[Author’s Note: This piece was initially published some weeks ago; however, due to the ongoing nature of the Yellow Jacket protests in France – and the attempted neo-liberal-hijacking of anti-neoliberal forces occurring across the globe, it has been republished here for your consideration]
A thought that’s been gestating in my head these past few days about the Yellow Jackets “political moment”, is how … I guess you could say that “populism” looks like *very* different things to different people.
And, more specifically, how any genuine upswelling of ordinary-people political sentiment which is not *vigorously* (self) branded, will find itself seemingly inevitably co-opted by people far-removed from the context in question.
Often in *direct contradiction* of anything actually being advocated/agitated for by the relevant Movement.
If “populism” is “the politics of opportunism” – then it is both the mass-collaborative art [a ‘flash mob’ we might have said, ten years ago .. if those are still a thing] of seizing an opportunity, creating an opportunity
in order to be heard *en masse* where you’d previously been ignored as individuals …
… but it is *also*, apparently, a politics beset and bedevilled by “opportunists” seeking to coast or I suppose to “surf” [and then, with regrettable commonality, to “serf”] the ‘wave’ of the onrushing tide of the Body Politik to their own advancement.
Now, if all of that seems a bit abstract … allow me to proffer an example.
The below-linked screencap is from a young American conservative commentator by the name of Charlie Kirk. If you haven’t heard of him, or of the organization he represents – “Turning Point USA” – then I do apologize most deeply for (dis)abusing you via this introduction.