View Full Version : Gramsci's Ideas in 'Selections from the Prison Notebooks'

Thursday, October 9th, 2003, 12:28 AM
Julius asked me in a PM to make a chronological reading list, here's what I came up with

I'm currently reading Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, I'm up to 'The Modern Prince', which I think is quite interesting. A lot of Gramsci's ideas are. I've read Spengler and Yockey, but I disagree with parts of both. If you want to read Spengler and Yockey, I suggest Decline of the West, which admittedly is a hard book to read (lots of detail in areas I don't consider that important, but they help illustrate his ideas), then Imperium by Francis Parker Yockey, then The Enemy of Europe by Yockey.

I'm not sure how to do a chronological reading list, but I can suggest which books to read in which order on each subject. Here's my attempt:

- The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
- State and Revolution - VI Lenin
- What is to be Done? - VI Lenin
- The Open Society and Its Enemies: Volume 2 - The High Tide of Prophecy - Karl Popper
- Prison Notebooks - Antonio Gramsci

The first two will give you a good outline of Marxism and its final aims, the third is essential to understand revolutionary strategy as the Marxists developed it - the unification of the terrorists, trade unions and the intellectuals behind the Party, and a great deal of other ideas that could be taken into adapted for white nationalism (or whatever one wishes to call it). Of course, Gramsci's Prison Notebooks is also definetly worth reading, as this is the core writing of Neo-Marxism (that is, post-Soviet Marxism - not Frankfurt School rubbish) and it'll help you understand their conception of society as it currently is - culture, the State, capitalism, political parties, subgroups, the intellectuals, education, it covers a lot of subjects. I'm learning a lot from reading it right now, and it makes sense, though I disagree with the basics of it (that society is based on economics alone). The fourth book, by Karl Popper, deals quite well with Marxism as a whole (dialectical materialism, history, class warfare) but then refutes it. Still, it's a good book to help understand it, though I believe you already do.

History and Culture:

[i]Decline of the West - Oswald Spengler
Imperium - Francis Parker Yockey
The Enemy of Europe - Francis Parker Yockey
Europe: A History - Norman Davies

I've explained these above. The Enemy of Europe takes the ideas from Yockey's Imperium and applies them to Europe as it existed in Yockey's time, shortly after world war 2, and comes to the conclusion that America is a greater enemy of Europe than the USSR was. 'Europe: A History' by Norman Davies isn't particularly related to politics in any way, but it's an excellent book on European history from the Ice Ages until the end of the Cold War, and has an even treatment of Russia as well as Western Europe, and everything between.

White Nationalism:

White Power - George Lincoln Rockwell
Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler
The New White Nationalism in America - Carol M. Swain
Race, Evolution and Behaviour - Phillipe Rushton
The Zionist Factor - Ivor Benson

White Power is the classic Pan-white national socialist book, though it is mainly orientated around America, the ideas in it could be adapted to any white country. It deals with the Jews, the welfare state, mass immigration, civil rights and a lot of other issues. It's definetly worth reading. Mein Kampf covers all of the issues that Germany faced in the 1920's, and also critcises democracy, capitalism, communism and explains a (somewhat basic - Yockey's Imperium is good for understanding parts of this) racial basis for nations. Race, Evolution and Behavior might also help you understand the evolution of racial differences, and it's quite useful in arguing with racial egalitarians, though it isn't a book on white nationalism, it can certainly help. The Zionist Factor might be a hard book to find - I found it accidentally in a second hand bookshop, but it's fascinating and it should help you understand the Jewish problem better, and how it has functioned throughout the 20th century. I'm not sure whether to support his 'solution' (mass assimilation), but I'm still figuring that out.


Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal - Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is an interesting book, I borrowed a copy from a friend last year, it helped me understand capitalism as an economic system - Marxism does a good job of criticizing the way it used to work during the industrial revolution. By the way, I highly recommend Manufacturing Consent by Naom Chomsky - his analysis of how the Government, the Media and Capitalism work together is brilliant. He just left out the role of Jewish ethnocentrism at the top - but then, he himself is Jewish, so I don't suppose he'd go slandering his own ethnic group. Nevertheless, in Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky he almost lets the world know about it. He's a genius, though perhaps a misguided one - he calls himself a 'social democrat' - he's really an Anarcho-Syndicalist. Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical novel, but it certainly helps to know your enemy when you're arguing against him. I found it almost impossible to do that after reading Atlas Shrugged, but recently I've been working on my own theoretical system that can work against it. That's my essay posted in "Philosophy and Ideology", called "The metaphysics of power". You might find it interesting. I've got to add more to it though.

Thursday, October 9th, 2003, 09:03 AM
Thanks, that's appreciated.

No problem. This won't be much of an article, it's just what I've learned from Selections from the Prison Notebooks and my thoughts.

Antonio Gramsci's Selections from the Prison Notebooks covers many subjects - Education, the role of the intellectuals, a sequal to Machievelli's The Prince (called The Modern Prince), a book called State and Civil Society dealing with religion, the ruling classes, ideology and periods of crisis, law, hegemony (Gramsci's most important contribution to Marxist theory), a section called Americanism and Fordism, which contains a rather savage criticism of American mass culture, in favour of European culture towards the end. It also includes an expansion of Marxist theory, which is towards the end of the book. Currently I'm half way through The Modern Prince

Gramsci's theory of hegemony is roughly as follows: each subgroup within society has its own theorists (the intellectuals). When the subgroup to which they belong is the ruling class of society, their ideals, through education, filter down into the rest of society, legitimising class rule. Gramsci recognised from his time in the USSR that brute force and economics alone do not make a society - ideals do too. Gramsci therefore advocated a 'long march through the institutions', the hijacking of the system from within. Although economic control (the basis of society according to Marxism - the logic is simple: if you have the ability to starve a man, you control his life) is considered the basis of society, if a non-ruling subgroup's intellectuals move up through the superstructure of society (that is, through the political, legal and education systems) and then disseminate the ideas which will advance the subgroup to which they hold alleigence, they can make sure that when the class struggle reaches its height and the proletariat establishes control, it already has hegemony (i.e., legitimacy) and resistance is null.

The accusations that Gramsci pushed for the dissolving of marriage (though he did advocate that women be looked on as equals, not as protected, loved possessions - how do I put it? Von Braun was an example), multiculturalism, and so on are rubbish. Rather, his theory of hegemony was used as a tool by the Frankfurt School, who themselves did advocate radical feminism, multiculturalism, mass immigration and the abolition of tradition.

I might write some more about Gramsci's ideas once I've progressed further into the book, but that's what I've got so far that could be used towards our own purposes. It's an excellent book, to say the least, despite the fact his social theory is grounded in economics.

Friday, October 10th, 2003, 02:14 AM
Let me elaborate on Aloysha's description of Gramsci's theory of
hegemony and also present my understanding of Gramscis ideas of
different states of revolution.

Gramsci claimed that there are two types of political leadership of
the `Bourgeois':

1. Leadership through means of power, which manifests itself through
repressive measures of coercion and violence. This kind of exercise
of power is a sign of a weak hegemonic leadership and that the
hegemonic apparatus is about to fall apart or hasn't yet been fully

2. Leadership through mutal understanding, which means that the other
classes of society accept the ruling class's political and cultural

Gramsci believed every modern society is upheld not only through the
elite's ability of violence, but simply because the people have
accepted it's outlook of life.

It's not necessary to crush the ruling hegemony through violence.
Instead, Gramsci developed a strategy to make way for a revolution,
which Aloysha mentioned above (the `long march through the
institutions'). This leads to what I mentioned in my first sentence;
Gramsci's theory of different states of revolution.

In Gramsci's strategy, the positional war (`trench warfare') was just
as important as the open and active war. Gramsci had, through his
historical knowledge, noticed that the revolutionary process was far
slower than it first had seemed. He put forth a theory that
revolutions shift between active and passive phases.

During the slow passive phase there's a long-term preparation in a
positional war. The intellectuals take a prominent part during the
passive revolution, when a political group through it's ideology
gradually grounds it's own hegemony. I've read that also Lenin
mentioned how important it is that a revolution is preceded by change
in peoples consciousness.

Active revolution is a adequate strategy only when there's no strong
ruling hegemonic apparatus. This strategy was successful in
Tsar-Russia. Gramsci believed it was impossible to repeat the Russian
revolution in Western Europe because our leaders had succeded where
the Tsars had failed; they have persuaded the masses to live and think
by the opinions of the `Bourgeois'. The ideas of the ruling elite have
become 'common sense'.

The ruling hegemony is the ideological and moral power, the
intellectual milieu within which all political and social decisions
are made. The character of the hegemony decides which questions that
even come up for discussion; which alternatives that are "realistic"
and which are "utopian" or "extremist".

Friday, October 10th, 2003, 04:59 AM
Very....very....inteeerestiiing. Thanks Julius and Aloysha :).

Friday, October 10th, 2003, 12:47 PM
Julius is my new best friend :D Thanks Julius. As I said, I'm still reading Gramsci, so my ideas haven't fully been pieced together yet, but that certainly helped.

Friday, March 18th, 2005, 11:01 PM
Antonio Gramsci is probably one of the most useful Marxist thinkers for Nationalists. He developed several new concepts useful for political praxis. It is probably not conscious, but the Left has followed his ideas on cultural hegemony and historical blocs closely in their post-war tactics. And those tactics have also given them the power to destroy the West, the White race, and Christianity (but not Capitalism of course). So, let's take a look at this unusual Italian Marxist.

Gramsci was born in Ales (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ales), Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italy), on the island of Sardinia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardinia), a relatively remote region of Italy that was mostly ignored by the Italian government in favor of the industrialized North.

He was the fourth of seven sons of Francesco Gramsci, who had financial difficulties and troubles with the police, and also suffered imprisonment. He had to move about through several villages in Sardinia until his family finally settled in Ghilarza (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ghilarza&action=edit).

A brilliant student, Gramsci won a prize that allowed him to study at Turin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turin)'s university (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University), where he read literature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literature). He found Turin at the time going through a process of industrialization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrialization), with the Fiat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat) and Lancia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancia) factories recruiting workers from poorer regions. Trade unions became established, and the first industrial social conflicts started to emerge. Gramsci had a close involvement with these developments, frequenting socialist circles as well as associating with Sardinian emigrants, which gave him continuity with his native culture.

His early difficult experiences in Sardinia had already shaped his view of the world. This, together with his experience on the mainland, had a part in his decision to join the Italian Socialist Party (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Italian_Socialist_Party&action=edit).

He became a notable journalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalist), even if his writings were mainly for political papers such as L'Avanti (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=L%27Avanti&action=edit) (the Socialist Party official organ); nevertheless his brilliant prose and his intelligent observations soon resulted in greater fame.

An articulate and prolific writer of political theory, Gramsci produced a great deal of writing as editor of a number of socialist newspapers in Italy. Among the many, with Palmiro Togliatti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmiro_Togliatti) he set up (in 1919) L'Ordine Nuovo (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=L%27Ordine_Nuovo&action=edit) (also the name of an unrelated 1960s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960s) fascist group), and contributed to La Città Futura.

The group around L'Ordine Nouvo became allied with Amadeo Bordiga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadeo_Bordiga) and the far larger Communist Abstentionist faction within the Socialist Party. This led to their organising the Communist Party of Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_of_Italy) (Partito Comunista d'Italia - Pcd'I) on January 21 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_21), 1921 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1921). Gramsci would be a leader of the party from its inception although subordiante to Bordiga until the latter lost the leadership at in 1924. Gramsci's theses were adopted by the PCd'I at its 1926 Lyons Congress.

In 1922 Gramsci appeared in Russia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia), where he represented the new party and met his wife, Giulia Schucht, a young violinist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violinist) with whom Gramsci had two sons. [1] (http://www.antoniogramsci.com/moglie_figli.htm) (http://www.antoniogramsci.com/moglie_figli.htm)

The Russian mission coincided with the advent of Fascism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism) in Italy, and Gramsci returned with instructions to foster the unity of the leftist parties against fascism. Such a front would obviously ideally have had the PCI at its centre, through which Moscow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow) would have controlled all the leftist forces, but others disputed this potential supremacy: socialists did have a certain tradition in Italy too, while the communist party seemed relatively young and too radical. Many believed that an eventual coalition led by communists would have functioned too remotely from political debate, and thus would have run the risk of isolation.

In 1924 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1924) Gramsci gained election as a deputy for the Veneto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veneto). He started organising the launch of the official newspaper of the party, called L'Unità (Unity), living in Rome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome) while his family stayed in Moscow.

In 1926 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1926) Stalin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin)'s manoeuvres inside the Bolshevik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolshevik) party moved Gramsci to write a letter to the Comintern (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comintern), in which he deplored the opposition, but also underlined some presumed faults of the leader. Togliatti, in Moscow as a representative of the party, received the letter, opened it, read it, and decided not to deliver it. This caused a difficult conflict between Gramsci and Togliatti which they never completely resolved.

On November 8 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_8), 1926 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1926) the fascist police arrested Gramsci, despite his parliamentary immunity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_immunity), and brought him to Regina Coeli, the famous Roman prison (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison). He received an immediate sentence of 5 years in confinement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confinement) (on the remote island of Ustica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ustica)); the following year he received a sentence of 20 years of prison (in Turi (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Turi&action=edit), near Bari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bari)). His condition caused him to suffer from constantly declining health, and he received an individual cell and little assistance. In 1932 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1932), a project for exchanging political prisoners (including Gramsci) between Italy and the Soviet Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union) failed. In 1934 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934) his health deteriorated severely and he gained conditional freedom, after having already visited some hospitals in Civitavecchia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civitavecchia), Formia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formia) and Rome. His died in Rome at the age of 46, shortly after being released from prison.


Friday, March 18th, 2005, 11:16 PM
"With cultural hegemony, Gramsci developed an idea from Marxism to explain why the "inevitable" revolution of the proletariat predicted by orthodox Marxism had not occurred by the early 20th century. Rather, capitalismseemed even more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisiebecame the "common sense" values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working classidentified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting. The working class needed to develop a "counter-hegemonic" culture, said Gramsci, firstly to overthrow the notion that bourgeois values represented "natural" or "normal" values for society, and ultimately to succeed in overthrowing capitalism.

This need to create a working-class culture relates to Gramsci's call for a kind of education that could develop working-class intellectuals. His ideas about an education system for this purpose correspond with the notion of critical pedagogy and popular education as theorized and practised in later decades by Paulo Freire in Brazil. For this reason, partisans of adult and popular education as well as of Marxist and political theory consider Gramsci an important voice to this day. His death in Rome at the age of 46, shortly after being released from prison, impoverished these fields of thought."


More on the subject:

The concept of cultural hegemony is of course extremely useful in understanding the hold that the Left has on the way our countrymen think, and the whole phenomenon of political correctness.

Friday, March 18th, 2005, 11:32 PM
Very good to remember this politic mind. My marxist compatriot:). I've often thought he were unknown out from italy, to be sincere. I remember one of his scripts that sounds so :- i don't condemn Fascism cause is a totalitarism. I condemn it, cause is not communism.- Gramsci wasn't against totalitarism, if this is the result of a communist government. However he is useful to us for his critic of the democracy.

Friday, March 18th, 2005, 11:41 PM
"In Marx’s words "Ideas, when they take possession of the masses become a material force." The Italian Marxist thinker Gramsci in his Prison Notebooks contributed to Marxist theory by avoiding the orthodox Marxism reducing social consciousness for the most part to a mere reflex of economic condition. Gramsci brought in the concept of hegemony, a system of alliances, which the working class must create to overthrow the bourgeois state and to serve as the social basis of the workers’ state. Gramsci argued that in the modern condition a class maintains its dominance not simply through a special organisation of force but because it is able to exert a moral and intellectual leadership and make compromises (within certain limits) with a variety of allies who are unified in a social block of forces which Gramsci calls the historical bloc. This bloc represents a basis of consent for a certain social order, in which the hegemony of a dominant class is created and recreated in a web of institutions, social relations, and ideas."


The concept of historical blocks is useful to understand how the Left has managed to build an alliance between groups as diverse as gay men from the upper class, and immigrants; with Leftist academics and politicians as the dominant class. It might also lead to some thoughts about how to create another block, with the "sons of the soil" at the centre.

"The central argument of Gramsci’s essay on the formation of the intellectuals is simple. The notion of “the intellectuals” as a distinct social category in men are potentially intellectuals in the sense of having an intellect and using it, but not all are intellectuals by social function. Intellectuals in the functional sense fall into two groups. In the first place there are the “traditional” professional intellectuals, literary, scientific and so on, whose position in the interstices of society has a certain inter-class aura about it but derives ultimately from past and present class relations and conceals an attachment to various historical class formations. Secondly, there are the “organic” intellectuals the thinking and organising element of a particular fundamental-social class. These organic intellectuals are distinguished less by their profession, which may be any job characteristic of their class, than by their function in directing the ideas and aspirations of the class to which they organically belong."