⇒ Content of this shared blog: A conversation between Alexander #Görlach, founder of @TheEuropean, and Martin Eiermann, sociologist and publicist


The rise of populism in Europe is not a fad, as Berkeley’s Martin Eiermann claims in a recent study on voting trends for the Tony Blair Institute, London. The data show that right-wing extremism has already changed Europe’s political landscape — and it is here to stay…


Eiermann: “…In Europe, for example, the number of populist parties and their national vote share have roughly doubled since 2000. We’re now facing a situation in Central and Eastern Europe where it is possible to drive from the Baltic Sea to the Aegean without ever leaving a country that is governed by populist parties.”


Görlach: “…There’s now a prevailing ‘us versus them’ rhetoric when it comes to identity politics. Politics comes before policy. It’s about defining who we are, which then leads to specific policies… Nobody back then (in the early 2000) simply thought that liberal democracy itself was at stake…”


AFD-Nazis-wählenEiermann: “…It worries me that center-left parties have often ceded these discussions to the populist right. It’s surprisingly rare today to find moderate politicians who are even willing to talk about the nation — either because they’ve accepted the globalization of capital and the mythical power of financial markets, or because they defend international institutions by downplaying their disconnect from people and places…”


Görlach: “…I would argue that Europe is – other than the United States – in fact very deeply shaped by Christian Weltanschauung, humanism and ethics. But what is that supposed to mean when the majority of today’s Christians live outside of Europe?… I believe with René Girard that we are witnessing an Occidental culture that has trapped itself in too many quests and fights, and now searches and finds a scapegoat that seemingly covers up all the differences and uncertainties of our own culture…”


Eiermann: “…At the moment, European welfare states are too reliant on an insider-outsider framework that funnels benefits to full-time employees but leaves non-traditional workers incredibly exposed. Or a greater focus on integration rather than immigration numbers. In Germany, we know quite well how difficult true integration can be — reunification still casts a long shadow more than two decades after the treaties were formally signed…”


A Syrian refugee boy stands behind a fenceGörlach: “…The larger picture to me these days, especially when it comes to analysing populism, is that the distribution battle we had faintest ideas about only, is about to start. … During my time in Mexico there were scenarios discussed in which tankers full of African refugees may cross the Southern Atlantic and land in Latin America. Climate change, political stability and economic perspective will define the places on earth that people aspire to live in. They will come, at all costs necessary…

Full text here