Jo Cox murder: morbid symptoms but the new will be born

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2016 by kmflett

Jo Cox murder: morbid symptoms but the new will be born


Gramsci wrote in the Prison Notebooks of the morbid symptoms that appear when the old order is dying but the new one cannot be born.

The murder of Jo Cox MP on Thursday was certainly a morbid symptom. The murderer had long term connections to violent hard core fascist groups something which some of the media rather predictably are trying to ignore. Instead they have emphasised mental health problems (quite possibly inadequately dealt with by an underfunded NHS) but there is no particular or obvious connection between that and murdering an MP.

There is no reason to despair.

Yes Farage, the Tory right and the gutter press have whipped up racism and division in society for their own ends. Farage in particular looks increasingly like someone playing to the fascist gallery.

There isn’t much evidence to be gathered that this plays well to younger generations in Britain who, on polls, are more tolerant on issues of race, sex and sexuality than earlier generations. This is the Britain that is struggling to be born.

Of course there are young people who are bigoted and there are old people who are tolerant if grumpy (it comes with age). I’m 60 this year and no one I know in a similar age bracket is a bigot. Then again of course I’ve spent a life on the left.

A leap of imagination is needed.

As an historian I’m sometimes confounded by those who look at say the Chartists without trying to understand what was going on in their heads and what influenced the things they did. We can’t of course historically know the answer.

But the Chartists faced many of the same issues that the left does today. How to challenge authority? Will people turn up for a protest? How to get an idea across?

So we can broadly understand the dilemmas they faced.

Likewise with those on the less tolerant side of society today.

These people were young in the 1960s and 1970s (as I was). Some will be those that never liked the changes of those decades- women’s and gay liberation etc. Many others will have grown a bit more reactionary with age. Why, how to understand this? Perhaps because the pace of change in a neo-liberal society has left them a little bemused and displaced.

That is not an excuse for bigotry and intolerance but a way in to addressing the matter.

We should mourn Jo Cox but mobilise in her memory. We need to speed up work on ditching the morbid symptoms and seeing the appearance of a new society.

thanks for comments on this post. I’ve reworked the wording in response




2 Responses to “Jo Cox murder: morbid symptoms but the new will be born”

  1. Thanks Keith.

  2. Reblogged this on In the Dark and commented:
    “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

    From Italian:

    “La crisi consiste appunto nel fatto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo non può nascere: in questo interregno si verificano i fenomeni morbosi piú svariati.”

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