Mel Evans and Kevin Smith interviewed Jonathan Smucker about Hegemony How-To and the current political context for the latest issue of Red Pepper, a UK-based magazine of “left politics and culture.”
Jonathan summarizes two central interventions of the book:
One is that politics is not a clubhouse. Politics is messy. It is meeting everyday people where they are. It’s not an enclave. It’s not being the enlightened, ‘super‑woke’ people together, learning a special vocabulary, shaking our heads and wagging our finger at all these backward other people. That is a manifestation of the same social elitism that is actively structured by neoliberal society. Instead, politics needs to be woven into the fabric of all of our lives.
The other intervention is that we need power… if we are involved in politics, that is what we are signing up for. We are signing up for building, holding and wielding political power, and wrestling with all of the questions and quandaries that come with that. Broadly speaking, the project of the left is expanding who has political power. It’s saying political power should not be concentrated in the hands of the few, the wealthy, or an elite technocratic class.
Jonathan also discusses the “ninth chapter” of Hegemony How-To, which didn’t make it into the final edit of the book.
Read the full interview at Red Pepper.
Jonathan discusses Hegemony How-To and the need to take on the current corporate-friendly leadership of the Democratic Party, if we want to win the future. He also explains why he never says, “pull the Democratic Party to the left.” Listen to the full podcast at Lush Left.
Sally Kohn interviews Jonathan Smucker about the organizing he’s been doing in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania since the 2016 election. Listen to it here.
Nomiki Konst interviews Jonathan Smucker about his book — and about the contest for hegemony within the Democratic Party. Watch the interview here:
Astra Taylor recently convened a roundtable strategic dialogue for The Nation, interviewing Jonathan Smucker along with Direct Action author L.A. Kauffman and Durham, NC City Councilwoman Jillian Johnson. The discussion delved into how to build and wield political power in the wake of the 2016 election.
Here’s an excerpt (Smucker):
If we spend the next four years retreating into liberal enclaves, bonding with each other over how backward half the country is, we will keep losing. That’s as winning a strategy as Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” line.
Trump’s populism is junk populism, but when Democrats failed to speak to people’s pain and refused to name compelling enemies like Wall Street, they effectively conceded populism to Trump. We have to see that Trump also successfully tapped into legitimate resentment at the political establishment. Here in central Pennsylvania, a lot of people feel abandoned by the political establishment. There are real grievances—pain that people are experiencing, from unemployment to the opioid epidemic. Trump taps into that. The optics of an irreverent outsider taking out establishment favorites, one after another—a lot of people enjoyed watching that show. To contend with Trump’s junk reactionary populism, we need a bold progressive populism. But we have to do this in a new way.
Read the strategic discussion in its entirety at The Nation.
Jonathan discussed Hegemony How-To and this political moment with Sonali Kolhatkar on her program Rising Up With Sonali. You can watch the video interview below.
Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals from Rising Up With Sonali on Vimeo.