ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Frontiers of the Prison Notebooks

The paper argues in what sense we can trace the frpntiers of the "Prison Notebooks" in its abandonment of 'materialist' reductionism, in the logical and historical implications of the passive revolutions, and in a tension between the levels of mediation analysed by Gramsci. It follows that the frontiers can then be suggestive of historical forces and their strength which are not necessarily anchored in an adequate development of capitalism and its nexuses of civil society THE "Prison Notebooks"1 were not meant to be a new manifesto for the communist movement. Gramsci's entire political experience sharpened his disbelief in the cot- lapse of capitalism under the pressure of its own economic crisis. While the Second Internationars perspective of waiting for an inevitable natural collapse was falsified by the Bolshevik revolution enacted under LeninU leadership, the rest of Europe found no ready means of revolutionary proletarian seizure of power through the same route. Gramsci's own efforts to build the base of Soviet power in factory councils and to integrate them with the organisation of a party on the Bolshevik model had little success in the Italian context. This was so despite Gramsci's correct emphasis on the workers- peasant alliance against the Italian bourgeois order characterised by the north-south structural duality., 'Amidst such circumstances of history, Gramsci saw that much remained to be done by way of reexamining the forms and content of bourgeois power before one could signify the social and cultural identities adequate for the struggle to abolish capitalism. Further, such identities do not present pre- constituted characters who arc bound to act according to the project of the mediator. In the very nexus of exploitation, the oppressed are subject to the dialectic of acquiescence and protest. It would then be futile to affirm the proletarian will to power, and yet to expect that the same might emerge just from their suffering or from the enlightened determinations monitored by the mediator. The necessary engagement of the oppressed in the liberation process can go from strength to strength only when their consciousness becomes the key force in the struggle to free themselves.

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