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Left-wing populism

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Title: Left-wing populism  
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Collection: Political Spectrum, Political Terminology, Populism
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Left-wing populism

Left-wing populism is a political ideology which combines left-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes. The rhetoric often consists of anti-elitist sentiments, opposition to the system and speaking for the "common people".[1] Usually the important themes for left-wing populists include anti-capitalism, social justice, pacifism and anti-globalization, whereas class society ideology or socialist theory is not as important as it is to traditional left-wing parties.[2] The criticism of capitalism and globalization is linked to anti-Americanism which has increased in the left populist movements as a result of unpopular US military operations, especially those in the Middle East.[3]

It is considered that the populist left does not exclude others horizontally and relies on egalitarian ideals.[1] Some scholars point out nationalist left-wing populist movements as well, a feature exhibited by Kemalism in Turkey for instance.[4]


  • By country 1
    • Bolivia 1.1
    • Ecuador 1.2
    • Germany 1.3
    • The Netherlands 1.4
    • Venezuela 1.5
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4

By country


The leadership of Siles Zuazo practiced left-wing populism,[5] as well as that of Evo Morales.[6]


  • Albertazzi, Daniele; McDonnell, Duncan (2008). Twenty-First Century Populism. Palgrave MacMillan.  
  • Weyland, Kurt (2013). "The Threat from the Populist Left". Journal of Democracy 24 (3): 18–32.  
  • March, Luke (2007). "From Vanguard of the Proletariat to Vox Populi: Left-Populism as a 'Shadow' of Contemporary Socialism". SAIS Review of International Affairs 27 (1): 63–77.  


  1. ^ a b Albertazzi and McDonnell, p. 123
  2. ^ Zaslove, Andrej (June 2008). "Here to Stay? Populism as a New Party Type". European Review 16 (03): 319–336.  
  3. ^ Hartleb, Florian (2004). Rechts- und Linkspopulismus. Eine Fallstudie anhand von Schill-Partei und PDS (in German). Wiesbaden. p. 162. 
  4. ^ Ozel, Soli (April 2003). "After the tsunami". Journal of Democracy 14 (02): 80–94.  
  5. ^ Mayorga, Rene Antonio (January 1997). "Bolivia's Silent Revolution". Journal of Democracy 8 (1): 142–156.  
  6. ^ a b Kirk Andrew Hawkins, Venezuela's Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-76503-9, page 84
  7. ^ de la Torre, Carlos (2013). Populismus in Lateinamerika. Zwischen Demokratisierung und Autoritarismus (in German). Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. 
  8. ^ De Lange, Sarah (December 2005). "Political extremism in Europe". European Political Science 4: 476–488.  
  9. ^ a b Albertazzi and McDonnell, p. 132
  10. ^ Albertazzi and McDonnell, p. 133
  11. ^ Andeweg, R. B.; Galen A. Irwin (2002). Governance and politics of the Netherlands. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 51.  
  12. ^ Otjes, Simon; Louwerse, Tom (2013). "Populists in Parliament: Comparing Left-Wing and Right-Wing Populism in the Netherlands". Political Studies.  
  13. ^ Steve Ellner & Daniel Hellinger, eds., Venezuelan politics in the Chávez era: class, polarization, and conflict. Boulder: Lyne Rienner, 2003, ISBN 1-58826-297-9, page 67


See also

The presidency of Hugo Chávez resembled a combination of folk wisdom and charismatic leadership with doctrinaire socialism.[6] Chávez's regime was also described to have been a "throwback" to populist nationalism and redistributivism.[13]


The Socialist Party has run a left-wing populist platform after dropping its communist course in 1991.[11] Although some have pointed out that the party has become less populist over the years, it still includes anti-elitism in its recent election manifestos.[12] It opposes what it sees as the European superstate.

The Netherlands

The Party of Democratic Socialism was explicitly studied under left-wing populism, especially by German academics.[8] The party was formed after the reunification of Germany and it was similar to right-wing populists in that it relied on anti-elitism and media attention provided by a charismatic leadership. [9] The party competed for the same voter base with the right-wing populists to some extent, although it relied on a more serious platform in Eastern Germany. This was limited by anti-immigration sentiments preferred by some voters, although the lines were for example crossed by Oskar Lafontaine, who used a term previously associated with the Nazi Party, Fremdarbeiter or alien workers, in his election campaign in 2005.[9] The PDS merged into the Left Party in 2007, and new populist elements are likely to find a more hospitable habitat on the left than on the right in Germany.[10]



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