An International Perspective on Hegemony How-To – Berkeley Journal of Sociology review

Rebecca Tarlau writes a reflective review of Hegemony How-To for the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, discussing the book’s concepts through the lens of the organizing work of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST).

For example, while Smucker is highly critical of Occupy Wall Street’s “prefigurative politics,” Tarlau argues that prefigurative politics and strategic politics can be complementary, as demonstrated by the MST:

…prefigurative and strategic politics can feed off of one another. Every institutional space that the movement occupies and constructs—from autonomous movement schools, to public universities, to agricultural cooperatives—becomes a space for the prefiguration of the movement’s political and economic goals.

(To be clear, Smucker also advocates that elements of prefigurative politics can complement a strategic political intervention, for example, SNCC’s lunch counter sit-ins.)

Tarlau agree’s with Smucker’s goal of the left abandoning its purism in order to develop broad-based political power, but she reflects that “building this type of broad-based political alliance can produce a serious tension: how to grow a movement, without losing the ideals that began its struggle” – again lifting up the case of the MST as a challenging example of this tension.

Read the full review at the Berkeley Journal of Sociology.


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