Thursday, 16.03.17 - London

Identity Politics - Overcoming Restraints of the Left

Heimat was a key concept used by Norbert Hofer and his campaign team in the presidential election in Austria. In doing so he utilised a tactic common amongst populists today of tapping into a sense of identity and using terms such as patriotism for their own good. The progressive left is too restrained to claim back this territory and seems reluctant to offer an alternative concept. Parties on the left, claiming to be catch-all-parties, lack a unifying narrative on identity.

In view of these challenges, FES London invited the frontrunners of the debate on identity politics of the German Social democrats and organised a roundtable debate with leading members of think tanks and politicians from the UK. The participants discussed how such a narrative might look like and which elements it should entail. As a second event on the same issue, FES London hosted a workshop in cooperation with the Fabian International Policy Group, where the young generation of policy makers discussed identity politics for the progressive left in the UK. Many participants highlighted a gap between young people’s multi-layered identity and the political discourse, which often focuses only on nationality and age. The debate was enriched by comments from German and British colleagues who have been thinking about these question in a similar context.

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