Interview with Nicos Poulantzas, April 1979

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2024 Number 86

Interview with Nicos Poulantzas, April 1979
Nicos Poulantzas talks to Stuart Hall and Alan Hunt. New introduction by Dave Featherstone and Lazaros Karaliotas, pages 71-91
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.86.04.2024


Nicos Poulantzas was one of the most influential figures in the renewal in European Marxism in the 1970s, and this interview shows some of the ways in which left political discourse in Europe in the 1970s was shaped by widely shared trajectories and contexts. Poulantzas was a member of the Greek Communist Party of the Interior, which, like other parties moving towards a Eurocommunist position, had sought to articulate an alternative political strategy, a different democratic imaginary, and a different road to power. Poulantzas makes a crucial distinction between right and left variants of Eurocommunism. The discussion of Poulantzas’s ideas on ‘authoritarian statism’ situate the interview within wider discussions and debates during the 1970s about how to theorise and make sense of the relations between authoritarianism and the state; it is also part of a broader engagement with Poulantzas’s work that was central to Stuart Hall’s articulation of the concept of ‘authoritarian populism’, which he used to signi ficant effect in his critical analysis of Thatcherism. In the concluding discussion Poulantzas is clearly straining against some of the limits of left organising - in relation to discussions of feminism, the ‘ecological movement’ and other social movements. But he also is clear that there will be no return to the certainties of a Leninist party model: ‘these are the problems which we must tackle; they will not go away, nor can we simply retreat to the old orthodoxy’. This effort to re-imagine the role of the centralising party while also embracing a plurality of ‘autonomous social movements’ was an important unifying concern within some variants of Eurocommunism. 

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To cite this article
Nicos Poulantzas (2024) Interview with Nicos Poulantzas, April 1979, Soundings, 2024(86), 71-91.

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