Adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

Trudeau wants 'adversarial relationship' with Trump, says presidential campaign manager You have as government bureaucracy hundreds of thousands of who are there 30 or 40 years and most of them are left-leaning. This does not mean of course that such a relation is by necessity an . in terms of left and right, and to define an adversary, is thereby discredited as 'archaic'. conditions favorable to consensual rather than adversarial politics, and .. the relationships between consociational political systems and systems of economic along a left-right axis; the consensual model accepts the possibility of multiple .

Indeed, Beck proposes that the generalized skepticism and centrality of doubt that are prevalent today preclude the emergence of antagonistic relations. We have entered an era of ambivalence in which nobody can believe any more that they possess the truth a belief that was precisely where antagonisms stem from.

The Political Spectrum Explained In 4 Minutes

Therefore, there is no more reason for their emergence. Politics in its conflictual dimension is deemed to be something of the past and the type of democracy that is commended is a consensual, completely depoliticized democracy. In my view, it is the incapacity of democratic parties to provide distinctive forms of identifications around possible alternatives that has created the terrain for the current flourishing of right-wing populism.

Indeed right-wing populist parties are often the only ones that attempt to mobilize passions and to create collective forms of identifications. In a context where the dominant discourse proclaims that there is no alternative to the current neo-liberal form of globalization and that we have to accept its diktats, small wonder that more and more people are keen to listen to those who claim that alternatives do exist and that they will give back to the people the power to decide.

When democratic politics has lost its capacity to shape the discussion about how we should organize our common life, and when it is limited to securing the necessary conditions for the smooth working of the market, the conditions are ripe for talented demagogues to articulate popular frustration. It is important to realize that, to a great extent, the success of right-wing populist parties comes from the fact that they provide people with some form of hope, with the belief that things could be different.

adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

Of course this is an illusory hope founded on false premises and on unacceptable mechanisms of exclusion in which xenophobia usually plays a central role.

But when they are the only ones to offer an outlet for political passions, their pretense to offer an alternative is seductive and their appeal is likely to grow.

To be able to envisage an adequate response it is necessary to grasp the economic, social and political conditions that explain their emergence. And this supposes a theoretical approach that does not deny the antagonistic dimension of the political. Without a profound transformation in the way democratic politics is envisaged, and without a serious attempt to address the lack of forms of identifications that would allow for a democratic mobilization of passions, the challenge posed by right wing populist parties will remain and even increase.

It is therefore urgent to abandon the illusions of the consensual model of politics and to create the bases of an agonistic public sphere. By limiting themselves to calls for reason, moderation, and consensus, democratic parties are showing their lack of understanding of the workings of political logics. An Agonistic Approach to the Recent Protest Movements Alongside allowing us to grasp the reasons for the growing success of right-wing populism, the agonistic approach can also shed light on recent protest movements in liberal-democratic societies.

This consensus, which is the result of the unchallenged hegemony of neo-liberalism, deprives democratic citizens of an agonistic debate where they can make their voices heard and choose between real alternatives.

Until recently, it was mainly through right-wing populist parties that people were able to vent their anger against such a post-political situation. But in both cases, what is at stake is a profound dissatisfaction with the current order. If so many people across the whole population, not only the youth, are now taking to the street it is because they have lost faith in traditional parties and they feel that their voice cannot be heard through traditional political channels.

As one of the mottos of the protesters claims: Understood as the refusal of the post-political order, current protests can be read as a call for a radicalization of existing democratic institutions, not for their rejection. What they demand are better, more inclusive forms of representation. Such a confrontation requires the emergence of a genuine left capable of offering an alternative to the social liberal consensus dominant in center-left parties. The case of Greece can, I think, serve as an illustration of such an approach.

In Greece popular mobilizations were led by a coalition of several left-parties Syriza whose objective was to come to power through elections and implement a set of radical reforms.

Their aim was clearly not the demise of liberal democratic institutions, but their transformation in order to make them a vehicle for the expression of popular demands. The French situation can also provide interesting elements for reflection.

It has often been noted that, in contrast with many other European countries, the Occupy movement was almost insignificant in France.

Some people have tried to explain this supposed anomaly by the fact that the austerity measures had not been as drastic there as in other countries and that the level of unemployment was not so high.

adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

But, then, why did we see several Occupy camps in Germany where the economic conditions are better? To look for an economic explanation is to miss the deep causes that are of a political nature.

I am of course not suggesting that the French do not have serious grounds for protest, but among the youth many people seem to believe that significant political channels are still available to express their demands. No doubt, a consensus at the center between center-right and center-left has also been installed in France, but the belief in the power of politics to change things has not been waning as in other European countries.

This is due to the existence, on the left of the Socialist party, of several groups with a more radical agenda. The capacity, for instance, of Jean-Luc Melenchon—the candidate of the Front de gauche, a coalition of several left parties—to mobilize the youth in the presidential elections was really remarkable. The problem, of course, is not limited to the youth, for there are also important popular sectors whose interests are being ignored by the traditional democratic parties.

In previous writings scrutinizing the growth of right-wing populist parties, I argued that their success was in great part due to the fact that they were often the only ones addressing the concerns of working-class people. This is, of course, what explains the success of Marine Le Pen in France and the fact that many French workers now vote for the Front National.

It all depends on how the adversary is defined. Whereas for right-wing populism the adversary is identified with the immigrants or the Muslims, the adversary for a left-wing populist movement should be constituted by the configuration of forces that sustain neo-liberal hegemony. At the center of the dispute about how to interpret the recent protests, lies a very old discussion about the nature of democracy and the role of representation.

This is an issue that I have examined in previous works, and it might be useful to revisit some of the arguments of this discussion to clarify what is at stake in the current dispute.

In The Democratic Paradox I argue that Western liberal democracy is the articulation of two traditions: While both of them have important strengths, they are ultimately irreconcilable and the history of liberal democracy has been driven by the tension between the claims for liberty and those for equality.

What has happened under neo-liberal hegemony is that the liberal component has become so dominant that the democratic values have been eviscerated. Without underestimating the democratic shortcomings of social democracy, it is clear that the situation has drastically worsened under neo-liberal hegemony. There are alternatives, however, and we should not accept the current situation as the final way of articulating liberalism and democracy.

The experience of progressive governments in South America in the last decade proves that it is possible to challenge neo-liberalism and to re-establish the priority of democratic values without relinquishing liberal representative institutions.

adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

It also shows that the state, far from being an obstacle to democratic advances, can in fact be an important vehicle for fostering popular demands. A taboo has been broken and many voices are now being heard, contesting the inequalities existing in our societies. To effectively challenge neo-liberal hegemony it is crucial, though, that all the energies that have erupted are not diverted towards wrong alleys.

I am afraid that this is what could happen if representative institutions become the main target of the protests.

adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

Such views are popular because they chime with the idea, fashionable among sectors of the left, that the multitude could organize itself avoiding taking power and becoming state. To find such an anti-political approach among activists involved in the various movements of the outraged is worrying because it prevents designing an adequate strategy for their struggle. When representation is seen as the problem the aim cannot be to engage with current institutions to make them more representative and more accountable, but to discard them entirely.

They do not see that the problem concerns the way representative institutions function at the moment and the fact that so many voices are excluded from representation. What needs to be challenged is the lack of alternatives offered to the citizens, not the very idea of representation. A pluralist democratic society cannot exist without representation. To begin with, as the anti-essentialist approach has made clear identities are never already given, but are always produced through discursive construction; this process of construction is a process of representation.

adversarial relationship in politics what is the left

It is through representation that collective political subjects are created and they do not exist beforehand. Every assertion of a political identity is thereby interior, no exterior to the process of representation.

Secondly, in a democratic society where pluralism is not envisaged in the harmonious anti-political form, and where the ever-present possibility of antagonism is taken into account, representative institutions by giving form to the division of society play a crucial role in allowing for the institutionalization of this conflictual dimension. However, such a role can only be fulfilled through the availability of an agonistic confrontation.

This is not to say that those practices do not have a role to play in an agonistic democracy. Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the US Declaration of Independence, and the country's third president, once remarked, "were it left to me to decide whether we should have a Government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.

Perhaps, in some societies, the politicians know and fear that. What is clear is that the relationship between journalists and politicians can have a significant impact on the functioning of a fair and just society. Politicians make decisions and take action on behalf of the public.

Avoiding editorial manipulation

Journalists scrutinise those decisions and report the implications to the public. Here are a few that come to mind: The hunter Tracks politicians down relentlessly. This journalist never gives up until they have their prey. The hunter journalist can often lack perspective and objectivity. Their contribution to enhancing the understanding of the audience is questionable.

The activist Committed to a cause and will fight any politician who is against that cause while supporting any politician who backs the cause. This journalist can be blinkered and one-dimensional. They find it hard to be objective because they realise that offering another perspective may weaken the angle they wish to push.

The activist journalist enjoys being seen as the martyr and often risks becoming the story rather than covering the story. The buddy Becomes a close friend to the politician and rarely questions their position, often taking the stance that the politician is right regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

This journalist will do the politician a favour, but will have limits — usually when they think they will be found out.

Democratic Politics and Conflict: An Agonistic Approach

However they will always be ready to lend a hand when needed if they feel that their coverage might benefit the politician and themselves. The buddy journalist is easily manipulated. The possession Owned by the politician through compromise and over-familiarity.

  • Trudeau wants 'adversarial relationship' with Trump, says presidential campaign manager

They probably lost their journalistic integrity at an early age. Likely to publish anything the politician wants with no questions asked. They enjoy name-dropping and being seen as connected to the influential.