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The War of Position
Chris Rufo gets the biggest win of 2024 with the ousting of fraudulent academic and racist Harvard’s President, Claudine Gay. What can we learn from what happened here? This is not a think boi piece on the culture war, but rather on tactics. How did this W happen and can it be replicated?
In early December Rufo tweeted the following, to which the left lost their minds.
We launched the Claudine Gay plagiarism story from the Right. The next step is to smuggle it into the media apparatus of the Left, legitimizing the narrative to center-left actors who have the power to topple her. Then squeeze.– Chris Rufo Dec 19, 2023
Reading into the comments, the left lost their minds. “Saying the quiet part out loud” and lots of copium overall. Rufo has built a reputation of unwavering truth telling and it has served him well up to this point and truth telling is exactly what he did in this campaign on Gay. Earlier in the year as the Israel conflict ramped up he tweeted this, another telling point of his overall strategy which is “associate them with the things they associate with” and present that to the less radical.
“Conservatives need to create a strong association between Hamas, BLM, DSA, and academic “decolonization” in the public mind. Connect the dots, then attack, delegitimize, and discredit. Make the center-left disavow them. Make them political untouchables.”– Chris Rufo Oct 13, 2023
This is getting interesting and pretty easy to understand. More link clicking and then, eureka, turn’s out Rufo published his actual playbook outlined “Harvard and Hegemony“. In this piece he mentions Marxist theorist Gramsci and Theory of Cultural Hegemony and the concept of “War of Postiion”.
The machines on War of Position:
Antonio Gramsci’s concept of the “War of Position” is a central element in his theory of cultural hegemony and is a significant part of his Marxist philosophy. This concept was developed as a part of his analysis of the means by which the ruling class maintains its dominance and how revolutionary change can be achieved in advanced capitalist societies. Here are the detailed steps or aspects of the “War of Position”:
- Understanding Hegemony: The “War of Position” is rooted in Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, which refers to the dominance of one social class over others. This dominance is not just political and economic but also intellectual and moral, manifested through culture, institutions, and social norms. The ruling class, according to Gramsci, maintains control by manipulating the values and perceptions of society, making their rule seem natural and inevitable.
- Building Counter-Hegemony: The “War of Position” involves the creation of a counter-hegemonic culture. This means developing a worldview that challenges the existing dominant norms and values. It involves intellectual and cultural struggle, where the aim is to change the way people think about society, politics, and economics.
- Role of Organic Intellectuals: Gramsci emphasizes the role of “organic intellectuals” – thinkers and leaders emerging from the working class or other subaltern groups. These individuals articulate the concerns and aspirations of these groups, helping to develop a counter-hegemonic culture.
- Establishing a Cultural Front: The war of position involves fighting on a cultural front, which includes media, education, and other civil society institutions. The goal is to gain influence in these areas to challenge the dominant class’s control over culture and ideology.
- Alliances and United Fronts: An essential part of the “War of Position” is the formation of alliances and united fronts between various oppressed groups. Gramsci believed that a successful counter-hegemonic movement requires the support and cooperation of different classes and social groups.1
- Incremental Progress: Unlike the “War of Maneuver” (direct and immediate confrontation and revolution), the “War of Position” is a gradual process. It involves slowly building up the strength and consciousness of the subaltern classes to prepare them for eventual revolutionary change.
- Transforming Civil Society: The ultimate aim of the “War of Position” is to transform civil society in such a way that it supports the revolutionary movement and helps to disintegrate the ideological control of the ruling class.
- Transition to War of Maneuver: Once sufficient progress has been made in building a counter-hegemonic culture and transforming civil society, Gramsci believed that conditions would be ripe for a “War of Maneuver” – a direct confrontation for political power.
Gramsci’s “War of Position” is a strategy for social change that emphasizes the importance of cultural and ideological struggle. It’s a long-term process of eroding the cultural foundations of the ruling class’s power and building a new cultural and ideological consensus that supports revolutionary change. This approach has influenced a wide range of social and political movements around the world.2
After reading this, it is clear that Rufo’s playbook is right out of Gramsi’s theory on hegemony. The Gay Campaign doesn’t touch on all aspects of the War of Position, after all the Gay Campaign is not the war itself, but it is a strategic battle that countless frogs are learning from.
Rufo’s thesis applies to many of the steps in War of Position and his actions IRL are happening according to this plan.
Reading through more of the threads and replies, one commenter mentioned Holmstrom’s theory of teams – the strategy of naming names, and in particular naming the people who are behind the people who actually do bad things.3 Another theory I was unfamiliar with but definitely compliments Rufo’s playbook.
The machines on Theory of Teams:
The Holmström’s theory of teams, developed by economist Bengt Holmström, is a significant concept in the field of economics, specifically in the study of organizational economics and contract theory. This theory addresses the issue of information asymmetry in team settings, where multiple individuals work together to achieve a common goal. The key aspects of Holmström’s theory include:
- Information Asymmetry and Moral Hazard: The theory focuses on situations where individual team members’ efforts cannot be perfectly monitored or measured. This creates a moral hazard, as members might shirk responsibilities or underperform if they believe their efforts are not being adequately observed or rewarded.
- Incentive Schemes: To address this, Holmström suggests the design of incentive schemes that align individual interests with team objectives. These incentives should encourage team members to work efficiently and cooperatively, even in the absence of perfect monitoring.
- Mutual Monitoring: The theory also highlights the role of mutual monitoring within a team. When team members observe each other’s efforts, this can reduce the problem of shirking and free-riding, as peer pressure and mutual accountability come into play.
- Output Sharing: Holmström suggests that sharing the output or profits among team members can be an effective way to align their interests. However, this approach must be carefully designed to ensure that it motivates all members equally and does not lead to conflicts.
- Risk Sharing and Diversification: The theory also deals with how risks are shared within a team. By appropriately sharing risks, members can be encouraged to undertake necessary but risky tasks that they might otherwise avoid.
- Principal-Agent Problem: It extends the principle-agent problem to a team context, where the principal (such as a manager or owner) needs to design contracts or incentives for a group of agents (team members) whose actions are interrelated.
Holmström’s theory of teams has had a profound impact on how organizations design incentives and manage team dynamics, particularly in contexts where individual contributions are hard to measure and results depend on collective effort. It’s widely studied and applied in various fields like corporate governance, human resource management, and public policy.4
Frogs commented more on this topic of teams and association “In context of naming names, it might imply by identifying all members of a team involved in unethical behavior, you can create incentives for people to act ethically, discourage collusion, & promote transparency. It’s understanding & influencing internal dynamics & incentive structures of teams to mitigate bad behavior.”5
The TLDR on teams is associate as many of them as possible. Everyone associated with Gay’s team must be drug through the mud and thoroughly criticized. But ousting the top leadership is not enough. We will not win by only outing the leadership, we need to recruit the next elite intellectuals to our cause so they are then able to fill the ranks.
Trust someone when they tell you who they are, associate thier team with them, and then tell normies who these people are. Specifically go to the middle tier news desks 🙂
- This is something I spend too much time thinking about. The Division agenda is real, and how can we unite the frogs? My theory is to use this Venn Diagram and go from there. ↩︎
- From ChatGPT ↩︎
- https://twitter.com/erasmuse/status/1742204580685865327 ↩︎
- From chat GPT ↩︎
- https://twitter.com/dogology1/status/1742223995808969088 ↩︎