Populism is a reaction to the unfulfilled promises of democracy Poland

Or, rather, it is a reaction to globalization and the perception that decisions are increasingly made by experts and financial markets that exist beyond the scope of democratic structures. 

Populism is an attempt to reclaim people’s voices. But an interesting question remains: Why does this supposedly healthy reaction lead to such poor results – from the crisis of democracy to the rise of international conflicts?

 With Poland’s parliamentary election coming next month, your new book, Society of Populists, co-authored with Przemysław Sadura, is being widely read and discussed. Even Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has commented on it, though he belongs to the populist ruling party. What does your title mean, and how are you defining populism?

In Poland, Hungary, Serbia, or Slovakia populists have been able to take over state institutions with little effort.

Though liberal thought had been emerging in Poland since the nineteenth century, partition and the lack of a Polish state meant that it was pushed into the background. 

The national imperative took priority, both before the restoration of sovereignty in 1918 and before 1989.

Sławomir Sierakowski interviewed by Irena Grudzińska Gross

Project Syndicate 15 September 2023 


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