Hall on populism

Thomas Schumacher tschumac at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Sat Feb 4 22:43:58 MST 1995


As for Hall on populism, I would suggest the series of articles from MARXISM
TODAY that were collected in THE HARD ROAD TO RENEWAL (Verso, 1988), and to
some extent the contributions that make up NEW TIMES: THE CHANGING FACE OF
POLITICS IN THE 1990s (Verso, 1990).  On occasion, the debate has resurfaced in
NEW LEFT REVIEW, and of particular importance is Jessop et al.'s piece in NLR
#147.  Relevant CCCS books would be POLICING THE CRISIS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES
BACK.

In "Popular-Democratic vs. Authoritarian Populism:  Two Ways of 'Taking
Democracy Seriously", Hall tries to make sense of Thatcherism in terms of
politics and ideology (primarily from a perspective of Gramscianism) rather
than in terms of some kind of economic "crisis."  This of course upset a lot of
marxists who wanted to see Thatcherism as a "reflection" of more deep-seated
contradictions of the British economy.  Hall is not trying to ignore economic
determinations, but merely to write an account of authoritarian populism's
politics and the way in which popular consent is constructed.  It's been a long
time since I've read this stuff, so I won't try to give a more adequate account
of them now.

Tom S.

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