The Economic-Political Crisis in Brazil: a Reading from Some Reflections of Gramsci


Since the nineteen sixties, Gramsci has been one of the main authors inspiring the renewal of Marxism, the resistance of popular movements to the military dictatorship, and the formation of political organizations in the process of democratization in Brazil. Various of his categories, such as “passive revolution”, “transformism”, the “expanded State”, “war of movement/war of position”, “national-popular”, “hegemony” etc., have often served as a basis for interpreting the history and politics of Brazil. But, in his writings there is also a set of reflections that depict situations which are much closer to the economic and political crisis currently affecting Brazil. Among other aspects, in fact, Gramsci’s work, written between the two great wars of the last century, is characterized by the analysis of the “organic crisis” of bourgeois society, by the search for the reasons of the defeat of the revolutionary movement, and by the new possibilities opened to the “subaltern classes” in crucial historical circumstances. In the light of this background, in these few pages we will discuss the current political situation of Brazil taking into account especially the Observations on Certain Aspects of the Structure of Political Parties in Periods of Organic Crisis (Q13, § 23, pp. 1602-1613; SPN, pp. 210-218 and concluding part on pp. 167-168) and on the modern forms of Caesarism (Q13, § 27, pp. 1619-1622; SPN, pp. 219-222)*.

* Gramsci, A., Quaderni del carcere, ed. V. Gerratana, Torino, Einaudi, 1975. In the body of the text, this edition is quoted as QC, followed by the number of the notebook, the number of the paragraph (where necessary also the sub-paragraph) and page of the Italian edition, data which allow quotations to be located in the Brazilian and other integral editions. Page references are also given to English translations (SPN for Gramsci 1971; PN, vols. I, II and III for Gramsci 1992, 1996 and 2007 respectively; and FSPN for Gramsci 1995).

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