No going back to normal: Gramsci, capitalism, political crisis, and our response

By: Tad Davies, Ted Jackson, Garmon ab Ion

“This is the Italian Marxist revolutionary Antonio Gramsci. He dedicated much time and thought to the concept of crisis.

Through the upheavals of the first world war and then the bienno rosso, the “two red years” of near-revolution in its aftermath , he believed that from the crisis gripping capitalism a socialist order would automatically emerge.

But, because of the rise of fascism straight after the failure of the bienno rosso, and because he was locked away in a fascist prison after 1926, Gramsci’s opinion changed.

the crisis of the ruling class’s hegemony, which occurs either because the ruling class has failed in some major political undertaking for which it has requested, or forcibly extracted, the consent of the broad masses (war, for example), or because huge masses… have passed suddenly from a state of political passivity to a certain activity, and put forward demands which taken together, albeit not organically formulated, add up to a revolution. A ‘crisis of authority’ is spoken of; this is precisely the crisis of hegemony, or general crisis of the State.

“Let’s look at what that means”

“The outcomes of crises are not inevitable. They are always political, however much the ruling class attempts to depoliticise them.”

“In crises, the hegemony of the ruling class comes under threat, norms are questioned and the potential for change can either be realised or dismissed.”

“In light of this, the ruling class will abandon all its guises of being “for the people” and will scramble to protect its wealth, status and power and do anything within its means in attempt to stop this realisation.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has once again unmasked the ruthless face of capitalism and its apologists.”

“Years of austerity has stripped the NHS of the tools it needs. The lack of PPE – testing – “and the allegedly abandoned herd immunity approach – are testimony to the negligence and contempt the ruling class have for working class lives.”

The left must politicise the untimely deaths through failing Tory policies, must politicise the lived experience of conflict at work, the greed of landlords and the humiliations of the benefit system. The left must make the working-class see what side they are on in the social war.”

“The left shoud use the crisis to bring revolutionary change.”

“Demands once written off as unrealistic have been achieved and shown to be necessities”

Austerity

Homelessness

And low wages

“have been proved to be political choices.”

“Community, kindness and care “have been shown during this crisis as the values truly precious to the people”

“not the profit margins of corporations.”

“This momentary paradigm shift in values must become permanent in order to combat the turbo charged austerity that now looms.”

“Gramsci once described Capitalism as a fortress, with the bourgeoise state as its first line of defence.

The crises represent a hole blown into those defences.”

“Time will pass and the hole will frantically be repaired using all of the state’s draconian methods and apparatus. But, for a short while, there is window of opportunity to take this fortress. We must act now before it is too late. There is no going back to normal”

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://undod.cymru/en/2020/05/31/gramsci-dim-normal/