The winners of globalization will now fight it out in the political sphere

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


First it was the left, now it’s the turn of the right to fade from the French political landscape. We have a new faultline: one that separates “progressives” from “populists”. This realignment is no accident, but the result of the political world catching up with real changes in society. The traditional left-right divide is giving way to one that reflects a fundamental class conflict that will define the west in the 21st century: the working classes whose livelihoods have been hollowed out by globalisation pitted against those socioeconomic groups who have benefited from it.

This shift we are witnessing in Europe is the consequence of workers at both ends of the economic spectrum cutting loose from their traditional political affiliations.

Both the far right Rassemblement National (RN, formerly the Front National), and Macron’s Republique En Marche (LREM) can now claim distinct electoral bases that are neither right nor left but a coherent reflection of sociological and geographic changes. As in the French presidential elections, the working classes, the people who inhabit “peripheral” France, the small towns, deindustrialised regions and rural areas, voted for “populists”, while globalisation’s “winners” and people living in the big French metropolitan areas backed “progressives”. If the far right managed to bring together groups that were previously politically opposed (workers, employees, self-employed, small farmers), Macron also achieved an unlikely alliance of hipsters and the traditional bourgeoisie.

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