In this latest blog I will analyse whether or not Antonio Gramsci,s concept of hegemony is still valid in our present times. I will argue that it is but that the present time situation regarding hegemony is much complex than in Gramsci,s time.
The Italian Marxist Gramsci 1891 to 1937 developed his views of hegemony whilst in prison in Fascist Italy. His concept of hegemony have also been used by some right wing groups as well as left wing groups.
He held the view that the capitalist class held hegemony in society largely through consent, through political and ideological leadership over the working class and the rest of society. This was achieved by education, media propaganda as well as the fact that they owned the means of production. I will not discuss Karl Marx view of false consciousness in this blog.
Gramsci held the view that the working class must form a couter hegemony in opposition to the capitalist class by a change of popular consciousness. This would be achieved through labour movement agitation and propaganda etc.
He also held the view that the working class would have to form a historic block with other scocial groups. Such as small busines people, small farmers etc. Obviously in the case of Italy you would first have to overthrow the Fascist dictatorship so as to start to achieve Gramsci,s concept of hegemony.
However the key question is how valid is Gramsci,s concept of hegemony to our present time. In my view it is still valid however the situation is much more complex nowadays.
In one respect it is harder for the working class to achieve hegemony as trade unions are much weaker nowadays. Also many left wing political party,s particularly those belonging to the socialist international are supporters of neo liberalism and privatization. Also these party,s are empty shells with very few members.
However on the other hand there is widespread discontent with the present economic system. Particularly since the crash of 2008. There is a vast number of well educated young people in low paid insecure jobs, also many of them have large student debts. Also many of them are living in insecure high rented private accommodation with little chance of buying their own property. So there is a growing sense nowadays that the world is run by a small capitalist oligarchy.
Many people nowadays particularly young people distrust the corporate media. They prefer to get their news from the alternative media. Look at the huge success of the Global Canary alternative media website in Britain.
So I feel that Gramsci,s views of hegemony are still valid in our present time. You must build a counter historic block of the vast number people in insecure employment. Progressive professionals,self employed people,small business people and anti war activists.
This blog will conclude that the alternative media, trade unions, there are still six and a half million in Britain must form a block with the other mentioned groups. We must also form a massive community association movement. So we can build a counter hegemonic movement in our present time although the situation is much more complex than in Gramsci,s time.
God bless you all.