Thursday, 27 April 2017

Stuart Hall`s Authoritarian populism ...UKIP and the Font Nationale

The Sun on the sinking of theBelgrano in May 1982.

Authoritarian populism was a term coined by the cultural theorist Stuart Hall to describe Thatcherism. He argued that Thatcherism was a popular reaction to the British post-war settlement, mobilized along right-wing lines and aiming to strengthen the State.


A good deal of evidence from opinion polls suggests, as demonstrated notably in the work of Ivor Crewe,[1] that Mrs. Thatcher had little success in winning over the population. Indeed, polls suggest that opposition to Thatcherism grew as time went on.

Bob Jessop et al. argue, along similar lines, that "Thatcherism must be seen less as a monolithic monstrosity and more as an alliance of disparate forces around a self-contradictory programme."[2]

Thatcherism involves a passive revolution rather than mass mobilization - let alone a fascist mass mobilization. Where are the Thatcherite 'new model' unions, the Tebbit Labour Front, the Thatcherite Youth, the women's movement, Thatcherite sports leagues, rambling clubs, etc., which might consolidate and fix a mobilized working class?[3]

Further readingEdit

  • Stuart Hall, 'The Great Moving Right Show'Marxism Today, January 1979.

  • Stuart Hall, Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke and Brian Roberts, Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order, London and Basingstoke: Macmillan (1978).

  • Bob Jessop, Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley and Tom Ling, 'Authoritarian Populism, 'Two Nations' and Thatcherism', New Left Review, I/147, Sept.-Oct. 1984.

  • Stuart Hall, 'Authoritarian Populism: A Reply to Bob Jessop et al'New Left Review, I/151, May-June 1985.

  • Bob Jessop, Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley and Tom Ling, 'Thatcherism and the Politics of Hegemony: A Reply to Stuart Hall', New Left Review, I/153, Sept.-Oct. 1985.


  1.  See 'Has the Electorate become Thatcherite?' in Robert Skidelsky (ed.), Thatcherism, London: Chatto and Windus (1988), and 'Values: The Crusade that Failed' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon (eds.), The Thatcher Effect: A Decade of Change, Oxford: Oxford University Press (1989).

  2.  Bob Jessop, Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley and Tom Ling, 'Authoritarian Populism, 'Two Nations' and Thatcherism' in id., Thatcherism: A Tale of Two Nations, Cambridge: Polity (1988), p. 74.

  3.  ibid., p.45

The article below is up to date research on the rise of Ukip. The authors comapre it to the front nationale in France

Populism, the ‘people’ and the illusion of democracy – The Front National and UKIP in a comparative context

Aurelien Mondon

The 2014 European elections confirmed the prominence in the media of what is commonly called the far right. While parties such as the Front National and UKIP were successful in the elections, their performance has since been exaggerated and they have benefited from a disproportionate coverage. Aiding their apparently ‘irresistible rise’, their normalisation was greatly facilitated by their description as ‘populist’ parties. However, while this term ‘populism’ has been almost universally accepted in the media, it remains a hotly debated concept on the academic circuit, and its careless use could in fact prove counterproductive in the assessment of the current state of democracy in Europe. Instead of focusing on the reasons behind the rise of these parties, similarities and differences already widely covered in the literature, this article hypothesises that a skewed and disproportionate coverage of the European elections in particular, and the ‘rise’ of ‘right-wing populism’ in general, have prevented a thorough democratic discussion from taking place and impeded the possibility of other political alternatives.

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