Notes on American Culture

“Londongrad” gives you a sense of the contrast and disparity between the image of Russia which mainstream media seeks to project on one hand, and the reality of Russia on the other hand. In turn, Kyiv is lying to Washington and the broader West more than the Afghans were lying when the Afghans had their moment under the spotlight for the last couple of decades. And the purpose of lying is to extract as much money from Washington as possible. And many Americans have caught onto what is going on and have sensed that not all is as it seems, hence the suggestion that Ukraine cannot be given a “blank check” and so forth. Also, given that institutions are one of the six major determinants of social reality aside from economics, power, race, sex, and beliefs, the Pentagon is essentially “the elephant in the room” which can explain in large part the disparity between the prevailing narrative and the truth about issues such as Russia and foreign policy in general. Arguably, the fact that half of all American exports are weapons can alone explain the brute disparity between the prevailing narrative and the truth.

The establishment in America also assumes that if Donald Trump can be thrown into jail, then the chaos and decline of a post-capitalist context and situation can also be done away with. What the establishment overlooks, however, is the rule of law, and the fact that if there was no intent to commit a crime, then you cannot arbitrarily throw a popularly elected president into jail. Rather than throwing a popularly elected president into jail, the better course of action would be to enact social-democratic policies. But due to culture and tradition as well as the brainwashing and stereotypes which have taken root as a result of the demonization and vilification of socialism and social-democratic policies by those at the top, the only real options we are left with in today’s post-capitalist context is chaos and decline. And as mentioned before, decline reinforces chaos.

As Gramsci wrote in his “Notes on American Culture,” American society can be divided into four groups, namely, the financial class, the political class, the intelligentsia, and the common man. Gramsci added that compared to the financial class and political class, the intelligentsia is “extremely small: a few tens of thousands, concentrated especially in the East, among which are a few thousand writers.” But as Gramsci added in regards to the American intelligentsia class: “One should not judge by numbers alone. It is intellectually among the best equipped in the world. Someone who belongs to this class compares it to what the Encyclopedists were in eighteenth-century France.”

Nevertheless, the influence which the American intelligentsia has over the American public “is almost nil.” Gramsci also highlighted the fact that the financial class and the political class in America are one and the same thing, which in turn is “undermining the old equilibrium of the American state, but without the rise of a new order.” Nevertheless, given the prevailing circumstances and the crisis which has arisen in the American system, it follows that “a real differentiation has taken place” between the financial class and the political class in America and in turn “the economic-corporate phase of American history is in crisis and America is about to enter a new phase.” Popular movements like the one we are seeing in America today have arisen on a number of occasions throughout the course of American history, but as Gramsci noted, the “economic-corporate structure has so far always reacted effectively against them.” 

Gramsci concludes his “Notes on American Culture” with the following comment: “The observation that the American Intelligentsia has a historical position like that of the French Encyclopedists of the eighteenth century is very acute and can be developed.” And whether Gramsci was ahead of his time in terms of his analysis and observations of American culture is a foregone conclusion. 

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