marxism today

Suzanne Moore (Ep. 3)

In her interview with University of Texas Professor Ben Carrington, Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore reflects on her experience with Stuart Hall while she wrote for Marxism Today, a British political magazine published under the editorship of  Martin Jacques from 1977–1991.

Moore explains that she came to the magazine having completed a cultural studies degree but was dissatisfied with the narrow reach of academia. Through her experience with Stuart Hall, who also wrote for the magazine, she was able to see first-hand his ability to connect the social, political and economic. Most notably, she points to Hall’s analysis of Thatcherism as an ideological project he termed “authoritarian populism.”

As an “absolutely engaged” intellectual who “didn’t just sit there with books,” Hall’s influence on Marxism Today made it both a supportive environment but also not an easy place to work. It was a “way of life,” she states. Despite that her interests around “feminism came second place sometimes,” Hall inspired her with his genuine ability to include people and his quiet support without being a domineering presence.

Moore notes Hall’s ability to reach a wide range of people who didn’t fit into certain categories because he was an engaged intellectual who “had hinterland to spare.”

Moore further states that while Stuart’s work was located in a particular time and place, the bigger analysis holds up now. This is especially true of Policing the Crisis in relation to police brutality in America. Given his core principles around inequality and dispossession he would also have much to add to the discussion around the Syrian refugee crisis, as he “always understood people who didn’t have a place.”

What Hall leaves behind for Moore is both “a little bit of sadness and loss” but also “the ability to point you in a new direction.”

-Maggie Tate

Gary Younge (Ep. 2)

In his interview with Gary Younge, editor at large for The Guardian, UT Austin Professor Ben Carrington begins with a reflection on Younge’s article following Stuart Hall’s passing entitled, “Stuart Hall: A Class Warrior and a Class Act.” Younge praises Hall for not being interested in sounding clever or performing academic stardom.

This is particularly notable because, according to Younge, it is common for academic stars in the current era to say things that are catchy, “like dangling baubles that make people sit up and think you’re clever.”  On the contrary, Hall had a “soft and nurturing presence” and wanted to be useful rather than dominating.

This was evidenced in the way that Hall would “almost appear without a trace when he came into a room.” Younge first became aware of Stuart Hall when he was 7 or 8 through Hall’s position at the Open University, but then became more familiar with his work reading Marxism Today, especially “New Times.”

In addition to the relevance of his ideas, Younge reflects on how meaningful it was to see a black man as an intellectual who could say what he had to say but also keep his integrity intact. For Younge, it was significant that Hall did not appear embittered or insecure, that he “seemed happy in his skin” and that “he didn’t have to put someone else down in order to build himself up.”

Younge remembers his last communication with Hall, which was an exchange over Younge’s “Ethical World Cup.” Commenting on the loss of Hall, Younge states that while “there was never a time where we didn’t need him… arguably we need him now more than ever, though I guess that was always true.”

-Maggie Tate