The Communist Party must be able to follow all these struggles and exercise a real leadership over them: There is however a contradiction in what Rienzi says about the social basis of social democracy and what he asserts about the nature of the party. In the Italian Socialist Party as it emerged from the Genoa Congress, there were two dominant currents. These parties are in effect against the seizure of power by proletarian organizations, which precisely constitutes the dictatorship of the proletariat exclusion of non-workers from elected organs and power which only the communist party can lead. However, we understand this stabilisation only to mean only that certain parts of the economic structure have been contained, and not that a state of affairs has arisen which excludes the possibility, even in the immediate future, of new disturbances. The Communist Party links every immediate demand to a revolutionary objective; makes use of every partial struggle to teach the masses the need for general action and for insurrection against the reactionary rule of capital; and seeks to ensure that every struggle of a limited character is prepared and led in such a way as to be able to lead to the mobilization and unification of the proletarian forces, and not to their dispersal.

In the event the real situation should contradict the tactical schema we have prepared, it cannot be repaired by recourse to opportunism and eclecticism, but through fresh efforts to adapt the party’s line to its tasks. Disciplinary sanctions are one of the elements that guarantee against degenerations, but on the condition that their application remain within the limits of exceptional cases and not become the norm or a sort of ideal of party functioning. This system is based upon economic determinism, discovered by Marx, which sees in the study of economic relations and the development of the technical means of production the objective platform upon which to build a solid understanding of the laws of social life and, to a certain extent, to forecast its further evolution. The Lyon Theses are therefore not only a point of departure both for the present and for the future, but also sum up the history of the stormy years between and At the 7th Enlarged Executive November-December , Trotsky was altogether correct in stating that if the Bolshevik party placed its stakes on the world revolution it could remain firmly in power not one year, but fifty:

Suffice to grsmsci the formula of the dictatorship of the proletariat has one synonym and one alone: The construction of full socialism, extended to both production and distribution, industry and agriculture, is impossible in a single country. Thedis launched a last appeal, despite all the prohibitions and the threatened sanctions which were anything but metaphorical calling on all parties and their world congresses to discuss the crisis in the Russian party: Its origin and fortunes are, moreover, related to the fact that, since the working class is a minority in the Italian working population, there is a constant danger that its party will be corrupted by infiltrations from other classes, and in particular from the petty bourgeoisie.

However, if this were to occur in a particular case, the condition for a proletarian victory would reside in a party tactic which concentrated the illusions engendered by the arrival of this left government, and which never weakened, even in periods of reaction, the party’s opposition to democratic political forms.


Only the working class is capable of translating into action the changes of an economic and political character which are necessary, if the energies of our country are to have complete freedom and possibility to develop.

Gramsci / Togliatti: The italian situation and the tasks of the PCI ()

Between the era of autocratic feudal power and that of the dictatorship of the proletariat, it experienced no real political rule of the bourgeoisie organized in a stable state belonging to it alone. Although he provides a correct abstract account of the relation between economics and politics, Gramsci is alone among the great Marxists in not integrating a concrete economic dimension into his political writings. The presentation of, and struggle for, such intermediate solutions is the specific form of struggle which must be used against the so-called democratic parties — which are in reality one of the strongest props of the tottering capitalist order, and as such alternate in power with the reactionary groups — when these so-called graksci parties are linked to sizeable and decisive layers of the working population as in Italy, in the first months of the Matteotti crisisand grzmsci a serious reactionary danger is imminent tactic adopted by the Bolsheviks towards Kerensky during the Kornilov coup.

The International’s practice and work are in contradiction with this revolutionary necessity.

Gramsci versus Eurocommunism

At that time, in spite of the ebbing of proletarian action, the party’s influence exceeded that of the maximalists and reformists, and its advances had already been marked by the results of the elections and the great debates that unfolded afterward within thesjs Federation of Labour. Intellectuals, along with ex-workers, make up the party apparatus. We have spoken elsewhere, from a historical and theoretical perspective, about the delusion of repressing fractionism from above.

There are objective situations in which the relationship of forces is unfavourable to the revolution, even though they may be more separated in time than others, since history progresses at varying speeds, as Marxism teaches.

THE conditions in which Gramsci lived and wrote imposed certain built-in limitations to his thought.

The lyon theses ()

While internal economic development or the expansion of foreign capitalism have not yet provided the foundations of the modern class struggle in these countries, the satisfaction of demands that are posed there requires an insurrectionary struggle and the defeat of world imperialism. This is because in the passage from feudal autocratic power to the proletarian dictatorship, there had been no epoch of political dominion by the bourgeois class, organised in its own exclusive and stable State apparatus.

The return to ambiguous formulations of the united front extended to include bourgeois parties, as in the case, in Italy, of participation in the anti-fascist opposition in the Aventine secession; a bourgeois, democratic, legalitarian and pro-monarchist institution.

gramsci lyons thesis

Finally, there is the wealthy peasant who is generally an exploiter of labour and the direct enemy of the revolution.

At the time he was imprisoned and lost contact with the international movement the full horrors of Stalinism were a thing of the future.

The lyon theses (1926)

The recent tactics mentioned above present an obvious, perhaps complete, analogy with the traditional methods of the 2nd International-electoral blocs, collaborationism-which were supposedly also justified by a Marxist interpretation.


Orienting the agricultural classes of the South towards a rural democracy and towards regional democratic solutions, they break the unity of the liberation process of the Italian working people; prevent the peasants from bringing their struggle against the economic and political exploitation of the bourgeoisie and the landowners to an outcome; and prepare their transformation into white guards of reaction.

gramsci lyons thesis

Then came the arrests in February and the big offensive against the party. With the elections, the bourgeois Nitti government opened up an immense safety valve to the revolutionary pressure, and diverted the proletarian offensive and the attention of the party by exploiting its tradition of unbridled electoralism. Meanwhile in Germany, there was an immense crash of the Mark; the French occupation of the Ruhr; generalised turmoil amongst all social strata, and the appearance on the scene of the first nucleus of the nazi party NSDAP.

On the condition that no door be left open to any exceptions in the opposite direction as was done in the new proposaland on the condition that it be unequivocally stated that “the basis of the united front can never be a bloc among political parties.

ylons Motor Forces and Perspectives of the Revolution The fight to keep this line intact, to restore it after years of counter-revolutionary depression, and the fight to rebuild the world party of the proletariat – this is the focus of all our revolutionary energies.

It is not necessary to believe that the party can lead the working class through an external imposition of authority. It therefore hoped to strengthen the party through a merger with the maximalists, considering the split between the maximalists and the unity group as a decisive factor, while the party leadership on thesiw contrary gave priority to the lessons of the broad strike maneuver of August.

The signatories of the document were immediately dismissed from their posts within the organization and threatened with expulsion. The general elements of this question must be defined in relation to our overall principles; it is then possible, on a secondary level, to establish concrete norms of action in relation to different types of practical problems and the successive phases of historical grwmsci. This opposition, which we will not study further here, is a vital condition for the link between the revolutionary proletariat and its communist general staff or a good selection of the latter.

Because ljons effects can, on the contrary, arise from changes in the general situation or from the action of residual social-democratic traditions, in order to solve our problems, we must admit that any difference of opinion not reducible to thesjs of individual consciousness or defeatism may turn out to be useful in preserving the party and the proletariat in general from serious dangers. Quite the reverse is true.