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Mainstream, VOL LX No 25, New Delhi, June 11, 2022

Relevance of Gramsci’s Reading of Fascism | Arup Kumar Sen

Saturday 11 June 2022, by Arup Kumar Sen

The editor and translator of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks (1930-32), Vol. III (Columbia University Press, New York, 2007), Joseph A. Buttigieg observed in his Preface:

“...short of reading for themselves the same range of publications that Gramsci painstakingly examined, there are few better ways for today’s readers to enrich their understanding of the cultural politics and political culture of fascist Italy than by accompanying Gramsci as he systematically casts his critical eye on the journalistic and scholarly writings of his contemporaries”.

In fact, Gramsci was aware of and talked about the dangers of Fascism much before he was arrested by the fascist rulers in Italy in 1926. This is evident in his speech to the Italian Parliament on May 16, 1925:

“We are among the few who have taken fascism seriously, even when fascism seemed nothing more than a blood-stained farce...In November 1920 we predicted that fascism would take power — a thing then inconceivable to the Fascists themselves — if the working class did not take up arms in time to block its blood-stained advance”.

Gramsci’s writings carry the potential of enriching our critical understanding of the politics of Fascism, even in the 21st century.

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