----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Pugliese <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2000 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: The Gramscian Roots of America's Culture War [Free Republic]


>    Ralph Reed, formerly the brains in the Christian Coalition, and now
> making beaucoup bucks as a political consultant (has a snazzy website),
> reads Gramsci. Wacko William Lind (not Michael, different guy, saw him on
> CSPAN at a Accuracy In Media conference a while back on the Kulturkampf)
who
> works for Paul Weyrich at the Free Congress Foundation, says Gramsci,
> Marcuse and Adorno, along with Marx, Freud and Dewey have corrupted
American
> youth. (LaRouche is more specific, he just blames the Frankfurt School.
I'll
> dig up his screed, if anyone wants, on how Adorno caused Littleton.)
>   The cover of the John Birch Society back in 1997, featured a cover story
> on Gramsci. And here, though I think months ago I might have sent this, is
a
> paper from some student philosophy journal from Oregon on the right and
> Gramsci.
>                                                          Michael Pugliese
>
............................................................................
> .................
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Alain Kessi <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 10:26 AM
> Subject: [right-left] Whose Gramsci?
>
>
> > Here comes another icon of the left that we should probably start having
> > a critical look at - Gramsci. I've been tempted (and still am) to quote
> > Gramsci in a fundamental critique I'm planning to write of the current
> > discourse on "civil society" (another right-left topic) with which the
> > New Center would like to make us believe that their powerful attack
> > against people's autonomy (after the neoliberalist attack had come to a
> > stop because it didn't manage to further break up people's resistance)
> > with the help of NGO elites and a thoroughly elitist concept of "civil
> > society" is "for the good of everyone". Gramsci's concept of civil
> > society (societa civile) is definitely more political than the
> > social-democratic blabla that Habermas and Giddens have gotten us used
> > to. But there's a problem...
> >
> > You see this problem in the article below: Why is Gramsci attractive to
> > the racist right-wing? But if you read his works, maybe you'll discover
> > problematic points independently of the empirical fact that De Benoist
> > and other racists love Gramsci.
> >
> > The point, and this brings Gramsci close to "leftists" like Juergen
> > Habermas ("the bombs of reason"/Kosovo, or was that particular quote
> > from his buddy Ulrich Beck?) or Max Weber ("the primitive Slavs in the
> > way of German efficiency"), is that Gramsci despises "primitive
> > peasants" and other barriers to capital accumulation. His position, it
> > seems, is not far from that of the capitalists. He just disagrees with
> > them on who should be the one to destroy people's autonomy and lives and
> > incorporate their working power into the effectiveness of capitalist
> > production and profit-making, and wants to challenge them on the field
> > of hegemony (of civil society). They find it should be private
> > capitalists. Gramsci thinks it should be the communist party. Much like
> > Stalin thought when he killed them peasants in the Ukraine and
> > elsewhere. (Stalin was an expert in breaking up the "backwardness" of
> > peasants and creating favorable conditions for the accumulation of
> > capital. Wonder whether he had read Joseph Schumpeter and his amazingly
> > accurate description of capitalist attacks as "creative destruction"...
> > now more fashionable than ever in mainstream business analysis papers,
> > see Paul Krugman et al., more and more with open references to the full
> > brutality of the process of "progress", sometimes to Nazism as a good
> > example of how to proceed.)
> >
> > I surmise that many of the "former leftists" are "former" because even
> > when they were "leftists" they were "progressive", meaning they felt
> > uncomfortable with a fossilized "old system" that didn't provide them
> > with enough opportunities to exercise their innovative spirit. At the
> > beginning of their struggle, they seem to agree with the "left" in that
> > they are fighting the oppressors. But the only reason they do is in
> > order to install a new oppressive regime in which their innovation will
> > dictate the force and the speed of the destruction (more forceful and
> > faster than that of the "old system", a new cycle of capitalist attack)
> > of the "backwards people" who are to be made available for exploitation.
> > Joseph Fischer (some think he's still their friend and persevere in
> > calling him "Joschka") is a prime example of that process. Listen to his
> > war rhetoric and see behind the rhetoric the overall innovative attack
> > (of technology, finance, culture, philosophy), primarily against Eastern
> > Europe whose societies need to be broken up and made useable,
> > integrateable into a process of sucking off "surplus" value.
> >
> > Any thoughts anyone?
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Alain
> >
> > P.S.: Does anyone have the writings of Marc Spruyt at hand (even in
> > Dutch I'd like to have them)? See footnote [7].
> >
> > -------------------
> >
> > http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ucurrent/uc6/6-gramsci.html
> >
> >     --------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >                                Whose Gramsci?
> >
> >                             Right-wing Gramscism
> >
> >                             Rob Van Craenenburg
> >
> >
> > We are in the proces of losing our foremost thinker of and on concrete
> > historical scenarios, Antonio Gramsci, to a reactionary right-wing
> > cause. Gramsci himself has become entangled in a position that he has
> > given much thought about, Ceasarism. Ceasarism can be said to express a
> > situation in which the forces in conflict balance each other in a
> > catastrophic manner: But Ceasarism "does not in all cases have the same
> > historical significance. There can be both progressive and reactionary
> > forms of Ceasarism; the exact significance of each form can, in the last
> > analysis, be reconstructed only through concrete history, and not by
> > means of any sociological rule of thumb. Ceasarism is progressive when
> > its intervention helps the progressive force to triumph, albeit with its
> > victory tempered by certain compromise and limitations. It is
> > reactionary when its intervention helps the reactionary force to triumph
> > in this case too with certain compromises and limitations, which have
> > however, a different value, extent and significance than in the
> > former."[1]
> >
> > Although Gramsci makes it very clear that Caesarism is "a polemical
> > ideological formula, and not a canon of historical interpretation"
> > (220), that "a Caesarist solution can exist even without a Caesar,
> > without any great, `heroic' and representative personality" (220), we
> > may well add Gramsci's own name to his very own list compiled of Caesar,
> > Napoleon I, Napoleon III, and Cromwell, to name but a few. For although
> > Tony Bennett wrote a decade ago that :
> >
> >           It is always tempting these days and especially at the
> >           end of long essays to wheel on Gramsci as a
> >           `hey-presto' man, as the theorist who holds the key to
> >           all our current theoretical difficulties [2]
> >
> > nevertheless his `hey-presto' qualities seem to have faded somewhat in
> > the progressive positions in cultural studies; unfortunately, however,
> > not in extremely right-wing circles where his fundamental notion of
> > hegemony is being hailed as a politically effective and productive way
> > of gaining influence and political power. This seems to me to be one of
> > the foremost fundamental productive questions in literacy studies: to
> > what extent is Gramsci's notion of hegemony politically neutral, and if
> > so to what extent are we willing to let it be compromised? Not only is
> > Gramsci misunderstood, as in the new elitist focus of McGuigan who
> > blames the uncritical embracement of mass consumption on the hegemony
> > theorists who have closed their eyes to an economic grounding of all
> > cultural production, a position which can be easily refuted within
> > Gramsci's own framework:
> >
> >           Can there be cultural reform, and can the position of
> >           the depressed strata of society be improved culturally,
> >           without a previous economic reform and a change in
> >           their position in the social and economic fields?
> >           Intellectual and moral reform has to be linked with a
> >           programme of economic reform indeed the programme of
> >           economic reform is precisely the concrete form in which
> >           every intellectual and moral reform presents itself.
> >           [3]
> >
> > But within the progressive framework of cultural studies, his concept of
> > hegemony is questioned as well, especially because "there are problems
> > with distinguishing hegemony theory from the dominant ideology thesis;
> > [4] the feminist perspective does "not accept such a privileging of
> > capitalism over patriarchy as the determinate structure of ideological
> > relations," and ethnic studies claims that " the national-popular
> > concept is in danger of suppressing specific dynamics of black and
> > ethnic struggles" [5]. Moreover, "the problems of reconciling it
> > [hegemony] with a theory of pleasure are insurmountable" [6].
> >
> > Unfortunately, the French Nouvelle Droite mouvement headed by Alain
> > DeBenoist and the Flemish extremely right political party Het Vlaams
> > Blok have no such insurmountable problems whatsoever with Gramsci's
> > notion of hegemony. On the contrary, they use it to their utmost ability
> > and they're not being shy about it. The Nouvelle Droite was founded as
> > an ideological perspective in the midsixties by the French theorist
> > Alain de Benoist. Ironically, it is inspired as an active movement by
> > Gramsci's Quaderni del Carceri, and it literally calls the metapolitical
> > struggle for cultural hegemony the Gramscism of the Right. I was first
> > confronted with this rightwing theft of Gramsci by the journalistic
> > writings of Marc Spruyt, who has since published a very necessary, clear
> > and precise account of rightwing party (meta)politics [7]. His book
> > surely ought to be translated into English, especially given the
> > specific French and Belgian context within which Gramsci is (mis)used in
> > this manner. The lack of a translation enables the otherwise extensive
> > works about Gramsci to completely miss this
> > development: for example, Antonio Gramsci, A New Introduction (Paul
> > Ransome, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992). Moreover, Ransome's very last
> > words
> > in the conclusion now become ominous:
> >
> >           To the extent that Gramsci's ideas provide Marxism with
> >           a new degree of flexibility and adaptability, it is
> >           likely that his influence will be felt for some time to
> >           come. Gramsci it seems has not been "relegated to the
> >           attic".
> >
> > This conclusion about "adaptablity" acquires a very different and
> > altogether uncomfortable dimension if we become aware whose attic it is
> > that we may be speaking about. Gramsci's notes on hegemony in his prison
> > writings are spread out throughout his text, deeply imbedded not
> > infrequently within concrete historial situations and events as his was
> > no
> > disinterested academic exercise but a genuine attempt to understand the
> > elements of a triumphant Italian fascism. We would however, not
> > misrepresent him if we take his notion of hegemony to mean that in
> > between
> > forced consent and active dissent we find passive consent, that cultural
> > change precedes political change, and that changes must connect to an
> > audience that is ready to respond. As Gramsci notes,
> >
> >           the supremacy of a social group manifests itself in two
> >           ways, as `domination' and as `intellectual and moral
> >           leadership'. A social group dominates antagonistic
> >           groups, which it tends to `liquidate', or to subjugate
> >           perhaps even by armed force; it leads kindred and
> >           allied groups. A social group can, and indeed must,
> >           already exercise `leadership' [hegemony] before winning
> >           governmental power (this indeed is one of the principal
> >           conditions for the winning of such power); it
> >           subsequently becomes dominant when it exercises power,
> >           but even if it holds it firmly in its grasp,it must
> >           continue to `lead' as well.[8]
> >
> > Gramsci's notion of hegemony, or rather on how hegemony is procured, is
> > literally restated by the leader of the reactionary Het Vlaams Blok,
> > Filip Dewinter: "The ideological majority is more important than the
> > parliamentary majority, the former actually mostly always precedes the
> > latter [9]. The theft of Gramsci by the Nouvelle Droite becomes
> > especially unseemly in the case of the extreme right wing Flemish
> > organization, Were Di, which finds its inspiration in the views of the
> > Nouvelle Droite for three axiomatic foundations: "hereditary inequality,
> > hierarchic society, elitist organisation [10]. Now I will not overstate
> > my case in claiming that most evidence in any court can be read both
> > ways, that the corruption of notions and concepts has been reevaluated
> > as appropriation or excorporation, but whenever there's a line to be
> > drawn, it is most certainly in this particular moment when Gramsci's
> > painstaking labour is turned against him in all he ever stood for. And
> > in as much as this is a moral stand I plead firmly guilty. Because
> > theoretically there is very little ground upon which to conclude that
> > hegemony is not a poltically neutral concept. There is but one moment in
> > the Quaderni where Gramsci suggests that hegemony can only be understood
> > in relationship with democracy:
> >
> >           Of the many meanings of democracy, the most realistic
> >           and concrete one in my view can be worked out in
> >           relation to the concept of `hegemony'. In the hegemonic
> >           system, there exists democracy between the `leading'
> >           group and the groups that are `led', in so far as the
> >           development of the economy and thus the legislation
> >           which expresses such development favour the (molecular)
> >           passage from the `led' groups to the `leading' groups.
> >           In the Roman Empire there was an imperial territorial
> >           democracy in the concession of citizenship to the
> >           conquered peoples, etc. There could be no democracy
> >           under feudalism, because of the constitution of the
> >           closed groups estates, corporations, etc (56).
> >
> > But of course this will not stop anti-egalitarian, totalizing users of
> > his ideas as they work within parliamentary democracy towards a
> > dictatorship in which any of these considerations become ineffective and
> > academic. So we are experiencing Ceasarism with "Gramsci" as the
> > discursive battle field, a catastrophic moment where a sound, productive
> > concept "hegemony" is being abandonded by progressive positions and
> > revitalised by reactionary forces. And again it is Gramsci himself who
> > gives us the basic clue from which we have to try to start our
> > understanding of his contemporary position. For his remarks on
> > Machiavelli can now be read as referring to his current position:
> >
> >           The habit has been formed of considering Machiavelii
> >           too much as the man of politics in general, as the
> >           `scientist of politics', relevant in every period [11].
> >
> > This is exactly what has happened with Gramsci's notion of hegemony in
> > progressive positions, they have overstretched its productive capacity
> > to the extent that its inability to reconcile it with specific
> > historical (contemporary) positions such as a theory of pleasure, a
> > recognition of ethnic or feminist struggles has become to be viewed as a
> > drawback of the original concept, an intrinsic inability that produces
> > `insurmountable' difficulties. But Gramsci of course would have been
> > among the first to recognize that these are genuine critical
> > contemporary problems that have to be taken into account in any reading
> > of our concrete historical scenario, he, unfortunately, was concerned
> > `only' with his specific situation and his specific reading of the
> > mechanisms of the making of Italian fascism. The position that suggests
> > that the problems of reconciling hegemony theory with a theory of
> > pleasure are insurmountable, has not understood Gramsci at all, does not
> > acknowledge the plain fact that contemporary hegemony theory if it wants
> > to be effective would include pleasure and a theory of pleasure as an
> > important contemporary factor and yet another disguise of economic
> > imponderables dressed up as cultural critique. Currently, it seems as if
> > these self-proclaimed progressive positions still hold on to a
> > teleological natural essentialism, trying to find an essence, a
> > particular system, but the system as a whole can be looked upon,
> > muddying the waters to such an extent that this looking upon is mistaken
> > for explaining these mechanisms. And in the meantime, while we were
> > talking, Gramsci has suddenly become an obscure man who died of
> > pneumonia in a prison somehow, somewhere, and hegemony is something that
> > has to do with the way the Nouvelle Droite sees things, right? Wrong:
> >
> >           Now they were walking down a narrow street, with old
> >           men on wicker chairs, and grandmothers playing with
> >           balloons to amuse their grandchildren. At the end of
> >           the street was suspended another gigantic portrait: a
> >           great domed head, like a beehive of thought, wearing
> >           glasses. That's Gramsci. He put his arm round her
> >           shoulders so that she could lean her head against his
> >           damp flannel shirt. Antonio Gramsci, she said. He
> >           taught us all. You wouldn't mistake for a horse dealer!
> >           he said [12].
> >
> >                ---------------------------------------------
> >                                    NOTES
> >
> > 1. Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, Quintin
> > Hoare, Geoffrey Nowell Smith (ed), Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1971;
> > p.219
> >
> > 2. Tony Bennett, "Marxism and Popular Fiction" In: Popular Fictions,
> > Essays in Literature and History Peter Humm, Paul Stigant & Peter
> > Widdowson (ed.) Methuen, London and New York, 1986; p.263
> >
> > 3. Notes, p. 133
> >
> > 4. Mercer, "Complicit Pleasures", In T. Bennett, Mercer, Popular Culture
> > and Social Relations, Milton Keynes, Open University Press, 1986, p.66.
> >
> > 5. Ibid., p.66
> >
> > 6. Ibid., p. 67
> >
> > 7. Grove Borstels, Stel dat het Vlaams Blok morgen zijn programma
> > realiseert, hoe zou Vlaanderen er dan uitzien?, van Halewijck, 1995.
> >
> > 8. Notes, p.254. A very similar passage in his notebooks reads: "A
> > social group can, and indeed must already `lead' [i.e. be hegemonic]
> > before winning governemental power (this indeed is one of the principal
> > conditions for the winning of such power)". (Notes, p.47).
> >
> > 9. Filip Dewinter in Zwartboek `Progressieve leraars', cited from
> > MarcSpruyt: Grove Borstels, p. 164.
> >
> > 10. Nationalistische Grondslagen, Were Di, 1985, p.3.
> >
> > 11. Notes, p. 140.
> >
> > 12. John Berger in the story "Play Me Something" in his book Once in
> > Europa Granta Books, London, 1991; p.189.
> >
> > For a look at the American rightwing use of Gramsci, see Charlie
> > Bertsch's Gramsci Rush:  Limbaugh on the 'Culture War'
> >
> >                ---------------------------------------------
> >
> > Gramsci, the then thirty five year old leader of the Italian Communist
> > Party and democratically chosen member of parliament was illegally
> > imprisoned on November 8 1926, on the evening of Mussolini's final coup
> > towards total fascist control. He died on April 27 1937, six days after
> > his prison term had officially ended. In these eleven years, under
> > extremely harsh conditions, he wrote 2848 pages. He died as a direct
> > result of medical neglect, and not as De Benoist writes of `pneumonia'.
> > For a clear and biographical and theoretical story of his life and
> > writings see GiuseppeFiori, Vita di Antonio Gramsci, Gius Laterza &
> > figli Spa, Roma, 1966. See also Gramsci and Marxist Theory, Routledge &
> > Kegan Paul, London, 1979.
> >                ---------------------------------------------
> >       Copyrights for contents revert to the authors upon publication.
> > Downloading, copying, and printing of this text for personal use is
> > allowed and encouraged. However, no republication or commercial use in
> > any form is permitted without prior arrangements with the authors.
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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>
>




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