Antonio Gramsci, 1891-1937: The new order
Last week we mentioned Antonio Gramsci very briefly. Because of the tremendous impact which his doctrines have had on the 20th century, it is imperative that society understand exactly how and why that impact has taken place.
Gramsci was born in 1891 on the island of Sardinia. Although he came from a humble family, he went on to study philosophy and history at the University of Turin. While there, he was converted to Marxism and helped found the Communist party of Italy. He also founded his own newspaper called The New Order. (Does that sound familiar?)
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 worker’s 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 Stalin’s 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 Lenin’s 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 Gramsci’s 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 Marx’s 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 opposition.
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 Huxley’s 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.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”