Framing Political Change: Can a Left Populism Disrupt the Rise of the Reactionary Right?; Comment on “Politics, Power, Poverty and Global Health: Systems and Frames”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Canada Research Chair, Globalization and Health Equity, Faculty of Medicine, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Abstract

Solomon Benatar offers an important critique of the limited frame that sets the boundaries of much of what is referred to as ‘global health.’ In placing his comments within a criticism of increasing poverty (or certainly income and wealth inequalities) and the decline in our environmental commons, he locates our health inequities within the pathology of our present global economy. In that respect it is a companion piece to an editorial I published around the same time. Both Benatar’s and my paralleling arguments take on a new urgency in the wake of the US presidential election. Although not a uniquely American event (the xenophobic right has been making inroads in many parts of the world), the degree of vitriol expressed by the President-elect of the world’s (still) most powerful and militarized country is being used to further legitimate the policies of right-extremist parties in Europe while providing additional justification for the increasingly autocratic politics of leaders (elected or otherwise) in many other of the world’s nations. To challenge right-populism’s rejection of the predatory inequalities that 4 years of (neo)-liberal globalization have created demands strong and sustained left populism built, in part, on the ecocentric frame advocated by Benatar.

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