Power to the People

Dawson’s podcast is very interesting, especially the point he makes about yes, populism is the idea of bringing people against a common enemy, but that does not necessarily mean that all those who come together will have the same political, economical, or social background (although in most cases they do). Something that is also interesting about populism is always thought of as being against an external force, and therefore being a national movement (as was/is the case for Venezuela) but it is also against internal forces (as was the case in Argentina and the new middle class fighting against the wealthy elites.)

Populism in Latin America is very complex, especially considering the long history of caudillismo, clientelism and now populism. The classic examples are always the Peron’s in Argentina fighting the wealthy, elites and more recently Chavez fighting for the Bolivarian dream (Bolivarian in reference to Simón Bolivar) and an anti-imperialistic sentiment. Also, populism has a particular formula, the charismatic leader, the broad based popular support, a common enemy (or concern (social, or economic)). This leader tends to be a ‘hero’ of those who struggle and is seen as the voice of the followers.

It is also interesting to see how the radio, and now mass media, help with the spread of populism. It makes the point almost that populism cannot survive without its popular support (which is fairly obvious).

I wonder therefore, what has been the change in populism since the use of radio, television and now mass media? It is clear that populist movement have grown (Trump, Brexit) but, the question still remains, how successful will these populist movements continue to be?

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