Antonio Gramsci’s Dialectical Machiavellianism

Tomorrow I will present in my undergrad class some thoughts on the occasion of the eightieth commemoration of Antonio Gramsci’s death on April 27, 1937, at the age of 46, in Mussolini’s Italy. In his trilogy on the main currents of Marxism, Leszek Kołakowski is relatively soft on the Italian revolutionary thinker and definitely less caustic than in his chapters on Georg Lukács and Herbert Marcuse. Yet, one needs to emphasize that Gramsci never questioned the totalitarian structure of the Leninist-type party (the modern Prince). He yearned for the annihilation of the old bourgeois order and had little patience for political pluralism. For Gramsci, Good and Evil hinge upon pragmatic decisions. They are not autonomous values. The agonizing split within humanity cannot continue, affirmed Gramsci, and he hoped that a Messianic revolution would lead to an ultimate harmony. This perfect community was, of course, a utopian dream, but one worth, in Gramsci’s view, any sacrifice, individual and collective…

 

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