From Socialism
to Populism
and Back

Cover Art by Michael Byers
The tenacity of the Yankees, who are even rehashing the Greenback humbug, is a result of their theoretical backwardness and their Anglo-Saxon contempt for all theory. They are punished for this by a superstitious belief in every philosophical and economic absurdity, by religious sectarianism, and by idiotic economic experiments, out of which, however, certain bourgeois cliques profit.
— Friedrich Engels, “January 9, 1892 Letter to Friedrich Sorge”
Front Matters

Front Matters

The populist front.

Party Lines

From Socialism to Populism and Back

Bhaskar Sunkara

The Soapbox

Letters + The Internet Speaks

Because communication is at the heart of any good relationship.

Struggle Session

Fear of a Populist Planet

“Populism” is today employed as a bogeyman by liberals and centrists alike. Is there anything worth salvaging in the concept?

A Conversation with Sheri Berman, Jonathan Chait, Yasha Mounk, and Adaner Usmani. Moderated by Seth Ackerman.

Struggle Session

Winning the Battle, Not the War

Pink Tide populism was built in the context of two decades of deindustrialization and industrial fragmentation. But we need a socialist left that can reverse those very trends.

An Interview with René Rojas.

Friends & Foes

Adam McKay Is Mad as Hell

From Will Ferrell comedies to The Big Short, Vice, and Succession, Hollywood’s greatest populist is taking aim at oligarchy — from the hard left.

Connor Kilpatrick

Dustin Guastella

White-collar Populism

on the politics of professional-class anxiety

Illustration by Luca Yety Battaglia

Matt Karp

Is this the Future Liberals Want?

In a 2020 campaign against Donald Trump, a bet on Elizabeth Warren is a risky wager on its own terms. But over the next twenty years, a turn toward progressive technocracy is not a bet at all — it’s an unconditional surrender to class dealignment.

Illustration by Luca Yety Battaglia
Means of Deduction

Means of Deduction

We don’t live here anymore.

Vulgar Empiricist

Into the Void

Over the past 40 years, working-class parties have slid rightward toward neoliberalism and workers have increasingly dropped out of the political process.

Uneven & Combined

The Geography of Resentment

Deindustrialized areas that were once bastions of working-class politics are now playgrounds of the revanchist right.

Transitions

The Right-Populist Advance

Throughout Europe, right-wing populists captured voters from the collapsing center-left, winning legislative seats at home and in the European Parliament.

Reading Materiel

Reading Materiel

Something, something, hegemony.

Dossier

Expert Wisdom

Too often just a term of abuse, some academics have attempted coherent definitions of populism.

Canon Fodder

Bootstrap Populism

Rallying behind “free enterprise” mythology, American capitalists have long claimed to be gritty underdogs facing off against a rising statism.

Nicole Aschoff

Canon Fodder

“Populism” and the Significance of Left and Right

In the United States, the Populist tradition has always defined left-wing and egalitarian politics, unfairly maligned by bosses and intellectuals alike.

Charles Postel

Field Notes

Halfway Between Jefferson and Marx

A close look at the 1892 Omaha Platform, the program of the Populist Party.

Dawn Foster

At Age 83, Ken Loach Is Still Dangerous

After years in the wilderness, first with Thatcherism, then with New Labour, both the Left and British director Ken Loach are just hitting their prime.

Cultural Front

Cultural Capital

Sorry, no Joker content here.

Red Channels

The Little Man on the Big Screen

Everyone knows Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, but it was director Preston Sturges who captured the volatile reality of success, failure, and the American dream.

Eileen Jones

Bass & Superstructure

A Forgotten Country

Country music doesn’t deserve its right-wing reputation — its roots lie with the hopes and travails of working people.

Alexander Billet

Red Channels

I Want My BBC

British television has increasingly become an arm of the Conservative Party — yet many on the Left nostalgically remember an earlier, more open media landscape. Was the BBC ever ours?

Owen Hatherley

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

We Bet the House on Left Populism — and Lost

Anton Jäger

Four years ago, we celebrated Europe’s left-populist push. Now we have to look seriously at how little was accomplished and what might have been lost.

Tumbrel

The Tumbrel

Sharpening the pitchforks.

Girondins

Abolish Iowa

The Iowa State Fair is a depraved showcase of how vacuous and pointless US politics is today.

Matt Christman

The Worst Estate

Is Bernie “Trumpian”?

Only to frightened elites.

Liza Featherstone

Thermidor

The Preppy Populist

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has transformed himself from bow-tied libertarian to economic populist. But his hostility to the politics of solidarity remains intact.

Meagan Day

Illustration by James Clapham
Leftovers

Leftovers

All good things must end.

Popular Front

The Left Is Back (Sort Of)

But we’re nothing without our universal subject — the international working class.

David Broder

Popular Front

Why Aufstehen Failed

After drawing a flurry of attention last fall, Sahra Wagenknecht’s Aufstehen movement has run out of steam. Yet its call for the German left to reconnect with working-class voters remains unanswered — and is the far right is taking advantage.

Adam Baltner

Means & Ends

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