Neo-Populism?

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Sun Feb 12 09:31:25 MST 1995


There's a new book out called "The Populist Persuasion: An American
History" by Michael Kazin, history professor at American University.

>From Eric Foner's Newsday review:

"His most original contribution is his careful delineation of how post-World
War II conservatives appropriated a language previously associated with the
left. Fearful of democracy and adhering to a hierarchical view of
society, traditional conservatives had found populist rhetoric wholly
unattractive. But, Kazin shows, as liberals became more and more
identified with the national state, they becaume increasingly vulnerable
to criticism from a New Right that drew on widespread resentment against
a faraway, unresponsive bureaucracy. When the potent issue of race was
added to the mixture, conservatives had found a winning combination.
Kazin credits George Wallace with being the real founder of today's
conservatism. His presidential campaigns of 1964 and 1968 demonstrated
that a conservatism shorn of elitism and speaking the language of
populism could yield impressive political dividends."


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