(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.Continue reading