Gramsci Redux (was Re: debates was guilty / innocent was debates)

kenneth.mackendrick at kenneth.mackendrick at
Sat Oct 14 07:29:29 PDT 2000

On Sat, 14 Oct 2000 01:14:43 -0400 Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at> wrote:

> So, Ken consents to subjugation -- in the Gramscian sense of consent.

Offhand I don't have a quick understanding of Gramscian consent (maybe I'm missing a vital distinction between subjection and subjugation that would clear this up). If you mean to say that I support whole-heartedly ideological hegemonic force at the expense of others, I would say that you have misunderstood. I take consensus to mean radical exclusion in the name of universal inclusion. My understanding of what i was talking about is this: in order to "live" with others requires a certain degree of surrender, subjection. In order to speak, on must subject ones thoughts and dreams to language. In order to communicate one must subject ones language to communicative endeavors... and so on. This is a 'forced' choice. In the sense that in order to build something well you have to subject yourself to the materials at hand. This is no trivial matter. Crucial here is the way in which this subjection is tied to responsibility. It is inherent to the 'forced' choice (the decision to built, but not being able to built just anything) that responsibility comes into play. In effect, consensus is "forced" upon us, but this by no means cuts us out of being responsible for this consensus. Again, I don't see subjection (hegemony?) as the problem: I see the depoliticization of subjection to be the real enemy. I enjoy being the butt of a good joke, being subject to a fair degree of humiliation at my expense. I do it to myself sometimes (I am, after all, an idiot). Sometimes I even desire to be the object of the will of another - "Ken, will you just shut the fuck up!" [then I can sulk and secretly enjoy being put in my place - besides - sometimes it is easier to do as your told than actually figure something out]. I suppose I can anticipate an overdetermined response - "See, Ken thinks genocide is A-OK." No. Struggles of recognition and struggles of power and hegemony are necessarily political - antagonistic. There is no politics within consent and consensus. That's precisely the problem. The point is to politicize consensus and reveal it for what it is: nonsensus.

However, if I'm misunderstood your point, adjust my perspective.

Consensus? No thanks! ken

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