MGP-Panel7-Thailand

Mapping Global Populism — Panel #7: Democracy in Thailand: Navigating Populism and Authoritarianism

Moderator

Dr. Michael Montesano (Associate Senior Fellow, Thailand Studies Programme at Yusof Ishak Institute – ISEAS).

Speakers

“Political Legitimation and Authoritarian Nation Branding in Thailand,” by Dr. Petra Alderman (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics at the University of Birmingham, and a Research Fellow of CEDAR).

“Authoritarian Ministry of Truth: A Case of Thailand’s Anti-Fake News Center,” by Itsakul Unahakate (PhD candidate at the University of Sydney and Lecturer at Thammasat University).

“Youth Perspective: Is Populism for the People? An Ecofeminist Movement from Thailand,” by Pattanun Arunpreechawat (NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy). 

MR

Dr. Rooduijn on the Normalization of Far-Right Discourse: Mainstream Parties Shift Towards Extremes, Populist Radical Right Persists in Radicalism

In examining the unexpected triumph of populist radical right leader Geert Wilders in the Dutch elections on November 22, Professor Matthijs Rooduijn highlights a noteworthy shift within mainstream parties. He notes their increasing embrace of more radical positions, which challenges the prevailing notion of substantial moderation within populist radical right parties. Delving into the narratives of prominent populist radical right figures like Wilders and Marine Le Pen, Professor Rooduijn contends that the observed changes are primarily stylistic rather than indicative of fundamental shifts in political programs.

Interview by Selcuk Gultasli

In an exclusive interview with the European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS), Dr. Matthijs Rooduijn, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, provides insights into the normalization of far-right discourse globally, particularly in the wake of the surprising election results in the Netherlands on November 22, 2023. Dr. Rooduijn underscores a significant transformation within mainstream parties, as they increasingly adopt more radical positions, challenging the prevailing notion of substantive moderation within populist radical right parties. Examining into the narratives of prominent figures such as Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, he argues that observed changes are primarily stylistic, rather than representing fundamental shifts in political programs.

Delving into the complexities of populist radical right movements, particularly in the Netherlands, Dr. Rooduijn identifies nativism as the core feature, following Cas Mudde’s definition. Nativism, characterized by exclusionary nationalism, manifests in various expressions such as antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigration attitudes and racism. The interview provides insights into how Wilders’ anti-Islam agenda fits into the broader narrative of populist radical right ideologies.

Examining the international landscape, Dr. Rooduijn explores both the similarities and differences between populist radical right movements in the Netherlands and other European countries. While leadership may vary, the core ideology resonates with a significant portion of the electorate holding right-leaning cultural views. The interview scrutinizes the normalization of far-right discourse in the Netherlands, highlighting shifts in public perception and electoral strategies. Dr. Rooduijn notes the adaptation of mainstream right parties towards the radical right, contributing to the observed normalization globally.

The discussion extends to Wilders’ stance on immigration, distinguishing his emphasis on Islam from other far-right parties. Dr. Rooduijn provides insights into the intertwining of civilizational populism, nationalism, and their resonance with the Dutch public. The interview further explores the relationship between populism and Euroscepticism in Dutch politics, emphasizing Wilders’ hard-Eurosceptic position and its significance in the broader European context.

Dr. Rooduijn sheds light on the role of social media in the success and visibility of populist radical right parties, acknowledging its transformative impact on political communication. Analyzing the recent Dutch elections on November 22nd, he highlights the unexpected shift in the political landscape and underscores the challenges in forming a government coalition.

Looking forward to the European Parliament elections in June 2024, Dr. Rooduijn expresses concern about the potential surge of populist parties, emphasizing the discordance between their ideas and liberal democratic principles. The interview concludes by addressing the challenges faced by populist radical right movements in maintaining long-term political relevance, particularly the stigma associated with Wilders’ party and its impact on recruiting candidates for political positions.

Here is the transcription of the interview with Dr. Matthijs Rooduijn.

Filc

Professor Filc: Netanyahu’s Era Is Coming to an End, Influence of Clerical Fascism Will Likely Persist

Offering profound insights into the dynamics of Israeli politics and the evolving role of radical right-wing populism in the country, Professor Dani Filc of Ben Gurion University confidently asserts that the era of Benjamin Netanyahu is on the verge of conclusion. However, he also underscores that the influence of “clerical fascism” in Israel is poised to persist.

Interview by Selcuk Gultasli

In an exclusive interview with the European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS), Professor Dani Filc, a distinguished scholar in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, confidently asserts that the era of Benjamin Netanyahu, a longstanding figure in Israeli politics, is on the verge of conclusion. However, he also underscores that the influence of clerical fascism is poised to persist.

Offering profound insights into the dynamics of Israeli politics and the evolving role of radical right-wing populism, the interview delves into the historical transformation of the ruling Likud. From its roots as a radical right vanguard to its current status as a sui generis form of right-wing populism, Likud’s evolution is explored. The discussion tracks Likud’s inclusive elements and examines the ideological shifts that occurred during Netanyahu’s tenure.

Addressing the intersection of populism with identity politics, Professor Filc highlights the dangerous chain of equivalencies used to demonize Israeli Arabs and the instrumental use of religion to differentiate the “in-group” and the “out-group.” Professor Filc also provides insights into Israel’s global alliances, pointing out the alliance with European far-right parties. Filc touches on the evolution of Likud under Netanyahu and its alignment with illiberal, right-wing populist movements in Europe. 

Asserting that the ongoing war in Gaza signals the end of Netanyahu’s dominance in Israeli politics, Professor Filc predicts that “with the conclusion of the war in Gaza, Netanyahu will fall, leading to the abandonment of the judicial reform.” However, he expresses concerns about the lasting impact of the ongoing conflict on populist movements and calls for a just peace in the Middle East, highlighting potential dangers associated with civilizational populism or a clash of civilizations.

In this comprehensive interview, Professor Filc shares invaluable insights into the intricate landscape of Israeli politics, the evolution of populism, and the challenges posed by religious and right-wing populist movements in the country.

Here is the transcription of the interview with Professor Dani Filc.

ECPS-SZABIST University-OrtakPanel

Panel by ECPS & SZABIST University: Populism and Electoral Politics Around the World

Moderator

Dr. Fizza Batool (Assistant Professor, SZABIST University, Karachi)

Speakers 

“The Radical Right and the Radical Left in Anno 2023: What Does Populism Got To Do With It?” by Dr. Andrej Zaslove  (Associate Professor – Empirical Political Science, Radboud University.) 

“Psychological Roots of Populist Voting,” by Dr. Bert N. Bakker (Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam). 

The Psychological Appeal of Populism,” by Dr. Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington (Associate Professor of Social Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science)

“Electoral Populism in Pakistan and India,” by Dr. Farhan Hanif Siddiqui (Associate Professor, QAU).

“Populist Strategies of Erdogan in 2022 Elections,” by Dr. Salim Cevik (Associate at the Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS), SWP, Germany). 

KennethTan

Authoritarian Populism in Singapore

With its reputation for political stability, social cohesion, and economic wealth, global-city Singapore is very rarely discussed as a case for thinking about populist politics. Kenneth Paul Tan will explore what lies behind this reputation and discuss how the Singapore system, led by a government celebrated as clean, meritocratic, and pragmatic, is now showing signs of change not necessarily in the direction of democratization, but towards authoritarian forms of populism, first of the right and then of the left.

Professor Kenneth Paul Tan delivered this presentation during the “Varieties of Populism and Authoritarianism in Malaysia & Singapore” panel on October 26, 2023, organized as part of the Mapping Global Populism (MGP) panel series.

Kenneth Paul TAN is a tenured Professor of Politics, Film, and Cultural Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. He teaches and conducts interdisciplinary research at the Academy of Film, the Department of Journalism, the Department of Government and International Studies, and the Smart Society Lab. His books include Asia in the Old and New Cold Wars: Ideologies, Narratives, and Lived Experiences (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023), Movies to Save Our World: Imagining Poverty, Inequality and Environmental Destruction in the 21st Century (Penguin, 2022), Singapore’s First Year of COVID-19: Public Health, Immigration, the Neoliberal State, and Authoritarian Populism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), Singapore: Identity, Brand, Power (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew (Routledge, 2017), Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill, 2008), and Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007). Previously, he was a tenured Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore. He has held visiting fellowships, and honorary and adjunct professorships at the Australian National University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Georgetown University (on a Fulbright Fellowship), Harvard University, Sciences Po, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and the University of Hong Kong. His degrees are from the University of Cambridge (PhD, Social and Political Sciences) and the University of Bristol (BSc First Class Honours, Economics and Politics).

Lindberg-Nord

V-Dem’s Lindberg and Nord express deep concerns about potential victory of far-right populist parties in 2024 EP elections

In an exclusive interview exploring the intricacies of declining democracy, the rise of far-right populism, and the adaptability of democratic systems, Prof. Staffan I Lindberg and Dr. Marina Nord voice their deep concerns, highlighting that this is a matter of significance for all. Prof. Lindberg emphasizes, “We’ve demonstrated through various publications that far-right extremist parties are not only populist but also hold anti-pluralist views in their rhetoric and policies. When they attain power, they often spearhead the ongoing wave of autocratization. I would be very concerned if that also translates into and materialized in the European Parliament elections.”

Interview by Selcuk Gultasli

The state of democracy across the globe is under intense scrutiny as the world grapples with shifting political landscapes and the rise of authoritarian tendencies. In an exclusive interview, Professor Staffan I Lindberg, Director of the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute at the University of Gothenburg and Dr. Marina Nord, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at V-Dem Institute, provide valuable insights into the complexities of this critical issue.

Addressing criticisms from Professor Steven Levitsky in an interview with the ECPS on October 12, 2023, the interview begins with a robust response to his contention that the global democratic decline highlighted in the V-Dem Project’s 2023 report may not be as dire as depicted. Lindberg and Nord emphasize the significance of their data, underlining the approach of population-weighted data, which accounts for the global impact of democratic changes in countries with large populations. 

The interviewees discuss the apparent resilience of democracy and its concurrent decline, emphasizing that these findings are not necessarily contradictory. They point to countries such as that have made significant democratic improvements, as well as others where the situation has deteriorated. These varying experiences contribute to the complex global picture of democracy.

Prof. Lindberg explained the use of population-weighted data to assess the state of democracy worldwide, emphasizing that it gives more weight to countries with large populations due to their greater impact on the global state of democracy. This approach led to the conclusion that the global average for democracy regressed to 1986 levels in the V-Dem Project’s 2023 report

Dr. Nord also pointed out that even when looking at country averages, there is a decline, which dates back to 1997. However, she highlighted the resilience of democracy in terms of the continuation of elections in many countries. The interviewees delve into the multifaceted nature of democracy, highlighting that it encompasses much more than the mere presence of elections. Dr. Nord notes that while elections may still take place in certain countries, the decline in essential democratic attributes such as freedom of speech and freedom of association is a pressing concern. 

Prof. Lindberg also expressed a deep concern about the potential surge of far-right populist parties in the upcoming European Parliament elections in 2024. He emphasized that extremist and anti-pluralist parties often drive the current wave of autocratization, and their rise in Europe is worrisome.

Moreover, the interview explores the adaptation of democratic systems to specific cultural and socio-political contexts. Prof. Lindberg emphasizes the inherent contradiction in the concept of an “illiberal democracy” and highlights that the core principle of liberalism is the acceptance of opposing views, which is not compatible with an illiberal stance.

The interviewees conclude with the discussion of the recent Democracy Report by International IDEA, aligning with the findings in the V-Dem Project’s report. Professor Lindberg and Dr. Nord emphasize the urgency of collective action in the face of the growing number of countries undergoing autocratization.

Here is the transcription of the interview with Professor Staffan I Lindberg and Dr. Marina Nord.



ECPS-MGP-Panel6-Video

Mapping Global Populism — Panel #6: Varieties of Populism and Authoritarianism in Malaysia & Singapore

Moderator

Dr. Garry Rodan (Honorary Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland).

Speakers

“Political Islam and Islamist Populism in Malaysia: Implications for Nation-Building,” by Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid (Professor of Political Science, University Sains Malaysia).

“Islamist Civilizationism in Malaysia,” by Dr. Syaza Farhana Mohamad Shukri (Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia).

“Authoritarian Populism in Singapore,” by Dr. Kenneth Paul Tan (Professor of Politics, Film, and Cultural Studies, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University). 

Populism, religion, and anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes in Malaysia,” Dr. Shanon Shah (Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London).

Levitsky

Prof. Levitsky: The US and Europe accelerate the decline of Western liberalism through their own errors

“This process of a declining Liberal West, along with its increasing inability and unwillingness to promote democracy, presents a significant challenge in the world. Unfortunately, I don’t believe we can return to the world of 1990 to 2003 when democracy was, in many respects, almost the only game in town. Those days are over, and we now face a much more complex and challenging world,” says Professor Steven R. Levitsky. 

Interview by Selcuk Gultasli

Dr. Steven R. Levitsky, the David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government at Harvard University, stated that “the process of a declining Liberal West, along with its increasing inability and unwillingness to promote democracy, presents a significant challenge in the world.” In an exclusive interview with the European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS), Professor Levitsky analyzed the state of liberal democracy worldwide, saying, “Unfortunately, I don’t believe we can return to the world of 1990 to 2003 when democracy was, in many respects, almost the only game in town. Those days are over, and we now face a much more complex and challenging world.”

Primarily discussing the article jointly written by him and Professor Lucan A. Way for the Journal of Democracy on October 4, 2023, titled “Democracy’s Surprising Resilience,” where they emphasize that authoritarianism has a hard time consolidating power in countries with weak states, Levitsky argues that democracy promoters exaggerate democratic backsliding and criticizes those scholars for doing so because they want to highlight the degree of autocratization in the world. “I’m concerned that there has been an almost a rush to declare the world in a democratic recession, with an excessive focus on cases of backsliding, which are undoubtedly real. But they’re not the only thing happening in the world… Our assessment indicates modest backsliding over the last 15 years, rather than dramatic backsliding,” underlined Dr. Levitsky.

 

Here is the transcription of the interview with Professor Steven R. Levitsky with minor edits.

MGP-Panel5

Mapping Global Populism — Panel #5: Unveiling Many Faces of Populism in Pakistan 

This panel is jointly organised by The European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS) and The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) .

Moderator

Dr Susan de Groot Heupner (Associate Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation in Melbourne, Australia).

Speakers 

“Imran Khan’s Populist Narratives: An Analysis,”  by Dr Samina Yasmeen (Professor, Head of Department of International Relations, Asian Studies and Politics in University of Western Australia’s School of Social Sciences).

Media and Populism in Pakistan” by Ramsha Jahangir (A media professional and researcher).

“The Land of Pure: Islamic Populism in Pakistan’s Identity Project and the Rise of Radical Islam,” by Dr Fizza Batool(Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at SZABIST University, Karachi, Pakistan).

Military and Populism in Pakistan,” by Dr Raja M. Ali Saleem (Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Centre for Public Policy and Governance at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan).

“‘I Am Democracy’: The Appeal of Imran’s Khan’s Populism for Pakistani Women,” Dr Afiya Shehrbano Zia (Pakistani feminist researcher on gender and social development).

ECPS-MGP-Panel4

Mapping Global Populism — Panel #4: The Role of Populism, Radicalization and Hindutva in India

This panel is jointly organised by The European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS), The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI)  and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Adelaide.

Moderator 

Dr Priya Chacko (Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Adelaide, Australia).

Speakers

“Politics, ethics, and emotions in ‘New India’,” by Dr Ajay Gudavarthy (Associate Professor at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi).

“Ram Rajya 2.0: How nostalgia aids the populist politics of neo-colonial Hindutva futurism,” by Maggie Paul (PhD candidate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Adelaide, Australia).

“Constitutional roots of judicial populism in India,” by Dr Anuj Bhuwania (Professor at the Jindal Global Law School in India & currently Senior Visiting Fellow at the SCRIPTS ‘Cluster of Excellence’ at Freie University Berlin).

“India’s refugee policy towards Rohingya refugees: An intersectional approach to populism,” by Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta (Senior Lecturer in International Security at the University of New South Wales, Sydney) and Dr Shweta Singh (Associate Professor of International Relations at the South Asian University, New Delhi, India).