The Rise of Revivalist Governments Around the World: Reasons and Significance

Multipolar world order entails strong governments led by strong leaders
Keywords: Dominance | Revivalist | Multipolar | Conservative | Cultural Resurgence | Right Wing | Globalisation | BJP
Image Courtesy: https://vimeo.com/252369576

The world, as it stands today, has been through moments of dissonance and schisms. The history of the world is impaired with events of strife that culminated into episodes of warfare, most of the time bilateral and at times, as catastrophic as the two World Wars. These gruesome yet monumental events framed the world order at different epochs of time. From being almost unipolar during the British era of dominance in the 19th century to being bipolar during the later half of the 20th century with the advent of the Cold War, nations have switched positions more than once. The coveted title of being the world leader requires dominance in almost every realm and is contested by the Great Powers around the globe. 

The trend that we encounter in the form of the rise of Revivalist Governments is both a need and a consequence.

At this point of time, when the American Hegemony is receding, the world stands at the threshold of being Multipolar but what this multipolarity necessitates is a pertinent question, the answer to which lies in the concrete reality of today’s world order. This multipolar world order entails strong governments led by strong leaders. Therefore, the trend that we encounter in the form of the rise of Revivalist Governments is both a need and a consequence.

The new-fangled surge of  revivalist parties to governance has become the order of the day and has unsurprisingly triggered a roar of dissent among the Observers. Who is the opposition? And why are they alarmed by the neo-conservative’s colossal rise to power? To understand this commotion, we need to look deeper into the societal fissures and the factors that structure the political hierarchy. 

It would be wrong to judge the truth of today by the yardstick of the past. It is very important to achieve contextual clarity before moving forward with the observation of the present order. Every new social development is an upshot of the circumstances that go into the constitution of the society. The world was affected by walloping economic, social and political disparities. The commons were suffering. Inaccessibility, insularity, elitism and discord defined the state of affairs. The echelons were occupied by the elites or their associates. The positions of power were earmarked for the powerful, rich and corrupt. The mandate of the populace was buried somewhere beneath the mounds of cronyism and plutocracy. Everything was slanted in favour of the elites which had an axe to grind while deceptively ruling the world. 

It would be erroneous on the part of the observers to give a single explanation to account for the reaction taking place in many parts of the world. Different situations in different countries led to the rise of revivalist parties. In fact, the contours of these parties are fashioned around the national dynamics and demands of the common people. In India, the rise of BJP responded to the breakdown of  the current opposition. The UPA coalition that held power for over a decade, consecutively, was inept and corrupt. The dynastic origins of the Congress party and the Congress Working Committee’s unquestioning loyalty to the party’s incumbent leadership not only prevented the needed complete overhaul but also repelled the electorate beyond measure.

The recent upheaval against elitist and dynasty politics across the world calls for the existence of a cadre-based party where today’s party workers become tomorrow’s national leaders. Their position in the party should be in consonance with their competence. Merit is the only benchmark and democracy is achieved within and beyond the party. The grand aristocracy that masqueraded as the keeper of democracy was defeated by the voice of the plebeians. This voice, often dubbed to be conservative, is the embodiment of the collective will of the nation. 

In India, the flawed criticism of the opponents is time and again made irrelevant by performance of the current leadership in India. The BJP government has brought about changes in the polity and ecosystem of the nation that are fundamentally progressive. For example, the Modi government in India criminalised Triple Talaq, implemented Swachh Bharat, promoted ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’.

There is a discrepancy among the thinkers and observers when discriminating between the Economic Right-Wing and the Cultural Right-Wing. The Bharatiya Janata Party cannot be boxed into either of two ideologies. In the present context of the Indian Political System, it touches on the ideological connotations of both. The pivot of the BJP’s mandate revolves around the cultural resurrection of the Indian society and economic independence of the Indian citizenry. 

There is a discrepancy among the thinkers and observers when discriminating between the Economic Right-Wing and the Cultural Right-Wing. The Bharatiya Janata Party cannot be boxed into either of two ideologies.

The shift in course, being a global phenomenon has bolstered revivalist leaders around the world. If we take the case of North and South America, the United States and Brazil with very distinct social ecosystems are being led by leaderswho regard themselves as conservative in their approach. They serve as the symbol of the changing scenarios in these essentially liberal states. With his powerful slogan of “Let’s Make America Great Again” Donald Trump appealed to Americans who lost or  might have lost their job owing to globalization. What is perceived as Protectionism by the rest of the world happens to be the singular solution for the crisis that has engulfed the political and economic landscape of America. The deepening ideological gulf between the Republicans and Democrats is a feature of the Trump Era and though many have their reservations regarding the Trump Administration, his enduring popularity against all odds cannot be ignored. The Trump Administration  promises a better future for the nation through domestic reconstruction and self-sufficiency at this time when the global economy is reeling, partly as a consequence measures taken against the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

The rise of right-wing nationalist parties in Europe manifested  concerns relating to dilution of national identity and the growing anti-immigration sentiment triggered by the spread of Terrorism and the negative effects of globalization.

While reviewing the global rise of Revivalist Governments, we would be remiss  to not analyse the European political spectrum. The rise of right-wing nationalist parties in Europe manifested  concerns relating to dilution of national identity and the growing anti-immigration sentiment triggered by the spread of Terrorism and the negative effects of globalization. Conservative leaders in Europe picked up the gauntlet against so-called left-liberals who happen to support anything that does not serve the national interest. Leaders raising a voice against massimmigration are being heard. The people, no matter how remotely or substantially threatened by terrorism and globalization, are in the throes of anidentity crisis that spurs a newfound loyalty to the nation, channeled by the speeches and writings of a dynamic right wing intelligentsia. Therefore, it will not be wrong to say that the European Revivalist upsurge is more ideological and deep-rooted than any other.

Often touted as being Blimpish, the revivalist establishment is anchored in thecommitment to cultural resurgence emboldened by the spirit of nationalism.

Often touted as being Blimpish, the revivalist establishment is anchored in the commitment to cultural resurgence emboldened by the spirit of nationalism. Their rise to power is a resounding message to the world that it’s time to go back to the roots again so as to soar high in the sky. They come with a promise for a  new global order standing on the twin plinths of multilateralism and people’s power. In this era of global competition and conflict,  secure and stout national governments are an indispensable prerequisite. The Revivalist Leadership with their pledge for bridging the difference between the rulers and the ruled show that they are here to stay. 

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Mridani Pandey

Mridani Pandey is a Research Scholar at Department of Political Science in University of Allahabad.

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