In recent years, the promises of the populist moment have faltered, as seen in the defeats of Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Jean-Luc Melenchon. In addition, the pandemic has brought about a strong need for protection, creating a favorable terrain for authoritarian forms of politics. This new situation represents a challenge for the left, whose rationalism and modernist idea of progress is rightly suspicious of such demands. How, therefore, can the left deal with the economic, social and ecological crisis that the pandemic has brought to the fore?
Chantal Mouffe argues that the left should not underestimate the importance of affects when developing a strategy for political change. In fact, after years of ‘post-politics’, we are witnessing a ‘return of the political’. And in response Mouffe proposes the creation of a broad coalition of movements under the banner of a “Green Democratic Revolution.” This entails the protection of society and its material conditions in a way that empowers people instead of making them retreat in a defensive nationalism or in a passive acceptance of technological solutions. It is protection for the many, not the few, providing social justice and fostering solidarity.
The Power of Affects is a bold rallying cry for political organisation in the post-pandemic era.