Indeed the Left had no difficulty highlighting the contradiction between this assertion and the fact that the leaders of the Ordine Nuovo subscribed to an idealist philosophy, that is; a conception of the World which was characteristic not of Marx or Lenin, but of the Neo-Hegelians, and particularly Benedetto Croce. Unity from below, that is our watchword. This is therefore the first time that a class struggles for the general abolition of classes, the general abolition of private property in the means of production, and not simply for the transformation of the social forms of this property. What would prevent the reformist scum, neither expelled from the parties nor incorporated into them, from rising to the top and corrupting the movement? It is from this Marxist, dialectical point of view, and never from an esthetic and sentimental point of view, that one should reject stupid opportunist formula that a communist party is free to accept all means and methods.

It is the year in which the Comintern really died and what followed was just a macabre dance around its coffin. They are not the product of a few heads, but a dynamic balance sheet of the clash of real forces in the arena of class struggle in a period in which the revolutionary battles of an entire century were condensed, putting to the test of fire the ability of communist parties to remain faithful to their teachings, without deviating. As the above situation was taking shape, the group which formed the Communist Party set out with these criteria: Moreover, it forgets that Marxism denies any value to the “intentions” that dictate individuals’ or groups’ initiatives, not to mention the fact that on the evidence of past bloody experiences, these intentions might inspire suspicion, in the injurious sense of the word. There are two characteristic positions — on the antifascist struggle and the conception of the party — which we now find being stated openly, and which already give a premonition of the Stalinist counter-revolution and yet, irony of ironies, the document was written by those who would later become victims of Stalinism themselves. These betrayals led Gramsci to join those who split from the Socialist Party and founded the Communist Party of Italy in

And they were directed mainly against the ultra-left Bordiga group, which had hitherto dominated the PCI.

It is therefore misleading to apply the metaphor as if it were of universal validity independent of lyonz historic context. It is, moreover, like the rightwing tendencies, the expression of a scepticism concerning the possibility for the working-class masses to organize, from within themselves, a class party capable of leading the broad masses and at the same time striving to keep them bound to it at all times.

Other aspects of the work of the leadership also lend themselves to criticism. Anyone who rejects even part of it is not a communist and therefore cannot be a militant in the International.

The lyon theses (1926)

This experience provides a good terrain for creating and maintaining the cohesion and centralization which must characterize a Bolshevik party. At the same time, however, the working class is being driven by the pressure of the objective situation to reorder its own forces on the basis of new forms of organization.


Too many factors had converged, too many objective determinations had ensured that the course of history was, and was bound to be precisely as it was.

gramsci lyons thesis

Gramsci illustrates his argument with an example from medieval Italian history, but clearly he has the defeat of the factory occupations and the rise of fascism in mind. It is not surprising that, although they are among the best analyses Gramsci made, the Lyons Theses were among the last of his writings to become widely available they are still not translated into English and are barely mentioned in the main biographies.

Disciplinary sanctions are one of the elements that guarantee against degenerations, but on the condition that their application remain within the limits of exceptional cases and not become the norm or a sort of ideal of party functioning.

It is true that the theses certainly warn against a parliamentary and social revolutionary interpretation of the new tactical recipe; but the first interpretation was, as we have seen, authorised by the indeterminacy and possibilisms of the 4th Congress, whilst the second derived from a mechanical and crude transplantation of the slogan “Workers and Peasants Dictatorship” from countries on the eve of a double revolution, to countries of ultra-developed capitalism.

Evidence for this increasingly widespread corruption of principles is not in short supply and can be summed up briefly as follows: There is a similar connection between the origins of the Party and the general situation in the country on the one hand, and the danger of a leftist deviation from Marxist and Leninist ideology on the other.

and Introduction to Theses of Lyon

Not only did nobody denounce this suicidal method but everybody, excluding us, including the various left opposition movements, made use of it without taking into account the fact that the method itself was a dangerous symptom of the opportunist disease.

Such was not the case with the Italian Left. At the Bologna Congress the abstentionist minority was alone in correctly posing the problem of the split with the reformists.

gramsci lyons thesis

Amidst generalised confusion, and with the entire general staff of the KPD in attendance, Moscow decided that preparations for the storming of power should be made immediately, and even a date was fixed.

The way the party reacted to this internal debate was inadequate and contrived, due to the well-known method of relying on anti-fractionist, and even worse, anti-bonapartist intimidation based on absolutely nothing of substance.

On the other hand, the apparently enthusiastic adherence of our party in France to the proposal of world trade union unity does not prevent it from manifesting an absolute inability to deal with its national trade union problem without resorting to splits. Probably they said this without understanding it though. Moreover, this is not incompatible with the principles of bourgeois democracy, and in any case there is no lack of historical precedent in the feats of so-called left governments such as the program of the Italian Aventin for example.


Gramsci / Togliatti: The italian situation and the tasks of the PCI ()

Inexorably, the links in lons chain came apart. But if one begins by relaxing the links in the chain, and then proceeds to build a theory on that basis, all is lost, including both the possibility of victory in a period of revolutionary advance and the possibilities of a revival after periods of retreat.

This in its turn hastened the decline of the Bolshevik party, and thus the International. Such a party organization must be capable of placing itself above particular categories, thereby enabling it to draw together into a synthesis elements deriving from the various sections of proletarians, lyonz amongst the peasantry, and from amongst deserters from the bourgeois class, etc, etc.

In early August, with the Cuno government obviously foundering, the KPD leadership decided that the moment to mobilize the masses behind the “workers’ and peasants’ government” slogan was at hand, while the “left” proclaimed from its Berlin stronghold that “the interim phase of a workers’ government is practically more and more improbable”.

Gramsci versus Eurocommunism

Important problems posed to the working class could then be resolved, such as that of electoral tactics, relations with trade unions, the colonial war or freemasonry. It makes evident and concrete the need for the workers to organize their forces, and counterpose them in practice to those of all groups of bourgeois origin and nature, in order to become the determining and preponderant element in the political situation. The extension, however, of these considerations to countries in which the capitalist regime and the bourgeois State apparatus has been established for a long time constitutes a danger, insofar as here the national question and patriotic thedis become counter-revolutionary devices, and serve only to disarm the proletariat as a class.

The intention of favouring the plutocracy is shamelessly revealed in the plan gfamsci legalize the preference share system in the new commercial code; a little handful of financiers will in this way be enabled, without restriction, to dispose of vast masses of savings originating from the middle and petty bourgeoisie, and these categories will be stripped of the right to dispose of their wealth.

gramsci lyons thesis

Organization by cells leads to the formation within the party of a very large layer of leading cadres cell secretaries, members of cell committees, etc. And it was but a short step form here to open betrayal. There was a typical reflection of the weakness of the social structure, before the War, in the Army. Western and central Europe were at the centre of these concerns, since this area was rightly considered the keystone of world communist strategy.

Hhesis international communist movement had reached a crossroads. At this point everything is contradictory: