Our Western democracies are in crises: Voter turnout has declined in almost all European states over the last 30 years, while mistrust in politicians and political institutions has sharply increased. Right-wing populist and anti-democratic forces are part of an increasing number of European governments and are receiving all-time high election results in many other states. Notwithstanding national differences and other explanatory factors, these different developments may be subsumed under the phenomenon of political disaffection.
In the project Countering Populism and Political Disaffection we want to assemble and discuss mid-term to long-term strategies against right-wing populism, which take into account the underlying phenomenon of political disaffection in different European contexts. The overarching aim is to provide fresh ideas and stimuli for political decision-makers. To achieve this, we will organise three international and interactive roundtables with distinguished experts in the field as well as key stakeholders and activists from Germany and 10 other EU countries. In addition, key findings will be published online on the dialogue-platform www.countering-populism.eu and in print. In cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth as part of the federal programme Demokratie leben!
The populist surge seems inextricably linked to the logic, workings, and structural transformation of the public sphere. Hence, in order to understand and counter the current fundamental attacks on our liberal democracies and pluralist-democratic values, we need to address a number of crucial questions in this regard. For example, how does the transformation and diversification of the media affect populism as well as feasible responses? And how should political and media actors deal with populists without either playing into the narrative of the “ignored outsider” or giving them more attention than warranted by their political successes?
Terra Nova (France), Volta (Italy), and Das Progressive Zentrum (Germany) present strategic answers to the crucial question of how progressives and democrats across Europe should counter populism.
The third countering populism roundtable took place in May 2017 and focussed on the question of how civil society can best counter populism.
Against the grave background of the populist surge and rising disenchantment with democratic politics, Das Progressive Zentrum launched the project Countering Populism and Political Disaffection. The first roundtable (of a total of three) took place on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.
The recent Polish and French elections are especially topical and worrying reminders of the current rise of right-wing populist parties all over Europe. To debate this urgent European problem, Das Progressive Zentrum, with support of the German Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, organised an international roundtable, which took place on December 16, 2015 in Berlin.