Gramsci without the Prince

In: Historical Materialism
Martin Thomas

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Peter Thomas, in The Gramscian Moment, explains well how Gramsci strove to re-educate the communist movement in an expansive spirit, around the united front. He makes clear that the united-front approach advocated by Gramsci, based on working-class mobilisation and accompanied by clear communist criticism, was distinct from the policy of bourgeois alliances to be advocated by the Stalinist parties after 1935 under the name ‘popular front’. He demystifies the concept in Gramsci of working-class ‘hegemony’, from which so many speculations are spun, showing that it meant nothing other than working-class political leadership, achieved through sound use of united-front tactics. Yet Thomas makes the formula of ‘united front’ do too much, or bundles into it more than it can rationally contain. Meanwhile, the question of the revolutionary working-class political party is almost entirely absent in Thomas’s discussion.

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