Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election has been widely perceived as a sign of the triumph of regressive over progressive movements. Similarly, the Brexit referendum has been taken as an indicator of a wave of parochialism that threatens to wash away a once-dominant cosmopolitan sentiment.
While the turn of the century witnessed powerful mobilizations from the left such as the global justice movement (think of the so-called »Battle of Seattle« in 1999, the first World Social Forum held in 2001 under the motto »Another World Is Possible«, or the emergence of organizations like Attac), and the 2008 financial crisis brought to the fore such anti-austerity movements as Occupy Wall Street and the indignados in Spain, the last few years have been characterized by the re-emergence of the dark side of politics.
That said, it would be a mistake to forget that initial signs of reactionary movements were already visible in Europe fifteen years ago, when Jörg Haider’s FPÖ came second place in the 1999 Austrian parliamentary elections, prompting a right-wing coalition government under chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel of the ÖVP. A few years later, in 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen made it to the second round of the French presidential elections, where he ultimately lost to Jacques Chirac. Bearing those events in mind, it seems safe to conclude that discontent with neoliberal globalization has been present on both the left and the right for quite some time.