Antonio Gramsci

Removal of historical names from buildings. Toppling of statues. Deplatforming and cancelling of individuals. The United States is in the midst of a cultural war that has been building for decades. It is a war of worldviews: a Judeo-Christian one on which Western civilization is built versus a Marxist worldview that seeks to transform America. Why is this happening?

Marxists believed that the poor would overthrown their rich oppressors and make a better world. As time went by, Marxists were confused about the lack of uprising by the poor against the rich. Where was the revolution? Why had the people not overthrown their oppressors? Eventually, an Italian journalist and political theorist named Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) believed he had the answer. The oppressed had assimilated to Western culture instead of rejecting it. Gramsci said a “persistent and prolonged propaganda campaign” was needed to “undermine people’s confidence in traditional values and religious beliefs” making them open to rejecting Western values and embracing socialism. 

Gramsci believed Marxists needed to change Western culture in order for it to accept Marxism. This would be a long process because the Marxist worldview was atheistic and too radical for Western culture. He wrote Prison Notebooks and developed Critical Theory, a systematic attack on capitalism and Christianity.

First, Gramsci had capitalists and social conservatives in his crosshairs because they were viewed as oppressors in a classical Marxist sense. In addition, they were also the enemy because they controlled major cultural institutions such as media and education. Media, education, and other societal institutions would need to be dismantled.

Second, because Marxism is atheistic, Christianity was viewed as a lie. Moreover, it had a misplaced focus on the afterlife, offering the poor the false hope of heaven. Rather than addressing the needs of the oppressed in an unjust society now, Gramsci felt Christianity ignored the present in exchange for the future.

Third, Gramsci wanted to challenge belief that Western values and morality were natural and normative. Generally speaking, by what authority was right and wrong established? Specifically speaking, who said sexual intercourse needed to be reserved for married couples? As Gramsci developed Critical Theory in order to destroy the West from within, other like-minded Marxists built on this idea.       

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