Felix Butzlaff discusses the rise of right-wing populism with Robert Misik and Tanja Wehsely at Theater Arche

October 19, 2023

On Tuesday, Oct 17th, DPP’s Felix Butzlaff took part in a panel on the rise of right-wing populism and the demise of traditional Social Democracy at Theater Arche in Vienna. The event took place after a play which brought Robert Misik’s political essay on “The false friends of the ordinary people” to the stage. The Czech theater company Divadlo Feste had conceptualized the essay into a Tour d’Horizon of working class political organization, and how the rise of education levels, individualization, and neoliberalism had deeply altered the conditions for the socially weak to engage politically and to form a political counter-force. As a result, the established parties of Social Democracy had abandoned their traditional voters and members – and right-wing populists capitalized on fears and feelings of abandonment of those left behind. After the play, a panel organized by the Austrian Karl-Renner-Institut and moderated by Michael Roßecker discussed the contemporary rise of the far right as well as possible measures to foster democratic engagement and political integration of the socially weaker strata of European societies. Together with the author Robert Misik and Tanja Wehsely, CEO of the Viennese NGO Volkshilfe, Butzlaff discussed under which conditions socially vulnerable groups have historically (self-)organized and have been integrated into the decision-making of representative democracy as well as how working class racism has always existed but had been controlled by a universalist socialist agenda.