To understand the changing political circumstances of class, politics and culture in the United Kingdom, scholars at The Birmingham School turned to the work of Antonio Gramsci , an Italian thinker, writer and communist party leader of the 1910s, 20s and '30s. Gramsci had been concerned with similar issues: why would Italian laborers and peasants vote for fascists? What strategic approach is necessary to mobilize popular support in more progressive directions? Gramsci modified classical Marxism , and argued that culture must be understood as a key site of political and social struggle. In his view, capitalists used not only brute force (police, prisons, repression, military) to maintain control, but also penetrated the everyday culture of working people in a variety of ways in their efforts to win popular "consent." It is important to recognize that for Gramsci, historical leadership, or "hegemony," involves the formation of alliances between class factions, and struggles within the cultural realm of everyday common sense. Hegemony was always, for Gramsci, an interminable, unstable and contested process.