Dutertes Violent Right Populism in the Philippines
Lecture | April 4 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library
Mark Thompson, Professor of Politics, City University of Hong Kong
Since becoming Philippine President in July 2016 Rodrigo R. Duterte has launched a violent crackdown on drugs, with nearly 7,000 people killed (as of January 2017) from police encounters and vigilante killings. Elected in a free and fair election in May 2016, Dutertes regime is post-liberal but not (yet) explicitly anti-democratic, with the press still free and the powers of Congress and the Courts not yet formally curtailed. Dutertes appeal differs from left populist politicians in the Philippines who have focused on social remedies for poverty and inequality. Although Duterte has established close ties to the far left, promised greater commitment to solving socio-economic problems, and taken a nationalist stance against the U.S., he has implemented the sub-national authoritarian Davao model nationally, using violence as spectacle to discourage investigation of the killings and convey the political message that he will punish evil while protecting ordinary good people. For many Filipinos, this state violence has created a sense of political order amidst weak institutions. Dutertes right populism shows some similarities to illiberalism elsewhere in Southeast Asia but differs in important respects from rich world right populism represented by Trump and the European far right.
Mark R. Thompson (Ph.D., Yale University) is head of the Department of Asian and International Studies (AIS) and director of the Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) at the City University of Hong Kong. He is the author of The Anti-Marcos Struggle (1995), Democratic Revolutions (2004), co-editor of Dynasties and Female Political Leaders in Asia (2013), and the author of a number of journal articles on Asian politics, most recently Democracy with Asian Characteristics in the Journal of Asian Studies and The Vote in the Philippines: Electing a Strongman (together with Julio Teehankee) in the Journal of Democracy (October 2016). He is editor of a forthcoming special issue on the early Duterte presidency for the ,i>Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs and is currently completing a co-authored book manuscript about the Philippine presidency.