In the Name of the People: How Populism is Rewiring the World
Professor of African Studies, University of Cambridge
Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
Former Ambassador of Colombia to the United States
Research Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
Former Minister of Finance, Zimbabwe
Shaken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and staggering after the global pandemic, the global political order is entering a new era of volatile uncertainty that may roll back the gains of the last century.
Open democracies, where opponents respect one another even as they contest for power, are under threat from a rising tide of populism. In this stark new world, political opponents are enemies to be destroyed by fake news and independent institutions are being turned in the tools of perpetuating power.
In societies as diverse as Argentina, the Philippines, Tanzania and Hungary, populists have taken power promising to restore accountability to the people. But, once in office, they have sought to hollow out democracy and to demonise the opposition as they hold onto power and oversee the economic decline of their countries.
This book examines populism from its Latin American roots to liberation-movement populism in Africa and the rise of a new European nationalism in 14 countries across the globe with a view to understanding how populism is evolving into a threat to free and open societies.
At its most virulent, populism has destroyed democracies from the inside out, causing social instability, economic catastrophe and, in some cases, authoritarian repression. In other cases — such as South Africa — populism is a rising threat as strong constitutional guarantees of democratic accountability come under threat.
Where is populism taking us? Is there hope of a return to rational policy-making? Is the world doomed to descend into ever-greater conflict? These are the questions that this book addresses.