The Clare Spark Blog

June 16, 2017

Populist “momentum”

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:57 pm


Rereading Lawrence Goodwyn’s THE POPULIST MOMENT (1978), a must-read for graduate students in US history.

I now may understand why the New Left veterans support what is obviously a petit bourgeois movement, devoid of working class identity, but nailing “finance capital.” There is a belief that “cultural” factors such as a loss of deference can lead to more searching critiques of society that could lead to transformational politics. This belief in momentum explains why Daniel Greenfield and other conservatives call social democrats “radicals.”

Goodwyn uses the phrase “cultural radicals” to characterize the Populists and Greenbackers. That aligns him with the cultural anthropology that has taken over economic determinism that characterized the writing of massive progressive histories of American history and that was foreshadowed by the Wilsonian progressives Charles and Mary Beard during the Jazz Age (The Rise of American Civilization,1927).

Competition and individualism bad, cooperation and collectivism good.

Hence we can understand why New Left intellectuals would support “race” and “gender” black power or girl power collectivist movements, rejecting individual differences among the groups that the New Left academics support.

It is true that populism was the most radical movement in US history. But if my intuition is correct, the leftward momentum theory would explain the generational support for the Democratic Party that we can observe today.

We are all populists now, claiming the mantle of “the people.”


Transl. from Japanese on


  1. Though I’m tentative about addressing you, might be of interest. No reply desired or expected.

    From what I’ve read, they seem a group of table-pounding attention seekers.

    Comment by Claude Horvath — May 9, 2018 @ 12:08 am | Reply

    • The persons cited look like stars of the moderate to conservative firmament.

      Comment by clarelspark — May 9, 2018 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  2. Populism seems to be the inevitable trend of the foreseeable future. In addition to the rise of classic Communist fronts and street agitation, I am seeing a *lot* of high production value Nazi and anti-Semitic media being posted on alternate social media platforms. For those of us who went through the Civil Rights era, diversity seemed to be an acceptable compromise between the races but for the post-millennial generation, diversity has created more division and rancor, especially since 50 years of the liberal/progressive diversity solution as a healing process to a united America has failed utterly.

    Like the movements of color that came out of the Civil Rights movement, the young white counter-culture is becoming identitarian, and the old associations of national ancestry are melding into a transnational “white culture” movement. The ideals of the libertarians (capitalism and independence) are fading, and the old values of people (volk) and social unity (Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft) are taking precedence. Right now, the white nationalists are describing their movement as non-violent. But, the young intellectuals of the alt-right are defining their movement in terms of racial and cultural survival. When they start to call for the deportation of non-whites from white lands, the violence will start in earnest.

    Distressingly, Jews are being seen as their arch-enemies. To those who are not afraid of labels and “new” ideas, there is a clear connection between the esoteric worlds of high-finance, Hollywood, politics, and higher education, resulting in political corruption and the breakdown of democracy, the welfare state and social unrest. I’ve said before that 2015 America was a replay of Germany in 1933. We’re in new period where the rise of neo-nationalism in America is about to go viral. The Reichstat fire and Night of the Long Knives are not far off. Will we soon see a Kristallnacht, as well?

    Comment by Stereo Realist — October 29, 2017 @ 11:16 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: