IES Hosts: David Ost "Populism, Fascism, and Why So Many Workers Turn from Left to Right"
From Pamela Hunsinger
Professor of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Regional Fellow, Institute for European Studies, Cornell University
Many commentators have noted the links between today’s radical “populist” right and fascism by focusing on the contemporary right’s aggressive nationalism, bellicose language against minorities and “leftist elites,” rejection of political liberalism, treatment of political opponents as traitors, and the violence wished on enemies. Social scientists largely agree that fascism includes these features, but tend to reject the comparison because today’s populism lacks the mass violence and rejection of democracy that characterized fascism. Neither view allows us to understand the most confounding and significant element of both yesterday’s fascism and today’s right populism: their ability to attract considerable support from working-class groups that traditionally supported the left. In order to understand this, we must conceptualize fascism as a left-wing of the radical right, and see populism as a way to revive this association in new conditions.
This video was recorded on Friday, Feb. 21, 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. in Uris Hall, Rm. G08 as part of the Institute for European Studies Spring 2020 Speakers Series