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The Rise of Illiberalism from East to the West: A Lesson About Class for the Left

As the world awakens from the shock of Donald Trump being elected, liberals and people on the left have started to draw the conclusions. Class plays a crucial role in the rise of illiberalism. You just have to ask the right questions to realise how. Restoring class analysis and class politics is the first step towards combating illiberal politics.

Restoring class analysis and class politics is the first step towards combating illiberal politics.

Apparently, it takes some time until the elite learns that economic frustration is a seedbed for illiberalism. For decades, economic critiques of financial globalisation and socially disembedded economic liberalism were marginal until the 2008 financial crisis turned our views mainstream overnight. Now, the West has to learn another lesson that people in Eastern European peripheries have been taught for some time: prolonged economic dysfunctions result in political whirlwinds that sweep established liberal truths and institutions. The rise of Polish or Hungarian illiberalism is as much a result of globalisation’s discontents as it is a product of reckless political manoeuvring of right wing political bullies. Our focus on the shortcomings of political leaders should not distract our attention from the politics of class.


We can safely conclude that the stagnating or by some measure even worsening quality of life for working class people was a crucial factor behind Trump’s rise.

Continue reading the original article on Political Critique.


Photo by Darron Birgenheier, flickr.com

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© Created by Noemi Scheiring-Olah.