What The Mountain Taught the Mouse

By Vijay Prashad
Jan 25 2019 (IPS-Partners)

(Tricontinental) – In June 1931, the Italian Communist Antonio
Gramsci wrote a letter to Giulia Schucht, who lived in Moscow and
with whom he had two children. One of the children – Delio –
had taken an interest in literature, with a particular fascination
for fantasy literature. This gave Gramsci, locked in a fascist
prison, the opportunity to recall a story from his village on the
island of Sardinia.

A child sleeps, a mug of milk at his side for when he awakes. A
mouse drinks the milk, which provokes a scream from the child and
his mother. ‘In despair, the mouse bangs his head against the
wall, but he realizes that this doesn’t help, and he runs to the
goat to get some milk’, writes Gramsci. The goat says he will
give milk if the mouse gets him grass, but the meadow is dry
because of a drought. So, the mouse seeks water from the fountain,
which has been ruined by war. It needs the mason, who needs stones,
so the mouse heads to the mountain. But the mountain has been
deforested by speculators, and it ‘reveals everywhere its bones
stripped of earth’.

The mouse explains his predicament to the mountain, and he
promises that when the boy grows, he – unlike the rest of
humanity – will replant the trees, which motivates the mountain
to give stones and so the child gets his milk. ‘He grows up,
plants the trees, everything changes: the mountain’s bones
disappear under new humus, atmospheric precipitation once more
becomes regular because the trees absorb the vapours and prevent
the torrents from devastating the plains, etc’. In short, Gramsci
writes, the mouse conceives of a true and proper piatilietca’, a
five-year plan.

What the mouse and the mountain teach us is that everything is
connected. There is war here but also deforestation for profit and
drought and greed. The child, when grown, recognises the need for
deliberate planning. But before the plan comes the recognition of

The post What The
Mountain Taught the Mouse
appeared first on Inter Press Service.


From the desk of the
Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

The post What The
Mountain Taught the Mouse
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
What The Mountain Taught the Mouse