About this time, Mussolini came to power in Italy and it
became dangerous to be an identified Marxist. Gramsci decided to go to Russia to take part
in the developing Communist USSR. However, he soon found that this workers paradise
was not at all what he had expected. He found that there is often a large gap between
theory and practice. He observed that there was little or no enthusiasm for the new regime
and its "dictatorship of the proletariat." In fact, it was obvious that the only
way in which this "ideal society" was maintained was through the use of mass
murder, sheer terror and the fear of that dreaded midnight knock on the door. It was also
necessary to maintain a virtual flood of propaganda and lies about the glorious new state.
It was very disillusioning to Gramsci.
When Lenin died and Stalin took over, Stalin started a systematic elimination of his
enemies, whether those enemies were real or simply perceived so in Stalins
imagination. Either way, the result was immediate transport to torture chambers, slave
labor camps or the firing squad. Gramsci realized that Russia was not a healthy place for
him and he returned to Italy where he was very shortly apprehended and sentenced to a long
prison term. He spent nine years in prison before he died of tuberculosis in 1937. During
that time he spent his time examining his beliefs and the apparent contradiction between
theory and practice he had seen in Russia. He wrote nine volumes of his thoughts on
history, Marxist theory and more importantly, Marxist strategy. These books became known
as the Prison Notebooks and have been translated into many languages and
disseminated all over the world.
The importance of those notebooks CANNOT be overemphasized since they formed the basis
of a totally new Marxist strategy which made Lenins idea of a spontaneous revolution
totally obsolete. This new strategy envisioned a world which would VOLUNTARILY adopt
Marxian socialism and would be based upon a realistic view of human psychology and
history. Those notebooks contained Gramscis evaluation of Marxism and of the very
NATURE of mankind and are among the most important thoughts put on paper in this century.
Anyone who accepts the idea that "Communism is dead" completely fails to
understand the basic nature of our enemies. Communism is not an IDEOLOGY in which one
believes. It is a criminal conspiracy in which you enlist. All over the world, Marxist
ideology has been modified to suit local situations. Both Lenin and Stalin
modified Karl Marxs ideas to suit their own ends. In NO case has Communism ever come
to power in a country by any popular revolution. In fact, it should be noted that the ONLY
popular revolutions in the 20th century were ANTI-Marxist as in Berlin in 1954 and Hungary
in 1956. Wherever Communism came to power, it was only maintained by use of force and
incredible levels of killing and terror. This inevitably caused opposition at home and
abroad making further extension of Communism very difficult because of growing worldwide
This is, of course, easy for us to see today after some 80 years of history. However,
Gramsci realized this at the very birth of Communist hegemony. He recognized that ordinary
people had loyalties to God and family which far outweighed any allegiance to class. He
realized that civilization and Christianity were so totally bound together that a frontal
attack on that society was, at best, useless and, in most cases, counter-productive. He
stated that it would be much better to attack existing society much more subtly, gradually
transforming the collective consciousness over a period of decades, even generations, from
its predominantly Christian view into one which would be more receptive to socialism.
This concept was expressed very succinctly, in one line, in Aldous Huxleys book: Brave
New World. In that line, Huxley clearly embodied the concept that Gramsci tried to
convey to his fellow Marxists: "A really efficient totalitarian state would be
one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers
control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their
servitude." Consider how well that sentence describes the United States of
today with its hordes of bureaucrats dictating virtually all aspects of our daily lives.
Sixty years ago, outside of the few who were determined to destroy freedom in this
country, no-one in this country could have imagined a day when prayer or religious
expression was prohibited on public property, when abortion was considered a
"constitutional right," when profanity, pornography, extra marital sex, and open
homosexual activity were rampant, when private property is routinely seized on the
flimsiest of pretexts, when children are taken from their parents by the state with
virtually no recourse, etc.
In the next column, we will examine the methods used to achieve this startling change
in the minds and hearts of the American people over the past fifty or sixty years.