What drives right-wing populism in Eastern Europe?: part 1, Romania
“On the Barricades” s06e51
This weekend we analyze the political animal dubbed right-wing populism Eastern Europe, with Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland serving as reference points. So-called right populism is on the rise– it’s in power in Poland– and the world including the liberal intellectual establishment of these countries seem shocked by it. To the extent that this brand of politics is ideologically coherent, what is it? Does it offer anything, and is it in any sense a viable prospect given the complete void of established Left political opposition in the region? Hosts Boyan Stanislavsky and Maria Cernat discuss how the historical context of the region explains such backlash, as a reaction to the false promises of capitalist restoration. The “transition”, that was supposed to bring progress in an EU-NATO bundle, instead sacked the state resources and institutions, drove the standard of living down, and ended a relatively more stable period in the socialist republics.
In this first episode, Maria Cernat starts us off with an analysis of the right-populist formation in Romania, the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), and senator, the eccentric and unhinged Diana Șoșoacă. How do we make sense of this phenomenon and of the general state of political culture in Romania, going back a few decades to the Ceaușescu period? What is the role of the academy, which completely fails to critically assess or diagnose such trends besides in a hysterical manner? What is the way forward and what ideological tools are lacking?
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