the raison d’etre of Erdoğan’s JDP. In one of my interviews, I had the chance to

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hear about the content of the JDP’s “cause” from a high-ranking party member in a provincial city (Interviewee 48 2014, May 6). He described the “cause” as a struggle against the domination of minority elites over the peripheral majority of the country. The JDP’s populist script identified the authoritarian modernist and Westernizing political traditions of the country since the late Ottoman period as constituting a minority yoke over the country’s segmented religious and traditional “silent majority”. As underlined by another interviewee (a close observer of the party and an expert on Turkey’s center-right politics), this narrative also had a deep impact on the worldview of the top JDP elite (Interviewee 28 2014, April 10).

The JDP’s “Low” Appeal and Its “High” Critics Particularly since 2008, Erdoğan’s speeches have been dominated by elements recalling the previously mentioned populist script. Erdoğan has frequently complained about the bureaucratic oligarchy in the judiciary and the state (Sabah 2012). He has frequently argued that the JDP represents the “nation” against the “happy minorities, privileged classes and shadow power holders” (Zaman 2011). He has frequently defined the mission of the JDP as the “liberation of the social segments despised and excluded by people who think that they are superior” (Bugün 2012). He has ridiculed the old diplomats and academics who criticized his furious reaction to the Israeli Prime Minister at the Davos Economic Forum in 200925 for being inappropriate and undiplomatic,26 calling them “monşer”27 (Ensonhaber 2009), a term that carries pejorative connotations in Erdoğan’s vocabulary and which nods to the Westernized elite’s lack of courage and responsiveness.28 The following relatively long excerpt from Erdoğan’s address to the crowd on the day, in 2014, that he declared his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic is typical of the earlier-mentioned motives that permeate the discourse of Erdoğan and the JDP’s elite: We are in politics for our worker brothers who try to earn a living decently in the mines. We are in politics for the poor people in the suburbs of the Istanbul Sultangazi and Diyarbakır. . . . We are in politics for the man who is despised just because he is poor. We are in politics for those with clean hearts who were ill-treated and despised in hospitals, schools and government offices. . . . My brothers and sisters, from our early youth years, those who did not understand . . . us tried to keep us out of the equation by using disparaging adjectives. They tried to deride us when we were studying in Imam and Preacher Schools. They called us “cleaners of the dead”.29 They called us reactionaries just because we were using God’s name to salute each other,30 just because we were praying to God. They looked at

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people from within our nation with contempt just because they were taking off their shoes in their homes,31 [and] crossing their legs when sitting for their meals.32 They called these people reactionaries. They looked at us with contempt just because we were defending the values of this land. . . . They used newspaper headlines to argue that we cannot even become a village headman.33 They argued that we cannot become Prime Minister or President and did not consider us human when it came to elections for high office. (Haberler.com 2014) The motives and ideas outlined in Erdoğan’s speech are not episodic, but are deeply embedded in the worldview of the JDP cadres. For example, Şentürk, a JDP executive from Istanbul, argues that the ruling elite never digested the success of the representatives of the peripheral segments of society, and even the victory of the JDP, supported by huge numbers of votes, was seen by the elite as the mistake of the “ignorant and mindless” masses (2008b, 58). Here, it is important to note that the narrative produced by the JDP elite should be seen as a response to a systematic and despising counter-narrative produced by the opponents of the party. This perception of Turkish politics portrayed by the JDP elite, therefore, did not come out of the blue. However, and in contrast to the common belief, this discursive material did not usually stem from the distinction between secular state and religious society. As the following example will make clear, the material originated in the socio-cultural inequalities. In a highly debated post published after the 2014 local elections, a blogger who identified himself as an opponent of the JDP told of his experience at a huge JDP meeting in Istanbul: We have to talk about this mass of people. Who are these one million people? They are the ignored ones . . . yes, they are the people that we did not recognize, who we got bored of speaking to for a while, who we tended to ignore despite their existence in front of our eyes. . . . They are the people who work without CVs. . . . They are those people who did not bring a single newspaper with them. . . . They are those people who do not look at their smartphones or look at the internet, who do not know about Twitter, who do not know how to take a “selfie”. . . . They are the people who raise their flags with an order, . . . who obey. They are the people who are shorter than I am because of malnutrition. . . . They are the ones who have always been given orders throughout their lives. . . . They are the people who obey lest they starve. (Öztop 2014) It is certainly true that very well-known columnists who are fierce opponents of the JDP also despise JDP supporters. Just after the JDP’s 2007 general election

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victory, a renowned columnist and opponent of the JDP argued that the party’s votes were for sale at a very low price. He called anyone who voted for the JDP a “barrel head” (bidon kafalı) (Özdil 2007). The same daily published an article entitled “The man who rubs his belly” (göbeğini kaşıyan adam), in which another columnist described JDP voters as follows: He rubs his belly. . . . He does not like news. He likes TV entertainment shows. . . . He does not read. . . . He does not know of any newspapers. The only newspaper that he knows is the newspaper of the previous year that he spread under the pickle jars. His most comprehensive view on leaders is “he is a Muslim guy”, and on democracy is “let him steal but get things done”. Then, he rubs his belly. This is the man that Tayyip Erdoğan trusts when he says “the ballot box for everything”. (Coşkun 2007) As I have illustrated, it was not only the self-identification of the JDP elite but also the characterizations expressed by the party’s opponents that helped to politicize Turkey’s high-low divide. In the next section, I highlight the important role that the populist rapport between Erdoğan, the JDP, and popular sectors played in two recent crucial political developments in Turkey.

The Pro-JDP Media Against “The White Turks”: 2014 Presidential Elections The populist script mentioned earlier and the images that come with it were diligently reproduced by the pro-JDP media during the 2014 presidential election campaign. Although there could be no doubt regarding his religious convictions given his previous position as the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the candidate representing a coalition of the opposition parties, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, was delegitimized by the pro-JDP media on the grounds of his alleged elitism. According to a pro-JDP columnist, the opposition parties’ candidate was the candidate of the “White Turks” because they wanted a president who spoke English and whose wife was not veiled (Barlas 2014). A columnist in another pro-JDP daily, Türkiye, argued that İhsanoğlu was a “salon devout” (salon dindarı), who was much closer to the “White Turk circles” than to the religious masses, and who was always “praised by the elite and the mainstream media due to his academic career” (Oğur 2014). In contrast, pro-JDP columnists framed Erdoğan’s story as that of the son of a modest migrant family in Istanbul, who was educated at an Imam and Preacher School. According to this narrative, Erdoğan knows the streets of Istanbul. He played football and rose within the political organizations of the Islamist National View by working at every level—from sub-provincial youth branch to general headquarters. He suffered for his political ideals. In short,

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“in his story we encounter someone who has come from the lower class and has climbed the ladder of life despite suffering various impediments” (Kaplan 2014). In contrast, according to Selvi (2014), İhsanoğlu knew little about Turkey and of the Turkish people; he did not know the problems of the country: “he has not smelled the sweat of this people and shared their bread. He has lived abroad three times longer than he lived in Turkey”. Hence, while Erdoğan was described as a “man of the people”, his opponent was depicted as a part of a “cosmopolitan elite”.

Populism, the Popular Sectors, and Resistance to the Failed July 2016 Coup The profiles of most of the people taking part in the resistance to the 15 July 2016 attempted coup in Turkey and in the subsequent “democracy watches”34 show the power of Erdoğan’s populist appeal, as well as the JDP’s. Alongside the traditional and new conservative middle classes supporting the JDP, the most active elements in the protests were low-income males from the popular sectors,35 who were driven on the streets by nationalist sentiments36 and because of their support for Erdoğan. During a long taxi journey through Istanbul just a few days after the failed coup, I  personally observed how popular sector mobilization through populist appeals was critical to the JDP in overcoming the coup. Starting out as an ordinary taxi journey, where one exchanges a few words with the driver about Turkish politics, as the conversation went on, the taxi driver told me that he had been on the streets for three days after the beginning of the events of 15 July 2016. Whether exaggerated or not, his claims depicted an extremely typical picture of the populist rapport between the JDP, Erdoğan, and the popular sectors. My driver was a talkative, middle-aged man from an inner Anatolian city (Sivas). His gestures, vocabulary, and body language were typical of Turkey’s urban rowdies. He showed me some dreadful pictures of people smashed by tanks on the night of the coup attempt. He argued that the “inglorious” (şerefsiz) people living in Bağdat Caddesi (a residential area in the Anatolian part of Istanbul stretching along the Marmara Sea and home to the better-off segments of the city’s population) applauded the tanks on the streets. He argued that the wealthy people there thought that they would be fine, as they withdrew money and filled the tanks of their cars during the night of the attempted coup.37 Taken together, his body, his language and vocabulary, his gestures, his resentment against the wealthy and “inglorious” residents of Bağdat Caddesi were entirely representative of the high-low divide in Turkey. When the discourses generated during the unfolding of the attempted coup are taken into account, the role of populism becomes clearer. During the early

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stages of the coup, Erdoğan made a live broadcast on CNNTurk during which he made the following call to his supporters: I invite our nation to the squares of our cities, our airports. Let’s gather in the squares, in the airports. Let this minority group come with their tanks and arms; let’s see what they can do. I have not known any other power above the power of the people. And this won’t change.38 Not surprisingly, the pro-coup soldiers held deeply derogatory views of the masses resisting the intervention. A news report that broadcast the leaked audiorecordings of a colonel involved in the coup reveals how he sees the people resisting the coup. In this audio-recording, the colonel calls the people resisting the coup a “pack of dogs” (it sürüsü), adding: “You saw the robbery openly with your eyes but you kept believing these guys. You said: ‘They steal but get things done’. Actually, you wanted this trouble!” (Ensonhaber 2016). Combined with the JDP’s organizational capacity (Baykan 2018), Erdoğan’s populist appeal and the powerful mass resistance triggered by his appeal played a major role in repe­ lling the attempted military coup.39 From the protestors’ point of view, the resistance to the coup had been successful only thanks to the bravery of the ordinary people who had been described as “barrel heads” and “packs of dogs” by the elites. In an article published just a few days after the failed coup, one pro-JDP columnist wrote about the emotions among the pro-JDP/Erdoğan masses: This nation, the sons of this nation. . . . These people, who, as some say, “voluntarily lack character”, who “rub their bellies”, these “sheep”, these “barrel heads”, these “gutter/vulgar” people, in short, this “wretched class” . . . resisted to the death against the terrorists of Pennsylvania. (Tuna 2016) Particularly in popular analyses, it is still common to observe an attitude that views patronage, pork-barrel politics, and material exchange as the basis of the popular sector support for Turkey’s center-right parties, including the JDP.40 While there can be no doubt that the relationship between the JDP and certain segments of its support base includes these kinds of linkages, the populist rapport between the JDP, Erdoğan, and the masses runs much more deeply and is far stronger than just these elements. As is the case with Argentine Peronism (Auyero 2001), the relationship goes beyond the exchange of particularistic goods, in spite of what the belittling critiques on the “high” might suggest. The masses and their leader enjoy and value the populist rapport and performance. Populism is not simply about resentment but also constitutes a relationship that relies on mutual “love”,41 affection, and sacrifice between the populist leader and the masses.42

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The Form of the Message: A Conscious Engagement With the “Low” The JDP elite and its cadres follow a communication strategy that is consistent with the party’s populist script. One of the main pieces of advice given to JDP candidates by the party’s headquarters and the party elite is to use simple language in electoral campaigns. According to Şentürk, a former JDP vice-chair in Istanbul, messages sent out by party branches or individual candidates should be aimed at the targeted constituency (2008a, 104). The guide published by the JDP headquarters for its candidates standing for positions as deputies repeatedly underlines the importance of modifying the message according to the circumstances and keeping it simple and straightforward. According to this guide, “The language should be at the level of the electorate’s understanding. . . . We should . . . avoid polished narratives” (Ak Parti 2007, 14). According to the JDP’s elite, during election times, candidates cannot be “seen as intellectual”, and should not employ “polished expressions” and “heavy concepts” (Şentürk 2008a, 84). Hence, in its electoral propaganda, the JDP uses concrete language and defines concrete political pledges and commitments (e.g. promising to provide jobs, aid, and construction of new infrastructure such as highways and airports). As the JDP elite contend, the lower the education level of the electorate, the more prone they are to valuing concrete targets and achievements over abstract values such as state of law, democracy, etc. (Şentürk 2008b, 41). The most widely known and enduring slogans of the JDP are those with a simple message that appeal to large segments of society, such as the following: “I do not look at words, I look at accomplishments!” (lafa değil icraata bakarım!). There is an expression often used in Turkish politics to refer to ruling centerright parties, which is reminiscent of the classic populism of Adhemar de Barros in South America: “They steal but they work hard!” (çalıyorlar ama çalışıyorlar!).43 It is not only the simplicity of the message but also the modesty of the candidate that is seen as an important political asset by the JDP elite, as Turkey’s lower-class culture has been molded in accordance with Islamic social codes that are inherently suspicious of showy, swanky attitudes in the public space.44 For instance, according to Şentürk’s recommendations, candidates should avoid expensive clothes lest the electorate feel a status gap (2008a, 123). The JDP elite take both the image and the style of its candidates and party members seriously. Hence, Ayşe Böhürler (2013), one of the founders of the JDP, warned candidates against presenting an arrogant appearance. The JDP guide for candidates standing for deputy underlines the importance of being modest: “you should avoid expressing an air that you know everything; you should be down-to-earth and you should avoid showy attitudes” (Ak Parti 2007, 12). According to the same guide, candidates should not use didactic language: “The way to approach the people is by revealing that you share their lives” (2007, 13).

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Strikingly, the guide also emphasizes that the “electoral process is not a didactic but an emotional one” (Ak Parti 2007, 15). In the JDP’s propaganda, candidates are told to be “friendly and sincere” and to avoid “pretentious” attitudes (Ak Parti 2007, 11). This is why one of the JDP’s founding figures warns candidates against excessively devout images: “An excessively religious appearance makes people think that you are pretentious” (Böhürler 2013). This recommendation is rather important since there is still a widespread belief that the JDP mostly exploits the religious feelings of the masses. It seems that the JDP’s appeal to the lower segments of the society has less to do with religious symbols per se than a genuine engagement with the “low” through displays of simplicity, modesty, and sincerity. Another incident mentioned in Şentürk’s work illustrates the importance of modesty as an asset in Turkish politics. Regardless of whether or not the story is true, its use by a member of the JDP elite is emblematic of the party’s stylistic approach to politics. Let me tell you what is said about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “They [Erdoğan and his team] went to a poor household, and inside it was dirty and smelled. While people around Erdoğan did not know what to do and their discomfort could be read on their faces, Erdoğan immediately crossed his legs and sat down on the ground in front of the table. He started to drink the soup in the common bowl with a spoon with such great appetite that this established a warm connection between him and the owner of the house.” (Şentürk 2006, 155) This example illustrates the limits of understanding populism “as mere words”, while showing the centrality of “manners” and “ways of doing things” when attempting to grasp the populist phenomenon, as emphasized by Ostiguy (2009a, 2017). Hence, analyzing party programs and even the speeches of party elites can help develop an understanding of the phenomenon of populism only to a certain extent.

Conclusion In this chapter, relying on evidence from interviews, speeches of the JDP elite, writings in the pro-JDP media, recent political developments, and the JDP’s communication style, I have demonstrated that the role of religious symbols and rhetoric is subordinate to a broader “low-populist” appeal deployed by the JDP and Erdoğan that politicized Turkey’s high-low divide. Moreover, applying the cultural-relational approach to analyzing populism through the case of the JDP and Erdoğan in Turkey also provides some broader theoretical and methodological implications. It is manifestly insufficient to search for populism only by identifying catchwords, such as “people” and “elite”, in the written and spoken party material. It is much more productive to look at the (often symbiotic) interaction

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between the populist and anti-populist performances (consisting of images, narratives, and political practices) in order to develop an understanding of the extent to which populism is salient at the social, political, and emotional levels for a given political system. The cultural-relational approach to populism helps researchers to go beyond a formal content analysis of political discourses or examination of organizational/strategic aspects of politics. Instead, this approach equips researchers with an interpretivist theoretical/conceptual tool-kit with which to construct a better understanding of the social, cultural, and emotional context and agency central to the phenomenon of populism. Without this context and agency, populism is simply dead words or shallow strategies.

Notes 1. This chapter is a substantially revised and shortened version of Chapter 3 in Baykan (2018). I am grateful to Cambridge University Press for granting me permission to reuse this chapter. 2. Nazım Hikmet (1902–1963) is a prominent leftist Turkish poet who inspired generations of left-wing intellectuals and activists. Notwithstanding his brilliant poetry, his writings reveal the “anti-populist” tendency of left-wing politics in Turkey, as seen in this particular poem titled “The strangest creature on Earth”. I am grateful to the copyright holder for granting me permission to use the poem in this chapter. 3. Necip Fazıl Kısakürek (1904–1983) is a prominent conservative poet and ideologue who inspired generations of right-wing and Islamist politicians, including Erdoğan. Besides the Islamist elements, Kısakürek reflected in his writings and poems the resentments of the conservative masses stemming from the socio-cultural hierarchies that emerged throughout Turkey’s modernization process. I am grateful to the copyright holder for granting me permission to use the poem in this chapter. 4. I use the term “images” here to refer to the construction of the party and its leader’s identity through a comprehensive agency, including not only visual materials but also broader practices that resonate with the receivers’ (followers and supporters of the populist leader and party) imaginations. 5. This “divide” in Turkey resembles one of the social conflicts between secular urban nation builders and conservative rural forces depicted by Lipset and Rokkan (1967). Yet, Turkey’s divide is notably more malleable and softer than the full “cleavages” analyzed by this classic study. 6. For populist and peasantist narratives during the early republican period and the deeply suspicious attitude of Kemalists towards the masses, see studies by Karaömerlioğlu (1998, 2006). 7. For these processes, see the classic accounts of modern Turkish history by Ahmad (2003) and Zürcher (2004). 8. For this concept, see Ostiguy (2009a, 2017). 9. In Demirel’s analysis of Turkey’s Justice Party (2004) and Democrat Party (2011), he rightly points to the much more organized parties in Turkey and argues that, in terms of Weyland’s definition, none of those parties would qualify as populist. 10. Although she does not engage with the literature on populism, Demiralp (2012) compellingly and skillfully reveals the corporality, ocular-centricity, and pathos of sociocultural and political divides in Turkey stemming from the traumatizing impact of the nation’s modernization process. Demiralp puts a heavy emphasis on the denigrating attitudes of Turkey’s secular upper classes and on the markedly socio-cultural content

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of their dislike of the “lower classes” and of “improper identities” such as Kurds and devout Muslims. 11. For the relevance of the populism–anti-populism divide in Turkey’s local politics, see Joppien’s account (2017). Joppien provides convincing evidence to illustrate how local JDP activists manage to construct a much stronger rapport with the local electorate based on a more responsive populist style compared to their secular rivals (see 2017, especially Chapter 5). Although she does not interpret her findings from the perspective of populism studies, the empirical material presented in her book supports the claim that the populism–anti-populism divide could also be found in the everyday and mundane practices of Turkish parties in local politics. 12. I am indebted to Pierre Ostiguy for clarifying this point regarding his framework. 13. See Akgün (2007, 197) for the importance attached to the leadership by JDP voters. 14. There is even some speculation regarding the authenticity of Erdoğan’s university degree. 15. The Islamist National View Movement in Turkey, the predecessor of the JDP, emerged at the beginning of the 1970s under the leadership of Necmettin Erbakan and turned into a hegemonic force in the mid-1990s by winning local and general elections. Towards the end of this decade, a group of young and reformist politicians parted ways with this tradition, and in 2001 they founded the JDP. For further information, see Eligür (2010). 16. It should be noted here that populist leaders do not need to come from a socioculturally “low” background. Yet, Erdoğan, and the overwhelming majority of the JDP elite, do share such backgrounds, and they very skillfully turn this socio-cultural disadvantage into a political asset. In my opinion, populist actors with a markedly “low” socio-cultural background are usually much more capable of performing the “candor” required to construct populist rapport. 17. See www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/video/video/72221/Basbakan_Erdogan_vatandasa_ yumruk_atti.html# (accessed: 12.7.2018). 18. For the song, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6jL95BaSeM (accessed: 12.7.2018). 19. Fazıl Say, a world-renowned classical music pianist of Turkey, for instance, is a fierce opponent of the JDP. 20. The interviews cited in this chapter are part of a wider group of interviews with more than 50 participants whom I talked to for my PhD research. For information on the entire group of interviewees, see Baykan (2018). 21. A sub-province (ilçe) in Turkey is an official area that comprises a province (il) together with several other sub-provinces. While these sub-provinces are fairly small in provincial Turkey, they tend to be huge residential areas in Istanbul containing populations over 750,000 inhabitants. Istanbul comprises 39 sub-provinces. 22. See the High Election Committee (Yüksek Seçim Kurulu) website for results: https:// sonuc.ysk.gov.tr/module/sspsYerel.jsf (accessed: 22.3.2016). 23. For the rapid urbanization of Sultanbeyli and the cycles of poverty it created for the new immigrants, see Pınarcıoğlu and Işık (2001). 24. These residences are built by new immigrants without the permission of state authorities. For a very vivid literary account of this kind of urban development in Turkey, see a novel by Pamuk (2015). 25. For details of the event, see CNN (2009). In this meeting, which was broadcast live, after the Israeli president tried to legitimize military operations in Gaza, Erdoğan was not able to stay calm and bluntly accused Israel of “knowing well how to kill children”. When he was interrupted by the moderator of the discussion, he pushed away the moderator’s hand and ultimately left the meeting during the live broadcast. When he got back to Turkey, he was welcomed with great enthusiasm by his supporters at the airport.

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26. Indeed, according to Ostiguy (2009a, 10), “the low generally does not worry overly much about appearing improper in the eyes of the international community and also at times apparently seems to enjoy it”. 27. It seems that the term originally comes from the French expression mon cher, which means “my dear”. However, in Turkish, it has taken on a derogatory meaning, and is used to refer to the elitist, somewhat feminine and out of touch attitudes of the highly educated bureaucratic cadres and upper classes. 28. See de la Torre, quoted in Ostiguy: “[Bucaram] ridicules his rivals’ delicate manners and tastes, which he contrasts with his own and the common people’s masculine ones. The representation of the oligarchy as imitators of foreign and effeminate lifestyles is well received by his audiences” (2009a, 38). 29. Many JDP politicians undertook their secondary and high school educations in Turkey’s Imam and Preacher Schools, which are not considered elite educational institutions in the country and are usually ridiculed by their opponents as the “home of reactionaries” (irtica yuvası) and schools of “cleaners of the dead” (ölü yıkayıcı). The latter term is used because one of the duties of the imams is to wash the corpses before they are buried in a religious ceremony. 30. Selamın Aleyküm, an Arabic expression with a religious tone, is a common expression of greeting anybody that is widely used among Turkey’s conservative segments and lower classes. 31. After the appointment of Durmuş Yılmaz, a highly competent technocrat, as the director of the Central Bank of Turkey by the JDP, a hot debate developed following the publication of a photo in a Turkish daily. In this photo, the new director’s wife was seen wearing a headscarf and there were a few pairs of shoes in front of the main entrance of his home. After the publication of this picture, an influential columnist, Ertuğrul Özkök, used his column to openly express his distaste for the scene reflected in the photo (2006). Another columnist from the daily rather vulgarly criticized this scene and argued that leaving shoes outside the house was an uncivilized attitude belonging to peasants (Uluengin 2006). 32. A low-legged portable ground table is common in poor rural and urban houses, where people have to sit on the ground to have their meals. 33. After Erdoğan was found guilty by the High Court of Appeals and banned from politics for an indefinite time due to his reciting of a poem that was argued to incite religious hatred among the people, a Turkish daily used the following headline to describe his political prospects: “He would not even become a village headman” (Muhtar bile olamayacak) (Radikal 1998). 34. “Democracy watches” were mass gatherings organized by the JDP’s provincial branches in the squares of every major urban center in Turkey in the aftermath of the bloody putsch as a protest against the coup. These gatherings lasted for almost a month and displayed the notable organizational capacity of the JDP. 35. A research report published a year after the coup indicates that 71.9% of the people who lost their lives during the resistance had an education level of equal to or below high school diploma (Ak Parti 2017, 83), and 78.4% of them earned below 3,000 TRY (less than 500$) per month (2017, 91). Similarly, 75% of the people wounded during the coup attempt had an education level of equal to or below high school diploma (Ak Parti 2017, 105), and 85.7% of them earned below 3000 TRY (2017, 114). In other words, the overwhelming majority of active protestors came from Turkey’s underprivileged segments. 36. See Miş et al. (2016) for the nationalistic motivations of the participants. 37. This was indeed the case, and many people, considering that some sort of chaos would prevail after the coup, queued to withdraw money from ATMs and stocked up on food and other items during the night. 38. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LEfGo0uN-o (accessed: 12.7.2018).

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39. See Barracca (2007) for the importance of mass mobilization in the failure of military coups. 40. It has become a cliché among upper- and middle-class opponents of the JDP to argue that the party owed its success to the “coal and pasta” it distributed to its poor supporters. 41. Pierre Ostiguy, personal communication, 20 January 2016. Erdoğan frequently uses the following expression in his mass rallies across Anatolia: “We are in love with you!” (Biz size aşığız be!). 42. A particularly moving scene from the night of the attempted coup involved a wounded JDP supporter hugging Erdoğan after the President had survived an assassination attempt and arrived at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. Speaking to Erdoğan, the man said: “My father, may my life be sacrificed for you!” See www.youtube.com/ watch?v=MBFL6y_Qfd4 (accessed 12.7.2018). 43. For a very similar situation in Latin America, see Ostiguy: “These leaders often also claim that they ‘don’t talk, but get things done,’ although most of them do talk more than their share. In a classic statement on Adhemar de Barros in Brazil, it was said without shame that: ‘Rouba, mas faz!’—that is, ‘He steals, but he gets things done!’ ” (Ostiguy 2013, 8–9). 44. See Doğan (2016) for how the JDP activists in poor local settings avoided wearing “sunglasses”, which are a symbol of upper- and middle-class life in the eyes of Turkey’s lower classes.

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11 BEYOND DEMAGOGUES AND DEPLORABLES Democratizing Populist Rhetoric in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines Nicole Curato

There are many reasons for normative political theory to dismiss populism as the opposite of deliberative democracy (see Fishkin and Mansbridge 2017; Murdock 2018). Populism appeals to base instincts, sacrificing intellectual rigor and slow thinking in favor of quick solutions (Canovan 1999). Its polarizing speech style creates information silos which bond rather than bridge opposing views (Chambers 2009). Populism inflames prejudices and misinformation instead of promoting public reasoning as a way of determining the common good (see Urbinati 2014). In this chapter, I  challenge the populism-deliberation dichotomy by offering conceptual, methodological, and empirical interventions. Taken together, I argue that these interventions are necessary not only to provide theoretical clarity about the relationship between populism and deliberative democracy, but also to describe the precise ways in which populism is experienced in contemporary times. I draw on the case of Rodrigo Duterte’s populist rise in the Philippines, which, for many observers, signals the legitimization of vulgar, murderous, and divisive rhetoric in one of Asia’s oldest democracies. Conceptually, I argue that populism as a political style is normatively ambivalent. It can threaten or deepen democracies, depending on the contexts in which populism unfolds (see Kaltwasser 2012). This argument is consistent with the “systemic turn” in deliberative democratic theory, which goes beyond a microscopic assessment of discrete speech acts to a broader analysis of the ways in which discourses contribute to or obstruct the democratization of entire political systems. Methodologically, I propose to shift the gaze from the populist leader to his or her negotiated relationship with the public. I build on Pierre Ostiguy’s conception of populism as “fundamentally relational”, such that attention is focused on the

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contingent and dynamic character of populist claims-making, instead of depicting populism as top-down, manipulative, and homogenously spiteful rhetoric. Empirically, I argue that ethnographic research on what I call “populist publics” opens a discussion on possible spaces for the democratization of populist claims. These conjectures are based on research findings from my ethnographic research in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines. I offer three conjectures. First, there is potential for discursive pluralism in populism. Duterte’s popularity is an outcome of active weighing of moral judgments, justified by contextually situated and emotionally laden reasons. Secondly, populist claims gain currency through prevailing architectures of moral judgments. In the Philippines’ case, populist claims are anchored on creating divisions rather than building bridges among citizens who experience injustice and suffering, albeit for different reasons. This, I argue, defines the democratic limits of Duterte’s populism. While it invigorates the voices of those who have long been left out of politics, it also creates its own voice-denying (and life-denying!) rationalities that further exclude not the elites, but the most vulnerable communities.

The Normative Ambivalence of Populism for Deliberative Democracy In the field of democratic theory and practice, the so-called “global rise of populism” unfolded at the same time when democratic innovations arrived on the political mainstream. Deliberative democracy—a normative theory that places inclusive reason-giving at the center of political life—has evolved from a “pie in the sky” vision of democracy to a practical response to democratic deficits. In the past decade, scholars and citizens have witnessed an explosion of deliberative forums. The five million people who took part in Brazil’s National Public Policy Conferences, the institutionalization of India’s inclusive participatory processes (gram sabhas) even in a rigid caste system, and the uptake of participatory urban planning in the United States and Europe, are some of many examples that provide evidence that deliberative democrats are not naïve for thinking that democratic innovations can create “real utopias” (Wright 2010; see Pogrebinschi 2017; also Participedia n.d.). When personalities like Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, or Rodrigo Duterte take power, the future of the deliberative democratic project seems to be at risk. The capacities citizens have developed from taking part in forums that foreground reason-giving, respect, and inclusiveness are challenged by a “political style” built on divisive, spiteful, and crass rhetoric. On the level of normative theory, one can make an argument that the rise of populism undermines the deliberative project. This view is justifiable if one takes a short-term and discrete view of deliberative democracy. Recently, however, deliberative studies has taken a “systemic turn”, where analysis has shifted to examining the ways in which different spaces of the

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political system can host deliberative moments (Dryzek 2010; Elstub, Ercan, and Mendonça 2018; Habermas 1996; Mansbridge et al. 2012). It is conceivable that political systems can promote deliberative ethics even without carefully designed deliberative forums taking place. News coverage that promotes empathy, protest movements that challenge dominant political views, or creative forms of digital engagement may contribute to the deliberative democratic project in various ways. I take inspiration from this macro view of deliberation when I  conceptualize the relationship between normative democratic theory and populist politics. I argue that populism has an ambivalent normative character (see Kaltwasser 2012). Instead of imposing what counts as “good” democratic practice, the challenge is to examine which empirical realities promote the virtues of deliberative democracy, and how these practices can be scaled up to shape political practice.

Inclusiveness Take the case of inclusiveness as a primary deliberative virtue. Populism can contribute to the formation of new publics which may not have been formed without a leader or a movement giving voice to unarticulated views. It can enhance the range of issues in the deliberative system by bringing to the fore concerns that large parts of the population care about but political elites avoid discussing. Populists may serve as effective discursive, and perhaps in some cases, descriptive representatives of particular constituencies. They may also broaden the scope for participation by inspiring political talk and action. The democratic challenge has to do with the exclusions the populist style creates. As populists invoke the distinction between “us” and “them”, the formation of a new public is hinged on characterizing others as unworthy of deliberative engagement. Conceptually, Chantal Mouffe’s (2005) notion of agonism may point to a way out, such that the other is viewed not as an enemy to be eradicated but as an adversary whose ideas are challenged but whose right to express those ideas is defended (also see Mouffe 2018). At best, populism can bring new voices into the deliberative system and allow new voices to contest other views without resorting to strategies that reduce the role of persuasion.

Reason-Giving The populist political style can also contribute to the quality of reason-giving. The Habermasian ideal of reason-giving is often described as one that prizes systematic and gentlemanly exchange of reasons, free from “distortions” of rhetoric and emotions. And yet, performance matters in explaining the gravity of an issue. “Passions perform a central role in the constitution of a collective will”, Mouffe (2016) argues. Sometimes, affect and passions may lapse into bad manners (Moffitt 2016; Ostiguy 2009) and tabloid-style communication (Canovan 1999).

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Contemporary systemic views of deliberation welcome such creative forms of speech. One can imagine how passionate speeches with occasional swearing can bring emotional force to an argument—whether it expresses anger, frustration, or discontent. Bad manners also lay bare issues that have been swept under the rug. As Benjamin Arditi (2007) puts it, populism is like that drunken guest at a dinner party who breaks the rules of public conversations but exposes the painful problems of society. It is the opposite of “civilizing hypocrisy”—the “uncivilized force of authenticity”—which may break fragile relationships but renders fundamental disagreements visible. What Ostiguy (2017) refers to as the “flaunting of the low” can serve an epistemic function by exposing lingering tensions, giving voice to views at the margins of civilized conversations, and, thereby, setting in motion a series of critical deliberations in the public sphere. In John Dryzek’s work on deliberation and rhetoric, for example, he cites Pauline Hanson as an example of a populist who appealed to white working-class Australians anxious about multiculturalism, free trade, and immigration. At one level Hanson crystallized from these anxieties a previously marginalized discourse, thus creating a possible ingredient for a deliberative system. At another level her activities provoked counter mobilization of liberal and multicultural discourses. She had little in the way of commitment to any categorical deliberative norms, and was not averse to racial stereotyping. Yet the net result of her activities was a more deliberative polity, at least in the sense that a number of discourses that were either taken for granted or had yet to crystallize or had been marginalized took shape in a way that could have allowed for their engagement in the public sphere (though the actual interchange that occurred was not always salutary). The general point here is that we cannot read off the systemic effects of rhetoric from the intentions of the speaker. (Dryzek 2010, 334) At the same time, it is easy to imagine how populism can serve precisely the opposite function of epistemic fruitfulness. Populism often appeals to base instincts, “sacrificing intellectual acuity in the name of short-term success” (­ Hancox 2015). Deliberation is about slow opinion-making. It requires actively weighing ­different arguments and reflection. Populism’s partiality to spectacular styles of speech and simplification of political messages intuitively appears counter to the deliberative ideal. One possibility is to find ways to legitimize populist action through collective decision-making. This could be in the form of elections or referenda, although voting may pose the same issue of silencing minorities that populists demonize. Another possibility is to subject populist claims to public deliberation. Conceptually, populist claims-making can be viewed as a contribution in the early stages

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of sequenced deliberation such as agenda setting. But once issues are put on the table and have received considerable attention, populist politics may be assessed based on the norms of reason-giving. For Ostiguy, this may be challenging considering populists (like Perón) act as “pyromaniac firefighters”, who perform the role of firefighters fighting a crisis but nevertheless find it in their interest to keep setting the political sphere ablaze, for it is in moments of crisis that populists gain legitimacy (also see Moffitt 2016). Finally, something can be said about the internal deliberative quality of populist movements. Like advocates and activists, populist movements may put forward an uncompromising position, but such an uncompromising position may be the outcome of internal deliberations. Worth investigating is the internal deliberative quality of these movements, whether their discourses are products of tyrannical and manipulative discourses, diverse voices reaching a broad consensus on what to do next or, as perhaps is often the case, outcomes of “the revuelto”—a polyphonic “scramble” of voices, often emotional, that prompts conversations about what lies ahead (Ostiguy 2015, 164).

Ethnography of Populist Publics Considering the normative ambivalence of populism, the challenge is both methodological and empirical. Methodologically, it is crucial to examine populism neither as a purely “top-down” form of “unscrupulous demagoguery” or as a mere reflection of people’s desires from below (Ostiguy 2015). To unpack the empirical complexity and assess the democratic credentials of populism, it is important to shift our gaze to the negotiated relationship with what I refer to as populist publics. By populist publics, I refer to a broad category of citizens who express support for a populist leader. I purposely use the term “publics”, instead of “audience”, “voters”, or “followers”. While the latter categories evoke images of an aggregate mass of passive spectators, the concept of publics underscores an active construction of shared sociability and political reason. It also takes a plural form—publics rather than public—to emphasize its multi-layered, negotiated, and fleeting character. They are publics by virtue of connectivity in discourse, rather than a cohesive monolithic set of beliefs that underpin their support for a populist leader. A broad review of methodologies used in populism studies suggests that data sets often focus on a single aspect of populism (Aslanidis 2018). Some examine the discourse, style, or ideologies populist leaders put forward. Discourse analysis is the usual go-to method for this approach, while scholars of party politics often rely on examining the content of manifestos (see Salgado and Stavrakakis 2018). Others focus on the character of voters who elect populist leaders through demographic data and other quantitative indicators (e.g. Inglehart and Norris 2016). There is no doubt that these approaches are important in understanding

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populism. But populism studies demand a nuanced view of how “the people” populists “construct” or claim to represent receives, interprets, and negotiates populist claims and performances. There are two reasons for this. First, populism is more than the populist. It is also about the counter-public and the relationship they forge with their leader, and the broader political context in which they emerge. Often, the analysis focuses on the leader, or on how media frames the news as a reflection of “public discourse”. But the relationship between the populist leader and the populist publics is relational. It is not a distinctly supply- or demand-driven phenomenon but an iterative process where political relationships are constantly redefined (see Mudde 2010). How precisely this relationship is constructed and renegotiated is a task for an anthropological or ethnographic approach. If populist politics appeals to base instincts, prejudices, and visceral reactions, then thick descriptions that help reveal these background and taken-for-granted realities are crucial to better understanding this intellectual puzzle. Second, to address the issue of populism’s democratic credentials, it is also important to examine whether populist publics themselves engage in the populist style. It is analytically suspicious to presuppose that publics passively consume and mimic demagogic discourse. Do populist supporters also construct everyday politics as a battle between the virtuous people and dangerous other? Do they also engage in the “politics of the low”? Have they fully eschewed norms of ­deliberative democracy? I  raise these questions because at stake are political cultures that take root in populist times. While it is tempting to reduce today’s demos to its susceptibility to fake news, clickbait-driven discourse, and vilifying vocabularies, this remains an empirical question that warrants systematic ethnographic research. I contextualize the insights I put forward in the first half of this chapter using the case of Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines.

Empirical Case: Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines My ethnographic work in the Philippines was not designed to capture Duterte’s populism (Curato, 2019). My ethnographic understanding of his appeal was a product of “serendipity”, characteristic of ethnographic research. I  conducted twelve ethnographic visits from 2014–2017 in Tacloban City. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan laid waste a cluster of islands in some of the Philippines’ poorest regions. Tacloban was the typhoon’s ground zero. Following what was described as the biggest typhoon recorded in almost a century, the death toll was pegged at 6,000, at a time when the government could not accurately count the loss. A 23-foot storm surge reduced villages along the coastline to a scatter of tin roofs and the occasional wall. For three years, I  observed how democratic innovations took shape in a post-disaster context defined by tragedy and dispossession. Together with two

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research assistants, I conducted over 250 interviews and wrote more than 100,000 words of field notes. I participated in town hall meetings, fiestas, religious celebrations, and house visits. I happened to be in the field in March–May  2016, at the height of the ­Presidential race. During this period, I witnessed the rise of Rodrigo Duterte, particularly the ways in which local communities—those who had lost everything less than three years before—came together to raise funds, volunteer, and campaign for the controversial leader. I continued my ethnographic fieldwork with the same communities after Duterte won the presidency. My last fieldwork was in November 2017. At that time, Duterte had already spent over a year in office. Duterte captured the attention of global audiences through his controversial words and actions. He is a self-confessed mass murderer, whose campaign promise was to kill drug addicts by the thousands. He compared his genocidal approach to the drug problem to Hitler’s holocaust, drawing the condemnation of the international community. In a separate publication, I described this style as “penal populism”, the kind of populism that builds on collective sentiments of fear and demands for punitive politics (Pratt 2007; Curato 2016). A year into his presidency, Duterte delivered on his campaign promise to unleash a spate of killings. Official figures from the police suggest that drugrelated killings are at 3,811, although human rights groups estimate that more than 12,000 have been killed—an average of one thousand for each month of his regime. Duterte’s populism is precisely the opposite of Mouffe’s populist vision: the enemy is literally eradicated (see The Drug Archive n.d.). It is not an overstatement to describe Duterte as the embodiment of the politics of the low (Ostiguy 2009, 2017). He is an unapologetic womanizer who defended his jokes about raping women, the “bastard child of Philippine democracy” whose popularity is built on his “dark charisma”, the “dictator-in-waiting” threatening to shut down congress. He called God “stupid” in a Catholic country, called President Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” in a nation that registers the most favorable view of the United States, and hailed Vladimir Putin as the paragon of leadership. Instead of courting the support of businessmen during the electoral campaign, he attended a business forum and talked about his exploits as Davao City Mayor and his Viagra-taking habits. He was called many names— Trump of the East, The Punisher, and Duterte Harry—all seemingly disparaging and exotic portrayals of the tropical island leader. Crass politics is central to Duterte’s vocabulary.

The Backstory: Giving Voice to the Unspeakable Before his Presidential run, Duterte was largely invisible in mainstream Philippine politics. He was the Mayor of Davao City for more than two decades. His name became part of everyday conversations through urban legends. There was a mayor, the story went, who made a tourist eat a cigarette for violating the city’s

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anti-smoking ordinance. A “tough” mayor from the conflict-ridden south once threw a suspected kidnapper out of a helicopter. These urban legends were consolidated when he ran for office. His narrative was simple: here was a small-town mayor who had transformed Davao City from the country’s murder capital into a peace-and-order paradise. All this had happened because of his tough-handed approach to governance. Political insiders recognize that the rise of Duterte and his specific brand of populist politics emerged less from mass manipulation than from actually responding to widely shared anxieties of local communities. As Walden Bello (2017) points out: Duterte, more by instinct than by plan, simply set fire to emotions that were already just below the surface. I think we should avoid accounts that promote the understanding of this movement as one created by manipulation from above. I  am disturbed by the Duterte movement and fear a Duterte presidency, but we risk gross misunderstanding of its dynamics and direction if we attribute its emergence to mass manipulation. It is, simply put, a largely spontaneous electoral insurgency. While undoubtedly the Duterte campaign employed attention-hacking strategies and disinformation campaigns not unlike other populist leaders such as ­Donald Trump (Marwick and Lewis 2017; Woolley and Guilbeault 2017), his early grassroots popularity and continued support have much less to do with systemic manipulation than his active responsiveness to latent anxieties. This explains, albeit partially, why such a controversial man won a landslide victory in May 2016. I have defined latent anxiety as a sense of distress, but one that remains in the background. It is “present but not central, mundane but still worrisome, publicized but not politicized” (Curato 2016, 98–99). These anxieties often pertain to existential issues, from drugs to criminality to economic insecurity. The poor in the Philippines have historically been silenced actors. Their capacities for claims-making have been suppressed by political elites’ everyday strategies of silencing, whether by threatening urban poor communities with eviction should they demand security of tenure or by killing labor leaders organizing unions for better labor rights. “Violence, intimidation, monetary inducements and the considerable autonomy elites enjoy to manipulate formal democratic procedures to their liking” are some of the conditions that have limited the formation of a counter-public capable of generating discourses that contest an exclusionary status quo (Kerkvliet 1995, 405). These practices are scaled up at the national level, albeit using more sophisticated techniques of silencing. The reformist elite promoting the agenda of “good governance” works to discredit the pro-poor populist narratives of their political

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rivals (Teehankee 2017, 5; Kusaka 2017). These political rivals often come from outside the political establishment of historical and landed elites. They are discredited through strategies of negative campaigning, such as tainting the powerful “rags-to-riches” narrative of political outsiders with accusations of corruption, coupled with belittling commentaries on their crass behavior or conduct, unbecoming of a “statesman” (Evangelista 2017). In turn, the reformist elite is best exemplified by President Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno S. Aquino III and his political allies, who despite their policy reforms for inclusive growth and the enhancement of social protections, are portrayed as insensitive and anti-poor by some of their critics. In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, for example, President Aquino was quoted as responding to a grief-stricken businessman’s appeal to hasten city recovery and clean-up of corpses piled on the streets with the dismissive retort, “But you’re still alive, aren’t you?” Such dismissiveness, together with the use of state violence to silence the poor, captures dynamics of what Nick Couldry (2011) calls “voice-denying rationalities” or the logics that mute ordinary people’s capacities for claims-making. Viewed this way, reformist elites are not by any means necessarily more deliberative than populist ones (Curato and Ong 2018). State actors evade accountability by muting voices of those who have an equal stake in the nation (Keane 2012). Compare this to Duterte, whose performance of compassion is enacted, not spoken. The crude mayor known for running death squads was among the first on the scene after Haiyan devastated the islands of Central Philippines. And he was just a city mayor, 650 kilometers away from Tacloban. He had no responsibility towards the disaster victims, and yet he brought with him a convoy of medical teams and relief workers. He also deployed volunteers—“Duterte’s people”, as my respondents call them—to go to far-flung areas beyond the reach of humanitarian organizations to distribute relief goods and cash. Unlike “Aquino’s people”, who asked disaster victims to produce identification before receiving help (to comply with audit requirements, in the spirit of good governance), Duterte’s people handed out relief goods with no questions asked. Unlike the bags of relief goods plastered with politicians’ names, Duterte’s relief goods were packed into a red sack, with a sticker that said “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. From: Davao City”. Alive in the memory of disaster survivors is the image of a humble city mayor who worked without fanfare, free from an entourage snapping selfies with a broken city as background. Duterte was a man who “did something” as opposed to the government that only “said ­something”, Duterte may be known as loud and boorish, but for disasteraffected ­communities, he knew when to be silent. “It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, when you broadcast your kindness”, a retired humanitarian worker told me. The only time Duterte talked about the typhoon was in a chance interview with Davao-based journalists at the airport. Holding back his tears, his voice

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cracking, the mayor narrated his experience in Tacloban. He came across as firm but empathetic, rambling but sincere. Mother fucker, I  think God must have been somewhere else when the typhoon hit. Dead bodies were everywhere . . . there was no electricity, no food, and no water . . . people were just looking up at the sky. . . . My suggestion is, I don’t mean to [give unsolicited advice to government], but the state of calamity is not enough. It has to be a state of emergency because there is no local government functioning. They were relying on the police, army, social workers, but all of them had [suffered] loss. . . . I don’t know if I want to cry, or what. I could not shout in anger because you cannot be mad at anybody there. . . . People are walking like zombies there, son of a bitch. This clip provides a window into the resonance of Duterte’s political style among communities facing existential threats. At the heart of Duterte’s acerbic rhetoric is his capacity to give voice to the unspeakable. His discursive power rests not only on speaking to sentiments of unease and anguish, but in creating a demand that something has to be done now. Whether it is the case of Haiyan that demands a state of emergency, or his dystopian depiction of the Republic as on the brink of fragmentation because of narco-syndicates, Duterte’s politics of crisis has been crucial in setting the scene for his governance style. This explains why the words “kill”, “death”, “corpses”, and “bodies” are central to his storytelling. His vocabulary depicts a country hemorrhaging, and his politics of “I will” presents quick albeit painful solutions. How successful is Duterte’s performance of a crisis (see Moffitt 2016)? Does his entry to the political center-stage spell the demise of democratic virtues? Are his supporters fanatical and unable to critically examine the pronouncements of a demagogue? It is one thing to unpack the populist’s visceral appeal. To understand how publics critically examine and deliberate about the reasons for their visceral reactions is another. In the following sections, I recount the narratives of poor people’s perceptions of Duterte and their rationalities for supporting a self-confessed mass murderer. Following protocols of ethnographic research, I have anonymized the names of respondents and communities in which they live. In each of these sections, I aim to illustrate how populist claims are received, interpreted, and negotiated by populist publics.

Discursive Pluralism in Populism and Populist Publics One of my immediate observations in spending time with Duterte’s supporters was the provisional character of their support for the president. Prominently

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covered in mainstream and digital media is Duterte’s depiction of the Philippines as a narco-state that demands a brutal approach. In mainstream commentary, Duterte’s supporters are described as die-hard fanatics under the dark spell of a charismatic leader. In social media, critics describe them as Dutertards—a contraction of Duterte’s retards—the unthinking lapdogs that defend the president’s incoherence. These portrayals, however, are not only inaccurate, they are also unfair. Populist publics have various judgments on Duterte’s pronouncements, depending on their background contexts. The following are three ethnographic portraits summarizing the conversations I had with those who declared support for Duterte. Each of these examples addresses a controversial part of Duterte’s narrative. a. Drugs. I spent several afternoons with Ann in her makeshift store that sells foam. She always warned me to leave before it got dark. “It’s best to avoid the ‘troublemakers’ on the street corner”, she warned me. “Duterte should make an example of these morons”, she told me, exasperated that she, and now I, too, must plan our days around these thugs who “make no contribution” to society. When I asked her what she meant by Duterte making an example of these young men, Ann said she hopes the police would catch them snorting crystal meth, beat them up, and bring them to jail. I asked her how she would feel if these men were shot dead, as was happening in the streets of Manila. “It wouldn’t come to that”, she told me. “Don’t take Duterte ­literally”, she added, “he’s just telling the police to be strict with crackheads”. b. Killings. “You know I  really have no problem with the killing”, Sandy confessed to me as he showed me around the new housing units for disaster survivors, in the northern part of Tacloban. Sandy was a shift driver who had found part-time work as a construction worker. I challenged Sandy and asked him about the scapular on his three-year-old daughter’s neck and made him reconcile his view about killings with his Catholic faith. He explained that the problem with Duterte’s drug policy was how killing was done under unfair rules of engagement. He was referring to the news reports of men killed by cops, execution-style. Sandy drew the line there. Suspects had to be given a fair chance to defend themselves, whether in court or in police operations. “That’s the work of a coward”, he responded, when I  asked him about the rising death toll in Manila due to the shootings by gunmen on motorcycles. He did not think Duterte endorses that mode of killing, because that lessens his credibility as a strongman. c. Accountability. Bianca had campaigned for Duterte during elections. She was a single mother raising three children, but she nevertheless found time to support the Duterte’s digital team on Facebook by liking pro-Duterte

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memes so they would trend. For Duterte’s first speech as President, she took the notebook she used for her “values formation” training with the social welfare ministry. It is a condition to attend these trainings for mothers in order to receive cash grants. She showed me her notes, listing Duterte’s promises. “FOI [Freedom of Information]. Rail projects in Metro Manila. Rehabilitation of the Carmona Sanitary Landfill” were some of her legible scribbles. I asked her the purpose of the list. She said she made a list so she wouldn’t forget. Bianca supported the President but remained skeptical towards politicians who made promises. In our banter, she usually mentioned that politicians took us for fools, especially women like her who lived in precarious and desperate conditions. But she always insisted on the importance of remaining “wise” and “not [being] fooled again”. These ethnographic portraits reveal two characteristics of populist publics. First, far from being fanatical, populist publics are critical. They are ready to identify their differences from the President’s positions and render moral judgement. Ann was negotiating Duterte’s dystopian vocabulary and interpreted the president’s threats as metaphors, not literal instructions to cops. For Sandy, a strongman had to have the courage to fight fairly, and not be cowards and stack the odds even against criminals. For Bianca, her support is conditional upon the president’s ­performance in keeping his promises. Second, these ethnographic portraits reveal the narrative agency of populist publics. Duterte’s supporters do not passively consume the populist narrative. They reflect and engage with Duterte’s political style. They put forward reasons for critiquing and supporting the strongman’s appeal. Each respondent demonstrated differing interpretation of what is right and wrong, what is good for the collective, and what is excessive use of force. Underlying the previous ethnographic portraits are respondents’ capacity to tell the story of the strongman in relation to their personal circumstances. The appeal of populism, in other words, is dynamic, fragmented, and interpreted in multiple ways, depending on one’s values and life experience. It is rational, not pathological. It provides impetus to the everyday politics of justification necessary for deliberative politics to take root.

Populist Publics and Deliberative Politics Populism is no longer an aberration but a central part of democratic politics in contemporary times. Populist leaders have been victorious in elections for they have offered a “full performative ‘package’ ” that is “attractive, emotionally resonant and relevant” (Moffitt 2016). The challenge for democratic theorists and for empirical researchers is to uncover the precise ways in which populism challenge democratic practice, instead of immediately dismissing this political style as inherently corrosive to democratic politics.

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Findings from my ethnographic research prompt two reflections on the relationship between deliberation and populism.

Formation of New Publics First, populism can give life to publics whose voices would have remained ­relegated to the margins were it not for a controversial leader who gave voice to their latent anxieties. Populism exposes hidden injuries of political exclusion and draws attention to citizens’ unspeakable pain. Duterte’s rise to power cannot be reduced to a story of a crude and rude politician who exploited people’s vulnerabilities. This betrays the everyday realities of his supporters, who see themselves as part of a collective project and who created a counter-narrative that disrupts the reformist storyline offered by callous elites. The story of Duterte as a man of action, not a man of talk—the man who went to serve disaster survivors with little fanfare—presents a powerful claim [for and] from disaster-affected communities. In the hierarchy of values among populist publics, deeds matter more than words. It is no surprise therefore that Duterte’s supporters are willing to overlook their leader’s vulgarity. What use are statesmen compared to Duterte’s politics of “I  will”? In the case of Tacloban, Duterte’s “I  will” is supported by a track record of restoring people’s dignity amidst the most devastating crisis. Second, the populist publics are both responsive and agential. They are responsive to the President’s political style, but they also exercise narrative agency in interpreting the President’s pronouncements. The ethnographic vignettes in the previous section provide evidence of how citizens construct their views on politics as situated in their everyday realities. Duterte offers a promise that speaks to their quotidian crises, but they are more than capable of drawing a line regarding where their support ends. There is room for discursive pluralism, skepticism, and accountability in populism, if only we shift our gaze from the divisive rhetoric from the top, to the reflective discourses at the grassroots. These virtues are the exact same virtues deliberative politics demands. Where the populist challenge lies, however, is in finding spaces for populist publics’ views to secure an audience in the public sphere. While my ethnographic work provide evidence to critical and thoughtful reflection in the private sphere, there is little evidence to suggest that these views travel to the rest of the public sphere. Rarely are these views put in conversation with extreme voices—whether supporters or critics of Duterte—that have been amplified in social media. Crucial to deliberative politics are robust “connectors”, whether it is social movements, digital media, faith-based organizations, or community-based associations that can broker conflicting discourses. In deeply divided societies like Northern Ireland or Colombia, constitution-making, referenda, truth and reconciliation commissions, or peace processes can become spaces for conflicting ideas to be

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fleshed out and generate understanding, or, at the very least, respect for the other (see Steiner et al. 2016; Suiter, Farrell, and O’Malley 2016).

Deliberative Politics for an Age of Attention-Seeking The populist political style has made a case for the importance of authenticity in public deliberation. Spectacular speech, carnivalesque performances, dramatic narration, and raw anger are speech styles that have been associated with decidedly non-populist LGBT movements, feminist groups, and migrant communities. Creative forms of claims-making have long been appreciated by deliberative democrats as ways in which marginalized groups can prompt a conversation and secure empathy from the rest of the public and decision-makers. Populist leaders use a similar logic. At a time when attention is the scarcest resource, the dramatization of politics serves as a potent discursive style to draw interest towards crucial issues. Duterte’s populist style has pushed the boundaries of acceptable speech in the realm of formal politics. The trade-off of the virtue of respect is the virtue of esteem. From speaking in Bisaya—a language that many elites from Imperial Manila could not understand—to literally raising the middle finger to the European Union, Duterte’s politics of the low is an authentic expression of a people telling their old masters it’s their turn to be a center of politics. Deliberative politics has a lot to learn from this populist moment. One is that populist leaders are not only powerful orators; they are effective listeners. To be on the pulse, to establish a relationship with people whose voices could not be heard, demands a sharp listener who understands the unspeakable. The populist moment also asserts the importance of passions in political life. It is not something that can be bracketed out of rational debate, but one that must be embraced, but also carefully unpacked, debated, and examined. There are, of course, limits to the logic of authenticity. Unlike social movements that use passionate speech styles to make their case, populist leaders are often in power. Duterte has at his command the Philippines’ entire Armed Forces, as well as the police force at the center of his murderous anti-drug campaign. And here lies the critical distinction between populists running for election and populists in power. Populists in power can turn against their publics and opt to silence them again.

References Arditi, Benjamin. 2007. Politics on the Edges of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Agitation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Aslanidis, Paris. 2018. “Measuring Populist Discourse with Semantic Text Analysis: An Application on Grassroots Populist Mobilization.”  Quality  & Quantity  52 (3): 1241–1263.

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Bello, Walden. 2017. “Rodrigo Duterte: A Fascist Original.” In A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency, edited by Nicole Curato, 77–91. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Canovan, Margaret. 1999. “Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy.” Political Studies 47 (1): 2–16. Chambers, Simone. 2009. “Rhetoric and the Public Sphere: Has Deliberative Democracy Abandoned Mass Democracy?” Political Theory 37 (3): 323–350. Couldry, Nick. 2011. Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism. London: Sage. Curato, Nicole. 2016. “Politics of Anxiety, Politics of Hope: Penal Populism and Duterte’s Rise to Power.” Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asian Affairs35 (3): 91–109. ———. 2019. Democracy in a Time of Misery: From Spectacular Tragedy to Deliberative Action. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Curato, Nicole, and Jonathan Corpus Ong. 2018. “Who Laughs at a Rape Joke? Illiberal Responsiveness in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines.” In Ethical Responsiveness and the Politics of Difference, edited by T. Dreher and A. Mondal, 117–132. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Dryzek, John S. 2010. “Rhetoric in Democracy: A Systemic Appreciation.” Political Theory 38 (3): 319–339. Elstub, Stephen, Selen A. Ercan, and Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça. 2018. Deliberative Systems in Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. Evangelista, John Andrew. 2017. “Queering Rodrigo Duterte.” In The Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency, edited by Nicole Curato, 251–262. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Fishkin, James S., and Jane J. Mansbridge, eds. 2017. “The Prospects and Limits of Deliberative Democracy.” Daedalus 146 (3): 6–13. Habermas, Jürgen. 1996. Between Facts and Norms. Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. Cambridge: MIT Press. Hancox, Dan. 2015. “Why Ernesto Laclau is the intellectual figurehead for Syriza and Podemos.” The Guardian, 9 February  2015. Available at: www.theguardian.com/ commentisfree/2015/feb/09/ernesto-laclau-intellectual-figurehead-syriza-podemos [Accessed 11 June 2016]. Inglehart, Ronald F., and Pippa Norris. 2016. “Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-nots and Cultural Backlash.” Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper Series. RWP16–026. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers. cfm?abstract_id=2818659 [Accessed 30 September 2017]. Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira. 2012. “The Ambivalence of Populism: Threat and Corrective for Democracy.” Democratization 19 (2): 184–208. Keane, John. 2012. “Silence, Catastrophe: Why Media and Democracy Matter in the Early Years of the Twenty-first Century.” Political Quarterly 83 (4): 660–668. Kerkvliet, Benedict. 1995. “Toward a More Comprehensive Analysis of Philippine Politics: Beyond the Patron-client Factional Framework.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 26 (2): 401–419. Kusaka, Wataru. 2017. “Bandit Grabbed the State: Duterte’s Moral Politics.” Philippine Sociological Review 65 (S1): 49–75. Mansbridge, Jane, James Bohman, Simone Chambers, Thomas Christiano, Archon Fung, John Parkinson, Dennis F. Thompson, and Mark E. Warren. 2012. “A  Systemic Approach to Deliberative Democracy.” In Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale, edited by John Parkinson and Jane Mansbridge, 1–26. Oxford: Cambridge University Press.

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Marwick, Alice, and Rebecca Lewis. 2017. “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online.” Data & Society Research Institute. Available at: https://datasociety.net/pubs/ oh/DataAndSociety_MediaManipulationAndDisinformationOnline.pdf [Accessed 27 September 2017]. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. On the Political. London: Verso. ———. 2016. “In Defence of Left-Wing Populism.” The Conversation, 30 April  2016. Available at: https://theconversation.com/in-defence-of-left-wing-populism-55869 [Accessed 11 June 2016]. ———. 2018. For a Left Populism. London: Verso. Mudde, Cas. 2010. “The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy.” West European Politics 33 (6): 1167–1186. Murdock, Graham. 2018. “Refeudalisation Revisited: The Destruction of Deliberative Democracy.” Javnost-The Public 25 (1–2): 43–50. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High-Low Political Divide: Rethinking Populism and Anti- Populism.” Kellogg Institute Committee on Concepts and Methods Working Paper Series 360. Available at: http://nd.edu/~kellogg/publications/workingpapers / WPS/360.pdf ———. 2015. “Antagonism, Identification and Performativity in Populism: From the Empty Signifier to Bodily ‘Excesses’.” Published in Spanish as “Gramáticas plebeyas: exceso, representación y fronteras porosas en el populismo oficialista.” In Gramaticas Plebeyas: Populismo, democracia y nuevas izquierdas en América Latina, edited by Claudio Veliz y Ariana Reano, 133–177. Ediciones UNGS (Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento) y Ediciones UNDAV (Univ Nacional de Avellaneda). ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-Cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Participedia. n.d. Available at: www.participedia.net/ [Accessed 30 October 2017]. Pogrebinschi, Thamy. 2017. “LATINNO: Innovations for Democracy in Latin America.” Available at: www.latinno.net/en/ [Accessed 30 October 2017]. Pratt, John. 2007. Penal Populism. London: Routledge. Salgado, Susana, and Yannis Stavrakakis. 2018. “Introduction: Populist Discourses and Political Communication in Southern Europe.” European Political Science 18 (1): 1–10. Steiner, Jürg, Maria C. Jaramillo, Rousiley C. M. Maia, and Simona Mameli. 2016. Deliberation Across Deep Divisions. Transformative Moments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Suiter, Jane, David M. Farrell, and Eoin O’Malley. 2016. “When Do Deliberative Citizens Change their Opinions? Evidence from the Irish Citizens’ Assembly.” International Political Science Review 37 (2): 198–212. Teehankee, Julio. 2017. “Was Duterte’s Rise Inevitable?” In A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency, edited by Nicole Curato, 37–56. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. The Drug Archive. n.d. Available at: https://drugarchive.ph [Accessed 12 June 2020]. Urbinati, Nadia. 2014. Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth, and the People. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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Woolley, Samuel, and Douglas Guilbeault. 2017. “Computational Propaganda in the United States of America: Manufacturing Consensus Online.” Oxford Internet Institute. Available at: http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/2017/06/19/computational-propa ganda-in-the-united-states-of-america-manufacturing-consensus-online/ [Accessed 27 September 2017]. Wright, Erik Olin. 2010. Envisioning Real Utopias. London: Verso.

12 OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW? The ANC and EFF’s Battle to Represent the South African “People” Sithembile Mbete

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has transformed the South African political landscape since it was established in 2013 by a former leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema. While many commentators dismissed it as “a case of hype over substance” (Friedman 2014), the EFF has challenged the post-Apartheid democratic settlement and increasingly sets the agenda of national politics. The EFF became the third biggest party in national parliament after the 2014 elections and was a kingmaker in several hung municipalities after the 2016 municipal elections. However, its impact goes beyond electoral politics. Through disruptive political engagement in parliament and clever use of the courts, the EFF has placed corruption within the African National Congress (ANC), specifically relating to former President Jacob Zuma, firmly on the national agenda. It has also revived debates about the land question and racially defined economic inequality that still resonate in South Africa, 26 years after the formal end of Apartheid. When it first emerged, the EFF captured the public imagination by visually transforming the political landscape. The red beret worn by party members became ubiquitous at political meetings and on urban streets across South Africa. Because of Julius Malema’s outsize personality, the EFF dominated the media and public discourse far more than would normally be expected for a party that had only been in existence for such a short time. Malema was best known for his use of graphic insults against adversaries. In 2010, he insulted a BBC journalist who told him he was speaking rubbish by saying “You can go out. Rubbish is what you have covered in that trouser. That is rubbish. You are a small boy, you can’t do anything. . . . Go out. Go out. Bastard! Go out. You bloody agent!” (Smith 2010). In 2011, Malema was found guilty of hate speech in the South African Equality Court for singing a song with the lyrics dubula ibhunu (“shoot the boer”), which

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the Court found “is a such a big infringement on the human rights of the target group, namely white Afrikaners” (SAPA 2011). When he formed the EFF, political scholars and observers dismissed the party’s relevance, arguing that Malema’s theatrics were being confused with actual influence over the electorate (Friedman 2014). Fakir (2014, 121) criticized the EFF for using “essentially an empty rhetoric captured in the politics of spectacle, where even complex ideas get pared down to mere slogans”. He further argued that the party’s strategies of “nationalizing the commanding heights of the economy (mines, banks and large factories to the rest of us), expropriating and redistributing land seized by ‘white thieves’ in a process of grand theft, without compensation, and distributing unused state land” were, ironically, “part of the policy arsenal of the apartheid era National Party” (Fakir 2014, 121). Various commentators from both the right and the left of the political spectrum dismissed the party as fascist and warned of the dangers it presents in a context of socioeconomic hardships caused by high unemployment (Fogel 2013, Whelan 2014). Despite being dismissed as inconsequential, the EFF’s politics of spectacle has redefined what is considered as acceptable political conduct in South Africa. The governing ANC has responded to the EFF by adopting a more leftist populist style, including rhetoric about “radical economic transformation” and liberating black South Africans from the economic stranglehold of “white monopoly capital”. In 2018, the ANC supported an EFF parliamentary motion to discuss amending the Constitution to enable expropriation of land without compensation to remedy historic land dispossession and address racialized economic inequality (EFF 2017). This move has been interpreted as a major concession to the EFF’s populist political agenda. This chapter uses theories on the performative and discursive dimensions of politics to explore how ideas of political representation, political agency, and political legitimacy have changed since the EFF entered the scene. I argue that the EFF fits into an emerging global pattern of populism that is best understood as a political style. Using Moffitt’s framework of populism as a performative political style, I demonstrate how the EFF’s populist political style has fundamentally changed the substance of South Africa’s contemporary political debate. In these highly mediated times when social media has made everyone with a smartphone a potential broadcaster, the optics and spectacle of politics matter more than ever before. While much of the debate about the EFF has been about where to place it on the ideological spectrum (is it right-wing/fascist or is it left-wing/progressive), I argue that such debates force a false dichotomy that does not help us understand the EFF’s politics or its appeal to voters.

Conceptual Notes: Populism as a Political Style As can be seen in the other chapters in this collection, the rise of political movements of “the people” against “the elite” can be seen discursively in a diverse

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range of contexts—from the Tea Party in the United States to the Front National in France and the Red Shirts in Thailand. Scholars have attempted to explain populism in a variety of ways, focusing on political ideologies (see Mudde 2007), organizational forms (see Weyland 2001) and types of discourse used by populists (Panizza 2005). A perspective of populism as a performative political style that engages in what Ostiguy (2017, 74, 78) calls “the flaunting of the ‘low’ ” is a useful way to think about the EFF’s politics. This approach is notable for seeing populism as a “two-way phenomenon” between the leader and supporters against a defined “other”. In this way, populism is more about “identity creation and identities” than “ ‘world views’ or ‘ideology’ ” (Ostiguy 2017, 73). Malema has styled himself as a revolutionary, strongman leader who exerts total control over his party. Yet he also presents himself as a “man of the people” who represents the powerless black majority that has been left behind by the political and economic elites since the dawn of democracy in 1994. The EFF’s success cannot be merely dismissed as the product of manipulating the electorate. The party reflects a socio-cultural shift in post-Apartheid South Africa and a desire to assert the leadership of a longneglected underclass. I will use Moffitt’s (2016a, 52) conception of populism as a political style as a framework through which to analyze the EFF’s impact on South African politics. This conception allows one to focus on how “populism is done”, instead of trying to define it as an ideology. Those opposed to the party dismiss it as right-wing or fascist, and those sympathetic to it characterize it as left-wing and progressive. These opposing caricatures do not assist us in understanding the EFF’s politics, its appeal to voters, or its impact on South African political life. In post-Apartheid South Africa, populism is generally regarded in a negative light as implying an emotive politics that explains phenomena in simplistic rather than holistic terms, often using race as a tool for mobilization. This is consistent with concerns about South Africa’s elections since 1994 as being merely a “racial census”, in which voters make choices along racial lines, entrenching the country’s colonial and Apartheid history of racial division (Habib and Naidu 2004; Sylvester 2009). Some commentators have dismissed the EFF as a racist and Black Nationalist party (for nuanced discussion on this, see Duncan 2014; Harvey 2014). However, this obscures the socio-cultural and politico-cultural developments in South African society that have allowed the EFF’s populist style to resonate so deeply. Thus, a conceptual approach that enables us to make the connection between the EFF’s political style and the content of its politics is compelling. Moffitt (2016b, 28–29) defines political style as “the repertoires of embodied, symbolically mediated performance made to audiences that are used to create and navigate the fields of power that comprise the political, stretching from the domain of government through to everyday life”. This definition explicitly takes into account “the discursive, rhetorical, and aesthetic aspects of political

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phenomena” (Moffitt 2016a, 55). In an increasingly mediated and stylized world, the performative features of politics are particularly (and increasingly) important. Moffitt (2016b, 45) delineates three features of populist style: appeal to “the people” versus “the elite”; “bad manners” (on the “low”); and “crisis, breakdown or threat”. This framework provides a useful lens through which we can examine the EFF’s populism. The next section uses these three categories to discuss the formation and politics of the EFF.

Appeal to “the People” Versus “the Elite” What distinguishes populists from other politicians is their evocation of the people as “the true holders of sovereignty”, as opposed to an exploitative or corrupt elite. The elite or political class are constructed as the source of some crisis or breakdown that is based on or has resulted in the people being let down, exploited or poorly governed. According to Moffitt (2016), populists distance themselves from the elite or power bloc in several ways, including the adoption of popular language, gestures, and fashion. Populists make claims of being the true voice of the people. The EFF’s founding logic is that it represents the poor, marginalized masses of South Africa that continue to be exploited by big business and politicians. The EFF’s appeal is to “the people”, defined variably as “the oppressed black majority of South Africa” (EFF 2014), “the black working class” (EFF 2013), and “the oppressed peoples of the African continent” (EFF 2018). The people are therefore the historically disadvantaged black majority, who continue to be marginalized in the democratic dispensation. This group is placed in opposition to historically advantaged white capitalists and the newly advantaged ANC elite. The people are exploited both by the white capitalist class that has not relinquished power since 1994 and by the corrupt, black elite that “sold out” during the negotiated settlement that ended Apartheid. The EFF’s diagnosis of South Africa after 1994 is that black South Africans have become a “voting, but powerless majority” because true economic and social power still resides in white hands (EFF 2013). One of the ways in which the EFF identifies itself with the people is through clothing. The party’s signature red beret, harking back to the revolutionary fervor of icons like Che Guevara and Thomas Sankara, is intended to distinguish it from the ANC and to connect it to the purity of genuine revolutionary struggle (Kgosana 2013). The more contemporary inspiration of the red berets is Hugo Chavez, whom Malema met in 2010. When Chavez died in 2013, Malema penned an emotional tribute to him, pledging that “We in South Africa would once again want to assure the fighting spirit of President Hugo Chavez that we will continue the fight against imperialist control of our natural resources, and we will realize victory” (Malema 2013). Similar to Chavez, Malema embodies the

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political “low” in both social-cultural and political-cultural terms (Ostiguy 2009). With respect to the former, he is coarse and uninhibited, readily adopting behaviour that is considered distasteful by “respectable” members of society. Regarding the latter, he has styled himself as a “strongman”, and decision-making within the EFF is highly personalized in him. The EFF’s ideological position started off as explicitly left of center, with a commitment to nationalization, especially of the mining industry, and anti-imperialism. Some critics have raised concerns that were he to win national power, Malema would become an authoritarian leader eroding the liberal foundations of South Africa’s democracy in a similar way to how Chavismo is argued to have become authoritarian. Indeed, in the midst of escalating economic crisis in Venezuela, several critics of the EFF wrote gleefully of “the shocking collapse of Julius Malema’s favorite country” as a cautionary tale of the consequences of a possible EFF government (Levy-Carciente 2018; Mills and White 2018). The EFF’s full range of uniforms—miners’ overalls for the men and domestic workers’ uniform for the women1—are a direct identification with the working class (Goldhammer 2014). Malema set out to establish the EFF’s revolutionary credentials by rejecting the Eurocentric dress code. EFF MPs wore bright red overalls and domestic workers’ uniforms to the first sitting of the National Assembly after the national elections in 2014. Party MP Hlengiwe Maxon defended the party’s red attire, saying: This is the dress of domestic workers . . . we are trying to tell people that we are from the Economic Freedom Fighters, we are here for the workers and the poor. We are sending a message to say that the Parliament for the people is not a Parliament for the elite. So the workers at home, when they see us dressed like this, they will know they are represented. (Makinana and Underhill 2014) The EFF’s appeal to the people was evident at the 2016 municipal election manifesto launch. Malema insisted that the party was making commitments, not promises to the people as he did not intend to play with their emotions like the ANC had (Munusamy 2016). He reinforced the EFF as a party of black South Africans by explaining the choice of hosting the launch in Soweto with the words “the umbilical cord of the EFF is buried here in Soweto”, evoking the practice used in all African cultures to introduce a child to the ancestors and establish its home (Malema 2016a). According to Malema, the party’s election manifesto was developed out of 1,000 meetings across South Africa to find out the real demands of the people. The ideas in the manifesto were thus generated by the “poorest of the poor” in rural areas, townships and squatter camps—those “ordinary people, particularly the black nation which is ignored and not listened to by anyone” (Malema 2016a). While the party launched its election campaign in the urban

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setting of Soweto, it also has broad appeal to people in rural areas that feel disenfranchised and forgotten by urban elites. Writing about the EFF’s campaign in the rural Limpopo province, Phadi, Pearson and Lesaffre (2016) argue the EFF’s ideology “resonates with life experiences in this rural mining milieu”. In the 2016 elections, the EFF received enough votes to be the kingmaker in several important metropolitan municipalities, including Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub. The EFF said that it was open to speaking to any party that approached it for a coalition deal but it would not engage in any negotiation that sought to undermine the will of the people. It would approach negotiations with the ANC from a principle of no coalitions because it refused to legitimize the Zuma administration. This left it to consider a coalition deal with the Democratic Alliance (DA), a party with the exact opposite ideological and political foundations. Many questioned the wisdom of the EFF going into coalition with a party that has private property, capitalism, and deregulation as some of its key tenets. In the event, the EFF decided against joining any governing coalitions. Malema stated that the EFF would only go into power through a decisive mandate from the people and not “through a shortcut”. He refused to join a DA coalition because it was “the party of white racists” (Malema 2016b). Nevertheless, the EFF decided to support opposition parties to form governments in the various hung municipalities so it would vote with them to enable councils to be formed, but it would not participate in governance. What this meant was that the party would vote with Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwazuluNatal, the Service Delivery Forum in Rustenburg, and the DA in the four hung metropolitan municipalities. When asked about the contradictions between the EFF and DA’s policy positions, Malema described the DA as a “better devil” than the ANC (Ngoepe 2016). The EFF’s vote influenced the election of mayors in fourteen out of twenty-seven hung municipalities. It helped bring DA mayors to power in Tshwane (the seat of the national executive), Johannesburg, and Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipalities (HeraldLive 2016). The EFF’s decision not to join any coalitions and to remain in opposition in all hung municipalities came as a surprise. Many anticipated that the party would be eager to test its revolutionary ideals in practice. Furthermore, positions in municipal government come with excellent salary packages, which would be a boon both to individual councilors and to the party that would receive a share. By deciding to stay out of government, the EFF stayed true to its fundamental ideals, forfeiting the benefits of incumbency. This is unusual in African politics (and indeed, South African politics), where the desire for power often overrides other strategic considerations. Given the EFF’s inexperience in municipal governance and its strident rhetoric, remaining in opposition was ultimately viewed as the best strategic decision for the party. The EFF has pursued a kind of “guerrilla governance” at the municipal level by occupying land and supporting community

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protests. In his post-election press conference, Malema promised that all the wards won by the EFF would have basic necessities like water, even if it meant the party had to dig boreholes itself in the communities it represents (Malema 2016b). The party has lived up to this promise by leading land occupations in the Johannesburg and Tshwane municipalities, and then forcing the governing DA to provide temporary services in the form of chemical toilets and water tanks (Dlamini 2018).

“Bad Manners” Populist discourse and style is coarse. As both Moffitt (2016) and Ostiguy (2009, 2017) put it, much of populists’ appeal comes from their disregard for “ ‘appropriate’ modes of acting in the political realm”. They mark themselves as the practitioners of a kind of “low” politics of ordinary people that is opposed to the “high” politics of the elite (Ostiguy 2017). In challenging the rules and conventions of politics and the institutions through which politics is conducted and mediated, they set themselves apart from the elite and identify themselves as part of the people. This can be seen in the EFF’s “revolutionary” dress code and its adoption of old military language from the days of the liberation struggle, which appears out of place in modern democratic politics. The EFF’s disdain for parliamentary rules and its challenging of the legitimacy of parliamentary conventions are a part of the same phenomenon. Much of the EFF’s “bad manners” has been aimed at challenging the “elite pact” that brought a peaceful end to Apartheid and resulted in democratization in 1994. As discussed in the previous section, the party’s choice of uniform was aimed at identifying it with the working class and rejecting “appropriate” modes of dressing in South African political institutions like parliament. The EFF successfully transformed the seemingly inconsequential dispute over clothing into a broader debate about the ongoing legacy of colonialism and the terms by which the end of apartheid was negotiated. When EFF legislators were kicked out of one of the provincial legislatures for being inappropriately dressed, Malema argued that the ANC leadership was ashamed of workers and was treating the Economic Freedom Fighters as poorly as they treat their domestic workers at home. He dismissed the argument about an appropriate dress code thus: To you proper is white, to you proper is European. We are not white, we are going to wear those uniforms. . . . We are defying colonialist decorum. We are not English-made. We are workers, and we are going to wear those clothes and we are unapologetic about it. (Pillay 2014) Some observers see the EFF’s challenge to the dress code as a legitimate questioning of the compromises made to attain formal democracy (Bunsee 2014). The

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EFF eventually won the right in court to wear its uniforms in all the country’s legislatures. This was a political and propaganda victory for the party. The EFF used its speeches in the national parliament to challenge political conventions. Often acting as the badly behaved guest at the dinner table (Arditi 2007), EFF MPs used heckling, interruptions, and, sometimes, physical defiance to disrupt parliamentary proceedings. At the 2014 State of the Nation Address, Julius Malema was ejected from the National Assembly for refusing to retract a comment that the ANC had “murdered” protesting miners in Marikana (Makinana 2014). The rest of his party’s MPs walked out with him, whistling and hurling insults at the ANC as they exited. This was the first of several violent clashes involving the EFF leadership in parliament. A notable example took place in February 2015 when the speaker of parliament ordered Malema and the EFF caucus out of parliament for disrupting proceedings (Regter 2019). The speaker made use of a dubious security force of plain-clothed policemen to forcibly remove the MPs. The incident ended in a fistfight between the security forces and the EFF. Several EFF MPs were injured in the brawl. The EFF’s defiance was well received by its constituency as it demonstrated the party’s willingness to “get down and dirty” if provoked and attacked. After a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment implied that Zuma had violated his oath of office by authorizing expensive security upgrades to his private home, the EFF used parliamentary sittings where Zuma was present to challenge his legitimacy as president. This was done using the “bad manners” of disruption as well as “points of information” and other rules of debate incessantly to prevent Zuma from speaking. The use of the parliamentary rulebook to hijack proceedings and delegitimize Zuma is a further example of the EFF’s “guerrilla” tactics to attract publicity. Inadvertently, the EFF tested the commitment of the ANC to post-apartheid democratic institutions. The unconstitutional use of private security to eject EFF MPs from parliament led to accusations that the ANC was becoming authoritarian and betraying its democratic principles. One of the consequences of the EFF’s “bad manners” in parliament is renewed interest in parliamentary politics among ordinary South Africans. Parliament TV’s ratings skyrocketed, and people took an active interest in learning parliamentary rules and terms to understand what was going on (Matshaba 2018). The growing interest in parliament and politics inspired the creation of a primetime TV comedy show, titled “Point of Order”, which takes a humorous view on current affairs. The EFF often coins slogans during its parliamentary eruptions that are then taken on by the general populace in the form of trending hashtags on Twitter. In 2015, they coined #PayBackTheMoney, demanding Zuma to repay state funds spent on upgrading his private home (Loggenberg 2014). In 2016, they started a campaign of #ZuptaMustGo in response to Zuma’s apparently corrupt relationship with the Guptas, a prominent family of businessmen. Zupta is a portmanteau of the two names reflecting the close relationship between Zuma

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and the Guptas. In a parliamentary question-and-answer session in 2017, Malema refused to refer to President Zuma by his name or honorary title, and referred to him as Ubaba kaDuduzane, “Duduzane’s father”. Duduzane Zuma, Jacob’s son, is alleged to be the middleman in corrupt dealings between the Gupta family and the President. This slogan was turned into a popular dance music track, illustrating how the EFF’s performative style resonates in South African pop culture. In its 2019 elections manifesto, the party highlighted the growth in the public’s interest in politics as one of its successes since 2014: “The EFF has made politics fashionable and worthy. The EFF has made parliament vibrant” (EFF 2019, 19). Moffitt’s conception of the constitutive relationship between political style and political substance is relevant to understanding the EFF’s performance in Parliament. While some observers have dismissed the party’s “bad manners” as a series of publicity stunts that are interfering with the important substantive legislative business, it could be argued that the EFF’s challenges to the conventions of the system opened space for a substantive debate about whether the country’s political institutions are still relevant in post-Apartheid South Africa. Yet, the EFF has not offered substantive proposals to radically change democratic institutions and processes. At the launch of the EFF’s local government election campaign in 2016, Malema questioned the legitimacy of electoral rules and criticized the structure of local government as inappropriate for the South African context. Malema argued that the EFF contests political power through elections within the difficult confines of electoral rules and systems that favor existing political parties. The EFF’s contestation of political power through elections should however not be mistaken with our revolutionary determination to remove the current government by other revolutionary means. (EFF 2016, 1) This questioning of the political system and its adequacy for serving the needs of “the people” before nevertheless presenting a manifesto for participation in the system allowed the EFF to set itself apart from the elite and identify it as representative of the majority of South Africans who are excluded from formal political institutions. Yet, the EFF is itself one of the “existing political parties” favored by the electoral system because it can access funds from the electoral authorities on the basis of its parliamentary representation. The party did not mention the credibility of the electoral system or the need to substantially change democratic institutions in its 2019 campaign.

“Crisis, Breakdown, and Threat” The driving force of populism often comes from perceived crisis, breakdown or threat. These can be related to some collapse of the relations between citizens

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and their representatives, as well as to economic hardships or social developments. Moffitt and Tormey (2014, 391) argue that “the effect of the evocation of emergency in this fashion is to simplify radically the terms and the terrain of political debate, which is reflected in the tendency towards simple and direct language.” Framing incidents as emergencies enables the immediate and decisive actions favored by populists, as opposed to the slow and technical process of modern governance. South Africa has been described as a “protest nation” because of the frequency of protests that occur (Duncan 2016). The EFF used protests by poor communities, students, and workers to establish itself as a revolutionary party. The EFF was formed out of crisis after its leader, Julius Malema, and its head of policy, Floyd Shivambu, were expelled from the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in 2012. On 16 August 2012, the police opened fire at a group of striking miners at a mine owned by Lonmin in the North West Province town of Marikana. Police killed 34 miners and injured 78. An inquiry into the incident revealed that senior political figures in the ANC, including Cyril Ramaphosa, intervened on behalf of Lonmin by placing pressure on the police to put down the strike (Nicholson 2015). This incident of state violence against the working class was similar to the massacres that occurred regularly during Apartheid. The events in Marikana dramatize what appears to be an ANC sell-out to big capital, its failure to protect the interests of one of its largest labour constituencies, mineworkers, and its susceptibility to the excesses of force that are a feature of authoritarian regimes. Malema used the Marikana crisis to establish the EFF’s revolutionary credentials. The party’s official launch was held in Marikana in October 2013. By choosing to launch its party at the site of the tragedy, the EFF could give impetus to its agenda of being the revolutionary alternative to what it argued was a politically compromised ANC. In the 2014 and 2016 elections, the EFF prominently took up the causes of poor communities fighting for the provision of basic resources from the state such as water, electricity, sanitation, and adequate housing. Many communities express their dissatisfaction with government’s failure to provide these resources through protests that the police respond to with violence. The EFF used these so-called “service delivery protests” against the government to recruit new members and mobilize support (Le et al. 2014). Because of the high rate of youth unemployment in South Africa, the majority of protesters are young people with little to occupy them. At a protest in 2014, Julius Malema urged the community to continue protesting even after police officers shot them. He stated, “the officers here are used to killing people and we have come to join you so that they may kill us also” (Maromo 2014). This direct reference to placing himself in the same position as “the people” is in keeping with the party’s populist political style. Malema encouraged the people to march every day until they received services from the government, a deceptively “simple” solution to an evidently complex problem. From 2015 to 2017, South Africa was engulfed by student protests against tuition fee increases. Members of the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) led the “Fees

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Must Fall” protests on many campuses. Student demands evolved over time to include the rights of service workers such as cleaners and security guards. Initially, the authorities seemed to respond positively to some student demands, removing registration fees and placing a moratorium on fee increases in 2016. However, in late 2016 universities announced high increases for the following year, prompting a renewed round of protests. This time, the government responded with brutal repression imprisoning several student leaders in maximum-security prisons. The EFF organized legal representation for several incarcerated students and drummed up publicity for the plight of the students. In the event, one of the student leaders was convicted on charges of public violence and sentenced to five years’ house arrest. The EFF student command threatened to make the country ungovernable if the state continued to prosecute student leaders (Malingo 2018). By using the student crisis, the EFF positioned themselves as a party for the interests of young South Africans and a strong force against the “brutal” ANC government. 37% of voting-age South Africans is below the age of 30. Given the proportionalrepresentation electoral system, any party that can capture the youth and convince them to turn out to the polls has a chance of becoming the majority party in parliament. The EFF successfully mobilized the national crises facing young people to pursue its political agenda and entrench its support among the youth. Judging from the results of the 2019 national and provincial elections, the EFF has succeeded in growing its support base. The EFF won 10.79% of votes, an increase of four percentage points from 2014. This made it the third biggest party in parliament, with forty-four seats in the National Assembly. The ANC declined from 62.15% to 57.5% while the DA dropped marginally to 20.77% from 22.23% in 2014 (IEC 2019). The EFF’s 2019 manifesto entitled “Our land and jobs now!” is a mélange of leftist pledges to nationalize land and industry to give black people “real economic ownership” and pro-business tax incentives to stimulate economic activity. It also contains socially progressive commitments to LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) rights and a focus on youth development. However, the EFF’s popularity arguably has less to do with its policy proposals than its performance of the politics of the low. The party’s use of a performative and disruptive political style resonates with the predominantly urban black working-class voters that make up the majority of the electorate.

Conclusion I have argued that the EFF fits into a global pattern of populism in electoral politics. Using the terminology of political style as developed by Moffitt and Tormey, I examined the EFF’s use of performance to make sense of the party’s populist politics. The EFF’s political style has clearly struck a chord with a portion of the South African electorate, enabling it to be an influential actor in the national parliament and several municipal governments. Furthermore, the party has used its engagement in legislative politics to challenge the foundations of

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South African democracy and to advocate for a different kind of representative politics. The chapter argues that the performative elements of the EFF’s politics— the uniform and rhetoric, as well as its engagement with national and provincial legislatures—have had a substantive effect on politics by sparking debate on the political institutions of democratic South Africa and their appropriateness for the country’s current circumstances. Whether the EFF will be able to sustain its impact on the political scene will depend largely on whether it can consolidate itself as a political party and develop its party structures. Nevertheless, the EFF will remain, for the foreseeable future, a significant force in South African politics. Otto von Bismarck once remarked that “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable—the art of the next best”. The EFF has expanded the realm of the possible in South African politics by shifting political discourse and elevating the politics of the low into the mainstream.

Note 1. An examination of gender in the EFF’s politics is a rich subject for future research.

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Makinana, A., and G. Underhill. 2014. “EFF Shakes Up Parliament on First Day.” Mail & Guardian, 21 May 2014. Available at: mg.co.za/article/2014-05-21-eff-shakesparliament-up-on-first-day Malema, Julius. 2013. “Statement by Julius Malema on the Passing Away of President Hugo Chavez.” Politicsweb, 6 March 2013. Available at: www.politicsweb.co.za/party/ julius-malema-pays-tribute-to-hugo-chavez [Accessed 27 February 2019]. ———. 2016a. “Malema Delivers Keynote Address at the EFF’s Manifesto Launch.” Published 30 April 2016. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAp_w9_ wgZ4 [Accessed 16 September 2016]. ———. 2016b. “Julius Malema. EFF Will Vote with DA but No Coalitions.” Published on 17 August 2016. Available at: www. youtube.com/watch?v=1LC-vRzXA5o [Accessed 16 September 2016]. Malingo, Batandwa. 2018. “EFF Student Body Threatens Revolt Even as Fees Must Fall Damage Soars to R800m.” The Citizen, 15 August 2018. Available at: https://citizen. co.za/news/south-africa/1995761/eff-student-body-threatens-revolt-even-as-feesmust-fall-damage-soars-to-r800m/ [Accessed 18 February 2019]. Maromo, J. 2014. “Malema Promises to Back Up Moretele Protesters.” Mail  & Guardian, 12 February 2014. Available at: mg.co.za/article/2014-02-12-malema-promisesto-back-up-more-tele-protesters. Matshaba, Boitumelo. 2018. “Nothing as Entertaining as Parliament TV.” News24, 23 April 2018. Available at: www.news24.com/move/celebs/nothing-as-entertaining-asparliament-tv-20180423 [Accessed 17 February 2019]. Mills, Greg, and Lyal White. 2018. “Venezuela’s Populist Armageddon.” Daily Maverick, 3 April 2018. Available at: www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-04-03-op-ed-vene zuelas-populist-armageddon/ [Accessed 27 February 2019]. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016a. “The Performative Turn in the Comparative Study of Populism.” American Political Science Association Comparative Politics Newsletter, 26 (2): 52–58. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016b. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Moffitt, Benjamin, and Simon Tormey. 2014. “Rethinking Populism: Politics, Mediatisation and Political Style.” Political Studies 62 (2): 381–397. Mudde, Cas. 2007. “The Populist Zeitgeist.” Government and Opposition 39 (4): 541–563. Munusamy, Ranjeni. 2016. “EFF Manifesto: A  Radical Reinvention of ANC’s Failed Cadre Deployment Policy.” Daily Maverick, 2 May 2016. Available at: www.dailymav erick.co.za/article/2016-05-02-eff-manifesto-a-radical-reinvention-of-ancs-failedcadre-deployment-policy/#.V9fKCvl97IU. Ngoepe, Karabo. 2016. “DA a ‘better devil’- Malema.” News24, 17 August 2016. Available at: www.news24.com/elections/news/da-a-better-devil-malema-20160817 [Accessed 27 February 2019]. Nicholson, Greg. 2015. “Marikana Report: Key Findings and Recommendations.” Daily Maverick, 26 June  2015. Available at: www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/201506-26-marikana-report-key-findings-and-recommendations/ [Accessed 14 February 2019]. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High and the Low in Politics: A Two-Dimensional Political Space for Comparative Analysis and Electoral Studies.” Kellogg Institute Working Paper #360 July 2009. ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-Cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Panizza, Francisco, ed. 2005. Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso. Phadi, Mosa, Joel Pearson, and Thomas Lesaffre. 2016. “The Enigma of Rural Politics: A  Puzzle for all Political Parties.” Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA): South African Election Update 2016. Available at: www.eisa.org.za/eu/ eu2016enigma.htm [Accessed 16 September 2016]. Pillay, V. 2014. “Malema: We’re Not White, We’re Going to Wear those Uniforms.” Mail & Guardian, 4 July 2014. Available at: mg.co.za/article/2014-07-04-malema-weare-not-white-we-are-going-to-wear-those-uniforms. Regter, Shimoney. 2019. “Five other Times the #EFF Got Violent in Parliament.” EyewitnessNews, 8 February 2019. Available at: https://ewn.co.za/2019/02/08/five-othertimes-the-eff-got-violent-in-parliament [Accessed 10 February 2019]. SAPA. 2011. “Reaction to Malema ‘Shoot the Boer’ Judgement.” TimesLive, 12 September 2011. Available at: www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2011-09-12-reaction-to-malemashoot-the-boer-judgement/ [Accessed 3 June 2019]. Smith, David. 2010. “ANC’s Julius Malema Lashes Out at ‘Misbehaving’ BBC Journalist.” The Guardian, 8 April 2010. Available at: www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/08/ anc-julius-malema-bbc-journalist [Accessed 3 June 2019]. Sylvester, Justin. 2009. “Understanding Issues of Race and Class in Election’09.” Idasa Elections Brief. Available at: www.ngopulse.org/sites/default/files/RaceClass%20election%20brief.pdf [Accessed 9 October 2018]. Weyland, Kurt. 2001. “Clarifying a Contested Concept: Populism in the Study of Latin American Politics.” Comparative Politics 34 (1): 1–22. Whelan, Paul. 2014. “The EFF: Socialist or Fascist.” Politicsweb, 2 August 2014. Available at: www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71639 ?oid=666786 &sn=Detail&pid=71639.

13 CONCLUSIONS Reflections on the Lessons Learned Francisco Panizza, Pierre Ostiguy, and Benjamin Moffitt

The central aim of this collection has been to draw together scholars working in two distinct but complementary traditions in the study of populism—Laclauian scholars who adopt a discursive approach, and scholars who adopt a sociocultural or performative approach—and synthesise their insights to put forward what we have called a “post-Laclauian” approach to the phenomenon. We have thus sought to link Laclauian theories of how populism formally operates— particularly around how “the people” is formed as a political subject, and the important role of the populist leader—together with the more sociologically grounded work of socio-cultural and performative scholars, which has stressed the social, cultural, and mediatic aspects of populism’s operation, as well as the relational nature of populism sometimes elided in Laclauian work. In doing so, we have synthesised high theory with insights garnered from the study of populism “on the ground”, moving across the globe to ensure that we go beyond regionally specific (and often Eurocentric) understandings of the phenomenon and also thus learning much about our reality along the way. In the process, we have shown that, when dealing with a concept as complex as populism, the question of what a concept “is” and how it is defined is inextricable from the question of what a concept “does”, and how it is developed and applied within a community of scholars. Operationalisation relies on problematisation and vice versa (Spanakos 2016, 3)—and we have indeed engaged with problematisation here, rather than leaning on old insights into the subject at hand. We have also drawn on Laclau’s (and Mouffe’s) work, but in a spirit of critical engagement and respect, have also challenged some of their assumptions, adding new theoretical insights and grounded understandings of our reality to push forward the research agenda for populism. The result is an approach that respectfully acknowledges Laclau’s work, but is not limited by it and also in many ways moves

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beyond it. In this light, we outline in this Conclusion some of the theoretical and empirical contributions of the combined discursive-performative approach to the study of populism we have laid out in this book. We concentrate on five questions that are at the heart of the contemporary debate on populism: the relation of identification between the leader and the people; “the people” as a relational category; populism, anti-populism and antagonism; populism and institutions; and populism and democracy.

The Leader and Populist Identification The populist leader is at the core of the study of populism—including in this volume. But why is the leader so relevant for understanding populism, and what role does the leader play in processes of populist identification? In this section, we focus on three questions that are addressed across different case studies: the leader’s role in embodying the people, the name of the leader, and the leader’s populist performances.

Embodying the People (“I Am a People”) To claim that populism is about the constitution of the people amounts to understanding populism as a mode of political identification. While a relational notion of populism rejects identification as top-down manipulation, the relation between the leader and his/her publics or audiences is central to populist identification. And indeed, at the core of Laclau’s theory is the claim that the name of the leader takes on the role of an “empty signifier”—a signifier without a signified, in which “the people” invest their demands, meanings, and desires. We argue that there are two problems with this powerful claim. The first one, as formulated by Mazzolini (Chapter  5), follows Arditi (2007) in arguing that Laclau shifts in his writings from the name of the leader to actual individuals, without noticing the structural differences between the two (see also Ostiguy 2017). While a name can tendentially be filled by any political signified (with the proviso that no signifier is ever completely empty), the persona of the leader is always already saturated with meaning, as argued by Ostiguy and Moffitt in Chapter 3. Second, and following from this, it is not clear what actually triggers populist identification with a particular leader. In order to address these questions, contributors to this volume have explored the socio-cultural dimensions of the leader’s populist appeal. Appeals have performative power (Moffitt 2016), but, as pointed in the introduction to this volume and further elaborated in Chapter 3, the performative constitution of the people does not take place in a socio-cultural vacuum. Populist appeals are public manifestations of social aspects of the self in society based on an assumption of sameness or coded understandings of similarity. Embodying

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the people, however, is not a mere exercise in sameness. As María Esperanza Casullo put it (Chapter  4), the leader resembles the people (“he/she is like me”) only partially, and only in the aspects that he/she has chosen as markers of identity. He/she is also set apart from the people by his/her extraordinary qualities that have allowed him/her to accumulate wealth or power or both (“he/she is better than me”). Casullo analyses the leader’s father/brother (Laclau 2005, 59) incarnation of the people with regards to Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales. As she notes, Morales’ ethnic features, bodily image, clothes, and other socio-cultural references mirror his poor, indigenous base. Yet, as Casullo puts it, Morales does not simply embody the popular classes of the altiplano of his country to perform a folksy representation of indigeneity. Rather, he blends indigenous symbols and rituals with the modern trappings of the presidency to subvert racialized social hierarchies. As she puts it, the transgression does not simply lie in dressing or eating “like an indio”, but in doing so while also performing things that “indios” are not supposed to do—namely exercising presidential power. A similar display of ordinariness and extraordinariness by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was analysed by Toygar Baykan, in Chapter  10. The Justice and Development Party’s political narrative presented Erdoğan as the son of a modest migrant family in İstanbul and a devout Muslim educated in an Imam and Preacher School, who “knows the streets of city”, has devoted his life to work for Islamist political organisations and has suffered for his political ideas. As Baykan (citing Kaplan 2014) puts it, in his story we encounter someone who has come from the lower class and has climbed the ladder of life despite suffering various impediments. Extracts of a 2014 elections campaign song, called “Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The Man of the People”, stated: He is the free voice of the silent world. . . . He is confidant to the downtrodden, he is comrade to the excluded, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is determined in his cause; he is in the prayer of mothers, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He walks in the way he believes, he is the leader who has been awaited for years, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This very duality of “just like us” and “much better than us” is equally central in the much-repeated chorus of the emblematic Peronist March, where Perón is “the first worker”, while “being so great!” and “so worthy!”: “Perón, Perón, great leader, you’re the first worker!”.

More than Just a Name The distinction between socio-cultural and discursive elements of the leaders’ populist appeals is analytical rather than ontological. Laclau’s emphasis, certainly,

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is very much on populism’s discursive logic of articulation. According to Laclau, populist identification is achieved by the articulation of demands in an equivalential chain that is inscribed in the name of the leader that operates as an empty signifier. However, in Chapter 3 Ostiguy and Moffitt questioned the claims that unfulfilled demands can be projected into an empty signifier (a signifier without signified or referent). Rather, they argue, the leader’s (or his/her name’s) ability to signify an equivalential chain of demands cannot be arbitrarily separated from what the leader is and what he or she does. Indeed, as Laclau writes, the “inscription undoubtedly gives the demand a corporeality which it would not otherwise have” (2005, 88). Ostiguy and Moffitt argued that not only is it impossible to erase the traces of particularity in the leader, but that it is these traces, which, amplified, and even exaggerated, become the basis for the condensation and identification. Thus, the particularities “stand for”, help, make it easier for the name or persona to become a signifier that unifies the equivalential chain. Laclau states that the particular come to stand for the broad equivalential chain through an operation of hegemony; Ostiguy and Moffitt explain how. They further argue that instead of being empty of any particular meaning in order to represent a pure universality (“the people”), the leader represents a multiplicity of concrete, very different meanings and affective investments—not necessarily logically coherent amongst themselves, but historically and contextually situated, and linked to traits and practices of the persona of what the leader is and what he/she does. As Casullo put it in Chapter 4, the leader becomes a signifier through performance. We believe that the theoretical chapters, as well as the more empirical chapters in this volume, have cogently addressed this issue, effectively bridging the gap between Laclau’s—more formal—theory of populism and the more sociologically grounded relational approach. Nicole Curato’s description in Chapter 12 of the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte’s actions in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan illustrates how Duterte’s actions gave credence to his appeal in this regard—not as empty signifier, but as a concrete, very real, and “overflowing” persona full of contradictory meaning. It is worth quoting her in full to illustrate this: The crude mayor known for running death squads was among the first on the scene after Haiyan devastated the islands of Central Philippines. And he was just a city mayor, 650 kilometres away from Tacloban. He had no responsibility towards the disaster victims, and yet he brought with him a convoy of medical teams and relief workers. . . . Duterte’s people handed relief goods with no questions asked. Unlike the bags of relief goods plastered with politicians’ names, Duterte’s relief goods were packed into a red sack, with a sticker that said “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. From: Davao City.” Alive in the memory of disaster survivors is the image of a humble city mayor who worked without fanfare, free from an entourage

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snapping selfies with a broken city as background. Duterte was a man who “did something” as opposed to the government that only “said something.” Moreover, leaders do not just represent demands: they actively activate, politicise, and control them (De Cleen, Glynos and Mondon, Chapter 8). Drawing on the case of former president Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Mazzolini (Chapter 5) argued that while in the initial stages of the country’s process of constitutional reform, many highly heterogeneous demands for constitutional rights coalesced in the name of Correa that functioned as something akin to an empty signifier, at a later stage, Correa, rather than being a passive recipient of demands, took up a much more active role, thus becoming the final arbiter as to which demands were to be incorporated into the new constitutional document, and which ones were to be discarded or even ostracised. In our discursive-performative approach, we make clear that the relationship between the leader and their people is, in fact, a very dynamic one in which, as elaborated later, demands are grounded in the people’s lived conditions, and articulated and politicised by the leader.

Performing Populism Understanding the performative nature of populism requires a particular focus on the style of the leader’s appeal, a question that is not fully developed in Laclau’s work, but is at the centre of Moffitt’s study of populism (2016, 2020) and is further developed by Ostiguy and Moffitt in Chapter 3. By challenging sociocultural standards of good taste and “proper behaviour”, the leader’s populist appeals are often transgressive of mainstream conventions of political speech (including more recently so-called political correctness). Ostiguy and Moffitt argue that populist leaders often performatively contribute to the coming to the fore of sociologically latent (or of sociologically present but not yet politicised) divisions in the party system of what political sociologists have called cleavages— based on cultural, socio-economic, ethnic or regional divisions. Cleavages can certainly not be created ad nihilo, since appeals that create long-lasting divisions must resonate with the lived experiences of everyday daily life and with social history. They further argue that the transgressive display of resentments and of socio-cultural differences with deep social roots is meant to emphasise the desired socio-political cleavage to be relevant in the national arena. These transgressive practices—what Ostiguy calls “the embodiment of the low”—are vital for understanding the affective dimensions of populism. Because of this, Moffitt’s performative approach requires, epistemologically, an audio-visual component, including meaningful vignettes: such as the story of the shirts of Evo Morales in Casullo’s chapter, or the vignette of “the man who rubs his belly” in Baykan’s anti-populist depiction. Not surprisingly, the socio-cultural approach for studying populism abounds in anecdotes; what is often methodologically viewed

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as peripheral “noise” becomes central to the argument’s meaning. These are not just “nice” additions to the study of populism, but are very much performatively constitutive of the phenomenon itself. This focus on performance and affect is not only substantively crucial, but also serves to anchor analysis and comparisons of populism methodologically. Our case studies offer a number of examples of the performative impact of populist leaders’ transgressive style. In Chapter 6, Joseph Lowndes showed how Trump’s public interventions peppered with crude language, insult, mockery, and bullying are meant to symbolise that he speaks for what Ostiguy (2017, 75) calls the “unpresentable other”. Similarly, in Chapter 12, Curato noted that Rodrigo Duterte captured the attention of domestic and international audiences by comparing his approach to the country’s drug problem to Hitler’s “final solution”, joking about raping women, and calling President Obama a “son of a bitch”. As she put it, from speaking in Bisaya—a language that many elites from Imperial Manila could not understand—to literally raising the middle finger to the European Union, Duterte’s politics of the low can be construed as the people telling their old masters it’s their turn to be a centre of politics. Transgressive performances also contribute to setting up a political frontier with the Other. This performative role is exemplified by South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema’s remarks after EFF’s legislators were expelled from a provincial legislature, for acting disruptively while being dressed as maids and miners (Mbete, Chapter 11). Malema claimed that by expelling them, the ruling African National Congress’ leadership was treating the EFF legislators in the same way they treat their domestic workers at home, and he articulated “dressing properly” to being white, European, and interiorising a colonialist criteria of decorum: To you proper is white, to you proper is European. We are not white; we are going to wear those uniforms. . . . We are defying colonialist decorum. We are not English-made. We are workers, and we are going to wear those clothes and we are unapologetic about it. (Pillay 2014) As we wrote in the introduction, form is also content. Transgressive performances change the limits of what is sayable and hence doable in a given society. For example, by shocking the public by associating Mexican immigrants with rapists and drug dealers, Trump brought immigration once again to the centre of the political agenda in the USA, and constituted a discursive frontier between being (white English-speaking) American and (brown Spanish-speaking)

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foreigner, with his “bad hombres”. In a different political context, Mbete (Chapter 11) noted that the EFF’s legislators’ disdain for parliamentary norms and their challenges to the conventions of the South Africa’s parliamentary system through the use of bad manners opened political spaces for a substantive debate about whether the country’s political institutions were still relevant in post-Apartheid South Africa. Furthermore, she also counter-intuitively argued that by challenging parliamentary staid conventions, the EFF legislators raised interest in parliamentary politics among ordinary South Africans.

Populism and “the People” as a Relational Category While acknowledging the important role of leadership in populism, a relational notion of the phenomenon also incorporates multiple and complex practices of identification—included among these, horizontal political practices of solidarity and antagonism centred on the subject of “the people”. Panizza and Stavrakakis (Chapter 2) argued that that it is not possible to consider vertical populist identification with the (name of the) leader in isolation from the more horizontal everyday practices of association, solidarity, and resistance that contribute to generating these passionate attachments, relations of trust, and forms of agency constitutive of collective identities (including populist ones). Furthermore, populist identification is never limited to the political sphere, but extends to various aspects of society and culture that in the case of populism draws on high/low socio-cultural divisions, as thematized by Ostiguy and Moffitt (Chapter 3). Contributors to this volume elaborate on how a relational notion of the people in populism connects with adjacent signifiers; how it contributes to understanding horizontal mechanisms of popular identification and the role of subalternity in characterisation of the people; and how it challenges conceptions of the people as a passive, moralistic and homogenous entity.

Horizontal Identification Vertical and horizontal political practices are intertwined dimensions of populist identification that usually reinforce each other. Our relational concept of identification takes into consideration the co-constitutive role of social movements and cultural agents in the construction of popular identities. Panizza and Stavrakakis (Chapter 2) called for a genealogical account of populist identification in order to challenge top-down notions of populism based on the leader’s strategic mobilisation of a vast aggregate of mostly anomic and unorganised followers (Weyland 2017)—a definition that denies agency to the people. A number of case studies focused on the role of horizontal practices of identification in this regard. As Grattan argued in Chapter 7, the populist imaginary harbours visions and practices of popular sovereignty embodied and contested in a history of movements

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and campaigns across the ideological spectrum. Grattan noted that while Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign cultivated its candidate’s popular appeal, it also encouraged people to identify themselves as part of a people-powered “political revolution”. Sanders’ campaign dialectic of vertical and horizontal identification is exemplified in the claim by Becky Bond, a senior advisor to the campaign, that “Bernie didn’t create this movement. He recognized the movement moment we are in” (cited by Grattan, chapter 7). Moreover, the constitutive relation between grassroots movements and populist leaders is not limited to radical democratic forms of populism. A similar dialectic of horizontal and vertical identification is described in Lowndes’ analysis of the relations between Trump and the alt-right. Discussing Trump’s transformation of the Republican Party into a political vessel for his own populist appeal, Lowndes claimed that it was less the case that Trump had single-handedly changed the party, and more that he brought to fruition changes already underway in the GOP spurred by the mobilisation of activists who had identified with the Tea Party movement and the politico-cultural influence of evangelical Christians. Lowndes further noted that Trumpism also ignited a movement in the streets beyond the institution of the presidency or the reach of the Republican Party. The analysis of the co-constitutive role of vertical and horizontal identification also challenges mainstream theories of populism that present the people as a homogeneous entity. In Chapter 9, Markou described the close political relation between SYRIZA and the grassroots anti-austerity movement of the Aganaktismenoi (The People of the Squares). As part of this process, the party appealed to a wide variety of social actors, including the workers, the unemployed, the Roma people, immigrants, and LGBQT people. The populist identity resulting from this interaction between horizontal practices and vertical appeals was a diverse and inclusionary coming together of social and political actors that was imagined as a heterogeneous popular actor unified by their opposition to the EU-imposed austerity and the political establishment.

The People as Responsive and Agential Related to the previous point and against liberal critiques of populism as a one-sided communicative strategy in which the people are passive recipients of the leader’s appeal, we understand populism as a relational phenomenon that operates as a twoway street: populist leaders and representatives make claims on behalf of the people, and the people participate in rejecting, being indifferent to, modifying or accepting such claims (Ostiguy and Moffitt, Chapter 3). As Moffitt (2016, 105) puts it, there is more to successfully “performing the people” than just speaking in their name. . . . [A]udiences are not just voiceless masses waiting to be interpellated into popular subjects, but practice agency in regards to choosing to accept, reject or modify claims made to them.

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The ways in which the people interact with the leader’s appeal and the extent to which they exercise agency varies significantly according to communicative and political contexts. The iconic image of populism is the leader addressing an adoring and cheering crowd in a public rally in which the role of the audience is limited to showing their love and support for the leader. But even in this communicative scenario, the reaction of the audience is crucial for performing identification. In his description of Trump’s rallies, Lowndes (Chapter 6) noted that the audience modulated the rally’s energy and emotional charge by remaining silent, offering tepid applause or roaring with approval depending on what Trump said in the unfolding moment. It wasn’t full-blown demagogy, but rather a performance being judged by an audience who was at times distinctly bored and, at others, engaged by what was being offered to them. As it could be expected, in the radical democratic varieties of populism studied in this volume, audience participation was more substantive, drawing on the open and incomplete nature of populist identities. Against claims that populism is a phenomenon that homogenises the people, Grattan argued in Chapter 7 that the Sanders coalition foregrounded their disparate visions and disagreements— fuelling what has been referred to as an “open-source” campaign and movement. Grattan described how black activists engaged in a strategy of disruption of the rallies that included chanting slogans, interrupting Sanders’ speeches and grabbing the microphone to push the issue of anti-black racism to the foreground of his campaign. Sanders’ initial difficulties with Black Lives Matter, or Correa’s increasing isolation, are relational failures highlighting the difficulties of the top-down understanding of populism. Even in more authoritarian contexts, the publics may exercise at least some narrative agency in interpreting the leader’s performances. In her ethnographic study of reactions to Duterte’s pronouncements, Curato (Chapter 12) found that far from being fanatical, the Philippines’ populist publics were quite critical of the leader’s messages, and able to render nuanced moral judgments. As she put it, Duterte’s supporters do not passively consume the populist narrative; they reflect and engage with it. They put forward reasons for critiquing and supporting the strongman’s appeal. Each respondent demonstrates differing interpretation of what is right and wrong, what is good for the collective, and what is excessive use of force. There are, however, clear limits to the ability of the people to shape the populist message. In Chapter 3, Ostiguy and Moffitt argued that the rise of the internet— and in particular social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—has given the appearance of citizens being able, more than ever, to “answer” representational claims made on their behalf by accessing social media (including the account of the populist leader) with comments, tweets, and “likes”. As the authors note, however, this does not mean that online populist communication is actually in any way direct and responsive to “the people”. Rather, populist leaders

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respond to their followers’ social media interventions in a limited way, such as retweeting selected tweets to bolster their own voice.

The People as “Underdog” “The people” in populist discourse is not “everyone”, in the Rousseauian sense, but those who are (or who perceive themselves as) excluded from political and, often, societal decisions. They are, as the well-accepted contrast between “the people” and “the elite” goes, some sort of ordinary underdogs—a term which Laclau frequently used. A certain sense of powerlessness, in the people, together with a search for power and public presence through populism, is a fairly accepted component of the populist logic. What is more polemical is the question whether “the people” also involve as well as certain subalternity. Stavrakakis, with his notion of a vertical axis, and Roberts (1995, 88), from an entirely different disciplinary school, answer positively in this regard. The chapters of Casullo, Mazzolini, Grattan, Markou, Baykan, Curato, and Mbete all certainly examined a populist public that is socially subaltern and sees itself as such. Moreover, victimisation plays an important role in populist discourse, with appeals to the grievances of “the people” playing into perceptions of subalternity. Here, we have seen the importance of the populist leader’s “flaunting of the low” in bringing into the open, not only in content but in form, the hurt that “the elite” and various Others have inflicted on the people, and for validating these grievances in a public way. In this regard, an interesting question epistemologically in our approach is whether to focus on the theatricality of the leader or on the “social pain” from which populism feeds and which it claims to express politically. There are probably epistemological dangers on both extremes: the former can potentially lead to a “circus-like” interpretation of populism, amplified further by the mass media, seeking viewers’ attention; and the latter, to a belief in already-present and long-standing sociohistorical cleavages, which as expressed politically is not always the case, and in which situation there would be no real need of an embodied signifier. Certainly, Baykan’s, Curato’s, and Casullo’s chapters, together with Grattan with the public of Black Lives Matter, leaned on the side of the underlying, very real and historically long-standing “social pain” of subalternity.

The People and the Nation The vertical and horizontal linkages of populism are also addressed in the discussion of the relationship between populism and nationalism in this volume. We have argued that the signifier “the people” operates as a nodal point, a point of reference around which other peripheral and often politically antithetical signifiers and ideas can be articulated (Panizza and Stavrakakis, Chapter  2). Hence, hegemonic struggles in the construction of the people involve articulating the

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signifier “the people” with other signifiers, such as “the nation”, to which it is often closely associated. Populist leaders articulate nationalism to different and often antithetical chains of equivalence and relations of antagonism. In so-called “post-colonial societies”, the issue of nationalism is often related to that of a colonial (and also often racist) past, while in Europe, nationalism currently stands more in opposition to the high and cosmopolitan EU project and institutions. For much of the European populist right, however, the cultural Other is related empirically to former colonized subjects, now “inside the nation” (perhaps most particularly in France), or to nationals of clearly poorer neighboring countries immigrating or receiving refugee status. One way or the other, it seems mistaken to study nationalism abstractly, “in its pure form” (if that exists), in relation to populism, instead of contextually. “The people” is always “a people”, but what it means, is, and stands for can vary widely. The nature of the relation between populism and nationalism in the European context is discussed by De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon (Chapter 8) in their study of populist radical right (PRR) parties in Europe. They claimed that the intensive use of the term “populism” as a negative catch-all term for everything these parties stand for has not allowed for a proper appreciation of the crucial but precise and limited role played by populism in these parties’ broader political projects. For them, in contrast to populism’s vertical down/up distinction between the powerless people and an illegitimately powerful elite, nationalism revolves around the claim to represent the people-as-nation envisaged as a limited and sovereign community that exists through time and is tied to a certain space. The nationalist representation of the community is constructed through an in/out (member/ non-member) opposition between the nation and its outgroups. As they argue, the (almost exclusive) focus on populism has had the effect of deflecting attention away from what lies at the very heart of the ideology of the radical right in Europe: an exclusionary ethno-cultural nationalism. They argue that nativism is the ideological heart of the PRR, while populism is a political logic performed by the PRR first and foremost in order to legitimate exclusionary nationalist demands. In doing so, PRR parties use populist discourses to present nativist demands as expressions of the what “the people” want, and to discredit those who oppose nativism as a politically correct “elite” that attacks “the party of the people” or even “ordinary people” themselves.

Populism, Anti-Populism, and Antagonism We have argued in this volume that there are a number of reasons why it is important to study populism in parallel with anti-populism. Firstly, as Panizza and Stavrakakis noted in Chapter 2, the identity and consistency of each camp is predicated on their mutual antagonism. The way by which Hillary Clinton’s anti-populist “basket of deplorables” jibe contributed to the galvanisation of support for Trump in the 2016 campaign is a well-known example of the

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unintended but powerful impact of anti-populism on populist identification. In parallel, Lowndes’ description (Chapter 6) of the audience reaction to Trump’s rally speeches highlighted how populist attacks against the anti-populist camp produced a strong emotional reaction from the audience. After noting that at times Trump’s speech failed to excite attendees, he wrote: “It was only when he got them to participate by chanting ‘Build the wall,’ when he discussed Hillary Clinton’s emails, or when anti-Trump protesters made themselves available for collective attack that the energy was truly high” (emphasis added). Secondly, the relation between populism and anti-populism is not limited to speeches and rallies, but more broadly contributes to the shaping of political identities and party systems. In his study of the populist appeal of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party in Turkey, Baykan (Chapter 10) argued that the populism/ anti-populism divide (crystallised in Ostiguy’s “high-low” socio-cultural and socio-political cleavage) has been dominant in Turkish politics. He argued that this divide has its source in the historical failure of political parties to activate a left-right alignment in the population, due to the political weakness of the working class and the traumatic legacy for the “low” popular sectors of a process of modernisation from above led by a “high” westernised elite. As Baykan noted, the populist/anti-populist divide has been ever more powerful in Turkey because it is not limited to national politics or party systems, but permeates socio-culturally every aspect of the country’s polity and society, from local politics to everyday mundane practices. The centrality of the populist/anti-populist divide in the structuration of political frontiers will be familiar to scholars of Latin American politics and other semi-peripheral (Mouzelis 1986) regions and countries, as is the case of Greece. While the populist/anti-populist divide has been an ever-present feature of Greek politics, the frontier between the two sides have shifted as a result of the country’s 2012 economic crisis. In Chapter 9, Markou analyzed how SYRIZA was able to redraw the country’s historical populist/anti-populist divide between PASOK and New Democracy into a new antagonism between, on the one hand, SYRIZA (representing the populist camp) and, on the other, PASOK and New Democracy, brought together in SYRIZA’s discourse as representing the political establishment and the politics of austerity. Markou notes that during SYRIZA’s coalition government, anti-populist attacks against SYRIZA and ANEL on the part of ND and PASOK (and vice versa) resulted in high levels of hostility between the populist and anti-populist parties, thus sharpening the divide between them, and strengthening the cohesion of the two antagonistic blocks. Thirdly, the normative implications of the populism/anti-populism divide have been used by the anti-populist camp to delegitimise certain political options and legitimize others. De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon (Chapter 8) studied the effects of anti-populist discourses on the relation between mainstream and populist radical right parties in Europe. They argued that the largely negative connotations

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attributed by the media, political actors, and academics to the signifier “populism” has had the paradoxical effect of making criticism of right-wing populism less severe. The focus on the dangers of populism rather than of nativism or, even more so, racism, has shifted attention away from the parties’ reactionary ideological beliefs, and towards their alleged populism, allowing mainstream conservative parties to adopt some of the radical right’s ideas (such as anti-immigration) under the argument of neutralising their populist appeal.

Populism, Institutions, and Populism in Office A notable gap in Laclau’s works on populism is the lack of analysis of its institutional dimensions, as well as of the politics of populism in government. This lacuna is to a considerable extent the product of Laclau’s sharp dichotomy between the political and administration, rooted in his core epistemological distinction between relations of difference and relations of equivalence. He argues that social demands operating in accordance to a system of differences pertain to a nonpolitical, administrative domain. He further argues that since the construction of “the people” through the creation of an equivalential chain and the production of an empty signifier is the political act par excellence—as opposed to pure administration within a stable institutional framework—the political becomes synonymous with populism (Laclau 2005, 36). While Laclau makes clear that the political (and hence populism) and administration are extremes of a continuum that in real life do not exist in complete separation from each other, the result is an antiinstitutional bias in Laclau’s understanding of populism. Ostiguy and Moffitt (Chapter 3) cast in a different light the peculiar, “subversive” relation of populism to institutions. Populism, they argue, is generally associated with a specific form of public institution that Ostiguy (2015) calls “dirty institutionality”. Indeed, they remind us that populism encompasses not just words but also a certain style of making decisions in politics. In this characterisation, populist “dirty institutions” are clearly located on the socio-political “low” of Ostiguy’s (2017) high-low axis, in contrast with the socio-political “high” of the goodgovernance rulebook. At its more basic, the difference between the two institutional models is between constitutive, personalistic, decisionist, rule-eroding, antagonistic, politicised, “hot” forms of exercising public authority versus constituted, impersonal, procedural, depoliticised, rule-bounded, “cold” rational-legal ones. More broadly, dirty institutionality is related to what Ostiguy and Moffitt characterise as plebeian grammars that incorporate performative elements of the socio-cultural low into the practices of governing. This volume included case studies of populists in office across five different world regions, and a comparison between them helps to better identify different aspects of this relation between populism and institutions. Perhaps the most prominent case of populism in office has been Donald Trump’s presidency in the

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USA. In Chapter 6, Lowndes presented a detailed study of the relation between the president and the country’s political institutions. Three aspects of his study are particularly relevant for our analysis. A first one concerns the relation between populism and presidentialism. Lowndes noted that while the power of the presidency in a Madisonian system is strongly constrained by the separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, and staggered elections (see also Weyland and Madrid 2019 for a rich discussion), the institution of the presidency offers populist leaders a unique platform to claim that they, and only they, represent the sovereign people against counter-majoritarian institutions, fractional interests, and bureaucratic interference. The second one follows from the first, and concerns what Lowndes calls the politics of norm erosion. As Lowndes put it, what makes Trump’s norm defiance populist is the implication that the norms he disrupts are either elitist or corrupted forms of bureaucratic interference and technocratic expertise that conspire against the will of the people (which he claims truly to embody). Prominently included in this narrative are denunciations of the so-called “deep state”, to signify high civil servants from within the highest levels of the public administration representing the politics of the Obama administration and the interests of powerful global elites. The president’s struggle against vested interests and the “deep state” are also elements of the third aspect of Trump’s populist presidency, namely his permanent campaigning that is essential in reproducing the antagonistic dimension of populism. As long as Trump can assert that he is under attack by the media and powerful hidden political enemies, he can claim to be both government and opposition at the same time, and rally supporters to his cause in campaign mode to set up and reinforce political frontiers that divide backwards (the Obama administration), inwards (the public-sector functionaries and judges that do Obama’s dirty work), outwards (international organisations, the European Union, the World Health Organization, China) and downwards (immigrants, non-white people, environmentalists, etc.). The studies of populism in government in Ecuador and in Greece raise important questions about the reach and limits of populism in office. Three questions are also central to this analysis. The first one refers to how political institutions shape relations between the leader and the people. Scholars of Latin American presidentialism are all too aware of the paradox of the presidency as an institution conceived to exercise limited power in a system of checks and balances and rule of law that has effectively become a hyper-centralised institutional tool of personalistic leaders in most countries of the region. As in the USA, in Latin America the president is elected by universal suffrage, which gives populist office holders a unique claim to represent the people against fractional interests embedded in other state and political institutions, such as the judiciary and parliament. In his study of former president Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Mazzolini (Chapter 5)

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described how, while the new constitution contemplated a number of participatory institutions designed to devolve decision-making to the people, Correa became increasingly personalistic and autocratic, with decision-making ultimately centralised in the person of the President. The second one refers to the differences between populism in opposition and populism in office with regard to their capacity to articulate demands. (A distinguishing feature of this collection, moreover, is that most of the cases examined here are of populism in government, the more unstudied version.) While the equivalential articulation of unmet demands is at the center of populism in opposition, when in office, leaders, including populist ones, face the differential challenge of selectively addressing, neutralising, rejecting or simply failing to address demands. Mazzolini exemplifies these changing roles in relation to the political tension between indigenous and environmentalist movements’ demands for the Correa administration to uphold the president’s campaign promise to preserve the Amazonian jungle from oil drilling, on the one hand, and the redistributive demands of other social sectors that depended on oil rents, on the other. As Mazzolini argues, Correa’s decision to allow oil exploration in the Amazon basin shows that, first, the concreteness and particularities of the demands are never fully eroded in the empty signifier of the populist leader, and, second, that particular demands are clearly not all “strictly equal” or “interchangeable” in the way the adjective “equivalential” may convey. In Laclauian terms, the equivalential moment may be difficult to sustain while in office. Indeed, since populism in office can no longer be “only” an equivalential articulation of unmet demands, the question of whether and under which conditions demands can be actually satisfied or met becomes central. Regarding socio- economic demands, this raises questions of economic constraints. If, as Ostiguy and Moffitt (Chapter 3) argued, a narrowly defined discursive approach risks throwing away the sociological baby with the bathwater, the discursive critique of economicist understandings of populism entails the same risk. Recognition and redistribution often go side by side, in populist appeals, particularly in unequal societies. Both SYRIZA in Greece and Correa in Ecuador strongly campaigned against neoliberalism while in opposition, but, under different circumstances—and more clearly so in the case of SYRIZA—ended up adopting significant elements of the neoliberal model when in office. To be explicit, it is not necessarily the case that populism and neoliberalism are ontologically incompatible, as there have been several cases of populist governments in Latin America and elsewhere that have adopted neoliberal economic policies. Rather, when populists used “neoliberalism” as a signifier of the Other of the people, and, as such, once neoliberalism could not function any more as a constitutive outside, it left the two governments vulnerable to anti-populist attempts to deconstruct the populist equivalential chain and set up alternative political frontiers, as was the case with the Macedonian issue in Greece.

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The third point in our analysis of populism in office is how the cases of Ecuador and Greece help to understand the political limits of populist logic. In the case of Ecuador, Correa’s so-called Citizens’ Revolution eventually unravelled, and his handpicked successor took a strong anti-populist turn. Mazzolini makes an important analytical point in his exploration of the limits of Correa’s populist appeal about the power and limits of antagonism. There is no populism without antagonism, but antagonism loses the power to constitute popular identities if it fails to resonate with the lived perceptions of the people. In his third mandate, President Correa continued and even ramped up his antagonistic discourse against different domestic sectors of society (such as the media), but the president’s polarizing rhetoric was perceived as excessive, arbitrary, punitive, and far removed from the existing concerns of the citizens, leading to a process of de-identification. In this situation, populist antagonism can be turned into a weapon for the opposition that use it to promote an anti-populist backlash by denouncing the divisive politics of populism and promising to unify society, while effectively creating a new anti-populist political frontier. In the case of Greece, what is relevant here is the extent to which it makes sense to keep the label “populist” when characterising SYRIZA in office. As Markou put it (Chapter  9), SYRIZA’s political discourse, performance, and politicoeconomic agenda became more pragmatic as the party sought to become a force of “political realism” that would replace PASOK as one of the country’s two main political forces. As part of this drive, the party ended up capitulating to the country’s lenders, accepted the context of austerity, and recognised the need for fiscal discipline and neoliberal reforms as necessary tools of governance, while it also cooperated with social-democratic forces from the anti-populist spectrum. Markou argued that, in office, SYRIZA was transformed into a centre-left party that continued to embrace a strong populist rhetoric. The question here is whether a populist rhetoric combined with distinctive anti-populist political practices merits continuing to classify SYRIZA as a left populist party. Perhaps the answer to this question should take into consideration and apply to SYRIZA the argument of De Cleen, Glynos, and Mondon regarding radical right populist parties in Europe—namely that the continuous use of the term “populism” as a catch-all concept for everything these parties stand for has not allowed for a proper appreciation of the crucial but limited role played by populism in these parties’ broader political projects.

Populism and Democracy Finally, the relationship between populism and democracy has long been at the centre of scholarly debates on populism and, not surprisingly, has also been discussed in detail by contributors to this volume. In Chapter  2, Panizza and Stavrakakis address the topic from a post-Laclauian perspective. They agree with

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Laclau’s argument that democracy requires the constitution of a people, but note Laclau’s lack of attention to the actual conditions under which a democratic people can be constituted, particularly in Laclau’s seminal book On Populist Reason (2005). There are two concerns worth exploring here that are of particular importance for the relations between, on the one hand, populism and, on the other, participative and deliberative forms of democracy. The first is that Laclau’s aforementioned focus on the name of the leader in processes of populist identification betrays a lack of attention to the networks of social, political, and cultural relations in which collective agents come into being as a democratic people. From this argument, it follows that it is not possible to consider vertical populist identification with the (name of the) leader in isolation from the horizontal relations of identification generated by everyday struggles and cultural practices. Rather, horizontal and vertical forms of identification constitute intertwined dimensions of democratic populist identities in which horizontal forms of identification—social, political, and cultural—are crucial conditions for the reception of the leader’s populist appeal, as well as potential effective barriers to authoritarian personalism. By highlighting the role of shared practices of social struggle in processes of populist identification, it is thus possible to better understand the conditions under which the people become a “democratic we” through participative democratic practices. Laura Grattan (Chapter  7) elaborated on the relations between vertical and horizontal forms of identification, and their implications for radical democratic populism. She claims that the populist imaginary harbours visions and practices of popular sovereignty, embodied and contested in a history of movements and campaigns. As such, radical democratic populism remains a key strategy for organising broad-based popular movements to resist multiple forms of discrimination, domination, and exploitation. Yet, she warns that counter-hegemonic movements inevitably reproduce some of the structures and hierarchies they are meant to challenge. She notes that even a broad radical populist movement such as the one led by Bernie Sanders in 2016 did not escape the temptation to erase divisions (which themselves stood for structures of domination and subordination) for the sake of “standing together” behind a common cause. To overcome this danger, she called for the recognition of the incomplete nature of popular identities and for the adoption of practices of identification, often from actors at the margins of the margins, which encourage solidarity without suppressing difference or camouflaging specific forms of dominations. While Grattan examines the conditions under which grassroots and populist movements can coalesce to further populism’s emancipatory promise, populism has widely been considered as incompatible with deliberative democracy. This negative relation is grounded in arguments about populism’s alleged topdown plebiscitary appeal and homogenising effects. Yet, Curato (herself a scholar of deliberative democracy) (Chapter  12) challenges the populism/deliberation

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dichotomy. Based on her ethnographic study of Duterte’s populist appeal and of his supporters’ reactions, she claims that Duterte’s publics actively weighted arguments, justifying their support with contextually situated and emotionally laden reasons and moral judgments. Curato further claims that the populist style can also in fact contribute to the quality of reason-giving. Against Habermasian notions of an ideal speech situation, she claims that passions perform a central role in the constitution of a collective will, and that what Ostiguy (2017) refers to as the “flaunting of the low” can serve an epistemic function by exposing lingering tensions, giving voice to views that are at the margins of civilised conversations, and, thereby, setting in motion a series of critical deliberations in the public sphere. It must be stressed, however, that Curato is not claiming that populism is always deliberative, or that it is a higher form of democratic deliberation compared to other deliberative practices. She suggests that populist performative claim-making can be viewed as a contribution in the early stages of sequenced deliberation, such as agenda-setting. But she warns that once issues are put on the table and have received considerable attention, populist politics should be assessed based on the norms of reason-giving. Curato is also aware of the democratic limits of Duterte’s populism, noting that while it may have invigorated the voices of those who have long been left out of politics; it has also created its own voice-denying rationalities that further exclude not only the elites but the most vulnerable communities. Exclusion is a question that impacts in all forms of democracy, including liberal democracy. While several scholars distinguish between inclusionary and exclusionary forms of populism, there are no people without antagonism, and no antagonism without some form of exclusion of a certain other. Panizza and Stavrakakis (Chapter 2) argue that political antagonism’s polarising effects open up an important flank to critics of populism that claim that the homogeneity of the people is a threat to democratic pluralism, and that the setting up of a “nonpeople” is always, necessarily undemocratic and, most certainly, anti-liberal. They critically engage with Mouffe’s (2009) claim that while antagonism is ineradicable from social relations, democratic populism is based on relations of agonism that considers the other as an adversary, but as a legitimate one that is as a holder of certain rights—such as freedom of expression—and of the shared values that underpin these rights. Panizza and Stavrakakis question how Mouffe’s notion of agonism applies to populist antagonism to prevent the equivalential logic of populism reaching its antagonistic vortex, with the risk of becoming an authoritarian political construction, as has been the case of some cases of populism, such as Venezuela. In addressing this question, they introduce the concept of populist citizenship (Aitchinson 2017), an alternative model of citizenship conceived as the active participation of the people in politics and in the transgressive re-politicisation

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of public spaces. They argue that populist citizenship practices involve a range of political interventions aimed at the performative staging of a wrong that, by being brought into the political domain, seeks to redraw the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion of the political order (Norval 2012, 824). As argued by Aitchinson, given the limits and exclusions of formal citizenship, populist struggles have a vital role to play in political renewal, creating and securing citizens’ rights for excluded political subjects whose claims fall outside the dominant values and procedures of constitutional legitimacy citizens’ rights (Aitchinson 2017, 352). Furthermore, populist citizenship incorporates populism’s democratic excess, not just vis-à-vis ossified liberal democratic institutions, but also against authoritarian regimes that conflate the identity of autocratic leaders with that of the people, and substitute the will of the state for the sovereignty of the people.

Conclusions In their seminal book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, Laclau and Mouffe noted that “if our intellectual project in this book is post-Marxist, it is evidently also post-Marxist” ([1985] 2001, 4), meaning that while they were moving beyond orthodox Marxism, they also remained heavily indebted, both politically and theoretically, to the Marxist project. To use a similar formulation, we might humbly submit that if our intellectual project in this collection has been postLaclauian, it has also evidently been very much post-Laclauian. We have, in some ways, sought to move “beyond” the work of Laclau by challenging, questioning, extending, and critically analysing his influential work on populism, but have also remained much indebted to the broad theoretical framework that Laclau and Mouffe set out many years ago. The productive synthesis between discursive and socio-cultural/performative approaches that has taken place in this volume has generated important new insights, both theoretically and empirically. They also open up three important avenues in future research on populism. First, we hope the volume has shown that the critically minded work that takes place under the broad rubric of post-Laclauian populism research is not “too abstract” for empirical analysis, as some comparative politics scholars have previously assumed, but can indeed be useful in its application to real-life instances of populism. As such, we hope more scholars take up the tools offered in this volume, and seek to bring together theory and empirics in innovative ways to further our understanding of populism. Second, we hope our global perspective on the phenomenon has shown the indispensability of cross-regional dialogue in the study of populism, and demonstrated that regionally specific—and in particular, Eurocentric—approaches to the phenomenon cannot capture the variation and richness of the phenomenon more broadly. Instead, a truly global approach

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is clearly needed. Third, we hope this volume has demonstrated the importance of putting the relational aspects of populism at the centre of our analysis: populism is not “just” about a top-down leader preaching to faceless masses, nor is it about “the people” independently investing their passions and desires in a leader as an empty signifier, but is a back-and-forth process of representation between both parties—one that is dynamic, contested, and ongoing. In the spirit of this dynamic, we look forward to seeing how our approach is challenged, used, extended, and critiqued in the years to come.

References Aitchinson, Guy. 2017. “Three Models of Republican Rights: Juridical, Parliamentary and Populist.” Political Studies 65 (2): 339–355. Arditi, Benjamin. 2007. Politics on the Edges of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Revolution, Agitation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Kaplan, H. 2014. “Erdoğan’ın hikayesi.” Yeni Şafak, 4 July  2014. Available at: http:// yenisafak.com.tr/yazarlar/HilalKaplan/erdoganin-hik%C3%A2yesi/54649 Laclau, Ernesto. 2005. On Populist Reason. London: Verso. Laclau, Ernesto and Chantal Mouffe. 2001 [1985]. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. 2nd ed. London: Verso. Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ———. 2020. Populism. Cambridge: Polity Press. Mouffe, Chantal. 2009. The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso. Mouzelis, Nicos. 1986. Politics in the Semi-Periphery: Early Parliamentarism and Late Industrialisation in the Balkans and Latin America. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Norval, Aletta. 2012. “ ‘Writing a Name in the Sky.’ Rancière, Cavell, and the Possibility of Egalitarian Inscription.” American Political Science Review 106 (4): 810–826. Ostiguy, Pierre. 2015. “Gramáticas plebeyas: exceso, representación y fronteras porosas en el populismo oficialista.” In Gramáticas plebeyas: Populismo, democracia y nuevas izquierdas en América Latina, edited by Claudio Véliz, and Ariana Reano, 133–177. Buenos Aires: Ediciones UNGS. ———. 2017. “Populism: A Socio-cultural Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 73–97. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pillay, V. 2014. “Malema: We’re not White, We’re Going to Wear those Uniforms.” Mail & Guardian, 4 July 2014. Available at: mg.co.za/article/2014-07-04-malema-weare-not-white-we-are-going-to-wear-those-uniforms Roberts, Kenneth. 1995. “Neoliberalism and the Transformation of Populism in Latin America: The Peruvian Case.” World Politics 48 (October): 82–116. Spanakos, Anthony Petros. 2016. “Conceptualising Comparative Politics: A Framework.” In Conceptualising Comparative Politics, edited by Anthony Petros Spanakos, and Francisco Panizza, 1–14. New York: Routledge. Weyland, Kurt. 2017. “Populism: A Political-Strategic Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, and Pierre Ostiguy, 48–72. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Weyland, Kurt, and Raul Madrid, eds. 2019. When Democracy Trumps Populism: European and Latin American Lessons for the United States. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.


Note: numbers in italics indicate a figure. #BernieSoBlack 148 #BlackLivesMatter 12, 136 #FeelingTheBern 12, 136, 140 #PayBackTheMoney 247 #ZuptaMustGo 247 350 Action 143 2016 presidential election, United States 119 – 120; populist hype in wake of 170; “rigged” 122; Russia and fraud 124; Sanders’ “People’s Revolution” 12; “stolen” 130; Trump’s election 29, 118, 128, 130 – 133, 143; see also Clinton, Hillary; elections; Sanders, Bernie; Trump, Donald abuse of power see power actors: anti-populist 203; democratic 32; disconnected 141; disparate 149; diverse set of 49; and dynamics of disruption 137; elite 130; as excessive 139; foreign 11, 99; governmental 124; grassroots 149; historically muted 230; individual 39; on the margins 139, 271; organized 39; and the performative turn 50; as “the plebs” 64; popular 184; sidelined 151; social 47, 102, 262; state 231 actors, political see political actors actors, populist: claims to represent the excluded and silenced 25; and crisis,

performance and perpetuation of 27, 187; and high-low divide 205; ideology of 156; and “the people” 170; performative practices of 2, 4; in Turkey 203, 205 Adams, John Quincy 122 administration: Bush (George W.) 125; Clinton (Bill) 125; Correa 103, 105 – 106; and empty signifiers 101; and government 159; in Greece 183, 188; Obama 125; populist anger at 63; or power bloc 7, 56, 158; Trump 122 – 124; Zuma 245 administrative domain 267, administrative state 123 adversary: common 77, 97; political 27 aesthetic dimensions of populist performance 10, 48 – 49, 67, 180 aesthetics see political aesthetics aesthetic self-presentation 90n5 aesthetics of appearance 126 affect 1, 53, 56 – 57; Black 150; and dress 7; and emotion 90n5 affective: charge 142; identification 36, 139; investment 28, 56, 60, 257; see also investment African National Congress (ANC) 14, 240 – 251 African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) 14, 240, 249

276 Index

Afrikaner 241 Aganaktismenoi (The People of the Squares) 193n5, 262 agency 9, 35; collective 38; denial of 37, 48, 261; and empty signifiers 101; evaporation of 114 – 115; ignoring 170; narrative 235; of the people 263; personal 75; political 14, 24, 241; and populism, centrality to 216; and populist bodily performance 82; practice of 52, 262; space for 162 agential 54, 235; the people as 262 – 264 agonism 43; Mouffe’s notion of 39 – 41, 225, 272; see also antagonism Ahmad, Feroz 216n7 Aitchinson, Guy 41 – 42, 43n8, 273 Akgün, Birol 217n13 Alfaro, Eloy 98 Alianza País 98, 100 – 102 Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) 159 Althusser, Louis 24, 58 alt-right 65, 131, 262 Amado, Adriana 66 “America First” 127 – 128 American Revolution 31 anarchism 2 Anatolia: Bağdat Caddesi 212; Erdoğan’s rallies across 219; province of 207 – 208; “pure child of ” 199 – 200 ANC see African National Congress ANEL see Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL) Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL) 13, 178, 192, 193n4, 193n10, 266; SYRIZA-ANEL 182, 184, 188 – 191 Ankersmit, Frank 52 antagonism: and abuse 107; of antiMemorandum and Memorandum 185; by Correa 108, 110 – 111; discursive 137 – 138, 179; formal logic of 138; without hegemony 106; of “the people” and “the elite” 157, 180; of people and Other 1, 5, 21, 26, 64; and pluralism 40; polarization through 112; political 13, 42; of popular/national and global/ multicultural 166; of populism and anti-populism 14, 27, 256; populism as being identified and defined by 76, 159, 167, 203, 268, 270, 272; populist 40 – 41, 139, 265; of populists 39, 64; of pure and corrupt 2; and social movements, autonomy of 36; solidarity and 261; SYRIZA and ND/PASOK

185 – 186, 190, 266; by Trump 122; by Trump supporters 132; of us and them 25, 96 antagonisms 23; field of 59 antagonistic: appeals 39; creation of a people 53; flaunting of “the low” 76 – 77; function of leader 56; modality 22; populist logic 8; re-politicization of depoliticized domains 16n7; understanding of sociocultural differences 6 anti-austerity see austerity anti-Black racism see racism anti-democratic politics see politics anti-drug 236 anti-elite, anti-elitist see elite anti-establishment 37, 140, 184 anti-executive sentiment 119 anti-fashionable 87 anti-feudalism 30 anti-immigrant, anti-immigration 64, 168, 267 anti-imperialism, anti-imperialist 56, 64, 83, 162, 244 anti-intellectual 167 anti-liberal 31, 39, 272 anti-neoliberal 96 anti-oligarchy see oligarchy anti-political act see political act anti-poor 231 anti-populism, anti-populist: agenda 172; and antagonism 14; and Correa 109, 270; criticism 194n18; discourses 158, 170 – 171; forces 38, 41, 43, 186; in Greece 270; low culture, attempts to use 193n2; of ND 188; politicians 192; and populists, difference between 180; socio-political 7; spectrum 191 anti-populism and populism xi – xii, 2, 9, 27, 256; and antagonism 14, 256, 265 – 267; discourses 27 – 28; discursive and performative struggles between 200; divide 201, 203 – 205, 217n11, 266; in Greece 269; and Justice and Development Party (JDP) 208 – 213; parties 190; studies on 179; in Turkey 13, 208, 208 – 216, 217n11 anti-regulation 130 anti-religion 202 anti-SYRIZA see SYRIZA anti-system 104 anti-tax 130 anti-Trump 126, 132

Index  277

Apartheid 14, 240 – 243, 246, 249; postApartheid 240, 247 – 248, 261 appeals: antagonistic 39; to base instincts 226, 228; to British nationalism 166; by Correa 99; cultural 5; discursive 97; to “fatherland” 98, 103; to grievance 264; and lack 59, 63; linguistic 28; ‘low’ politico-cultural 179; to national sovereignty 171; performative power of 256; plebiscitary 126, 271; political 9, 26, 36, 183; populist 1 – 3, 13, 29, 36, 38, 55, 212, 269; populist leaders’ 59, 257; to tradition 119; to urgency 140; vertical 262; of victimization 264 Aquino III, Benigno S. 231 Arditi, Benjamin 15n1, 34, 68n5, 69n16, 101, 226, 256 Arendt, Hannah 31 Argentina 11, 24, 57, 76, 85, 87, 97; Peronism 213; populism–anti-populism divide 203; see also Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina; Kirchner, Néstor; Menem, Carlos; Perón, Eva; Perón (Juan Domingo), Peronism, Peronist Argentine-ness 56 Aronoff, Kate 143 Arpaio, Joe 127 articulating signifier 59 articulation: of affective states 138; and antagonism 107, 111; of Citizens’ Revolution’s demands 109; of Correa’s demands 106, 115; of democratic demands 32; discursive 23, 26, 28, 48, 54, 99, 110; of exclusionary nationalism 164; of crisis 27; of “dressing properly” 260; equivalential/equivalential chain 25, 32, 79, 101, 103, 265; of grievances 13; of liberalism and democracy 30; logic of 258; of “the low” 100, 179; of lower classes, love and resentment of 200; of meaning 171; of nodal points 22; plebeian 112; of populism 29, 156; of populism and nationalism 165, 170; of populism and nativism 156, 161 – 163, 166, 169; populism’s mode of 24; by populist actors 27; by populist leaders 259, 265; of populist representation 78; of signifiers 32, 59, 264; of sociocultural and political elements 7; of social demands 100, 102; of Trump 132; of Tsipras 183; of unmet/unsatisfied demands 96, 98, 269; unarticulated 225; of us and them 181

articulatory logic see logic(s) articulatory: potential 114; process 101; role 111 articulatory practices 5, 23; discursive 54 Aslanidis, Paris 50 Athens 186, 189 audience(s): of Duterte 229, 260; imaginative space for 67; of populism 76; role of 50 – 51; segmented 65; of Morales (Evo) 89; at Netroots Nation 144; political 98; and political style 121, 242; and populist leader 256; and populist performance 180, 205, 235; versus “publics” 227; of Trump 80, 263, 266 austerity: anti- 181, 190, 191, 262; measures 13, 181; personal (of Morales) 83; policies 178, 182 – 188, 189, 192; politics of 266, 270; see also Memorandums of Understanding Austin, John L. 50 authoritarian-democratic axis 38 authoritarianism: and agonism 41, 272; and autocratic leaders 273; of Correa 109; and populism 4, 29, 81, 123, 157, 161; in the Philippines 263; presidential 125, 132; and the pure father 60; and the radical right 168 – 170; in South Africa 244, 247, 249; in Turkey 209; see also nativism, nativist, native authoritarian personalism 36, 205, 271 authoritarian regimes 43 authority 33; economic 202; figure 61; moral 141; popular 132 – 133; populist 120; presidential 118 – 119; public 34, 267; religious 200; sovereign 42, 121; transcendent 120; unmediated models of 180 autocrats 42 – 43, 269, 273 axis, axes 188; authoritarian-democratic 38; down/up 157, 163; high-low 179, 267; horizontal 110, 115; in/out 163; left-right 179, 201; of populism 158; vertical 110, 115, 264; see also powerless-versus-powerful axis of populism Bachelet Michelle 11, 76, 82, 82, 86, 88, 92n25 “bad hombres” 261 “bad manners” 225 – 226, 246 – 248, 261; Moffitt’s understanding of 6, 51, 127,

278 Index

180; populists’ utilization of 90n5, 92n15, 193n2, 243; of Tsipras 187 Baldwin, James 147 Bannon, Steve 122 – 123, 127, 131 – 133; as chief advisor to the president 131; as chief of staff in the White House 122; as editor-in-chief of Breibart.com 131 Barracca, Steven 219n39 barrios 37 Barros, Adhemar de 219n43 Başlevent, Cem 207 Baykal, Deniz 205 Baykan, Toygar Sinan 13, 199 – 222, 257, 259, 264, 266 Beckett, Samuel 1 Bello, Walden 230 Berlusconi, Silvio 76, 83 Beşiktaş 207 – 208 Black Communists 148 Black freedom struggle (United States) 129 Black Nationalist party see Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Blackness and anti-Blackness 145 Black people: activists (United States) 138 – 139, 144, 148, 263; demands of 150; elite (South Africa) 243; erasure of 147; majority (South Africa) 242 – 243; pain and rage of (United States) 138 – 139; protesters (United States) 130; radical tradition 151; South African 42, 241 – 244, 250; Trump’s attacks of 126; vote (United States) 132, 144, 146; working class (South Africa) 242, 250; “unapologetically” 150 – 151; working class (United States) 133; see Black Lives Matter; Bland, Sandra; Brown, Mike; Movement for Black Lives; racism Black Lives Matter 12, 136 – 151, 263; see also Movement for Black Lives Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) 145, 150 Bland, Sandra 149 “blank screen” of projection 10, 54, 57, 62 bodily expressions 180; image 257; multitude 69n18; presence 7, 67; symbols 89; synecdoche 76 – 81 bodily performance 49, 76; four types of 81 – 82; populist 77, 82; of South American presidents 75 – 90 bodily presentation 79, 87; gendered 84 – 86; populist 86; of populist leader(s) 7, 67, 79, 86

bodily transgression/transgressive body 11, 76, 86 – 87 body/bodies: divergent 86; language 50, 212; of leader 11, 58, 75 – 76, 79 – 84; of king or sovereign 89, 120; mainstream 86, 87 – 88; and mind 48; presidency as popular body 120; transgressive 86 – 87 body: codes 77; image 86, 88, 257 body politic 78, 89, 120, 123; and Body natural 120; and the right wing (United States) 137 Boehner, John 128 Böhürler, Ayşe 214 Bolívar, Simón 37, 95, 98 Bolivia 7 – 8, 11, 76, 83 – 84, 257; see also Morales, Evo Bond, Becky 43n7, 141, 262 Bonikowski, Bart 50 Bourdieu, Pierre 52 Bracciale, Roberta 66 Brand New Congress 149 Breitbart.com 131 Brennan, John 124 Brexit 164 – 166, 170 Brown, Mike 145 – 147 brother: empowered 61; leader as 36, 60, 105, 257; worker 209 Brubaker, Rogers 16n7 Brussels 165, 188 Bucaram 218n28 Buchanan, Pat 121, 129 Bush, George H. 67, 125 Butler, Judith 50 cabecitas negras 89 campaign: Brexit 165; Buchanan 129; Chávez 91n10; Clinton (Hillary) 130, 143, 265; Correa 98, 105, 269; disinformation 230; Duterte 229 – 230, 233, 236; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 245, 248; electoral 43, 97, 184 – 186, 214; European Union referendum 169; Lega (Italy) 163; Malema 244; Morales 83 – 84; Moreno 108; negative 231; Obama 141; “open-source” 137, 143 – 144, 147, 263; permanent 12, 119, 268; populist 118; presidential (United States) 121; Sanders 130, 136, 138 – 150, 262 – 263, 271; Toledo 88; Trump 118, 123 – 133, 230, 265 – 266, 268; “White Turks”/(Erdoğan) 211 – 212, 257; #ZuptaMustGo 247

Index  279

Canovan, Margaret 2, 15n3, 22, 33, 48, 59, 68 Carpentier, Nico 48 Casullo, María Esperanza 43n7, 75 – 94, 257 – 259, 264 Chaco, Lisa Marie 151n8 chain of equivalences (“equivalential chain”) 2, 5, 7, 27, 53; antagonistic 138, 159, 186; antithetical 265; articulation of 25, 32, 79, 101, 103, 265; conditions of possibility for 56; crystallization of 59; of demands 258; demands gaining unity via 98, 100; and difference 55; government strengthening of 110; Laclau’s 55; name of leader 56; and “the people”, construction of 158, 267; populism as a way of constructing 159; populist 269; rival 54, 68n6; and Republican populism (United States) 129; sustenance of 115; unhinging of 103 chain of significations 29 chants 263; “Build the Wall” 126, 266; “Wir sind das Volk” 164 charisma 36, 62, 78; “dark” 229, 233; theory of 59 charismatic: exceptionality 79; figures 95; populism 90n4; populist leadership 82; strongman 81 Chávez, Hugo: Alo Presidente 1; angry public speaking style of 83; buffoonish qualities of 51, 62; death of 243; irruption of 16n8; “of the people” 61; populist appeal 36 – 37; as “strongman” 92n14; as whole and as part 116n4 Chavismo 37, 244 checks and balances 15n4, 41, 268; Constitutional system of 119; undermining of 29 Che Guevara 243 chief of staff (White House, United States) 122 chief of state (United States) 127 Chile 11, 76, 88 China 268 Cho, Yong Jung 143 “Christian Democracy” 68; see also democracy Christian language see language(s) Christianity: versus Islam 162; followers of Trump 81, 131, 137, 262 Christian Orthodoxy 190 Christian Right 137

Ciccariello-Maher, George 37 citizenry 102, 168 citizenship, citizens 28; Black 146; democratic 183; everyday problems of 186; formal 42, 273; Greek 188 – 190; for migrants 164; as “the people” 156; Philippine 224; political newcomers 101; political positions of 172; populist 41 – 43, 43n8, 272 – 273; as populist publics 227; progressive 184; and representatives 258; rights 42; “second-class” 64; and social media 66, 263; street demonstrations by 97; Turkish 201 Citizens’ Revolution (Ecuador) 95 – 117, 270; arc of 114; Achilles’ heel of 107; discourse of 99, 102; as epoch of changes rather than change of epoch 112; equivalential chain 100, 102; as example of populism on the left 95, 115; langue de bois 105; new hegemony of 109, 111; victory of 108 civilizing hypocrisy 226 civil society 35, 39; Ecuadorian 97, 102, 112, 114 claims: conceptual 5, 47; of Correa/ Citizens’ Revolution 102 – 103, 111; of demands projected into empty signifiers 258; identity 120; nativist 164 – 166; of plebs and populous 33 – 34; of popular identity 53; of populism 64, 263; populist 14, 30, 224, 226, 228, 232, 243; of populist identification 37; political 25, 42, 50, 264, 273; presidential 121, 133; of representation of/on behalf of the people 52, 66, 161, 262; for social change 58; Trump’s 133, 268; Tsipras’ 192 claims-making 231 classe dirigeante 112 class(es): billionaire 139 – 140; cross- 200 high 86 – 87; indigenous 83; inter114; lower 13, 106, 182, 189, 192, 193n2, 200; Marxist 7; middle 12, 97, 129 – 131, 182, 186, 212; oligarchic 31; political 11, 98 – 99, 243; popular 183, 257; and race 129, 138; reductionism 23; ruling 38; second 64; social 30; privileged 209; underclass 242; wretched 213 class, working 131, 136; American 131, 146 – 147; Australians 226; black (South Africa) 243, 250; Economic Freedom

280 Index

Fighters (EFF)’s identification with 244, 246; versus the elite 157; racial grievances of 130; as “real America” 133; state violence against 249; of Turkey 207, 266; white 146 – 148, 164 Clay, Henry 122 cleavage(s) 53; economic 169; politicization of 52; between secular urban nation builders and modernizers (Kemalists) and conservative and traditional rural-provincial power holders 200; social 7, 63; sociohistorical 264; socio-political 259, 266 cleavage theory 10, 52, 63; see also Lipset, Seymour; Rokkan, Stein Clinton, Bill 91n5, 125 Clinton, Hillary 118, 130, 140, 143; emails 126, 266 coalition: cross-class 13, 200; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), rejection of 245; grassroots 12, 136; Jackson 122; opposition (İhsanoğlu) 211; “radical” left-right 182; Sanders 137, 141 – 145, 149 – 151; SYRIZA-ANEL 188 – 190; Trump 122 Coates, Ta-Nahisi 136, 147, 151n6 Cocalero (film) 83 – 84, 89 – 90, 92n19 co-constitution of leader, people, and elite 77 Collor de Mello, Fernando 125 Collovald, Annie 168 Colombia 11, 99, 104, 235 color: candidates of 143; communities of 144; people of 133, 143, 149, 151n10; women of 131 color-blind rhetoric see rhetoric “colorful” bodily or facial expressions 180 Comey, James 124 common-ground 65 common man 122, 157, 186 common people 128, 186 common sense 23, 31, 107; and Gramsci 112; and Trump 123 communitarian: fullness 64; order 62 community(ies): of color 144; “common sense” of 23; disaster-affected 231, 235; Duterte’s political style among 232; leader accountable to 105; local 37, 229 – 230; that makes identification possible 36, 61; marginalized 145; plebs and populus 64; of a people 63; scholarly 22, 255; slum 234; sovereign 162; totality of 33 – 34; vulnerable 224, 272

community organizing 142 – 143 community protest 245 concrete, concreteness 53 – 57: body of leader 75, 77; human decisions 141; identity 11; immanent 2; intension 55; language 214; political demands 157; of populist leader 49, 53 – 54, 59, 63 – 64, 67, 258, 269; socio-economic and educational distinctions 207; tasks 142; see also demands concrete and particular: demands 56, 269; leader 49, 53 – 54, 63 – 64; never-lost meaning 53 Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador 97 conflict 28, 102, 104 conspiracy 124 Constituent Assembly (Ecuador) 100 Constitution: Ecuador 98 – 99, 269; Greece; 190; South Africa 241; United States 119 – 120, 123, 133n1 constitution: of collective will 95, 225, 272; of plurality of subjects 32; of the political as such 158; of popular identities 1; social identity 25 Constitutional amendment (Ecuador) 107, 109 Constitutional Court (South Africa) 247 Constitutional document (Ecuador) 101 constitutional: legitimacy 273; order 42; reform (Ecuador) 259; rights (Ecuador) 259 Constitutional pay equity (United States) 143 constitution-making 235 constitution of the people/“the people” see “people, the” constitution-writing 236 continuum and dis-continuum 110 – 111, 267 Coordinadora de Movimientos Sociales (Social Movements Coordination Body) 97 Correa, Rafael 76, 82, 82, 95 – 115; as empty signifier 111, 259, 269; isolation of 263; permanent campaign of 125; personalism and populist antagonism of 268 – 270; transgressive body of 86 – 88 Correistas 109 “corrupt” (as adjective) 22 corrupt, corruption 185 – 186, 189; accusations of 231; African National Congress (ANC) 14, 240, 243; in Ecuador 97, 109; Trump’s accusations of others as being 118; of Zuma 248; see also elite(s)

Index  281

“corrupt establishment” 183, 187 – 188 “corrupt parties” see party(ies) “corrupt regime” 184 “corrupt media” 106, 126 Coşkun, Bekir 211 cosmopolitan/cosmopolitanism 62, 77, 88, 202; elite 212; European Union project 265 Couldry, Nick 231 counter-hegemonic: approach 112; movements 151, 271; populism 115; representation 150 coup d’état: 2000 Ecuador (failed) 97; 2010 Ecuador (failed) 113; 2016 Turkey (failed) 212 – 213, 219n42; military (failed) 219n39 crisis: breakdown, and threat 243, 248 – 250; debt 37; destabilizing 25; of dominant ideological discourse 27, 193n1; economic crisis of 2007/2009 and 2012 (Greece and Europe) 178, 185 – 188, 190, 192, 266; economic crisis in Venezuela 244; in Ecuador (fiscal) 97, 104, 114; and the elite 158; financial crisis of 1999 96; national security (United States, Trump) 125; performance of 51, 90n5, 180, 187; perpetrators of 181; political 179 204; politics of 232; and populism 27, 179 – 180, 193n1, 227; and populist style 243; refugee crisis of 2015 162, 164, 172n3, 183; social 27, 193n1; student 250; victims of 181 cross-regional 4, 48, 273 Csigó, Péter 172 Curato, Nicole: Duterte’s rhetoric 223 – 239, 260, 263; Duterte and Typhoon Haiya 258; populism and deliberation 13 – 14, 271 – 272; “populist publics” 14, 264 Davao City 229 – 231 Davos Economic Forum 209 decision-making 22, 24, 33, 51; by Correa 269; by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 244; collective 226; by the European Union 166 De Cleen, Benjamin 155 – 177, 205, 265 – 266, 270 deconstructed-ness 57 deconstruction 54, 57 – 58, 123, 269 Deep State (United States) 124, 130, 268 De la Torre, Carlos 105

deliberation 225; internal 227; public 236, 272; systemic views of 226 deliberation-populism dichotomy 223, 235, 271 – 272 deliberative: politics 234 – 236; qualities of populism 231, 272; system 226 deliberative democracy 223, 227; normative ambivalence of populism for 224 – 225 deliberative democratic theory 14 demagoguery 4, 167; and democracy 15n4; and “the people” 62; in the Philippines 223 – 236; and populism 29, 60, 170, 227; speeches as 125; of Trump 263 demand(s): articulation of 115; authoritarian 161; for autonomy 32; Black 150 – 151; of the citizens 270; concrete 55 – 56, 157; of deliberative politics 235; democratic 33, 42; Duterte’s 233; equivalential chain of 33, 53 – 54, 258, 101, 258; excessive 139; feminist 161; indigenous 102; of leaders 259; nationalist 265; for national sovereignty 165; nativist 166; particularity of 25, 55, 150; of the people 163, 182, 244, 256; political 25, 157, 170; popular 11, 183, 188; populist 119, 129, 137, 156; for punitive politics 229; for racial justice 136; radical right 167; satisfaction of 104, 110; social 10, 25, 96 – 97, 100, 105, 114, 179, 267; societal 158; student 250; territorial 106; unmet 38, 98, 107, 111, 269; unsatisfied 26, 109, 138 Demiralp, Seda 216n10 Demirel, Tanel 202, 216n9 democracy: Christian 68n1; as constitution of a people 271; as emancipatory political logic 31; plural/pluralist 32, 40; and populism 29 – 35, 43; and populist antagonism 39; racialized social 146; radical 31 – 32; South African 251; see also deliberative democracy democracy, liberal see liberal democracy Democratic Alliance, the (DA) (South Africa) 245 – 246, 250 Democratic Party (United States) 129 – 131, 133, 140, 143; primaries 12, 136; and working class 146 – 147; see also Clinton, Bill; Clinton, Hillary; Obama, Barack; Sanders, Bernie

282 Index

democratic people, political conditions for 35 – 42 democratic socialists, democratic-socialist 146, 148, 178, 192; see also social democracy(tic); socialism Democratic Socialists of America 143 Democrat Party (Demokrat Parti) (Turkey) 200 – 202, 216n9 Demos 149 demos 33, 40; and ethnos 161; and fake news 228; and plebs 34; as the people 190 deplorables 223 – 236; “basket of ” 265 Derrida, Jacques 24, 57 – 58, 69n14; “transcendental signifieds” 29; superabundance 57 desire(s) 36, 53, 57 – 59, 256, 274; from below 227; for power 245; resentments and 129; of white innocence 147 devout 211, 215, 217n10 Diehl, Paula 76 – 78 difference(s): antagonism as relations of 108; equivalence and 55, 267; flow of 26; foregrounding 151; between high and low 49; ideological 190, 192; internal 37; between left and right populism 28, 38, 192; logic of 25, 158 – 159; between overflowing and synecdochal representation 75; political 123, 192; in populism in opposition and in office 269; between populists and anti-populists 180; social 7, 10, 48; socio-cultural 6, 64, 259; solidarity and 139, 271; structural 137, 256 Dinkin, Joe 146 discourse analysis 5, 8, 10, 48; and populism 203 discourse(s): anti-nationalist 191; antipopulist 27 – 28, 158, 170 – 171, 266; of Citizens’ Revolution 99, 101 – 102, 106; conflicting 235; of Correa 114, 270; and demands 110; and democratization 14, 223; dramatic 98; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 251; equivalential 105; of Erdoğan and Justice and Development Party (JDP) 209, 212, 216; exclusionary 230; and experience 48; hegemonic 139; ideological 27; institutionalist 111; Lacan on 26; Laclau and Mouffe’s understanding of term 23; Laclau on 30, 65; liberal 41; mainstream 169; manipulative 227; marginalized 226;

Muslims, aimed at 132; nationalpopular 106; “one nation” 107, 116n4; patriotic 181; performative 13; political 97, 167, 179, 351; about populism 155 – 156, 172; populism as 47, 49 – 50; populist logic in 202; as praxes 6, 63; public 136, 228, 240; radical right 163; rationalist and technocratic 180; Stammtisch 91n13; of state ideological apparatuses 58; of SYRIZA/Tsipras 181, 183 – 187, 190, 266, 270 discourse(s), populist 7, 22, 27 – 29, 63 – 65; of Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL) 190; and antagonism 138; coarseness of 246; and erasure, logic of 139; flexible script of 137; hegemony of 111; and identification and marginalization 150; “the people” in 264; and performance 178; and political logics 158; of populist radical right (PRR) parties 265; rhetorical and affective registers of 138; types of 242 discourse-theoretical perspective and approach 24, 157, 167, 170 – 172 discourse theory: Laclau and Mouffe 22 – 24, 50, 99, 179; and logics 157; and materiality of things 104; relational approach to meaning 161 – 162 discursive: acts 53; antagonism 138; anti-populism 7; configuration 102; constitution of self 64; critique 269; dimensions of politics 10, 14, 241; frame 50; frontier 260; functions 77; inscription 62; interpellation(s) 22, 68n1, 156; investment 48; logic 137, 157, 258; ontology 64; operations 100; origin of populism 104; perspective 53; pluralism 224, 235; power 232; repertoire, populism as 12; representative 225; style 236 discursive appeal 22, 28; of Citizens’ Revolution 99; new 97 discursive approach: of Laclau 47 – 49, 52, 203; to populism 21 – 43, 255 discursive articulations 23; articulatory practices 54; aspects of political phenomenon 242 discursive construction: of antagonisms 179; of the people 155 – 157, 162, 170; of the popular subject 180; by SYRIZA 180, 183 – 184 discursive-material knot 48

Index  283

discursive-performative approach 256, 259, 273 discursive struggles: between politics and policies 204; between populism and anti-populism 200 discursive theory of populism 24 – 29, 178 discursive turn 47 – 48 discursivism 47 dislocation(s) 97, 107, 114; material 48; political 23; social 27 divide: anti-neoliberal 104; friend/ enemy 40; left-right 201; partisan 65; between the people and the elite 179, 186; between the people and the establishment 191; between people and its Other 2, 39, 99; political 101, 108, 114; between popular subject and its adversary 137; populism–antipopulism 201, 203 – 205, 217n11, 266; between populists and antipopulists 190; between populists and technocrats 90n5; socio-cultural 205; between us and them 181; see also anti-populism and populism; high-low divide dress code 246 dress, dressing 6, 51, 69n18; Eurocentric 244, 260; by Fernández de Kirchner 86; by Gibson 132; as maids and mineworkers 14, 260; by Morales 83 – 85, 257; by Papandreou 187; by Toledo 88; by Tsipras 187; by Turkish citizens 201; by Turkish leaders 204; ways of 50, 69n18, 79 Dryzek, John S. 226 Du Bois, W.E.B. 146, 151n5 Duterte, Rodrigo 8; accountability 233 – 234; drugs 233; Facebook status 66; killing 233; rhetoric of 223 – 236, 260; rape jokes by 229, 260; supporters of 263, 272; and Trump 229 – 230; and Typhoon Haiyan 258 – 259 Dutertards 233 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 14, 240 – 251, 260 – 261; as Black Nationalist party 242 – 244; as “guerrilla governance” 245 Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) 249 – 250 Ecuador 8, 76, 87, 95 – 115; see also Citizens’ Revolution; Correa, Rafael; coup d’état

elections 103, 226; 2006 Ecuador 96; 2007/08 Greece 181; 2008 United States 129; 2011 Argentina 86; 2014 South Africa 14, 240, 242, 244, 249; 2014 Turkey 208, 211 – 212, 257; 2015 Greece 182, 185, 187; 2016 South Africa 245 – 246, 249 – 250; 2017 Ecuador 108; 2017 France 163, 169; 2018 Italy 163; 2018 United States (Congressional) 131; 2019 Greece 183 – 184, 189; 2019 South Africa 248; of Duterte 233; of Morales 84; of populist leaders 234, 236; pre-election 187; re-election 103, 107, 109, 128, 194; rigged 122; staggered 268; see also 2016 presidential election United States electoral: alliance (Correa) 101; appeal 11; base (Trump) 126; campaign (SYRIZA) 184 – 186; challenge 132; coalition 13; debates 143; defeat (of SYRIZA) 183; demand 8; machine 113; majorities 112; politics 14, 147, 240; process 148, 215; rhetoric (Correa) 102; success (of radical right) 163, 168, 170; system (South Africa) 248, 250 electoral campaign: Correa 97; Duterte 229 – 230; Justice and Development Party (JDP) 214; Moreno 108; SYRIZA 183 – 186 Electoral College (United States) 118 – 119, 132 – 133 electoral victory: Chávez 36; Citizens’ Revolution 114 electoral support: Justice and Development Party (JDP) 207; SYRIZA 181 Elias, Norbert 52 Eligür, Banu 217n15 elite(s): anti-elite 50, 63, 123, 168; Bisaya-speaking 236, 260; “corrupt” 2 – 3, 50, 168; cosmopolitan 212; cultural 207; economic 27, 114, 131, 182, 184, 242; economic policies 98; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 248; establishment 126; exclusion of 224, 272; expertise 123; global 268; governmental 122; “high” politics of 246, 266; illegitimate 156 – 158, 162, 165, 265; institutions 130; Justice and Development Party (JDP) 13, 200, 209 – 211, 213 – 215; liberal 25, 129; “the many” against 185; minority 202, 209; national and foreign 95; non-elite 51, 64; as Other 21, 49, 56, 99; as

284 Index

populist signifier 161 – 166; reformist 230 – 231, 235; Republican 132; republican ideology of 119; shadowy 124; social 184; socio-economic 109; urban 245; victims 201; white social 7 elite(s), political see political elite(s) elite(s) versus “the people” 180, 181; and exclusionary ethno-nationalism 265; and delegitimization of mainstream politics 169; discursive construction of 156 – 159, 161 – 164; as key feature of populism as performative political style 51, 180, 241, 243; and political logic of populism 179 – 180; SYRIZA and populist divide between 186, 191; in Turkey 208; Trump’s claims regarding 124; and underdog, concept of 264 emancipatory: credentials 104; perspective 108; political logic 31, 39; politics 96, 137, 151; populism 4, 38, 112, 115, 184; possibilities 139; process 103; promise 184; subject 184; tradition 106; viewpoint 112 embodying, embodiment, embodied: by Correa 87, 105; of demands 102, 169; of democracy 89; empty signifiers and leaders 101; experience 47; of fullness 104; hybridity 81; identity 11; limits 12; the low 229, 243, 259; of national identity 120; of neoliberal economic model 99; of “the people” xii, 6, 12, 34, 256 – 257; partial 34; the people 180, 186; personal 10; of Peronist couple 85; of plebeian institutionality 113, 115; political 203; political domination 36; political fullness 100; of political polarization 109; populism 48 – 51, 77; populist 138; populist imaginary 271; populist leader as 60, 63 – 64, 75, 81; repertoires of 242; signifier 264; total 34; by Trump 80 – 81, 268; “what is missing” 63 – 65 emotional: apparatus 28; force 226; habitus 138, 145, 148; present-ness 61; registers of populism 51 emotion(s): and affect 90n5; and affective populism 6; body as medium of activation of 76; and collective identification 140; demonstrative 187; distortions of 225; and Duterte’s popularity 224, 230, 272; and electoral process 215; and empty signifiers 34, 56; and form 1; literature on 58;

performance of 90n5; Malema on 244; and public narratives 141; of populism– anti-populism divide 203; and populist leader 55; of populist politics 167, 216, 234; of pro- Justice and Development Party (JDP)/Erdoğan masses 213; public display of 86; at Trump rally 126, 263, 266; of voices 227; see also hate; love, “love” emptiness 34, 55, 68; of articulating signifier 59; of crystallizing signifier 58; of leader-as-signifier 80; populist 28, 33; tendential 58 “empty place” of power see power empty signifier 7, 65, 68n1, 79; Correa as 111, 259, 269; Derridean 57 – 58; and excess 10; identification with 47 – 68; and Laclau’s theory of populism 7; leader as 49, 53 – 54, 55 – 57, 62, 64, 256, 259, 274; name of leader as 256, 258, 271; and nodal point 26, 99; notempty 59; as overflowing 67; “a people” as equivalential demands articulated by 33 – 34, 258, 267; particularity of 60; “the people” as xii, 5, 26, 28, 33; societal 107; tendential 58; and Trumpism 130; and unmet demands 101; see also signifier; overflowing signifier enactments 12; mediated 51; of popular power 151; of public policies 106 enemy(ies): attack against 180; of Citizens’ Revolution 11, 102; conflict between 41; discursive construction of 179; eradication of 229; friend/enemy divide 40; hidden 268; of the nation 120; of the people 132; “the people and its enemies” 183 – 186; the other as 225; of populism 203 – 205; of populist forces 27; shared 38, 98; unsatisfied social demands against 96 Engesser, Sven 66 environmentalists 101 – 102, 104, 108, 268 – 269 equality: 20th century 42; political 31; see also inequality(ies) equivalence(s): creating 112; and difference 55; emergence of 179; Laclau’s views on 139; logic of 5, 25, 41, 159; managing 110; maintaining 104; relations of 26, 137, 267; sustaining 114; see also chains of equivalences equivalential 102

Index  285

equivalential chain see chain of equivalences equivalential-egalitarian logic 33 equivalential logic 41, 88n6, 138; of populism 272 erasure 137, 139, 145 – 147 Erbakan, Necmettin 217n15 Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip 13, 199; ban from politics 218n33; and high-low divide, politicization of 208; as “man of the people” 212, 257; populist appeal of 200, 206, 213; as son of migrants 206, 211; speeches by 209 – 210; see also Justice and Development Party (JDP) Essex School 22, 42, 50 establishment 1, 5 – 6, 21; anti- 37, 140, 193n10; battle against 190; of consensus 40; conservative 184; “corrupt” 183, 187; credentials 144; Democratic Party 143; of identity 68n6; immoral 147; of new hegemony 111; political 27, 122, 126, 163, 185, 191, 231, 262; return to power 188; as Them/the elite 25, 156 – 158, 180 – 181, 183 Eurocrats 51 Eurocentrism 3 – 4, 255, 273; in dress code 244 Eurocommunism 193n3 European Central Bank (ECB) see “Troika, the” European Commission (EC) see “Troika, the” European Union (EU) 25, 163, 166; and Duterte 236, 260; trade agreement with 104; technocratic structure of 178; Trump’s claim of being taken advantage of by 128, 268; see also Memorandums of Understanding (Greece and European Union) evangelical Christians 131, 262 Evita see Perón, Eva (Evita) exceptionality (of leader) see leader excess, excessive: Black as being 150; containing 145; dangerous 37; democratic 43, 273; fleshy 60; formality 104; in the heterogeneity of the social 55; heterogenous 139; incorporating 10, 60, 69n10, 139; and lack 59; Laclau’s understanding of 59; leader as 56, 61, 80; “the low” as 100; of particular meanings 58; of performativity 107; performing 65 – 68; populism’s incorporation of 69n10;

of religion 21; of rhetoric 270; use of force 234, 249, 263 excluded, the 25, 27, 82; Black citizens 146; bodies 77, 88 – 89; Erdoğan as comrade to 206, 257; migrants 164; “non-people” 29; the plebs 3; political subjects 42, 248, 264, 273; women 89; see also political exclusion exclusionary ethno-cultural nationalism 156, 160 – 162, 164, 166, 265 exclusionary construction of the people 190 exclusionary populism see populism Exley, Zack 142 Fabius, Laurent 169 Facebook 65 – 66, 164, 263; Duterte’s page 233; liking a post on 142, 164, 233, 263; Sander’s followers on 140 Farage, Nigel 61 – 62, 66 fascism 4, 38, 169; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 241 – 242; and nationalism 185; proto-fascist groups in the United States 132 fatherland 98 – 99, 102 – 103 features: of appeal (to the people) 51; complementary 4; defining (of populism) 24; distinct (of performative approach to populism) 49; ethnic (of Morales) 257; glaring (of populist praxis) 50; ideological (of political parties) 179; of leader 36, 61, 63; and leadership, accomplishment of 76; “objective” (of Toledo and Bachelet re “populist” representation) 88; peculiar 6; political (of Tsipras’ rivals) 191; of populist performance and style 180, 243; of self-presentation 82; shared between leader and led 36, 105; of Turkish parties and politics 201, 203; xenophobic (of right-wing populism) 184 Ferguson, Missouri 145 Fernandes, Sujatha 37 Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina 11, 76, 82, 82, 84 – 86, 88, 92n25 Fielitz, Malik 194n22 Fifth Power 103 Fight for $15, the 12, 136, 141, 143 flaunting of “the low” see low, the flesh 6; and blood 79; and bone 58; performance in the 7; public 60 fleshy 62; excess 10, 60; leaders 67; multiple presence of the 56

286 Index

fleshy-ness 59, 69n18 floating signifier 32, 53 – 54, 102, 105; as signifiers of identity 68n6; war of position around 56 followers 11, 227; and bodily presentation of leader 75 – 78, 80, 83, 88; of Buchanan 129; of Correa 108; devotion of 90n1; of Evita 86; and leaders, affective unity between 126; and leaders, bond between 13; and leaders, sharing of traits of 61, 75; of Martin Luther King Jr. 91n10; of Morales 84; of Sanders 140; on social media 66, 264; of Trump 66, 81; unorganized 3, 37, 261; why they follow xii, 4 followers of Laclau 79; see also Essex School Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 182 form(s): of bureaucracy, corruption of 123, 268; of claim-making 236; of communication 66; of conservatism 3; as content 1; of democracy 271 – 272; of digital engagement 225; of governance 148, 159; of historical memory 37; of identification 271; of leadership 204; organizational 242; of permanent campaign 125; plebeian 110; of pluralism 40; of political opposition 119; of political struggle 39, 42; of populism 161, 171, 262; of populist identification 38; of power 137, 151; programmatic and rational 89; of public authority 267; of public protest 130; of representation 51; of self-presentation 88; of speech 226; of vitalism 100 Foucault, Michel 89 France 172n3, 265; see also Front National (FN) (France) France Insoumise, La (Unsubmissive France) 159, 169, 171 Freeden, Michael 3, 62, 69n22, 171 freedom of expression 272 Freedom of Information (FOI) 234 Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Freedom Party of Austria, FPÖ) 159 French Revolution 31 Freud, Sigmund 36, 52, 60 – 61; primus inter pares 104 – 105 “from here”, “from there” 6, 62, 70n22 “from within”, “from without” 23 frontier see political frontier

Front National (FN) (France) 159, 163, 169, 242 Front National/Rassemblement National (FN/RN) 164, 166 fullness: communitary 64; discourse of 104; and embodying what is missing 63 – 64; “empty” 115; God as 69n20; impossibility of 23; political 100, 114; promise of 10, 59 – 60, 63 – 64; search for 58 – 59; unachievable 60; wish for 59, 69n17 Galanopoulos, Antonis 204 Gaza, military operations in 217n25 Gallegos, Franklin Ramírez 103 Ganz, Marshall 141 Garner, Erica 151n10 Garza, Alice 148 gender: and “Bernie-bros” 130; change 190; cisgender 150; in Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) politics 251n1; hierarchies 92; identities 82, 182, 184, 189; inequality 32, 42; intersex 250; nonconforming 151; and OcasioCortez 131; and populism 85; and populist identification 138; transgender 144, 150, 250; violence prevention 140; see also queer; LGBT; LGBTI; LGBTQ gendered body 84 – 86 Georgiadis, Adonis 195n25 Gibson, Joey 132 Gidron, Noam 50 Gingrich, Newt 124 Glas, Jorge 109 global 4; account of populism 15, 48, 224, 273; audiences 229; cases 10; pattern of populism 241, 250; policies 166; productivity 8 globalists 131, 268 globalization 42 Glynos, Jason 155 – 177, 205, 265 – 266, 270 Golden Dawn 193n9 Goldwater, Barry 141 “good governance” 230 – 231, 267 “good manners” see manners Gould, Deborah 138 governance: “guerrilla” 245; modern 249; “modes of ” 77, 90n4; municipal 245; necessary tools of 192, 270; to overturn systemic racism 148; tough approach to (Duterte) 230, 232; United States 119, 122

Index  287

government: good 63, 231; models of 90n4; populism in 178 – 193, 267 – 270 Gramsci, Antonio 11, 112 – 115; hegemony, theory of 22 – 24, 35, 105 – 106, 155; Laclau, influence on 59, 96, 105, 111, 114 Grattan, Laura 37, 43n7, 136 – 154, 261 – 264, 271 Gray, Briahna Joy 151n10 Greece 8, 268; populism–anti-populism divide 203, 266; SYRIZA 171, 178 – 193, 269 – 270; working-class areas 189; see also elections Grexit 193n11 grievances, : articulation of 13; construction of 157; and Correa 101 – 102, 111 – 112; of “the people” 264; political 23; projection of 55; racial 129 – 130; social 9, 26, 43; and the status quo 97; of white people 123, 133 Group of Seven summit 127 guerrilla: “governance” 245; movements 37; tactics 247 Gupta family 247 – 248 Gutiérrez, Lucio 97

Hegemony and Socialist Strategy see Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) 188 high-low divide 82, 90n5, 179, 181; axis 267; in Turkey 13, 199 – 216; and transgression 91n7; sociocultural 25, 261 “high, the” (“the High”) 63, 82; cultural signifiers 86; modes of technocratic style 49, 77, 83; politics of elites 246; sociocultural 92n15, 267 Hikmet, Nazim 199, 216n2 hinterland 7 historical materialism 47 Hitler, Adolph 229, 260 Holocaust 229 Howarth, David R. 102, 113 hybrid: of Correa’s clothing 87; between high, low, and exceptionality 82; ideological 29; identity 81; universal 79 hybridity 81; performing 83 – 84 hybridization 78, 80, 91n10; between “high” and “low” 88; of personal with political spheres 86; of popular traditions 874; and populism 89, 91n12

Habermas, Jürgen 40, 272 habitus see emotional habitus Haiyan see Typhoon Haiyan Hammond, Dwight and Stephen 127 Han, Hahrie 141 Hannity, Sean 124 Hanson, Pauline 85, 226 Hariman, Robert 52 hate 182; of Islam for America 127; speech 240 Hawkins, Kirk A. 2, 50 Hearns, Elle 148 hegemonic: consensus 108; construction 103; discourse 139; identity 60; logic 59; operation 59 – 60, 64, 114; populism 115; project 110, 113 hegemonic struggle(s) 5, 10, 22, 54 – 56, 138; in construction of the people 264 hegemony: antagonism without 106; attempt at 65; building of 11; of Citizens’ Revolution 109; counter150 – 151, 271; Gramscian theory of 22, 24, 105; and meaning 112; particular as broad through equivalential chain of 258; and populism 21 – 43, 96, 107, 111, 159; theoretical foundations of 22 – 24

ideas xii – xiii; agonist 225; antithetical 5, 25, 264; conflicting 235; complex 241; conservative 188, 191; discourse, as feature of 23; dominant 22; in Erdoğan’s speech 210; of Malema 244; political 3, 257; of political representation 14; populism as set of 49, 90n2; of populist leaders 6; presidential 118; radical right 168 – 169, 267; of suffering 149; unpalatable 167; xenophobic and nationalist 192 ideational: approaches to populism 2 – 3, 156, 161, 191; content 24; material 50; representation 75 identification(s): affective 36, 137; body as means of producing 76; collective 12, 28, 137; community 36, 63; conditions of 5, 48; with crystallizing signifier 58; de-identification 107, 137, 144 – 149; of differences 234; with empty signifier 47 – 68; feelings of 98; and fullness, leading to 59; imaginary 67; horizontal 261 – 262; Laclau’s theory of 25, 36; and language 50; between leader and people 14, 62; logic of 69n11; from the margins, strategies of 149 – 151;

288 Index

markers of 257; material practices of 139; modes of 49; mutual 62; national 120; new 59; with the people 243, 246; performing 263; and populism 68n1; of populism 159; populist mode of 1, 4, 204; practices of 137; with a president 118 – 120; processes of 9, 104 – 105; programmatic 68n1; role of xiii, 58, 63; self- 211; socio-political 58; traits facilitating 60; with the working class 244, 248 identification, political see political identification identification, popular see popular identification identification, populist see populist identification identity(ies): anti-populist 27; citizenship as 41; collective 22, 141; creation 52, 242; and demands 157 – 158; of demos 40; emptiness as type of 34; and floating signifiers, reliance on 32; gender 182, 184, 189; hegemonic 60; hybrid 81 – 82; and image 216n4; improper 217n10; influences over 65; leader as embodiment of 75; of leaders 66; of leaders and people, conflation of 43, 273; national 166, 171; of “the people” 66; politics of 90n4; split 36, 61; of radical democracy 33; radical right 162, 192; social 97; sociocultural 91n7; of subjects and objects 23; threats to 166 identity(ies), political seepolitical identity(ies) identity(ies), popular see popular identity(ies) identity(ies), populist see populist identity(ies) ideological: ambiguity 101; apparatus of the state 58; attachments 38; broadening 191; differences 190, 192; disagreement 172; discourse 27, 193n1; dispositions 77, 90n4; elements 28, 30, 113; left, right, or center 64; monolith 106; narratives 200; and populism, uses of 170; property 50; socialist 147; spectrum 137 – 138, 241, 262 ideologue 216n3 ideology(ies) 24; of democracy 15n2; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 241, 244 – 245; of minority elite 202; morphological approach to 171; of nativism 166; normative component

of 15n1; Peronist 31; political 242; of political parties 62, 179; politico25; of populism 28, 33, 52, 92n15, 96, 112, 180; populism as 49, 202; populist 227; radical right 12, 160, 265; reactionary 267; republican 119; Republican (United States) 128; and rupture 32; thin 2 – 3, 49, 69n22, 156 – 157, 160 – 161, 168, 171 İhsanoğlu, Ekmeleddin 211 – 212 illegitimate elite see elite(s) imaginary: democratic 30; political 31 – 32, 34, 141; populist 136, 137 – 139, 145, 261, 271; right-wing 132; social 114 imagination: public 240; political 136; radical 12, 136 – 151; receivers’ 216n4 Imam and Preacher School 209, 211, 218n29, 257 immanence, immanentization 2, 54, 62 – 63 immediacy 16n7, 36, 51, 66 – 67, 205 immigrant rights movement 136, 141 immigrants 29, 151, 165; abuse of 127; anti- 64, 168; crisis narratives of 27; detention and deportation 150; in Greece 183 – 184, 188 – 190, 262; Mexican 118, 260; Muslim 61, 129; Obama cast as 129; right-wing attacks on 132; as Them 43n2; in Turkey 206; Trump’s attacks on 268; undocumented 126 – 128, 130 – 131; see also migrants improper 51; identities 217n10; and “the low” 218n26 inclusionary populism see populism inclusiveness 190, 224 – 225 incorporation of an excess see excess, excessive Indian Removal (United States) 122 – 123 indigenism 81 indigenous peoples and populations 82; classes 83; cleavages with whiter social elites (Bolivia) 7; constituencies 104; cultural repertoire 100; demands 102, 269; Morales as 83, 87, 257; rights 101; and Sanders’ campaign 150; sectors 108; symbols 83, 257; Toledo as 11, 84, 87 Indignados (Spain) 193n5 “Indios” 84, 89, 92n19, 257 inequality(ies) 7, 14, 31; economic 144 – 145, 185, 240; fight against 42, 106; among member states of the European Union 185; multiple 32; and poverty 105; socio-cultural 210; wealth 130

Index  289

informality, informal 6, 51, 128; advisor 124; bureau 105; clothing 88 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 245 in/out 162, 265 Instagram 66, 140, 263 institutional: and non-institutional 42; anti-populism, tendencies of 205; channels 97; place of power 34; power 79, 118, 126; racism 149; structures 25 institutionalism/institutionalist: 107, 111; and populism 110 institutionality: dirty 64, 110, 113, 267; plebeian 96, 110, 113 – 115; populist 109 institutionalized liberal democracies 37 institution(s): bailout proposal by 188; and democracy 31; of demos 40; elite 130; financial 102; hierarchical 77; higher education 208; “impersonal” 89; inefficient 103; international financial (EC, ECB, IMF) 182, 188, 193n11, 194n12; liberal-democratic 42 – 43, 273; mediating 16n7; of new order 107; political 42, 91n8, 200; and populism 14, 256, 267 – 271; populist challenge to 246; post-Apartheid democratic 247 – 248, 251, 261; presidency as 119, 131, 262; state 98; “Troika” of 13, 182, 185, 193n11 intension and extension 55 – 56 International Monetary Fund 11, 99, 184, 186, 193n11; see also “Troika, the” interpellation, interpellating 7, 59; activity of 51; anti-liberal popular 31; and audiences 52, 262; of citizens 156; democratic 30; discursive 22, 68n1; and identity creation 58; popular democratic 115n1; by populist politics 158, 163 – 164 intersex see gender; LGBTI intolerance 123, 192 investment: discursive 48; libidinal 100; material 145; in whiteness 148 Işık, Oğuz 217n23 Islam 159, 161 – 162, 167; social codes 214; see also Kısakürek, Necip Fazıl “Islamization of the West” 164 Islamophobia 118, 127, 132 Islamist National View Movement 217n15 Islamist National View parties (Milli Görüş Partileri) 202, 206 – 207, 211 Israel 192, 209, 217n25 Istanbul (İstanbul) 206 – 212, 217n21, 257; Atatürk Airport 219n42 Italy 163

Jackson, Andrew 12; Age of 121 – 123; Trump’s embrace of 119, 123, 133 Jacobinism 30 – 32, 38, 41 Jäger, Anton 169 James, Daniel 15n5, 48 Jansen, Robert S. 3 Jayapal, Pramila 151n10 JDP see Justice and Development Party (JDP) (Turkey) Jealous, Benjamin 151n10 Jim Crow era 148 Johannesburg 245 – 246 Johnson, Lyndon 140 Johnson, Marissa 144, 146, 150 Joppien, Charlotte 217n11 jouissance 56 Judeo-Christian values 131, 162 Justice and Development Party (JDP) (Turkey) 13, 200, 206 – 215 Justice Party (Adalet Partisi) (Turkey) 201 – 202, 216n9 Kadıköy 208 Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira 2, 22, 81 Kammenos, Panos 182, 190 – 192, 193n10 Katsambekis, Giorgos 204 Katz, Jackson 140 Kazin, Michael 15n5, 48 Kemal, Kemalists 200, 216n6 Kennedy, John F. 122 Khan-Cullors, Patrisse 144 Kılıçdaroğlu, Kemal 206 King, Martin Luther, Jr. 91n10, 145 King, Shaun 151n10 Kısakürek, Necip Fazıl 199, 216n3 Kıvılcımlı, Hikmet 201 Kirchner, Cristina Fernández de see Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina Kirchner, Néstor 76, 82, 82, 85 – 88, 92n25; anti-Kirchnerist 92n24 KKE 193n9 Klein, Naomi 141 Knight, Alan 15n5, 48 Konstantopoulou, Zoe 182, 194n13 Krämer, Benjamin 66 Labor Party of Turkey (Türkiye İşeçi Partisi) 201 – 202 Lacan, Jacques 24; on discursive articulation 26; lack 59; Laclau, influence on 56, 58, 104; on the Real 23, 43n1, 58

290 Index

lack, a/the 10, 54, 57 – 63; ever-present 48; generic 58; Lacanian 59; negativity associated with 58; ontology of 58, 63, 69n9; originary 57; theory of 59 Laclau, Ernesto: and “ambiguity” 57; comparative political scholars’ rejection of 52; Citizens’ Revolution’s criticism of 95; and crisis 179, 193n1; on democracy 30 – 32; on democratic versus popular demands 97; and difference, logic of 159; discourse, theory of 22 – 24, 50, 99, 178; discursive antagonism of 137 – 138; discursive approach of 47 – 49, 52, 203; discursive theory of 178; and emancipatory process 103; erasure, logic of 139, 145; on equivalential moments 269; on excessive signifiers 60; and Freud 36, 61; and Gramsci 59, 96, 105, 111, 114; hegemony, conceptualization of 23, 39, 105, 113 – 114, 258; heterogeneity, concept of 100; identification, theory of 25, 36; on ideological ambiguity 101; on immanentization 62 – 63; institutional dimensions of 267; Lacan, influence of 56, 58, 104; on leader-as-signifier 80; Lefort, criticism of 34; methods 181; and Moreno 108; New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time 113; on the nodal point 26, 99; Norval’s critique of 37; On Populist Reason 33, 35, 61, 95, 114; on “overflowing signifiers” 55 – 57; on “people, the” xii, 5, 7 – 8; and political economy 115; on political identities, performance of 107; as a political logic 110; and politics, conflation of 108; on populist antagonism 39; as pure opposition 109; revision of, calls for 102; satisfaction of demands for 104, 137; “Towards a Theory of Populism” 30 – 31; see also empty signifiers; underdogs Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe: challenges to the work of 255; difference, logic of 25; on discourse 22 – 24, 50, 99, 179; Hegemony and Socialist Strategy 23, 31, 33, 35 – 36, 42, 69n16, 273; hegemony, theory of 22 – 23; nodal point 26, 99; political logic (term) 158; on populism, affective dimension of 48; on populism and democracy 29 – 35; on rupture, critique of 38, 41

Laclauian school 4, 7; Latin American 64; post-Laclauian approaches to populism xiii, 2, 8, 15, 255; see also Essex School La France Insoumise see France Insoumise, La (Unsubmissive France) language(s): Bisaya 236, 260; body language 50, 212; Christian 60; colloquial 180; didactic 214; and difference 25; flux of 57; games 54; indigenous 84; Laclauian 54 – 55; level of 6, 50; of the low 214 – 215; military 246; of the people 163; politically incorrect 121; and politics, theories of 24; of the poor 201; of popular sovereignty 121 – 122; populist xii, 90n5, 180, 243; racist 128, 131; quasi-religious 98; and Saussure’s semiology 25; simple and direct 259; Trump’s use of 121 – 122, 128, 131, 260; white supremacist 80; world of 58 LAOS 193n4, 195n25 leader (the leader), leadership: acceptance of 36; acting 62, 78, 120; African National Congress (ANC) 246; all-powerful 8; authoritarian 244; autocratic 43, 273; Black 151; as brother 36, 60 – 61, 105, 209, 257; centrality of 111, 113, 205; characteristics of 11; charismatic 233; concrete and particular 49, 63 – 64; demagogic 232; discursive antagonism 138; as ego ideal 105; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 240, 244, 246 – 247, 249 – 250; as empty signifier 34; exceptionality of 78 – 80, 82, 84, 86, 88; as father 36, 60 – 61, 105, 257; fleshy 67; forms of 204; and fullness, promise of 59; Freud’s views on 36; of government populism 178; grassroots 143; and identification, processes of 9; identity of 34; infallibility of 35; leader-as-signifier 80; and led 63, 106; mass–leader relationship 9; meaning of 65; name of 34 – 35, 55 – 57, 99, 101, 271; overflowing-ness 80; party 188; and “the people” 2, 7, 37, 80; performance of 53, 63 – 64, 256, 258; as performer 180; persona of 10, 54, 56, 75, 100, 258; personalist 4, 85; political style 179; populist identification with 36, 256 – 261; populist language of xii; populist mode of 205; and their public 14; role of 7, 53, 96, 113; selfrepresentation of 186; single 108;

Index  291

strong 51, 61; strongman 242; symbolic 147; traits of 10, 54, 258; tribal 200; unified people represented by 38; unquestionable 105; women 11; see also followers; political leader(s); populist leader(ship) Le Bon, Gustave 60 Lefort, Claude 33 – 34, 89 left-populism 38 left-wing 3, 160: alternatives to 169; antiimperialist nationalism (Latin America) 162; anti-populist criticism 194n18; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as 241 – 242; parties (Europe) 159; party (Greece) 180, 191 – 192; populisms 156, 165, 179; populist government (South America) 95 – 115; populist politics 168, 171; in Turkey 202, 216n2 legitimacy, legitimate, legitimation: adversary 41; agonism and 272; constitutional 42, 273; delegitimation 159, 167, 169; of electoral rules (South Africa) 248; exclusionary nationalist demands 166; of hegemonic formation 42; of parliamentary conventions 246; the people as 158; political 14, 195n25, 241; populists’ gain of 227; of president (Zuma) 247; of radical right 167, 169; virtuous populace as source of 50; see also illegitimate elite Lenchner, Charles 140 Leninistas 109 Leonard, Mark 90n4 Le Pen, Marine 85, 163 Lessafre, Thomas 245 Lévi-Strauss, Claude 52 Levitsky, Steven 123 LGBT: movements 236; non-mainstream body 82 LGBTI rights 250 LGBTQ people 183 – 184, 262 liberal: anti-liberal 39, 272; base (Sanders) 146; critiques of populism 262; democratic ideology 30; democratic institutions 15n6, 41, 43, 273; democratic regimes 34, 40 – 41; democracy 29, 40, 123, 168, 170, 192, 272; discourses 226; elite 25, 129; imaginary 138; interpretations of political life 24; of freedom 15n2; see also neoliberal, neoliberalism liberal democracy: 29, 31, 34; and exclusion 272; SYRIZA’s acceptance

of 192; ordoliberal mutations of 41; pluralist 40; threats to 123, 168, 170 Liberal Revolution 98 liberals 65, 147 liberalism: in Argentina 30; and democracy 30 – 31; and the French Revolution 42; “white supremacist” 145; see also neoliberal, neoliberalism liberty 31 – 32 Lincoln, Abraham 123, 148 linguistic: appeals 28; discourse, elements of 179; hegemony, theory of 23; nonlinguistic analyses of populism 203; structural distinction 25 Linke, Die (The Left) 159 Lipset, Seymour M. 10, 52, 63, 216n5 Lipsitz, George 146 localism 187 local, locally: communities 37, 105, 229 – 230; elections 143, 208, 210; food 100; frames 80; “from here” 62; government 232, 248; law enforcement 131; leaders 113; notables 200; people 187; performances 4; politics 204, 266; runs for office 131 – 132; supporters 142; vernacular 51; volunteers 142 logic(s) 1; of allegiance 89; of antagonism 138; of anti-austerity 191; antipolitical 106; of articulation 5, 25, 258; articulatory 33; of austerity 181; of authenticity 236; of difference 25, 159; discursive xii, 24, 137, 157, 258; emancipatory political 31; of equivalence 5, 25, 41, 158 – 159; of equivalential chain 55; equivalentialegalitarian 33; of erasure 139, 145; founding 243; hegemonic 34, 59; of the market 192; of the media 91n8; of object petit a 59; of politics 69n11; populism as 3; of populism 41, 202, 272; populist 2, 33, 39, 150, 157, 170 – 171, 264; social 139, 158 logic(s), political see political logic(s) logico-discursive approach 4 – 5, 8 Long, Huey 51 Lonmin 249 Losada, Gonzalo Sánchez de 83 love, “love” 69n17: for leader 36, 263; populism’s reliance on mutual 213; of Trump 6; of Turkey’s lower classes 200 Lowndes, Joseph: politics of norm erosion 268; Trump and alt-right 262; Trump as populist president 11, 118 – 135;

292 Index

Trump’s rallies 263, 266; Trump’s transgressive style 260 “low, the” (“the Low”) 6, 10, 62 – 64, 100; appeal (of Justice and Development Party (JDP)) 209 – 211; conscious engagement with (by Justice and Development Party (JDP)) 214 – 215; culture 2, 193n2; cultural appeals 2, 5; displaying 77; flaunting of 50, 76 – 77, 226, 242, 264, 272; high and 50, 205 – 206; and the high, hybridization with 82, 84; vs. high 181; on the “low” 243; mode of populism 49; performing 91n5; political 244, 267; politics of 8, 121, 127, 228 – 229, 236, 246, 251; populist style 13; setting 70n22; and transgression 91n7; Tsipras’ signaling of 187; see also high-low divide; “high, the” (“the High”); Ostiguy, Pierre “low-populist” 200 Macedonia 13, 269; North 182, 194n15; term, “Macedonia” 185, 191, 194n14 Macedonian naming dispute 189 – 192 Macri, Mauricio 82, 92n24 Madison, James 119, 133n1, 268 Maduro, Nicolás 38 majoritarian 29, 133n1, 268 Makinana, A. 244 Malema, Julius 14, 91n10, 240 – 249, 260; 2014 State of Nation address 247 Manila 233 – 234, 246, 230 manners 204, 215; delicate 218n28; “good” 90n5, 92n15; lack of 202; low 91n7; “table” 81; see also “bad manners” Marikana crisis 247, 249 Markou, Grigoris: on populism in government (Greece) 178 – 198, 264; on SYRIZA and its alliances 13, 262, 266; on SYRIZA’s political discourse and populist rhetoric 270; see also SYRIZA Martella, Antonio 66 Marxism 2, 69n22; classical 32; of Morales 83; traditional 7 Marxist: analysis 24, 47; leftist 64; post273; rupture, understanding of 38; tradition 30 Marxist-Leninist party 101 Marx, Karl 31 Maxwell, Lida 140 Mazzolini, Samuele: on Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL) 190; on Citizens’ Revolution (Ecuador) 11, 95 – 117; on Correa as

empty signifier and populist appeal of 259, 268 – 270; on Laclau 256; on populist publics 264 materialist 23; see also historical materialism Mbete, Sithembile: on left-populism in opposition 14, 240 – 254; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s use of “bad manners” 261; on populist publics 264 McGhee, Heather 149 McKean, Benjamin 139 meaning-creating praxes 6 meaningful practices, systems of 23 meaning-less 56 meaning(s): 65; agreed 22; acquisition of 156, 162; vs. “camps” 68n6; construction of (Derridean) 57 – 58; creation of 50; and discourse 64; double 127, 163; of emptiness 34; of empty signifier 68n6; excess of 58; extension of 67; of fatherland 98; fixing (rendering static) of 65, 116n5; of floating signifiers 102; given 48; and identity 68n6; intension vs. extension of 55 – 56; of leader 56, 256, 258; leader as promise of 99; multiple/ multiplicity of 10, 56, 65, 80, 258; of name of the leader 53; “never-lost” 54; new 80; overflowing 68n6; particular or specific 48, 54 – 55, 58, 69n9, 69n12, 258; of “the people” 162; political 26, 100, 115n1; of populism as signifier 167; of populist leaders 10, 62; of power 33; projection of 67; relational approach to 161; retroactive investment of 56; sedimentation of 112; socio-cultural matrixes of 11; surplus of 10, 60; structures of 171; theory of (Saussure) 25; of Volk 164, 172n4 media: attacks of 107; contemporary 6; “corrupt” 106; digital 233; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s domination of 240 – 241; landscape 65, 67; mainstream 95, 99; mass 66; and the news 228; pro- Justice and Development Party (JDP) 13, 211 – 212, 215; performing excess and 65 – 68; populism, views on and hyping of 29, 161, 170, 267; propagandists 185; and radical right 159, 167, 169; Trump’s war with 130, 268; see also social media media studies 63

Index  293

mediated: action 50; identity 53; performance 1, 121, 242 – 243; politics 246; see also unmediated “mediated publics” 142 mediatic populism see populism mediation: modes of 62; and performance 27; performance as form of 11; between populism and hegemony 112 mediatized: landscape 67; nature of populist performance and contemporary politics 10, 48, 180; personality 49 mediatization 91n8; power of 78 Mélenchon, Jean-Luc 159 member/non-member 162, 265 “Memorandum era” 178 Memorandums of Understanding (Greece and European Union) 13, 181 – 183, 185 – 192; anti- 185, 190, 193n9 Meyerson, Harold 141 Menem, Carlos 76, 83, 85, 87, 125 Merkel, Angela 67, 85, 127 migrants 164; anti- 172n4; domestic 208; Erdoğan as son of 206, 211; see also immigrants misogyny 121, 128 Modi, Narendra 224 Moffitt, Benjamin 1 – 18, 181, 255 – 275; on “emergencies” 249; on internet and populist communication 263; on political style and political substance 248 – 250; populism and empty signifiers 47 – 72; populism as a performative style 241 – 243, 246; see also “bad manners” monarchy (British) 119 – 120 Mondon, Aurelien 155 – 177, 205, 265 – 266, 270 Moore, Darnell 145 – 148, 150 Morales, Evo 11; bodily representation of 76, 82 – 84, 86 – 87, 257, 259; Cocalero 83 – 84, 89 – 90, 92n19; “just like us” 61; “like an indio” 257; “out of place” 52 Moreno, Lenín 96, 108 – 109 Mouffe, Chantal: on agonism/agonist 39 – 41, 225, 272; For a Left Populism 40; populist vision of 229 Mounk, Yasha 123 Movement for Black Lives 136 – 137, 144 – 151 Mudde, Cas 2, 15n3, 22, 50; on populism as a formal political logic 202; on populism’s homogenizing effect 81 Mueller, Robert 124 Mujica, José “Pepe” 92n20

Müller, Jan-Werner 2, 123 “Muslim ban” (Trump) 127 – 128, 131 – 132 Muslim(s) 151, 211; Erdoğan as 257; immigrants 61; as “improper identity” 217n10; Obama as 129 myth 29, 57, 114, 123; popular 122 narrative(s): Correa’s 98; common 190; cultural 139; different 56; Duterte’s 230 – 235; economic 151; Justice and Development Party’s 257; left-wing 202; “low” 214; policy 188; of populism 200; populist 263; populist and antipopulist 208 – 211; populist crisis 27; public 141 – 142; “rags-to-riches” 231; Sanders’ 138; Trump’s 127, 268 nation building 200 – 201 national: crises 250; dialogue 109; ethos 100; identity 120, 171; legislatures 251; pride 171; redemption 114; sovereignty 171 national-and-popular 63; see also plebs nationalism, nationalist 3, 5, 13, 29, 43n2; anti-nationalist 64, 165, 191; economic 133; exclusionary ethno-cultural 156, 160 – 161; and fascism 185; hard 119; and hybridity 81; as “ideology” 69n22; and populism 62, 161 – 166, 170, 264 – 265; versus progressivism 191; propaganda 189; and racism 184; and Trump 67; ultra- 168; and xenophobia 28, 192; Zulu 245; white 65 Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi) 202 National Assembly (South Africa) 244, 247, 250 Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi) (Turkey) 202 nationalist populism see populism National Party (South Africa) 241 national-popular 13, 110 National Public Policy Conferences (Brazil) 224 nation-state 165 “nation, the” as signifier 265 nation, the: appeals to 98; Morales and 83; Muslim 137; “one nation” discourse 107, 116n4; and outgroups 162; “the people” 163 – 164, 190, 264 – 265; and president (United States) 120 – 125; white 131; see also Netroots Nation

294 Index

nativism, nativist, native 13, 28 – 29, 43n2; dangers of 267; as “ideology” 69n22; and nationalism 160; and populism 62, 156, 161 – 170; and populist radical right (PRR0 265; of Trump 118; in Turkey 202 ND see New Democracy (ND) negativity 58, 63, 69n9; see also ontology: of lack Nelson Mandela Bay 245 neoliberal, neoliberalism 13; agenda 181; American 83; anti-neoliberalism 96, 193n9; arguments 104; economic model 99; exclusion 42; and hybridization 91n12; opposition to 178; policies 95, 97, 108, 166; post- 105; project 100; reforms 37, 192, 270; and SYRIZA 181 – 185, 188 – 189, 192, 269 – 270; Tsipras’ critique of 184 – 185; United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) 164 neo-Nazi 193n9 Netanyahu, Benjamin 192, 209 Netroots Nation 141, 144 – 146, 150 New Deal (United States) 146, 151n9 New Democracy (ND) (Greece) 178, 181, 184 – 185, 190, 266 NGOs see non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Nixon, Richard 121, 126, 137 nodal point(s): empty signifier as 56; of equivalential system 99; “the people” 5, 22, 25, 183, 264; of popular resistance 100; structuring operation of 26 noise 120, 150, 260 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 101 norm erosion 12, 119, 268 North American Treaty Organization (NATO) 127 – 128 Northern Ireland 235 Norval, Aletta 37 Obama, Barack 124 – 125, 129, 141, 229, 260, 268 “objets petits a” 58 – 60; affectively invested 60; logic of 59 Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria 131 Occupy Wall Street (United States) 12, 136, 141, 151n10 office: high 8; populists in 8, 269; of the presidency (United States) 119 – 133 oil 97, 269; prices 103 – 105, 112

oligarchic(al): rule 4; class interests 31 oligarchy(ies) 21, 27, 188; anti- 99; bureaucratic 209; domestic 189; economic 185; landowning 30; political 102, 136, 140; see also elite(s) O’Malley, Martin 144 ontology, ontological 10; constitution of the political 158; discursive 64; elements of leaders’ popular appeal 257; of floating signifier 54; foundations of Laclau’s theory of populism 22 – 24, 29, 49 – 50; of lack 58, 63, 69n9; populism and liberalism, incompatibility of 269; reductionist 7 “open-source”: campaign and movement 143 – 144, 263; coalition 137; populism 147 oppositional: politics 131; populisms 91n10 opposition(s): to abortion 130; to austerity 262; to Correa 102; Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in 243, 245; to European Union decision making 165 – 166, 262, 265; to free trade 118, 128 – 129; games of 55; to Gutiérrez (Ecuador) 97; in/out 162, 256; left and right populisms in 9, 12, 14; member/non-member 162, 265; between nation and outgroups 162, 265; between “the people” and “the elite” 156 – 157, 159; political 107, 119; populism as 109 115; populism as both government and 110, 112, 268; populism in 178, 269 – 270; position of 104; to radical right 169; semantic 56; symbolic system of 60; SYRIZA in 183 – 184, 188 – 189, 192 ordinary people 36 – 37; versus elites 156 – 157, 165, 213; “the people” as 163; populist leaders claiming to be voice of 159, 246; muting 231; as underdog 164; “poorest of the poor” as 244; populist radical right (PRR)’s claim to represent 161, 163 – 166, 265; as underdog 264; as victims of immigration 164; will of the 161 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (Turkey) 211 organization(s) 80; Black Lives Matter 148; Democratic 131; diplomatic or financial 91n6; faith-based 235; feminist 101; humanitarian 231; national propaganda effort launched by (Greece) 189;

Index  295

opposed to neoliberalism 178; racist 129; in Turkey 201; workers 86 Ortiz Crespo, Santiago 103 Oso, Tia 144 Ostiguy, Pierre 1 – 18, 109, 181, 255 – 275; on embodiment 151n1; on fundamental rationalism of populism 223, 227; on high-low divide 204 – 205, 246; on vitalism of the Other 100; politics of “the high” 92n15; politics of “the low” 100, 121, 127, 226, 229, 242; populism and empty signifiers 47 – 72; populism as plebeian institutionality 96, 110, 113, 115; populism’s homogenizing effect 81; sociocultural approach of 178 – 179, 200, 202, 204, 215; on state delinked from power 109; on “unpresentable other” 121 Other, the: cultural 265; elites as 21, 49, 56; heterogenous 100; “nefarious” 52; the people and 5, 11, 21, 39, 264; social 28, 56, 64; socio-economic 28; sociological 49; “unpresentable” 121; vitalism of 100 Oudenampsen, Merijn 170 overflowing and synecdochal representation, difference between 75 overflowing-ness 80 overflowing signifier; Laclau on 55 – 57; Perón (Juan Domingo) as 55 – 57, 61; populist leader as 53 – 58, 62, 67 – 68, 269; Trump as 54, 65 – 67, 80 – 81 Özkök, Ertuğrul 218n31 Öztop, Tekin 210 Pachakutik party 101 Palacio, Afredo 97 Palin, Sarah 85, 91n7 Pamuk, Orhan 217n24 Panizza, Francisco 1 – 18, 255 – 275; on agonism and antagonism 272; on mutual political dislike 265; on political construction of “the people” 21 – 46; on populism and democracy 270, 272; on vertical populist identification 261 Papacharissi, Zizi 142 Papademos, Lucas 195n25 Papandreou, Andreas 187, 193n4, 194n18 paradigm 75, 192 paradigmatic axes of semiotic articulation 25 paradoxical government coalition (SYRIZA and ANEL) 189 – 191

paradox: political 105 – 106; of the presidency 268; of right-wing populism in the United States 133; transgressive/ typical 61 parliamentary party see Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL); Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF); party(ies); SYRIZA parliament: national 14, 240, 247 – 248, 250 Parliament for the people 244 Parliament: Greece 182; Latin America 268; South Africa 241, 244, 246 – 248, 250, 261 particular content: of demands 102; and “emptiness: 55; ontic 24; signifier, attached to 99 particularistic: goods, exchange of 213; of populist identification 10 particularity(ies) 25; of Black demands 150; concrete 49, 53; of empty signifiers 60, 130; in flesh and praxis of Jesus 69n20; in/of the leader 49, 53, 55, 258; political 130; for political identification 58 – 63; of populist leader 67, 269; of the presidency 119; pure 55; set of 26; traces of 34, 258 particular meaning(s) 48, 55 – 56, 69n12, 258; excess of 58; see also meaning(s) “partycracy” 99 party(ies): “corrupt” 185; governing 103, 109; parliamentary 190, 193n5; populist 159, 166; political 4; radical right wing (Turkey) 202; system 99, 118; see also African National Congress (ANC); Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Popular Movement (MPD); Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF); Justice and Development Party (JDP); Pachakutik; Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV); Podemos; populist radical right (PRR); Republican Party (United States); Republic People’s Party (Turkey); SYRIZA Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) (Dutch) 159 passions, passionate 6; attachments 9, 35, 261; and collective identification 38; and collective will 225, 272; embodied 47; identification 68n1, 149; of the people 99, 274; performance 90n5; and populism 48, 58; of populist leaders 56; Sanders’ image of 140; speeches 226, 236; of Tsipras 187

296 Index

PASOK 187, 192, 270; and LAOS 195n25; and New Democracy 178, 181, 184 – 185, 190, 266 Patiño, Beatriz Canedo 84 Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (PEGIDA) 164, 172n3 Patriot Prayer 132 patronage 213 Pearson, Joel 245 PEGIDA see Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (PEGIDA) Peoples, Angela 145 People’s Party (United States) 123 people-as-nation 162, 164, 166, 265 “people, the” (“the people”), “people, a,” “people” xii, 2, 4, 6, 33; affective identification between leader and 36; alternative representations of 39; appeal to 22; authentic expression of 236; chain of equivalences required to construct 158; chain of significations associated with 29; claims made on behalf of 52; community of 64; constituting process of 53; constitution of 5, 9, 21, 27, 256; as constructed by political actors 170; construction of 15, 158, 267; creation of 39, 98; as “democratic we” 38; democracy and 30; as demos 190; discursive constitution of 25; and “elite” 169; embodying 256 – 257; as empty signifier xii, 26, 28, 33; and its enemies 183 – 186; “for” and “of ” 61; “from here” 6; as Greek nation 190; grievances of 264; heart and guts of 167; homogenous nature of 32; “I am a people” 256 – 257; identity of 52; incompleteness of 139; in Latin America 3; leader and 2, 7, 36 – 37, 49, 80, 259; “man of the people” 22; meaning of 162; name of 22, 27, 30, 156, 163; and the nation 264 – 265; nationalist uses of 29; nativism and 166; as nodal point 5, 22, 25, 183, 264; non-people 2, 29, 39; and its Other 2, 5, 11, 21, 39, 264; party of 166, 265; performing 52, 262; performative constitution of 5, 9, 27, 53; performative process of producing 42; performative operation of 53; as performative practice 9; political actors speaking directly to 66; as political

agent 26; and political elite 28; political construction of 21 – 46; as political identity 9; as political subject 255; and populism 48, 156 – 157, 162, 180, 228; in populism and nationalism 162; populists calling on 157; as populist signifier 161, 163; power of 40; populist way of relating to 51 – 52; production of 43; as pure universality 258; radical right and 166; “real” 6, 64; as relational category 256, 261 – 266; relating to 51; retroactive construction of 26; “saying what the people want to hear” 170; as signifier 5, 25, 28, 161, 183 – 184, 264 – 265; as sociological category 26, 64; as socio-political entity 4 – 5; South African 240 – 251; sovereignty of 31, 34; speaking in the name of 16n7, 27, 67; symbolic and affective means of producing 42; in SYRIZA’s discourse 181 – 191; unity of 35; invoked by Tsipras 183; of Turkey 200 – 201; two different conceptions of (Greece) 13; as underdog 163 – 164, 171, 264; what the people want/need 166, 170, 172, 265; see also ordinary people “people, the” versus elites 180, 181; and exclusionary ethno-nationalism 265; and delegitimization of mainstream politics 169; discursive construction of 156 – 159, 161 – 164; gap between 169; as key feature of populism as performative political style 51, 180, 241, 243; and political logic of populism 179 – 180; SYRIZA and populist divide between 186, 191; in Turkey 208; Trump’s claims regarding 124 People’s Army (Britain, UKIP) 163 People’s Revolution (United States) 12, 144 – 149, 150 People’s Summit 12, 149 performance(s): bodily 11, 49, 67, 75 – 90; acts of disruption 14; aesthetic of rallies 126; “aggressive macho swagger” 82; approaches to populism 4, 7, 43, 255; approaches to theorizing populism 179 – 180, 183; ascendance to power 89; “candor” 217n16; being Christian and womanizer (Trump) 81; claim-making 272; of a crisis 180; of compassion 231; construction of popular identity 26; of crisis 27, 51, 180, 232; dimensions of populism 50 – 53, 259 – 261; effects of

Index  297

discourse 13, 155 – 156, 167 – 170; by Duterte 231 – 232, 234; by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 248, 250; by Fernandez de Kirchner 84; “in the flesh” 7; identification 263; immanence 54; “like an indio” 257; of innocence 147; of leader 53, 63 – 64, 256, 258; “low culture” 2, 4; on “the low” (Clinton) 91n5; meaning 80; by Morales 84; operations 2, 53; “package” 24; particular political projects 3; political 76, 81, 179 – 180; political identities 77, 107, 180, 241 – 243, 258, 250 – 251; as political strategy 82; popular bodily 91n11; populism 259 – 261; and populism 260; of populism 50; populist 1, 6, 10 – 11, 48, 80, 91n11, 138, 190, 203, 208, 228; populist and anti-populist 208, 216; as populist outsiders 87; practice(s) 2, 5, 9; public 118, 132; public and private xii; and relational approaches to populism 47 – 68; repertoires 6, 8; representation 76; representative 120; self-presentation 75; self-representation 10; speech acts 48; staging 3, 41, 273; strength 127; symbolically mediated 121, 242; by SYRIZA 270; televisual 51; transgressive 75 – 90, 91n11; by Trump 67, 126 – 127, 133, 263; by Tsipras 178, 183, 186 – 188, 191; of violence 132 “performative turn” 49 – 50, 52 performing “the people” see “people, the” Perón, Eva (Evita) 51 – 52, 61, 85 – 86 Perón (Juan Domingo), Peronism, Peronist 16n8, 227, 257; as “classic” populist 92n14; Laclau’s analysis of 24, 30 – 31; as overflowing signifier 55 – 57, 61 “Perón” (name of) as accretions and substitutions 57 persona: of Correa 115; of Jesus 60; of populist leader 10 – 11, 54, 56, 75, 100, 256; of Mujica 92n20; as signifier 258 personal: agency 75; freedoms 61; “irruption 77; observation 13; performance 11; and political 88; politics 75; style 63, 87 personalism, personalistic: authoritarian 36, 271; of Correa 269; identification with “the people” 49, 51; leader 3, 62, 85, 205, 268; leadership 4 personality(ies) 49, 224, 240 personalization of politics 91n8

Peru 11, 76, 84, 87 – 88, 104; see also Toledo, Alejandro Phadi, Mosa 245 Philippines 8, 13, 223 – 236, 263; Armed Forces 236; as narco-state 232 – 233; the poor in 230; see also Typhoon Haiyan Pierce, Jessica 145 Pillay, Verashni 246, 260 Pınarcıoğlu, M. Melih 217n23 Piñera, Sebastián 82 Pitkin, Hannah 78, 91n9 plebs 3, 5, 63; as deficient beings 39; and demos 34; “from here” 6; and populus 33, 63 – 64 plebeian grammar 10, 100, 114, 267; “nationally plebeian” 64 plebeian institutionality see institutionality Plevris, Thanos 195n25 Podemos (Spain) 137, 171 polarized, polarizing: political culture 28; rhetoric 111, 114; speech styles 223 polarization: antagonism and 39, 112, 272; and frontiers, erection of 107; political 2, 109 police: and Black people (United States) 147, 149; coup (Correa, failed) 113; custody 144; dismantling of 150; in the Philippines 229, 232 – 233, 236; in South Africa 249; violence 136, 145, 148; and white terrorism 148 policy(ies): austerity 178, 181 – 185, 190, 192; and Black citizens (United States) 146; economic 202; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 249 – 250; in Ecuador 96 – 98, 101 – 103, 105 – 106, 108, 110, 112; and general will 3; globalist 166; of Jackson (United States) 122; neoliberal 108, 166, 269; of populism 50; of populist leader 62; presidential 58; public 103, 106, 112, 136; reform (Philippines) 231; response 101; social 102, 190; South Africa 241, 245; state 190; SYRIZA’s 179, 181 – 185, 188 – 189, 192; of Trump (United States) 126 – 129; in Turkey 204 political, the 38; as broad and expansive category 41; construction of 115; fields of power that comprise 51, 121; Schmitt’s criterion of 40; set ablaze 227; see also people, the political act and actors 27, 89; absent totality, claim to represent 34; antipolitical act 106; compromise prevented

298 Index

among 29; contending 29; direct speaking to the people 66; in Ecuador 100, 105, 110; empty signifier as 267; established 9, 43; homogenous 29; mainstream 171; media as 91n8; enacting “a people” 138; and “the people” 170; political practices and performances of 203; and populism, criticism of 267; and “populism,” reactions to and understanding of 12, 155, 167; populist characteristics of 202, 204; populist politics, attacks on 171; presentation of self in public as 82; radical right 160; sectors unrepresented by 43; along technocratic-populist scale 90n4; in the United States 121; in Western Europe 160 political: aesthetics 52, 121, 242; agency 24; agenda 241, 250, 260; analysis 50, 115; antagonism 13, 39; bonds 37; “bureau” (Ecuador) 105; consciousness 37; construct 41, 272; correctness 259, 265; culture 29, 125; difference 123; domain 41, 273; domination 36; economy 96, 104, 115; equality, principle of 31; establishment 27, 163, 231; exclusion 235; force(s) 57, 184 57; frontier(s) 23, 99, 260, 270; leader(s) xi – xii, 105, 119, 138; opportunism 29; order 37 – 38, 42, 80, 112; practices, vertical and horizontal 261 – 262; “realism” 192; representation 11; resistance 27; “revolution” (Sanders, United States) 136, 140, 262; signified, signifiers 5, 100, 256; space 25, 99, 185, 192, 203; speech(es) 2, 4, 259; strategy 3, 82; struggle xii, 39, 41, 54, 151; subjectivity 23; theory 47, 89, 223; see also campaign; class(es); crisis; divide; fullness; imaginary; imagination; legitimacy, legitimate, legitimation; meaning(s); particularity(ies); party(ies); polarization political appeal(s) 1, 9; of Correa 100; high and low 91n7; of Justice and Development Party (JDP) 199 – 200; particular 26; of Peron 24; as public manifestations of social aspects of the self 36; of Tsipras 183 political discourse(s) 13, 22, 97; Islam at core of 167; populism as 180; in South Africa 251; of Tsipras 183

political elite(s) 225; citizens’ political positions towards 172; governing 64; and the people 28; people’s demands against 182; polarizing rhetoric against 114; strategies of silencing 230 political identification 7; with Correa 113; discursive strategies of 138; electoral 113; Norval’s approach to 37; particularity for 58 – 63; populism as mode of 256 political identities 2, 4, 7, 9; ability to constitute 39; conferred by political discourses 97; new 80; “the people” as shaping 52; performing 107; plural 31; Trumpist 130 political logic 102, 265, 270; antipolitical logic 106; democracy as 31; emancipatory 31; populism as 110, 157 – 158, 160, 165 – 166, 202; of populist performance 180; versus social logic 158 political performance 76 – 77, 179 – 180; gentrified domain of 81; as populist 180; by populist leaders 92n15 political power 11; ascendance to 89; of billionaire class 139; Correa’s achievement of 114; legitimate source of 50; of Wall Street 130 political project(s) 9, 11, 43, 160, 270; Citizens’ Revolution as 102, 106, 112 – 114; collective 33; Correa’s 99, 104,108; irreducible pluralism of 23; malleable 114; opposing 54; particular 24; of populism 3, 160; of radical right 163 political style: of Duterte 232, 234; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 250; performative 90n4, 250; and political substance 248; populism as 51, 63, 88, 180, 241 – 242; populist 121, 236; technocratic 49, 77, 187; of Trump 127; of Trump rallies 132; of Tsipras 179, 186 – 187 political subjects 42; discursive construction of 53; embodied 138; excluded 42, 248, 264, 273; heterogenous 184; “the people” as 255 political system(s) 14; American 131; Greek 188 – 189; and deliberative moments 225; “rigged” 141; Western European 203 politico-cultural: content 205; contexts 203; developments (South Africa) 242;

Index  299

influence (of evangelical Christians) 262; see also populism politico-economic agenda 191 – 192, 270 politico-discursive: limits 23; strategy 107 politico-ideological: camps 68n6; lens 32; profile 25 politics: anti-democratic 159; anti-political 106; “appropriate” 82; backroom 165; Black radical 148, 150; the body in 78; of Citizens’ Revolution 114; of crisis 232; deliberative 234 – 236; democratic 40, 78; destabilization of 60; doing, doable in 6, 8, 75, 180, 184, 190; emancipatory 96, 137, 139; of feeling 140; Greek 186; horizontal and vertical axes of 110, 115; of identity 90n4; institutional 43n8; of justification 234; logic of 69n11, 112; of the low 121, 127, 236, 246, 250, 260; of mass protest 39; modern xiii; “normal” 76; of norm erosion 123 – 125, 268; oppositional 131; partisan 103; “pedagogical” approach to 106; “people” and “nonpeople” 2; performative features of 243; personalization of 91n8; and populism 6, 8, 24 – 29; and populism, conflation of 108; populist xi, 10 – 11, 58, 119, 155 – 172, 178, 227 – 228, 272; post- 40; post-material 166; punitive 229; of racial grievance 129, 133; real-world 64; and the signifier 57; South African 245; of spectacle 241; stakes of 23; theories of 24; Turkish 14, 199 – 216; United States 121 polling 7, 125 poor, the 89; black 129; despised 209; food allowances for 188; helping 164; as Morales’ base 257; “in own homeland” 199 – 200; “pain of ” 68n4; of the Philippines 228, 230 – 232; “poorest of ” 244; rural 122, 147, 201; of South Africa 249; “standard bearer of ” 86; see also poverty popular 77, 169; antagonism 13; appeal 136, 262; as people-centric signifier 183; authority 133; classes 257; culturally 62, 69n22; culture 194n18; decision-making 33; demands 11,170, 183, 188; democratic demands 97; democratic ideologies 30; democratic interpellations 115n1; democratic subjects 34; democratic struggles 42; discourses 106; forces 104; government

110; masses 112; movements 36, 39, 181, 271; myth 122; neo-popular 172; performance 91n11, 187; political style 194n18; politics 133; positionality 112, 115; power 12, 33, 149, 151; resistance 100; sectors 4, 7, 192, 200, 208, 211 – 213, 266; sovereignty 37, 119, 121, 138, 184, 190, 261, 271; subject(s) 52, 137 – 138, 180, 262; support 130; will 27; and technocratic 81 – 83; traditions 84, 115; vote 103, 133 Popular Front (United States, New Deal era) 136, 148 popular identification 7; decentering 144; efforts to democratize 149; horizontal mechanisms of 261; pluralistic and egalitarian lines of 150; using populist rhetoric to build 140 popular identity(ies) 1 – 2, 4 – 5, 7; antagonism and 270; Citizen’s Revolution, produced by 105; construction of 107; incomplete nature of 271; and leader as blank slate of inscription 120; and marginalized social groups 139; nodal point of equivalential system constitutive of 99; and performative dimension of naming 53; performative construction of 26; Perón’s ability to constitute 24; polarization and 107; social movements and cultural agents in the construction of 261 popularity: of Duterte 224, 229 – 230; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 250 popular-sector origins 86, 92n21 populism: 19th-century 151n10; anti-elitist 63; claims of 64, 263; contemporary descriptions of 123; counter-hegemonic 115; as danger to democracy 30, 43; and deliberation 13 – 14, 271 – 272; deliberative qualities of 231, 272; democratic 35, 37, 41 – 43, 139, 147, 150 – 151; democratic credentials of 227 – 228; democracy and 14, 29 – 35, 40, 43, 223; as a “direct” phenomenon 66; as discourse 50; as discursive frame 50; discursive pluralism in 232 – 234; as discursive strategy 50; discursive theory of 24 – 29, 178; “economic” 127, 131; as elitism 105; emancipatory 4, 38, 112, 115, 184; as embodied or embodying 48 – 51, 68, 77; emotional registers of 51; and empty signifiers 47 – 72; equivalential

300 Index

logic of 41; exclusionary 28 – 29, 43, 161, 181, 190; as a formal political logic 202; forms of 161, 171, 262; fundamental rationalism of 223, 227; and gender 85; global account of 15, 48, 224, 273; global patterns of 241, 250; in government (Greece) 178 – 198, 264; grassroots 37 – 39; hegemony and 21 – 43, 96, 107, 111, 159; hybridization and 89, 91n12; “hype” about 170 – 171; as ideas 49, 90n2; ideational approaches to 2 – 3, 156, 161, 191; as ideology 49; inclusionary 13, 29, 181, 272; incorporation of the heterogeneity of the social 69n13; and institutionalism 110; and Laclau 5 – 6, 21 – 42, 47 – 48, 52 – 54, 63; in Latin America 106; Left 137; left-populism in opposition 14, 240 – 254; left-wing 29, 156, 165, 179; mediatic aspects of 255; “Middle America” 129; nationalist 38, 169; “open-source” 147; oppositional 91n10; performance of 50; performative role of 2; as a performative style 241 – 243, 246; performing 259 – 261; as plebeian institutionality 96, 110, 113, 115; political reason, as form of 156 – 157; politico-cultural aspects of 49, 51 – 52, 62, 179; politics of 155 – 172; in power 96, 109, 111, 115; powerlessversus-powerful axis of 158, 162, 164; as public performance 88; and race 12, 136 – 151; and racism 168, 267; radical democratic 37 – 38, 137, 139, 147 – 151; radical right 159 – 166; relational and performative approach to 47 – 68; right-wing 12, 29, 119 – 121, 126, 132 – 133, 192, 262; as signifier 12, 155 – 156, 167 – 172, 267; sociocultural approaches to xiii, 4 – 5, 7 – 8, 22, 27, 43, 48, 76, 179 – 181, 183, 273; spatial understanding of 42; as strategy 170 – 172; as synecdochal representation 10 – 11, 75 – 90; technocratic 11; and technocracy 77, 90n4, 90n5; and Trump 119 – 121, 133; and the United States presidency 119 – 120, 133; unravelling of (Ecuador) 107 – 109; vagueness of 112; see also agency; antagonism; anti-populism, anti-populist; anti-populism and populism; articulation; audiences; authoritarianism; chain of equivalences;

Citizens’ Revolution; demagoguery; democracy; discourse analysis; excess; government; identification(s); ideology(ies); institution(s); “low, the” (“the Low”); meaning (s); media; nationalism; nativism, nativist, native; opposition(s); “people, the”; “people, the” versus elites; political logic; political project; political style; politics; populist identification; populist identity; populist leader(ship); power; relational populism–anti-populism divide see divide populism studies xiii, 15 populist identification 1 – 2, 10 – 12, 27, 38; extension and intension of 55; genealogical accounts of 37 – 38, 261; Laclau’s account of 145, 258; with leader 35, 256; lived experiences of 54; and Sanders’ campaign 136 – 137, 140, 142 – 144, 262; vertical and horizontal 36, 261 – 262, 271 populist identity(ies) 2, 27, 53, 263, 265 – 267 populist imaginary 136, 137 – 139, 145, 261, 271 populist leader(ship) 3, 6, 13 – 14; antagonistic appeals by 39; appeal of 75, 92n15, 263; authenticity of 236; behaviour of 76 – 78; as blank screen 62; body of 75, 79 – 80; concrete particularities of 49, 53 – 54, 59, 63 – 64, 67, 258, 269; discourse analysis of 227; as empty/overflowing signifier 53 – 58, 62, 67 – 68, 269; as excessive signifier 65; as floating signifier 10; as “full performative package” 234; grassroots movements and 262; hybridity of 81; and identification, role of 63; and “the low” 62; “low” backgrounds of 217n16; meaning of 65; and nationalism 265; negative labelling of 95; and the people 29, 48 – 49, 52, 63; performative selfpresentation of 75, 92n15; personalism, reliance on 205; plebeian appeal of 64; role of 255; theatricality of 264; traits of 63 – 64, 85; publics/counter-public of 223, 227 – 228; in Turkey 205 – 207, 213; in the United States (Jackson, Trump) 119 – 133, 230, 268; as voice of unarticulated views 225, 235; see also flaunting of “the low” populist party: SYRIZA as 183 – 188; of Trump 128 – 131

Index  301

populist performance see theatre, theatrics of populist performance populist publics 14, 228, 232 – 236; Philippines 263 populist radical right (PRR) 155 – 156, 160 – 161, 163 – 171, 265 populist rhetoric see rhetoric populist social movements 131 – 132 post-Apartheid see Apartheid; South Africa post-foundational approach 107 post-Laclauian approach to populism xiii, 2, 8, 15, 15n1, 255, 270, 273; see also Laclauian school post-Marxist see Marxist post-material politics see politics post-modern turn 8, 47, 53 post-neoliberal see neoliberal, neoliberalism post-politics see politics post-structuralism see structuralist, structuralism poverty 32, 92; cycles of (Turkey) 217n23; “economic violence” of 149; humanitarian program to address 188; Othering of 164; non-white face of 146 – 147; reduction of 105; white face of 147 power 3, 28: abuse of 165; accumulation 3; of antagonism 270; ascending to 85; centralization of 105; cultural 148; decentered sites of 12; discursive (Duterte) 232; dislocatory 42; display of 84; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 245, 248; “empty place” of 33 – 34, 78; as empty space 89; established structure of 22; fields of 51, 121; of forces of status quo 39, 103; government(al) 3, 8; holder 26, 201, 209; image of 83; institutional 118, 126; of language 50; from the margins 149; meaning of 33; national 244; and open-source populism 139 – 144; of the people 40, 213; performative 256; place of 34; political 11, 38, 50, 89, 114; popular 12, 33, 138, 149, 151; and popular identification 150; populism in 96, 104, 107, 109, 111, 115, 179, 183; populists in 236; of populist performance 75; presidential 118, 120 – 127, 268; relations 158; resilience on 81; rise to (Duterte) 235; search for 264; separation of 119, 125; social 137, 243; space of 75, 77, 82, 88; of

the state 38; superpower 67; symbols of 79 – 80, 88, 92n20; SYRIZA’s path to 181 – 183; technocratic 41; traces of 40; of whiteness 146; of words 10 power bloc, power block 5, 7, 156; hegemony of 30; semantic opposition to 56; state delinked from 109 powerless 242, 264 – 265 powerless-versus-powerful axis of populism 158, 162; see also underdog(s) practice(s): articulatory 5, 23; of association 9, 36, 261; character of 105; concrete 53; decentered 142; deliberative 272; democratic theory and 224 – 225, 234; disruptive 12; enacting “a people” 138; of governing 267; hegemonic 34; on “the high” 63; horizontal 262; of identification 9, 12, 35, 48, 137, 139, 150, 261; mundane 204, 217n11, 266; performative 2, 4, 9, 68n3; of the persona 54, 258; policies in 127; political 110, 162, 200, 203, 208, 216, 270; populist 100 – 101, 111, 178; populist citizenship 273; radical democratic 37; regimes of 158; revolutionary ideals in 245; social 113; of solidarity and antagonism 261; of struggle 37 – 38, 271; systems of 23; transgressive 259 praxis 6 – 7, 10, 49; and immanentization 62 – 63; of Jesus 60, 69n20; of the leader 54, 59, 64; particular 7, 64; of populism 4, 8; populist 50; and Sanders 138 predetermined 7, 23, 86; content xii; signification 101; representation of underdogs 25 President (Philippines) see Duterte, Rodrigo President (South Africa) see Zuma, Jacob President (South America) see Bachelet, Michelle 88; Chávez, Hugo; Correa; Rafael; Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina; Kirchner, Néstor; Morales, Evo; Perón, Juan Domingo President (Turkey) see Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip President (United States) see Bush, George W.; Clinton, Bill; Jackson, Andrew; Lincoln, Abraham; Nixon, Richard; Obama, Barack; Reagan, Ronald; Trump, Donald Prespa agreement 183, 185, 189 – 192, 194n15

302 Index

Prime Minister 191, 210; see also Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip; Fabius, Laurent; Netanyahu, Benjamin; Trudeau, Justin; Tsipras, Alexis project(s): American republican 65; deliberative democratic 224 – 225; collective 235; equivalential chain as 101; European Union 265; hegemonic 23, 110; ideological 170; intellectual 273; radical democratic 31 – 32; neoliberal 100; opposing 111; of radical left 102; societal 163; of society 41; see also political projects project(s), political see political project(s) projection, to project: desire onto object petit a 59; onto figure of populist leader 38, 62, 67, 258; generic lack inviting unspecified 58; an image of self-discipline 83; leader and leader’s body fulfilling the task of 77, 79, 80; name or leader acting as a blank screen of 10, 54, 57, 67; of shared enemy 98 proper, properness, propriety 6, 88 – 89, 90n5; appearance 206; behavior 259; form of performance 77; medium of populist representation 75, 79; and well behaved 180; white European as being 246, 260; see also improper “proper-crats” 51 public discourse see discourse(s) publics: Duterte’s 272; formation of new 225, 235 – 236; mass 125; mediated 142; narrative agency of 263; and populists 1, 39, 256; see also populist publics Putin, Vladimir 108, 229 qualities: aesthetic (of performative violence 132); affective (of right-wing populism) 118; buffoonish (of Chávez) 51, 62; deliberative (of populism) 231, 272; of leader 61, 257; see also inequality(ies) queer 137, 150 – 151, 250 Quito 97, 104 race (racial classifications): and Berniebros/Bernie Sanders 130, 136 – 151; and populism (American) 12, 136 – 151; and populist identification 138; in post-Apartheid South Africa 242; and transcendental signified 28 – 29 “races”, hierarchy of 159

racial: capitalism 150, 151n6; census (South Africa) 242; entitlement 129; grievance 130; hierarchies (Bolivia) 83 – 84; identity 162; inequality 14, 32, 240 – 241; justice 136, 149; stereotyping 226; see also Apartheid racialized social democracy 146; see also whiteness racialized social hierarchies 257 racism 67, 146 – 150, 160; anti-Black 136, 144, 146, 150, 263; cultural 159; economic 146; institutional 149; ongoing 147; populism synonymous with 168, 267; radical right associated with 169; SYRIZA’s opposition to 184; systemic 148; of Vlaams Blok 172n1 radical right: criticism of 267; normalization of 195n25; and radical left, coalition between 189; in the United States 128; in Western Europe 12 – 13, 155 – 172, 270; see also Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL); Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (PEGIDA); populist radical right (PRR); right-wing populism; Republican Party (United States) rally, rallies 1, 6, 12 – 13, 51, 66 – 67; Erdoğan 219n41, 266; Sanders 137, 140, 142, 144 – 145, 150; Trump 126, 130, 132, 263, 266 Ramaphosa, Cyril 249 Ramírez Gallegos, Franklin 103 Rancière, Jacques 43n8 Reagan, Ronald 123, 137 reason-giving 225 – 226 recognizable social aspects of the self 36 recognition: of common adversary 97; of contingency of ideological elements 113; of experiences of domination 151; of fiscal discipline, need for 192, 270; of gender identity 182, 184, 189; of incomplete nature of popular identities 271; of the movement moment 141, 262; mutual 37, 41; of need for order 112; among the people 37; of the plural nature of political subjectivities 32; of a politician as “one of ours” 91n7; and redistribution 269; of right to rule 61; of role of emotion in collective identification 140; of the self 89; of strategic dimensions of populism 157 relational and relationality xii, xiii, 4, 27, 59, 66; back and forth, in relationship to

Index  303

populism 49, 62; and cultural-relational approach to populism 202 – 205, 215 – 216; directness with the people 67; and empty signifiers 47 – 68; failures 263; “people, the” as relational category 256, 261 – 266; and performativity 48, 65; populism as being xii, 8, 14, 49 – 50, 52, 66, 255, 274; and populist identification 2, 9, 35 – 36, 38, 161, 203; relationship between populist leader and populist publics 228; and role of populist appeals 1; structures 162; symbols being projected onto leader 38; theory 25, 36 relationship: between Correa and Moreno 109; fragile 226; between leaders and led 106; between leaders and a social basis 179; between leaders and their people 259; negotiated 227; between normative democratic theory and populist politics 225; between people and leader 52; between “the people” and “the elites” 180; political 5; between political style and political substance 248; between populism and anti-populism 203; between populism and democracy 9, 22, 42 – 43, 223, 270; between populism and hegemony 111; between populism and nationalism 264; between populism and United States presidency 11, 118 – 133; between populist leader and the public/“the people” 14, 67, 213, 223, 228, 236; between right-wing populism and the Republican Party 12; of representation 66; between representative and represented 78; between Zuma and Guptas 247 reparations 143, 147, 150 – 151 repertoire(s): discursive and stylistic 16n7; of embodied symbolically mediated performance 51, 121, 242; for female populist leaders 85; indigenous peoples’ cultural 100; “low” 70n22; neoliberal 113; performative 6, 76; stylistic 52; symbolic 105; Trump’s 80 representation(s): affects in 150; antagonistic 23; back and forth process of 274; balance of forces and 23; bodily 76; of common man 122; communication as 66; of crises 43n5; descriptive 11, 78, 91n9; direct 66 – 67; emotional 51; field of 23;

forms of 51; (im)possibilities of 150; of indigeneity 257; legal 250; mechanisms of 51; “mirror” 78; modes of 65; “overflowing” 80; parliamentary 248; particular 28; of the people 39, 119, 149; political 11, 14, 52, 65, 204; of political parties 205; of political space 25; of popular power 138; populist 15, 51, 67 – 68, 76 – 81, 89; roles of 53; selfrepresentation 186; space of 60, 139; synecdochal 75 – 90; of the/a totality 40, 90n3 repressed, repression 25, 27, 110, 250 Republican National Convention (RNC) (United States) 128 Republican Party (United States) 128 – 133; right-wing populism of 12, 119, 121, 262; see also Bannon, Steve; Boehner, John; Bush, George W.; Comey, James; Jackson, Andrew; Lincoln, Abraham; Mueller, Robert; Nixon, Richard; Reagan, Ronald; Trump, Donald Republican People’s Party (Turkey) 200, 202, 205 – 208 resentment 48, 213; right-wing populist 127, 129; and style 64, 91n7; transgressive display of 259; of Turkey’s lower classes 200, 212 responsive, responsiveness 209, 230; to “the people” 66; the people as agential and 262 – 264; populists publics as being agential and 235; populist style 217n11 rhetoric: acerbic 232; antagonizing 107, 110; of Black Lives Matter 149; classical 90n3; color-blind 145, 149; Correa’s 99, 102, 104 – 105, 108, 270; deliberation and 226; “distortions” of 225; divisive 235; Dryzek’s work on 226; dystopian 232, 234; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 241, 245, 251; electoral 102; empty 241; of Erdoğan 215; fired-up (Correa) 99; and form 1; grandiose 90n4; Islamophobic 118; and “low-populist” appeal 215; Moffit’s views on 121; personalized 83; polarizing 111, 114; and political style 121; of political phenomena 242; populism as 3; populist xii, 140, 147, 186, 192; populist (Duterte) 13, 223 – 236; of populist radical right (PRR) 161, 163 – 164; of resistance 12; Sander’s 137 – 140, 145 – 147, 149;

304 Index

spiteful 14, 224; of Tsipras/SYRIZA 186, 192 rhetorical and affective registers of popular discourse 137 – 139, 179 “rigged” 122, 141 right-wing populism 12, 119, 121, 133, 192, 262 Riofrancos, Thea 38 Roberts, Kenneth 264 Robertson, Eric 143 – 144 Roediger, David 146, 151n5 Rogin, Michael 120 Rokkan, Stein 10, 52, 63, 216n5 Roma people 184, 262 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 123, 125, 146 Roosevelt, Theodore 123, 125 rupture, rupturist 32, 38, 109, 191; radical 98; real 109 Russia 124, 126, 130 Rydgren, Jens 159 Sáenz, Manuela 98 “salon dévot” (salon dindarı) 211 Sanders, Bernie 12, 136 – 151; and Clinton (Hillary) 130; #FeeltheBern 140 – 141; “open-source campaign” 263; “political revolution” of 262 Sankara, Thomas 243 Saussure, Ferdinand de 24 – 25 Saward, Michael 52 Schlesinger, Arthur 123 Schmitt, Carl 40 sedimentation: of meaning 112; of political subjectivity 23; of signifiers 107 Selvi, Abdülkadir 212 semiotic(s) 25 Şentürk, Hulusi 210, 214 – 215 Sessions, Jeff 124 Shivambu, Floyd 249 signification 29; overflowing with 64; system of 25, 97 signifier(s): adjacent 261; Buchanan as 129; chosen by leader 78; “Correa” as 99 – 100, 111; crystallizing 49, 58; cultural 86; demands as 101; “the elite” 164; excessive 65; “fleshy-ness” of 69n18; floating 32, 54, 68n6, 105; given 59; leader as 63, 67, 80; master 13, 99; name as 100, 256, 258; “the nation” as 265; for national identity 120; interplay of 38; overflowing 10, 53 – 57, 60, 64 – 65; particular 79; “the people” as 5, 25, 28, 161, 183 – 184, 264 – 265;

political 101, 112; “populism” as 12, 155 – 156, 167 – 172, 267; populist 161, 163; predetermined 101; sedimented 107; and signified 63, 69n18, 113 – 114, 256, 258; in a structuring position 26; system of 97; Trump-as-signifier 81; see also empty signifier signifying surface 79 silence and silencing 144, 226, 230; attempts to 150; moment of 145 – 147; of publics by populists 236; and state violence 231; see also mute, muting “Silent Majority” speech (Nixon) 126 silent majority, the 25, 121, 133, 137, 169, 209 Sinclair, Amanda 76 Sivak, Martín 92n18 Skowronek, Stephen 123, 126 slogans: 163, 172n4; “America First” 127 – 128; Brexit 165 – 166; of Black activists 263; of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 241, 247 – 248; Justice and Development Party (JDP) 214; SYRIZA 184 – 185; see also chants social: actor 40, 47, 262; agenda 188 – 190, 192; aspects of populism 255; aspects of the self 256; background 91n5; benefits 189; capital 77; category 9 – 10, 26; change 58; classes 30; cleavages 7; codes 214; contexts 8, 138, 216; control 103; crisis 27, 187; cues 81; and cultural conditions of identification 48; demands 96, 100, 102, 105 – 107, 110, 114, 179, 267; developments 249; discomfort 107; discontent 113, 181; distinctions (between “high” and “low”) 205; elite 3, 184; encounters 53; exclusion 13; formation 111; forms of identification 35; grievances 43; groups 28, 139; heterogeneity of the 55, 69n13, 150; hierarchies 257; history 259; identity(ies) 58, 63, 97; inclusion 4; interactions 204; justice 55, 98; leader 11; logics 139, 158; networks 76, 142; norms 128; objectivity 23; open character of the 23; order 25, 107, 112; Other 56, 64; particular way of dividing 159; phenomena 49; plurality and indeterminacy of the 32; policies 189 – 190, 192; and political analysis 50; power 89, 243; practices 38, 113; product 57; productivity 54; protections 231; protest 110; reality 22,

Index  305

24; reconstruction 186; relations 112, 271 – 272; rights 201; roots 259; sectors 95, 101, 108, 269; segments 209; settings 208; structures 75; struggle 38; subaltern 264; welfare 234; work 86; workers 232 social cleavage(s) see cleavage(s) social democracy(tic): forces 192, 270; parties 42, 178, 201; political space 182; radical 146 socialism 68n1; in 21-century America 143; Gramsci’s advocacy of 114; ideology 147; platform 148; and populism 160; of Sanders 136, 140, 147 – 149; for solidarity 15n2; and suffering 149; tradition of 106 socialist: Bachelet 88; Fabius 169; Labor Party of Turkey 202; mass 200 – 201; Obama accused of being 129 Socialistische Partij (Socialist Party) (Dutch) 159 social media 1, 12, 76, 241; Duterte 233, 235; and innocence, performance of 147; followers on 264; Morales 83; Movement for Black Lives 137; platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) 66 – 67, 263 – 264; Sanders 140, 142; Trump 125 – 126; Vlaams Belang (VB) 164; see also Instagram; Facebook; tweet, tweeting, retweeting; Tumblr; Twitter social movements 31, 103, 110; aggregation of 39; autonomy of 36; passionate speech styles of 236; populist 59, 131 – 132; role of 261; and Trump 12, 119, 133 social production of meaning 22 social, the 107, 116n5 socio-cultural, sociocultural, socialcultural: affinities 207; appeal 206; approaches to populism xiii, 4 – 5, 7 – 8, 22, 27, 43, 48, 76, 179 – 181, 183, 273; attitudes 203; aspects 51; bond 200; cleavage 266; components of “the low” 62, 193n2, 267; components of populism 52; contexts 203; differences 6, 64, 259; dimensions of populist appeal 256; discrimination 36; divide 2, 205; divisions 261; factors 202; hierarchies 216n3; “high” 92n15; identity 63; inequalities 210; levels 208; “low” 244; matrixes of meaning 11; positioning 28; references 257; relation

(personalistic) 49; shift 242; theory of identification 36 socio-economic 28; categorization report 208; distance 165; distinctions 207; divisions 259; elite 109; inequality 32; instability 96; levels 207 – 208; Other 28; position 166; problems (of PRR) 164 – 165 socio-political: anti-populism 7; blocs 25; cleavage 249, 266; discourse 26; dislocations 23; domains 32; entity 4; field 5, 25; formation 113: “high” and “low” 267 Sorensen, Lone 91n8 South Africa 8, 260; enfranchisement of black people in 42; parliamentary system 261; “People” of 14, 240 – 251; post-Apartheid 242, 248, 261; as “protest nation” 249; see also African National Congress (ANC); Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF); Malema, Julius South African Equality Court 240 sovereign, sovereignty 89; community 162, 265; of country 98; national 165 – 166, 171; of the people 31, 34, 41 – 43, 50, 268, 373; popular 37, 119, 121, 138, 184, 190, 261, 271; rights 33; “true holders of ” 243 Spain 171 193n5 speech act(s) 10, 14; performative 48, 50 speech(es) 51, 77; of Clinton (Bill) 125; constituting a people through xii; patterns of 79; of Correa 99, 102; of Duterte 234; of EFF 247; of Erdoğan 209 – 210; “Free” 132; Habermasian notions of ideal situations for 272; hate 240; of JDP elite 215; by Nixon 126; passionate 226; polarizing 223; polite 16; political 2, 4, 259; of political leaders 7, 179; of populist leaders 6; of Sanders 144, 263; spectacular 236; spontaneous 203; of Trump 118, 122, 132, 266; of Tsipras 183, 187, 194n16; victory 84; see also style, stylistic stages (processual or evolutionary): of Citizens’ Revolution 96 – 97, 99 – 103, 105; of Correa 99, 102, 105, 259; of constitutional reform 259; of coup in Turkey 213; of sequenced deliberation 226 – 227, 272; of Trump 127 stage (theatrical or performative) 76; Black Lives Matter activists on 144; center 51,

306 Index

232; Palin on 91n7; populism and 180; Trump on 127 Starr, Terrell Jermaine 151n4 status quo 39, 63, 77, 89, 97, 103; radical right as alternative to 169 Stavrakakis, Yannis 5, 9, 21 – 46; on agonism and antagonism 272; on mutual political dislike 265; on populism and democracy 270, 272; on vertical populist identification 261, 264 strategic: aspects of radical right’s populism 159 – 166, 167; compromise 115; erasure of history 146; manipulator 8; mobilization 37, 261; sites 151; synthesis 96 “strategic approach”(es): to Latin American populism 63; to populism 2, 4, 8, 50, 62, 157, 163; to what makes followers follow 4 strategy(ies) 12 – 13; attention-hacking 230; of Black Lives Matter 148; bottom-up 131, 143; communication 214; communicative 262; debate 141; deconstructionist 57; discursive 109, 111; of disruption 263; of disruption and de-identification 144, 150; of EFF 241, 245; electoral 147; emancipatory 112; hegemonic 32; of identification 139, 149 – 151; of Latin American presidents 125; mainstream political 82, 88; of mobilization 126; of Movement for Black Lives 137; of negative campaigning 231; nonpopulist 82; of organizing broad-based popular movements 271; of persuasion 225; polarizing 107; politico-discursive 107; political 3, 82; of political parties 179; populism as 170 – 172, 216; populist 83 – 84, 168 – 169; against radical right 155; of radical right 159 – 166; of recruiting women 131; self-presentation 82, 87; shallow 216; social media 142; successful 85; of SYRIZA 182, 188, 191 structural: adjustments 96; difference(s) 101, 137, 256; disconnections 168; features (of populism) 179; linguistic distinctions 2; location 34; structuralist, structuralism 24; poststructuralist 24, 40, 47, 54 struggle(s): agonistic xii, 41; and antagonism 23; of aspirations to inscribe themselves in political sites 99; Black freedom 129; democratic 35; of Democratic Party (United States)

130; democratic populist 42; discursive and performative 200, 204; against domination of the minority over the majority 209; everyday practices of 37, 271; field of 139, 150; to “fix” meaning 65; grassroots 136; hegemonic 5, 9 – 10, 22, 55 – 56, 138, 264; identification and 139, 150 – 151; against inequality 32; liberation 264; for maximum autonomization of spheres 33; of the nineteenth century 31; populist 42; revolutionary 243; social 38; between social groups 28; to transform economy 149; Trump’s 268 style, stylistic 10: approaches 8; approach to politics 215; choices 88; coarse 246; communication style 49, 214 – 215; as being emblematic of something 63, 215; elements of populism 48, 68n3, 179; governing 125; of JDP 214 – 215; and form 1; “low” 13, 16n7; of Morales 83 – 84; of “penal populism” 229; performative 248; personal 85, 87; polarizing 223; popular 187; populism as 3; populist 76, 124, 167, 183, 190, 203, 208, 225, 228, 272; of populist leaders 227, 259 – 260; personal/social 87; and relational approach 48; repercussions 204; repertoires 52; as “show business for the media” 64; speech 226, 236; tabloid 225; technocracy as 77; technocratic 49, 183, 186 – 187; transgressive 82, 260; tropes 6; of Trump 67; as visible face of cleavage theory 10, 63; see also political style subaltern(s), subalternity 112, 261, 264 subject(s): democratic 33 – 34, 184; emancipatory 184; heterogenous collective 191; popular 52, 96, 137 – 138, 180, 262; see also political subjects substitution: accretion and 57, 69n14; hegemonic 59 – 60 Sultanbeyli 207 – 208, 217n23 superabundance 57 supplement, theory of 57 – 58 Supreme Court (United States) 122 – 123, 127 surface of inscription 49, 56, 62, 111 symbol(s): bodily 89; of class status 219n44; of decline of America 65; “Donald Trump-as-signifier” 81; empty signifier as 101; hybridization of 80; indigenous 83, 257; name as 62, 120; polysemic 100; of popular resistance

Index  307

100; of populism 90n1; of power 79 – 80, 88, 91n10, 92n20; president as 119 – 120; religious 215; synecdochal 84; of unpresentable other 260 symbolic, symbolically: actions 127; capital 77; of common struggle 38; inclusion 4; “on the side of the people” 3; elements of Laclau and Mouffe’s theory of hegemony; incorporation of “excess” 69n10; inspiration 98; integration 139; leader 147; means of producing “the people” as political subject 42; mediation 50 – 51, 121, 242; norm defiance as defence of the people 123; repertoire 105; representations 138; system of oppositions 60; thematization 59; Trump’s speech, elements of 122; unification 35; world 58 synecdochal representation, populism as 10 – 11, 75 – 90 synecdoche 90n3; bodily 76 – 82; and hybridization 80; Peronist 86; as rhetorical figure 78 SYRIZA 13, 137, 178 – 195, 262, 266; and Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL), coalition with 189 – 191; anti- 183; discourse while in power 184 – 186; egalitarian populist discourse of 181; and neoliberalism 269; people-as-underdog appeal of 171; see also PASOK; Tsipras, Alexis Tacloban City 228, 231 – 233, 235, 258 Taguieff, Pierre-André 15n5, 48, 169 tastes 52, 70n22, 204, 218n28 Teamsters local 728 (United States) 143, 242 Tea Party (United States) 137 technocracy see populism technocratic populism see populism technocratic political style see political style technocratic power see power technocrats 51, 90, 105; of Brussels 188; Yılmaz as 218n31 technocratic 81 – 84, 106; competence 88; credentials 87; discourse 180; distancing 107; European Union 178; expertise 268; strategy 84; style 183, 186 television and televisuality: Alo Presidente 1; broadcast media 67; Correa 100; Enlace Ciudadano 100; Morales 83; owners of 188; performance 51; private 189; reality 121; Trump 67, 121, 125

Temer, Michael 82 theatre, theatrics of populist performance 51, 76, 91n11, 180, 264; aesthetic dimensions of 10, 48 – 49, 67, 180; Malema’s use of 241; Trump’s use of 126 – 127, 132 “the people” see “people, the” Thessaloniki 189 Tocqueville, Alexis de 31, 120 – 121 Toledo, Alejandro 76, 82, 86 top-down: approach to populism, rejection of 62; and bottom-up approach 113; “great man theory of history” 62; identity creation 58; ideological narratives of “populism” 200; mode of political communication 52; populism as being 4, 224, 227, 256, 261, 263; populist rhetoric 14; relationship between leader and the people 29, 274; understanding of populist leadership 37 traits: concrete 69n17; facilitating identification 10, 60; linked to persona of populist leader 63 – 64, 258; “masculine” and “feminine” 85; theory of overflowing signifier linked to 54; unedifying 35; particular 64; see also features; qualities transgression, transgressive: bodily performance 10 – 11, 75 – 90; of Congressional norm 125; cultural revolution 8; display 259; informality and 6; leader 61, 121, 129, 260; “low culture” 2, 4; mainstream over 87 – 88; of Morales 257; performance 121, 260; politics 119; populism as 38, 51; practices 259; re-politicization 272; style 260; of Trump 129 “Troika, the” (European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund) 13, 182, 185, 193n11 Trudeau, Justin 127 Trump, Donald J. 1, 6, 16n8, 118 – 133; “basket of deplorables” 265 – 266; “build the wall” 266; bullying 8; and deliberative democracy 224; and Clinton (Hillary) 265; and Duterte 229 – 230; election of 29; outrage over 143; as overflowing signifier 54, 65 – 67, 80 – 81; performativity of 52, 260; rallies 140, 263; and right-wing populism in the United States 137, 170, 267 – 268; and social media 66 – 67, 140

308 Index

Trumpian, Trumpism 119 – 120, 131, 133, 262 Trump of the East see Duterte, Rodrigo Tshwane 245 – 246 Tsipras, Alexis 178 – 179, 181 – 189, 191 – 192; populist performance of 186 – 188 Tuna, Salih 213 Turkey 8; centre-right parties 213; highlow divide 199 – 216; Labor Party of Turkey (Türkiye İşçi Partisi) 201 – 202; lower classes 200, 214; popular sectors in 7; populist and anti-populist forces in 13, 203 – 204; radical right-wing parties 202; working classes 201; see also coup d’état; Erdoğan, Tayyip; Justice and Development Party (JDP) tweet, tweeting, retweeting 66, 263 – 264; by Sanders 140; by Trump 124, 126 Twitter 66, 140, 263 Typhoon Haiyan 228, 231 – 232, 258 underdog(s) 5, 165 – 166; people-asunderdog 163 – 164, 171, 264; powerversus-underdog 157 – 158 Underhill, G. 244 United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) 159, 163 – 165, 169 United States see Black Lives Matter; Democratic Party (United States); Presidents (United States); Movement for Black Lives; Republican Party (United States); Sanders, Bernie; Trump, Donald United States–Mexico border 125, 127 unmediated 3; conflict 28; representation 119 Varoufakis, Yanis 182, 194n13 Velouxiotis, Aris 190 violence 230; against Black civilians 147 – 148; against Black women and transgender people 144; celebration of 130; “economic” 149; performance of 132; police 136, 144 – 145, 147 – 148; prevention 140; public 250; racial state 150; right-wing 202; state 231, 249 Vlaams Belang (VB) (Belgium) 159, 163 – 165 Vlaams Blok (Belgium) 172n1 Voelz, Johannes 126 Volk (Das Volk) 164, 172n4 Voridis, Makis 195n25

Waisbord, Silvio 66 Wallace, George 121, 133 Warren, Elizabeth 126 war(s) of positions 23, 35 Weber, Max 52, 59 welfare rights 129 welfare state 137, 164, 188 – 189 West, Cornel 151n10 Weyland, Kurt 3, 157, 202 – 203, 216n9 White House (United States) 120, 122, 129, 131 – 132; lawyers 127 white: innocence 138, 151n7; male 11, 82, 137, 149 – 150; middle class 12, 130; supremacy 80, 132, 145; terrorism 148 white nationalism see nationalism whiteness 137, 146, 151n5 white people 123, 129, 133, 260; nonwhite people 268; racists 245 White Turks 7, 211 – 212 white working class 147, 164, 226 Wilders, Geert 61, 159 Willaford, Mara 144, 150 Williams, Raymond 151n2 Wilson, Woodrow 123 workers: domestic (South Africa) 244, 246, 260; domestic (United States) 146; farmworkers (United States) 146; of Istanbul 208; mineworkers 14; organizations (Argentina) 86; relief (Philippines) 231, 258; service (South Africa) 250; social (Philippines) 232; student (South Africa) 249 – 250; in tailor shop (Ecuador) 90; and Tsipras/ SYRIZA 183 – 184, 262; white urban (United States) 122 working class see class, working World Health Organization (WHO) 268 xenophobia, xenophobic 28, 119, 130; in Greece 184, 188 – 189; populism synonymous with 168 Yilmaz, Durmuş 218n31 Yugoslavia 194n14 Zervas, Napoleon 190 Ziblatt, Daniel 123 Zuma, Duduzane 248 Zuma, Jacob 14, 240, 245, 247 – 248 Zupta 247 Zürcher, Erik-Jan 216n7 Zurita, Leonilda 84