Aysen Candas | Left Populist “Strategy” as Affective-Identitarianism

Left Populist “Strategy” as Affective-Identitarianism:

A Missed Opportunity at a Critical Moment when Substantive, Rational, Non-Affective, Programmatic Left-Leaning Policies/Politics are Immediate – and Generalizable – Needs

By Aysen Candas

The term “left populism” has at least two meanings that need to be differentiated from one another. In the following, I define the first variety as substantively and existentially populist, and the second as left-populism-as-strategy. After laying out the attributes and differences of these two models of left populism, I will focus on just three problems that I see as the most significant.

The three problems I focus on are the following. Firstly, I will problematize populism as pure strategy, namely, as the deliberate libidinal regression of the anxious and insecure masses by directly manipulating their emotions and making them identify with the leader. Following Neumann (posthumously published, 1957) I will call this affective-identification mobilization method the caesaristic method that the left populist strategy seems to want to follow, in particular in its Laclau-Mouffe lineage.

Secondly, I will question the role played by left populism in a dynamic game authored by right-leaning populists. As it seems to me that left-leaning strategical-populists make their calculations regarding the projected success of their movement based on a static model of the present moment, disregarding the moves and intentions of other players, and entirely miss the meaning of the role they might end up playing in a dynamic game in relation to the impact of right-leaning populism at a moment of political dual crises and economic dual crises. I argue left populist strategy is “constituted” to act in a certain way – in Laclau’s sense – by – what Mouffe calls – “the populist moment,” which is a moment that is originally authored by right-leaning populisms. As constituted partners of right-leaning populism, left-strategists are bound to play the role of the supporting actor in emptying the center and in destroying the basic democratic institutions. This is so, because left-leaning populists who use populism as strategy disregard the immediate needs of the masses who require a substantively left, rational program and a solidarity that is forged on the basis of that rational program. Instead, left-populism as strategy:

a) helps right-leaning populists replace formal/legal/rational legitimacy with charismatic legitimacy, and

b) helps right-leaning populists replace rationalist style of constitutional politics with an emotional style.

Thirdly, I will end by a reflection about the nature of what Mouffe calls “the populist moment.” I would like to unpack “the populist moment,” redefine its features and reflect on our present moment as an instance of what historians used to call a “backwardness syndrome.” While in the decades following the horrors of 1930s, “backwardness syndrome” thesis was pushed forward to render Germany and Italy too specific to derive lessons from, a similar thesis is now at work in our rejection to learn from “backward” advanced-populist cases, such as Turkey. Yet some lessons that can be derived from the populist experience of Turkey are essential for beginner populists anywhere. The most essential lesson that can be derived from the Turkish case is that, an opposition that expects consistency of message, congruence of coalition-partners, and strictly neoliberal economic policies from right-leaning populists will be very unprepared for the fact that right-leaning populists’ economic policies and their coalition-partners as they try to come to power will be very eclectic. Right leaning shifty populists combine racism and misogyny with inclusive moves, forge tremendously eclectic coalitions and dissolve and re-carve them with almost entirely different partners, implement neoliberal deregulatory economic policies together with distribution of perks, rents and social benefits to the key groups that they want to recruit, and render patronage the dominant from of recruitment of groups.

Left Populism as Substance v. Left Populism as Strategy

Left populism on the one hand signifies the legacy of a very old tradition of struggle that can perhaps be formulated as “exploited masses’ refusal to be acted upon by history and their will to write their own.” In this first sense, the actors that are acted upon by history and are now taking it upon themselves to become its authors are “the oppressed, the exploited, the voiceless” masses; what they want to be overcome is both their passivity and passive role in history’s making and the causes of their passivity as well as the causes of their oppression and exploitation. There is a collective actor, its journey is a collective learning process, a transformative struggle takes place that renders the passive actors into active forces, and there is a clear end result if they are successful, namely “overcoming injustice, inequality, exploitation, discrimination, voicelessness.” This is the substantive definition of left-leaning politics in general; and its getting called “populist” in fact directly derives from this content in the sense that it is masses’ objective and generalizable interests in egalitarianisms that is under consideration here, and as a result, this is called populist.

On the other hand, left populism also refers to a form, a logic and a style of mass-mobilizational politics, some proponents of this view (i.e. Laclau-Mouffe lineage) call it a strategy and define it as a method of mobilization that is attached to “no ideology,” and argue it has “no programmatic content.” It is based on defining who “we” are and who the “adversaries” are. It seeks to aggravate and fuel the emotions of the masses against the adversaries and aims to establish an affective identification with the charismatic leader.

In this second sense, populism is no longer the natural outcome of the substance of left-leaning politics. Rather, left populism is pure strategy. It arises as an afterthought that seeks to address a specific problem, which is usually described as the masses’ being kept unaware of their objective and generalizable interests. Left populism as a strategy tries not to overcome this alienation as such but to circumvent this problem of “false consciousness” and the lack of sufficient popular support that left politics suffers from, as a result of it, by the insertion of the leadership principle.

As a result, left populism as strategy involves two, hierarchically relating, actors, the organizers of the strategy and of the movement, on the one hand; and the masses, who are to be organized under their directions, on the other. The aim is not to overcome the substantive problems associated with the left-leaning politics but to come to power riding on the popular support that is to be obtained from the masses. Who is going to be active/actors in the end as the outcome of left populist strategy is the Leader (and his intellectual cadre, potential nomenklatura, technically a technocracy) and who will continue to be the passive recipients that are reduced to their instrumental role is the passive and voiceless subjects who may (or may not be) paternalistically “rescued from” exploitation and discrimination (or not). That they will continue to be passive forces and remain voiceless recipients “acted upon by history” must be more or less clear.

Left populism understood in the first sense, as the substance of left-leaning politics, aims to correct and transform structural causes of injustice. Its backbone is dignity and equality. To the extent that it focuses on dignity and equality, it necessarily produces a kind of politics that rests restlessly in its own collective and moral righteousness, its indignation is not one that can be satisfied by conquering coercive power. Left populism in the first sense is, at the end of the day, a specific, a transformative kind of politics that regards politics itself as essentially instrumental to the realization of its substantive progressive ends. This kind of politics aims at unseating not merely a certain kind of economic structure, but also a certain kind of political “might” from its throne, therefore it cannot approach “political might” uncritically. The claim for dignity and equality that constitute its backbone contain politicization of not only the impoverishment, not only the exploitation, but also the lack of voice, and the invisibility of those who have been systematically rendered invisible, of those whose needs do not “normally” count. Hence its substantive aims can only be realized by genuinely participatory, not only substantively but also procedurally democratic, inclusive, egalitarian deliberative as well as representative mechanisms. As direct democracy cannot be applied at all levels of administration, as the deliberation on articulation of needs as opposed to deliberation on articulation of realistically available options and objectively constrained possibilities require different kinds of feedback, participation, experience and knowledge, and styles of listening, it has to grapple with the necessary fact of multiple levels of deliberation as well as representation. All these render the substance of issues, and the methods available to left-populism-in-substantive-sense primarily “rational,” as its horizontally-relating actors, as members of the same movement, question, analyze, problematize, challenge, articulate, deliberate, negotiate, discuss, agree and disagree, become convinced or remain unconvinced as alternative opinions are expressed by their peers.  Its deliberative processes allow for “the directly affected” to take the central role in the articulation of needs, while it also incorporates technical or historical background knowledge of experts in expanding information, enlarging understanding of the objective facts, the comprehensive picture, available options, and the objective constraints that exist. It creates venues where one argues to convince and is ready to be convinced by introduction of compelling evidence.

Emotions, consequently, enter into the praxis of substantive left-leaning politics -in the first sense, – only as unintended and naturally arising outcomes of experiencing exploitation, discrimination, inequality and injustice, of caring for each other, caring for rights and equality, in the anger that surfaces when one reflects on inequality, injustice, exploitation and discrimination, and in the emergent solidarity and determination that a collectivity altogether finds in its journey for undoing the wrongs. Therefore, the horizontally relating collectivity’s praxis involves a collective search for available means, courses of action, existing constraints for realizing the collective ends. All this requires the rule of rationality in the sense of other-regarding and other-addressing contestable argumentation, addressing the sensible part of the brain, providing evidence, calling on the conscience of the public, public deliberation, collective reflection of peers on their objective and subjective circumstances, and the selective evaluation of how they can transform these… Consequently, this type of politics only indirectly produces only naturally-arising emotions. Emotions themselves, while they naturally emerge and are not negated or repressed, are not the immediate targets of substantive left-leaning politics and its organizational style.

A substantively left-leaning politics is populist existentially and necessarily, owing it to its subject matter and its subjects, and not because it aims to project the image of populism.

Left populism understood as a particular style of mass mobilization on the other hand, does not rely on a particular and internally consistent ideology and does not have a program. It rejects rationality as the style of politics. Left populist strategy that is based on the leader principle is potentially the performance art of a charismatic artist whose messages are typically composed of the best-seller-slogans-list and its message is therefore and thanks to that, potentially constantly shifting.

This fact of shiftiness renders this strategy and populist politics in its left and right varieties, but in particular in its right-leaning variety, extremely adaptable, especially given the fact that it gets rid of what is in fact a rationalist necessity to deliver an internally consistent message. At its movement-stage, it is a pure technique of power, a Machiavellian calculus that is based on fomenting and manipulating people’s emotions, maximizing love and support for the leader while producing hate for the adversary, and amplifying and mobilizing these emotions to reach the critical mass to ascertain coming to power.

The final end of left populism as strategy is coming to power therefore its ruling principle is necessarily majoritarianism. Depending on the homogeneity or the heterogeneity of the population and the level of ethno-religious diversity in a given society where it is applied, it is bound to replicate the historically relevant exclusions and discriminations particularly against minorities. And this constitutes no problem as given the lack of a program, through the rejection of rationality, the internal consistency problem is largely irrelevant, therefore messages can shift from audience to audience. That is the major reason why, for example, in Europe in left-populist movements, organizers can selectively and “strategically” use antisemitism and anti-immigrant sentiments as part of their mobilizational strategy. Focusing on identities as a strategy, rather than programmatic content, and the necessity to forge a majority without a programmatic content or consistent message, necessarily introduces identitarian majoritarianism.

Left populist strategy also regards politics as instrumental but reduces the function of politics to “conquering the state.” Through its Schmittian rejection of political liberalism, it remains clueless regarding the institutional remedies that were invented and established by political liberalism to address both the ancient problem of tyranny and the problem of paternalism. While it is geared towards receiving as many supporters as possible and constructing a hegemonic front against an “adversary,” it does not reflect on the contradictions between the leader principle and the necessity for separation of powers, necessity for participatory and deliberative processes that inform and democratize the process of decision-making, and participatory mechanisms that transform passivity as well as inherited status hierarchies. Consequently, it reduces the problems that left politics has to grapple with to a problem of leadership, and insofar this is so, its critique of “technocracy” and its rampant anti-intellectualism pose a major performative contradiction as its leader(s) are of course experts. It wants to come to power on fomenting hate against right-leaning top-down style, but promises merely to replace this with the left-leaning top-down version that reduces the role and the meaning of masses to their instrumental value in carrying the leader to power.

Left populism in the first substantive sense is a radical (or generalizable) need especially today, as we feel the first powerful inklings of a tremendous technological revolution that would completely change the production processes and relations of production.

It is a radical need given the fact that our existence as the human race on this planet is in danger and can no longer be supported or sustained through economic developmentalism and productivism.

It is a radical need because inequalities within societies are rising globally, as a result of decades of globalization, and render democracy, as an equal citizenship-based regime type, largely unsupportable by the facts on the ground.

It is a radical need as it expresses the need to refuse to be acted upon by economic forces. It is a radical need because the right-leaning populism politicizes the status quo but does so, in order to reverse the egalitarian achievements. A left-leaning politics that is substantively so is today a radical and universal need because of the fact that we are facing the possibility of entering a new era of re-feudalization and second serfdom that threatens to stage scenes from 19thcentury capitalism.

It is also a radical and universal need because simply demanding a Keynesian solution to the objective economic problems, productivism and developmentalism paradigm is missing the essential issues and threatens to culminate in a situation that would render the physical existence of human race unsustainable.

It is a radical need because we need to come up with rational, inclusive, realizable, creative and sustainable programmatic proposals to address the objective challenges. The sheer complexity of the objective economic challenges we face today render rational style of politics a radical necessity.

Supporting – and Constituted – Actors of What is in fact a Dynamic Game

What is entirely missed by left populism as strategy is the role it volunteers to play in the game authored by the right populists. Left-populism as style and strategy fails to see the comprehensive picture and the dynamics of the game, it focuses merely on the opportunity it can grab, and regards its own role as the only dynamic force while also assuming that the other variables and actors are remaining constant. But the moment is one that is in fact authored by the right-leaning populists as a responseto the dual political crisis and the economic crises of free enterprise based competitive capitalism and the rise of the digital revolution. Right-populists are the original opportunists using right populism as a strategy to completely wreck all the accomplishments of democratic and egalitarian struggles of the past two hundred years. They expect to change the political regime while the mode of production is in fact changing. They seem to detest liberal principles, all kinds of egalitarianism, autonomy of the people, democratic deliberation, representative institutions, transparency, accountability, representation and rational deliberation on policy proposals. They would like to topple the legal/rational form of law and replace it with charismatic and traditional forms of domination and bring the hierarchical status orders and caste systems back. They want to do all this through the introduction of a Leadership principle. Their enemies are any sort, either substantively or strategically, left-leaning politics, all of which they label as “socialism” or “communism” and use these as the strawmen as part of their mobilizational strategy, in defining their own enemy. They deliberately polarize the society into “the genuine people” and its “internal enemies” and try to push the forces, in the center left and center right, to choose a side.

Left populism as strategy is ironically the ideal partner for the right-leaning populists. This is so because left populism as strategy brands some of its – what are in fact mild, objectively necessitated, rational and urgently needed – social democratic policy proposals as “socialism or communism.” This, in turn, largely disregards the aversion from, and the strong hatred of many, concerning anything associated with “socialism and/or communism,” which is the outcome of a long Cold War period as well as horrendous memories of “Soviet-style socialism.” While trying to build a hegemony opportunistically, as it were, left populist strategy’s self-branding is on the contrary counterproductive for its own purposes in particular, and also for left leaning and for the urgently needed substantive left politics in general. Instead of claiming the general interest, the middle, the center, all the insecure populations, this strategy instead divides the left, empties the center, and by the virtue of its emotion-manipulating style, pushes more people at the center who would follow a substantively and programmatically left-leaning rational politics to stand behind the right-leaning populists, and thus help right-leaning populism gather much more support than it normally would do, with its own effort. A lack of comprehension on the part of the left populist strategy about the unintended outcomes of its self-packaging and marketing, ironically render right-populists stronger. This is certainly very sad for a strategy whose self-defined job is strategizing.

Most significantly, embracing the same emotional style and the same polarization method, left populist strategy helps the right populists unseat reason, rational politics, deliberation, competition between compelling policy proposals, negotiation and compromise. When, not the force of the better argument, not the force of the compelling evidence but emotion-fomenting polarizing strategy and identitarianism becomes the norm of politics by the agreement between right and left leaning populisms, right-leaning populists find the straw man they urgently needed to topple the legal/rational form of domination and to introduce traditional and/or charismatic forms of domination. The center of the political spectrum, by their collective efforts, gets emptied.

Anti-systemic left and right forces unite, to reverse the status quo, but the status quo they topple also contains precisely the democratic achievements of the past two centuries. “Anything” is not better than status-quo and some easily realizable alternatives can in fact be much worse.

The debate therefore is not about “what should Left politics do in a vacuum where it is assumed to be the only actor.” The populist moment is about a series of political as well as economic crises and the political reactionary response these generated in certain sectors to culminate in right-leaning populist coalition. The relevant rational question that left strategy must grapple with is, how its strategies play out in relation to others’ strategic moves in this dynamic context when there is a reactionary anti-democratic anti-egalitarian populist movement.

In his posthumously published 1957 essay “Anxiety and Politics,” Neumann sought an answer to the question “why masses blindly follow a leader.” He argued there are two types of identification, affective and non-affective. Affective identification “contains strong rationalist elements, elements of calculability,” “this type of loyalty is transferable” and the rational element in it “prevents the total extinction of the ego.” “Affective identification with the leader” is the most regressive form of identification, as it involves masses’ total merging with the ego of the leader, involves non-transferable nearly total ego-shrinkage.” He called this caesaristic identification.

Leader-adoration, cults, charisma, blind obedience are the organic products of right-leaning reactionary politics. Joining in the chorus to render these the new style of politics is participating in digging one’s own grave as rendering these emotions the norm of politics would topple rationality and it would be the masses who would ultimately lose. In a majoritarian game when hatred-fueling is the dominant strategy, those who hate the most, those who are the cruelest, those who have regressed the most, those who have the most resources to use this strategy of polarization, always win.

In this game, in this moment, given “the contemporaneity of the uncontemporary,” given the “uneven development,” given the overlap of traditional, industrial and postindustrial forms of existence, the majorities that affective style of right-populists can carve for their identitarianism, racism, radical nationalism, hatred of minorities, antisemitism and anti-left politics are bound to be much larger than the left populist strategic style can ever hope to get out of its rainbow coalition. Constitutional democracy is the only political regime type that invented minority rights and guarantees, and counter-majoritarian devices. These are the most important institutions that will need to be protected for the sake of various kinds of minorities, for the sake of equivalence, for the sake of egalitarianism and peaceful coexistence. Reducing these achievements to immensely amorphous “neoliberalism,” or rejecting the value of liberal norms, such as juridical freedoms that are protecting the legal person from the state, is ignorance at best and suicidal at worst. To her credit, Mouffe says that these should not be given up. The weakness of her proposal lies in her assumption that the Leader of her choosing would regard these points as essential or not. As at the end of the day, it will boil down to the arbitrary wishes of the leader that would determine regime outcomes.

To sum, left populist strategy is reducible to its opportunism but its opportunism is blind and nearsighted and is ultimately not only bound to fail against the right-populists’ strategy, but also helps right populists to consolidate emotional style of politics and the affective-identitarian leadership principle and traditional and charismatic forms of domination as the new rules.

Grounding the Populist Moment

Mouffe celebrates the populist moment as an opportunity. While correctly diagnosing the political crises, as I have argued above, she disregards the supporting role her “affective-identitarian” left populist strategy would potentially play in a dynamic multi-actored, multi-factored setting. In that setting:

a) economic/structural/objective crises at hand lead to the rise of substantively left-leaning populist policies as immediate and generalizable needs, and/but

b) right-leaning populism rises first as the contender to give the regressive anti-egalitarian political response to these economy-based crises, using the dual crisis of the state as its justification.

Right-leaning populisms are a mixture of:

a) A form and style of politics (broad-coalition-building movement phase v. monopoly of state phase),

b) a core ideology (monopoly of state phase),

c) an eclectic economic program (movement phase v. regime phase) as well as

d) an eclectic coalition of social groups (movement phase v. regime phase).

Writing in 1986, summarizing decades of findings of studies from various disciplines regarding the causes of the rise of fascism, historian Geoff Eley argued fascism emerged in the context of a double crisis in the state, as a crisis of representation and as the crisis of establishing hegemony or popular consent.

Eley also compiled and dealt with a particularly long strand within that literature on fascism that talked about the specificity and particularities of Weimar Germany and Italy. According to him, many historians and political scientists ended up diagnosing a “backwardness syndrome” in the case of 1920s and ‘30s Germany and Italy, and they argued, these cases are too particular for us to derive larger lessons and that these signify the outcomes of crises in cases where “uneven development” existed and an overlap of preindustrial/rural and industrial, economic and social and cultural forms that are associated with these, took place.

Much like the theorists of the “backwardness syndrome” who interpreted and reinterpreted the transition to fascism in Germany and Italy as entirely specific cases, many today:

a) miss the import of the almost globally applicable and generalizable context as one of “uneven development” and “overlap of” not merely “preindustrial and industrial” but also postindustrial in most countries today, potentially sharpening the impact of the crises while dividing the political response that masses would direct against these, and

b) would find “backward” countries’ examples too specific and in Turkey’s case, also too “culturally particular.” “Backwardness,” Islam’s particularity, Muslim majorities’ “culturally determined political regimes” would be brought up, Turkey’s failed democratization efforts and its never ending transitional and hybrid regime would be emphasized.

Yet if we rely not on cultural particularity, but on institutional analysis, we would easily perceive the fact that any religion that is politicized and wants to conquer the state to impose its ideology on the population can act in similar ways. It is not essentially ideology of Islam’s particularity per se but eclipse of the public and politicized religion’s coupling with right-leaning populism that played the most major role in Turkey, and yes, the fact that Turkey was never a country of rule of law and consolidated democracy and lacked strong democratic institutions and also that political Islam is a major transnational form of religious nationalism that finally managed to conquer Turkey… But politicized religion, the return of the religions’ claims to rule the state and to rule women’s bodies, the return of the anti-egalitarian counterrevolutionary idea to replace equal citizenship regimes with status orders and hierarchical systems are unfortunately rampant and cutting across most religious traditions and right leaning populisms today.

Assuming that this emphasis on institutionalism rather than culturalism gives an idea about the ability of the Turkish experience to lend some lessons, an extremely significant fact and potential lesson about right leaning populism that was verified through Turkey’s experience is the skillful eclecticism of right-leaning populists. They tend to be eclectic in narrative, in coalition-building, and they tend to eclectic in economic policy. (Ironically, the social science literature on fascism contains numerous references to eclecticism, using the same word that I thought I invented to describe the phenomena I observed in Turkey in the past decade.) The only certainty about their character till they conquer all institutions and monopolize all sources of social power is their immense flexibility, adaptability and shiftiness. All these they owe to their eclecticism.

Eclectic ideological style or internally inconsistent dishonest narrative and eclectic economic policies are necessities for the right leaning populists, as they come to power through majoritarianism, rising on the shoulders of an eclectic coalition. Those who are mobilized on the basis of a fear of loss of privilege as well as opportunism and recent upward mobility, winners and losers of globalization, some segments of the working class as well as some segments of the industry that are promised first free trade and then later, monopolies, are their partners. How each of these groups are courted and kept “equivalent” till the total consolidation of power is also not uniform, each require different type of perks and rents and social benefits to continue their support. This results in right leaning populists’ ability to conduct also economically populist policies. These are not genuinely redistributive policies but are nevertheless sufficiently significant to draw many more economically disadvantaged groups under their patronage especially at a time of generalized economic uncertainty and rampant insecurity. Patronage-based politics and clientelism that were seen as regional or issue specific, or in general as aberrations, become the dominant style of relating with – the objectively (due to diverging interests) and deliberately (due to polarizing strategy)- divided groups of masses.

This “eclecticism” as a factor proves that a merely economistic left agenda from the left, if potentially popular and realizable, would probably get hijacked by the right-leaning populists. Seeing their strategy as merely right-leaning and missing their left-leaning moves and the impact of this eclectic economic policy is completely missing the reason why right-leaning populism is so successful. This is yet another reason why we should not throw the word “neoliberalism” around as much, as the essential character of right-leaning populists; economic policies are not theoretical but empirical questions. Most of the egalitarian and easily realizable policy proposals of left populism as strategy are bound to be stolen and put to use by right-leaning populists, as right populism also uses populism as a strategy. In their case, the core, the traditionalist, anti-egalitarian, racist, misogynist ideological movement is the backbone ideology that they would implement, but only when they completely consolidate and monopolize power.

For Erdogan’s core constituency he is a benefactor, a left-leaning Ceasar of the underdog, distributing monthly benefits, feeding them as a baron would do, in exchange for blind obedience. For the unskilled, uneducated, and not just relatively but also absolutely poor millions, Erdogan is a left-leaning populist. For the rest, he is a right-leaning populist.

Seeing which moves might be ahead, realistically and clearly, and correctly assessing the impact of one’s game plan in the larger dynamics are the essential necessities for stopping the right-populist counterrevolutionary uprising and intervention. It seems, non-affective identifications, rational style of politics, programmatically, substantively left, and generalizable, objectively needed policy proposals, such as higher taxes, regulation and accountability of multinationals, anti-trust regulation regarding oligopolies and monopolies, defense of constitutional democratic institutions, liberal and democratic principles, egalitarianisms, countermajoritarian devices that are established by the constitutional democracies in the post World War II period, and their defense must be the substance and the strategy; rather than affective-identitarian caesarian and programmatically empty “populism as strategy.” Protection of these, to render egalitarian meaning of democracy, as equal voice and equal right to equally effectively exercisable liberties at every stage of lives lived in dignity, must be the essential cornerstone of the anti-populist bloc.

To the extent that left populist strategy focuses solely on emotional style of politics, affective mobilization and the leadership principle, it is at the same camp with the right-leaning populists as both are trying to overcome rational deliberative programmatic substantive policy-oriented style of politics; and both want to replace legal/rational form of legitimacy with a charismatic one. The only difference is, in the right-leaning variety, charisma is coupled with traditionalism, while in the left it is coupled with anti-capitalism. Both reduce the two dual crises moment to their purely identitarian meaning and lose the sight of the real economic insecurities, real economically-based uncertainties that render masses anxious, vulnerable, insecure and open to manipulation by charismatic leaders. While in the case of right-leaning populism, rendering invisible the rising prominence of the generalizability of substantive, left-leaning politics as a need for the masses, is precisely the intended outcome of populist strategy; left-populist strategy is perhaps only intuitively aware of these moves. That is the genuine populist moment that is missed by left-populism-as-strategy in its supporting actor role in a multi-actored, multi-factored dynamic game with the right-leaning oligarchs.