Josep Piqué i Camps, Nicolás Redondo Terreros and Javier Zarzalejos
The Rafael del Pino Foundation organised, on 23 November 2017, the dialogue "Geography of populism", with the participation of: Josep Piqué i Camps Economist, Former Minister of Industry, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology; Nicolás Redondo Terreros, Member of the editorial board of the newspaper El Mundo; Ángel Rivero, Professor of Political Theory at the Autonomous University of Madrid and Javier Zarzalejos, Director of the FAES Foundation, who acted as moderator.
This event was organised on the occasion of the publication of the book of the same title, coordinated by Ángel Rivero, Javier Zarzalejos and Jorge del Palacio, published by Tecnos and FAES Foundation.
On 23 November 2017, the dialogue on "Geography of Populism" took place at the Rafael del Pino Foundation, with the participation of Josep Piqué i Camps Economist, former Minister of Industry, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology; Nicolás Redondo Terreros, member of the editorial board of the newspaper El Mundo; Ángel Rivero, professor of Political Theory at the Autonomous University of Madrid and Javier Zarzalejos, director of the FAES Foundation. The event began with a speech by Javier Zarzalejos, who pointed out that, a few months ago, the perception of populism was worse than the reality. Now, however, we may be falling into the opposite perception, which is a risk because although the populist wave has lost momentum, the tide is still very high. There is a redefinition of European politics in terms of populism. There is a redefinition of the European political agenda, influenced by populism. As far as Spain is concerned, populism has come up against an institutional reality, which is a constitutionalist parliamentary majority that has had the capacity to collaborate, and a social reality, which is the wisdom of the Spanish people who vote. In our country we have two textbook populisms: a conventional one, with Podemos and its associated organisations, and another that has developed in the heat of the pro-independence process in Catalonia. The symbiosis between nationalism and populism is well established. Populism knows well the destructive potential of nationalism. In turn, independence has resorted to the techniques of populism in order to broaden its social support, with messages such as "Spain is stealing from us" or the right to decide. All this has resulted in an internal fracture in Catalan society, a fracture that is probably deeper and more lasting than we would wish. For his part, Ángel Rivero defined populism as an ideology that establishes an irresolvable conflict within democracies, with a Manichean vision that is very destructive. It is a phenomenon that, historically, originated in Latin America, which has spread to Europe. Populism produces a tension between representative democracy and ideal democracy, which empties democratic institutions and has an authoritarian drift. Moreover, where populism comes to power, there is a contagion effect towards other parties. Nicolás Redondo Terreros warned that populism is an infectious pathology of democracy. When it is in its infancy, populism is hyper-democratic, but when it comes to power it has authoritarian tics that are only limited by the strength of civil society and institutions. Populism is a kind of ideological core that can be combined with almost any ideology. It is this combination that attacks reason. The second characteristic of populism is that the only relevant fact for it is the confrontation between friend and foe. It goes against pluralism because it pretends to establish a transcendental link between the leader and the people. The danger he perceives is that the democracy that was born after the Second World War, which establishes a consensus between classes, is today in crisis. We are living through a revolutionary process as important as the one that coincided with the invention of the printing press, the discovery of America and many scientific discoveries. This change is causing the agents of consensus to be less homogeneous today than they were when the consensus was established. We must therefore make a great effort to recover the energy that gave us the consensus. Finally, Josep Piqué pointed out that we have been living dangerously in Europe, because populism was a tsunami that could end the European political project. On this occasion, the good guys have won, except in the United Kingdom, but with a nuance: Europe's representative systems are being called into question. Indeed, in many cases, traditional political parties have become secondary. Why are we now so worried about populism? Because in Europe we thought we were already vaccinated against the phenomenon. There was a consensus to keep out the extremes, but now we find that what we thought would not return has reappeared and we have it here. Populism is an expression that is adapting to new circumstances and making massive use of the new tools of technology and communication. It is based on offering simple solutions to complex problems. To combat it, we must defend the value of our institutions and our democracy. To do so, the link between democratic institutions and free citizens, which was broken as a result of the crisis and corruption, must be restored.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.