A brief dispute on the tendency to consider Antonio Gramsci as an orthodox marxist.


From Eric Hobsbawm to Richard Seymour there are no doubts about enrolling Gramsci as an (orthodox) communist.  Antonio Gramsci was EVEN a Marxist, though not an orthodox one. He was a readable political commentator, a very clever, gripping and interesting essayist. I currently read articles on him where he’s defined as a Marxist strictly following the path. Do his supporters know anything about his political roots? They do, of course, but they don’t stop for a moment to seriously consider them and consequently, be concerned about them.
Was he concerned about Leninism and, if yes, on a scale from 0 to 10, what was the level? And was he following Stalin’s policy or wasn’t he? And why?
When I read a piece on him for the first time I thought that only a foreigner could consider an Italian politician a proper Marxist. His heterodox point of view is proverbial in Italy. As you know he was following in the footprints of Positivism (Benedetto Croce) and disagreed with Amadeo Bordiga who (sometimes I think Bordiga was crazy or simply very brave) wanted to assault the capitalist state when it was weak, during the early twenties. He was on the other side when the attack was the order of the day, nor did he want to liberate workers of capitalistic oppression, to let them go out of their awful working places and conquer police departments as well as government central offices. No attacks, no power. They failed, Fascism came and imprisoned, exiled, killed and tortured a lot of those workers and militants.
I think he was a Marxist; at least I could say he was closer to a Marxist than anything else. We have to say, honestly, talking about Marxists is like trying to explain many different currents, individual differences, political views and interests. In point of fact we have to admit his studies have been really important and had a big effect on philosophical studies. Americanismo e Fordismo is one of them.
He was concerned about Leninism. He was a Leninist but he did not apply Lenin’s strategy at all on Italian soil. This is a contradiction and I think we can honestly say he did it because he thought Italy wasn’t ready for the revolutionary process. So, from 0 to 10 his level of Leninism was quite low.
Many people and essayists said he wasn’t following Stalin’s political mainstream during his detention. I disagree. He was a Stalinist even if there were some problems inside the Party: double crossing communist officials, communication snags. Why did he follow the Stalinist strategy and policy? Because it was, without doubt, the only one that was down to earth . The leftist and Trotskyist opposition inside the 3rd International weren’t the solution nor did they represent a serious opposition to Stalin.

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