Gramsci: In the aftermath of the Turin factory occupations

Submitted by cathy n on 20 March, 2007 - 3:29 Author: Antonio Gramsci

By Antonio Gramsci

The proletarian vanguard, which today is disillusioned and threatened with dissolution, must ask itself whether it is not itself responsible for this situation. It is a fact that in the General Confederation of Labour there is no organised revolutionary opposition, centralised enough to exercise control over the leading offices and capable not only of replacing one man by another, but one method by another, one aim by another and one will by another. This is the real situation, which lamentations, curses and oaths will not change, only tenacious and patient organisation and preparation. It is thus essential that the groups of workers which have been at the head of the masses accept reality as it is, in order to alter it effectively.

They must keep the masses firm and united behind their programmes and slogans; they must become capable of producing from among themselves an energetic general staff, which is able to conduct a broad mass action with intelligence and daring. Today, we have the referendum; its result must not be the occasion for dismay and dissolution, but rather a warning of the need for tighter, more disciplined and better organised action. The emancipation of the proletariat is not a labour of small account and of little men; only he who can keep his heart strong and his will as sharp as a sword when the general disillusionment is at its worst can be regarded as a fighter for the working class or called a revolutionary.

From Avanti, Piedmont edition, 24 September 1920.