Friday, June 20, 2014

"Populistas e extremistas"

The real story in the European elections wasn’t the rise of ‘populists and extremists’, but the return of the left-right divide, por Jonathan White (London School of Economics):

The elections have been widely narrated as the triumph of ‘anti-establishment’ parties – or as The Economist likes to call them, ‘populists and extremists’. Such categories mask major differences. Though dissent is the common denominator, the questions raised by the Front National, UKIP and the Danish People’s Party sharply diverge from those posed by SYRIZA, Podemos, the Dutch Socialists and the Portuguese Left Bloc, to name just some of the parties successful in these elections. How they articulate the causes of economic stress is essentially different.

On the one side, the analysis of economic hardship has tended to focus on the moral failings of outsider groups. Be it immigrants, welfare dependants, lazy southerners, greedy bankers, mindless bureaucrats or the political class, someone somewhere is behaving badly. These accounts are stories of transgression – of offences against morality and common sense. On the other side, the origins of hardship lie rather in the failure of a template. A critique of adhesion forms the basis of such accounts – be it adhesion to an erroneous doctrine (neoliberalism, austerity) or to an unworkable economic system (capitalism, growth-led development). Seen from this angle, the politics of UKIP and SYRIZA could hardly be more contrasting.

Such differences express a left-right division. Historically, suggest political thinkers, this division has centred on attitudes to inequality, with the left defined by its inclination to seek the rectification of inequality and the Right by its scepticism on grounds of feasibility or desirability. In the twentieth century, this distinction often overlapped with diverging attitudes towards the institutions of state and market. If we take these elements to be at the core of the left-right divide, today’s disagreements are consistent with it.

Accounts of economic hardship centred on transgression tend towards underwriting the order whose standards they claim have been violated: these positions generally display a fairly sympathetic view of the market (even if there is concern at how certain groups have ‘distorted’ it) and a quite limited concern with inequality (extending at most to the thought that certain inequalities are ‘excessive’). Accounts centred on adhesion to problematic doctrines and practices by contrast generally place the pre-crisis order in question, including the market economy and the inequalities systematically generated by it.
Nota - não vejo a que propósito o autor inclui o BE nos "partidos que tiveram sucesso nas eleições" (suspeito que ele olhou para os resultados, viu 1 deputado do BE eleito em Portugal e, sem grandes conhecimentos da politica local, assumiu que deveria ser um grupusculo extra-parlamentar que finalmente tinha eleito um deputado)

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