This follows on directly from the previous post; I have broken them up at what I think are natural breaks in the notes for the sake of ease of reading. These are rough notes I made on May 18th, 2011, just a few days after the formal launch of the OBA. It is a critique of their Constitution, and was an attempt to understand what the OBA is all about.
Gramscian Thoughts of Intellectuals, the Party and Hegemony Overall
I am referring here to what Gramsci calls the ‘organic’ intellectuals, that is, the thinking and organising element of a particular fundamental social class. Distinguished not so much by profession (which may be characteristic of any class) but by their function in directing the ideas and aspirations of the class to which they fundamentally belong.
In a sense ‘intellectuals’ may be various individuals or, by extrapolation, collective organisations. A political party may, for example, assume the role of a class intellectual in a collective representative sense (and I think it is in this sense that Gramsci referred to the communist party as a ‘modern prince’ in the sense that Machiavelli used the idea of the prince).
From this one may argue that the OBA, UBP, PLP all represent a form of collective intellectual of various classes or class functions; similarly the Chamber of Commerce, BIU, BPSU, et al, represent collective intellectuals.
There are also individual intellectuals. These may be publicly identifiable – for example, opinion writers in the media, the individual blogs (the forums are somewhat different in this sense) – these could all be considered examples of organic intellectuals. There are also non-public intellectuals, such as this or that individual worker who may serve such a function in their workplace, neighbourhood or social sphere.
Gramsci notes that the function of a political party is, in a way to channel the activity of the class’s organic intellectuals and to provide a link between the class and certain sections of the traditional intellectuals.
As a class, and its related ideological expression, found in the particular of the class’s intellectuals, the ideology of the class is expressed as the natural, or commonsense. And in a way the ideology is natural or commonsense, but only in the subjective; it is an expression of what is natural or commonsense for that particular class in question.
The class requires hegemony if it is to benefit (that is, if it is to dominate society, to lead society, it needs the buy in, the consent or subordination of all other classes to it’s own ideology and rule; to this end it can enter into concessionary alliances with other classes – temporarily, depending on the relative strengths of the class struggle). And to achieve hegemony it needs to convince all that it’s ideology is ‘natural’ – it needs to achieve consent for the totalitarian vision of it’s own ideology.