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Alpbach Lab 03: Democratic Stress, the Populist Signal and Extremist Threat: Regenerating Europe’s Politics Through ‚Contact Democracy‘ and Statecraft

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Hauptschule
Breakout / Lab
in englischer Sprache

The rise of populism seen across Europe and the US is exposing old and hidden fault-lines in democratic systems. Populists are routinely dismissed as protest parties, clowns and flashes in the pan . In fact, real demand exists for Europe s populists and they must be seen as serious challenger movements that the established parties ignore at their peril. This Lab will identify where mainstream politics has failed to date. The core question for the Lab will be: how can we regenerate a notion of contact democracy as a means of refreshing democracies that have become tired and stressed?

Vortragende

Director Policy and Strategy, RSA - Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London Abstract
The rise of populism seen across Europe and the US is exposing old and hidden fault-lines in democratic systems.
Mainstream parties often seem powerless to respond to popular anxieties. Many appear blind to the reality that elite political projects have run their course and either need refreshing or will fall away. Democracy is under considerable stress  and fissures are opening up out of which new forms of populism and extremism have emerged.
Populists are routinely dismissed as  protest parties,  clowns and  flashes in the pan . In fact, real demand exists for Europe s populists  of different kinds  and they must be seen as serious challenger movements that the established parties ignore at their peril.
 Democratic stress, the populist signal and extremist threat , a high-profile report picked up across Europe s media written by the RSA s Anthony Painter and Claudia Chwalisz of Policy Network, explored what these new political movements might mean, how they should be understood and how more traditional political movements might respond. It was based on a substantial European research project which investigated campaigns, policies and political approaches targeted at populism and extremism at the national, local and neighbourhood levels. Working with a wide range of politicians, experts, campaigners, academics and public officials, it considered how parties  of the left and right  have responded to their different manifestations in countries across Europe.
This Lab will identify where mainstream politics has failed to date and will set out a strategic evaluation of how the antagonistic and corrosive aspects of populist impulses and identity politics can be resisted.
It will outline a new concept and vision of  contact democracy  the democracy of close engagement as a counter-weight to some of the more corrosive aspects of new forms of politics. Most importantly, a whole series of case studies will be outlined from across Europe and the US covering a variety of approaches to re-engage the often disaffected in the political process. These case studies, including from the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Ireland, the US and the UK will blend innovative party strategies with civil society and movement based responses. The core question for the Lab will be: how can we regenerate a notion of  contact democracy as a means of refreshing democracies that have become tired and stressed?
Participants will be asked to reflect on both the broad political analysis and the case studies that are presented to consider how they can be applied across the political spectrum to engender a healthier local, national and European democracy.

Anthony PAINTER

Director Policy and Strategy, RSA - Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London

1999-2000 Consultant, Westminster Strategy
2000 Project Leader, Policy Network
2000-2002 Director, Urbanity
2002-2003 Director, Political Division, The Communication Group plc
2003-2008 Founder and Director, Jefferson Communications
2008-2013 Freelance Researcher, Writer, Strategy Consultant and Commentator

Alpbacher Politik Labs

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