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The Hegemony Triangle

The Hegemony Triangle

This is a remix and visualisation of Assembly by Hardt and Negri (Chapter 15) and Jonathan Matthew Smuckers writings on hegemony in Hegemony How-To.

Strategies for hegemony

To struggle against power is to build and wield a power of one’s own.

This is the coordinated formation of counterpowers and the real creation of a dualism of power, within and against the existing ruling system. We must cease viewing these three strategies as divergent and recognise their potential complementarity.


Withdrawing from the dominant institutions to create new social relations.

Squats, square occupations, social centers, worker coops, Zone A Défendre – ZAD.

  • + Ability to open broader social debates about democracy and equality.
  • + Experimentation and development of new institutions
  • + Generating desires for and posing an example of a new world
  • – The contradictions of also being a part of the larger dominant society.
  • – Functions at the moral level which can result in moralism and internal policing.
  • – Inability to transform the broader social order, lacks the means to engage the dominant institutions, let alone overthrow the ruling order

Antagonistic reform

Engaging the existing institutions to transform them from within, while seeking maximal strategic autonomy.

Working within or campaigning for the reform of dominant institutions like corporations, governments, media, popular culture or the legal system.

  • + Long term effects can be significant.
  • – You get lost in the institutions and they change you more than you change them.

Taking power

Taking power and creating the institutions of a new society.

  • + Directly transforms society.
  • – Requires a transformation of power.
  • – New regime might repeat the characteristics of the old.
  • – Limited by the power of global capital, nation states and media.


Both levels are interventions into the ground game upon which all social interactions operate. To reshape this ground is to re-pattern everything that happens upon it.

Symbolic contest

The contest of popular meanings, culture, framing and common sense. Winning popular support while delegitimising and ultimately isolating political opponents.

Institutional contest

The contest of leadership, organisational capacity and institutional power in an institutional ground game whose victory is tied to its capacity to consolidate victories

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