The 75th anniversary of Antonio Gramsci’s death

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Antonio Gramsci died on the 27th of April in 1937 at the age of 46. Today marks the 75th anniversary of his death. He was imprisoned by the Fascists in Italy for eight years. At his “trial”, Gramsci’s prosecutor allegedly stated, “For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning”.

This post is a brief acknowledgement of this anniversary.

It is possible that an eminent personality expresses his most productive thoughts not in a sphere apparently most “logical” to him, according to an external classification scheme, but in another apparently alien one, When a politician writes about philosophy, maybe he expresses his “true” philosophy in his political writings instead. In every personality there is a dominant activity and a predominant one. It is in the latter that his thought must be analysed. (Notebook 2)

Gramsci’s thoughts have had a significant influence on me and my political views. His quote, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” is his most famous, but the most relevant today I believe is:

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.

Across all manner of areas — global economics, journalism, politics, conservation and climate — we are in the interregnum. We are experiencing the morbid symptoms. We have never needed the optimism of the will more.

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