Noted sociologist and economic historian Immanuel Wallerstein died over the weekend at the age of 88. Wallerstein was best known for his world systems analysis, in which he contends all political and social structures in the modern world operate under the capitalist order. Wallerstein emphasized the need for alternative, more humane systems. In 2010, Wallerstein sat down for a conversation with the late civil rights activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.
Immanuel Wallerstein: “If you want to understand right-wing populism in the United States, or indeed in Europe or in other parts of the world today, understand it in terms of people panicking. They don’t know how to protect themselves. They do see that they’re in a shaky situation, and they lash out at whatever. That leads to xenophobia and all sorts of — you find the enemy where it doesn’t solve any of your problems, but it makes you feel better for a few minutes, until the next time.”
That was Immanuel Wallerstein speaking in 2010. He passed away this weekend at the age of 88.