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New Left Review I/166, November-December 1987

Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe

Post-Marxism Without Apologies

Why should we rethink the socialist project today? In Hegemony and Socialist Strategy we pointed out some of the reasons. As participating actors in the history of our time, if we are actually to assume an interventionist role and not to do so blindly, we must attempt to wrest as much light as possible from the struggles in which we participate and from the changes which are taking place before our eyes. Thus, it is again necessary to temper ‘the arms of critique’. The historical reality whereof the socialist project is reformulated today is very different from the one of only a few decades ago, and we will carry out our obligations as socialists and intellectuals only if we are fully conscious of the changes and persist in the effort of extracting all their consequences at the level of theory. The ‘obstinate rigour’ that Leonardo proposed as a rule for intellectual work should be the only guideline in this task; and it leaves no space for complacent sleights of hand that seek only to safeguard an obsolete orthodoxy.

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Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, ‘Post-Marxism Without Apologies’, NLR I/166: £3

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