Donatella della Porta’s contribution is titled »Progressive and regressive politics in late neoliberalism«, and places a particular focus on the role of social movements.
In this interview, della Porta discusses the characteristics of both progressive and regressive movements, and how they can be distinguished from each other. Building on this comparison, she develops a more precise definition of populism as such: »Populism is a social relation, dominated above all by the leader, in which the population is regarded as a passive audience or public.«
Della Porta assigns a central role to the social and economic conditions of late neoliberalism in this context, arguing that both regressive and progressive movements are fundamentally responses to changes rooted in the fact that national policies can no longer control the global economy. The political demands these two types of movements develop in response, however, are radically different.
How can the great regression be counteracted? In della Porta’s eyes, »no one really has a decisive answer to that question yet«. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t give up hope quite yet, as alongside the nationalist turn we also find »phenomena going in an entirely different direction«.