We entered the third day looking at populism – through the lens of political parties across Europe – hoping to find answers or at least clues for the rising success of this ‘ideology’.
First, we delved into the definition of populism, but we quickly ran into some issues finding a clear and well-structured definition which brought upon various degrees of (mis)understanding.
Without voters, populists parties would not be as successful as they are – as such, we took a deeper look into the key contributing factors towards a person voting for such parties, the main ones being:
- feeling unheard;
- fear of the ‘other’;
- defensiveness / protectionism.
To win these voters over, populists parties have been known to use crises, charismatic political leaders, and the media to their advantage. After reflecting on different country cases, like the UK and Brexit, we took a vote to see what we felt were the main catalysts.
The discussions brought up a vital question: what can WE do? Our brainstorming resulted in some interesting suggestions, such as:
- creating environments where all are included and equally listened to (in the form of agoras (public forums, etc);
- improving political education to ensure people know who and what they are voting for;
- following the mantra that ‘words are powerful, so choose them wisely’;
- Being aware that we live in an ‘infodemic’ and we must counter and challenge disinformation.
All in all, we left the day with lots of thought provoking information and are ready to continue discussions!