The specificity of the new law can be perceived through traditional additions (ultra, extreme) or through more innovative additions. But whatever the name chosen, the point is to emphasize its place in the realm of reaction. Populism is a term that only creates confusion.
The concept of populism has been embraced with great enthusiasm by many analysts, who have highlighted the current’s “anti-systemic” nature, its opposition to conventional politicians, and its lack of institutionality.
But none of these features define the currents involved in the current reactionary wave. His conflicts with the political system are secondary to his central goal of turning current discontent into systematic harassment of the homeless. This regressive aim of confronting the middle class (and part of the wage earners) with the most vulnerable sectors bears no affinity whatsoever with populism.
Liberals use the term to disqualify any critical position on individualism, the market, or the republic. But the New Right is neither alien to these paradigms nor opposed to them. It has simply gained ground with a discourse that goes against the stormy contemporary reality that neoliberalism fosters. Nor is it outside the institutional regime when it challenges the dominant political parties with great demagogy.
Liberals equate the right with forces that are the polar opposite of the left. They believe that populism combines both aspects in a similar way. In this way, they present two opposite conglomerates as if they complement each other. They dissolve the evaluation of controversial content and emphasize other aspects of style or rhetoric. In this analytical way, there is not the slightest possibility of clarifying any relevant feature of the new law.
The hegemonic media have generalized this perspective, which superficially disqualifies populism from relegitimizing neoliberalism. From this point of view, they underline the centrality of a particularly vague term that mixes different historical meanings based on different roots.
In its old American or Russian meaning, populism referred to projects of popular leadership or the promotion of healthy and kind behavior among rural folk who were mistreated (and corrupted) in their transformation into urban wage-earners. Populism claimed this pristine purity and proposed to restore it as a transformative force in society.
Current right-wing discourse includes some facets of this longing but changes its regenerative, communal, or friendly meaning. He uses it to develop a counter-position against oppressed minorities. She tends to glorify the working class, punished by globalization and deindustrialization, and attributes this degradation to the presence of immigrants (Traverso, 2016). In the new right-wing extremist acceptance, there is no noteworthy echo of the old goals of brotherhood.
The liberal denigration of populism has also led to symmetrical praise. This vision defends the validity of this concept of depicting the oppressed sections of society. The consequences of this idea are particularly evident in countries with a fragile constitutional structure (Venezuela) or a long institutional tradition (Argentina). She also justifies the role of her guides and justifies any variants she observes of this modality (Laclau, 2006). This pro-populist statement is the opposite of the social-liberal diatribe and provides no clues to clarify the current character of the new right.
The analysis of the extreme right should enrich the fight against this current. The assessment of this space aims to achieve the defeat or neutralization of a force that threatens democracy and conquests of the people.
In Latin America, recent experience shows very different outcomes when decisive responses or hesitant responses prevail. The first case concerns the Venezuelan government’s struggle against the coup that, at enormous economic and social cost, managed to subjugate the Guarimbas to the reactionary gangs.
A similar attitude emerged in Bolivia after Camacho’s arrest. Instead of passively accepting the provocations of neo-fascist groups, the government went on the offensive and launched a daring operation to contain a ruthless enemy. The defeat of the failed coup attempt in Brazil, with the arrests of those involved, court proceedings against those responsible and investigations into financing, also goes in the same direction.