The Populist Moment, Chapter 4, Part 2:
Alain de Benoist
What Is Populism?
Introduction here, Chapter 4 Part 1 here, Chapter 5 Part 1 here
Translated by F. Roger Devlin
Like “communitarism,” “populism” has today become a garbage-bag term. The proof is that this label has been applied to people as different as Donald Trump, Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Nigel Farage, Beppe Grillo, Viktor Orbán, Nicolas Sarkozy, Georges Marchais, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Bernard Tapie, José Bové, Marine Le Pen, Oskar Freysinger, Pim Fortuyn, Geert Wilders, Boris Johnson, Pablo Iglesias, Christophe Blocher, Jörg Haider, Umberto Bossi, and Silvio Berlusconi, but also to Mao Zedong, Juan Perón, Getúlio Vargas, Fidel Castro, Colonel Gaddafi, Ahmed Ahmadinejad, and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Similarly, the National Front and the Left Front in France are both currently characterized as “populist,” as are Syriza in Greece, both the Indignados Movement and Podemos in Spain, both the Tea Party and “Occupy Wall Street” in the United States, both the Five Star Movement and the Northern League in Italy, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Austria, the Swiss People’s Party (UDC) in Switzerland, the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, Fidesz in Hungary, the People’s Party in Denmark, etc.
Made to fit every occasion, the word “populism” “loses any significance and prevents any lasting diagnosis” (Edgar Morin). Those who reproach populist parties with being “catch-all” parties are the first to make “populism” into a rubber word (Gummiwort, as the Germans say), allowing any interpretation, usually pejorative. “The word is everywhere, its definition nowhere,” said the historian Philippe Roger some time ago. “We have nothing resembling a theory of populism,” added the political scientist Jan-Werner Mueller. It is clearly easier to pillory “populism” than to look closely into the nature of this emerging political alternative.
In reality, if the term “populism” is incontrovertibly complex, ambiguous, and polysemic — as all who have studied the phenomenon have emphasized — it is no more so than many other terms currently employed such as “democracy,” “republic,” “community,” etc., which have also been given totally contradictory interpretations. “Discussions of democracy, arguments in its favor or against it, are characterized by intellectual vacuity,” said Bertrand de Jouvenel, “for people do not know what they are talking about.” It is no different with populism, all the more so in that the word is relatively new. The vagueness surrounding it is an additional motive for trying to dissipate it. That populism is not a very clear concept and the fact that it can assume different forms must not prevent us from trying to define it.
As a category of political science, populism has already been the object of a significant number of studies. But the specialists do not agree among themselves. They are divided into those who see in populism an ideology (or ideological schema), like Ludovico Incisa di Camerana; those who see in it only a style (or mindset) such as Pierre-André Taguieff, who characterizes it as a “political style applicable to different ideological contexts”; and those who define it as a new form of political organization. In her pioneering work published in 1981, Margaret Canovan abandons all definition according to ideal type in favor of a typological approach which is in fact more fruitful: protest-populisms, national-populism, and so on.
On the other hand, everyone agrees that populism, historically speaking, appeared at the end of the nineteenth century in Russia and the United States with movements that, in both cases, sought to mobilize disfavored groups against the elites of the moment.
Between 1860 and 1880, the narodniki (from narod, “people”) were Russian socialists who wanted to “go to the people,” brining basic literacy to the peasant masses, opening dispensaries and reading rooms, and attempting to set up a kind of socialist agrarian economy. Hostile to Russia’s Westernization, considering the peasantry the only revolutionary class, and agrarian structures as the best way of preventing capitalism’s expansion, they emphasized the traditional rural “community” (obshchina) as a system of mutual aid and solidarity, and tried to awaken in the peasants an awareness resulting in a will to fight. The principal representatives of this Russian populism (narodnishestvo) were Alexander Herzen (who would go into exile in France, where he notably collaborated with Proudhon), Nikolai Chernyshevsky, and Dmitri Pisarev.
At about the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, American populism also asserted itself as an essentially rural movement. Created in 1867 by Oliver Hudson Kelley, the Grange Movement sought to enlarge agricultural workers’ social rights and protect small producers’ autonomy by limiting salaried workers and dependence on the State as much as possible, and trying to put an end to speculation and mass industrialization. Confronted with prohibitive tariffs which privileged access to the public domain allowed railroad companies to impose upon them, the populists preached a return to the sources of American democracy (“We, the People”). The People’s Party, an agrarian populist party founded in 1891 in Saint Louis, also played an important role. Led primarily by James B. Weaver and Thomas E. Watson, it supported the charismatic figure of William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 presidential election (his opponent, William McKinley, won by only 600,000 votes). Its ideas rested on the Jeffersonian dream of the smallholder’s autonomy, which the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson summarized with his concept of self-reliance. Thus, American populism expressed an “authentically plebeian” protest (Guy Harmet).
The narodniki opposed the rural way of life to capitalism; the American Grangers also denounced the finance capitalism which reigned in the big cities. As for Latin American populism, such as Mexican Cardenism or Argentine Peronism (too often confounded with “caudillismo”), it aimed mainly at agrarian reform and let the popular classes (the descamisados, the “shirtless”) attain political citizenship. In all three cases, writes Federico Tarragoni, “populism maintains strong links with a popular base.” It belongs to the socialist tradition even while it is hostile to the ideology of progress (which explains the Bolsheviks’ hostility to the Russian narodniki). From its first appearance in history, whether in Russia or the United States, populism has not let itself be easily classed on the Left or Right. At first, observes historian Michel Winock, “populism did not specifically belong to the extreme Right. The word refers to a confidence in the people which one encounters in Robespierre’s speeches or Michelet’s writings.”
The diversity of populist movements today has increased: “Left-wing” populisms, “Right-wing” populisms, liberal populisms, anti-liberal populisms, etc. As regards Statism, decentralization, the economy, the functioning of institutions, and the problem of immigration — the populist parties do not necessarily take the same positions, so it would be vain to look for any sort of ideological unity or homogeneity. Vincent Coussedière emphasizes:
What populist movements have in common is more the political situation of the peoples who cause it to emerge. The situation can be resumed very simply: The European political peoples (and the American people is perhaps less distant from them than commonly believed) find themselves confronted with dramatic demographic, cultural, and economic challenges, and with an obsolete party-political offering whose divisions no longer match the reality and depth of the crisis. The unity of populism cannot be grasped unless one moves from the level of what is being offered politically to the situation of the European peoples themselves. It is this situation they have in common and which explains what I call the “populism of the people.”
The first mistake to avoid when speaking of populism is therefore to seek an ideology or identify it with a definite doctrine. The diversity of politicians who have been charged with “populism,” as well as the term’s polysemy, show not only that populism does not constitute an ideology, but that it can be combined with any ideology. The Argentine political scientist Ernesto Laclau is not wrong to say that it is a “neutral” word from this point of view. For this reason, it is just as erroneous to make it into a new avatar for nationalism or fascism. Populism does not aspire to create a “new man.” Contrary to fascism, it accepts the rules of democracy. Populist movements can be sovereignist, but populism is not synonymous with sovereignism (many sovereignists are not populists). They can be identitarian, but populism is not synonymous with identitarianism, either (many identitiarians are not populists). Identitarian populism, finally, is not necessarily the same thing as “national populism,” for identity is not always based on the idea of the nation.
Certain groups on the Right or extreme Right have been tempted during these last few years to rename themselves “populist” for reasons of opportunity, if not opportunism. This manner of conforming positively to an assimilation of populism and nationalism too often practiced by the media is not convincing for at least two reasons. First of all, populism is fundamentally directed against the elites, while the Right has nearly always defended elites — whether by opposing them to the people or (in the most favorable case) in order to say there cannot be any fundamental opposition between the elites and the people. The Right has generally been elitist because it does not believe the people capable of governing itself directly, and that is why its conversion into a “populist” movement poses a fundamental problem (of which it is not always conscious). On the other hand, to affirm itself as “populist,” a certain radical Right must forget the total incompatibility of its traditional critique of democracy with a movement that demands more democracy.
It is more tempting to see in populism not an ideology, but a style. For example, Marco Tarchi proposes defining populism “as a specific mental form tied to a vision of social order based on belief in the innate virtues of the people, the people whom one proclaims as the source of legitimation for political action and government.”
There is incontestably a populist style classically characterized by the theme of an “appeal to the people” and the will to institute a more direct relation between the people and their rulers; but these two traits do not exhaust the reality. A certain number of other elements are generally associated with them: a reference to the people as a homogeneous social aggregate that is the privileged depositary of permanent positive values; the will to give it power, to give it a voice, or at least to speak in its name; the idealization of the national community posited as a more or less “organic” unitary whole; hostility to elites and confiscation of the power attributed to them; the nostalgic reappropriation of values inherited from the past; the demand for direct democracy often based on referenda; a taste for charismatic leaders in the service of an “incarnate democracy,” and so on. This is not wrong, but these conventional traits are not necessarily found in all cases.
To say that populism aspires, by means of a “leader,” to establish for example an “authoritarian regime” does not always correspond to reality. Populist movements have often been led by charismatic leaders (Boulanger, Péron, de Gaulle, Nasser, etc.), but populism as such, even if it favors a personal incarnation of political decision-making thanks to a “spokesman of the people” in which it is scarcely distinct from classical democracy, does not automatically involve recourse to a “providential man.” Marco Tarchi notes quite correctly that “the populist leader must not be confused with the charismatic boss: He must certainly offer some uncommon qualities, but he must never fall into the error of presenting himself as different from the ordinary man he addresses; his first talent consists precisely in never crossing that line.”
It would also be a mistake to make populism a business of mere “demagogy.” For a number of populism’s critics, the populist leader is a mere demagogue. Populism abusively simplifies problems by “demagogy,” and that demagogy supposedly awakens or crystallizes the people’s bad instincts. For example, Pierre-André Taguieff defines populism as the “form assumed by demagogy in contemporary societies.” This critique is not always mistaken, especially as there is a great difference between speaking in the people’s name and working to give the people the means of expressing themselves. But this conception [of populism] forgets that the elites’ demagogy can very well compete with that of the “tribunes of the people.” Similarly, a democracy which makes extensive use of referenda is said to leave the door open to demagogy. But why is this any different from representative democracy? The apocalyptic scenarios sketched out on the other side of the Channel by the opponents of “Brexit” in the event that option wins out are no less demagogic than those of the other side. Marcel Gauchet says more accurately that “democracy is the concurrence of demagogues.” To reduce populism to demagogy amounts to avoiding the essential, which is the very concept of the people. As Vincent Coussedière writes, “If political science, and in its wake all critical and media discourse, seeks to reduce populism to a form of demagogy, it is because they do not dispose of any concept of the people that would allow them to take the phenomenon’s true measure.”
As for the extravagance with which populists are often reproached, in general it is merely a way of distinguishing themselves from the coded language which the elites employ to their own benefit in order to provide the dominant ideology with the benefits of a consensus which does not in fact exist. Besides, the argument can easily be turned around, as Jean-Claude Michéa remarks with a certain humor:
In the world of the official media (whether of Right or Left), celebrating the ordinary people’s decency or their ability to govern themselves directly is regarded very badly. At best, this is held to be a “Rousseauist” illusion; at worst, populist ideas of which “one cannot be sure just where they will lead.” But it is curious that these zealous media personnel never think to apply their negative anthropology to the elites themselves. . . . The maxim “they’re all rotten” is supposedly terrible when it is applied to the dominant class, but quite plausible as soon as it concerns ordinary people.”
Another mistake consists in seeing in populism an intrinsically anti-political phenomenon. Thus, Guy Hermet thinks one of the keys to the populist mentality resides in distrust of everything which cannot be immediately resolved, which would make populism an impolitic and even anti-political form of politics. Populists, he writes, ignore the need to “give time time” [« donner du temps au temps »]. They define themselves by “the anti-political temporality of their supposedly instantaneous response to problems or aspirations which no governmental action is able to resolve or satisfy in a sudden manner. This relation to political time constitutes the distinctive nucleus of populism as a whole.” The same idea is found in Pierre Rosanvallon, for whom populism is merely a “simplifying and perverse response,” “a perverse twisting of democratic procedures.” Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also assures us that populism, which she characterizes as an “intimate enemy of the Republic,” rests upon the “desire to believe that things can be changed without effort”: “Populism promotes a rapid tempo, an immediacy opposed to the long duration presupposed by any concrete and ambitious politics.” In liberal milieus, reformist patience has always been opposed to revolutionary haste. Populism wants everything, and it wants it now. But is this true? “One gets the impression that all political action today is carried out in slow motion,” observes Alain Duhamel. How is it that the “slow tempo” from which politicians have benefitted for at least the past 30 years has had so few results?
In reality, when there are no more political divisions, there is no more politics. Now, it is precisely in reaction to the erasure of cleavages that populism has arisen. The people sees that politics today is buried by economics, morality, procedural law, and expertocracy. The people is calling for a return to politics, because it is only politically that it can exist as a people: A community becomes a political being as soon as it defines itself as such. Thus, it is opposed to the technocratic doctrine of Saint-Simon according to which “the government of men must be replaced by the administration of things.” Jacques Sapir explains:
The cause of this is the depersonalization of political action. This depersonalization leads to a depolitization of societies, a process which carries the seeds of their disappearance. In today’s regimes called parliamentary democracies, power appears to no longer be that of men, but that of laws. Now, these laws do not “reign”; they are imposed upon individuals in a “technical” fashion as general norms. In such a regime there is no place for controversy, or for the struggle for power, or for political action. There is room only for a polarity between supposedly technical reasoning and moral posturing. This depolitization is felt as an unbearable aggression by a majority of the people, for it aims at depriving it of its ability to decide, i.e. its sovereignty.
It is therefore altogether false to say that populism expresses a disgust or rejection of politics. It only expresses a hostility toward the political class, which is blamed specifically for no longer engaging in politics. Populism does not necessarily aspire to “doing everything right away,” but it does aspire to decisions which the dominant class no longer seems capable of making. As Vincent Coussedière writes, “there is no politics without people, nor people without politics.” The people, he adds, is a
living reality whose being-together is politics. . . . The populist being-together is reacting to the empty space where politics should be. It corresponds to that stage in the life of democracies where the people unwillingly takes up politics because it has despaired of the attitude of its rulers, who no longer do.
Far from being “anti-political,” populism represents a powerful protest against the depolitization of public affairs due to the recentering of political programs and the rise of the expertocracy.
The same equivocation recurs as concerns the relation between populism and democracy. Not democratic enough for some, populism is too democratic for others. To hear some tell it, populism takes democracy too seriously! Populism contradicts democracy especially by aspiring to the political body’s unity, whereas democracy institutionalizes divergences. For Christian Godin, populism is the “principal danger for democracy,” the proof that the populists are anti-democratic being that, in order to fool people, they assume “hyperdemocratic positions.” In other words, they say what they do not believe, and they believe what they do not say: You can easily demonstrate whatever you want on that assumption.
This type of reasoning abstracts on principle from the people. Now, populism is inseparable from the people and thus from the very idea of democracy. The people cannot be removed from democracy. Democracy is a regime founded on the people’s sovereignty, which means that power, in order to be legitimate, must receive the citizens’ approval or consent. The democratic tradition is based not on the principle of the rule of law, but on popular equality and sovereignty. In democracy, the people are (or should be) sovereign, and sovereign first of all on the question of social reproduction. But democracy is also, and above all, the only political regime that allows all citizens to participate in public affairs and to decide as much as possible for themselves about matters which concern them. It is wrong to see in democracy nothing but a regime founded on the “law of quantity.” Universal suffrage is in reality only a technique allowing preferences to be revealed. “In democracy the key concept is neither quantity, nor suffrage, nor election, nor representation, but the participation of all citizens in public life. . . . The maximum degree of democracy is thus the same as maximum participation.” “Democracy is the participation of a people in its own destiny,” said Arthur Moeller van den Bruck.
Populism has no quarrel with democracy, but with representative democracy’s insufficiently democratic character and the oligarchic regression of systems based on representation. What it seeks is to take democracy out of the hands of electoral professionals who are monopolizing it by appealing to a principle of delegating power. It also relies on democracy to criticize elites. “If populism incarnates an ideological corruption of democracy, it also expresses a real demand for participative democracy or active citizenship which the well-tempered functional system of representative democracy is unable to satisfy,” recognizes even Pierre-André Targuieff, who also thinks that “what characterizes the present situation is that the revolt against the confiscation of democracy tends to become confused with the project of revivifying national sovereignty and giving it meaning once again.” In fact, populism does not accuse democracy of chopping up [laminer] sovereignty, an accusation the extreme Right has often made, but binds these two concepts together. Similarly, when it denounces liberal representative democracy, it is not in the name of any dictatorship or return to monarchy, but by demanding stronger democracy and valorizing all forms of popular or direct democracy.
On the other hand, what is correct is that populism has above all revealed a crisis or serious malfunction of liberal democracy. Populism only appears when liberal democracy has demonstrated its limits, when it is no longer able to respond to social demands, and when it fuels a feeling of democratic dispossession and seems to be a mere masquerade or even a brake on popular aspirations. Paul Piccone observes:
Populist movements generally appear at particular historical junctures when the democratic process has so degenerated that it calls for a genuine democratic reaction. . . . Populism is generally a reaction against a deficit of democracy, and it is always much more democratic than any system based on representative democracy. . . . In an authentically democratic style, populists demand that each person be considered equally qualified to participate in decisions which affect his life.
“The condition for the emergence of a populist campaign,” writes Pierre-André Taguieff, “is a crisis of legitimacy or legitimation, a crisis of political legitimacy affecting the entire system of representation.” Populism proclaims the people’s sovereignty with all the more force as it observes the breadth of the crisis of legitimacy confronting the ruling class. If you do not perceive the full extent of this crisis of legitimacy, you will never understand anything about populism.
Populism at bottom wants nothing but to repeople democracy [peupler la démocratie]. This is why Christopher Lasch saw in it “the authentic voice of democracy,” as well as a resurgence of the republicanism of Antiquity and the Renaissance, which wanted virtue (in the ancient sense of virtus, manly courage) to be the foundation of citizenship conceived not merely as a legal status but as a principle of collective action. To question populism is thus not merely to question the legitimacy of popular demands, but also the well-foundedness of popular sovereignty, which is the basis of democratic regimes. Secondarily, it gives us the means of analyzing the “deconstruction of the political people” begun nearly a half-century ago.
So it is essential to know what must be understood by “people” in the expression “populism of the people” [“populisme du people”]. We know that the word can have three different meanings: the political people (demos), the people defined by its history and culture (ethnos), the people in the sense of ordinary people, and the popular classes (plebs). The key concept is obviously that of demos, for it is the only fundamentally political meaning, contrary to ethnos, whose roots are pre-political. But ethnos is tied to mores, which constitute an essential element of sociability and thus of the people’s identity; populism cannot do without taking this into account. A political community, the foundation of citizenship, the demos, without being identical to the ethnos — any more than the State is identical to the nation — is nevertheless instituted on the basis of something already there [un déjà-là], wherein it is distinct from both “civic nationalism” and “republican citizenism,” which are based on universal abstract principles, especially legal equality, or on the dream of a cosmopolitan citizenship which does not merely separate citizenship from nationality but also frees itself from both demos and ethnos. Finally, the people as plebs may appear opposed to the demos and ethnos insofar as, strictly speaking, it represents only a part (generally the most numerous part) of the historical or political people. But this is also what allows it to oppose the elites, in which respect the people as plebs is an essential component of populism.
Populism’s great characteristic is in fact to mix these three meanings of “people,” to seek to incarnate them simultaneously beyond anything that distinguishes them. If it refers back to a specific social base (the popular classes allied to the middle classes threatened with downward mobility [déclassement]), populism also represents a form of political imagination where the people is above all conceived as assembled. In populism, demos, ethnos and plebs — political people, organic people, and dominated classes (of, if you prefer, the democratic people, the national people and the social people) — are all closely associated.
This is why we cannot follow those who, even as they recognize the populist aspiration’s well-foundedness, want to make an ideology of it and busy themselves with separating the “bad” (xenophobic and reactionary) populists from the “good” (progressive and democratic) populists. The former, according to Federico Tarragoni, base themselves on the ethnos-nation dyad, the latter on the plebs-demos dyad. But this opposition between “social populism” and “national populism” is merely an ideal-typical opposition which rarely corresponds to reality. There is not one populism over here exclusively concerned with protecting the people already there, and another populism over there attempting to foster the emergence of a new popular subject. The great majority of forms of populism join these two aspirations. The movement in Greece which resulted in the creation of Syriza, to give only one example, showed both tendencies.
Nor is it any more accurate to state, as Pierre-André Taguieff does, that populism only conceives the people in a unanimist manner, “as a single entity without social or class divisons.” A great many forms of populism can be interpreted as class phenomena (or as phenomena with a class dimension). This does not prevent those who advocate for such forms from seeing in the people an organic totality threatened with artificial divisions by hostile forces. The people does not like those who dissolve its fraternity!
The people is defined first of all by a common sociability, which Aristotle takes as the basis of philia politikē, or political friendship. This must be distinguished from the societal, which is merely the sociability produced by the welfare state’s machinery. But neither can this common sociability be reduced to any more or less fantasized “identity.” It is the result of an “imitation-custom” which is at once the essence of the social bond and the basis of traditions, and which allows the citizens to test what they have in common. Populism’s implied objective is to reinstitute a common world, a (public) common space — that “space-between-men” which Hannah Arendt designated as the site where freedoms meet.
Vincent Coussedière, who describes populism as “the party of conservatives who have no party,” thinks populism is a reaction which the people oppose to the decomposition of sociability and mores, i.e. to its decomposition as a community. In the face of a globalization perceived as a “machine for killing peoples,” in the face of immigration which weighs upon the mores to which they are attached, in the face of a sovereignty paralyzed by post-national alliances, he writes, “The peoples want to continue being peoples, i.e. they want to conserve a certain unity of mores, a ‘national’ form and sovereignty, a free capacity to make decisions on matters important to them.” He also says:
Populism is a stage where the people struggles for its survival while rediscovering the solidarity between its social being and it political being. In wanting to conserve its sociability, the people rediscovers the necessity of politics as a condition and reinforcement of that sociability. The populist moment is the moment where such politics does not exist and where it contributes, on the contrary, to destroying the people’s being-together. Populism is the aspiration, not yet realized, to rediscover that form of politics which will allow the people to continue being a people. . . . [It is the] beginning of a people’s resistance to its elites because it has realized that they are leading it toward the abyss.
For the peoples, it is a matter of preserving themselves as peoples — or even of reinstituting themselves as peoples. What the people wants is, as always, to create the conditions for its autonomy, but also to win back what José Ortega y Gasset defined as “the fundamental right of man: the right to continuity” (“Man is never a first man; he can only start living at a certain level of the accumulated past”).
It is easy to denounce the “fears” which nourish populism, and even more those who “manipulate” such fears, but one would do better to ask oneself about the causes of these fears and whether they are well-founded. In a society that has in fact become good at generating fears, fears are not at all necessarily imaginary. Gaël Brustier has written that “‘Left-wing populism,’ if one takes the trouble to think beyond the term’s pejorative connotations, is the great strategic question being put to the radical Left, but also to social democracy (that social democracy which has not rallied to social-liberalism) or to political ecology.” This “great strategic question,” at a time when various forms of populism have become forces to be reckoned with, has in fact been posed to society as a whole.
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 Bertrand de Jouvenel, Du pouvoir. Histoire naturelle de sa croissance (Geneva: Le Cheval ailé, 1945), 411.
 In France, the term “populist” was accepted in the Larousse mensuel in 1906. The word “populisme” appears in 1929 in the writings of André Thérive and Léon Lemonnier to refer to a new literary school (the first Populist Prize was awarded to Eugène Dabit for Hôtel du Nord). Cf. Gérard Mauger, “’Populisme,’ itinéraire d’un mot voyageur,” in Le Monde diplomatique, July 2014, 3.
 Cf. especially, in chronological order: Ghita Ionescu & Ernest Gellner (eds.), Populism: Its Meaning and National Characteristics (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969); Margaret Canovan, Populism (London: Junction Books), 1981); Guy Hermet, La Trahison de la démocratie. Populistes, républicains et démocrates (Paris: Flammarion, 1998; Alexandre Dorna, Le Populisme (Paris: PUF, 1999); Paul Taggart, Populism (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000); Yves Surel & Yves Mény, Par le peuple et pour le peuple. Le populisme et les démocraties (Paris: Fayard, 2001); Guy Hermet, Les Populismes dans le monde. Une histoire sociologique,
XIXe-XXe siecle (Paris: Fayard, 2001); Roger Dupuy, La Politique du peuple. Racines, permanences et ambiguités du populisme (Paris: Albin Michel, 2002); Pierre-André Taguieff, L’Illusion populiste. De l’archaique au médiatique, (Paris: Berg international, 2002) (revised second edition: L’Illusion populiste. Essai sur les démagogies de l’âge démocratique (Paris: Flammarion, “Champs” series, 2007); Marco Tarchi, Italia populista, dal
qualunquismo a Beppe Grillo (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2003); Chantal Delsol, La Nature du populisme ou les figures de l’idiot (Nice: Ovadia, 2008); Daniele Albertazzi & Duncan McDonnell, Twenty-first Century Populism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); Populisme contre populisme, special issue of the journal Actuel
Marx, 2008, 2; Dominique Reynié, Populismes: la pente fatale (Paris: Plon, 2011); Vincent Coussedière, Éloge du populisme (Grenoble: Elya, 2012); Pierre- André Taguieff, Le Nouveau National-populisme (Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2012); Raphaël Liogier, Ce populisme qui vient (Paris: Textuel, 2013); Catherine Colliot-Thélène & Florent Guénard (eds.), Peuple et populisme (Paris: PUF, 2014); Chantal Delsol, Le Populisme et les demeurés de l’histoire (Paris: Le Rocher, 2015); Vincent Coussedière, Le Retour du peuple, an I. Le véritable défi de la République (Paris: Cerf, 2016); Benjamin Moffitt, The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016).
 Pierre-André Taguieff, “Le populisme et la science politique. Du mirage conceptuel aux vrais problèmes,” in Vingtieme siecle, no. 56, October-December 1997, 4-33.
 Cf. especially Franco Venturi, Les intellectuels, le peuple et la révolution. Histoire du populisme russe au XIXe siècle (; translated by Viviana Pâques), 2 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1972).
 Cf. also Lawrence Goodwyn, Democratic Promise: The Populist Movement in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976); David Da Silva, “La tradition populiste dans la culture des États-Unis,” in Krisis, March 2016, 138-145.
 Federico Tarragoni, “La ‘menace populiste’ : l’éternel retour du meme (peuple) ?”, in Mouvements, February 2015.
 Vincent Coussedière, “Brexit, Trump, Rome : les populistes gouverneront-ils un jour ?”, website Figaro Vox, June 21, 2016, 2.
 Cf. Guy Hermet, “Populisme et nationalisme,” in Vingtieme siecle, no. 56, October-December 1997, 34-47.
 Marco Tarchi, “Qu’est-ce que le populisme ?,” in Krisis, February 2008, 11.
 Jean-Claude Monod thinks, as does Ernesto Laclau, that democracy cannot do without leaders (Qu’est-ce qu’un chef en démocratie ? Politiques du charisme [Paris: Seuil, 2012]).
 Marco Tarchi, “Qu’est-ce que le populisme ?”, 18.
 Tous pourris: A popular expression referring to the supposed corruption of the elites as a whole. – Tr.
 “Jean-Claude Michéa répond à dix questions,” in Gilles Labelle, Éric Martin, & Stéphane Vibert (eds.), Les Racines de la liberté, 322-323.
 Guy Hermet, “Le populisme dans l’histoire,” in Krisis, February 2008, 25.
 Pierre Rosanvallon, La contre-démocratie. La politique à l’âge de la défiance (Paris: Seuil, 2006).
 Jacques Sapir, “Populismes et politique”, website RussEurope, June 12, 2016, 4.
 Sovereignty is no more a “Right-wing” concept than nation. “The extension of domains of sovereignty has been the form taken by the social struggles that have built institutions over the course of time,” Jacques Sapir reminds us (“La gauche, le Brexit et la souveraineté,” website RussEurope, July 4, 2016, 6).
 Arnaud Imatz, Droite/gauche: pour sortir de l’équivoque, 45. The author takes inspiration from our essay: Alain de Benoist, Démocratie: le problème (Paris: Labyrinthe, 1985.
 “The principal enemy of the democratic State and of democratic principles of order,” says Jacques Sapir, “is the collusive State, that State which is dominated by the oligarcho-technocratic caste toward which we have been headed for some 30 years now” (“La gauche, le Brexit et la souveraineté,” 8).
 Pierre-André Taguieff, L’Illusion populiste; Pierre-André Taguieff & Jacques Sapir (interview), “Du Brexit à la présidentielle française en passant par l’élection américaine, la vengeance des peuples contre leurs élites sera-t-elle un plat qui se mange froid . . . ou très chaud ?”, website Atlantico, June 17, 2016.
 Paul Piccone, “De la Nouvelle Gauche au populisme postmoderne,” in Krisis, February 2008, 87-88.
 Pierre-André Taguieff, L’Illusion populiste.
 Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (New York: Norton, 1995), 106.
 The people is not synonymous with the nation. It was the revolutionaries of 1789, beginning with the Abbé Sieyès, who assimilated the two terms, allowing them to substitute national sovereignty for popular sovereignty.
 “In a system of cosmopolitan citizenship,” observes Chantal Mouffe, “we have a whole series of rights, but without the power to exercise them. . . . The exercise of citizenship rights, which demands participation in decision-making, becomes impossible insofar as a process of deciding involving the entire planet cannot exist. One can only exercise one’s rights within the framework of a demos” (“Pour une démocratie radicale et plurielle,” in Krisis, February 2008, 120).
 Federico Tarragoni, “La ‘menace populiste’.”
 Cf. Andreas Pantazopoulos, “The National-Populist Illusion as a ‘Pathology’ of Politics: The Greek Case and Beyond,” in TelosScope [online journal], August 11, 2016.
 Vincent Coussediere, website Figaro Vox, March 18, 2016, 3.
 Gaël Brustier, “Le peuple, c’est par ou?”, website Temps présent, July 21, 2016, 4.
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