“The Grinning Skull” – Rebecca Solnit tells the hidden history of Katrina

More hidden history.  The tollgates on the Information Highway work to shield Americans from thoughtcrime, bad knowledge.  Information that might make us question the established order, the way things are.

Rather than the mainstream weekly magazines, I recommend reading TomDispatch — Tom Engelhardt’s website.  It is far more informative than the newsweekly rags, and free.

This is an important story, and IMO should be read in full. 


The first major story on this was “Post-Katrina, White Vigilantes Shot African-Americans With Impunity“, A. C. Thompson, The Nation, 5 January 2009 — co-published with ProPublica.

Here is The Nation’s video linked to the story.  In it one white resident of Algiers Point boasts, “’It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.”  Not strong supporting evidence to The Nation’s story, but still a remarkable video.

The Nation has posted a media advisory from the Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, saying “he is currently looking into the allegations.”  Note that this does not now show on the NOPD website.


 From “The Grinning Skull“, Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch, 21 December 2008 — “The Homicides You Didn’t Hear About in Hurricane Katrina.” 

On one of my visits to New Orleans after Katrina, I met with Rahim, a solid older man with long dreadlocks who told me in his rumbling voice of the bodies he’d seen in the streets of Algiers and gave me a copy of the documentary Welcome to New Orleans. It showed one of the corpses rotting, in plain sight, under a sheet of corrugated sheet metal. It also showed white vigilantes whooping it up and talking openly about what they had done. At a barbeque shortly after Katrina struck, a stocky white guy with receding white hair and a Key West t-shirt chortles, “I never thought eleven months ago I’d be walking down the streets of New Orleans with two .38s and a shotgun over my shoulder. It was great. It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.”

A tough woman with short hair and chubby arms adds, “That’s not a pheasant and we’re not in South Dakota. What’s wrong with this picture?”

The man responds happily, “Seemed like it at the time.”

A second white-haired guy explains, “You had to do what you had to do, if you had to shoot somebody, you had to shoot. It’s that simple.”

A third says simply, “We shot ‘em.”

I vowed to Rahim then that I would get the murders investigated. After all, it wasn’t just rumors; it was a survivor telling his story on national television and apparent murderers telling theirs in a documentary. Despite the solid evidence, no one was following up — not the Pulitzer-winning journalists I contacted through friends, nor the filmmaker who captured Herrington, nor the national radio host Rahim spoke to of mass murder, nor the coroners who had some very interesting corpses on their hands, nor the New Orleans police who talked to Herrington in the hospital and whom he approached afterward, no one until the Nation provided A.C. the resources to do it right.

The worst crimes in disasters are usually committed by institutional authorities and those aligned with them. They fear an unpoliced public and believe private property so sacred a right that they’re willing to kill to defend it, or in this case, just on the off-chance that a passerby might fancy their television set. This is the conclusion of the sociologists who have been studying disasters for decades, many of whom I’ve spoken with in the past few years. And this is the pattern of disasters, like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, in which the public behaved well but the military — which essentially became a hostile occupying army — terrorized the public in the name of preventing looting, shot many innocents, and may have killed scores overall. (In some outrageous incidents, New Orleans police evidently gunned down unarmed African-Americans themselves in the wake of Katrina.)

Looting is a term that should be abolished. In major disasters, when the monetary economy evaporates and needs are desperate, taking water, or food, or diapers, or medicine from shuttered stores — which is what much of the so-called looting consisted of — is largely legitimate requisitioning. The rest is theft, and in the days after Katrina there was also some theft — by the New Orleans police, for example, who cleaned out a Cadillac dealership and helped themselves to goods in a WalMart, as well as by stranded citizens who figured they’d been abandoned or imprisoned in the ruined city and that all rules were gone.

Looting is an incendiary, inexact word, suggesting mayhem far beyond the acquisition of commodities. One Algiers Point vigilante claimed to fear that they would come for his elderly mother, but most of the flooded-out evacuees were looking for food, water, information about family members, and a way out of the wreckage. Another vigilante told A.C. that they could tell the three black men they blasted with a shotgun were looters because they were carrying sports apparel with them. That the victims might be evacuating with their own clothing did not occur to these homicidal fabulists, nor did they seem to think that shooting men who might possibly have taken something of modest value from elsewhere was an overreaction.

The vigilantes of Algiers Point seem to have killed, by their own admissions — or boasts — several African-American men. A.C. was able to get first-hand accounts of eleven shootings, and my initial sources had told me they heard admissions of about seven killings. One militia member shot a black man dead at close range as he attempted to break into a corner store, another member told A.C., the only time one of the shootings seems tied in any way to a potential property crime. The police and coroner produced almost no record of what went on there and then.

The vigilantes of Algiers Point were classic white-flight people. They had spent decades regarding the central city with terror and resentment, and so saw Katrina not as a tragedy that happened to the neighbors, but as a moment when the dangers confined to the other side of the river were swarming across it. Because the riot was already in their heads, they became the crazed murderers they claimed to fear — though fear may not have been the driving motive for all of them.

A.C. was told that they turned themselves into an informal militia after one of their number was brutally carjacked by a black man, but another source told me that her relatives were gleeful about the chance to fight a race war against African-Americans and encouraged to do so by law enforcement. Like Rahim, she calls what went on “hunting” and spoke of a photograph she was sent of a vigilante posing like a big-game hunter next to a black murder victim. Which suggests the catastrophe of Katrina was just cover for getting away with a Klan-style killing spree.

… These were the people who broke down in the aftermath of Katrina, who reverted to savagery, not the crowds stranded in the Superdome, or the Convention Center, or on the elevated freeways, or in schools and other inadequate refuges from the flooding that overtook New Orleans. It’s important to keep in mind, despite the false stories the media spread in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, and this grim, true story three years later, that the response to Katrina was mostly about altruism, courage, and generosity. That was the case whether you are considering people like Herrington, who stayed behind to take care of others, or the “Cajun Navy” of white guys with boats, who headed into the city immediately after the storm to rescue the stranded, or the many who took in evacuees or otherwise tried to help, or what, by now, must be hundreds of thousands of volunteers who arrived in the months and years after the storm to cook and build and organize to bring New Orleans back.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, while the small minority who became a freelance militia murdered casually, the catastrophic loss of life in Louisiana — about 1,500 people, disproportionately elderly — was largely due to decisions made by another small minority: elected and appointed government authorities, from Mayor Ray Nagin, who hesitated to call a mandatory evacuation and never provided the resources for the most destitute and frail to evacuate, to FEMA director Michael Brown, who posed and dithered while tens of thousands suffered, to New Orleans’s police chief and Louisiana’s governor, both of whom chose to regard a drowned and overheated city as a law-enforcement crisis rather than a humanitarian relief challenge.

In many, many cases, supplies and rescuers were kept out of the city, hospitals were prevented from evacuating the dying, and the ability of civil society to do what the government would not — save the stranded, succor the sick — was hindered at every turn. But this story we know. Now, it’s time to know the other half, the grinning skull, the version that turns everything we were told in the first days upside-down and inside out, the story of murders in plain sight almost no one wanted to see. Look at them. Now, may some measure of justice be done.

Tom Engelhardt adds a concluding note:

Rebecca Solnit’s book about disaster and civil society, A Paradise Built in Hell, will be out in time for Katrina’s fourth anniversary. It includes a much more extensive report on the crimes of Katrina, as well as the achievements of civil society in that disaster and others. To listen to a TomDispatch audio interview in which Solnit discusses how the importance of the story of the New Orleans killings dawned on her, click here.

People with information on murders in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina are encouraged to write to Thompson and Solnit at justiceinorleans@gmail.com. Anonymity will be protected.


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15 thoughts on ““The Grinning Skull” – Rebecca Solnit tells the hidden history of Katrina”

  1. {FM note: I have slightly edited this, adding to the quotes and linking to the original source}

    Perhaps my sensitivity to this one comes from something Andy McCarthy wrote just recently: “It is a big part of the Left’s project to control the historical narrative. If you consistently roll over for them, they will consistently roll over you.” That quote comes from here.

    RTWT. No really- I’ll wait for you.

    I’m no Steven Den Beste or Richard Fernandez (analytically-) but I can still navigate the tollgates on the Information Highway well enough to know that there IS a line of thought which says FEMA met it’s own documented expectations in responding to Katrina (see here).

    Just a different perspective folks. And if I may, please let me throw a little gasoline on the Katrina-fire with this excerpt from “No shame – The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed“, Jack Kelly, Pittsburg Post-Gazette, 11 September 2005:

    Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

    “The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.”

    For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

    Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

    A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought: “Katrina Aftermath Choke-the-LWM Moment # 749”, posted 5 September 2005:

    1. Things can get destroyed far more swiftly than they can get fixed.

    2. The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

    3. You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.

    4. We do not yet have teleporter nor replicator technology like you saw on “Star Trek” in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grownups actually engaged in the recovery effort today were studying engineering.

    … And to be perfectly frank, FEMA’s doing a lousy job of things in my opinion as well. Thank God for the U.S. military, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the various churches who are making things happen on the ground for the Americans in the disaster area.

    Other Katrina folklore (which ain’t necessarily so-) is documented here.

    OK, so let the FEMA-effectiveness angle go- I only brought it up because Rebecca Solnit, via TomDispatch, writes, “…to FEMA director Michael Brown, who posed and dithered while tens of thousands suffered…”

    What I really really object to is where Solnit writes, “…while the small minority who became a freelance militia murdered casually…”.

    Zounds! A freelance militia murdering people of color casually in an American city? Well, of course — I’m tempted to say, “Only in America” but that would be too snide. Remarkable to me that this story has been somehow surpressed by collective media who usually don’t pass up opportunities to portray America in a bad light.

    Seems to me this story has everything:

    1. Murder of African-Americans by “classic white-flight people”.
    2. The white-flight people were the ones who “…reverted to savagery…” I note the three (anonymous-) murderers quoted seemed like caricatures; not at all the type who would read the New York Times. But then I guess that’s to be expected. Narrative being important and all that-

    I’m blown away that one of Solnits ostensible points is that this have been covered up by the Mainstream Media (MSM). What? How did Mary Mapes and Dan Rather miss this? And the aforementioned NYT? That really IS a Grand Conspiracy.

    And finally, thanks (yet again-) to my ability in being able to navigate the innertubes, tollgates and all, I was able to research Ms. Solnit. Her bio fascinates me in that it’s a caricature in itself. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the VRWC would be justifiable in looking askance at any work driven from her perspective.

    Fabius should look askance too. This one smacks of ‘Trutherism’- I’ve been reading FM for the last month contemplating what insights I might gain that are legit; not clear to me, for example, that power will pass from the West to the East given that demography indicates China will grow old before it grows rich. You can take that one up with Mark Steyn. But I view with concern the advocacy for Solnit causes me to further adjust my opinion of Fabius’ analysis.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Thanks for listening.
    Fabius Maximus replies: There are two subjects here.

    (1) The government’s response to Katrina. I agree totally with Bill and the sources he cites. I posted some mild but detailed comments about this (with supporting links) after Katrina at “Grasping Reality with both hands”, the website of Berkeley Economics Professor Brad Delong. They were deleted; no explanation. As so often the case on the Internet, “don’t disturb the loyalists” is the motto.

    (2) The actual subject of the article, the murders. Bill’s response seems a long and rhetoric-heavy version of “I don’t believe it.” So what? It’s evidence, of a limited sort. I suggest watching for further developments. This is a story on the edge of the known, like most of the material on this site.

    As for the author’s political beliefs, I don’t care. I just listen to the evidence and logic. Both wisdom and news are often found on the fringes.

  2. Bill cites some information about the response time of the National Guard, and points to some thinly documented claims by Solnit. Investigative journalism is often thinly documented, but that doesn’t it’s not pointing in the direction of truth.

    We all watched the very slow, even indifferent response to katrina at the national level. Later we watched the photo-op staged to show the President being involved, in a suburb well to the east of the main damage, the stage dismantled immediately after he finished his address. The news reports of looting seemed exaggerated and intended to distract. Spinning was rife throughout, evidently trying to cover up the weakness of the administration response. The awkwardness of having to call on Blackwater for security instead of the National Guard tied down in Iraq was not lost on us either.

    Solnit’s piece is aimed at a minor facet of the Katrina epic, the presence of racism in the immediate response to the crisis. She doesn’t address, or only hints at, the larger issue of racism in our national culture, that ignores the condition of blacks in general until the veil is ripped off, as it was here.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Solnit describes 7 – 12 murders, not a “minor facet” in my opinion.

  3. It’s important to keep in mind, despite the false stories the media spread in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, and this grim, true story three years later, that the response to Katrina was mostly about altruism, courage, and generosity.

    The false stories the media spread before; how do we know this isn’t another false story?

    I recall reading about My Lai, where those who knew the truth were mostly ashamed, and unlike many other Vietnam incidents, they were NOT boasting. Most of the boasted about incidents seem to have been hugely exaggerated.

    It’s as likely to me that the boasters are witnesses to victim’s deaths, or corpses, but are innocent of causing them, with the real murderers keeping very quiet.

    And then the story becomes the lousy law enforcement investigation of (how many? a dozen?) murders very soon after the disaster — while the media is generating false stories about anarchy at the Superdome.

    Plus another story of continued racism by the white flight folks. I notice no mention of prior crime rates, nor whether there is journalistic effort to determine if the white flighters have an objective reason to flee.

    Given the anti-capitalist narrative so much in the media are pushing (and Stiglitz might be on the verge of becoming an anti-capitalist media whore), I certainly distrust the ‘classic’ -ness of the white flighters, who the author claims become the murderers they fear.

    A bit too much opinion mixed in with possibly real and horrible facts.

  4. “I just listen to the evidence and logic. Both wisdom and news are often found on the fringes.”

    Stupidity, cupidity and lies too it would seem. Far, far too pat. And you know it.
    Fabius Maximus replies: The first two are attributes of humanity, ubiquitous. I doubt that stupidity cupidity are more frequent on the fringes than the center. Lies and falsihoods are, however, more common on the fringe. Hence the need to check things more carefully when reading fringe — rather than mainstream — sources. I think of it as panning for gold.

  5. I keep on seeing this story pop up now and again, but it’s hard for me to muster any care for this isolated incident given the circumstance of the catastrophe. If anything it seems the common theme in these reports is how the journalists implicitly deem the Katrina coverage to be unfair and racist. If this is the proverbial “Ah ha!” moment for white on black racism then I am unimpressed.
    Fabius Maximus replies: “Ah ha!” moments occur in movies far more often than in real life, so IMO that is an absurd thing to say. I suggest that you might understand this better by trying one of the following.

    (1) Over dinner with some of your African-American friends, mention this story — 6 or 12 folks like them murdered in cold-blood, the perps boasting about it, with no official action. Then explain that even if true, “it’s hard for me to muster any care for this isolated incident.”

    (2) Over dinner with some of your white friends, mention this story — 6 or 12 folks murdered in cold-blood, the perps boasting about it, with no official action — but describe the victims as white folks. Then explain that even if true, “it’s hard for me to muster any care for this isolated incident.”

    Please report your findings elsewhere. This is one of the most repellent comments among the 5000 posted during the past year on this site. I don’t ban folks for content (unless really out there), despite the temptation.

  6. “Ah ha!” moments occur all the time, from the Blago wire taps to the William Jefferson “frozen assets.” These moments are truly ones that invoke outrage and thus create change. As alluded to in the article, the real tragedy of Katrina was not this incident, as both racism is alive and well in the deep south and Louisiana’s justice system is corrupt and ineffective, but instead the massive loss of human life due to the ineffective government response. In this respect the change created was the resignation of Blanco, and an overhaul of FEMA.

    As for the emotional non-sequitur, I can only imagine that you yourself have used such tactics to gain support for causes that miss the forest for the trees, something you rarely do considering your posts are of big picture ideas. I myself would much rather concentrate on greater issues of justice and government accountability even if they don’t have an enticing story.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Revelations of political corruption are “ah ha” moments in the same sense as is the rising of the sun.

    From the Abscam in 1978 to the Keating Five in 1989, corruption scandals are hardy perennials in American history. Recent years have seen high-level scandals in several states — most notably Alaska (the governor’s chief of staff Jim Clark and Senator Ted Stevens).

    Representative William Jefferson‘s $90,000 in the freezer continues our politicos long tradition of home savings, but does not even approach the record $800,000 in shoeboxes held by Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell (discovered upon his death in 1970).

    In many parts of America political corruption is barely hidden. The only thing preventing indictments from being as common as those for other forms of larceny is the reluctance of police and DA’s to target these criminals.

  7. For those that doubt I can tell you these stories are true. I’m from the area and my office was on Opelousas Ave. As soon as we were able to return to work(November 05) I started hearing stories about this stuff. A former co-worker told me all about her stay in Algers following Katrina. She did not shoot anyone but says she helped dump a body in the river. After that I started asking around a bit and came up with a number tales that actually ring true. Several months later a stranger overheard me talking about these things to a friend from Mississippi and he sat down and told his story. He was threatened for not joining the armed group and pretty harshly too. I found his story to be the most interesting. He was still scared to death of these people.

    I have wondered time and time again why this story has never hit the press but they miss the mark every time when it comes to Katrina. I’m glad it is out there now.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for your comment about this!

  8. Shooting at people? Well maybe they did and possibly they even believe they hit some of them.

    Consider that just (allegedly) encouraging similar vigilante actions 40 years ago has landed a cop in court. The FBI would be all over this and bodies equals ballistics. I believe that these people are morons but what morons in their right mind would truthfully boast of committing a crime, on camera, especially such a serious one.

    I think Seneca has it almost right, they have heard of these things, and because that’s the extent of their involvement the are willing to claim participation. If anyone really did do this kind of thing I would expect him to go very quiet when the subject was discussed.

  9. Produce one body with unexplained bullet holes. Then maybe sane people will start to care. Right now they shouldn’t.

    Fabius Maximus wrote: “Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for your comment about this!”

    The Fabius Maximus blog, where unsupported hearsay is welcome, and never is heard an encouraging word.
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is confused on several levels. First, I always thank people presenting personal evidence. It’s quite rare. As the About page says:

    First person data is welcomed, but not considered definitive. Both the on-the-spot observer and the analyst each have their role, and only by working together can we effectively seek the truth.

    Second, all we know about events such as this depends on evidence from the media. If they don’t report it, we don’t know it. Remember the intitial reports about Ruby Ridge? Everyone sets their own framework for these things; I have the dial set on skeptical.

    Third, you do not understand how this site operates. Again from the About page:

    Here we seek a perspective from which to better see events and trends — things on the edge of our available information, on the edge of known theory.

    Perhaps you prefer to wait until things appear in the New York Times. That’s a sensible appraoch. Some prefer to peer into the fog looking for things less visible. This site presents different perspectives on geopolitical events, and lets its readers make up their own minds.

  10. It’s the prison culture breaking out into the wider community. There was another one of these stories that came up, and I can find a link if I have to, of Hispanic gangs terrorizing black families. We have the Surenos versus the Nortenos gang war, and the black gangs allied with the Nortenos up here. This stuff never gets reported unless it’s a multiple homicide. From the TV news perspective, it takes 5 anonymous black guys dead to be the equivalent of a one one white guy dead — maybe about 10,000 dead black guys to equal one Jon Benet Ramsey.

  11. Having been through Andrew, a few comments.

    Katrina was no worse and probably better handled than Andrew by the Feds. FEMA didn’t even move into the marginally affected areas for 72 hours in Andrew as they were too busy trying to figure out chains of command.

    The author is blinded as to looting and the effects on local civic organization, fear, and disorder. In Andrew WalMart and Home Depot responded by not raising prices, sending in additional shipments, and donating supplies to the really needy. They were solid pillars of the community, while the local stores tended to demand “market” prices causing much resentment and anger in folks already devastated. This affects the various socio-economic strata differently since WalMarts, Home Depots and the like tend not to be in very poor areas.

    Meanwhile, certain segments of the population viewed “legitimate requisitioning” as taking TVs, stereos, and jewelry from neighborhood stores as well as other people’s homes. We had roving gangs that came up from Miami and tried to take advantage of the situation in the more affluent areas like Boca Raton. Only overwhelming police presence prevented anarchy and vigilantism, and that overwhelming presence involved less than gentle persuasion on anyone who was in an area that wasn’t their own. Strangely enough, that aspect didn’t get much coverage, either, although there were stories about how hard it was for some crews to get in past police to repair houses.

    While the author may not like it, the reality of the situation is that gangs of white folks weren’t spreading the anarchism, nor doing the looting and theft in either Andrew or Katrina. And one of the few ways to maintain order when you get roving gangs of looters freely pillaging is to make certain that they never do that again. For police that tends to lead to “resisting arrest” in spectacular fashion, for vigilantes it tends to lead to threats to all strangers in their neighborhood. You see that pattern in the Nation article on which this is based.

    As to the reality of the situation, I’m a cynic reminded of the murderer on death row who claims he’s innocent and “people just keep dying around me.” You may say this is in the fog, but I doubt you’ll ever it get cleared up given the confusion of the day and the “he said, she said” nature of much of what happened. The “I was just walking down the street” might be finished with “… and checking every door” by the guy who pulled the trigger. Perhaps a quick review of the criminal record of the victims might hint why the police aren’t interested?

  12. People living in Algiers Point (which has a 30% black population, more or less, and whose residents overwhelmingly supported Obama) is not a white flight area. It’s part of the City of New Orleans and a National Register Historic District. A little research would go a long way.

    … Ray, New Orleans, who like most here knows nothing of pheasant hunting in South Dakota
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for this valuable background to this story!

  13. Update — more information, and a link to the video of boasting vigilantes

    The first major story on this was “Post-Katrina, White Vigilantes Shot African-Americans With Impunity“, A. C. Thompson, The Nation, 5 January 2009 — co-published with ProPublica.

    Here is The Nation’s video linked to the story. In it one white resident of Algiers Point boasts, “’It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.” It is not strong supporting evidence to The Nation’s story, but still a remarkable video.

    The Nation has posted a media advisory from the Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, saying “he is currently looking into the allegations.” Note that this does not now show on the NOPD website.

  14. “Looting is a term that should be abolished. In major disasters, when the monetary economy evaporates and needs are desperate, taking water, or food, or diapers, or medicine from shuttered stores — which is what much of the so-called looting consisted of — is largely legitimate”

    Really? Not if some stranger is crawling through my window. They won’t get too far in their “requisitioning”.

    The Nation sees a possible case of vigilantee murders as a wedge to justify mob action in general. These well-educated folks sit around comfortable offices and imagine that if they had been members of the Russian Socialist-Revolutionary Party in 1917, history would have been entirely different.

  15. Antonia Gramschi would be proud.

    From Wikipedia: Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) was an Italian philosopher, writer, politician and political theorist. A founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy, he was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime. His writings are heavily concerned with the analysis of culture and political leadership and he is notable as a highly original thinker within the Marxist tradition. He is renowned for his concept of cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the state in a capitalist society.

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