What does the term 'populist' mean?


 
Populist history
What does the term 'populist' mean?
 


4 October 2009 at 6:47:07 PM
OldBridge

I've always been attracted to term 'populist'.  Recently, I've been wondering what the term means.  If you look in wikipedia, 'populist' refers to a now defunct political party that disappeared around 1915.  It was primarily composed of farmers from the south and mid-west.  Their primary enemies were banks and railroads.  Central Texas played a critical role in populist party history.  Most credit it's beginning to the 1876 organization of 'The Farmers' Alliance' in Lampasas.

"...a few Hill Country Texas farmers decided to band together as the Farmers Alliance to fight the crop lien system using the idea of cooperative strength. The Alliance intended to get credit en masse and form their own cooperative-owned stores, but it found no banks willing to extend credit, and instead floundered for a few years until it attracted a visionary Mississippian, S.O. Daws — one of the greatest and most unsung movement organizers ever. The Alliance gave Daws the title of “Traveling Lecturer” and sent him off to organize Alliances within other counties and states. By 1885, the Alliance was 50,000 strong."

http://thehighhat.com/Marginalia/004/goodwyn.html

Maybe some here have family traditions that recall the Farmers' Alliance.

I'm not sure what vision of the future Daws described.  Whatever it was, I wonder if it lives on.


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1 - humanbeing   28 Oct 2009 @ 7:58:28 PM 

Very interesting, OldBridge. Here's a portion I liked from the article you linked above:

"This generation is blessed and cursed by not having the clear moral choices of past movements. The forces of oppression and control are as alive today as they were in the late 19th century U.S. or in 1980 Poland, but they have grown more subtle and the choices more elusive. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not worth fighting them. As Goodwyn shows, battling corrupt power starts with a conversation. The trick, one of the most precious and difficult tricks ever conceived by man, is turning that conversation into lasting action. Goodwyn tells us that creating democracy is earth-shatteringly difficult, but it is the most important thing that we can do."



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