Robert Misik

The False Friends of the Common People

Robert Misik
Foto: Robert Misik

Robert Misik, born in Vienna in 1966, is a journalist and political author. He was awarded the Prize of the Keynes Society for Economic Journalism in 2018.

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Czech Republic (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung)

»The problem of political correctness is often a rhetoric that divides.«


Old parties are disappearing, new ones are emerging. The guiding principles of discourse are changing. As chaotic as the political situation presents itself, as confusing is the range of interpretations of the rise of authoritarian nationalism: Some explain it with political apathy and amorphous anger, other with economical factors such as globalisation and growing inequality, others still ascribe it to the supposed cultural depreciation of people with traditional values and lifestyles.

According to Robert Misik, each of these explanations taken by itself is much too simple. Economical and psycho-political dynamics are goading each other. The latent injuries in a class society require multicausal explanations – and radical answers.


»The Austrian journalist and writer Robert Misik is equipped with the rare gift of writing without embellishments but much more intelligently than most.« Timo Feldhaus, der Freitag

»One the one hand, Misik [...] is a scientist, […] on the other, he allows himself to take on an empathetic point of view: however, the kind of ingratiation that populists practice is alien to him in his lucidly and convincingly written analysis The False Friends of the Common People.« Mirko Weber, Stuttgarter Zeitung

»The author Robert Misik has written a gripping book about the ›the false friends of the common people‹. […] [He] presents a captivating political insight into who these common people, the (new) working class for him, actually are and what drives them into the clutches of populists.« András Szigetvari, Der Standard

»The author‘s strength lies in the spirited combination of historical, empirical and theoretical insights that have existed for a long time. That way, he has succeeded in writing a lively essay that serves as a good introduction to the debate and contains helpful food for thought.« Michael Bittner, Junge Welt

»[…] Robert Misik explores the history of the formation and rise of the working classes in his analytically sharp essay that is simultaneously traversed by a current of warmth […] A constructive, empathetic, helpful analysis of the fault lines and dilemmas of post-industrial societies.« bodo – Das Straßenmagazin

»Robert Misik‘s essay is a easily readable and informative introduction to the present sociological and political discussion about the value orientations within the ›working class‹.« socialnet.de

Other publications

Die große Regression/The Great Regression (2017)

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English world rights (Polity), Spanish world rights (Seix Barral), Catalan rights (Grup 62), Chinese simplex rights (Horizon), Brazilian Portuguese rights (Estação Liberdade), Korea (Sallim), Portugal (PRH – Objectiva), France (Premier Parallèle; Paperback Sublicense: Gallimard Folio), Italy (Feltrinelli), Netherlands (Atlas|Contact), Czech Republic (Rybka), Bulgaria (KX Critique & Humanism), Romania (ART), Turkey (Metis)