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6. Gramsci’s Path from ‘Ploughman’ to ‘Fertiliser’ of History

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the changes that took place in Antonio Gramsci's mind concerning his role in revolutionary struggle when, after three years of work as Italian representative of the Communist International in Moscow and Vienna, deputy to the Italian parliament, and general secretary of the Communist Party of Italy from 1924 to 1926, he became a political prisoner subjected to that 'grinding attrition' of prison life whose ruinous effects he openly acknowledged. On 14 August 1924, Gramsci was elected general secretary of the Communist Party of Italy. Even amidst the widespread demoralisation among anti-fascist groups in the mid-1920s, Gramsci never doubted the efficacy of Communist praxis in the face of the Fascist challenge. Two novel features of Gramsci's thought in prison are his emphasis on the international situation facing the socialist forces, which emerges in the oft-quoted pages of the Notebooks on the 'relations of force'.

Keywords: Antonio Gramsci; Communist praxis; Italian parliament; Moscow; political prisoner; revolutionary struggle; Vienna

10.1163/9789004265752_008
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