Stay strong and resilient against populism: Developing a new positive narrative
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Developing a new positive narrative

Staying strong and resilient against populism requires developing a new positive narrative that focuses on the shared values and aspirations of all citizens, regardless of their political affiliations or backgrounds (Noury & Roland, 2020). This narrative should emphasise the importance of democracy, freedom, social justice, and respect for diversity and human rights. 

Some strategies for developing a new positive narrative and countering populism

Promote positive messaging
Populist leaders often use fear, anger, and division to appeal to their followers. To counter this, it is important to promote a positive and inclusive message that emphasises the common values and aspirations that unite us such as messages that underline the importance of democracy and human rights (Jost et al., 2020).

Engage in dialogue
As aforementioned, populism thrives on the division of individuals and the spread of polarisation. To counter this, it is important to engage in constructive dialogue with people who have different views (Blockman and Russack, 2020). This means listening to their perspectives (even if they differ from the ones we have), and cooperating for finding common ground and shared solutions.

Cooperation and connection
As mentioned above, populism often targets marginalised groups such as immigrants and minorities, as scapegoats for social and economic problems. To counter this, it is important to cooperate and connect with different communities (Frieden, et al., 2012). This can include the participation in initiatives that promote cultural integration, and mutual respect.

Stay informed
Populist leaders often use disinformation and fake news for manipulating the public opinion. In order to counter this, it is important to stay informed and fact-check information (Frieden, 2017).


Key elements of a positive narrative

Similarly, some key elements of a positive narrative that can help counter the appeal of populism and thereby strengthen the democratic resilience include (Blockman and Russack, 2020):

Emphasise common values and aspirations
A positive narrative should focus on the shared values and aspirations that unite citizens, such as the desire for freedom and equality. Through an emphasis on these common values, a sense of common purpose and identity that surpasses political divisions can be developed.

Promote constructive engagement
A positive narrative should encourage constructive engagement and dialogue among citizens. Through this, listening to different perspectives and respecting the opinions of others should be reinforced.

Embrace diversity and inclusion
A positive narrative should embrace diversity and inclusion as sources of strength and creativity. This means celebrating individuals’ differences and promoting social cohesion through mutual respect and understanding.

Develop resilience
A positive narrative should also highlight the importance of building resilience and adapting to changing conditions. This means promoting innovation, creativity, and flexibility, and being willing to learn from our mistakes.

Therefore, in order to develop a new positive narrative, we need to engage with citizens and stakeholders from different backgrounds, including civil society organisations, the media, academia, and the private sector. It is fundamental to build partnerships and connections that are built on shared values and aspirations, and that cooperate for promoting democratic resilience and social progress.  By staying strong and resilient against populism, and developing a new positive narrative, we can ensure that democracy continues to thrive and that our societies remain open and inclusive.

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Developing a new positive narrative
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