The term 'populism' is a distraction

Letter to editor of Sunday Star Times (and others) about the un-usefulness of the term 'populism'.

The Editor
The Sunday Star Times
27 December, 2016

Dear Editor:

Much is being said about the ‘populism’ of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. But that term is a distraction. The larger picture is that western civilization, regardless of educated or not educated, regardless of the rich or the poor, shares a fear of the changes required to address climate change. Yes, the growing gap between rich and poor is a symptom of a fundamental commitment to exploitation in practice harming the poor but advancing the super rich. But both the elite and everyone else know that the long held world view of exploitation of the planet, which has created today’s Consumer Culture, is no longer survivable (sustainable). So both rich and poor share the fear of fundamental change away from the exploitation mentality.

If the ‘mainstream’ has been about hiding from the task of change, Trump is about screaming in rage about the end of his exploitation world view. By contrast Bernie Sanders is more about the change away from these two evidences of desperation.


Richard Keller
13 Endeavour St.
Wellington 6022


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