Gramsci, the United Front and Democratic Strategy

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Abstract

Antonio Gramsci is rightly regarded as one of the most important Western Marxists of the 20th century. This is largely due to the work of scholars like Perry Anderson, Noberto Bobbio, Stuart Hall and Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. They returned to the history of 20th century Marxism in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to rediscover neglected intellectual currents, unsullied by the sins of Stalinism, which might still provide intellectual insights to radical socialist and democratic politics within and beyond the Marxist tradition. 1 Gramsci’s Italian heritage — and critical interest in the work of Croce and Machiavelli — was obviously important here. But of equal significance was the fact that immediately prior to his imprisonment in 1926 by Mussolini’s fascist state, Gramsci had penned two important letters to the Comintern that were critical of the early phase of Stalinism and its attack on party democracy. 2 For some at least, these letters represented a kind of parting of the ways between East and West within Marxism, 3 and Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks emerge as one of the first great works of the Western Marxist tradition in its rejection of Eastern-style Marxism (and Stalinism in particular), and its development of a body of ideas tailored to the unique challenges of Western societies and their democratic culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAntonio Gramsci
EditorsMark McNally
Place of PublicationBasingstoke; New York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages11-33
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-33418-3
ISBN (Print)1137334177
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameCritical Explorations in Contemporary Political Thought
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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McNally, M. (2015). Gramsci, the United Front and Democratic Strategy. In M. McNally (Ed.), Antonio Gramsci (pp. 11-33). (Critical Explorations in Contemporary Political Thought). Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137334183_2