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Gramsci’s lessons for the future

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Commentary. The antidote to the ‘antipolitics’ can only be politics again. Fighting populism is possible only by claiming the nobility of politics.

written by Fabio Vander

Topic Italy

Also filed under commentary

June 12, 2018

Why do we need Gramsci in order to critically engage with the new right and populist government? Because whoever wants to understand the characters of our (eternal) crisis cannot leave apart his ideas. Like any classic, he maintains his currency over time.

In a “Notebook 6” passage, he wrote precisely about “populism”: it is a way to neutralize the masses’ call for participation. Indeed, when the masses ask for rights and power, the ruling classes “react with a tendency ‘towards the people.’” The “bourgeois thought,” Gramsci adds, “does not want to lose its hegemony over the popular classes and, to better exercise this hegemony, welcomes a part of the proletarian ideology.”

The key word is “hegemony.” In brief, populism is the right-wing politics that........

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