Workers Party Logo


Right populism: all mouth and no trousers

On Moats this Sunday 30 July party leader George Galloway pointed out in response to a caller that with the exception of Le Pen and Orban, Europe’s much feared right-wing populists were “all mouth and no trousers”; hiding behind the culture wars but in complete agreement with the main political forces of imperialism. In economics George described their policies as those of neo-liberalism and in terms of foreign policy they can all be characterised as neo-con.

Writing in Unherd the other week, Thomas Fazi observes:

“It seems inevitable that Right-populism will play an increasingly influential role in the coming years. But exactly what kind of “change” should we expect from these “patriots”? From a cultural standpoint, such parties could not be further from the liberal-progressive mainstream: they share an attachment to Europe’s traditions and religious heritage, a dislike for eurocrats and an opposition to all things woke — immigration, gender ideology, green fanaticism. So we can definitely expect a pushback on these fronts, within individual countries as well as at the European level: more relaxed climate policies, more restrictive immigration policies and less talk about gender.

On other, arguably more important issues, however, these so-called populist parties are peculiarly aligned with the mainstream. In terms of economic policy, for example, almost all of them are wedded to the neoliberal orthodoxy embedded in the EU: with few exceptions, their economic agendas revolve around pro-austerity, pro-deregulation, anti-worker and anti-welfare policies.”

Anger diverted to safe avenues

The analysis of Thomas Fazi touches on significant issues for any working-class political party. A working class party needs to represent the quite sane views of the workers, even if those views seen through the prism of the corporate media are deemed to be unpopular, irrational, old-fashioned and framed as bigoted. The failure of the Left to give voice to working class concerns will ensure that anger originating in the economic class struggle and given expression in the “culture wars”, is diverted into harmless (economically speaking) avenues, as the right-populists serve up more of the same neo liberal economic policies. Our job is to ensure justice for workers.

“…overall, there is little reason to believe that this Right-populist wave will result in any major economic policy shift. And this is highly problematic, given most of the support for these parties doesn’t come from voters who are tired of wokeness — though that certainly plays a role — but from those who are anxious about their socioeconomic situation and lack of economic security. At a time when millions of Europeans are struggling with inflation and falling real wages, any party that wants to survive the next electoral cycle will also need to provide answers to the majority of voters who expect a material benefit from their vote. In this sense, the fact that most of these parties are wedded to the economic orthodoxy doesn’t bode well for their future — or that of the millions of Europeans struggling to get by.” Thomas Fazi.