Gramsci’s discussion of Fordism constitutes one of his rare extended interrogations of hegemony and historic blocs outside of Italy, dealing as it. Donor challenge: Your generous donation will be matched 2-to-1 right now. Your $5 becomes $15! Dear Internet Archive Supporter,. I ask only. Gramsci: “Americanism & Fordism,” Modernity, and Criticism. Spring Professor Joseph Buttigieg (University of Notre Dame). Professor Ronald Judy.
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Gramsci’s discussion of Fordism constitutes one of his rare extended interrogations of hegemony and historic blocs outside of Italy, dealing as it does with impact of Grameci ascendancy and American production methods on post-WWI Europe.
LENIN’S TOMB: Gramsci on Americanism and Fordism
There are parts of the analysis, concerning the regulation of the sexual instinct, which seem odd out of context, or perhaps even passe. Using Gramsci’s conceptual syntax, we could begin to theorise how its different aspects – wages and debt, cultural and spatial homogenisation with specific regional configurationssexual morality, gender and race, commodification, productive and distributive ‘anarchy’, etc. He looks at the impact of wages, literacy, gender and sexual morality on reproduction, industry, political hegemony and left-wing political formation.
Passive revolution or internal counter-discourse? It is neopuritanism that aims to counterbalance the tendencies to waste. This seems to me to be an unanswerable fear, which isn’t susceptible to disproof and can only be met with constant surveillance.
But under fascism, the rentiers were being protected and proliferated, and more and more machinery was being elaborated to protect the old order.
It americqnism the paradigmatic model for the organisation of capitalism for some decades thereafter.
Notes on Americanism and Fordism
Gramsci sees Fordism as the capitalist response to the objective development of the productive forces. As if neoliberal accumulation patterns don’t re produce classes with particular cultural, sexual and regional dimensions gramwci need to be central to left-wing composition.
South Africa Keep Left. The question was whether the working class itself would be able to take over this trend.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that we operate in a post-Fordist historical bloc – that is a capitalism in which hegemony flows from the financial markets rather than the factories, and in which the whole of national and international life is increasingly organised around the model of speculation and debt. Keeping the Rabble in Line [archives]. The principles of scientific managementF. More on Fordism at the excellent Digital Archive on Fordism.
And because of the persistence of old social forms preserved by Fascism, the tendency would be for corporatism in the form of coordination between monopoly capital and the state to simply shore up the crumbling unproductive elements rather than eliminiate them.
The US had benefited from a rationalisation of its demographic composition, the prolonged psycho-physical adaptation of masses of people to urban living, so that it was possible to introduce Fordism without provoking moral, romantic opposition from significant sectors of the population. The scientific organisation of production equals a scientific organisation of society. For example, Gramsci overstates the degree of rationalisation of America’s demographic structure, thus missing the central role played by the petit-bourgeoisie in the reproduction of Fordist Americana.
He makes some heavy weather of the idea that American workers largely backed the Volstead Act Prohibition – which is a hostage to fortune as it is both not wholly true and omits the impact of Christianity rather than industrial rationalism in galvanising support for the Act.
Taylorisation aims at re-rationalising capitalist production and eliminating political and financial speculativism. The brutal anti-unionism of Fordist managers is discussed only in passing, in terms of the way in which horizontal solidarity between free trade unions is turned into vertical, factory-based solidarity. Taylor is against workers solidarity and pushes for individual economic remuneration to be the primary motive of workers’ activity.
In other words, the idea of a working class co-operating with its masters towards the maximisation of profit and the consequent redistribution of such surplus value had become the core concern of modern economic policy, as Gramsci described it in his section, and it arguably still remains the root of the unquestionability of capitalism as a mode of production.
Americanism and Fordism
Once americanismm organic crisis of capitalism is taken for granted, then the preoccupation is to translate the objective structural possibilities at the level of subjectivity through a conscious acquisition, and then to make these possibilities actual and objective through political organisation.
They shared a scientific vision of productivity as a neutral instrument to maximise efficiency. Corporativismo, he said, existed as a movement, and the conditions existed for gransci change on a large scale. Fordism, by grasmci production and subordinating activities extrinsic to direct production, enabled products to be sold more cheaply, and workers to be paid a ‘high’ wage that enabled them to buy the products that they made. Inasmuch as cities had a much lower birth-rate, these critiques were not wholly off the mark gramssci and this fact was itself one of the factors constantly changing the terrain in which proletarian hegemonic struggles were taking place, because lower urban birth-rates tended to result in rural workers being sucked into urban environments to which they were not acculturated, or bringing in workers of different nationalities and ‘races’.
He is sympathetic to feminism in one instance, resistant to sexual moralising. Taylorism and rationalisation The principles of scientific managementF. For my own purposes, it can help explain americannism about the strange, some time morbid and deadlocked, and apparently contradictory array of ideological and political forces in Britain. But here he tends to contradict himself.
He also blames its downfall on the upper classes, whom he says is the only social group with sufficient money and leisure time to pursue drinking and free love. Against the Fordist dreams of super-cities, complex, grandiose fantasies of future capitalist development, there was ruralism, the exaltation of artisanal life, idyllic patriarchalism, Catholicism, simplicity and sobriety.
The gramsc of the sexual instinct, of reproduction, of gender relations and of one’s basic ‘animality’ is something which Gramsci thinks is necessary and historically progressive – citing the first such regulation when hunter-gatherer societies were replaced by settled agricultural communities.