Short Cuts America: il blog di Arnaldo Testi

Politica e storia degli Stati Uniti

Obama sayz: il populismo negli Stati Uniti è cosa mia, mia e di Bernie.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama take part in a news conference during the North American Leaders' Summit in Ottawa

Durante un incontro a Ottawa con il primo ministro del Canada, Justin Trudeau, e il presidente del Messico, Enrique Peña Nieto, il 29 giugno 2016, l’allora presidente Barack Obama riflette in pubblico sul significato che la parola “populismo” ha nella sua cultura politica e almeno in una parte della cultura politica degli Stati Uniti. Che può essere diverso dal significato che ha per altri, in altri contesti, ovvero in altri paesi (gli storici lo sanno bene, ma qui è il Presidente in persona che parla, perbacco).

In conferenza stampa (vedi qui il testo), il presidente messicano Peña Nieto parla delle difficoltà di risolvere i problemi del suo paese e di questo mondo. Anche perché, dice, i governanti responsabili si trovano di fronte ad attori politici che agitano “slogan populisti” miranti solo a distruggere e destabilizzare, che usano “il populismo e la demagogia” per offrire false soluzioni semplicistiche.

Obama sembra rispondere anche a lui, quasi irritato, qualche minuto dopo. In una lunga tirata, dice che bisogna stare attenti a come si usa “populismo”, non lo si può appiccicare a chiunque faccia l’arruffapopolo in momenti di stress economico. Perché ci sono i populisti veri, come lo stesso Obama, o come Bernie Sanders, che sono riformisti che hanno a cuore gli interessi dei cittadini e dei lavoratori. E ci sono altri che sono tutt’altro: giocano al “noi” verso “loro”, sono piuttosto nativisti, xenofobi, o peggio. (Pensa ai populisti latino-americani evocati da Peña Nieto? Pensa a Donald Trump che ha appena scalato le primarie Repubblicane?)

Insomma, Obama rivendica il populismo come parola sua e come cosa progressista. Riporto qui la parte rilevante dei suoi commenti – in inglese perché, ora come ora, non ho voglia di tradurli.

If you’ll allow me, I want to say one last thing, though, because it’s been a running thread in a bunch of questions, and that’s this whole issue of populism.  Maybe somebody can pull up in a dictionary quickly the phrase “populism,” but I’m not prepared to concede the notion that some of the rhetoric that’s been popping up is populist.

When I ran in 2008, and the reason I ran again, and the reason even after I leave this office I will continue to work in some capacity in public service is because I care about people and I want to make sure every kid in America has the same opportunities that I had.  And I care about poor people who are working really hard and don’t have a chance to advance.  And I care about workers being able to have a collective voice in the workplace and get their fair share of the pie.  And I want to make sure that kids are getting a decent education, and a working mom has childcare that she can trust.  And I think we should have a tax system that’s fair, and that folks like me who have benefitted from the incredible opportunities in my society should pay a little bit more to make sure that somebody else’s kids who weren’t as lucky have those same opportunities.

And I think there should be curbs on the excesses of our financial sector so that we don’t repeat the debacles of 2007 and 2008.  I think there should be transparency in how our systems work so that we don’t have people dodging taxes by setting up offshore accounts in other places and avoiding the responsibilities that their fellow citizens who don’t have fancy lawyers and accountants – that they can’t benefit from those same tricks.

Now, I suppose that makes me a populist.  Now, somebody else who has never shown any regard for workers, has never fought on behalf of social justice issues or making sure that poor kids are getting a decent shot at life or have health care – in fact, have worked against economic opportunity for workers and ordinary people – they don’t suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes.  That’s not the measure of populism.  That’s nativism.  Or xenophobia.  Or worse.  Or it’s just cynicism.

So I would just advise everybody to be careful about suddenly attributing to whoever pops up at a time of economic anxiety the label that they’re populist.  Where have they been?  Have they been on the frontlines working on behalf of working people?  Have they been carrying the laboring oar to open up opportunity for more people?

Now, there are people like Bernie Sanders who I think genuinely deserved the title, because he has been in the vineyards fighting on behalf of these issues. And there, the question is just going to be, all right, we share values, we share goals — how do we achieve them?

[Poi ci sono altri che invece il titolo di “populismo” non lo meritano affatto.] So let’s just be clear that somebody who labels “us” versus “them,” or engages in rhetoric about how we’re going to look after ourselves and take it to the other guy — that’s not the definition of populism.

economic-populist-rage

Categories: Cultura politica

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  1. Breve storia del populismo in America - Doppia Elle

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