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The Project of Hegemony

This is a response to the Laclau talk discussion, as well as a new question --

Perhaps there really is no demand 1, or at least the rhetoric of demand 1 is not really a begining point for hegemonic articulation. That is, if demand 1 is thought of as an entirely localized and self-birthed demand. The way Laclau constructed a diagram during the talk of demand1, d2, ect orginally in horizontal relation to one another suggested that conception of d1. However, I think the kind of hegemonizing HSS calls for is a task that can only take place when an articulator is reacting not only to a local instance of injustice (as per demand 1) but is rather reacting to a richer matrix of previously stated demands and injustices. It may be the original articulation of such injustices may make it more or less easy for a hegemonic articulation to start to construct a logic of equivilence with that demand and others (ie it may easier to bring together poor native workers and underemployed immigrants if, for instance, the workers articulate their demands in terms of corporate exploitation instead of xenophobia). But it seems that the hegemonizing articulations must come after (in response to) local demands that have already been voiced.

While I'm not very familiar with the circumstances of the Kiaros document, it seems like it does come at such a momement when previous demands had already been made and the task had begun of producing both an equivalence among those demands, as well producing what Laclau and Mouffe call "a set of proposals for the positive organization of the social" (189).

What seems to be strikingly absent in HSS are examples, like Kiaros or the Palestinian Declaration of Independence perhaps, of democratic hegemonizing articulation (there are obviously much less cumbersome ways to talk about this, but when in Rome . . .) My question is, why are such examples are absent in the book? Do they not believe such articulatory practices occur as organic responses to contemporary conditions? Is the call for such a project, which they seem to assign to an entirely future status both at the end of the book as well as the 2000 introduction, a project for an intellectual vanguard? Is their claim really their post-structuralist analysis is needed to announce the conditions of possibility for such a hegemeny project, and only then can it begin? What's the status of the intellectual vanguard for radical democracy?

Comments

per some examples of radical social movements that might be said to be part of new hegemonic articulations, see

the Affinity Project website , which is maintained by researchers at Queen's University, Kingston Ontario. This site is relatively new but quickly expanding, and offers various resources on radical social movements.

I am not sure that the project proposed by L@M is a call for an intellectual vanguard as it is a call for re-thinking how left intellectuals (marxists in particular) should re-think the social as a place of contingency. I find their argument a call for invention and openness to particular alliances, though, i do wonder just what can and cannot be articulated to a progressive hegemony. For example are school vouchers something the left can articulate in a direction other than the defunding of public education?

Final quick comment, I theme I want to return to later, do hetgemonic struggles described by L@M line up with automous movements associated with the multititude described by Virno, and is the public sphere simply the effect of a hegemonic articulation or is the precondition for a radical democratic hegemony?