This chapter discusses Sheikh Abdullah and his attitudes to independence, autonomy or self-determination for J&K between 1953 and 1982. After the Head of the State dismissed him from office in 1953, Abdullah was denied the opportunity to confirm his majority in the Constituent Assembly. Instead, he was detained. With him sidelined, other Kashmiris came to the fore, enabling New Delhi to slowly tie J&K into the Indian Union. In 1957, the new J&K Constitution reiterated that J&K was with India. In 1964, Abdullah was finally released, after which he reconciled with Nehru then visited Pakistan seeking agreement on the Kashmir dispute. Tragically, Nehru died while Abdullah was away. During brief periods of release, and certainly after his final release in 1968, Abdullah would talk of self-determination, or sometimes autonomy or independence, for J&K-ites via the Plebiscite Front, a political party. He also sought a solution to the Kashmir issue via two important People’s Conventions in 1968 and 1970. A major turning point occurred when India conclusively defeated Pakistan in their 1971 war and Bangladesh was created. This confirmed that Islam was not a monolith, that Pakistan could not liberate J&K, and that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was politically unassailable. These factors greatly moderated Abdullah’s aspirations for J&K’s international status. In 1975, he agreed the Kashmir Accord with Gandhi, which enabled him to return to power in J&K. However, he had to accept unequivocally that J&K was an integral part of India. Abdullah died in office in 1982.
This chapter provides important historical and social background about J&K and its administrative structure, as well as some geo-political observations about this princely state. It explains why the princely state was popularly, but confusingly, called ‘Kashmir’ not ‘Jammu’, why the Kashmir region was the most important region in J&K, and why, in 1947, subcontinental politicians desired Kashmir and wooed Kashmiris. The chapter’s other observations chiefly concern the Kashmir region and Kashmiri Muslims’ relationships, or not, with other J&K-ites. In particular, this chapter comprehensively explores the significant and ongoing issues of Kashmiri identity and Kashmiri nationalism and why these are important factors within J&K. The discussion includes examining why Kashmiris have long believed in, and supported, a Kashmir ‘nation’. This dynamic is important to understand as it helps to explain why Kashmir enjoyed greater status and was more significant politically in 1947 than either the Jammu region or the Frontier Districts region. In that tumultuous year, the major ramification of Kashmir’s importance was that people were focused almost exclusively on this region and its residents. The other areas of J&K appeared to be peripheral. Additionally, in 1947 and thereafter, Kashmir and Kashmiris quickly came to dominate politics in J&K and in relation to the Kashmir dispute.
Chapter 5 returns to the politics of fear that is central in understanding the rise of the far right and its focus on wolf politics in Eastern Germany. Against reasonable fearful predictions of how widespread and humiliating underemployment, systemic poverty, terrible pensions, demographic change and empty villages, Western hegemony and Eastern subjugation, identity and history loss, even Western colonialism affect voting behaviours, we find that empirically ascertained fears focus on what are in fact negligible changes: a few new migrants here, a wolf there. This is why an analysis of the politics of fear is interesting: affective politics uses fear to mobilise, and people bask in the resonance this seems to bring. Fear, then, of either wolves or migrants, has a function, and it is this functionality of fear that we address in this chapter in order to explain, in an accessible way, the question of the rise of the right. We show what part the discussion of the wolves plays in this development, and how a politics of fear serves the aims of the AfD, not by manipulating or taking up sentiments already existing in the population but by a theatre of resistance in which ‘feeling rules’ (a term coined by Arlie R. Hochschild) are coming to be contested. Thus, on the one hand, conditioned by imagined realities, the core of the wolf problem is a composition of fear and outrage.
In the conclusion, we return to Raymond Williams’s conception of democracy as a political culture born of collective working-class struggle and experience. Just as Williams looked at Britain in the 1950s as a place where a new wave of popular democratization was both possible and necessary, so under current conditions it is possible to see populism as a potential catalyst rather than a danger to democratic culture in a radical sense. In his later writings from the 1980s, Williams bore witness to the early phase of neoliberalization in the UK under Margaret Thatcher. He noted how the consumerist paradigm marked a withdrawal from collective concerns into the limited sphere of the individual or family home. Returning to the present moment in UK politics, the historic defeat of the Labour Party in the 2019 general election is ascribed to the party’s increasing distance from its traditional working-class constituency. The populist appeal to ‘get Brexit done’ allowed Boris Johnson to amass a Conservative majority in the UK parliament undreamed of two and a half years earlier when Theresa May called a mid-term election. The way for Labour to return from the political wilderness, it is proposed, it to see populism for what it truly is, namely a demand by the working class that the political establishment make good on the historical promise of modern democracy. This must involve, first and foremost, democratization of the workplace, education, healthcare and all other vital social sectors and organizations.
Having invoked ‘the people’ as the inalienable source of legitimacy in democracy, this chapter offers a snapshot of the politics of the British workers’ movements in the nineteenth century. This is the context, arguably, in which the modern democratic conception of ‘the people’ is constructed. E. P. Thompson’s (1968) The Making of the English Working Class is pivotal to this chapter. It is here that a theory of class as concrete collective experience rather than statistical generalization is set out. Rehabilitating class is a crucial, though no doubt contestable, aspect of the analysis of populism offered in this book. In broad terms, the conceptualization of class offered here is ‘cultural’ rather than ‘economic’ in origins and nature. I place the two terms in scare quotes to indicate scepticism about this divide. As Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin remark of this division with regard to current understandings of populism, ‘this binary debate is extremely unhelpful: real life never really works like this’. On the idea of working-class identity, I eschew both essentialist and statistical definitions and align my thinking with Thompson’s celebrated concept of class not ‘as a “structure”, nor even as a “category”, but as something that in fact happens (and can be shown to have happened) in human relationships’. This perspective allows me to reconstruct the struggles for universal enfranchisement in nineteenth-century Britain as historically constituting the linkages between democracy, working-class identity and populism.
This chapter provides insights into the broader context of the Eastern German experiences since the reunification in 1989. Post-reunification life in Eastern Germany proves to be a crucial backdrop to explain why people there feel particularly disenfranchised and why this is coming to a head now. The transition to a united Germany was full of broken promises of ‘blooming landscapes’, disappointments and sentiments of one’s own past being devalued by Western Germans. We trace the prevailing narratives about ‘the East’ that have emerged along with massive structural changes. Today the deindustrialised and depopulated landscapes not only provide new spaces for a returning wildlife including wolves but also reveal the complete economic, political and cultural change for millions of people who may have won a peaceful revolution but lost their country in the process. We explore the popularity-gaining narrative depicting the aftermath of the peaceful revolution as a sign of imperialism by Western Germans who have come to take over the East to then move on to despise the locals whom they subjugated. Furthermore, we investigate the narrative that angry, ‘left-behind’ people are to blame for the rise of nationalism in the East, because they have been supposedly more affected by the large-scale transitions since 1989. We argue that the narratives about ‘the East’ we present in this chapter are not the only ones representative of people’s lived and recounted reality, yet they demonstrate the contested nature of ‘the East’ as a narrative trope in searching for explanations for the rise of the right. Eastern Germany is not in dire straits, but many of the circulating narratives claim it to be.
In this chapter we discuss state- and states-sponsored reactions to these political shifts, affecting policies, civil society and journalism. In particular we look at the governance of right-wing nationalism in a country that is widely thought of as having successfully denazified itself and come to terms with its troubled past. The fight-back by different state agents, organisations, politicians and institutions is broad and multifaceted. The goal is to influence civil society by setting a clear line between problematic (‘Nazi’) nationalism and acceptable, civilised, nationalism. To the well-researched theme of the governance of German nationalism, we add the Eastern German perspective, which is not entirely aligned with the federal perspective – mainly due to a historically different understanding of the ‘problematic’ German nation and the second German dictatorship, which leads to greater attention to the governance of ‘problematic’ nationalisms. Partially in response to this, we develop a case study of the leftist Eastern German ‘anti-German’ movement, which has not received much attention in academic studies in the anglophone world.
Our investigation begins by situating the analysis offered in the book within the burgeoning field of academic studies on populism. While acknowledging common ground with other recent investigations, it is made clear that the general argument of the book stands at odds with the current consensus on populism as a fundamentally reactionary, nationalistic, or even straightforwardly xenophobic mode of contemporary politics. In sharp contrast to this dominant view, the underlying argument advanced in the book is that contemporary populism in the UK is a reaction to the decades-long process of neoliberalization, which began with Thatcher in the 1980s and was consolidated with Blair and New Labour between 1997 and 2010. As a result of this process, the British working class was essentially rendered homeless within the UK by a Labour Party increasingly anxious to distance itself from its heritage of working-class struggle and labour-union organization. The rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the 2000s articulated a certain disenchantment among the British working class about the established parties. The Great Recession beginning in 2008, and the period of Conservative-led austerity politics it ushered in, further alienated the working class from the political establishment and gave rise to the populist sentiment given consummate expression in the Brexit referendum result of 2016. The introduction concludes with a synopsis of each of chapter in the book.
The wolves are returning to Germany, while German politics are transforming. The right-wing Alternative for Germany is now the third biggest party in the German parliament. It draws much of its support from places that have been referred to as the ‘post-traumatic places’ in Eastern Germany, structured by realities of disownment, disfranchisement and a lack of political representation. With right-wing populist parties being on the rise everywhere in Europe, politicians, journalists and scholars have become dedicated to diagnosing a crisis of democracy. With this book, we offer an in-depth perspective on the theme of democracy in crisis through the prism of wolf politics in early twenty-first-century Eastern Germany. Investigating fringe political movements, the political agitation against both migrants and wolves, the perspectives of Eastern German hunters, farmers, rioters and self-appointed saviours of the nation, the book attempts to move beyond easy stereotypes and explanations and unravel the deep story of why Eastern German politics is shifting to the right. The returning wolves serve both as metaphor and analytical tool to further an understanding of the logics and sentiments that underlie the rise of the right in Eastern German politics.
This chapter turns to the founding figures and works of British cultural studies, in which a renewed conceptualization of the working class was achieved. Richard Hoggart’s (1957) The Uses of Literacy blazed a trail in the academic portrayal of British working-class culture. This analysis highlights the very feature commonly identified as the hallmark of the populist collective consciousness: an unremitting and radical polarization between the ‘Them’ of the political establishment and the ‘Us’ of the working-class populace. Hoggart’s 1950s analysis also foresaw the danger of a creeping capitalist commercialization of the British working-class lifeworld, particularly through the workings of the popular mass media. His contemporary, Raymond Williams, a fellow cultural studies pioneer, complements and amplifies this analysis with his idea of democratic popular culture as a ‘long revolution’. It is the revolution of popular control over the material conditions of everyday life that constitutes Williams’s notion of progressive democracy, an idea I adopt and apply to contemporary populism throughout this book. With the advent of Thatcherite neoliberalism in the UK, this revolution is stalled as the idea of collective responsibility and the practices of working-class solidarity are denigrated and steadily eroded.