There is an interesting and informative transcript behind this LINK that will help clarify how and why the neo-fascist forces currently in control of our nation came to power and the necessary steps we must take to battle these forces.

An excerpt: “Antonio Gramsci wrote his ‘Prison Notebooks’ at a time not dissimilar to our own. The political parties led by the liberal class, because they had detached themselves from the working class, were weak or irrelevant. The radical left had been neutered and had failed to articulate a coherent alternative vision to capitalism. There was a ‘crisis of authority.’ Fascism was ascendant and state repression was becoming steadily more severe and totalitarian.

Benito Mussolini’s regime claimed, like our corporate state, to be implementing a government based on efficiency, meritocracy, the management of society by experts and specialists and the elimination of class conflict through mediation. It too celebrated ‘heroic’ military values, traditionalism and a mythical past that stretched back, in the case of fascist Italy, to ancient Rome. It also rewarded conformism and loyalty, denigrated the humanities and culture in favor of vocational and technical training, spectacle and patriotic kitsch. It preached a relentless positivism, ridiculed the concept of the public good by trumpeting a hyper-individualism and defanged the press. Dissent and criticism were condemned as treason. Gramsci when he was arrested in 1926 and imprisoned technically had parliamentary immunity, but by then the rule of law was meaningless. From this bleak political landscape we get the [Gramsci] dictum you have all heard, ‘Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.’

…Revolution, (Gramsci) wrote, would only be achieved when the masses had gained enough consciousness to exert personal autonomy and see through the mores, stereotypes and narratives disseminated by the dominant culture. Revolutionary change required the intellectual ability to understand reality.

Hegemony, for Gramsci, refers to how ruling elites, through the organs of mass culture, manipulate our understanding of reality to promote their interests. The passive consumers of mass culture see the world not as it is but as it is interpreted for them. Mass culture, including the press, schools and systems of entertainment, demonizes all those the ruling elites scapegoat and fear—in our case people of color, the poor, Muslims, undocumented workers, anti-capitalists, labor unions, intellectuals, liberals and dissidents. The corporate elites use mass culture to transform legitimate economic and social grievances into psychological and emotional problems—hence the drumbeat throughout our consumer society to believe in ourselves, work hard, be obedient, heed positive psychologists and self-help gurus, get an education, focus on excellence and believe in our dreams. This mantra, which in essence assures us that reality is never an impediment to what we desire, is accompanied by the fostering of a false camaraderie with the so-called corporate family, if we work for a corporation, or a hypernationalism.

We are a product not of nature, Gramsci wrote, but of our history and our culture. If we do not know our history and our culture, and accept the false history and culture manufactured for us, we will never surmount the forces of oppression.”

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