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Kitchen Notebooks - Gramsci and the Mass Party

Like Antonio Gramsci found himself confined to Mussolini's dungeons, having to jot down short lines of thought in small notebooks, I at times find myself confined to the kitchen table, by a laptop, forced by an uncontrollable impulse to comment on something I have seen or read, to write a few short lines about some subject.

I recently started reading Monthly Review Press’ edition of Antonio A. Santucci’s Antonio Gramsci. Santucci there quotes Gramsci on the development of the political mass parties. Gramsci as we know was a leader of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), and did most of his political work in the 20s and 30s. This was the era of mass parties with a wide membership base.

Gramsci however criticizes elements within these parties, namely so-called charismatic leaders. This "charisma" Gramsci claims, always coincides "with a primitive phase of mass parties, when doctrine is introduced to the masses as something so nebulous and incoherent that it needs an infallible pope to interpret it and adapt it to circumstances" (Q, p. 233, Santucci p. 41).

Kitchen Notebooks - Gramsci, Language and Understanding

Like Antonio Gramsci found himself confined to Mussolini's dungeons, having to jot down short lines of thought in small notebooks, I at times find myself confined to the kitchen table, by a laptop, forced by an uncontrollable impulse to comment on something I have seen or read, to write a few short lines about some subject.

I recently started reading Monthly Review Press’ edition of Antonio A. Santucci’s Antonio Gramsci. A quote from (Q,p.1818), got me thinking about a few personal experiences I have had with language, but let me rather start with the basics.

Words have no meaning. Not in themselves. A lot of people do not understand this, and this is the starting point of many a failure to communicate.

Badly Drawn Silly Wordplay #63


BDSW here presents a special Cinematic feature - The Twinquisition!

Badly Drawn Silly Wordplay #62


Kitchen Notebooks - Gramsci and Scientific Method

Like Antonio Gramsci found himself confined to Mussolini's dungeons, having to jot down short lines of thought in small notebooks, I at times find myself confined to the kitchen table, by a laptop, forced by an uncontrollable impulse to comment on something I have seen or read, to write a few short lines about some subject.

I recently started reading Monthly Review Press’ edition of Antonio A. Santucci’s Antonio Gramsci. As I had just been lecturing a group of engineering students on the topic of scientific method, and common errors of thought that can create obstacles in scientific thinking, I did not get further than Joseph A. Buttigieg’s foreword, before stumbeling upon a connection I had to comment.

In describing Gramsci’s criticism of Bukharin’s rather dogmatic and deterministic understanding of history, Buttigieg quotes Gramsci writing “There are those who believe that science must absolutely mean ‘system’, and therefore they construct all kinds of systems that have only the mechanical outward appearance of a system” (Q7, §29)

Badly Drawn Silly Wordplay #48

A badly photographed guest appearance:

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Another badly manipulated guest appearance:
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*Understanding this joke requires basic knowledge of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and old Superman-villains.

Badly Drawn Silly Wordplay #46


Badly Drawn Silly Wordplay #31


Badly Drawn Silly Wordplay #28