Monday, April 14, 2014

Political philosopher Ernesto Laclau (1935-2014)

An Argentine-born political theorist who taught for decades at the University of Essex just passed away suddently: Murió Ernesto Laclau Página/12 13.04.2014; Werner Pertot, El intelectual de los debates y los combates Página/12 14.04.2014.

Laclau was known as a "post-Marxist" theorist. Pertot calls him "una de las principales figuras de la teoría política argentina" ("one of the principal figures of Argentine political theory"). According to the earlier Página/12 article, one of the things for which he is particularly known is a reexamination of "populism" in which he revalues it as an important form of democratic expression.

The original Populists in the United States were definitely a left movement, crypto-socialists we might say, although the movement also sometimes had an anti-Semitic edge. Since then, "populism" in Europe has come to mean specifically rightwing demagoguery. And the more conservative parties in Latin America have tended to use it in a similar stigmatizing way, which has generally been echoed in American press and foreign policy discussions.

Here is an obituary report from TV Pública argentina, Visión 7: Murió Ernesto Laclau 14.04.2014:

This is a video of a presentation of his from last October: Laclau - "Política, corporaciones y construcción democrática" 03-10-13:

At just past 9:30 in this video, he says that what we have to do is "Latin-Americanize Europe."

At just after 15:00, he observes that the struggle against the media conglomerate Clarín is a "fundamental struggle."

After 16:45, he talks about a distinctions between "traditional intellectuals" and "organic intellectuals."

It includes a discussion of the not uncomplicated question of what Peronism is.

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