Tonight there is going to be a rally for Jeremy Corbyn in Birkenhead Town Hall. Rebecca Long-Bailey MP will be one of the speakers. The Labour politician will be sticking up for socialism in the context of the leadership contest. It will be fascinating to observe the response of those in attendance.
However, it might appear that the whole populist tide is in retreat. Bernie Sanders disappointed some of his ardent supporters, while the demagogic Donald Trump has been discrediting populism and politics in general. The economic situation in Venezuela is grave. What can left populists do if populism on the left becomes unpopular?
The theorist Chantal Mouffe has played a major role in analysing politics. She has highlighted the need to bring the voices of ordinary people into the struggle. Antke Engel has written:
“Mouffe highlights the necessity to provide democratic channels for the expression of political conflicts; particularly, since, as Mouffe insists, there is passion in politics. While her liberal colleagues, who believe in deliberation or universal rational consensus, try to understand conflicts by looking at interests and values, Mouffe emphasizes the affective moment in politics. It is people’s desires and fantasies, which fuel identification and the formation of collective identities.”