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Is it possible to have populism without racism? by Benjamin McKean (Washington Post)

In this piece, Benjamin McKean provides a fascinating exploration of the relaitonship between populism, racism and identity. He draws on the hopeful examples of Spain and Greece to provide an alternative vision of multiracial left populism.

The populism of both George Wallace and the tea party movement rely on racial resentment and anti-immigrant views. Even Sanders can seem indifferent to outsiders. When he decries the trade policies that allow U.S. corporations to “pay slave wages in Mexico or China,” he usually implies that the solution is to bring U.S. jobs back rather than boost wages abroad.

But it’s not always so. In Europe, populist parties like Spain’s Podemos and Greece’s Syriza have won by campaigning against austerity policiesand in favor of rebuilding the welfare state while explicitly opposing xenophobia. Instead of directing populist anger at immigrants and other outsiders, they direct it toward the political and economic elites whose policies create inequality. Podemos’s current platform details policies against almost every conceivable form of discrimination, even proposing a “Celiac law” that would end discrimination against people who need gluten-free food.

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