Antonio Gramsci

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Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci
Full name Antonio Gramsci
Born January 22, 1891(1891-01-22)
Ales, Sardinia, Italy
Died April 27, 1937 (aged 46)
Rome, Italy
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Marxism
Main interests Politics, Ideology, Culture
Notable ideas Hegemony, Organic Intellectual, War of Position

Antonio Gramsci (1891 - 1937) was a marxist ideologue, chief theoretician and Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, born in Sardinia, Italy. Some pro-European forces under the banner of the New Right have reconquered Gramsci's theories on hegemony for healthy ends; Patriotic Gramscianism.


Gramsci was born in Ales, on the island of Sardinia. He was the fourth of seven sons of Francesco Gramsci, a low-level official. The boy suffered from health problems: a malformation of the spine owing to a childhood accident left him hunch-backed and underdeveloped, while he was also plagued by various internal disorders throughout his life. A brilliant student, in 1911 Gramsci won a scholarship that allowed him to study at the University of Turin. On January 21, 1921, in the town of Livorno, the Communist Party of Italy (Partito Comunista d'Italia - PCI) was founded. Gramsci supported against Bordiga the Arditi del Popolo, a militant anti-fascist group which struggled against the Blackshirts. In 1922 Gramsci travelled to Russia where, he met Julia Schucht, a young violinist whom Gramsci later married and by whom he had two sons.

The Russian mission coincided with the rise of Fascism in Italy, and Gramsci returned with instructions to foster a united front of leftist parties against fascism. Such a front would ideally have had the PCI at its centre, as a tool controlled by Moscow. In late 1922 and early 1923, Mussolini's government embarked on a campaign of repression against the opposition parties, arresting most of the PCI.

In 1924 Gramsci was elected as a deputy for the Veneto. He started organising the launch of the official newspaper of the party, called L'Unità (Unity), living in Rome while his family stayed in Moscow.

At its Lyons Congress in January 1926, Gramsci's theses calling for a united front to restore democracy to Italy were adopted by the party. In 1926 Stalin's manoeuvres inside the Bolshevik party moved Gramsci to write a letter to the Comintern, in which he deplored opposition led by Trotsky. It led to bad feeling.

On November 9, 1926 the Fascist government enacted a new wave of emergency laws, using the pretext of an alleged attempt on Mussolini's life that had occurred several days earlier. There are similarities to the Reichstag Fire, which Hitler used to take over Germany and the 9/11 attack which Bush used to pass the PATRIOT Act and other measures. The fascist police arrested Gramsci, despite his parliamentary immunity, and took him to Regina Coeli, a Roman prison. He received sentence of 5 years in confinement on the remote island of Ustica; the following year he received a sentence of 20 years of prison in Turi, near Bari). His health worsened and he died in Rome at the age of 46.


His thinking was about how societies hold together. He wrote about cultural hegemony which seems to mean that the people of a nation hang together because they believe in their families and nation. Marx was more interested in class loyalty; the view that the proletariat or workers were opposed by the managers, the owners, the bourgeois and vice versa. It is all explained in some 3000 pages of history and analysis known as the Prison Notebooks. He wanted the working class to develop its own set of values which meant not bourgeois and therefore not Christian. This has led his followers to infiltrate the media, education, government, churches, law and the whole of the Long March Through The Institutions. Perhaps his approach can be contrasted with that of Marx; infiltration from the top down rather than revolution from the bottom. Worker of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains sounded good but did not work.

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