Class and nation in the age of populism: The forward march of labour restarted?

Journal: 
Issue: 
Summer 2020
Author(s): 
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.75.08.2020

To portray populism purely as a threat to democracy is to fail to recognise that it expresses widespread feelings of discontent with the current system, which is in systemic crisis. This has expressed itself through both anti-foreigner (nationalist) and anti-elites (class) sentiment. The left needs to focus on a class-based strategy, and to organise in particular among the new working class, which is ethnically diverse and composed mostly of well-educated service workers in London and the large cities. Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn sought to mobilise these constituencies, as well as their more traditional constituencies, along class lines. Though they did not succeed electorally, in the longer run, the fact that the new working class is predominantly young and increasingly attracted by an alternative and socialist vision of economy and society may be a cause for some optimism.

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Soundings 75: System change