We spent the year 2008 trying to get the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (CRWS) off the ground. There was pushback. In part, it was because there was no precedent—Right-Wing Studies?—for such an entity on a major research campus. But above all, the pushback was about timing. Neoliberalism was suffering comeuppance in the form of transnational catastrophic financial collapse and near depression. In the USA, the most right-wing presidency in at least seventy-five years was coming to a shattering end, seeming to give way to a “transformative” administration under a Black Democrat. Sam Tanenhaus of the New York Times reflected the widespread mood, publishing The Death of Conservatism. Why now was there a need for right-wing studies?
The Tea Party swiftly put this objection to rest. Its populist uprising was the defining political event of the Obama years. It was launched in February 2009, one month after Obama’s inauguration and one month before CRWS opened its doors. We held an early conference on the Tea Party, wrote reports and a book on it, and the center attracted attention from many quarters around the world where right-wing populism was similarly on the rise.
By the time US populism morphed from the Tea Party to Trumpism, immigration surges had made the worldwide dimension of the trend unmistakable. Liberal democracy was back on its heels in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Trumpism was of a piece with illiberal democratic regimes erupting across the continents. Behind them were populist right-wing mobilizations possessed by local variations of replacement theory. This state of affairs has only deepened over the past several years.
Surely it is time for a Journal of Right-Wing Studies.
What we hope to mount here is something that is receptive to essays, research papers, book reviews, and commentary. We believe the issues we address here are urgent, and discussion and analysis need to be as widely diffused as possible. Accordingly, we are an open access journal available worldwide without economic barriers for readers or for potential authors.
And with that, allow me to welcome you to the Journal of Right-Wing Studies.