Raphaëlle Besse Desmoulières' profile of Chantal Mouffe first appeared in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Chantal Mouffe. via YouTube.
Looking through Chantal Mouffe’s desk diary is like leafing through an atlas of Europe. Madrid, Athens, Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris: here the cities line up as her travels demand. In late October, upon the invitation of the Mémoire des luttes association, the Belgian philosopher was in the French capital for a "dialogue" with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, La France insoumise’s ["Rebellious France’s"] candidate for the 2017 presidential elections. "Mélenchon’s project is a left-populist one, even if I am not sure that he will present it like that," explains the political theory professor from London’s Westminster University. "But he constructs what we would call the 'populist' political boundary: the people against the establishment."
On 8 July 2015 the Belgian political scientist Chantal Mouffe was in Bogotá to give a talk on ‘democracy and passion’ at the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango. Before the meeting, Palabras al Margen  spoke to her about the contemporary meaning of populism and democracy as well as the experience of certain social movements in Europe, in light of the Latin American situation. Translated by David Broder.
Palabras al Margen: What is the relevance of your influential work Hegemony and Socialist Strategy today, thirty years since its publication?
Chantal Mouffe: When we wrote the book it was clear that it was necessary to rethink socialism in a way that would also incorporate the demands of the new social movements – from feminism to ecology and gay struggles. And that is still now a highly relevant question. However, I would not today propound a theoretical project trying to reformulate socialism — for whereas when we wrote Hegemony the idea of socialism was central, that is not the case today. In that moment, we advocated reformulating the socialist project in terms of the radicalisation of democracy. We thought that it wasn’t enough to think a socialist project within the limited terms of working-class demands alone. Today the great difference between a Left project and a right-wing one is rooted in the fact that only the former can uphold any kind of radicalisation of democracy.
It can be said that the work of theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau has been realised in the new popular social movements in Greece and Spain. This article, originally published in Der Freitag, is a useful discussion of Chantel Mouffe's contribution to left theory and its pertinence today.
Chantal Mouffe didn’t come to Berlin just for lunch with Katja Kipping. A discussion with the left theorist.
She is reluctant to say that history has backed her up, that she saw a lot of things coming. The elegant lady with the red scarf on the stage is too modest for that. Yet what Chantal Mouffe has suspected for the last thirty years seems now to be finding confirmation in Athens: if ‘progressive forces’ act together – workers, trade unionists, social movements – it really is possible to do something against neoliberalism. She is speaking just one day after the Greek elections, and many people have come to the Humboldt University in Berlin to hear this influential theorist of the left.
As Europe's political climate is increasingly defined by an assurgent left populism, we re-publish Razmig Keucheyan's discussion of political theorist Ernesto Laclau, whose theoretical legacy is a critical engagement with this problematic realised today in Greece and Spain. This piece was originally published in Keucheyan's cartography of the contemporary world's leading critical thinkers; The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Thinking Today.