One of the surprising outcomes of the 2008 economic crisis in Spain has been the emergence of Antonio Gramsci as a fashionable figure. This “all-purpose Gramsci” forces us to regain some historical perspective on the Spanish reception of his ideas. In the 1970s, different clans within the camp opposing Franco's regime came up with their own self-serving—liberal, Leninist, autonomist, Eurocommunist—versions of Gramsci. The theoretical discussion about these uses and abuses of Gramsci gravitated around the Italian communist's idealist epistemology and the role of “ideology” and “culture” within it. Since 2008, we find two different approaches to this same Gramscian issue: one that peddles a political theory of discursive rearrangement of a semi-emptied and adjustable social landscape; and a second one that embraces a movementist, horizontal, and anti-state organizational work on the ground. The political efficiency of these two approaches is significantly impaired by the lack of a sober historical explanation of why the rapprochement with Gramsci only during times of economic turmoil and political rupture is highly paradoxical.

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