Counter-hegemony in Theory of Multi-polar World

Counter-hegemony in Theory of Multi-polar World

(English translation by N. Melentyeva)

Counter-hegemony is the major aspect of the Theory of Multi-polar World. It originally appeared in the context of the critical theory of International Relations (IR). This concept undergoes certain semantic transformations in the transition from the critical theory of International Relations to the Theory of Multi-polar World (TMW). Those transformations should be considered in more details. In this case, we need to recall the basic principles of the hegemony theory in the framework of the critical theory.

“Hegemony” conception in Realism

The hegemony concept in the critical theory is based on the Antonio Gramsci’s theory. The concept of hegemony in gramscizm and neogramscizm is different from its understanding in realistic and neorealistic trends of IR.

Classical realists use “hegemony” term in a relative way and understand it as the “factual and significant superiority in the potential power of any one state over the potential power of the other states, mostly neighboring”. The hegemony may be a regional phenomenon, for the conclusion if one or another political entity is hegemony, depends on the used scale of consideration. In this sense we can find this term in Thucydides, who spoke about the hegemony of Athens and the hegemony of Sparta during the Peloponnesian War. The classic realism uses this term in exactly the same way to present days. Such understanding of “hegemony” can be named “strategic” or “relative”.

Neorealism interprets “hegemony” in global (structural) context. The main difference from the classical realism here is that hegemony can’t be considered as the regional phenomenon, it is always global. According to K. Waltz’ neo-realism, for example, the balance of two hegemonies (bipolar world) is confirmed to be an optimal balanced power structure in global scale2. R. Gilpin believes that the hegemony can be combined with unipolarity, in other words there can exist one global hegemon (the U.S. performs this function today).

In both cases realists interpret “hegemony” as a way of correlation of world powers capacities.

Gramsci’s understanding of hegemony is radically different and is placed in a completely diverse theoretical plane. To avoid incorrect use of the term in IR, and especially in TMW, we should dwell on Gramsci’s political theory, in context of which the hegemony is in the priority considered in the critical theory and TMW. Furthermore, such a review could see more clearly a conceptual gap between critical theory and TMW.

Antonio Gramsci’s conception of hegemony

Antonio Gramsci based his theory, later called “gramscizm”, on the rethinking of Marxism and its practical appearance in history. As a Marxist, Antonio Gramsci is sure that socio-political history is completely determined by the economic factor. Like all Marxists, he explains the superstructure (Aufbau) through the basis (infrastructure, Basis). Bourgeois society is a quintessence of the class society, in which the exploiting process peaks in relation to the ownership of means of production and to the bourgeoisie appropriation of earned value, evolving from the production process. Inequality in the economic community (basis) and Capital’s primacy over Labor are the essence of capitalism and define the entire social, political and cultural semantics (superstructure). All Marxists share this idea and there is nothing new or original in it. But Antonio Gramsci wonders how the proletarian socialist revolution was possible in Russia, where, according to Marx (who analyzed the situation in Russian Empire in XIX century in long term perspective) and to the classic European Marxism of the early XX century, the objective state of basis (poorly developed capitalist relations, the small percentage of the urban proletariat, the predominance of the agricultural sector in the total GDP, the absence of the bourgeois political system, etc.) precluded the very possibility of the assumption of power by the Communist party. However, Lenin made this possible and started building the socialism.

Gramsci interprets this phenomenon as fundamentally important, calling it “Leninism”. Leninism in Gramsci’s conception is vanguard, anticipatory capture of the political power by a resolute and consolidated superstructure (personified by the Bolshevik's Communist Party). As soon as the revolution becomes successful, the rush development of the basis is started through the accelerated construction of economic realities that have not been realized under capitalism yet: industrialization, modernization, “electrification”, “public education”. Hence, under certain circumstances the politics (superstructure) can move ahead of the economy, concludes Gramsci. The Communist Party can be ahead of “natural” historical processes. Therefore, Leninism proves the existence of a considerable autonomy of the superstructure relatively to the basis.

But in Gramsci’s conception, Leninism is confined to the political segment of the superstructure, where the laws of power are in effect and the problem of the state is solved. Gramsci asserts that there is another important segment in the superstructure, which is not political in the strict sense of the word, i.e. not related to the party and associated directly with the political power problems. He calls it a “civil society”. This definition --“the civil Society in Gramsci’s conception” -- should be accompanied by an explanation, because the meaning he puts in this concept is rather different from its comprehending in liberal theories. According to Gramsci, the civil society is the area of intellectual activity in the broadest sense, minus the direct political (party, state, administrative) activity. The civil society is a zone for deployment of the intellectual parts of the society, including science, culture, philosophy, art, analytics, journalism, etc. For Gramsci as a marxist, this area, as the whole superstructure, by no means expresses the basis patterns. However, Leninism shows that even expressing the laws of basis, the superstructure in some cases can operate relatively autonomously, going ahead of the processes unfolded in the basis. The revolution experience in Russia in terms of history demonstrates how this process is realized in the political segment of the superstructure. And Gramsci puts forward a hypothesis here: if this is the case in the political segment of the superstructure, why something alike might not happen in the “civil society”? Gramsci’s conception of “hegemony”3 is born here. It aims to show that in the intellectual sphere (= the “civil society” by Gramsci) there exist something analogous to the economic differential (Capital vs. Labour) in the basis and to the political differential in the superstructure (bourgeois parties and government vs. proletarian parties and government – for example, in the Soviet Union). This third differential is the Gramsci’s “hegemony”, that is the set of domination strategies of the bourgeois consciousness over the proletarian consciousness under the conditions of relative autonomy with respect to both politics and economy. Another German sociologist Werner Sombart, exploring the bourgeois sociology4, had shown that the comfort could be valuable for both the Third Estate, which partly has it, and for other social groups, that do not know it and do not have it. Hegel’s “Phenomenology of spirit” likewise said that a Slave for the self-reflection does not use his own consciousness, but his Master's one. Marx put this point of view into the basis of the Communist ideology. Following this chain of thoughts, Gramsci concludes that the adoption or rejection of hegemony (as the bourgeois consciousness structures) may directly depend neither on belonging to the bourgeois class (basis factor), nor on the direct political involvement in the bourgeois (or antibourgeois) party or administrative system. According to Gramsci, it is a matter of the free choice of an intellectual - to be with the hegemony or against it. When the intellectual consciously makes his choice, he moves from the “traditional” intellectual to the “organic” one that consciously chooses his position with respect to the hegemony. This implies an important conclusion: the intellectual can oppose the hegemony even in the society with the prevailing capitalist relations and bourgeois political domination. The intellectual can freely reject or accept the hegemony, because there is a gap of freedom, similar to what exists in the politics with respect to the economy (as demonstrated by the experience of Bolshevism in Russia). In other words, you can be a bearer of the proletarian consciousness and stand on the side of the working class and fair society, being in the very heart of the bourgeois society. All depends on the intellectual choice: the hegemony is the matter of conscience.

Gramsci deduced his concept through the analysis of political processes in Italy of 1920s -30s6. During this period, according to his analysis, conditions for socialist revolution had ripened in this country – in the basis (the developed industrial capitalism and intensification of class contradictions and class struggle), and in the

superstructure (the political success of the consolidated Left parties). However in those seemingly favorable conditions, the leftist forces failed because the hegemony representatines dominated in the intellectual sphere in Italy, introducing bourgeois stereotypes and clichés even where it contradicted the economic and political realities and preferences of active anti-bourgeois groups. From Gramsci’s point of view, Mussolini took advantage of that, turning the hegemony in his favor (according to the Communists, the fascism was a veiled form of the bourgeois domination) and artificially prevented the socialist revolution being brewed due to the natural historical course of events. In other words, participating in the relatively successful political battles, the Italian Communists, in Gramsci’s opinion, lost from their sight the “civil society” and the sphere of intellectual “metapolitical” struggle, and that was the reason of their defeat. European Left (especially the New Left) adopted gramscism in this form, and put it into practice in Europe since 1960s. The Left (Marxist) intellectuals (Sartre, Camus, Aragon, Foucault, etc.) managed to implement anti-bourgeois concepts and theories in the very center of the social and cultural life, using publishing houses, newspapers, clubs and university departments, which were an integral part of the capitalist economy and acted in the political context of bourgeois system domination. Thus, they had prepared the events of 1968 that swept through Europe, and the left turn of European politics in 1970s. As well as Leninism proved in practice that the political segment of the superstructure has certain autonomy and the activity in the area can be ahead of the basis processes, gramscism in the New Left practice demonstrated the effectiveness and practical value of the active intellectual strategy.

Gramscism in critical theory: left bent

In the form described above gramscism was integrated in the critical theory of IR by its modern representatives – Robert Cox7, Stephen Gill8 and others. They saved the continuity of the Marxist left discourse, despite the fact, they accentuated the autonomy of the “civil society” sphere and the hegemony phenomenon accordingly

by putting the intellectual choice above the political processes and economic structures, in the spirit of postmodern. For them, in general capitalism is better than pre-capitalist socio-economic systems, although it is clearly worse than the post-capitalist (socialist and communist) model coming to replace it. This explains the structure of the counter-hegemony9 project in the critical theory of IR. It remains in context of the left interpretation of the historical process. It can be described this way: according to the critical theory representatives, the hegemony (bourgeois society, culminating in the bourgeois consciousness hologram) must replace the sub-hegemony (society types prior to the bourgeois and its forms of collective consciousness – pre-modern). And after that, the hegemony will be ruined by the counter-hegemony, which is to set the post-hegemony after its victory. Marx and Engels insisted in “Communist Manifesto”10 that claims of Communists to the bourgeois have nothing to do with the claims of anti-bourgeois feudal, nationalist, Christian socialists, etc. to bourgeois. Capitalism is pure evil that absorbs relative (not so obvious and not so explicit) evil of older public exploitation forms. However to defeat it, we have to allow evil fully express itself first, and then totally eradicate it rather than retouch the most odious form of evil thus postponing the horizons of revolution and communism. It must be kept in mind when considering neo-gramscism structures of international relations.

This analysis divides countries into those where the hegemony strengthened explicitly (developed capitalist countries with the industrial economy, the domination of bourgeois parties in parliamentary democratic systems, organized in accordance with the examples of national states, which have developed the market economy and the liberal legal system) and those where that did not happen due to different historical circumstances. The first group called “developed democratic powers”, and the others are “borderline cases”, “problem areas” or even “rogue states”. Analysis of countries with the strengthened hegemony is fully integrated into general left analysis (Marxist, neo-Marxist and gramscism). However, the case of countries with “unfinished hegemony” should be considered separately. Gramsci himself called those countries “Caesarist” countries (the clear reference to the fascist Italy experience). “Caesarism” could be considered broadly, as any political system, where bourgeois relations exist in fragments and its political clearance (as classical bourgeois-democratic state) is delayed. In “Caesarism”, the authoritarian principle is not central. The main principle is to delay the full comprehensive installation of the western type capital system (in the basis and superstructure). The reasons of this delay may be different: the dictatorial government, elite clans, the presence of religious or ethnic groups in the government, cultural characteristics of the society, historical circumstances, specific economic condition or geographic location. It is important that in such a society the hegemony appears as both an external force (as part of bourgeois states and societies) and the internal opposition, connected with external factors one way or another.

Neo-Gramscists in IR claim that “Caesarism” constitutes the “sub-hegemony”, and its strategy to balance between the external and internal hegemony pressure, making some concessions, but at the same time, making it selectively, aiming to keep power no matter what and prevent its capture by bourgeois political forces, expressing economic basis of society on the political superstructure level. Therefore, “Caesarism” is doomed to “Transformism” (“transformismo” itl.) - permanent adaptation to the hegemony, with the constant tendency to delay or send by a false path the final, to which it is moving steadily.

In this regard, representatives of the critical theory of IR consider “Caesarism” as a phenomenon to be eventually overcome by the hegemony, because it is nothing more than the “historical delay”, and not an alternative or the “counter-hegemony”.

Obviously, modern representatives of the critical theory of IR qualify most countries of Third World, and even major powers, members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as “Caesarism”.

With such features, the counter-hegemony concept restriction in the critical theory becomes clear. Projects of the critical theory representatives are utopian. For example, Cox’s “counter-society” is something inconspicuous and uncertain. They proceed from the dim project of the social and political world order that must come “after liberalism”11 (Wallerstein) and meet communist utopia, which is familiar to

the Left. This version of hegemony is limited by the fact that it hastily puts many political events, which do not fall into the hegemony category but are similar to alternative versions of world order, into category of “Caesarism”, and hence, “sub-hegemony”, depriving them of any kind of interest for the effective counter-hegemonic strategy development. However, the general analysis of international relations structure, through the neo-gramscism methodology, is very important direction for the TMW development.

In order to overcome the critical theory limitations and release the full potential of neo-gramscism, we have to expand this approach qualitatively, going beyond the left (even “leftist”) discourse, which puts the entire structure in the area of ideological sectarianism and marginal exotics (where it is located nowadays). In this issue, we will have the priceless assistance from the ideas of French philosopher Alain de Benoist.

Right Gramscism - the revision by Alain de Benoist

As far back as 1980s the French representative of the “new rights” («Nouvelle Droite”) Alain de Benoist paid attention to Gramsci's ideas from the standpoint of their methodological potential. Benoist as well as Gramsci revealed the solidity of metapolitics as a special kind of intellectual activity, which prepares (in the form of “passive revolution”) the future political and economic progress. The “new lefts” success in France and Europe generally proved efficiency of this method.

Unlike the majority of French intellectuals in the second half of XX, Alain de Benoist didn’t support Marxism, which made his position rather isolated. At the same time A. de Benoist was building his political philosophy on radical rejection of liberal and bourgeois values, denying capitalism, individualism, modernism, geopolitical atlanticism and western eurocentrism. Furthermore, he opposed “Europe” and “West” as two antagonistic concepts: "Europe" for him is a field of deployment of a special cultural Logos, coming from the Greeks and actively interacting with the richness of Celtic, Germanic, Latin, Slavic, and other European traditions, and the "West" is the equivalent of the mechanistic, materialistic, rationalist civilization based on the predominance of the technology above everything. After O. Spengler Alain de Benoist understood "the West" as the "decline of the West" and,together with Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger was convinced of the necessity of overcoming modernity as nihilism and "the abandonment of the world by Being( Sein)” (Seinsverlassenheit). West in this understanding was identical to liberalism, capitalism, and bourgeois society - all that "new right" claimed to overcome. "New right" at the same time agreed with the key meaning of the sphere of "civil society», given by Gramsci and his followers. So, Alain de Benoist came to the conclusion that the phenomenon named "hegemony" is a set of strategies, attitudes and values, which he himself considered an "absolute evil." This led to the proclamation of the principle of "the right gramscism".

"The right gramscism" means the recognition of the autonomy of "civil society in the meaning of Gramsci" with the identification of the phenomenon of hegemony in this area and the choice of its own ideological position on the opposite side of hegemony. Alain de Benoist publishes the program work "Europe, the Third World - the same battle”, which is entirely built on the parallels between the Third world and Western bourgeois neo-colonialism struggle and the desire of European nations to free from bourgeois market society dictatorship, morals and practices of traders, which replaced the ethic of heroes (W. Sombart).

The major importance of “the right gramscism” for the TMW is that this understanding of "hegemony" can take a position beyond the left and Marxist discourse and reject the bourgeois order in the superstructure (politics and civil society) as well as in the basis (economics), but do it not after the time when hegemony becomes the total and global planetary fact but instead of it. This implies nuance in the title of the other Benoists work "Against liberalism" unlike Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein’s "After liberalism". As for Benoist it is impossible in any case to rely on the "after" and liberalism shouldn't be allowed to come true as a fait accompli -- we have to be against liberalism now, today, to fight it in any position and at any place in the world. The hegemony attacks on the planetary scale, finding its supporters both in the developed bourgeois societies and societies, where capitalism has not been finally established yet. Therefore the counter-hegemony has to be accepted beyond the sectarian ideological restrictions. If we want to create a counter-hegemonic bloc, we must include in its composition all the representatives of anti-bourgeois, anti-capitalist forces - left, right, or not amenable to any classification (de Benoist himself constantly emphasizes that the division between "left" and "right" is outdated and does not meet this chosen position; today much more important is if someone stands for the hegemony or against it).

Alain de Benoist’s "Right gramscim" brings us back to the "Communist Manifesto" of Marx / Engels and regardless to their exclusivist and dogmatic call to "clean from fellow travelers” calls for the creation of the Global Revolutionary Alliance, which brings together all the enemies of capitalism and  hegemony, all those who are essentially against it. At the same time it doesn’t matter what is taken as a positive alternative - in this case, it is more important the presence of a common enemy. Otherwise, according to the "new rights" (which are refusing to call themselves the "right" - the name was given to them by their opponents), the hegemony will be able to divide its opponents on artificial grounds, to oppose them to each other in order to successfully defeat all of them separately.

The denunciation of Eurocentrism in historical sociology

John Hobson, a contemporary researcher of foreign affairs and one of the main representatives of historical sociology in IR, approached the same problem from an absolutely different side. In his program work «The Eurocentric Concept of World Politics» he analyses practically all approaches and paradigms in IR from the point of view of imbedded in them hierarchy, which is built on the principle of comparison of the governments, their roles, structure and  interests with the examples of the Western society as a universal standard. J. Hobson comes to the conclusion that all schools of IR without any exceptions are built on the implicit Eurocentrisism, admitting the universality of the West European societies and suggests that the phases of European history are compulsory for all other cultures.

Hobson fairly regards such approach as the manifestation of European racism, which gradually and imperceptibly goes from the biological theories of “the superiority of white race” to the concept of the universality of Western cultural values, strategies and technologies and then interests. “The burden of white man” becomes “an imperative of modernization and development”. At the same time the local societies and cultures are subject to this modernization by default – nobody asks them, if they agree that Western values, technologies and practices are universal, or they are ready to object something. Only when it collides with forcible forms of resistance in a form of terrorism and fundamentalism, the West asks itself (sometimes) : “Why do they hate us so much?” But the answer is there long before the question : “It happens because of the wildness and  ingratitude of non-european nations for all that goods, which the Western “civilization” brings along”.

It is important that Hobson clearly shows that racism and eurocentrism are not inherent to the bourgeois theories of IR only, but also to Marxism, including critical theory of IR (nео-gramscianism). Marxists, with all their criticism of bourgeois civilization, are convinced that it’s triumph is inevitable, and in that way they share europocentrism common to the Western culture. Hobson shows that Marx himself partly justifies colonial practices as they lead to the modernization of the colonies, and therefore they bring closer the moment of proletarian revolutions. Accordingly, in a historical perspective, marxism happens to be an accomplice of capitalist globalization and an ally of rasist civilizational practices. From the Marxist point of view the decolonization is just a prelude to the construction of the bourgeois state, which is about to embark on a way of full industrialization and head towards the future of the proletarian revolution. And it does not differ much from the neo-liberals and the transnationalists.

John Hobson proposes to begin the creation of a radical alternative - the development of IR theory, based on non-eurocentrist and anti-racist approaches. He agrees with the project of "counter-hegemonic bloc", nominated by neo- gramscianists, but insists on a release from all forms of eurocentrism, and therefore on the quality of its expansion. The non-eurocentric IR theory project leads us directly to the TMW.

Moving to the Multi-polarity

Now we can bring together everything said about the counter-hegemony and put into the context of TMW being essentially and consistently non-eurocentric IR theory that denies the very basis of the hegemony and calls for the creation of a wide counter-hegemonic alliance or counter-hegemonic treaty.

Counter-hegemony of TMW is conceptualized in a similar way with the neogramscists’ and representatives’ of the critical school IR theories. The hegemony is the domination of capital and the bourgeois political system of the society, expressed in the intellectual sphere. In other words, hegemony is primarily a discourse. Moreover, among the three segments of the society distinguished by Gramsci - the basis and the two components of the superstructure (the politics and "civil society") - TMW, in accordance with the postmodern and postpositivist epistemology, considers the level of discourse, i.e. intellectual sphere, to be the dominant. That is why the question of hegemony and counterhegemony seems to be the central and fundamental for the building of TMW and its effective implementation in practice. The area of meta-politics is more important than both politics and economy. It does not exclude them, but conceptually and logically precedes them. Ultimately, the human person has to deal only with his own mind and its projections. Therefore, the organization or reorganization of the consciousness automatically involves a change (internal and external) in the world.

TMW is the fixation of the counter-hegemonic concept in the specific theoretical area. And to a certain point TMW strictly follows the gramscism. But where we come to the substantive aspect of the counter-hegemonic pact, the significant differences appear. The most essential is the rejection of the left dogmatism: TMW refuses to consider the bourgeois transformation of modern societies on the whole planet as a universal law. So TMW accepts gramscism and meta-politics rather in the version of "new right" (Alain de Benoist) than in the version of the "new left"(R. Cox). The position of Alain de Benoist is not exclusivist and does not exclude Marxism to the extent it is an ally in the common struggle against Capital and hegemony. Therefore, strictly speaking, the term "right gramscism " is not quite correct: it would be better to speak of an inclusive gramscism (counter-hegemony, understood broadly as all types of opposition to hegemony, i.e. as a generalizing and etymologically strict "counter -") and of an exclusive gramscism (counter-hegemony in the narrow sense, just as the "post-hegemony"). The TMW goes for the inclusive gramscism. To be more exact it is the position of overcoming the rights and the lefts, beyond the conceptual limits of the Modern political ideology, that reveals in the context of the Fourth Political Theory, closely connected with TMW.

J. Hobson's contribution in the development of the inclusive counter-hegemony is extremely important. His call to build non euro-centric theory of IR precisely matches the TMW goal. IR should be thought of from plural positions. While building up a real versatile theory all the representatives of different cultures and civilizations, religions and ethnoses, societies and communities must be listened to  and taken into consideration. Each society has its own values, its own anthropology, ethics, its own standards, identity, and its own ideas about space and time, about the general and particular. Each society has its own « universalism» - or at least its own understanding of what is called “universalism”. We know pretty well what the West thinks about universalism. It is time to let the rest mankind speak.

That is what we call multi polarity in its fundamental dimension: a free polylogue of societies, peoples, and cultures. But before such polylogue is able to be started it is necessary to define the general rules. And this is the theory of International Relations, which supposes the openness of terms, concepts, theories, notions, the plurality of factors, the complexity and polisemanticism of statements. Not tolerance but the cooperation and mutual understanding. In this case the TMW is not the end but the start, the beginning, the clearing of the basic space for the future world order.

However, the call to multipolarity does not sound in the empty space. The hegemony dominates in the discourse about international relations, in the global political, social, and economic practice. We live in the rigid eurocentric world, where one superpower (the U.S.) dominates imperialistically with its allies and vassals (NATO); where the trade relations dictate all the rules of business practices; where the bourgeois political norms are taken as the mandatory ones; where the technology and the degree of material development is considered to be the highest criteria; where the values of individualism, personal comfort, material well-being, and "freedom of" are exalted above all others. In short, we live in the world of the triumphant hegemony, which spreads its cobweb through the entire planet and subordinates the whole mankind. So to create the reality of the multi-polarity it's necessary to have a radical opposition, struggle, confrontation. In other words, it's necessary to have the counter-hegemonic block (in its inclusive sense).

Let's see, what resources are available  to this potential block?

The syntax of hegemon /syntax of counter-hegemony

The hegemony in its conceptual hologram is based on the conviction that the modernityvexcels the antiquity (the past) in everything, Modernity triumphs over the Premodern, and the West excels the non-West (East, the Third World) in everything.

Here is the structure of the syntax of hegemony in its most general form:

West (the West) = Modernity (Modern) = target = benefit = progress = universal values = U.S. (NATO +) = capitalism = the human rights = market = liberal democracy = justice


The rest (the Rest) = retardation (pre-modern) = in need of modernization (colonization/help/tutoring/external control) = in need of Westernization = barbarism (wildness) = local valuables= fore-capitalism (not yet capitalism) = (lack of respect for) human rights failure = unfair market (participation of State, clans, group preferences) = fore-Democracy = Corruption.

Those formulas of the hegemony are axiomatic and self-referencing, as a kind of «self-fulfilling prophecy". One term is justified by another from the chain of equivalences and set opposed to any term (whether symmetric or not) of the second chain. According to these unpretentious rules any hegemony discourse is being built. It may seem reasonable, illustrative, descriptive, analytical, forecasting, historically researching, socially surveying, debating, oppositional, etc. But in its structure the hegemony is built on this very skeleton covered by millions of variations and told tales.

If we accept those two parallel sets of equations, we find ourselves inside the hegemony and are fully encoded by its syntax. Any objection will be suppressed  by new suggestive passes, by galloping through one or another term to find and reach a desired hegemonic tautology.

Even the most critical forms of discourse eventually slips into this constantly renewable route of semantic synonyms and dissolve in it. Once you recognize just one of the patterns, everything is preordained. Therefore, the construction of counter-hegemony starts with the complete contradiction to those both chains.

Let's construct the symmetric syntax of counter-hegemony:

West ≠ present (Modern)≠ goal ≠ wealth ≠ progress ≠ universal values ≠ U.S.A. ≠ capitalism ≠human rights ≠ market ≠ liberal democracy ≠ justice


Rest ≠ backwardness ≠ needs modernization(colonization/ help/ lesson/ external management) ≠ needs westernization≠ barbarity (wildness) ≠ local values≠ not capitalism ≠ non-observance ≠ human rights ≠ unfair market (participation of State, clans, group preferences) ≠ fore-democracy≠ corruption

If equality signs are being hypnotically inserted into the collective consciousness as something self-evident, the developed justification of every inequality sign demands a separate text or group of texts. To some extent the TMM and The Fourth Political Theory, eurasianism, « the new rights» (A.De Benoist), non-eurocentric IR theory (J. Hobson), traditionalism, postmodernism etc., perform this task parallel to it, but now it is important to offer this scheme as the most general form of the counter-hegemonic syntax. Denial of the substantial statement is substantial due to the mere fact of the denial, so the justification of inequalities is already loaded by meanings and connections. By questioning the hegemony identification chains, we receive a semantic field, free from hegemony and its suggestive "axiomatics". Just this one completely unties our hands to deploy the counter-hegemonic discourse.

In this case we provided those basic rules for a specific goal: we need to make a preliminary and most general enumeration of the resources that might be counted on in the creation of the counterhegemonic pact.

Global revolutionary elite

The counterhegemonic block is built around intellectuals. Therefore, the core of it should be the global revolutionary elite rejecting "the status quo" in its most deep basis. This global revolutionary elite is formed around the syntax of counter-hegemony. Trying to comprehend the situation from any point of the modern world, – in any country, culture, society, social class, professional function, etc., - the person in search of deep answers about the organization of the society in which he lives will come sooner or later to the understanding of basic theses of the hegemonic discourse. Certainly, it is not given to everyone though, according to Gramschi, everyone is an intellectual to some extent. But only the full-fledged intellectual represents the human person in the full and perfect sense; he is a sort of a delegate into the parliament of intellectual mankind (homo sapiens) from the more modest representatives of it (from those who can't or doesn't want to realize fully the abilities and opportunities given to the human species culminating in the ability to think, that is to be an intellectual). When we speak about the hegemony, we keep in mind such an intellectual. At this moment he comes to a choice, i.e. he realizes the opportunity to become "the organic intellectual": he can tell "yes" to the hegemony and accept its syntax working further in its structure, and he can tell "no". When he says "no", he goes to look for a counter-hegemony, i.e. seeks access to the global revolutionary elite.

This search can stop at the intermediate stage: there always  exist local structures (traditionalists, fundamentalists, communists, anarchists, ethnocentrisms, revolutionaries of different types, etc.) which are aware of the hegemony challenge and reject it, but at the local level. Here we are already at the level of organic intellectuals but not yet realizing the need to summarize their reject of hegemony in the form of the universal planetary strategy. However, entering the real (not imaginary) fight with the hegemony, any revolutionary sooner or later discovers its transnational, exterritorial character: the hegemony always resorts to a combination of internal and external factors for its own purposes; it attacks what it considers its opponent or an obstacle to its imperial domination (the elements of the second chain – the other (the Rest). Therefore the local resistance to a global challenge at some moment reaches its natural limits; sometime the hegemony can recede, but it will come again, and nobody is able to ever evade it.

At the moment of this awareness the most intellectually developed representatives of the local counter-hegemony feel the need to go to the level of the fundamental alternative, i.e. to the mastering of the counter-hegemonic syntax. And this is a direct path to the Global Revolutionary Alliance. In that way the world counter-hegemonic elite is going to be shaped up objectively and naturally. It is the fate of this elite to become a kernel of the counter-hegemony. Most of all the TMW is needed by it.

Counter-hegemony ’s resources: "revisionists" of the world order and their levels

Classic MO theories, particularly, realism divide countries into those who are satisfied with the present situation and with the balance of powers in the world order, and those who are not satisfied with it and who would like to change it to their advantage.

The first are named "the status quo apologists", the second are called "the revisionists". The forces of the world regardless of their size and influence which entered the hegemony and are satisfied with it represent one half of the thinking human beings, the revisionists - the second one. Naturally the counter-hegemonic elite considers the totality of " revisionists " as its resource. It is the "revisionists" whether they realize it themselves or not, who need the TMM. The need in TMM can be quite unconscious, but even though we assume the model of "Caesarism" and suggest that many political figures are occupied exclusively with the "transformism" processes (transformismo), the TMM gives them an additional argument to oppose the pressure of the hegemony. In other words, the counter-hegemonic elite (in the broad sense, in the structured way described above-  on the other side of the right and left) has the powerful natural resource represented by "the revisionists".

In order for this resource to be available it is absolutely not necessary for the governing political elite of the "revisionist" countries to be in any agreement with the counter-hegemony or to accept the TMM as a guide to the foreign policy. And now it's time to remember the significance of the intellectual discourse in its autonomous state (what the neo-gramschism insists on). It is sufficient that the Global Revolutionary Alliance intellectuals will be aware of the meaning and functions of "Caesarist" regimes in the global field of hegemony; "the revisionists" themselves act intuitively, while the representatives of the counter-hegemony pact - fairly consciously. The medium-term interests of both coincide. And it makes the counter-hegemony pact the fundamental force: the hardware is provided by the "revisionists", the software - by the global revolutionary elite.

The "revisionists" of the modern world make a whole number of powerful and advanced nation-states, which due to the different historical circumstances are placed by the global hegemony into such an environment that they feel themselves deprived, at a disadvantage. Their further development according to the logic imposed by the global discourse will inevitably lead them either to undesirable consequences for the current political elites or to the further deterioration of the situation in these countries. The "revisionists" are very different: some are inclined to trade off with the hegemony, while others are trying every way to evade its influence. However, the field for the global revolutionary elite activities is everywhere.

The most serious union of the "revisionist" countries is the BRICS. Each of these countries is a huge resource all by itself, and the management of "Second World" club is objectively interested in multi-polarity - hence, there is nothing to prevent the advance of the TMM as their strategic foreign policy program.

The whole constellations of major regional powers gravitate around the countries of the "Second World", namely, Argentina, Mexico - in the Latin America; Turkey, Pakistan - in Central and Southwest Asia; Saudi Arabia, Egypt - in the Arab world, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea - in the Far East, etc. Each of those countries could also be attributed to the "revisionists" to some extent and has an impressive list of regional ambitions difficult or impossible to meet in the hegemony system. Those countries have even more fears and challenges in their security, and the hegemony does not facilitate any protection of that. In addition, there is a whole number of countries in the direct opposition to the hegemony (Iran, North Korea, Serbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and so on), which provides the Global Revolutionary Alliance with the preferred strategic sites.

At the next sub-state level a more detailed analysis is needed to identify the "revisionists" at the political level, i.e. the political parties and movements, which, for ideological reasons or otherwise reject the hegemonic discourse in some essential element. Such political forces can be right or left, religious or secular, nationalist or cosmopolitan, parliamentary or considerably oppositional, mass or "Сlara’s party". All of them can be integrated into the counter-hegemonic elite strategy. At thе same time such parties and movements can be located both in the political zone of the "revisionists" and in the field of the countries where the hegemony has established itself firmly and thoroughly. Under certain circumstances, especially in the conditions of crisis or reforms – certain windows of opportunity for non conformed forces and their ( relative) success and advance are opened even within such powers.

In the civil society segment the counter-hegemony opportunities are even wider as the carriers of the hegemonic discourse act here directly, without masks and mediations. In the field of science, culture, arts, and philosophy the counter-hegemony carriers that mastered the syntax are capable to resist effectively to ideological opponents, as the quantity and weight in this environment is of very minor importance. One talented and prepared intellectual from the counter-hegemony may be worth thousands of opponents. In the non-political sphere of sciences, culture, art, and philosophy the counter-hegemony can use the huge arsenal of means and methods counting from the religious and traditionalist to vanguard and post-modernist. Being guided by the correctly understood counter-hegemonic syntax, the deployment of various intellectual strategies challenging the western "axiomatic" of the Modernist style is going to be as easy as pie. This model can be also easily applied not only in non-western societies, but also in the developed capitalist countries, repeating in the new historical situation the successful experience of the new "left gramschism" in Europe of the 60-70th years of the XX century.

The set of the sub-state political structures and the borderless zone of the "civil society" (in Gramschi's understanding) gives us the meso-level whereas the "revisionist" States themselves can be taken for the macro-level for the counter-hegemonic practice of expansion.

And at last, the micro-level that is the separate individuals who also can be under certain conditions the counter-hegemony carriers as the field of fight for the TMM is the person itself in all his measurements – from personal to social and political. The globality should be understood anthropologically.

Thus we receive the huge reservoir of resources which is at the disposal of the potential global revolutionary elite. In the situation when the rules are set by the hegemony, and "fore-hegemony" or merely "non-hegemony" passively resists it, this resource is either neutralized, or involved in an infinitesimal degree in strictly local situations, i.e. it is not consolidated, scattered and is exposed to the gradual entropy. For the hegemony itself in this case it is no more than a passive obstacle, inertia, and the subject to be conquered, "domesticated" or dismantled (thus for construction of the road they cut down the forest or fill up the swamp). But all this becomes the counter-hegemony resource when the counter-hegemony becomes the self-conscious force, the historical subject, the phenomenon. All this is transformed into a resource when we have the global revolutionary elite turned to TMM as to its theoretical base. Prior to it and without it all listed moments are not a resource.

Counterhegemony and Russia

We still have to project the principles of counterhegemony in the TMW context in the situation in Russia.

In a context of the "neo-gramschist" analysis the modern Russia represents the classic "Caesarism" with all its typical attributes. The hegemony, for its part, solidly places Russia in the "Other" (theRest) chain and builds its image in the compliance with the classical syntax: "authoritarianism"="corruption"= "needs modernization"= "does not observe human rights and freedom of the press"="the State interferes with business issues", etc.

Subjectively the Russian management is occupied by the processes of "transformism" (transformismo), constantly balancing between concessions to the hegemony (participation in the international economic organizations, such as the WTO, privatization, the market, democratization of the political system, fine tuning to the educational standards of the West, etc.) and the urge to preserve the sovereignty and at the same time the ruling elite power leaning on the "patriotic" mass moods. At thе same time in the international relations Putin personally unambiguously adheres to realism whereas the Government and expert community obviously gravitates to the liberalism that creates a doublethink^ typical for "transformismo".

For the TMM and counter-hegemonic elite such situation creates the favorable environment for the expansion of autonomous activity and represents the natural enclave promoting its development, strengthening and consolidation. Russia is unambiguously related to the camp of "revisionists" in the international system, having lost the position of one of the two super-states in the 90th years of the XX century and having sharply reduced the sphere of its influence even at the close borders. Unipolarity of the world order and strengthening of the hegemony in the last decades (=globalization) brought to Russia exclusively negative results, because they were built – geopolitically, strategically, ideologically, politically and "psychologically" – at her expense. And although the preconditions for an active revenge are obviously not riped yet, the general atmosphere and the main objective tendencies help to establish the TMM and promote the strengthening and crystallization of the Russian segment of global counter-hegemonic revolutionary elite. Moreover, many steps by V.V.Putin in the foreign policy issues directed to the strengthening of the Russian sovereignty, his intentions in the construction of the Euro-Asian Union, his critic of the unipolar world and the American domination, and also incidental notes of the multi-polarity as the most desirable world order – all this expands the field of opportunity for the organic creation of the full and well-founded theory of the counter-hegemony in the TMW context.


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2. Waltz took confrontation between the U.S. and Soviet Union as an example of two hegemonies until the end of “cold war”. Currently, he is inclined to the idea of new bipolarity, where China is counterweight to American Hegemony.

3. “You can fix tow huge superstructure plans: one, which can be called “civil society”, that is constellation of organisms commonly called “private”, and other, that is “political society”, or the state. They correspond to “hegemony” function which dominant group performs throughout society and “direct domination” function, which expressed in the state, in the “legal government” – wrote Gramsci. Gramsci A. Prison Books. Part 1. – M. Publishing house of Political Literature, 1991.

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9. Neo-gramscist Nichols Pratt defines counter-hegemony as “creating alternative hegemony in area of civil society for preparation of policy change”. Pratt. N. Bringing politics back in: examining the link between globalization and democratization// Review of International Political Economy. Vol. 11, No. 2, 2004.

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