Antonio Gramsci and his Influence on the Cultural Revolution in our Time.
Taken from: http://itinerariummentis1.blogspot.mx/2012/10/antonio-gramsci-y-su-influencia-en-la.html
Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope
Degradation of the culture and values in our time
The degradation of our culture and values in our time, in the pursuit of a single way of thinking and a new world order, forms part of an intelligent strategy devised by Antonio Gramsci.
1. - Who was Antonio Gramsci?
He was an Italian politician and thinker, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party.
He was born in Sardinia in 1881 in a very poor family
Attended the University of Turin from 1911 to 1914 and abandoned his studies because of health problem
Together with Emilio Togliatti, he founded the Ondine Nuovo daily,in 1919, which later became the organ of the Italian Communist Party founded by him.
From 1921 to 1924, worked for the Socialist International in Moskow and in Vienna.
Returns to Rome in 1925 and opposes Benito Mussolini´s dictatorship. Was arrested in 1926 and put in jail in 1928.
1928-1937: disseminates his revolutionary ideas from jail by means of handwritten notebooks which were not published until after his death, under the name of Prison Notebooks (1948 and 1951)
Died in the jail hospital in Rome in 1937
2. The Gramscian strategy.
Gramsci claimed that no ideology could be imposed by force. A very violent revolution generates, as an immediate response, a counterrevolution which weakens and may even surpass the force of the first one. All change requires a previous persuasion for it to fertilize the land where the change is to flourish. The Marxist ideology would not escape this rule.
This is why he designed his strategy this way. To impose an ideological transformation it was first necessary to begin by attaining a modification in the way of thinking of civil society' (the people or inhabitants of a given country) by means of minute changes in the field of culture carried out over time. It was necessary to build up a new thought. Create what he used to call the people´s common sense, understood to be the common way of thinking of the people, which historically prevails among the members of the society. Making civil society attain a new way of "seeing life and its values" is what was necessary. To Gramsci this is more important and of greater priority than achieving domination of political society (set of organisms which exercise power from the judicial, political and military fields).
To make civil society (the sovereign people, public opinion) get to share a common way of feeling (the common sense) it was necessary to appropriate the organisms and institutions where the values and cultural parameters are developed: communications media, universities, schools, art. It was necessary to aim towards that. With patience, educating the new generations from childhood, over time (as, for example, in Mao's China or Fidel Castro's Cuba).
Once this process was to have been accomplished, acquisition of political power would fall of its own weight, without armed revolutions, without opposition, without counter-revolutions, with no need to impose the new order by force, as it would enjoy a general consensus.
3. Obstacles to overcome for the success of the Gramscian process:
Gramsci himself pointed out that, for the process to be successful, two obstacles would have to be sorted out:
The Catholic Church and the family.
3.1 Why the Catholic Church? Because, not without reason, Gramsci thought the Church´s permanence through the centuries was supported on the three following pillars:
a) The profession of a firm and unshakable faith, without concessions, and the constant repetition of the same doctrinal contents. In this way, it had achieved a strong common sense (way of thinking) among the peoples over the centuries.
b) Its having been able to amalgamate the illiterate people as well as the middle classes and the intellectual elites in its bosom. Indeed, no immanentist philosophy, including Marxism, .had managed to unite the intellectuals and the common people, the doctrinaires and the practicing, the experts and the neophytes (or 'initiated'), in a single common sense or belief. In this, Gramsci envied the Church.
c) Lastly., while Marxism required men to fight to achieve a classless society here and now, since everything ended with death; the Church had managed to convince men to look towards transcendence, to the hereafter,.and with it not only had it given an answer to the meaning of life but also to the meaning of death.
3.2 Why the family? If the strategy consisted in the formation of a way of thinking through educating in the new revolutionary values, it is clear that the family, primary educator of man in the first five years of his life, was an intolerable impediment.
4. Gramsci's strategy to overcome these obstacles.
4.1 Discredit the Church, if possible disqualifying its doctrine ("religion is the opium of the people") as well as its hierarchical members (clergy and religious of consecrated life).
4.2 Destroy the family, presenting it as an institution of the past, now left behind, incapable of educating. Separating children from the influence of their parents at their most tender age, by means of massive education in the "new culture" (experience in collective farms or distance education). Or intervening in the fundamental aspects of the child's life, from the school, and without the participation of the parents. Promoting the absence of the parents by subjecting them to unavoidable work commitments, so that children be left under the influence of counter-values education through television.
5. Some of the socio-cultural consequences of the de facto application of Gramscianism.
We cannot but recognize "that many of the efforts and predictions of this Sardinian philosopher and politician have materialized in such a way that they are now elements forming part of the common atmosphere that we breathe these days. There is an unconcealable secularist hegemony which saturates the minds of large segments of current society — beyond the various shades and variations by country, region, and town — and it is making possible, day by day, that what once had been seen as unacceptable, negative or even aberrant, be now seen as "normal", positive and even commendable, in more than one occasion.
Let us examine some examples, easily observable. Gramsci postulated that the only reality which can (and should) be spoken of is that of the "down here" (totally shut immanence), that the secularist writers and thinkers should exercise predominance in the massive communications media (it suffices to turn on the television set, to listen to certain radio programs or to take a look at any newsstand), that an end be put to the prestige of authors, institutions, communications media and publishing houses faithful to traditional values and, consequently, opposed to the secularists and modernists.
Gramsci even foresaw the defection of numerous Catholics who, blinded by the secularist Utopia, would accept the diverse forms of historical commitment." The acute Italian intellectual knew quite well that greater gains would be achieved by these gradual means of slow but sustained transformation of mentalities than by means of open persecution. A veritable war of position skillfully conceived and strategically executed. But too poorly understood and countered by those who had the obligation to do so.
It would appear that we live in a world designed (and tailored) by Gramsci: The moral and political values have been inverted. It is sought to de-hierarchize everything of value and to exalt everything that implies "horizontalism", the healthy philosophical and theological thought is "deconstructed" in such a form that it is left pulverized in a multitude of new ideologies and 'philosophies', the sole aim of which is to "de-mythify", "secularize" and "de-sacralize" everything.
Antonio Gramsci would certainly be pleased — and much — if he were able to see the full process of carrying out (of actualization as Gentile would call) of something he once prophesied: The end of religion would have to be by "suicide", by diluting the limits of Christendom with respect to the modern world. While some men dream that what has been occurring is the "Christianization of the world", what has been actually happening is exactly the opposite, considerable segments of "Christians" have become worldly, adopting the parameters and criteria proper of a mentality entirely inserted in a secularist and profane world view. Although it is not always explicitly denied, they live as though the transcendent world did not exist, as though everything started and ended "here below."
The program was (and is) quite clear: "attain the discrediting of the hegemonic class, of the Church, of the army, of the intellectuals, of the professors, etc. It will even be necessary to raise the flags of the bourgeois liberties, of democracy, as openings to penetrate civil society. It will be necessary, in a Machiavellian way, to appear as champions of those democratic principles, but knowing well that they are considered only an instrument for the general Marxistization of the common sense of the people".
Another regrettable fact, easy to observe in diverse cultural environments in the West, especially in the Latin and Latin American countries, is what has become known as the 'betrayal of the intellectuals.' This is being accomplished by various means, whether by granting them favors, perquisites, sinecures, and praises of all kinds, or else by the opposite tactic, which is the one followed with the intellectuals and professors who do not yield before these forms of preemption, for them is the pressure, blackmail, threats, boycott when not plain discredit, calumny, and defamation.
And this is because in the Gramscian strategy it is fundamental to break the opposing intellectuals in one way or another. Let's read what Father Alfredo Sáenz has to say: "Gramsci considers a great battle has been won whenever the defection of an intellectual has been accomplished, whenever a traitorous theologian, a traitorous military man, or a traitorous professor, has been conquered to his worldview. It is not necessary for these 'converts' to declare themselves Marxist, what is important it that they are no longer enemies, they are potable" for the new worldview. Hence the importance of winning over the traditional intellectuals, those who, apparently placed above politics, influence decisively in the propagation of ideas, since every intellectual (professor, journalist or priest) drags behind him a considerable number of proselytes."
"Which religion, matters not", "everything is as you see it", "do what you wish, as long as you are authentic", "everything is permitted now"; and at a philosophical level "there is no human nature, only history", "I give my own essence myself", "there is no being, only becoming"; "there is no truth; everything is reduced to multiplicities", "there is no writer, only text", "there is on subject, only structures". That, in the predominant mentality of our times, at the popular level, things like these and other similar nonsense and absurdities (the catalog is endless) should prevail, means that a camouflaged Gramscianism, in invisible alliance (deliberate or not) with the New Age movement and other ineffable adherences, keeps imposing itself full line, beyond the ever more scarce public mentions of this Italian author, both on the part of those who support him as on that of his detractors.
As we have seen, Gramscianism represents the most aggressive, caustic and dissolvent attack against all forms of transcendent religion, and in particular against Catholicism. Much of the current de-Christianization results in good part, from the destructive and semi-concealed action of the "organic intellectuals" a la Gramsci, positioned strategically, action geared to the "alteration of the common sense" theist and Christian so that its opposite take its place.
This implies the "internal decomposition of Catholicism", "to make the Church break up from the inside" and totally liquidate "the old conception of the world" inherent in the Catholic Christian culture.
Finally, it is worth noting that few things contribute so much to the advancement of secularism as the defection of theologians, professors, thinkers, journalists or writers. This is why one has to think in congruence with the principles one claims to profess, but, not less important, it is also necessary to lead a coherent life that does not detach and incommunicate the various dimensions of human life "he who does not live as he thinks will end up thinking as he lives."