‘Stars and Bars’: Understanding Right-Wing Populism in the USA

Bill Fletcher Jr.


The scourge of right-wing populism has spread throughout the capitalist world. It has had stunning success posing as radical alternative to so-called mainstream or elite politics. Yet insofar as the new, right-wing populist movements have been successful in creating a new ‘master frame’ (combining ethno-nationalist xenophobia with anti-political establishment populism), the cautionary note is that each right-wing populist movement is not a clone of another, and that while they all utilize the same master frame, each movement/party must pay attention to nationally specific conditions. Thus, the title of this paper, ‘Stars and Bars’, references the flag of the Confederate States of America, which, in many respects, is the near mythic point of origin and conceptual framework of right-wing populism in the USA today.

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