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What Is Left Populism?

Posted by libhom Tuesday, June 02, 2009

In comments on GDAEman's blog, I discussed the idea of promoting left populism. GDAEman alluded to the fact that I hadn't described the term.

I see left populism as a view of politics that promotes progressive values in the context of peoples' daily lives. It promotes freedom, justice, and equality in practical terms based on peoples' struggles rather than on abstract theory. It recognizes that activists who have worked on issues for decades have given more thought to solutions than abstract generalists relying on theories. If you want to see a good example of left populism, go to Michael Moore's website.

One must be careful to contrast left and right populism. Right populism glorifies peoples' prejudices to distract them from their interests. Left populism combats prejudice on its own merit, but also condemns it in the context of the politics of distraction. Much of the promotion of various "isms" in the corporate media is a variation of the pickpocket's trick of having an accomplice bump into or otherwise distract a victim who won't know that his or her valuables are being stolen until it is too late.

Right populism tries to discuss class as an aspect of an ethnic group or other minority, leaving the vast majority of the economic elites free from any scrutiny at all. The Sarah Palins of the world talk about the working class regularly, but pretend that their most dangerous enemies are other working class people. Sound suspicious?

Obviously, this is a cursory introduction to the notion of left populism. But, it is important to start a discussion. Far right and conservative elites control the Republican and Democratic Parties respectively. Their policies and arrogance are creating a tremendous amount of legitimate anger in this country. That anger needs to be acknowledged and addressed productively rather than being dismissed. The latter is just too dangerous.


  1. Christopher Says:
  2. Corporate America controls both political parties.

    Certain industries trend to one party more than the other, like Big Oil and the GOP.

    But the Dems aren't clean either.

    Look at the conflict of interest with the military, industrial complex and Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

    I don't know how to bring genuine populism into the political process because once elected to office, Congress spends half their time running for reelection and campaigns are expensive.

  3. like christopher said corporate america controls the parties.


    they want and get people to do their deeds under the guise of helping us all

    works like a charm every time - hence people like Feinstein. Pelosi and Schumer



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