Sunday, May 26, 2024

“CLUTCHES” OF POPULISM, THE HORIZON OF DEFINITIONS

<blockquote>According to the researcher Jan-Werner Müller, populism is an integral part of modern democracy. Populism remains a constant shadow of representative democracy, a child out of marriage, or a disease that erodes democracy. Populism does not offer attractive ideological alternative to democracy. Rather, populists use the unfulfilled promises of democracy and the “language of democratic values” to deform democracy</blockquote>
<strong>Author: Bardhyl Zaimi</strong>

In recent years, populism has increasingly emerged on the public scene as a way of political functioning, but also as a strategy to seek and acquire absolute legitimacy often contrary to the idea of political pluralism. In fact, according to theorists, a politician who claims to represent 100 percent of the population is considered populist, while denying the legitimacy of other actors who claim to represent the legitimacy of the same citizens.

Jan-Werner Müller values that populism cannot be understood on the political level because it is a specific way of understanding politics. In his book “What is Populism”, “ Ç’është popullizmi”, Muller identifies three populist techniques of governance: “occupation of the state, mass clientelism, and the silence of civil society.” Muller also points out that when defining the scope of populism, the term “illiberal democracy” should be avoided, while suggesting the use of the definition “wrong democracy”.

Despite the fact that Muller explains the seduction of populism by criticizing it, he further suggests a constructive approach. “We can seriously understand their political claims and not take them for granted.” Therefore, he points out, politicians and the media must deal with the issues raised by populists and not oppose them. He suggests that voters who vote for populists should not be deregistered because their elected ones come to power through the mechanism of parliamentary democracy.

According to him, populism is an integral part of modern democracy. Populism remains a perpetual shadow of representative democracy, a child out of marriage or a disease that erodes democracy. Populism offers no attractive ideological alternative to democracy. Rather, populists use the unfulfilled promises of democracy and the “language of democratic values” to deform democracy. According to this author, “the so-called liberal elites are moderate and unable to realize their democratic ideals.” Therefore, many of Muller’s arguments are a call for a restoration of democracy, which must reconsider its principles. The underlying conclusion remains that populism can only be opposed by a comprehensive approach using clear political means.

Despite professional exploration of populism, it seems that other scholars are leaving open the possibility of further in-depth interpretations of this foggy phenomenon that is already taking shape around the globe. Other authors note that Muller’s book can be described as a controversial anti-populist endeavor rather than an essential research effort aimed at clarifying the foggy landscape around this concept. However, despite the shortcomings in Muller’s arguments, his book remains important for anyone who studies populism, political lecturing, and political ideologies to examine anti-populist “mainstream” ideas while also analyzing the political consequences.
However, Muller manages to provide interesting definitions of populism, which essentially define the nature of populism in general, as it appears around the world, but also in the fragile states of our peninsula.

“Populism is a particle and moralist fabrication of politics, a way of perceiving the political world that establishes a pure and fully unified morality,” points out Muller. According to him, populism means people who act against elites who are considered corrupt or otherwise morally inferior. “It is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be critical of the elites in order to qualify as a populist. Otherwise, anyone who criticizes the status quo in any country would by definition be a populist. Apart from being anti-elitists, the populists are always anti-pluralists: the populists claim that they and only they represent the people, points out Muller in his book. Muler në librin e tij.
Other authors also emphasize opposition to the elites, but also bring other aspects of populism. In general, populism is seen as a belief that the will of ordinary citizens must prevail over that of privileged elites. It is for this purpose that populists always exploit the displeasure of marginalized people.

In other studies that dwell on the archetypal model populism is seen as a political and social phenomenon deriving from the ordinary, typically uneducated man who feeds on wealth gaps and opportunities, with the perception of cultural threats in relation to different values in the country and by foreigners, with the idea of “elites deciding” in positions of power, and with the idea of Government not working effectively. It is precisely this feeling that enables the electorate to elect strong leaders with many powers.

Populist leaders are usually confrontational rather than cooperative, exclusive, and not inclusive. As a result, conflicts usually occur between opposing fractions, usually the economic and social, left wing versus the right one. These conflicts are usually progressive. Within countries, conflicts often lead to disorders, e.g. in strikes and protests, which trigger strong reactions and increasing pressure to forcefully regain order, suppressing the other party.

Influence and in some cases, control of the media usually becomes an important aspect of engaging in conflict. In some cases, these conflicts have led to civil war. Such conflicts have created the paradox for some democracies to return to dictatorship to establish order in the disorder resulting from these conflicts.
In other words, populism is a common person’s rebellion against the elites and, to some extent, against the system. Most scholars agree with political scientist Cas Mudde, Cas Mudde, who argues that populism is essentially a form of political preaching about mixing a corrupt elite with virtuous morality. Meanwhile a binary moral classification is common to all populist rhetoric. Mudde is considered one of the authors who essentially defined populism. According to a simplification of his theory, populism is “an ideology that divides society into two antagonistic entities; the common people and the corrupted elites and that politics should be an expression of the will of the people.”

Studies on populism in Europe have emerged in the 60s of the last century. In general, these studies appeared just when the first signs of a right-wing populism in essence were already appearing in Europe. Many studies have been done over time on populism, especially on its interaction with politics and democracy. Among the many definitions we can also mention Jansen’s definition, Jansen-it, i cili popullizmin e definon who defines populism as “a form of political mobilization, which insists on mobilizing the margins of society and creating political power, using in this case nationalist rhetoric.” and proto-intellectuals that magnify ordinary people. ”

Some other authors argue that populism should be treated as a political discourse or style, which is a feature of various political and social groups. The debate on populism still remains open, but in essence the definitions mentioned remain basic to this phenomenon that in most cases remain outside the orbit of politics, seeking power at all costs through aggressive mobilizing discourses.

Since we are on the verge of early elections, it is precisely these populist discourses that can easily be discerned. Once again, in North Macedonia populist “claws” have emerged and have produced foggy and unthinkable situations over a given period.

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