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Mon Mar 20, 2017, 01:15 PM

Letters from Boston: Berlin, Germany

'Last week, I traveled to Germany for a conference of progressive leaders hosted by Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader, Martin Schulz, who is widely touted as the next Chancellor of Germany.
The conference brought together a whole range of party leaders from center to left on the world spectrum of political philosophies. From Europe’s British and Irish Labor Parties to the far left from many continents of the global south. The Prime Ministers of Sweden and Portugal were there along with many others. (Sweden’s PM, Stefan Lovfen, confirmed once again that contrary to Donald Trump’s assertions, there had been no terrorist attack on Sweden…) . .

Robby Mook, formerly of Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign, had a prominent spot on the conference agenda. He focused primarily on the need to combat cyber espionage, fake news, and Russian troll farms, leaving others to figure out why ethnic hatred and popular despots are on the rise. It seems democracies are voting in increasing numbers for a new generation of race-baiting, authoritarian demagogues.

What should we call this new take on an old fear-mongering song?

As a descriptor, our European neighbors prefer the word, “populism” over “fascism.” Frankly, I think these new-age fascists are giving populism a bad name. I liked prairie populists such as Iowa’s Tom Harkin, Texas’ Jim Hightower, and populist folk-heroes like Woody Guthrie. But whatever term you choose to call this virulent strain of politics, the common traits are now very familiar to all Americans.

Today, these candidates overtly fan anti-immigrant hatred and anti-Muslim fears. They promise to protect the fatherland or the homeland from the less-than-civilized hordes that threaten to steal our nation’s greatness.

Sadly, a majority of Americans in a few key states liked it enough to vote for it rather than Hillary Clinton.'>>>


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