J Cullen reporter at eden.com
Wed Oct 7 10:01:53 PDT 1998

>>But there is a kind of populism that doesn't rely on charismatic leaders to
>>rally the people against sinister enemies who have stolen the dream, isn't
>>there? Isn't there?
>Of course there is. I'd say the anti-war movement during the Vietnam war
>was a "good and decent" example of populism. It didn't have an
>identifiable leader who kept the movement together by force of his or her
>personality - the movement had cohesion because people really thought we
>should end the war and were united behind this common goal. Popular
>movements aren't all led by demagogues who rail against invisible enemies,
>although there are (unfortunately) plenty of such examples.

Eugene V. Debs said something like: I would not lead you to the Promised Land, because some other scoundrel might lead you from it. A populist movement does not require a charismatic leader, but charisma helps, at least in the short term. to build a movement. Martin Luther King was a charismatic leader of the civil rights movement, which I consider a populist movement.

Many charismatic populist leaders fail to build a sustainable organization to succeed them, or the organization they build turns into an elite-serving "machine." But a lot of populist movements also paralyze themselves by refusing to produce leaders.

-- Jim Cullen

---------------------------------------- THE PROGRESSIVE POPULIST James M. Cullen, Editor P.O. Box 150517, Austin, Texas 78715-0517 Phone: 512-447-0455 Internet: populist at usa.net Home page: http://www.eden.com/~reporter ----------------------------------------

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