Articles

Antonio Gramsci, political crisis & Donald Trump

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2016 by kmflett

trump

“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.”

Gramsci, Prison Notebooks

Gramsci saw crisis working themselves out over extended timespans, with attempts to defend and shore up the existing order. Perhaps the key point when it comes to the election of Trump is that he saw this as a ‘conjuncture’ where some forces organised to change the existing order against those defending it. Or to put it another way, the fight goes on.

He wrote:

A crisis occurs, sometimes lasting for decades. This exceptional duration means that incurable structural contradictions have revealed themselves (reached maturity), and that, despite this, the political forces which are struggling to conserve and defend the existing structure itself are making every effort to cure them, within certain limits, and to overcome them. These incessant and persistent efforts (since no social formation will ever admit that it has been superceded) form the terrain of the ‘conjunctural’, and it is upon this terrain that the forces of opposition organise. These forces seek to demonstrate that the necessary and sufficient conditions already exist to make possible, and hence imperative, the accomplishment of certain historical tasks (imperative, because any falling short before an historical duty increases the necessary disorder, and prepares more serious catastrophes). (Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, International Publishers, New York, 1992: 178)

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