It seems clear that there is a common ideological foundation linking Putin, Le Pen, Orbán, Erdoğan, Trump, Kaczyński, and others, but labeling that ideology has been difficult. Many in the media have called them “populists,” but this term can be misleading and imprecise. This essay focuses on Poland in order to propose a genealogy that transcends conventional divisions between left and right. The phrase “exclusionary egalitarianism” helps us recognize the intertwined commitments to both racism and nationalism on the one hand, and an opposition to inequalities of wealth and status on the other. While the analogy to the radical right of the 1930s is helpful, there is an even closer link to the “national communists” of the 1960s and 1970s.
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