Overtime Episode 5 – The Nature of The State Pt 3 PREVIEW

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On the third and final part of our series on the nature of the state, we examine the work of two theorists of the modern capitalist state, Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser.  Starting with Gramsci’s understanding of the concept of hegemony, we look at the arms of the state that extend beyond the traditional public sphere, how state ideology influences and is reproduced by “civil society”.  We then go over Althusser’s development of Gramsci’s concepts into his formulation of the arms of the state into two distinct groups, the repressive state apparatuses and the ideological state apparatuses.  Both of these theorists help expand our understanding of how state ideology works even with the “private” sphere to reproduce and reify the ideological superstructure on top of the economic relations of exploitation fundamental to capitalism.  We discuss Gramsci’s imperative for revolutionaries to work to build a counter-hegemony, a new proletarian understanding of how society can be restructured away from capitalist relations of exploitation.  We wrap up with some examples of how this all affects workers organizing on the shop floor, and how a solid understanding of the state reproduces its own ideology can help us build competing models for society, and fight back against capitalist hegemony in all its manifestations.

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