ANTONIO GRAMSCI was acutely conscious of the fact that class rule and exploitation typically subsists upon an clement of social consent which it continually strives to reproduce. In the restructuring of capitalism with increasing state intervention, Gramsci discerned an attempt by capital to consolidate its rule through creating new forms of mass integration, and recreating a mass consensus in favour of capitalism. It is this perception which underlies many of his key concepts like "passive revolutions", "war of position" and "hegemony", and his emphasis that the revolutionary class, which has on its agenda the overthrow of capitalism, has to struggle for social hegemony through ethico-cultural initiatives as well.
In the lead article of the current number of Social Scientist, Asok Sen underscores the appositeness of Gramsci's perspective in the struggle for socialism. Unlike capitalism, which developed within feudalism and brought about its dissolution, socialism as a mode of production cannot develop within capitalism; this crucial difference between the two revolutions, which Lenin had pointed out, gives a specific edge and validity-in the Gramscian emphasis on counter-hegemony, a validity not confined to the context of advanced capitalism alone, but obtaining with equal force in countries of" backward capitalism like ours. He also sees in Gramsci's writing a Marxist counterpoint to Max Weber's gloomy prognostication of a "cage" of bondage, a world "filled wifh nothing but those little cogs, little men clinging to little jobs and striving towards bigger ones .."
A serious discussion of Gramsci's work has been long overdue in our country. His elevation into an almost cult-figure in certain intellectual circles in the West, and the occasional crude attempts to use his writings ^s a stick to beat Lenin with, have unfortunately often provoked a counter-response of neglect, or even implicit denigration of this outstanding Communist. We arc therefore happy to publish this article, with tty hope that it stimulates discussion attempting to locate Gramsci's contribution in the developing body of Marxist theory.
A different, albeit more widely perceived, aspect of the base-