The forum focused on democracy crisis and populism.

The breeding ground of populism.

– The marginalization of certain populations, victims of economic violence. The exclusion of his community, pushes people to lose all rationality and to join a new community, to radicalize.
– Corruption, which allows access to power, but discredits those who use it.
– Social networks that allow the expression of hatred and lies with irresponsible authors.
– The media that choose headlines based on what citizens want to hear,
– A dull, rational and irrational anxiety, in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 in the USA and those that followed, with a feeling of a loss of control.
– The Russians want to destroy the post-Cold War global system. There are factories of false information.

The populist mode of action

Populism is not an ideology, but a formula to access absolute power by undermining the existing system, democratic institutions, media, justice. Technological changes, globalization, migration flows have contributed to this destabilization. It is a populism of billionaires that relies on the mistrust vis-à-vis elites and institutions supposed to be unable to solve problems, the “system”. He seizes emotional phenomena, appeals to feelings that that disqualify rationality, supported by media that seek immediate success by arousing public emotion. He denies the pluralism of society. He rewrites history, promotes the idea that the past was better and that the future will be more difficult. It is based on lies that justify simplistic solutions. They use identity defined by choosing an enemy. They pursue policies that divide societies according to religious, racial and sexual diversities.

The populism virus begins with tiny signals that we do not want to understand or fight (lack of independence of the media and justice, corruption) They must alert us and be immediately fought. Referendums are typical of populism because they ask closed questions. The problem is also the parties that embrace the methods of populism. It is a nihilistic policy, which abandons the debate in favor of the symbol. The consequences are profound divisions of society, as in the wake of the Brexit or the Catalan crisis. People cannot talk to each other anymore.

What to do.

The essential challenge is to restore confidence, which is an indispensable condition of democracy.

– Fight corruption through transparency, accountability, codes of ethics and training. But when these parties come to power they don’t respect these codes of conduct and the electorate does not care.

– Fight against the “fake news”. But fact checking has little effect, people do not care. It is only a means that must lead to an effective dialogue between citizens and elected officials.

– Trust is a mode of relationship to another. We must learn to meet the one who thinks differently to understand it, to rediscover that the identity is built in the relationship to the other.

– What young people are looking for is a meaning to their life.

Outstanding issues.

Define what is the “democratic spirit”, as a substratum of practical rules?

– Rule of law with the same rules for everyone.

– A power that must justify its decisions to those who bear the consequences.

What is the role of our movements? Are we only NGOs inspired by Christian values? Or are there other ways? Our mission is the evangelization of the practices of the political world. In other words, how is spirituality a support for the democratic spirit?