A ‘Show and Tell’ Chart for a Lesson on Applying Gramsci to ‘Common Sense’
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
This interesting and current chart shows what Gramsci means by the ‘common sense’ of conflicted consciousness. ‘If the poor worked harder, they wouldn’t be poor’ is the main item featured. That’s only one piece of it. Actually, nearly all the opinions held by those of either party on this chart don’t hold up well to analysis. It’s Just ‘common sense’ expressed in a variety of ways.
But it’s where we start. Our task is to learn how to use the levers of those conflicts, in all their variety, to energize the transformation of ‘common sense’ into ‘good sense,’ Gramsci describes our task here as becoming ‘permanent persuaders’. He also urges us all to become philosophers, but not of the ordinary sort. He wants use to drop any pretense of being nonpartisan, but instead to become the largely self-taught intellectuals ‘organic to our class’ and partisans for it.
In that practice, moreover, resides the origin of a wider revolutionary consciousness. Most important of all is to consolidate the workers and their allies thus awakened to this new outlook into our organizations, the revolutionary parties, what Gramsci called ‘the Modern Prince’, or in our case, in a far more diverse country, into a radical gathering of the tribes, into a Modern Tecumseh. Hopefully, it will succeed where the earlier Tecumseh failed.
It’s up to us. each of us, and no one else. The emancipation of our class is done by the working class itself. And as Marx said, we are bound with ‘radical chains’, meaning that when we break them and cast them off, we free not only ourselves, but all humanity.
Now along with a good cup of coffee, that should fire you up for the day!