La France Insoumise now boasts that it is the dominant force on the French left. One year after Mélenchon and his allies upstaged the Parti Socialiste in the country's presidential election, however, the movement's populist political strategy has become the subject of much debate. The term "populism" has most often been used by critics as an epithet, a synonym for extremism, but it is in fact an apt description of Mélenchon's plan to reshape French democracy—and it is a badge he wears with pride. Seeking to engage disaffected voters by rallying "the people" against "the elites," La France Insoumise believes it can build an unconventional but durable coalition for a twenty-first-century left. Its attempts to reinvigorate participatory democracy suggest that La France Insoumise is not the authoritarian menace centrist opponents have made it out to be. But its insistence that it, and only it, can save the left threatens to stifle both its political success and the democratic and egalitarian elements of its project.


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pp. 101-110
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