populism

Rebecca Hill hillx018 at maroon.tc.umn.edu
Thu Feb 2 23:18:11 MST 1995


   I haven't read the whole thread on this, only Beasley-Murray's and
Trotter's, but I've understood populism (most simply) to describe agrarian
movements based on the idea of a "people" rising up against an illegitimate
foreign bourgeoisie. Alexander Saxton's book _The Rise of the White
Republic_ explains Andrew Jackson's rise to power out of a similar
ideology. It's socialism, as far as a I can see with a nationalist bent -
in other words "national socialism." Another good example of this dynamic
are the early "fasci" that existed in fin-de-siecle Italy which started out
as far left peasant uprisings. Mussolini's use of the term in the 1920s may
have been simply an appropriation, of course.
   Populism, because it is organized around the notion of a people vs. a
rather conspiratorally conceived "ruling class" or foreign class of
international capitalists easily lends itself to Anti-semitism in
particular. The Narodniks, (the Russian populists) carried out pogroms
against Jews in Russia regardless of class, on the basis that by
eliminating Jews, the "people" would eliminate the bourgeoisie from Russia.
-Rebecca Hill

     ------------------



More information about the Marxism mailing list