Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 5, No 8 (2016)

“A la Carga!” And Similar Allusions to Gaitanist's identity. Populism, Identities and Political Violence in Colombia.

Cristian Acosta Olaya


The present paper seeks to expose the recent problematic disclosed by some authors like Gerardo Aboy Carlés and Soledad Montero, among others, about Ernesto Laclau’s work, which has traced a new analytical path whose goal is to study with accuracy what kind of political identity-logic is the populist one. With a broader discourse perspective and understanding populism as an identity management, we consider the use of the concept of populism relevant in order to revise historical cases such as the one leaded by Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in Colombia in the middle of the 20th century. In this text we contrast the populist identity with others more related to the use of force and the physical elimination of the adversary, suggesting to study gaitanist identity as one that configures ítself in an ambivalent game which oscillates between the call to radical belligerency and the privileged use of expressions pertaining to the democratic tradition which moderated the totalitarian elements of Gaitan’s speech. In this vein, we open to discussion the mostly obliterated relationship between violence and populism, with the hope to contribute to a more accurate characterization of the populist phenomenon in Latin America.