Massimo Modonesi’s Antagonistic Principle: Marxism and Political Action refocuses attention on the class nature of society and the constitution of the subaltern classes as a political subject, relying on central Gramscian categories. His analysis regards in particular Latin America and the conflicting analyses of social movements there: “class-based” and / or class-mediated, or “populist”. In this latter approach, the author deals with the line of analysis, regarding Latin America in particular, that is chiefly represented by Laclau and Mouffe. The question that Gramsci poses is how can the subaltern groups and classes challenge and escape from their subaltern position and constitute themselves historically as an autonomous social and political subject. Antagonism in Modonesi’s analysis is “the subjective configuration of the conflict and struggle as lived” and is capable of leading to a challenge for hegemony. Like John Holloway, he sees an emphasis placed on “the negation present in common daily practices of resistance” within the interstices of existing societies. All in all we see, then, an emerging critique of both neo-liberalism and domination by the State over civil society on the one hand, and post-modernist and post-Marxist tendencies on the other.

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