Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gramsci on crisis and resistance

“A crisis cannot give the attacking forces the ability to organize with lightning speed in time and space; still less can it endow them with fighting spirit. Similarly, the defenders are not demoralized, nor do they abandon their positions, even among the ruins, nor do they lose faith in their own strength or in their own future … Mass ideological factors always lag behind mass economic phenomena … therefore, at certain moments, the automatic thrust due to the economic factor is slowed down, obstructed or even momentarily broken by traditional ideological elements - hence, there must be a conscious, planned struggle to ensure that the exigencies of the economic position of the masses, which may conflict with the traditional leadership’s policies, are understood. An appropriate political initiative is always necessary to liberate the economic thrust from the dead weight of traditional policies.
Antonio Gramsci, ‘The Modern Prince’ and ‘State and Civil Society’ in Geoffrey Howell-Smith & Quintin Hoare, eds., Selections from the Prison Notebooks, Lawrence & Wishart, 1971, pp. 168 & 235