Friday 8 September 2017

Empire and Multitude Populism

I have a lecture at ECPR Annual Conference on 8th September 2017 in Oslo, Norway. My lecture is dealing with the political and social theoretical assumptions of nationalist right-wing populism and transnational left populism.

The abstract of my lecture can be found here:

In recent years populism has not only become some kind of Zeitgeist, but it has redesigned our beliefs and assumptions concerning liberal democracy. Is seems to be that radical right populism is more successful than leftist populism. According to my hypothesis we have entered the era of populist democracy and there is a fierce competition between the left and right to define and maintain the core nature of this populist democracy. I will apply the well know theory of Empire and Multitude by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2000) to understand our current populist tendencies. It will be argued in my paper that right-wing nationalist populism can be seen as a manifestation of the Empire. According to my understanding the populist parties and movements on the political right belong to the realist conception of the Empire: these actors are seeking the political power and would like to conquer the institutions of global capitalism. Right-wing nationalist populism is neither anti-capitalist, nor anti-elitist. It means that a new political elite has been created (for instance this is Donald Trump and alt-right in the USA, Viktor Orbán and his regime in Hungary) and seeks to gain political power with populist political communication and style. That’s why I call this new phenomenon elitist populism or Empire Populism. These actors are acting like populist in that sense they understand and solve the people’s problems, in fact they serve elitist purposes. On the other hand, the (radical) left populism has been called here a utopian or Multitude Populism. This form of populism tries to concern the multitudes of the people. Occupy movement, Indignados) and DiEM25 have emerged as left populist promises. I will analyse in my paper the political theoretical backgrounds of Empire and Multitude Populism. It has been stated here that the populist right has been inspired by the concepts of Carl Schmitt (the concept of the Political; the nature of neoliberalism; state of exception), Max Weber (leader democracy), and populist constitutionalism. On the left side, the Multitude Populism seems to be frozen from ideological point of view and suffering from ideological emptiness, but transnational populism could fill this theoretical gap. That is why I will put forward my thought on this crisis and argue that populist left needs to reformulate its bases as transnational political communities based on multitude.

The full draft paper can be downloaded from my

My presentation is available from here: