Thursday 22 November 2018

Nationalist and Transnational Populism form Eastern European Perspective

I have a privilege to have a lecture at the international conference of In the name of the people: representing the people in twenty-first century politics at University of Navarra, Spain 22-24 November 2018.


In recent years in Eastern Europe the successful populist parties are mostly right-wing nationalist or exceptionally left-wing populist with a huge nationalist sentiment. It seems to be that in this region populism and nationalism have been closely related or merged. Moreover, following the traditional literature on populism, we can easily say that our contemporary “populist Zeitgeist” can be seen as some kind of (post)modern nationalism.

In this paper, I am dealing with the problem, how can we analyse populism in Eastern Europe. It is hard to say that populism and nationalism have nothing to do with each other, but I am convinced that populism cannot be identified with nationalism. That is why, I introduce the term of historical-theoretical complex of nationalism and populism. My proposed thesis here that the unprecedent breakthrough of right-wing nationalist populism is based on the reconciliation of hegemonistic and mass-based approaches by the right-wing. It could be embarrassing, but the right-wing nationalism was able to study from the Gramscian and Laclauian theories and created a hegemonic and identity project.

According to post-Marxist, critical literature (Laclau, Mouffe, Hardt and Negri) it is obviously that populism is not just a nationalist phenomenon and there is a thing which can be called transnational left-wing populism. This version of populism is not an unknow phenomenon in this part of Europe, because the Communist regimes before 1989. My main thought is that the politics in this region has always been populist in that sense there is a constant need to contrast “the people” (as a large powerless group) and “the elite” (a small powerful group). This “never ending” political tradition of Eastern European populism turned up in the history once in nationalist and other times in transnational perspectives.

I put here an emphasize on the multitude proposed here as a counter-populist concept compared to right-wing nationalist-populism. I put forward that the multitude as an empty signifier can achieve some reconciliation between Laclau/Mouffe and Hard/Negri. I argue here that the transnational populism needs to have its transnational political subject which should be based on the multitude reinterpreted in populist and hegemonial context.

My lecture is available from here: