The Thinking Lab on Populism is dealing with one of the fastest growing phenomena in current European politics. Well known in other parts of the world, such as Latin America, the concept of populism is still an unclear one. While many experts and journalists characterize very heterogenous political movements such as Podemos on the one hand, and far right protest movements like the German Alternative für Deutschland, as being populist, the Thinking Lab is benefiting from a broader view on the matter and will try to bring clarity in the debate.



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Populism Thinking Lab Summit Analysis

Security Pivot Towards a Police State in France

Populisms' Slippery Slope5 February 2017
"Police Francaise - Policía francesa - F" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Oscar in the middle

The first European Thinking Lab took place from 25-27 November in Lisbon. During the Summit, the contributors cooperated within their Thinking Lab and worked out brief policy proposals. Félix Blanc is engaged with the topic of a Security Pivot towards a Police State in France.

Populism in Eastern Europe

An analysis of Elena Marcela Coman21 January 2017
"Jobbik flags" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Leigh Phillips

Thwarting the Political Cleavages of Western Europe – What We Can Learn from Populists. Elena Marcela Coman outlines the historic trajectory and specific traits of populist movements in Eastern Europe.

Populism Analysis

On the Making of Trump – The Blind Spot That Created Him

Otto Scharmer analyses the factors underlying Trump's victory 17 January 2017
"Josh_eye" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by operationotter

According to Scharmer, three main divides within the United States contributed to the success of Donald Trump, which took many by surprise.

Populism Thinking Lab Summit Analysis

My Populism is Bigger than Yours

The Trajectory of Populist Movements in Europe, Reasons for Their Success and Reactions of Established Parties 20 December 2016 | Nuno Casimiro
"A European Union map composed entirely o" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by European Parliament

Mainstream parties seem to believe that refusing ideological attachments and claiming that the populists are “the others” will be enough for the citizens to recognize them as the ones offering providential solutions. The problem is that, while the gap between representatives and represented is not narrowed, between a soft populism and the real thing, dangerous “others” might take the place with rather scary alternatives.

Populism Opinion

Feeling the Bern or Making America Great Again: What we can learn from populists in the 2017 US elections

Populist measures not only as a threat, but also as a potential for democracy within campaigning4 November 2016 | Sophie Pornschlegel, Hanno Burmester
"Bernie Sanders for President" (CC BY 2.0) by Phil Roeder, "Donald Trump as he exits the stage after" (CC BY 2.0) by markn3tel , / Desaturated from original

Politics need emotions. Campaigns need charismatic leaders representing hope. They need to come up with viable alternatives to the status quo. Democratic politicians cannot stay on the safe side. They need to get out there, explain their approaches, and to find new ways of talking to the voters. They need to have the courage to oppose those Trumps out there.