Mark Winter looks back at Stuart Hall’s article Gramsci and Us, first published in 1988, and finds a piece that we can usefully use to understand the current period


First things first: Stuart Hall is a tremendous writer. Second: he wrote this prescient, intelligent and polished piece in 1988, but was not heard at the time by the far left. And third, it may just give us a helpful nudge as we seek to understand the current period.

Hall sets out to apply Gramsci to a pivotal period in British history, when the Left was grappling with the shockwaves of Thatcherism. He sets out to understand how Thatcher changed everyday “common sense” through ‘authoritarian populism’. So how does the left deal with the new moment? He uses Gramsci to examine the rise of neoliberalism, to see what is specific, and what is different.

The ‘proletarian moment’

For Hall, the…

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