Populism

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(From L. populum, group of people that forms a community). Social movement or current in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that appeals to the masses. Its characteristic features are the belief in the possibility of fast, simple and easy solutions to social problems; social egalitarianism; anti-intellectualism; ethnocentrism (nationalism); xenophobia and demagoguery. P. propagates the establishment of “direct democracy,” manipulated by the Party or leader, instead of representative democracy; it promotes the concentration of power in the hands of a charismatic leader and attacks the corruption and bureaucratization of official institutions. Thus, p. is a highly heterogeneous current that can serve diverse political forces and have different objectives.