Gramsci: Critique of EconomismJune 26, 2021
In his famous pre-prison article “The Revolution against Das Kapital”, Gramsci argued that the Russian October Revolution invalidated the notion that the socialist revolution had to await the full development of the production of capitalist forces.
This reflected his view that Marxism was not a deterministic philosophy. He believed that the causal principle of “primacy” in relations of production was a misunderstanding in Marxism. Both economic and cultural changes are expressions of “basic historical processes” and it is difficult to answer which area takes precedence over the other. The fatalistic notion prevalent in the early years of the workers’ movement, namely that victory would inevitably be achieved according to the ‘laws of history’, was, in Gramsci’s view, a product of the historical conditions of an oppressed class forced into defensive actions, and was an obstacle as soon as the working class was ready to take the initiative. should have been left.
Since Marxism was its “practical philosophy”, invisible “historical laws” could not be relied upon as the object of social change. History is made into human practice and therefore includes human will. In any given situation, however, nothing desired can be achieved by will-power alone: once working-class consciousness reaches the stage of development necessary for action, it will face historical conditions that cannot be arbitrarily changed. However, the date on which of the many possible developments will eventually occur is not predetermined by inevitability.