In the Name of the People

Tendai Biti

Nic Cheeseman

Christopher Clapham

Ray Hartley

Greg Mills

Juan Carlos Pinzón

Lyal White

Age 16 +
03 October 2022


Shaken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and staggering after the COVID-19 pandemic, the global political order is entering a new era of volatile uncertainty that may roll back the gains of the last century.

Open democracies, where opponents respect one another even as they contest for power, are under threat from the rising tide of populism. In this stark new world, political opponents are enemies to be destroyed by fake news, and independent institutions are being used as tools to perpetuate power.

In societies as diverse as Argentina, the Philippines, Tanzania and Hungary, populists have taken power, promising to restore accountability to the people. But, once in office, they have sought to hollow out democracy and to demonise the opposition as they hold onto power and oversee the economic decline of their countries.

In the Name of the People examines populism from its Latin American roots to liberation movements in Africa and the rise of a new European nationalism. At its most virulent, populism has destroyed democracies from the inside out, causing social instability, economic catastrophe and, in some cases, authoritarian repression. In other cases, such as in South Africa, populism is a rising threat as strong constitutional guarantees of democratic accountability come under fire.

The authors analyse 13 countries across the globe to understand how populism is evolving into a threat to free and open societies, addressing questions such as: Where is populism taking us? Is there hope of a return to rational policy-making? Is the world doomed to descend into ever-greater conflict?