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Gramsci and the Italian Communist Party


WITH THE RECENT PUBLICATION OF A SUBSTANTIAL PART OF THE ‘Prison Notebooks’, Gramsci studies may safely be said to have ‘come in from the cold’. While Isaac Deutscher goes too far in his claim for ‘the oblivion to which Gramsci's memory was consigned during the Stalin era’, considerable parts of his political career remained obscure, and evidence of his disagreement with many of the orthodoxies of his time, and with PCI decisions associated with them, has only recently been forthcoming. Publication of his writings has had in general to wait for the ideological relaxation which followed the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956. Publication of his work in the Soviet Union itself was initiated in 1957, and a three-volume selection eventually appeared. In Yugoslavia, a Selected Works appeared in 1959. Yet it was evident that even in an era of declared de-Stalinization, Gramsci's writings could remain something of an embarrassment to communist orthodoxy.

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1 The present paper was first presented at a seminar in the University of Glasgow. I wish to express my gratitude to those who commented upon it at that time, and also to Dr Martin Clark, of Edinburgh University, and Dr Domenico Corradini, of the University of Pisa, for their comments and advice.

2 Deutscher Isaac, The Prophet Outcast, London, 1963, p. 31.

3 Gramshi A., Izbrannyye Proizvedeniya, 3 vols., Moscow, 195758.

4 Gramsci A., Selected Works, Belgrade, 1959 . Note also his Pisma Wybrane, 2 vols., Warsaw, 1961; and Die Suditalienische Fruge, Berlin, 1955.

5 S. Mallet in France Observateur 30 November 1961, quoted in Greene T., ‘Communist Parties of Italy and France’, World Politics, xxi, No. 1, 10 1968, p. 27.

6 Gramsci A, Oeuvres Choisies, Editions Sociales, Paris, 1959 . His Lettres de la Prison, Paris 1953, had already appeared in an incomplete from.

7 Vincent J. M. in Revue Française de Science Politique, xxi, No. 1, 03 1962, p. 188.

8 Gramsci A., The Modern Prince, London, 1957.

9 Gramsci A., Selections from the Prison Notebooks, edited and translated, and with an important introduction, by Hoare Quintin and Nowell Geoffrey Smith, London, 1971.

10 Cammett J. M., Antonio Gramsci and the Origins of Italian Communism, Stanford, 1967, p. 190.

11 Ibid.

12 Statuto del PCI, 1966 ed., p. 3.

13 Full details of the election results are printed in Italy: Documents and notes (official publication), xvii, No. 3, Rome, May‐June 1968, pp. 199–200.

14 Luigi Longo in Unita, 11 September 1964.

15 Reprinted in Togliatti P., Sul Movimento Operaio Internazionale, Rome, 1964, PP. 231–5.

16 Reprinted in P. Togliatti, op. cit., pp. 361–76. Both this and the interview previously cited were interestingly reproduced in the party's collection of speeches and documents on the Czech crisis: Longo L., Sui Fatti di Cecoslovacchia, Rome, 1968.

17 For an up‐to‐date statement of party policy, see Progetto di Tesi per il XII Congresso del PCI, Rome, 1968. The question of ‘structural reform’ is treated in Halliday J., ‘Italy and “Structural Reforms”’, New Left Review, 50, 07-08 1968; the party debate is reflected in Terracini U. (ed.) La Riforma dello Stato, Rome, 1968.

18 Reprinted in Togliatti P., La Via Italiana al Socialismo, Rome, 1964, pp. 263–8.

19 Togliatti P., Gramsci, Florence, 1955, p. 73.

20 E. d'Onofrio in Rinascita, November, 1953, quoted in Galli G.: ‘Italian Communism’ in Grfith W. E. (ed.), Communism in Europe, Vol. I, London 1964, P. 309.

21 See Problems of Communism, xiv, No. 5, September‐October 1965, pp. 2–3.

22 See in particular 1926, ‘Sulla rottura nel gruppo dirigente del partito Bolscevico’, Rinascita 30 May 1964: A. Lisa, ‘Discussione politica con Gramsci in carcere’, Rinascita 12 December 1964; G. Lay, ‘Colloqui con Gramsci in carcere’, Rinascita 20 February 1965; G. Trombetti, “Piantone” di Gramsci nel carcere di Turi’, Rinascita 1 May 1965; G. Fiori, Vita di Antonio Gramsci, Bari, 1966, p. 292.

23 G. Amendola in Rinascita, 10 March 1967, p. 21.

24 Publication in the Annali of the Feltrinelli Institute, 1960, of a collection of documents from the Tasca archive dealing in part with the party leadership in the early 1920s appears to have prompted the party's publication of its own Formazione del gruppo dirigente del PCI, Rome, 1962, with the inclusion of a number of documents reportedly ‘recently rediscovered’ in the party's archive. It may not be too much to hope for further such ‘discoveries’.

25 Greene T. H., ‘The Communist Parties of Italy and France’, World Politics, xxi, No. 1, 10 1968, p. 27.

26 Williams G. A., ‘Gramsci's Concept of “Egemonia”’, Journal of the History of Ideas”, xxi, No. 4, 10‐12 1960, p. 587.

27 Togliatti P., Gramsci, Rome, 1967, p. 154.

28 Gramsci Oggi, Rome, 1967, p. 42.

29 Togliatti P., La Via Italiana al Socialismo, Rome, 1964, p. 176.

30 ‘Workers of all Countries, Unite and Oppose our Common Enemy’, Peking, 1963, pp. 59–60.

31 Mancini and Mancini , ‘Gramsci's Presence’, Government and Opposition, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1968, p. 334.

32 Gramsci A., l'Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 1955, p. 123.

33 Ibid., p. 103.

34 Gramsci A., Note sul Machiavelli, Turin, 1966, p. 51.

35 Quoted in Fiori, op. cit., pp. 292–3.

36 See the expression of his views in the Lyons Theses, quoted in Fiori, op. cit., p. 236.

37 Gramsci A., Note sul Machiavelli, Turin, 1966, p. 23.

38 Gramsci A., l'Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 1955, pp. 68, 11, 37.

39 Togliatti P., Il Partito, Rome, 1964, p. 113.

40 Togliatti P., Gramsci, Rome, 1967, p. 161.

41 Ibid., p. 22.

42 Ibid., p. 27.

43 Gramsci A., l'Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 1955, p. 70.

44 Ibid., p. 71.

45 Gramsci A., l'Ordine Nouvo, Turin, 1955, p. 59.

46 Togliatti P., Gramsci, Rome, 1967, p. 30.

47 Ibid., pp. 19, 20, 21.

48 Ibid., p. 69.

49 Ibid., p. 139.

50 Ferrata and Gallo , 2000 Pagine di Gramsci, Milan, 1964, p. 481.

51 Togliatti P., Gramsci, Rome, 1967, p. 46.

52 Togliatti P., La Via Italiana al Socialismo, Rome, 1964, p. 158. For this process as a whole see the provocative Il revisionismo del PCI: origini e sviluppo, Milan, 1971.

53 Ibid., p. 108.

54 Ibid., p. 158.

55 Djilas M., Conversations with Stalin, Harmondsworth, 1963, pp. 60, 141.

56 Quoted by Galli G. in Problems of Communism, V, No. 3, 05-06 1956, p. 45.

57 Kogan N., Politics of Italian Foreign Policy, London, 1963, p. 59.

58 Galli, art. cit., p. 44.

59 Ibid., p. 44.

60 G. Amendola in Rinascita, 28 November 1964.

61 Quoted in Tarrow S. G., ‘Political Dualism and Italian Communism’, American Political Science Review, lx, No. 1, 03 1967, p. 41.

62 Togliatti P., La Via Italiana al Socialismo, Rome, 1964, p. 197.

63 Tarrow S. G., Peasant Communism in Southern Italy, New Haven, 1967, p. 140.

64 Tarrow, op. cit., p. 41.

65 Statuto del Partito Comunista Italiano, Rome, 1966 ed., p. 6.

66 Togliatti P., La Via Italiana al Socialismo, Rome, 1964, p. 41.

67 Progetto di Tesi per il XII Congresso del PCI, Rome, 1968, p. 9. The party, it has been noted, although ‘ideologically opposed to parliamentary government, has, from its imposed place of permanent opposition, become its staunchest defender’. P. Allum, ‘Italy: the Politics of Namier’, New Society, 2 April 1970, p. 559.

68 Gramsci A., l'Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 1955, p. 59.

69 Tarrow, op. cit., p. 157. A parliamentary strategy undeniably represents in itself a reformist pressure of importance, in obliging communist candidates to compete for the votes, and if elected to represent the interests of all members of a given geographic area, or constituency, without reference to their social origins.

70 See especially G. Galli in Griffith (ed.), op. cit., p. 316.

71 Dogan M., ‘Political Cleavage and Social Stratification in France and Italy’, in Lipset S. M. and Rokkan S. (eds.), Party Systems and Voter Alignments, London, 1967, p. 141.

72 Ibid., p. 133.

73 Ibid., p. 135.

74 Ibid., p. 148.

75 Tarrow, op. cit., p. 42.

76 Gramsd A., l'Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 1955, p. 16.

77 Up‐to‐date statistics on this question are presented in Lucio Libertini, Iniegrazione Capitalistica e Sottosviluppo, Bari, 1968, especially pp. 9–35.

78 Macaluso E., I Comunisti e la Sicilia, Rome, 1970, pp. 235, 243 for Sicily; Galli G., (ed.), Il Comportamento Elettorale in Italia, Bologna, 1968, p. 77.

79 Togliatti , Gramsci, Rome, 1967, p. 50.

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