Antonio Gramsci and democratic centralism

Unbelievably almost none of Gramsci’s wonderful political writings are available free on the internet in English:  barely scratches the surface. I had hoped to enlist this genius by means of copy and paste plagiarism, that being the stock and trade of us lazy socialists in the age of t’internet.

How sad that few Socialist Workers Party comrades interested in the debates around Richard Seymour’s disgusting factionalism can learn from Gramsci with a click or two. Most probably won’t purchase these writings in hard copy, nor try to get them out the library. I wonder if this is a copy-rite issue.

I did manage to find one piece that reads as a rebuttal of Richard Seymour’s defense of his outrageous anti-Leninist factionalism. Here it is:

4) As for practical organizational work, we don’t believe that everything done by the current Central Committee was good. We believe that there were defects and failings and that these still exist. However, if we take into account the conditions in which the work of the party has developed after the Fifth World Congress, we can do no less than say that these defects vanish when placed before the enormous work of reorganization carried out in order to arrive at the present situation, since we started from a situation in which the entire old framework had collapsed and had to be reconstructed with new criteria and employing new “material.”

Comrade Bordiga knows of these things, just has he knows that, taking into account the various objective conditions (today, in order to have a letter go from the center to the periphery requires a “labor” ten times greater than that needed in Bordiga’s time) the current party apparatus is smaller than it once was, which means that the number of functionaries is relatively smaller. But even if there were more of them we affirm that they would be chosen based on the most rigorous of criteria, and that their work would be controlled based on the most rigorous criteria. We are certain that the so despised party “functionaries” are today a disciplined and conscious group of “professional revolutionaries” who are entirely devoted to the cause of the party and the class.

5) It remains to be seen if it is true that the Central Committee has “poisoned the living arrangements” of the party with sectarianism. Well, if Bordiga is referring, as he doubtless is, to the energetic and implacable actions of the Central Committee to smash the fractionalist attempt which took the name of “Entente Committee,” we can only say that if another endeavor of this kind were attempted we are ready today, tomorrow and always to smash it with the same implacable energy.

But we are convinced when all of the comrades will have taken note of how far the actions of the “Entente Committee” would have taken us on the road to breaking up the party, they will find that they should have been even more harsh in their stigmatizing of their actions. Whoever is in the Communist Party and wants to work in a disciplined fashion, under the directives that the International has laid out and who works for their application will never find that the living arrangements are “poisoned.” But he who wants to repeat the mad endeavor of breaking up the unity of the party, to oppose it to the International, to dissolve the assembly; for these people there is no doubt that the air of our party, after the Third Congress, will not be breathable.” [December 20 ,1925]

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