Portal:Left-wing populism

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Left-wing populism

Left-wing populism is a political ideology which combines left-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes. The rhetoric often consists of anti-elitist sentiments, opposition to the system and speaking for the "common people". Usually the important themes for left-wing populists include anti-capitalism, social justice, pacifism and anti-globalization, whereas class society ideology or socialist theory is not as important as it is to traditional left-wing parties. The criticism of capitalism and globalization is linked to anti-Americanism which has increased in the left populist movements as a result of unpopular US military operations, especially those in the Middle East.

It is considered that the populist left does not exclude others horizontally and relies on egalitarian ideals. Some scholars point out nationalist left-wing populist movements as well, a feature exhibited by Kemalism in Turkey for instance. For left-wing populist parties supportive of immigrant and LGBT rights among others, the term "inclusionary populism" has been used. With the rise of Greek Syriza and Spanish Podemos during the European debt crisis, there has been increased debate on new left-wing populism in Europe.

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Evo Morales 2011.jpg
Juan Evo Morales Ayma is a Bolivian politician and cocalero activist who has served as President of Bolivia since 2006. Widely regarded as the country's first president to come from the indigenous population, his administration has focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction, and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia. A democratic socialist, he is the head of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

Born to an Aymara family of subsistence farmers in Isallawi, Orinoca Canton, Morales undertook a basic education before mandatory military service, in 1978 moving to Chapare Province. Growing coca and becoming a trade unionist, he rose to prominence in the campesino ("rural laborers") union, campaigning against U.S. and Bolivian attempts to eradicate coca as a part of the War on Drugs, which he denounced as an imperialist violation of indigenous Andean culture. He repeatedly engaged in anti-government direct action protests, resulting in multiple arrests. Morales entered electoral politics in 1995, became the leader of the MAS and was elected to Congress. His campaign focused on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities. He advocates land reform and redistribution of gas wealth and gained increased visibility through the Cochabamba protests and gas conflict. In 2002 he was expelled from Congress for encouraging protesters, although he came second in that year's presidential election.

Once elected in 2005, Morales increased taxation on the hydrocarbon industry to bolster social spending, emphasising projects to combat illiteracy, poverty, racism, and sexism. Vocally criticizing neoliberalism and reducing dependence on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, his administration oversaw strong economic growth while following a policy termed "Evonomics" which sought to move from a liberal economic approach to a mixed economy. Scaling back U.S. influence in the country, he built relationships with leftist governments in the Latin American pink tide and signed Bolivia into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. Attempting to moderate the left-indigenous activist community, his administration also opposed the right-wing autonomist demands of Bolivia's eastern provinces. Winning a recall referendum in 2008, he instituted a new constitution that established Bolivia as a plurinational state and was re-elected in 2009. His second term witnessed the continuation of leftist policies and Bolivia's joining of the Bank of the South and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. After becoming the world's oldest professional footballer by signing to a Bolivian team, he was again reelected in the 2014 general election.

Morales is a controversial world figure, lauded by his supporters as a champion of indigenous rights, anti-imperialism, and environmentalism. Praised for seriously reducing poverty and illiteracy in Bolivia, he has been internationally decorated with various awards. He has been criticised from many perspectives on the political spectrum: right-wing opponents have labelled his administration as authoritarian and radical, while leftist, indigenous, and environmentalist critics have accused him of failing to live up to many of his espoused values.


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