Gramsci and Italian Social and Political Problems. Dr Takahiro Chino Dept. of Political Science and Economics t.chino [at] aoni.waseda.jp. My interest in Italian Political Thought(1). Less investigated field of study (in Japan and in English-speaking countries)
Dr Takahiro Chino
Dept. of Political Science and Economics
→ They generally shared a question: What is being modern?
Modernity: encourages to achieve alternative vision to the existing society
Background: Ex-soldiers’ motivation that they can do it! This feeling fuelled Socialist, Catholic, fascist movements
Intervention of then-PM Giolitti
The aim of the FC Movementwas to establish workers’ autonomy and independence, but now it failed
1) It failed to include the majority of Italian masses
Marx : capitalism is a flawed system of economy
Accumulation and re-investment of capital
→ Further expansion of economy
In this process…
→Contradiction of capitalism
→ But the failure of the FCM showed that this assumption is not true!!
→ But, Gramsci’s travel to Russia and Austria (1922-24) overlapped the rise of fascism
Wants to be a “legal”, parliamentary force
Violent, grass-roots level
→ The problems that excluded the Italian masses: the Southern Question and the Catholic Church problem
SQ: less-developed South vs. developed North
The Risorgimento: Italy’s turning point
Three camps in the Church – how to deal with the modern ideas?
1) Integralists : “non expedit” decree
2) Modernists: Italian People’s Party
3) The Jesuits: Catholic Action - spreading the Church’s influence over the masses
→ the Jesuits occupied the centre of the Church
Concordat in 1929 – different assumptions
The Church: the religious sphere over the secular
The fascist state: two spheres can be separated independently
→ the Church’s intervention into the Italian educational system (religious education became mandatory in secondary education)
→ this reinforced the Church’s influence
Benedetto Croce (1866-1952)
Why not support liberal Catholicism (modernism)?
→ Despite his harsh criticism, Croce helped the Church’s policy to permeate people’s “common sense”
From the Prison Notebooks
Croce is, in essence, anti-confessional [...], and for a large group of Italian and European intellectuals his philosophy [...] has constituted a real and proper intellectual and moral reform of a ‘Renaissance’ type. ‘To live without religion’ (and here without confessional religion is meant) was the pith that Sorel elicited from his reading of Croce [...] But Croce has not ‘gone to the people,’ has not wanted to become a ‘national’ element (just as the Renaissance men were not, unlike the Lutherans and Calvinists), has not wanted to create a group of disciples who [...] could popularize his philosophy in his place and try to make it into an educational element right from the primary school state (and thus educational for the simple worker and peasant, that is to say for the simple man in the street)… (cont.)
From the Prison Notebooks
Perhaps this was not possible, but it was worth the trouble of trying to do it, and not having tried is also significant. In one of his books Croce has written something to the effect that ‘One cannot deprive the man in the street of religion without immediately substituting it with something that satisfies the same needs for which religion was born and still persists.’ There is some truth in this assertion, but does it not contain a confession of the impotence of idealist philosophy for becoming an integral (and national) world outlook? For how could one destroy religion in the consciousness of the ordinary person without at the same time replacing it? Is it possible in this case only to destroy without creating? It is impossible.
Gramsci’s proposal “moral and intellectual reform”