Antonio Gramsci 1891-1937

Antonio Gramsci 1921


Unsigned, L'Ordine Nuovo, 5 July 1921.

ext from Antonio Gramsci "Selections from political writings (1921-1926)", translated and edited by Quintin Hoare (Lawrence and Wishart, London 1978). Transcribed to the www with the kind permission of Quintin Hoare.

The new Prime Minister, Hon. Bonomi, is the true organizer of Italian fascism. As War Minister, he did not merely allow officers to participate actively in political factions, he organized this participation minutely. When he demobilized the officers, he did not follow a technical plan but a reactionary political one, whereby the demobilized officers were systematically to become the cadres of a white guard. Stocks of arms and ammunition were put at the disposal of the fascists. The army and divisional staffs had orders to study the strategic position in case of civil war, and to draw up detailed plans of attack. Senior officers were sent off to tour the country, making reports and suggestions. Hon. Bonomi is the true representative of this bloody phase of bourgeois history. Like Noske, Millerand and Briand, he comes from the socialist ranks. The bourgeoisie places its trust in these men precisely because they have been militants and leaders in the working-class movement; they thus know its weaknesses and how to corrupt its members.

Bonomi's arrival in power, after the entry of the fascists into Parliament, has the following significance: Italian reaction to communism will become legal rather than illegal. To be a communist, to fight for the coming to power of the working class, will not be a crime' merely in the judgement of a Lanfranconi or a Farinacci, it will be a crime "legally"; it will be systematically persecuted in the name of the law, and no longer merely in the name of the local Fascist squad. The same process will take place in Italy as has taken place in the other capitalist countries. The advance of the working class will be met by a coalition of all reactionary elements, from the fascists to the popolari and socialists: the socialists will indeed become the vanguard of antiproletarian reaction, because they best know the weaknesses of the working class and because they have personal vendettas to pursue.

The communists have never had any illusions on this score. They know they must wage a struggle to the death, a struggle without quarter. Bonomi is the first link in the chain of crimes which social democracy is girding itself to commit in Italy. This organizer of militarized fascism has the mission of concentrating in a single movement all the anti proletarian and anti-communist currents which pullulate in our country, for a desperate attempt to check the ever more threatening insurrection of the masses against destructive capitalism. But massacres and attacks on freedom will not be able, in Italy either, to solve the economic crisis or to reerect the social edifice ruined by the imperialist war.