Why only populism can save the left

Populism is hated by leftist parties. With the advance of populist parties, the left is collapsing like a house of cards. Do both phenomena have something to do with each other?

What exactly is populism?

A subdivision into political directions popular among political scientists is populism, elitism and other directions (for example liberalism, religious or green politics) that remain outside the populist versus elitist discourse. Populism is a political vision in which an elite is held responsible for exploiting the population, or part of the population. Well-known populist parties in the Netherlands are the PVV and the SP.

A populist song, the Socialist International. Source: Norzartonk.org

Awake, rejected of the earth

The most populist message ever from the nineteenth century came from the unadulterated left: the writer and philosopher Karl Marx. He developed the Marxist ideology of a class struggle. This discourse is essentially populist. After all, the capitalist class exploits the proletarian class. Marx's call for proletarians worldwide to unite to create a classless society is essentially a populist discourse. Namely: calls for the overthrow of the bourgeois-capitalist elite, which exploits the proletarians. The milder left-wing variant of socialism is also essentially populist.

Unlike modern right-wing populists, classic left-wing populism is internationalist. Marxism sees robbery capitalism as a global problem, exploiting indigenous workers as well as colonized peoples in the rest of the world.

The incoherence of the modern left

The core values of the left are equality, brotherhood and the emancipation of the oppressed. A purely thinking left person will therefore always take sides for the oppressed man, for self-development and for solidarity. And, with this, reject any ideology that divides people.

At the moment, among left-wing parties such as the Green Left and the PvdA, it is bon ton to defend Islam as a victim of oppression by the mainstream culture, while Islam is an extremely patriarchal, homophobic and sexist belief.

Left-wing parties are also in favor of a meat tax, van energy taxes and strict environmental requirements. These mainly affect the poor. Food spending is a big chunk of minimum income budgets. By a meat tax meat is only affordable for the rich. With their energy taxes, the poor pay for subsidized solar parks and wind turbines from major international investors. Foreign giants such as Microsoft and Google are happy to use the subsidized green energy for their data centers and park the millions of profits made in a tax haven. In places where beautiful, environmentally friendly and above all affordable homes for people with a low and middle income could have been built in the green, with solar panels on the roof, ugly large solar parks are being built that will make the rich even richer.

Partly due to environmental activists calling themselves left, social housing has stopped. The scarce social housing is becoming increasingly scarce because of the massive immigration. The achievements for which the labor movement has fought hard, such as the scholarship, have disappeared. Because of the neoliberals, certainly, but also because of the betrayal of the left to the rejected in the Netherlands and the rest of the earth.

How can the left regain its power?

All truly successful left movements were nationalistic to some degree. Think of the Vietcong and other left-wing liberation movements. Difference between fascism and left is that nationalism of left movements is inclusive and does not distinguish between different ethnic groups. The populist left sees the entire population as victims of the exploitation practices of the international colonizer or their successors, the international robber capitalists. Not just the ethnic minorities, such as the identitarian left. Not just the largest ethnic group, such as right-wing populists. Everybody.

Today, the elite is neoliberal and globalist. The European Union and the neoliberal world order are working out well for multinational companies and the highly educated people who work for them. They import products from low-wage countries for little money and sell them to the local population for a lot of money. They channel the profits to a tax haven. They close factories in the Netherlands and reopen them in Eastern Europe or China. Other companies hire underpaid Eastern European workers to do dangerous and unpleasant work. Globalization thus benefits the elite, while the underclass bears the consequences in the form of unaffordable houses, low wages, unemployment and poor working conditions.

Populist left

There is one left party that stands up for the exploited underclass as well as for the exploited Eastern Europeans. That is the Socialist Party. The SP realizes that in its current form the European Union is primarily a neoliberal party, but that it turns out badly for its own employees. The commonly used argument that cheap workers strengthen international competitiveness is incorrect. Time and again it appears that it is mainly high labor productivity that strengthens the local economy. And you achieve this through experienced, well-trained employees who are an inseparable part of the company. Where the company and the employees go through fire for each other and go hard to make the best products in the world. Not by exploited flex workers.

We are not helping the poor in the rest of the world by letting in asylum seekers in bunches at a time. We do help them with visionary development aid and by removing unfair trade barriers and tax treaties.

An entrepreneur who can only survive on low-lithium is not worth a wink and should go bankrupt as soon as possible.

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