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Antonio Gramsci Southern Question

Antonio Gramsci Southern Question

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THESOUTHERNQUESTION
SOMEASPECTSOFTHESOUTHERNQUESTIONlTheimpetusforthesenoteswasprovidedbythepublicationofanarticleontheSouthernQuestionintheSeptember18thissueof
QuartoStato
underthebylineUlenspiegel-'whichthedirectorsprefacedwithanequallycomicaleditorialnote.Ulenspiegelin-formshisreadersofGuidoDorso'srecentbook
Larivoluzioneme-ridionale
(Torino:Gobetti,1925)andalludestoDorso'sassessmentofourParty'spositionontheSouthernQuestion.JIntheirintro-
IThemanuscriptwasmisplacedduringtheperiodofGrarnsci'sarrestandwaslaterfoundbyCamillaRaveraamongthepapersthathadbeenabandonedinGramsci'sapartment.
It
waspublishedinJanuary1930in
StatoOpereio,
inParisaccompaniedbythefollowingnote:"Thispieceisunfinishedanditsauthorwouldmost
likely
havereturnedtoitatalaterdate.
It
isbeingreproducedherewithoutanychanges,asthebestdocumentofcommunistpoliticalthought,incomparablydeep,strong,originalandrichwiththemostfarreachingdevelopments."From
DuemilapaginediGramsci,
a,c,diG.FerraraeN.Gallo(IlSaggiatore,1964).
2QuartoStato
wasanimportantneornarxianjournalfoundedanddirectedbyCarloRosselliandPietroNenniinMilanoin1926.Astaunchanti-Fascistofjew-ishbackgroundRosselliwasindictedforcrimesagainstthestatein1927.Impris-onedontheislandofLipari,hemadeandadventurousescapewithEmilioLussuandFaustoNittiin1929'andsettledinFrance.Therehepublished
Socialismoliberate
(LiberalSocialism),writtenontheisland,in1930.FromFrancehehelpedkeepalivetheanti-FasciststrugglethroughoutEurope.And,withtheoutbreakofcivilwarinSpainhejoinedasafighteragainstFranco'sFascists.Duringthatpe-riodhewroteessaysthatwereposthumouslypublishedas
Oggi
in
Spagnadomani
inltalia
(TodayinSpain,TomorrowinItaly).In1936hewaswoundedand,retired
to
France
to
recover,heandhisbrotherNellaweremurduredbyFrenchassassinsworkingonbehalfofMussolini'sFascists,Bertolucci'sfilm
TheConform-ist
isbasedontheeventssurroundingRosselli'sassassination,
Ulenspiegelwas
thepseudonymofTommasoFiore,acorrespondentfor
RiuolueioneLiberate.
3GuidoDorso(1892-1947).Antifascistpoliticalwriter.Revolutionaryinterven-tionistduringtheWWIperiod,heisacorrespondentfor
Popolod'Italia;
aperi-odicalwithstrong"southernisr"inflections.HeandhispublisherPieroGobercicometorepresentthemostprogressivewingofItalianliberalisminpostWorldWarIItaly.Inhis
Lariooluzionemeridionale
(TheSouthernRevolution)(1925),Dorsooffersanorganicexpositionof[heSouth'sbackwardness.Hisanalysisisbasedontheliberal-radicalcritiqueoftheSouthernleadingclassanditsre-en-forcementbytheRisorgimentoperiod.
 
16-THESOUTHERNQUESTION
duction,theeditorsof
QuartoStato,
whoproclaimthemselvestobe"youngpeoplewhohaveperfectknowledgeoftheSouthernQues-tioninitsgenerallines[sic],"offeracollectiveprotestattheideathatthePartycanbeaccordedanymeritregardingtheissue.Nothingwrongsofar;youngpeopleofthe
QHartoStaso
typehavealwaysandeverywhereexpressedtheiropinionsandprotestsonpaperwithoutcausingthepaper
to
rebel.Butthentheseyoungpeopleaddthefollowing:"WehavenotforgottenthatthemagicformulaoftheTurinCommunistswas:dividetheestatesamongtheruralproletariat.ThatformulaisattheantipodesfromanysaneandrealisticvisionoftheSouthernQuestion."Atthispointitisnecessarytosetthingsstraight,sincetheonly"magic"istheimpu-denceandsuperficialdilettantismofthe"young"writersofthe
QuartoStato.
The"magicformula"ispurefiction.The"young"writersof
QuartoStato
mustindeedhaveatrulylowopinionoftheirex-tremelyintellectualreaders,iftheydaretosoblatantlydistortthetruth.Infact,hereisapassagefrom
L'OrdineNuovo
ofJanuary3rd,1920,whichsumsuptheviewpointoftheTurinComrnu-nists:
4
TheNorthernbourgeoisiehassubjugatedtheSouthofItalyandtheIslands,andreducedthemtoexploitablecolonies;byeman-cipatingitselffromcapitalistslavery,theNorthernproletariatwillemancipatetheSouthernpeasantmassesenslaved
to
thebanksandtotheparasiticindustrialismoftheNorm.Theeco-nomicandpoliticalregenerationofthepeasantsshouldnotbesoughtinthedivisionofuncultivatedorpoorly.cultivatedland.s)butinthesolidarityoftheindustrialproletanatwhoneed,m
4
L'OrdineNWlv(J
(TheNewOrder)wasthetheoreticalandpoliticalorganofthesocialistleftinTurin;itwasfoundedbyAntonio
Gramsci
in
1919.
Originallypublishedasaweekly,itbecameadailyinJanua:r
1_921,
w~entheItalianCom-munistParrywasabouttobefounded.The
publication
dedicatedmuchspacetoantireformistdiscussions,and
to
theoreticalandpracticalaspects[hatemergedfromtheOctoberrevolutionanddiscussionsengenderedwithinthecommunistInternational.
It
publishedarticlesby
Lenin,
Bucharin,Gorki,Radekandothersaswellasdelineatingthe
Gramscian
programoftheindustrialcouncils.AntonioGramsci-17turn,thesolidarityofthepeasantry.Theyhaveaninterestinkeepingcapitalismfrombeingreborneconomicallyfromlandedproperty;thatSouthernItalyandtheIslandsdonotbecomeamilitarybaseforcapitalistcounter-revolution.Byimposingworkers'controloverindustry,theproletariatwillreorientindustrytotheproductionofagriculturalmachineryforthepeasants,clothingandfootwearforthepeasants,electricalenergyforthepeasants;theywillpreventindustryandbanksfromex-ploitingthepeasantsandsubjectingthemasslaves
to
thevaults.Bybreakingautocracyinthefactories,bybreakingtheoppres-siveapparatusofthecapitalistStateandinstallingaworkers'Statethatwillsubjectthecapitaliststothelawofusefullabour,theworkers
will
breakallthechainsthatholdthepeasantstotheirpovertyanddesperation.Byinstallingaworkers'dictator-ship,bytakingholdoftheindustriesandbanks,theproletariatwillturntheenormouspowerofmestateapparatus
to
theaidofthepeasantsintheirstruggleagainstthelandowners,againsttheelements,againstmisery.Theproletariatwillprovidepeasantswithcredit,setupcooperatives,guaranteesecurityofpersonandpropertyagainstlootersandcarryoutpublicworksofreclama-tionandirrigation.
It
willdoallthisbecauseitisinitsinteresttoincreaseagriculturalproduction,becauseitisinitsinteresttohaveandconservethesolidarityofthepeasantmasses,becauseitisinitsinteresttoorientindustrialproductiontousefulworkthatwillpromotepeacebetweenthecityandthecountryside,betweenNorthandSouth."5ThiswaswritteninJanuary1920.Sevenyearshavegonebyandwearealsosevenyearsolderpolitically.Someconceptscouldbeexpressedalittlebettertoday;onecould,andshould,betterdis-tinguishbetweentheperiodimmediatelyfoHowingtheconquestoftheState,characterizedsimplybyworkers'controlofindustry,andsuccessiveperiods.ButwhatisimportanthereistonotethatthefundamentalconceptoftheTurinCommunistswasnotthe"magicformula"oflandallotment,butthatofthepoliticalalliancebe-tweentheNorthernworkersandtheSouthernpeasantstooustthebourgeoisiefromStatepower.Furthermore,theTurinCommu-niststhemselves(thoughtheysupportedlanddivisionasafollow-uptoclasssolidarity)warnedagainstthe"miraculous"illusionsof5Forthecompletetext,see"WorkersandPeasants,"alsotranslatedherein.
..OJ
 
18-THESOUTHERNQUESTION
mechanicallydividingthelargeestates.InthesamearticleofJanu-ary3,1920,wefind:"Whatcanapoorpeasantachieve
by
occu-pyinguncultivatedorpoorlycultivatedlands?Withoutmachinery,withoutaccornodarionattheworkplace,withoutcredittotidehimovertillharvest,withoutcooperativeinstitutionstopurchasetheharvest(ifthepeasanthasn'thunghimselffromthestrongestbushortheleastsicklyfigtreeon
his
uncultivatedlandlongbeforeha~esttime)andsavehimfromtheclutchesoftheusurers,whatcanapoorpeasantachievebyoccupation?"Andstill,wewerefortheveryrealisticandnotatall"magic"formulaofland
to
thepeas-ants;butwewantedtoincorporateitinageneralrevolutionaryactionofthetwoclassesinalliance,underthedirectionofthein-dustrialproletariat.Thewritersof
QuartoStata
inventedoutofwholecloththe"magicformula"attributedtotheTurinCommu-nists,demonstratingthuslytheirlackofjournalisticseriousnessandalackofscruplesreminiscentofdrugstoreintellectuals.Theseatti-tudestooareindicativeofpoliticalelementsthatbearsignificantweightandcarrytheirownconsequences.Intheproletariancamp,theTurinCommunistshavehadoneundeniable"merit:"thatofbringingtheSouthernQuestiontotheattentionoftheworkers'vanguard,andidentifying
it
asoneoftheessentialproblemsofthenationalpoliticsoftherevolutionarypro-letariat.InthissensetheyhavecontributedinpracticebyliftingtheSouthernQuestionoutofitsindistinct,intellectualistic,so-called"concretist"phase,andenablingittoenteranewphase.
6
TherevolutionaryworkerofTurinandMilanbecametheprotagonistoftheSouthernQuestioninplaceofthelikesofGiustinoFortu-nato,GaetanoSalvernini,EugenioAzirnontiandArturoLabriola,
6ThisisareferencetoGaetanoSalverniniwho,whenheleftthePSIin1910,describedhispoliticalviewsas"concretisrn."Thistermrefers
to
(hetendencytoseetheSouthernQuestioninitsfragments,andinattemptingtosolveeachprob-lemindividually,therebydissolvingthepoliticalurgency
Df
theproblem.Salveminifoundedthedaily
L'Unita:
\
\
AntonioGramsci-19
to
makementiononlyofthegreatsaintsdeartothe"young"writ-ersof
QuartoStato.7
TheTurinCommunistshadconcretelyposedthemselvesthequestionof"proletarianhegemony,"inotherwordsofthesocialbaseoftheproletariandictatorshipandoftheworkers'State.Theproletariatcanbecometheleadinganddominantclassinthemeas-ureinwhichitsucceedsincreatingasystemofclassalliancesthatwillpermitittomobilizethemajorityoftheworkingpopulationagainstcapitalismandthebourgeoisState.ThismeansthatinItaly,intherealclassrelationsastheyexistinItaly,itdependsonthemeasureinwhichitissuccessfulinobtainingtheconsensusofthelargepeasantmasses.ButthepeasantquestioninItalyishistoricallydetermined,itisnotthe"peasantandagrarianquestion.ingeneraL"InItalythepeasantquestionhas,givenitsspecificItaliantradition,
7GiustinoFortunato(1848-1932).LiberalconservativewhosenamewascloselytiedtoissuesregardingtheSouthernQuestion,whichheapproachedintermsdifferentfromthetraditionalviewofarichandfertilelandruinedbyirsinhabi-tants.His
11
Mezzogiornoe
10Statoitaliano
(TheSouthandtheItalianState)(1911)considersgeologicalandclimaticaspectsoftheregionthat,accordingtohim,definedtheSouth'snaturalpoverty.
An
antifascist,hewasunderconstantsurveillancebytheFascistsbutwasnotpersonallypersecuted.GaetanoSalvernini(1873-1957).SlowlydevelopedSocialistandMarxist,Salveminibecameanimportantcollaboratoroftheperiodical
Voce.
Hebrokefromthatgroupin1911,asaresultoftheLybianwar,whichheopposed.AstimemovedonhedistancedhimselffromtheSocialistparry.Activememberoftheantifascistgroup"Circolodicuitura,"hefoundstheactivistjournal
NonMollare
(1925).ArrestedandbroughtunderindictmentforthisactivityheneverthelessisgivenprovisionallibertyandexpatriatestoP
aris,
InanswertohisresignationfromtheFlorentineAtheneum,MussolinirevokeshisItaliancitizenship.In1933heleavesfortheUSandateachingpositionatHarvard.Afteralongexpatriatestrug-gleagainstFascism,hefinallyreturnstoItalyin1950roreclaimhisprofessorshipinFlorence.EugenioAzimcnti.Contributor
to
L'Unitaand
La
riuoluzione
iiberale
papers,in1919hepublished
It
Mezzogiornoagrarioquale.
ArturoLabriola(1873-1959).Economistandpoliticalactivist.FollowinghisparticipationintheSocialistmovementsof1898hewasforcedintoexileinSwit-zerland.Onhisreturn
to
Naples,hebecameheadofthemostradicalwing
Df
theSocialistparty.MinisterofLabourin1920-21intheGiolitcigovernrnem,LabriolawasonceagainforcedintoexilewiththeadventofFascism.In1937hereturnedtoItalybutrefrainedfromaUpoliticalactivityuntilthe
fall
ofMussolini.Amonghismoreimportantworksare
KMarx'svaluethem]
(1899);
Capitalism(1910);AHistoryofTenYears:
1899-1909
(1910).

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