Prison Notebooks selections

prison notebooks summary and selections from the prison notebooks hegemony
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SELECTIONS FROM THE PRISON NOTEBOOKS Antonio GramsciElecBook London 1999 E Es ss se en nttiia all C Clla as ss siic cs s iin n P Po olliittiic cs s: : A An ntto on niio o G Gr ra am ms sc cii EB 0006 ISBN 1 901843 05 X T Th he e E Elle ec cttr riic c B Bo oo ok k C Co om mp pa an ny y L Lttd d 20 Cambridge Drive, London SE12 8AJ, UK www.elecbook.com © The Electric Book Company 1999 Limited printing and text selection allowed for individual use only. All other reproduction, whether by printing or electronically or by any other means, is expressly forbidden without the prior permission of the publisher. This file may only be used as part of the CD on which it was first issued.SELECTIONS FROM THE PRISON NOTEBOOKS OF ANTONIO GRAMSCI edited and translated by Quentin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith ElecBook London 1999 Transcribed from the edition published by Lawrence & Wishart London 1971Contents Click on number to go to page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................. 12 PREFACE .................................................................................. 13 GENERAL INTRODUCTION.......................................................... 22 Early Life................................................................................ 24 Intellectual Formation .............................................................. 27 Socialist Politics in Turin .......................................................... 33 Ordine Nuovo, the “Red Years” and the Founding of the P.C.I. ............................................................................... 46 The P.C.I. under Bordiga 1921-1923 ........................................ 62 The Interregnum in the Italian Party 1923-24 ............................. 74 The P.C.I. under Gramsci 1924-26 ........................................... 90 Prison.................................................................................. 117 I. PROBLEMS OF HISTORY AND CULTURE 1. THE INTELLECTUALS ........................................................... 131 Introduction....................................................................... 131 The Formation of the Intellectuals......................................... 134 The Different Position of Urban and Rural-Type Intellectuals....................................................................... 148 2. ON EDUCATION................................................................... 162 Introduction....................................................................... 162 The Organisation of Education and of Culture......................... 165Selections from Prison Notebooks 5 In Search or the Educational Principle................................... 177 3. NOTES ON ITALIAN HISTORY................................................ 191 Introduction....................................................................... 191 OUTLINE CHRONOLOGY OF ITALIAN HISTORY..................... 196 History of the Subaltern Classes: Methodological Criteria ............................................................................. 202 The Problem of Political Leadership in the Formation and Development of the Nation and the Modern State in Italy..................................................... 208 The City-Countryside Relationship during the Risorgimento and in the National Structure............................ 264 The Moderates and the Intellectuals...................................... 283 The Function of Piedmont ................................................... 286 The Concept of Passive Revolution ....................................... 289 First Epilogue..................................................................... 301 Material for a Critical Essay on Croce’s Two Histories, of Italy and of Europe ........................................... 302 The History of Europe seen as “Passive Revolution”.......................................................................308 II. NOTES ON POLITICS ............................................................ 312 1. The Modern Prince................................................................ 313 Introduction....................................................................... 313 Brief Notes on Machiavelli’s Politics...................................... 316 Machiavelli and Marx.......................................................... 331 Politics as an Autonomous Science....................................... 336 Elements of Politics ............................................................ 347 Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 6 The Political Party.............................................................. 353 Conceptions of the World and Practical Stances: Global and Partial .............................................................. 367 Some Theoretical and Practical Aspects of “Economism”.....................................................................369 Prediction and Perspective .................................................. 385 Economic-Corporate Phase of the State................................. 393 Analysis Of Situations. Relations Of Force.............................. 397 On Bureaucracy ................................................................. 412 The Theorem of Fixed Proportions ........................................ 420 Number and Quality in Representative Systems of Government....................................................................... 423 Continuity and Tradition...................................................... 428 Spontaneity And Conscious Leadership ................................. 430 Against Byzantinism ........................................................... 436 The Collective Worker ......................................................... 439 Voluntarism and Social Masses ............................................ 441 2. State and Civil Society........................................................... 445 Introduction....................................................................... 445 Observations on Certain Aspects of the Structure of Political Parties in Periods of Organic Crisis........................ 450 Caesarism ......................................................................... 463 The Fable Of The Beaver..................................................... 471 Agitation and Propaganda ................................................... 476 The “Philosophy of the Epoch”............................................. 479 Political Struggle and Military War........................................ 481 The Transition from the War of Manoeuvre Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 7 (Frontal Attack) to the War of Position—in the Political Field as well.......................................................... 495 Politics and Military Science ................................................ 497 Internationalism and National Policy..................................... 498 Problem Of The “Collective Man” Or Of “Social Conformism”..................................................................... 501 Sociology and Political Science............................................. 504 Hegemony (Civil Society) and Separation of Powers.............................................................................506 The Conception Of Law....................................................... 508 Parliament and the State..................................................... 518 Self-Criticism and the Hypocrisy of Self-Criticism.................... 520 The State .......................................................................... 524 Organisation of National Societies......................................... 536 Who is a Legislator? ........................................................... 538 Religion, State, Party.......................................................... 540 State and Parties................................................................ 542 Statolatry .......................................................................... 543 “Merits” of the Ruling Classes .............................................. 545 Historical Belles-Lettres....................................................... 547 “Subversive”...................................................................... 551 “Wave of Materialism” and “Crisis of Authority”...................... 556 3. AMERICANISM AND FORDISM .............................................. 558 Introduction....................................................................... 558 Americanism and Fordism................................................... 561 Rationalisation Of The Demographic Composition Of Europe.......................................................................... 564 Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 8 Super-City and Super-Country.............................................. 574 Financial Autarky of Industry................................................ 577 Some Aspects of the Sexual Question.................................... 585 Feminism and “Masculinism”............................................... 589 “Animality” and Industrialism............................................... 591 Rationalisation of Production and Work................................. 596 Taylor and Americanism...................................................... 604 Quantity and Quality........................................................... 606 Taylorism and the Mechanisation of the Worker ..................... 608 High Wages....................................................................... 611 Shares, Debentures and Government Bonds........................... 616 American and European Civilisation ...................................... 620 III. THE PHILOSOPHY OF PRAXIS .............................................. 623 I. THE STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY................................................. 624 Introduction....................................................................... 624 Some Preliminary Points of Reference................................... 626 Connection between “common sense”, religion and philosophy .................................................................. 630 Relation between science, religion and common sense................................................................................ 631 Problems of Philosophy and History...................................... 657 Scientific discussion ........................................................... 657 Philosophy and History ....................................................... 657 “Creative” philosophy.......................................................... 659 Historical Importance of a Philosophy ................................... 661 The Philosopher................................................................. 661 “Language”, Languages and Common Sense.......................... 663 Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 9 What is Man? .................................................................... 668 Progress and Becoming....................................................... 677 Individualism..................................................................... 682 Examination of the concept of human nature.......................... 684 Philosophy and Democracy.................................................. 685 Quantity and quality ........................................................... 686 Theory and practice............................................................ 687 Structure and Superstructure ............................................... 689 The term “catharsis”........................................................... 691 The Kantian “Noumenon”.................................................... 693 History and Anti-History...................................................... 695 Speculative Philosophy ....................................................... 696 “Objectivity” of Knowledge................................................... 699 Pragmatism and Politics...................................................... 700 Ethics............................................................................... 702 Scepticism ........................................................................ 703 The Concept of “Ideology” ................................................... 704 2. PROBLEMS OF MARXISM ..................................................... 708 Introduction....................................................................... 708 Some Problems in the Study of the Philosophy of Praxis............................................................................... 711 Statement of the problem.................................................... 711 Questions of Method........................................................... 713 Antonio Labriola................................................................. 719 The Philosophy of Praxis and Modern Culture......................... 722 Speculative Immanence and Historicist or Realist Immanence....................................................................... 739 Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 10 Unity in the Constituent Elements of Marxism ........................ 744 Philosophy—Politics—Economics......................................... 745 Historicity of the Philosophy of Praxis ................................... 746 Economy and Ideology ........................................................ 751 Moral Science and Historical Materialism .............................. 754 Regularity and Necessity ..................................................... 755 A repertory of the Philosophy of Praxis .................................. 761 The Founders of the Philosophy of Praxis and Italy..................................................................................763 Hegemony of Western Culture over the whole World Culture .................................................................... 765 Passage from Knowing to Understanding and to Feeling and vice versa from Feeling to Understanding and to Knowing ............................................ 767 Critical Notes On An Attempt At Popular Sociology..........................................................................769 General Questions .............................................................. 778 Historical Materialism and Sociology..................................... 778 The Constituent Parts of the Philosophy of Praxis ................... 786 Structure and Historical Movement....................................... 788 The Intellectuals................................................................. 789 Science and System............................................................ 790 The Dialectic ..................................................................... 791 On Metaphysics ................................................................. 794 The Concept of “Science” .................................................... 796 The So-Called “Reality of the External World”......................... 800 Judgment on Past Philosophies............................................ 812 Immanence and the Philosophy of Praxis............................... 813 Questions of Nomenclature and Content................................ 817 Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 11 Science and the Instruments of Science................................. 824 The “Technical Instrument” ................................................. 826 Objection to emplricism ...................................................... 831 Concept of “orthodoxy” ....................................................... 831 “Matter”............................................................................ 836 Quantity and Quality........................................................... 840 Teleology........................................................................... 843 On Art .............................................................................. 845 Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 12 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The editors would like to express their thanks to the Istituto Gramsci in Rome, holders of the copyright on Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, for permission to publish the present selection and for allowing them to consult and to copy from the photostat of Gramsci’s manuscript in the possession of the Institute. Particular thanks for their assistance are due to Dr Elsa Fubini and Prof. Valentino Gerratana of the staff of the Institute, and to the director, Franco Ferri. The initiative for the publication of this volume came from Roger Simon and Steve Bodington, who have supervised its progress throughout, making many invaluable suggestions, and without whose stimulus the work would have taken even longer to complete. We would like to acknowledge our indebtedness to certain books without which the General Introduction could not have been written. The most important of these sources is the series of books on Turin working- class history and the early history of the Italian Communist Party by Paolo Spriano. Also indispensable were Giuseppe Fiori’s biography, the Tasca archive material published in the Annali Feltrinelli in 1960 and 1966, and the Marx Memorial Library’s collection of Comintern congress reports, etc. Geoffrey Nowell Smith would like to thank all those who helped or took part in the preparation of his sections of this edition, in particular Rosalind Delmar, a constant collaborator on the volume from its inception; John Merrington, Ian Steedman, Norman Geras and Michael Evans; and Shirley Hill, who produced a flawless typescript of his part of the translation.Selections from Prison Notebooks 13 PREFACE Existing Editions he present edition comprises a selection of texts from the (Quaderni del carcere) Notebooks written by Gramsci in prison Tbetween 1929 and 1935. There is still no critical edition of the Quaderni in Italian, though one is in course of preparation at the Istituto Gramsci in Rome. A preliminary edition containing the bulk of Gramsci’s original material, excepting translations and rejected drafts, was brought out by the Turin publisher Einaudi in six volumes between 1948 and 1951, under the editorship of Felice Platone. The same edition contains a volume of Prison Letters (Lettere dal carcere, 1947), now superseded by a more complete edition, and a series of volumes of the pre-1926 writings, from the period prior to Gramsci’s imprisonment. Our selection is based on this Einaudi edition of the Quaderni, with the addition of one or two previously unpublished texts and with a slight rearrangement of the order in certain places. References to the Einaudi or to other selections or translations of Gramsci’s works are given in these pages as follows: Quaderni II materialismo storico e la filosofia di Benedetto Croce MS. , 1948. Gli intellettuali e l’organizzazione della cultura Int. , 1949. Ris. II Risorgimento, 1949. Note sul Machiavelli, sulla politica e sullo Stato moderno NM. , 1949. LVN. Letteratura e vita nazionale, 1950. PP. Passato e presente, 1951. Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 14 Letters LC. Lettere dal carcere, edited by S. Caprioglio and E. Fubini, Nuovo Universale Einaudi, Turin 1965. Other editions referred to GF. 2000 pagine di Gramsci, edited by N. Gallo and G. Ferrata, Vol. I, “Nel tempo della lotta, 1914-1926”, Il Saggiatore, Milan 1964. On pp. 797-819 of this volume is published Gramsci’s important essay on the Southern Question (written immediately prior to his arrest): Alcuni temi della quistione meridionale, hereafter referred to as “Alcuni temi”. (Vol. II consists of letters. Two further volumes are in preparation.) Oeuvres choisies de Antonio Gramsci OC. , Editions Sociales, Paris, 1959. A previous English translation of some of the works of Gramsci contained in this volume, together with one or two of the earlier writings, translated and edited by Louis Marks, was published by Lawrence and The Modern Prince and other Essays. Wishart in 1957, under the title There also exist a number of Italian anthologies and of translations of Gramsci’s works into other languages. For a selective bibliography of works of and about Gramsci we refer the reader to the note at the end of the English translation of Giuseppe Fiori’s biography of Gramsci (Antonio Gramsci, Life of a Revolutionary, translated by Tom Nairn, New Left Books, London 1970). Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 15 Gramsci‘s Prison Notebooks The problem of making a selection from Gramsci’s Quaderni or Prison Notebooks is complicated by two factors: the fragmentary character of the writings themselves, and the uncertain status of the Notebooks in Gramsci’s intentions. From references in the Notebooks and in Gramsci’s letters from prison it is possible to obtain some indication of how Gramsci intended his work to be understood. Soon after his arrest he wrote to his sister-in-law Tatiana (19 March 1927: LC. pp. 57-60) about a project of writing something “für ewig” (for ever), something which would also serve to absorb him and “give a focus to his inner life”. He mentions a plan for a history of the Italian intellectuals, together with studies on linguistics, on the theatre of Pirandello and on serial novels and popular literary taste. However, in another letter to Tatiana (15 December 1930: LC. pp. 389-92) he writes: “thinking ‘dis- interestedly’ or study for its own sake are difficult for me . . . I do not like throwing stones in the dark; I like to have a concrete interlocutor or adversary”, and he speaks of the “polemical nature” of his entire Quaderni intellectual formation. Early in 1932, in a note in one of his (Q. XXVIII), he describes a programme of “principal essays” wider in scope than the previous one, with more political and philosophical content, fairly close in its general outlines to what has actually come down to us in the Quaderni. It is this programme which forms the basis of the ordering of the material of the Notebooks carried out by the Einaudi editors after the war. Even so, many difficulties remain. Ill health and the unavailability of books in the prison forced him to leave unfinished, to abandon or to modify certain plans. With his transfer to the prison clinic in 1933 and consequent partial recovery, he began to recopy, reorder and rework much of the material from the earlier Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 16 notebooks. But he did so with an extra caution, eliminating any surviving words or phrases, like the name of Marx or the word “class”, which might attract the attention of the censor and so cause his work to be brought to an end. Most significantly of all, in a note in one of the Quaderni entitled “Questions of Method” (see below III 2) he offers a warning, ostensibly about Marx but equally if not more applicable to himself against confusing unfinished or unpublished work with works published and approved by an author during his lifetime. In the same note he also refers to the importance and to the inherent difficulties of reconstructing the “intellectual biography” of an author. To perform such a task, in relation to the Prison Notebooks, would be an immensely valuable but also intricate labour. In default of this, however, and given the circumstances in which the texts were written, any unequivocal assertions about the aim and status of Gramsci’s theoretical project as contained or sketched out in the Notebooks are necessarily speculative and must be recognised as such. This Edition: Selection and Translation While the above observations can be construed most simply as a warning against taking as definitive or as having an unambiguous intention texts whose form is often provisional and whose intention is in some way veiled or uncertain, the problem of the fragmentary character of Gramsci’s original manuscript poses more immediate problems. Quaderni Gramsci’s prison number thirty-three in all, several of them containing notes on a number of different subjects or written over a period of a couple of years. Many of the notes are isolated jottings. Quaderno Others are so placed in the as to make their insertion into the main structure of Gramsci’s arguments at best hypothetical. Longer Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 17 texts, about whose coherence and general order there can be no doubt, are often partially revised in such a way that it is necessary, in editing the text, to intersperse the revised or rewritten sections with passages of which only an earlier draft exists. Both in the classification of the notes according to subject and in the ordering of particular items, we have, broadly speaking, followed the lines laid down in the Einaudi edition, which also provides the basis of the text used for the translation. At the same time we have not hesitated, in the interests of clarity of presentation, to depart from the Einaudi order wherever this seemed to us justified on philological grounds, by reference to the original Quaderni. We have also, where relevant (e.g. in the political sections), appended in square brackets the date of the Quaderno from which a text is taken. The texts that we have used are as follows. The essays on the Intellectuals and on Education belong together in Gramsci’s original manuscript (Quaderno XXIX, ff. 1-12). We have Gli intellettuali translated the texts as they appear in the Einaudi volume on pp. 3-19, 97-103 and 106-14. The sections on Italian History and on Politics have necessitated the most reordering, both in relation to the Einaudi edition and to the original Quaderni. The “Notes on Italian History” in this edition come mainly from the Einaudi volume II Risorgimento. One passage, “Material for a Critical Essay on Croce’s Two Histories”, is previously unpublished, and we have also integrated into the text one passage from each of the Einaudi volumes II materialismo storico, Note sul Miachiavelli and Passato e presente. The “Notes on Politics” were all included, with the exception of one previously unpublished text—”Self-criticism and the Hypocrisy of Self- Note sul Machiavelli Passato e criticism”—in the Einaudi volumes and presente. Within the political sections however our ordering, in terms of Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 18 a rough division into two parts, on the Party and on the State, is original. The Einaudi order here is not satisfactory, but it is equally impossible to follow the Quaderni. The principal source for the notes is a late Quaderno (XXX, datable to 1933-34) in which a number of earlier texts are rewritten in a more polished form but in an order which has no particular internal coherence. Drafts of some of the same texts, together with notes on related topics, are to be found in a number of other Quaderni, written between 1929 and 1933. Short of a literal reproduction of all these texts, or a massive critical apparatus, out of place in an edition of this size and scope, there is clearly no alternative to a reordering of some kind, aimed at presenting to the reader a selection of texts which is as reasonably comprehensive and coherent as possible, while making it clear, through the dates appended at the end of each passage, roughly where each stands in terms of Gramsci’s original project. The essay “Americanism and Fordism” derives from a single Quaderno, number V, and is translated here as it appears, slightly reordered, in the Note sul Machiavelli. The philosophical texts have been translated, with one or two minor changes, as they appear in the Einaudi volume II materialismo storico. The essays “Some Preliminary Points of Referencc” and “Critical Notes on an Attempt at Popular Sociology” are fairly complete in the original Quaderni. Those entitled “Problems of Philosophy and History” and “Some Problems in the Study of the Philosophy of Praxis” are the result of some reordering’ by the Einaudi editors. In translating our aim has been to combine the demands of a readable English style with a respect not only for the precise content but also for the flavour of an original which, in its fragmentary and elliptical character and its frequent recourse to tricks to deceive the prison censor, Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 19 bears distinct traces of the difficult circumstances under which it was written. Names of well-known Marxists and Communists are almost always given in the Quaderni in the form of a substitute or a circumlocution. Thus Marx is referred to as “the founder of the philosophy of praxis”, Lenin as “Ilich” or “Vilich” V. Ilich, Trotsky as “Leon Davidovitch” or “Bronstein” and so on. Similarly certain identifiable concepts of Marxism Leninism such as the class struggle or the dictatorship of the proletariat are usually masked under innocuous sounding titles. All such names or phrases have been left in the original form used by Gramsci, but explained either by square brackets in the text or by a footnote. In the case of concepts this has been done not merely in order to preserve the feel of the original text but also to avoid imposing too simplistic an interpretation on phrases which often have a conceptual value of their own. Thus “philosophy of praxis” is both a euphemism for Marxism and an autonomous term used by Gramsci to define what he saw to be a central characteristic of the philosophy of Marxism, the inseparable link it establishes between theory and practice, thought and action. Terminology Questions of censorship apart, Gramsci’s terminology presents a number of difficulties to the translator. Wherever possible we have tried to render each term of Gramsci’s with a single equivalent, as close as possible to the original. In one particular set of cases this has proved impossible, and that is with the group of words centred around the verb dirigere (dirigente, direttivo, direzione, etc.). Here we have in part followed the direzione normal English usage dictated by the context (e.g. = leadership; classe dirigente = ruling class) but in certain cases we have Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBookSelections from Prison Notebooks 20 translated dirigente and direttivo as “directive” in order to preserve what for Gramsci is a crucial conceptual distinction, between power based on “domination” and the exercise of “direction” or “hegemony”. In this context it is also worth noting that the term “hegemony” in Gramsci itself has two faces. On the one hand it is contrasted with “domination” (and as such bound up with the opposition State/Civil Society) and on the other hand “hegemonic” is sometimes used as an opposite of “corporate” or “economic-corporate” to designate an historical phase in which a given group moves beyond a position of corporate existence and defence of its economic position and aspires to a position of leadership in the political and social arena. Non-hegemonic groups or classes are also called by Gramsci “subordinate”, “subaltern” or sometimes instrumental”. Here again we have preserved Gramsci’s original terminology despite the strangeness that some of these words have in English and despite the fact that it is difficult to discern any systematic difference in Gramsci’s usage between, for instance, subaltern and subordinate. The Hegelian sense of the word “momento”, meaning an aspect of a situation in its concrete (not necessarily temporal) manifesta- tions, has generally been rendered as “moment” but sometimes as “aspect”. Despite Marx’s strictures (in The German Ideology) on the abuse of this word, it occurs frequently in Gramsci in both its senses, and confusion is made worse by the fact that Italian, unlike German, does not distinguish the two senses of the word according to gender. In particular cases where there seemed to us any difficulty with a word or concept we have referred the reader to a footnote, as also with any passage where the translation is at all uncertain. In general we have preferred to footnote too much rather than too little, on the assumption that readers familiar with, say, the history of the Third International might nevertheless find useful some explanation, however elementary, of Classics in Politics: Antonio Gramsci ElecBook