Hegemony, (how) does it work?


There is only one vocalist on the track.


Well then he has a great set of pipes and decent chops.


Please explain?


Well, isn’t part of the point that, as far as human society goes, there is no “nature”? At least according to a Marxist? Any ideological structure we operate within are human constructs, and therefore not “natural”. But how correct is that, I think is a good question, perhaps? Are there some things that are just logical outcomes of human nature? But what is human nature? Is there any such thing? Or is the concept of a “human nature” just dependent on the hegemonic ideology?


Isn’t that the question, that our society isn’t obviously ruled by force, but in many ways by subterfuge and by the construction of what is “natural” or part of “human nature”?


I don’t find it surprising that some people strive to control human society. So the reasoning behind hegemony historically hasn’t been very interesting to me. Where it interests me is how and why the average person allows themselves to be implicated in it. Who wakes up and says “I am going to consent to being ruled today”? It is like self-censorship, but worse. When I suggest alternate ways of organizing society, people often express alarm that somebody else won’t like it, yet it is not the politicians, police, and board members of the world who make this difficult - rather, it is the average person who stands to benefit most who is most likely to attack me with reactionary complaints. People seem eager to internalize classes and hierarchies which disadvantage them, and rage at being assumed and treated as equals. Even when they seem to know that they are fronting for groups who would happily exploit or destroy them. It’s like a weird codependent abusive relationship that I do not understand.


Somebody told me the alt-rock supergroup Lard was a deliberate parody of skinhead music.

This song sure sounds like an anthem for wannabe hegemons:


I think people consent to it, because they actually get something out of it. It’s the somewhat useful notion of the social contract. To think that some people aren’t benefiting from the hegemonic structures modern societies are built on is missing a huge part of the whole concept of government/ruling by consent. People internalize things that work for them and some things that do not, but that seem to work for them. Women become handmaidens of the patriarchy because they find themselves in a position that benefits them personally. Racism does not benefit many white people, but some white people believe that the maintenance of white supremacy DOES benefit them. They see the inclusion of non-whites into the power structure of society as detrimental to their perceived stake in the power system.

This is the problem with the individualization/atomization of society - people generally dismiss anything that is outside of their personal comfort/rights/etc. Whether or not it actually does benefit them is another story - but they see it as benefiting them.


Leave it to Jello and the fine folks involved with Ministry to come up with that!


It seems more likely that people are conditioned to it from an early age. How would people know whether or not they would get something out of it before opting in? They are socialized with the assumptions of social hierarchy first, otherwise they would appeal to equals rather than default to asymmetrical relationships.

But why the social contract, rather than a social contract? The danger/scam here is that contracts are negotiated on behalf of the masses by an elite. This becomes plain to see when starting from first principles and trying to negotiate one’s own citizenship, employment, marriage, utilities, etc. One-size-fits-all contracts are designed to be easy (for somebody) rather than equitable. Worse - they deny individuals and groups the agency to have any meaningful goals, except for those which are a subset defined by an elite. In a direct democracy, their place would be understood as facilitating these goals.

I think that perspective assumes that they have already invested in such structures. Consent is great - it is automatically assuming consent which is the problem. A process referred to as “rape”, in other domains.

There is a bit of this, but I think there is something deeper behind it. Many people I speak with claim to align themselves with structures which they claim to have no personal stake in. Such as people who use money, yet have no ideas about money. Such as people who are citizens, yet have no ideas about citizenship. People who engage in social activity, yet claim to have no social values or goals. Without individual agency and autonomy, there is no way for people to create collectives, or any social structures. Instead they are forced into broad structures which require people to be selfish. Yielding the worst of both worlds between equally dysfunctional individualisms and collectivisms.


Doesn’t Gramsci’s thinking about hegemony signal a radical change in how the comparatively few theoretical Marxists — and structuralists, and post-structuralists — who published after him would think about nature?

It almost seems like his ideas about hegemony have outlasted Marxism, esp. when used to persuasively critique Marxist ideas (e.g., natural laws of history).


How about you, personally? Did you decide to use prefab social structures in your life, or devise your own with friends? And why?

I am somewhat interested in learning more about Gramsci, but it seems likely that there are billions of answers to these questions for the asking in daily life.


Perhaps the least unsuccessful activist, who tried to do this, of whom I know, was Garry Davis.


Passport to Fame?

In May 1948, he got as far as France. After relinquishing his citizenship at the U.S. Embassy, Davis immediately alerted the Associated Press. “Because my father was famous, they took notice. The story was picked up by newspapers around the world,” he explains, opening one of many scrapbooks with old clippings.

Suddenly undocumented, Davis designed an International World Citizen card and had 1000 of them printed. He was about to be kicked out of France when he learned that an upcoming U.N. General Assembly session in Paris would take place on a site temporarily designated “international territory.” A week before it was scheduled to begin he simply began camping out there, fully aware that some 7000 journalists were expected to cover the event.


Hegemony exists as a negation. More specifically it undermines the free action of individuals or collectives even within it’s own power structure. Those that serve the hegemony, even the hegemon, exist only as a function of its fascism. Step out of line, express individual, free action in any role within its expanse and the extant power structure will quickly move to negate, repress and replace such an actor with an agent of more fitting functionality.
The projection of power exists as the central role and must negate any free action whatsoever within its reach.
Therefore it cannot abide any ideas as to what it is or how it works, it must negate even expressions of its composure in order to maintain the structure, which is all that exists.

Even “That’s not how it works,” is not how it works, from the perspective of the function of the hegemony.

But really I was just playing the hegemony. :stuck_out_tongue:


Are we channeling George Orwell now, or was Gramsci the original Orwell?



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