These symptoms, they keep getting morbid-er…

For those who haven’t had the pleasure, the late Tony Gramsci (Italian Marxist, died in one of Mussolini’s jails before the war) had a way with words. One of the phrases that gets, ah, trotted out is the following –

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying but the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

It’s just the right length, this quote, with just the right level of constructive ambiguity and hopey-ness that it gets used by all kinds of dopey people. It is polished and dropped by people who like to imagine that there’s some sort of dialectic (that means “struggle/fight” for any latecomers) between relatively evenly-matched forces. These people, they like to believe that they (and their party/class fraction/whatever) are gonna be able to nudge/pull/push events and social forces etc in the direction they think is right, outa the morbid systems and beyond the interregnum to a whole new regnum, with them and their mates in charge.

This is, of course, a fantasy. A fantasy of salvation-ism, of redemption, where the planet-trashing hairless apes get to stick around. You know, those hairless apes who COULD have had it all, if they’d just taken the time and trouble to process the “must-trash-the-natural-world-in-revenge-for-it-consistentlyl-eating-us-for-millions-of-years” impulses. If they’d just been able to stop telling themselves previously useful but now maladaptive stories of dominance and intense hierarchy as the best/only way. But the Koolaid prevailed.

The concatenating and imbricating, mutually-reinforcing symptoms are not the storm before the calm, before the dialectical end of history The storm is the storm is the storm is the ‘new normal.’

So it went. So it goes. Tony Gramsci may make you feel smart (because he was, you know, smart). But trasformismo and that stuff – historical blocs and modern princes – it’s for the birds (the ones getting whacked by pesticides and habitat destruction).

So it went, so it goes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: