Antonio Gramsci 1891-1937

Antonio Gramsci 1924

Editorial: March 1924

Unsigned, L'Ordine Nuovo, March 1924.

Text 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.

L'Ordine Nuovo is resuming publication in the same format and with the same intentions as when it was first printed in Turin on 1 May 1919.[117] Its activity as a weekly in the years 19 19-20 and as a daily in the years 1921-2 left extensive, deep traces in the history of the Italian working class. This -was especially true with respect to the Turin proletariat, which helped it more directly through its sacrifices, followed its propaganda more closely and carried out its directives. The situation appears much changed from those years; but in reality, it has changed more on the surface than in substance. The problems to be solved have remained the same, though they have become more difficult and complicated.

Then, it was a question of forming an independent party of the revolutionary working class, at the same time as it was urgently necessary to organize the broad masses into a movement capable of overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie and setting up a new State: the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the toiling masses in the countryside. In the years 1919-20, L'Ordine Nuovo saw the two problems as closely inter-related. By directing the masses towards the revolution; by pushing for a break with the reformists and opportunists in the factory councils and the craft unions; by revitalizing the life of the Socialist Party with discussions of the most genuinely proletarian problems, in which ordinary workers thus had the advantage over the lawyers and demagogues of reformism and maximalism - L'Ordine Nuovo aimed also to create the new party of the revolution, as an imperative necessity of the existing situation.

But our -forces were too tiny for so immense a task. It is also necessary to confess that sometimes we lacked the courage to carry things through to the end. Attacked from every side as arrivistes and careerists, we were not capable of rejecting with scorn the malicious accusations. We were too young, and still retained too much political naivety and too much formal pride. Thus we did not dare, in 1919, to create a faction with ramifications throughout the country. Thus we did not dare. in 1920, to organize an urban and regional centre of the factory councils, which could have addressed itself as an organization of the totality of Piedmontese workers to the Italian working class and peasantry - over the heads, and if necessary against the directives, of the General Confederation of Labour and the Socialist Party.

Today, the situation has changed. The independent party of the revolutionary proletariat exists, and has carried out an immense work since the Livorno Congress, drenching every city and every village with the blood of its most loyal and dedicated militants. Other struggles, in other forms from those of 1919-20, now confront the working class. And though it may appear scattered and disorganized, the latter nevertheless retains a strength which is perhaps still greater than that which it possessed in those years - if one takes into account its political education, its clarity of ideas, and its greater historical experience.

L'Ordine Nuovo is resuming its battle to deepen this education, to organize and revitalize this experience. As it resumes publication, it salutes the comrades who have fallen throughout Italy, and in particular salutes the memory of those who fell in Turin in December 1922, comrades Ferrero and Berruti, who were among its warmest friends and supporters in the first, hard moments.

(notes from Antonio Gramsci "Selections from political writings (1921-1926)")

117 L'Ordine Nuovo, Third Series, was launched as a fortnightly at the beginning of March 1924, just two weeks after the appearance of the first issue of the new party daily L'Unità. It had a print run of 6,000 copies, and six issues appeared in 1924: two in March, a double issue in April, one in September and two in November.