Stuart Hall: Selected Political Writings (Paperback, 2017, Duke University Press) 5 stars

Selected Political Writings gathers Stuart Hall's best-known and most important essays that directly engage with …

What we have to explain is a move towards 'authoritarian populism' -- an exceptional form of the capitalist state -- which, unlike classical fascism, has retained most (though not all) of the formal representative institutions in place, and which at the same time has been able to construct around itself an active popular consent. This undoubtedly represents a decisive shift in the balance of hegemony, and the National Front has played a 'walk-on' part in this drama. It has entailed a striking weakening of democratic forms and initiatives, but not their suspension. We may miss precisely what is specific to this exceptional form of the crisis of the capitalist state by mere name-calling.

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While Hall's writings provide a beautifully written, and often eerily prescient, historical account, it's hard to avoid being struck by the similarities with the present when reading 'The Great Moving Right Show'. Hall is describing the giant lurch to the right associated with the advent of Thatcherism, but so much of the essay could be said to describe the current conjuncture, only with a starting position already well to the right of that which prevailed in 1979.