Will democracy in the Philippines go the way of Thailand? by Michael Vatikiotis, 14/09/2017, The Economist
Rodrigo Duterte bears many similarities to Thaksin Shinawatra
WHEN Filipinos attempt to explain the political success of their tough-guy president, Rodrigo Duterte, they tend to point to local precursors. Joseph Estrada, a former matinée idol who had often played Robin Hood types, rose to the presidency by promising to be hard on bad guys and good to the poor. And then there is Ferdinand Marcos, who cultivated an image as a war hero to win election before assuming dictatorial powers, and whose reputation Mr Duterte is doing his best to restore.
Both these comparisons make Mr Duterte’s knack of casting himself as a friend of the people while giving short shrift to the niceties of democracy seem like a function of Philippine politics, in which populists occasionally attempt to stir up resentment against the hereditary caste of landowners who dominate government and the economy. After all, despite regular elections and much talk of reform, the 40 best-connected families still control about three-quarters of the Philippines’ wealth. Poverty is equally entrenched, as a visit to Manila’s slums or the southern, partly Muslim island of Mindanao makes clear.
But the Philippines is not the only country in South-East Asia with an entrenched establishment presiding over profound inequality. Most are blighted by single-party rule, or by a political churn which does not seem to have much impact on local power structures. Thailand, with a monarchy manipulated by the elites, is a case in point. The purpose of 12 military coups, two in the past 12 years, has been, as Michael Vatikiotis argues in “Blood and Silk”, a perceptive new book on the region, to maintain “an imposing if arcane edifice of power and [cultivate] a conservative mindset that has prevented the devolution of power and autonomy to ordinary people.”
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Call for workshop papers : Populism in Asia: Contours, Causes, Consequences, 15-16 November 2017, Monash University Malaysia
During the last few years, populism has gained widespread attention in the Western world. Populist tendencies in Asia, however, have been largely ignored. Apart from the volume by Mizuno/Pasuk (2009), the phenomenon has slipped academic attention so far. Yet in recent years, the success of a new « Islamic populism » in Indonesia and Turkey, the rise of populist-authoritarian strongmen such as Duterte in the Philippines and Prabowo in Indonesia illustrate the salience of the phenomenon in Asia. A two-day-workshop organized by Monash Malaysia’s School of Arts and Social Science and the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg (GIGA) is exploring the issue of populist mobilization in Asia, its causes and consequences.
Altough the concept itself is fuzzy, recent scholarship has made some significant contributions to the understanding of populism. We follow a narrow definition of the concept and understand it as a mobilization strategy, which uses ideas that divide society into two homogenous and antagonistic camps : the « pure people » and the « corrupt elite » (Mudde 2004 ; Müller 2016). We can distinguish between classical, right-wing (ethno-nationalist), neoliberal and left-wing populism. Often, populism as a « thin ideology » is combined with elements of nationalism or socialism. The causes and effects of the rise of populist movements and parties are subject to intense debate : structuralist explanation such as economic insecurity, delayed modernization or uneven globalization stand next to culturalist assumptions, e. g. the cultural backlash thesis that is the « retro reaction by once-predominant sectors of the population to progressive value change (Inglehart/Norris 2016).
The workshop explores the following questions :
- How can we caracterize Asia’s emerging populism ?
- What are the root causes for the rise (or failure) of populists leaders/movements/parties ?
- How do populists mobilize their followers ?
- What are the effects of the rise of populists on foreign policy and domestic politics ?
Marco Bünte, Monash University Malaysia : firstname.lastname@example.org
Andreas Ufen, GIGA, Hamburg : email@example.com
Voir : https://www.facebook.com/APSASEAsia/?hc_ref=ARRAVdrGiHU3fIEFccDe-QWg88aT9_vJ_ShhFkjThep1iMPHm5nEZCT2A7_NaXR4C2g&fref=nf