Last modified on 9 April 2014, at 02:49

Antonio Gramsci

The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.

Antonio Gramsci (23 January 189127 April 1937) was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist. A founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy, he was imprisoned by Mussolini's Fascist regime.

SourcedEdit

  • I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.
    • Letter from Prison (19 December 1929); also attributed to Romain Rolland.
  • All men are intellectuals: but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals.
    • Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  • The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.
    • Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  • Economy and ideology. The claim (presented as an essential postulate of historical materialism) that every fluctuation of politics and ideology can be presented and expounded as an immediate expression of the structure, must be contested in theory as primitive infantilism, and combated in practice with the authentic testimony of Marx, the author of concrete political and historical works.
    • Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  • History is at once freedom and necessity.
    • Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  • We can see that in putting the question "what is man?" what we mean is: what can man become? That is, can man dominate his own destiny, can he "make himself," can he create his own life? We maintain therefore that man is a process and, more exactly, the process of his actions. If you think about it, the question itself "what is man?" is not an abstract or "objective" question. It is born of our reflection about ourselves and about others, and we want to know, in relation to what we have thought and seen, what we are and what we can become; whether we really are, and if so to what extent, "makers of our own selves," of our life and of our destiny. And we want to know this "today," in the given conditions of today, the conditions of our daily life, not of any life or any man
    • Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  • Revolutionaries see history as a creation of their own spirit, as being made up of a continuous series of violent tugs at the other forces of society - both active and passive, and they prepare the maximum of favourable conditions for the definitive tug (revolution).
    • Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  • My practicality consists in this: in the knowledge that if you beat your head against the wall it is your head which breaks and not the wall ... that is my strength, my only strength.
    • The Modern Prince and other Writings, quoting a letter to his sister


MisattributedEdit

  • To tell the truth is revolutionary.
    • The first number of L'Ordine Nuovo, edited by Gramsci, appeared in 1921 with this motto of Ferdinand Lassalle on the first page. It is often misattributed to Gramsci.
The long march through the institutions, Rudi Dutschke
  • The long march through the institutions.
    Widely attributed to Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg, the editor of the English critical edition of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks asserts that the phrase does not originate with Gramsci. Footnote 21, page 50, reads: [“long march through the institutions”21] “This phrase is not Gramsci’s, even though it is ubiquitously attributed to him.”

Buttigieg, Joseph A. (2005). "The Contemporary Discourse on Civil Society: A Gramscian Critique". boundary 2 32 (1): 33-52. ISSN 0190-3659. DOI:10.1215/01903659-32-1-33. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.

About GramsciEdit

  • We must prevent this brain from functioning for twenty years.
    • Prosecutor at Gramsci's criminal trial, quoted Prison Notebooks translated by Joseph A. Buttigieg