[First blog attempt below did not print the rest, so here its is]
Some brief suggestions about how to deal with core feelings and ideas motivating right-wing populism without helping push them towards outright fascism:
1.Feelings: grievance, resentment, fear
Show how and where these are legitimate (global neoliberalism, imperialism-terrorism vicious circle) and validate them.
Show where and how they are illegitimate and criticise them (xenophobia, scapegoating, sexism, conspiracy delusions).
As in psychotherapy, clear the way for rational dialogue by actively listening to and validating stuck emotions like resentment and fear.
Use personal stories (e.g. of refugees), culture, art to help shift stuck emotions.
Avoid the attack-defensiveness vicious circle where possible since this just cements aggressive and self-reinforcing polarisations.
2.Ideas: ‘Drain the Swamp/Hole at the Heart of Politics’
Show how the political class and economic elites are part of one, now increasingly transnational, elite (lobbying, musical chairs etc).
Show how widespread political disaffection with liberal representative democracy is thus legitimate as real democracy is impossible in that context of radical inequality of power and wealth.
Ask how both economic and political decision-making could now be radically democratised without endangering liberal ideals or partial achievements like civil liberties and the rule of law.
Could, for example, democracy function more like a world-wide web of extended networks of citizen’s juries, chosen by lot for limited periods and advised by experts in special fields?
Ask whether such a participatory democracy and economy could be enabled by more automation and a basic guaranteed income for all by freeing up time and energy for everyone.
Ask whether such a ‘citizen jury’ democracy should first prioritise extended debate and decision-making on the four current fields of crisis and prime concern:
(a) political self-governance
(b) the economy and technology
(c) energy, ecology, and climate
(d) global issues of peace, security, migration and development.