The Green Discourse as a Type of New Left Populism

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-11-96-105
A. Bardin (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
M. Sigachev (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article is devoted to comparative political analysis of environmentalist political parties and movements in the member states of the European Union. The authors study European greens with reference to the new wave of left-wing populism that originated in 2010s, and analyze the main reasons for the growing influence of ecological and left-populist parties and movements in European societies. Case studies of a number of EU member states demonstrate close and multidimensional interdependence between the green and populist discourses. The authors outline the key factors that determine this interrelation and conclude that a general left-green discourse is emerging, based on a common commitment of the corresponding political parties and movements, as well as ecological non-governmental organizations, to a post-industrial, socio-ecological approach to world development. Moreover, this discourse is influenced by the COVID 19 pandemic, which dealt a huge blow to the global and most national economies and, most importantly, to vulnerable social groups. The current “corona crisis” will inevitably deepen the social inequality, which has always served as a breeding ground for populism. The closest example is the rise of populist movements, such as Syriza (Greece) and Podemos (Spain) in the aftermath of the 2008 international financial crisis. The post-crisis reality is likely to be marked by an increasing demand for socially oriented ecologism, with the left-green responding to this request. Therefore, one can expect a new wave of populism, exploiting the inability of many governments to provide effective response to the pandemic. This new wave is likely to be characterized by the convergence of eco-social discourse with left-wing populist and even left-wing radical discourse driven by a common commitment to post-capitalism. The crisis is also likely to attract attention of wider segments of population to global problems, including social and ecological ones. This, in turn, is likely to give an impetus to new models of development, such as “responsible development”, based on the orientation toward non-material production and consumption, intellectual and creative resources, and the use of nature-friendly technologies. 

Keywords: environmentalism, ecologism, populism, greens, new left populism, European Union, Germany, France, Italy, COVID 19 pandemic, social and political consequences


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For citation:
Bardin A., Sigachev M. The Green Discourse as a Type of New Left Populism. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 11, pp. 96-105.

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