(This is a 3-part essay divided here into a total of 4 installments, with the first part divided into two)
By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
Attracting Popular Discontent
The basic structure of concentric circles of the discourse
and ideological “space” of a political party or partisan organization,
described in the foregoing could apply to almost any political party or for
that matter any group with a relatively passionately held set of beliefs
against which they believe others are opposed.
Using this schematic diagram of a group, the specific role of
“containment vessel for popular discontent” is more likely to be, in the now
almost 50 year old neoliberal era, to be slated for a party like the Democratic
Party or one of the Parties of the
Socialist International, like the British Labour Party, the German SPD, the
Australian Labour Party, etc.
On the other hand, when such center-left parties fail to
attract popular discontent and they in agitating outside governing roles or
acting in governing roles generate more popular discontent, other political
actors, including center-right and far right political actors and movements,
can capture popular discontent for their own purposes. Such was the case in
2016 in the United States, in Great Britain through the Brexit process with the
emergence of UKIP and then the “Brexit Party”, the Northern League in Italy,
the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the National Front in France,
the BJP in India, etc. Less successfully
or durably, other newer left of center parties like Syriza in Greece, Podemos
in Spain, La France Insoumise, or various Green Parties have attempted to
represent discontents at one point or another which the traditional parties of
the Left have failed to address.