Antonio Gramsci and Fascism – Part I

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By LINCOLN SECCO*

Gramsci was faced with something entirely new and had to resist without giving the patience of theoretical precision. He thought as he confronted the fascists

In his time, nobody understood better than Antonio Gramsci the process that allowed ideas that were previously marginal and extravagant to take shape in a movement, in a party and, later, in a political regime with the applause of segments of all classes.

The delimitation of fascism proved difficult from its first manifestations. Historical fascism emerged in the era of imperialism and the dominance of monopoly capital and was the opportunistic and permanent, counterrevolutionary and rational mobilization of the irrationality of the masses during the interwar crisis.[I]

Although many general definitions of fascist movements and regimes can be established, it is better to indicate the imprecise borders of the regimes, the contours of the movements, the phases that it may or may not go through and “complete” itself as a proposal, as a movement or regime. Paxton, João Bernardo and Umberto Eco, among others, sought this path, even if starting from different angles and arriving at different definitions. The advantage of these authors is that they accentuated the historicity of fascist phenomena without giving up the construction of a comprehensive concept.[ii] As we shall see, Antonio Gramsci pioneered such a methodology.

When the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci were edited, the leader of the Italian Communist Party Palmiro Togliatti stated: “an unasked question accompanies us, if we know how to read, notebook by notebook, page by page: how was this possible; how can this stop?”[iii]. How that was possible is a question that has plagued human beings to this day.

Antonio Gramsci followed the emergence of similar fascist experiences across Europe and, at the same time, observed that they were very different from each other because they responded to specific national challenges in countries with different degrees of economic importance in the world market. Without losing sight of the concrete particularity of Italian fascism, reading it allows us to cross-hatch the imprecise borders of fascism and identify its phases. From it, it is possible to approach a comprehensive definition without losing sight of the empirical plurality of the phenomenon. This appears in texts on subjects that are apparently unrelated to each other, but address multiple potentially fascist manifestations, such as, for example, the literary oddities of the first decades of the twentieth century: the work of D'annunzio and Marinetti, colonialism, magazines ultra nationalists, those demobilized from the war, etc.

As a socialist and communist militant, Gramsci was facing something entirely new and had to resist it without giving himself the patience of theoretical precision. Precisely for this reason, he did not seek an essence beforehand; he captured the phenomenon in flux. He thought as he confronted the fascists. The social spaces of fascism and its most evident initial elements (demonstrative violence, complicity of the state and liberal politicians, support from the bourgeoisie, programmatic malleability, a petty-bourgeois social base, etc.) are treated in different temporalities: from immediate history and from government actions, going through the wide conjuncture of the war and the crisis of the liberal regime until the Italian unification (Risorgimento), whose problem is at a slow pace.

Fascism's opportunistic oscillation and initial instability allowed Antonio Gramsci to observe that there was no original ideology here, let alone any theory. As Mussolini himself said, "our doctrine is the fact".[iv] The fascist elements were not original, nor was its discursive or conceptual architecture (which it lacked). No reality requires as many oxymorons as fascist discourse; he is a true reactionary innovation.

Historiographical practice usually reveals how the new can emerge within old forms and the old be coated with new ones. Antonio Gramsci went further, highlighting the organic crisis through which the bourgeoisie dominates without the consent of the dominated and society experiences, on an international scale, the collapse of values, institutions, economies and electoral legitimation processes. Antonio Gramsci declared that “the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old dies and the new cannot be born: in this interregnum morbid pathological phenomena arise”.[v] It is in this penumbra zone that the forms merge and absorb contradictory contents. How can violent radicalism wear pragmatic forms? An ideology capable of embracing all spheres of life be devoid of any theory?

Fascism expressed, through direct action, intellectual oddities and the permanent ability to mobilize and demobilize: the trance of a society in crisis. But in and of itself, he had necessarily to lead the peoples who embodied him to ruin, humiliation and defeat, as Gramsci predicted in the famous answer he gave to the fascist court that sentenced him to twenty years in prison: “You will lead Italy to ruin and it will be up to us communists to save it”.

 

an obsessive theme

Practically all Gramscian production was marked by the theme of fascism. Some of the elements that would be incorporated by the fascists were already followed by Antonio Gramsci before the combat fascism officially form a movement on March 26, 1919 in Piazza San Sepolcro, in Milan. He quoted Mussolini long before[vi] and commented on themes that later fueled the fascist movement, although it is an anachronism to look for predictions there. In fact, his writing revolved around the challenges posed by everyday politics and one must discover how his unity was expressed in different subjects over time. This unity only materializes in diversity, as much as the continuity of the same fundamental question also involves more complex answers over time.

Defeat in the face of fascism therefore became the central concern of most of his pre-carceral texts and also of his Prison Notebooks. The critique of fascism is the leitmotiv of his work and underlies the study of subjects apparently distant from each other[vii].

As we have seen, it is not easy to propose any definition of fascism or even to establish the differences between its first appearance and contemporary neo-fascisms. Gramsci did not seek precise definitions because there was no established regime when he studied the phenomenon. He had to follow political evolution in its dotted and shifting lines, in its hybrid forms and in the porous borders of legality and illegality. That's why some of his writings feel so contemporary.

A comparison with a statement in the 20st century reveals this contemporaneity of Gramsci. For Antonio Negri, in the fascisms of the 30s and XNUMXs “the reactionaries were certainly in the political field, while in the economic field they could be relatively progressive, pseudo-Keynesians”[viii]. This definition is not accurate, as Mussolini also resorted to liberal orthodoxy when it suited him. Historian Federico Chabod has shown that in its early years Italian fascism was more liberal than previous governments: it abolished official subsidies and handed over state companies to private capital.

After the First World War, the old liberal conservative Giolitti, who marked an era in Italian politics, sought to improve revenue. To face the increase in state expenses incurred during the European War and radicalized social demands in the red biennium, he demanded on September 24, 1920 that the shares be registered, and not bearer, in order to combat fraud. On the same day, he raised the inheritance tax and, in specific cases (distant relatives, eg.), the tax could mean the confiscation of property.

The National Fascist Party program in 1921 provided for tax simplification, budget balance, publicity of taxable income (redditi imponibili)[ix] and inheritances. But only thirteen days after the March on Rome (march on Rome) which brought Mussolini to the presidency of the Council of Ministers, Giolitti's laws were revoked[X] and that forgotten illiberal part of the fascist program. Mussolini put into practice the policy prescribed by Vilfredo Pareto, the theorist of elites who was studied by Antonio Gramsci in the Prison Notebooks: destroy political liberalism and institute economic liberalism; withdraw taxes from the privileged classes; and offer workers an education with religious dogmas in which he himself did not believe.[xi]

The old liberal politicians were satisfied and believed that the entry of fascists into the government cabinet would tame them and allow their absorption into the liberal system.[xii], as had happened with the socialists.

Coming from a bizarre composition of revolutionary syndicalism, socialism and nationalism, fascism had its base mobilized in the middle strata and attracted the resentful of all classes. However, he would not have stabilized in power without that condescension of professional politicians. In addition, of course, to an alliance with big capital and the support of the army, police and judiciary.[xiii]

A Labor Charter, edited by Benito Mussolini in 1927, declared that “state intervention in economic production only takes place when private initiative is lacking or insufficient or when political interests of the State are at stake”[xiv]. Of course, Mussolini's policy changed: he imposed a personal dictatorship and, after the 1929 crisis, adopted a statist line: ten years after that crash worldwide Italy had, in percentage terms, the second largest public sector in the world, second only to that of the Soviet Union.[xv] This corporatist and statist “other fascism” will be reviewed by Antonio Gramsci in the Prison Notebooks.

 

First phase – the origins (1919-1923)

It should be remembered that Antonio Gramsci wrote before the most important debates of the Komintern on fascism and did not know the incipient characterization of Stalin in the XIII Plenary Assembly of the Communist International; Dimitrov's defense of the front against fascism at the VII Congress of 1935; Trotsky's or Simone Weill's warnings about Germany[xvi]; Togliatti's Lessons[xvii] about the fascist institutions that controlled leisure, sport and other activities outside of work and many other texts.

Although there is an evident deepening of the understanding of fascism in prison writings, some essential premises of the delimitation of the phenomenon are much clearer in the writings of youth.

The article The Italian Crisis showed that there is no essence of fascism in itself. There is a chaotic combination[xviii] of traditions, from Corradini's idea of ​​a proletarian nation to Marinetti's futurism, which was nothing more than an insipid liberal program of a disoriented bourgeoisie[xx]. Once again Gramsci anticipated a fundamental fascist characteristic.[xx]

It is true that Mussolini, Marinetti, D'Annunzio and others were nourished by a reading of previous currents and traditions. There were elements taken advantage of by the fascists in the magazines The kingdom (1903) and La Voce (1908), as the cult of colonialism. Italian emigration should go to formal colonies and not to independent countries; the workforce should work for Italy; it was necessary to complete the Risorgimento[xxx]; or people it is mythical, suprahistorical, violent, masculine; Futurism and the poetry of Pascoli and D'annunzio help defend the mare nostrum (“Sailing is necessary, living is not necessary”), etc.

Fascists exploited the mutilated victory, whose clearest expression was the Italian failure to conquer Dalmatia, on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea, after the First World War. During the peace negotiations, the Italian government obtained the “unredeemed” lands (the irredente terre): Trento, Trieste and Istria, but not the city of Fiume (Rijeka in Croatia), at the time spatially Croatian, but linguistically Italian. Hence the literary and military adventure of the writer Gabrielle D'Annunzio (1863-1938) who, on September 12, 1919, occupied the city with two thousand followers, among them many demobilized from the war. He announced a corporatist constitution and declared war on his own government.

Gramsci's article National Unity parse that event. It was not yet a fascist movement (Mussolini later imitated aspects of the ephemeral Fiume government). Gramsci perceived from the beginning the contents and forms combined of left and right, still confused and undefined and that could question the current system. As he said: in a class that is spiritually healthy, because it is cohesive and organized, there are also people ruined by the war who have not integrated into a concrete economic reality.

It is the first clue of a survey of the social base of what the fascist movement will be. As Otto Bauer will later state, there was a combination of social underclassmen, revolted petty bourgeoisie, and a big bourgeoisie that had defected from its traditional conservative parties.[xxiii]. In prison notebook VII there are mentions of the command experience that the middle classes had in the European War and lost their usefulness in peacetime.

In the Piedmontese edition of the NEXT, a newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), to which Gramsci still belonged, he also already identified the international nature of fascism. Appearing in Italy for numerous reasons, it was not an Italian phenomenon per se. The article The reaction was published on November 24, 1920 and a similar approach is repeated in the text Italy and Spain. What is surprising, however, is that it also reveals that there is a continuum between liberal institutions and fascism[xxiii]. The crisis of those institutions requires illegal violence to restore the liberal state itself. That in the use of the fascist method the parliament is destroyed is the unforeseen price that the representatives of the bourgeoisie pay.

 

(Illegality

Antonio Gramsci identifies a striking feature of the fascistization process: criminal militias with impunity are an illegal complement to policing that is limited by law. Gramsci's definitions emerge from the historicity of the fascist process and not from a previous program or some theory that pre-outlined it.

The complicity between the state and fascist violence was too obvious not to be analyzed. In 1922, the anarchist Luiggi Fabbri defined fascism as a “preventive counterrevolution”, based solely on violence, since without it the movement would cease to exist.[xxv] But fascism was also the only quick option for conservatives and liberals to defeat the socialists, to distance them from what mattered most to them: positions and control of the public budget. Such an option was for controlled violence. Which, of course, was an illusion.[xxiv] Reformist socialism and trade unions were strong enough to protect formal workers from inflation, more than the petty bourgeoisie could on its own and than the bourgeoisie could tolerate. At the same time, that socialism clung to republican legality, was powerless to defend itself against violence and destroyed the electoral surplus achieved at the end of the war.

Otto Bauer has convincingly argued that socialism has come to be seen as the party of the system along with liberal and conservative groupings. Big capital deserted its traditional parties. This was weak to impose, by legal means, the recovery of its rate of profit, but “strong enough to finance an illegal and unconstitutional private army and throw it on the working class”[xxv]. This observation is very important because it implies the idea of ​​an “eternal fascism”, as Umberto Eco would say, or in historical terms, of a permanent threat inscribed in liberal bourgeois democracy itself.[xxviii]

The issue of the fluidity of boundaries between the legal state and private institutions will be revisited in the Prison Notebooks. In this first phase, Gramsci analyzed it, especially in the articles Legality, The Support of the State e against the judiciary. He never lost sight of this, as his speech in the Chamber of Deputies later proves, as we shall see.

As part of the official world of politics, socialists were also blamed for the rise of fascism, as demonstrated by the signing of the Pact of Rome on August 3, 1921, described by Gramsci in the article “The parties and the masses”.[xxviii]. In one of his most cited texts (The Monkey People) the petty bourgeoisie finally appeared as a potentially fascist social base. Without a productive function, it had become a purely political class, and after corrupting the institutions, it had become critical of them and gone on to corrupt the streets, where it aped revolutionary tactics. Once again, Gramsci thematized private violence in the service of restoring the bourgeois state.

The reader of these first Gramscian writings will be surprised by the breadth of the approach. In Elementary Forces the subject is treated as an everyday expression. At the invitation of Trotsky Gramsci even wrote a note on futurism that was published in the book Literature and Revolution (1923)

The possibility of a coup d'état, socialist impotence and the critique of the reformist reaction are addressed in several articles. There are others who turn to the historical origins of fascism, such as One year, The Origins of the Mussolini Cabinet e Reactionary Subversivism. In the latter, the “blanquism” that Mussolini attributed to himself is laid bare. But Gramsci realized that it was a rhetorical blanquism, merely formal, devoid of the material aspect that supported the revolutionary practice of the French proletarian leader Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881): “the framing of the minority in the mass movement, as well as the process that makes revolt the means for a transformation of social relations.[xxix].

Em the two fascisms Gramsci dealt with the agrarian and urban sections of the movement in some regions of Italy. However, reading it seems like a probe that shows the different depths and varieties of fascism, always united under the practice of violence. In a brief private study, he anticipated a universal characteristic that will accompany almost all early fascist movements, from German to Romanian, from Portuguese to Austrian: an intransigent faction and another that accommodates itself in the institutions, which its base continually violates.

Antonio Gramsci also turned to tactics to combat fascism, namely arditismo. Faced with the initial ambiguity of a spontaneous and unitary movement of self-defense, the socialists soon declared themselves indifferent. On August 3, 1921, they had signed a pacification pact with the fascists. The Communist Party, on the other hand, did not adhere to this pact, but distrusted the Arditi and its members were advised not to participate in that organization. Historian Paolo Spriano [xxx]was adamant: “It is difficult to decide whether the pact of the socialists (…) or the distrust of the communists was more harmful to the organization of a proletarian armed resistance that emerged from below”.

The Arditi they were elite special troops, created in the Italian army, who played the tactical role of mobile warfare: breaking through enemy defenses in depth and preparing the way for the infantry. would correspond to Sturmtruppen Austrians, only these were regular infantry units. Demobilized after the war, they were courted by fascism. Some of them participated with the poet Gabrielle Dannunzio in the aforementioned attempt to conquer Fiume. Some joined the fascist troops, others formed the Arditi del Popolo, armed combat troops of proletarian self-defense. It was the first organized anti-fascist movement.

There were anarcho-republicans, communists and socialists in its ranks. Gramsci initially supported the Arditi del Popolo against the position of Amadeo Bordiga, then leader of the newly founded Communist Party. Ernst Thälmann later claimed that Lenin was in favor of Gramsci's position. However, both in July 1921 and in his prison writings, arditismo had to be submitted to a strategy (“political objectives that are clear and concrete”) and to an organization.

 

Second phase – the Communist Party and fascism (1924-1926)

In this period there is a whole set of articles and correspondence that thematize the formation of the Communist Party of Italy, the divergences in the Communist International and in the Soviet government. The background is that of the retreat from the perspective of the World Revolution whose beginning Gramsci dates in 1921, defeat of the sailors of Kronstadt, but that the official communist organs locate in 1923, when the possibilities of repeating it in other countries like Finland, Poland disappear definitively. , Hungary, Italy and Germany the Bolshevik assault on power.[xxxii] A phase of capitalist stabilization opens.

During this period, Antonio Gramsci led the formation of a new leading group in the party, attracting, among others, Palmiro Togliatti, with whom he wrote the Theses of Lyon[xxxi] in May 1926 (city where the party congress took place). It can be said that the continuity of Gramsci's reflections on fascism takes place in opposition to Amadeo Bordiga's idea that it was a temporary regime through which the bourgeoisie would weaken the working class and then resume its liberal or social democratic vocation.

Amadeo Bordiga was not a theorist like Antonio Gramsci, but a charismatic grassroots leader, especially in the south. Gramsci himself, upon recognizing his influence on Togliatti, described his personality as “vigorous”.[xxxii]. But reducing him to a mere tactical agitator was a mistake derived from erasing him from the official history of Italian communism.[xxxv]. Bordiga was right, for example, when he said at the Fifth Congress of the Communist International that the defeat of fascism would not ineluctably imply a socialist solution and that the bourgeoisie could resume its democratic spoils with the same aplomb with which it had appropriated the fascist solution[xxxiv].

In prison, as the report to Athos Lisa documented, Antonio Gramsci defended the fight for a constituent assembly, but here this was not yet set. Gramsci stated in Theses of Lyon that the overthrow of fascism could come from the action of so-called democratic anti-fascist groups as long as they neutralized the proletariat. But for now, a compromise between fascism and bourgeois opposition would be in progress. Admittedly, his analysis was much denser theoretically than Bordiga's: the democratic opposition would only resume the leading role in the defense of capitalism when the fascist regime no longer proved itself capable of controlling class conflicts and the danger of an insurrection arose. Well, that's exactly what happened in the Second World War, when Mussolini was overthrown and the bourgeoisie feared a revolution of the partisans, whether it was a real threat or not.[xxxiv]

The background of Gramscian analysis was the debate in the Communist International. The PCI defended two theses: the particularity of Italian fascism; and the possibility of two ways out of fascism. In the first, the Italian communists opposed the thesis of social fascism, according to which social democracy would be the left wing of fascism, since the Italian socialists had been banned. The second thesis asserted that the anti-fascist revolution could lead either to a bourgeois government or to proletarian dictatorship. From the second half of 1929, the PCI retreated and abandoned its theses.[xxxviii]

There is no contradiction in demonstrating that fascism develops in collusion with existing institutions and with the permission of liberal politicians; and that at another time these same liberals and conservatives will reappear as an option for the ruling class.

Antonio Gramsci tried at all times to find the loopholes through which the working class itself could intervene independently in political life. The text What to do?, aimed at communist youth, provided advice on how to deal with defeat and regain initiative. But it is in the aforementioned The Italian CrisisOn Democracy and Fascism, The Fall of Fascism, The Need for Mass Ideological Preparation, The South and Fascism, Theses of Lyon e An Examination of the Italian Situation that he proposed a systematic political and historiographical reading of fascism; of Italian historical formation; the situation that allowed its appearance; and the seizure of power. particularly in Southern Question the question emerges that will go through the notebooks from start to finish and to which I have already alluded: “how this it was possible?".

Certainly, his analyzes had limits. Although he did not draw catastrophic conclusions from the capitalist crisis, he saw the period as a provisional phase of bourgeois domination, something that would later be the touchstone of Karl Korsh's critique of the communists and of Marx himself and his The 18th Brumaire. Only later did Antonio Gramsci conceive the possibility of a lasting stabilization, anchored in the productive restructuring of capital[xxxviii]. For this, it was necessary to articulate the dimensions of bourgeois power in the economy, culture and politics around the struggle to maintain or change the hegemony of a social group.

A text apart from this second phase is the discourse Against secret association laws. It is a unique historical document that shows Antonio Gramsci as an anti-fascist political leader in action. He had been elected deputy in the elections of April 6, 1924. That same year, the fascists proposed a law that would prohibit the existence of secret societies in Italy.

Between the proposal and approval, the Matteotti crisis took place. The assassination of the Socialist deputy on 10 June caused the Mussolini government to retreat and the opposition to withdraw to meet separately on the Aventino, one of the Roman hills. Gramsci proposed more radical measures, such as a general strike and an anti-parliament. Without a general agreement, the communists abandoned the Aventino and returned to the Montecitorio Palace, the official seat of the chamber of deputies, on 26 November.

During the spring, Gramsci made a countryside house. in the Soviet Union and participated in the fifth session of the expanded executive committee of the Communist International. In a letter addressed to the Swiss communist Humbert Droz, representative of the International, Gramsci announced that "the new law against organizations will be a terrible instrument of persecution against us".[xxxix] He was concerned with how to ensure a modicum of legality under Fascist rule. Once back in Italy, his speech against the law was accompanied by the main fascist leaders, such as Farinacci, Rossoni, Grecco and Mussolini himself who appeared in a photo with his hand next to his ear in an apparent effort to hear the speaker. That was the only speech Antonio Gramsci gave in parliament and he was interrupted several times by Benito Mussolini.

*Lincoln Secco He is a professor in the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of History of the PT (Studio).

Notes


[I] This definition does not close the concept, but proposes an axis for mapping what happens and not what is: the phenomenon is understood only procedurally in history and appears in the era of dominance of monopoly capital and with techniques of mass mobilization. Mobilization is ornamental and can either support the action of the movement or the inaction of the masses, limited to adulation of the chief and the regime with public displays.

[ii] I dealt with the concept of fascism and the aforementioned authors in: Secco, L. “Origins and structure of fascism”, in Rodrigues, Julian e Ferreira, Fernando Sarti. Fascism yesterday and today. São Paulo: Perseu Abramo Foundation / Maria Antonia, 2021.

[iii] Togliatti, Palmiro. L`Antifascism by Antonio Gramsci. In: Liguori, G. (org). Scritti su Gramsci. Rome: Riunitti, 2001, p. 177.

[iv] Paris, Robert. Histoire du Fascisme in Italy. Paris: Maspero, 1962, p. 226.

[v] Gramsci, Antonio. Quaderni del Jail. Turin: Riunitti, 1975, p. 311.

[vi] For example: Gramsci, A. Under the Mole. Torino: Einaudi, 1972, p. 183. At the beginning of the World War Gramsci defended the idea of ​​an “active and operative neutrality” launched by Mussolini. Mussi, Daniela. “Politics and Culture: Antonio Gramsci and the Italian Socialists”. October Magazine, no. 22, 2nd half of 2014, p. 126.

[vii] For the reader and the reader who prefers an in-depth research, I suggest to be guided by the theoretical map of the entry “fascism” of the Gramscian Dictionary. Spagnolo, Carlo. “Fascism”, in: Liguori, G. and Voza, Pasquale. Gramscian Dictionary. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2017, p.283.

[viii] Negri, Antonio. “First Observations on the Brazilian Disaster”, in https://revistacult.uol.com.br/home/antonio-negri-desastre-brasileiro/.

[ix] Felice, Renzo De. Mussolini the Fascist. La Conquista del Potere. 1921-1925. Turin: Einaudi, 1995, p.759.

[X] Chabod, Federico. L'Italia Contemporanea. Turin: Einaudi, 1961, p. 64.

[xi] Borkenau, Franz. Pareto. Mexico: FCE, 1978, p. 8.

[xii] Blinkhorn, Martin. Mussolini and Fascist Italy. London: Routledge, 1997, p.22.

[xiii] Carocci, Giampero. Storia d´Italia dall´Unità ad Oggi. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1975, p.250.

[xiv] Apud Bercovici, Gilberto. “The public administration of coupons”, round earth, September 06, 2020.

[xv] Blinkhorn, Martin. Op. quote, p. 34.

[xvi] Weill, S. The Working Condition and Other Studies on Oppression. Rio de Janeiro: Peace and Land, 1979.

[xvii] Togliatti, P. Lessons on Fascism. São Paulo: Lech, 1978.

[xviii] Gramsci will deepen the study of the bizarre nature of the fascist discourse in prison through the rubrics “Lorianism” and “Brescianism”, as we will see.

[xx] Fresu, Gianni. “Gramsci and Fascism”. Praxis and Popular Hegemony. No. 4. Rio de Janeiro, Jan. July 2019, pp. 9-20. See also: Barbosa, Jefferson. “Gramsci and the Criticism of Fascism”, in: https://www.ifch.unicamp.br/formulario_cemarx/selecao/2015/trabalhos2015/jefferson%20barbosa%2010383.pdf. Accessed on February 3, 2020.

[xx] In 1930 August Thalheimer wrote an analysis of the phenomenon based on The 18th Brumaire from Marx. For him, Bonapartism was different from fascism, but expressed the same process by which the bourgeoisie abandons its political survival in the hands of a dictator in order to save its economic existence. Thalheimer says that “the fascist petty bourgeois wants a strong government. Strong government means expansion of civil service. But at the same time it demands an economy of public expenses, that is, a limitation of civil service (…). We must put an end to the abuse of the eight-hour day and the nonsense about workers' rights in the factory. Factory order! Let it end with the gift of the State to the workers at the expense of the petty bourgeois, like bread and cheap rents, etc.” Thalheimer, August. about fascism. Salvador: CVM, 2009, p. 35. He realized what Gramsci had already stated in “The Italian Crisis”.

[xxx] Italian unification process. The unfinished revolution that Alfredo Oriani spoke about, whose book was prefaced by Mussolini. Oriani was opposed to bourgeois artificial Italy and supported the Popolo d`Itália (name of Mussolini's newspaper after he was excluded from the socialist Avanti).

[xxiii] Bauer treated fascism as the result of a "peculiar balance of class forces". In the report to the Central Committee of August 1924, Gramsci characterized fascism as the result of a “certain system of relations of force existing in Italian society”. Gramsci Antonio Gramsci. The Costruzione del Partito Comunista. Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 1978, p. 33.

[xxiii] Something thematized by Poulantzas in the concept of “fascistization”.

[xxv] Fabbri, Luigi. The Preventive Rivoluzione Control. Milano: Zero in Condotta, 2009, p.96.

[xxiv] The attraction that high society feels for the criminal underworld was well demonstrated by Hannah Arendt later on. Arendt, H. Origins of Totalitarianism. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012, pp. 229 and 274.

[xxv] Czerwińska-Schupp, Ewa. Otto Bauer (1881-1938). Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2018, p.313.

[xxviii] Echo, Umberto. “Eternal Fascism”, in: Id. Five Moral Writings. Translation: Eliana Aguiar, Editora Record, Rio de Janeiro, 2002.

[xxviii] All of Gramsci's articles referred to here can be consulted in Gramsci, A. political writings. 2 volumes. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 2004.

[xxix] Gramsci, A. Socialism and Fascism. L`Ordine Nuovo, 1921-1922. Torino: Einaudi, 1966, p. 205. A Reassessment of Blanquism in Lussu, Emilio. insurrection theory. Lisbon: Ulmeiro, s/d.

[xxx] Sprian, P. History of the Italian Communist Party, V. I, Torino, Einaudi, 1967, p. 147.

[xxxii] Yet the insurrectionist temptation led the Komintern to prepare armed actions in Estonia and Bulgaria.

[xxxi] Togliatti wrote the trade union theses and the thesis on the Italian situation and the Bolshevization of the party. But it is a collective document presented by the new party majority. Agosti, Aldo. Togliatti: Uomo di Frontiera. Turin: Utet Libreria, 2003, p. 76.

[xxxii] Sprian, P. Get off. Milano: Mondadori, 1988, p. 76.

[xxxv] In preparation for a 1951 special issue of PCI magazine Rebirth, marking “Thirty years of the life and struggles of the PCI”, Togliatti instructed his comrades that there should be no mention of Bordiga's ideas, “nor to attack them”. Broder, David. “Wrongly overlooked thinker”; weekly worker, 23.07.2020, in https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1309/wrongly-overlooked-thinker/#fn4.

[xxxiv] Clementi, Andreina de. Amadeo Bordiga. Turin: Einaudi, 1971, p.235.

[xxxiv] The historical irony is that after the Salerno upheaval (Salerno breakthrough, April 1944), the communists were the tipping point that allowed the “neutralization” of the revolutionary hypothesis and the formation of a government of national unity.

[xxxviii] DelRoio, Marcos. “Gramsci and Togliatti in the Face of Fascism”. Marxist Criticism, no. 50, Unicamp, 2020.

[xxxviii] DelRoio, Marcos. Gramsci's Prisms. São Paulo: Xamã, 2005, p. 141.

[xxxix] Droz, JH Il Contrasto tra L'Internazionale e il PCI. 1922-1928. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1969, p.237.


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  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank

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