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Poujadism

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Poujadism or Le Mouvement Poujade was a political movement of small businessmen founded to protest against sales tax in southern France. It began life in the summer of 1953 when Pierre Poujade (1920-2003), of an old but impoversished noble family, founded the Union de Defense des Commercants et Artisans (UDCA). By January 1956 it won 2.5 million votes, or 10%, and carried 52 seats in parliament. It was characterized by opposition to big business, anti-Americanism, antisemitism, support for inflationary government policies, and ridicule of cosmopolitan and elite opponents. It opposed modernization projects and looked to the past, which supposedly lacked the corruption of modernity. For a year of so Poujade's UDCA worked in alliance with the Communist Party. Gradually this alliance broke up and Poujade began to be associated with leaders of the French extreme right. From 1958 to 1961 the Poujadists' influence rapidly declined; it won only 2 seats in the election of 1958. Although sometimes called "fascist," it incorporated elements of the opposing revolutionary republican and conservative nationalist political traditions and attacked both the Right and the Left.

The word "Poujadist" was later used, especially in the 1980s, as a term of general political abuse to attack populist politicians who disdain elite support and rely on a lower middle class base. It was used in Britain to attack Margaret Thatcher.