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New Left Review I/65, January-February 1971


Lucio Colletti

Antonio Gramsci and the Italian Revolution

One of the most dramatic, yet shadowy, events touched upon by Guiseppe Fiori in his Antonio Gramsci: Life of a Revolutionary [1] Now published in English: nlb, 1970, 55s. od. is the disagreement between Gramsci on the one hand and Togliatti and the Italian Communist Party on the other, after the political ‘turn’ brought about by the Sixth World Congress of the Communist International. To prevent any speculation, it should immediately be added that the revelation of this dispute does not date from Fiori’s book. Already Rinascita of December 1964, in a brief comment following the publication of Athos Lisa’s report on Gramsci in Prison, pointed out that between 1928 and 1933 the positions of Gramsci at Turi ‘showed a way of thinking not only objectively inconsistent with the policy of the Party but actually critical of it on a whole range of questions that had emerged from the Ninth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the International, its Sixth World Congress and later its Tenth Plenum’ and to which ‘the politics of the Italian Party adapted itself.’ Fiori’s undoubted achievement, is not so much to have actually discovered this disagreement, as to have made the first attempt to set it explicitly into its historical context and to give it a historico-political evaluation (from which we, however, disagree on a crucial point). He has also enriched and clarified its nature with new information, of which one of the more important items is the decisive testimony rendered by Gennaro, Gramsci’s elder brother, shortly before his death.

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