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March 10, 2006


Christopher Day

I'd like to thank Burningman for leaving all the typos from my original posts when he decided to re-post them at the top of the blog. They should convey the essentially quick and dirty quality of summation produced between putting the tea on and the baby waking up.

The only qualifying comment I'd like to make is that reading Gramsci involves more interpretation than most canonical ML theorists because Gramsci's most important work was written under conditions of imprisonment under fascism. I don't think any of my interpretations here are likely to be particularly controversial, but there is considerable room for differences in emphasis in doing a short summation. Gramsci wrote extensively on cultural matters that should also be important to revolutionaries, but on which I commented not at all. I strongly encourage people who may have read Gramsci more closely than me to offer their corrections or elaborations.


Kudos to Christopher Day for asserting Gramsci's importance as a political thinker. For too long, his legacy has been reduced to that of cultural theorist by postmodernists. Unfortunately, this has also happened to Fanon.

I'm as familiar with Gramsci as I would like, but Day seems to have provided a pretty useful starting point.

I'm looking forward to this discussion.


Correction: I'm NOT as familiar with Gramsci...


This is exactly what I've been thinking lately, Gramsci and Althusser, they are the important thinkers now.

BTW the correct title of the Althusser article is "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes toward and investigation)."

the burningman

Thanks for recognizing the conscious decision you quick and dirty summationer.

Gramsci indeed provided a vocabulary. I'd argue that leaders such as Ella Baker provided a practice that can also be discussed in reference to ideas of "organic intellectuals," hegemony and all the other buzzwords that really do buzz.


Who is Ella Baker?



Christopher Day

The notion of "organic intellectuals" is often taken to mean intellectuals of proletraian class origin who retain their class allegiance. The critical thing from Gramsci's point of view, as I understand it, however, is their rootedness in the class regardless of their individual class origin. Its a term that would include Ella Baker but also many folks of middle class origin who consciously (and successfully) transplanted themselves in the class and have sought to express its revolutionary perspective.

the burningman

I'm re-reading Fanshen now because I keep referencing it even though it's been over a decade since I first encountered it. But, taking a cue from this discussion, I dug up The Modern Prince and it's mos def next in the queue.

r graves

i just got a copy of the priso notebooks and i'm about to take a look. chris, you recommend starting with "the modern prince" and "state and civil society". is the rest of the stuff in the book also worth a look? i just read "history and class consciousness" straight through andfound about half of it pretty useless.

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