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.



News

Populism

Populism is not the problem

Why we should focus on values in political debate instead of style25 July 2017 | Hanno Burmester
"AfD Wahlkampfauftakt" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by strassenstriche.net

Populism is everywhere these days. Not only as a phenomenon but also as a topic in political discourse. Yet, the closer you look at it, the more you will realize that populism is quite a messy term. It signifies everything from an unease towards dissent, to the fear of a weakened democracy. More importantly, once you get a grip on how you define the term you will realize that populism may be destructive and inflammatory but is not the real problem. It is mostly a symptom for fundamental conflicts in society.

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 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 Spain Germany Analysis

Political Communication of Populist Parties: The cases of Podemos and AfD

The Digital Advantage and Social Media Authority of Populist Parties4 November 2016 | Elena García Mañes, Sophie Pornschlegel
"AfD Demonstration 30 August 2013 Marienp" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Metropolico.org, "Podemos logo _DDC1888" (CC BY 2.0) by Abode of Chaos, Modified from originals

The Spanish party Podemos and the German “Alternative for Germany” could not be, apparently, more opposed. However, there is one thing which brings them together: They both successfully use digital communication to reach their electorate in new, unmediated ways.

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