ISSN 1982-6621 On-line | ISSN 0102-4698 Impresso (até 2015)

GRAMSCI, THE JOURNALS, THE INTELLECTUAL AND EDUCATION

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GRAMSCI, THE JOURNALS, THE INTELLECTUAL AND EDUCATION


Egberto Pereira dos Reis
Centro Universitário da Fundação Educacional, Guaxupé, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Fundação Universitária Vida Cristã, Mococa, São Paulo, Brazil
José Carlos Rothen
Federal University of São Carlos, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil


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ABSTRACT:

In this article we discuss how Gramsci1 understood periodic publications’ important role, especially the magazines as a diffusing form of a new conception of the world in the life of the working class and people in general. So the publications can achieve their goals, it is necessary to establish the educational principle, in which organic intellectuals and society’s subordinates establish a knowledge exchange. Thus, we find that educational exchange takes place within the magazines, as occurred with the publications L’Ordine Nuovo and Il Grido. In this way, according to Gramsci, the magazines were decisive so that the workers of their time could understand reality itself and the mechanisms of exploitation of the ruling class. From this, the so-called positional warfare is established. In other words, the battles that happen in magazines and in civil society in search of hegemony and consequently of intellectual and moral reform.

Keywords: Gramsci; EducationalPrinciple; Position War; Magazines


1. INTRODUCTION

This article aims to analyze how Gramsci1 developed an intellectual relationship between journals and education. More specifically, it aims to discuss in what extend Gramsci emphasized the journals’ role as a “tool” used by organic intellectuals to promote a moral and intellectual reform through education. In order to achieve this goal, we develop a bibliographic research. As Lakatos (1991, p. 151) points out, “{…} a bibliographic research provides an overview of previous researches and it may contribute with relevant and up to date data related to the theme”.

When we study Antonio Gramsci, we understand that the writing and publishing process faces numerous challenges, what readers do not usually notice. For the Sardinian intellectual,2 journals play an important role in building a new conception of the world, once they may bring elements of an intellectual and moral reform. Gramsci was committed to his associates to make journals an instrument to spread information and build consciousness about proletariat’s own reality.

Thus, we can see, in Prison Notebooks, how continuous publications can offer a lasting debate. As an example, we can highlight the Italian paper L’Ordine Nuovo3. Founded during Gramsci’s militant time and directed by himself, the paper translated the ideals of a group of intellectuals that thought and worked to build a hegemonic civil society.

The paper’s entire publishing process intentionally targeted a specific audience in order to formulate and maintain cultural development. In addition to producing high quality materials to attract readers, its publishers and writers also took into account the journal’s intellectual orientation. It is important to consider the ideological orientation because it is what identifies how a specific group is culturally built. Obviously, not all journals aim to build an ideology; however, some papers try to identify themselves with an intellectual group. This is possible to see when we analyze editorial genres, once they usually translate a group’s point of view. Therefore, we can understand that L’Ordine Nuovo became an instrument to disseminate ideas based on a new cultural conception, including a moral and intellectual reform proposal.

This tool became an essential element to what Gramsci called war of positions. This conceptrefers to “battles” fought within the newsroom regarding the strategies developed to implement an intellectual and moral project. This approachis important to comprehend the search for hegemony against the State. The war of positions regards disputes over hegemony, among the journal’s writers, in a confrontation with civil society and with the State structure itself.

We can see how intellectuals play an important social role, especially organic scholars, who work along with society and the subordinated class. Gramsci pointed that intellectuals, tended to have an intellectualized conception of social situations and, consequently, overshadowed the proletariat’s reality. In this regard, Gramsci believed that the student could teach the master. In other words, the working class, using their common sense, could demonstrate a different reality. For him, proletarians and organic intellectual could exchange knowledge. This exchange of knowledge is what Gramsci called Educational Principle. In his view, this approach couldcreate a new and liberating conception of the world and promote a cultural revolution.

2. GRAMSCI AND THE JOURNALS

When we study about journals and its importance within the intellectual world, we drive ourselves, first, to Gramsci, when, in Prison Notebooks, he points out the “Types of journals” he believed to be essential in cultural organization. In this point of view, journals could contribute to “educational activity” (DORE, 2007, p. 97). Initially, this would not be the school’s role, although, later on, Gramsci discusses the educational principal and highlights “the importance of school” (DORE, 2007, p. 97). Gramsci defines culture as “a way of thinking about concrete reality and of intervening in its transformation” (COUTINHO, 1999, p. 24). In fact, L’Ordine Nuovo became a tool to disseminate ideas of an intellectualgroup that alternated political “battles” and, at the same time, “promoted its actions in a systematic way, expected in policy making” (COUTINHO, 1999, p. 29).

Besides, according to Gramsci (2011), the journal worked as a fundamental element to formulate and to create a “conception of the world” that, at the same time, was in the “base of the journals” (GRAMSCI, 2011b, p. 205). Above all, the editorial body developed this role. It aimed to seek an “intellectual and moral reform” within the various social groups, but, specifically, regarding political and cultural issues (DORE, 2007, p. 81).

In fact, Gramsci, while working at L’Ordine Nuovo, experienced being part of a team that effectively spread a new culture in order to organize society. Gramsci wanted to draw a new civilization, in which, journals were necessary to “build an instrument to reinforce cultural institutions” (DORE, 2007, p. 81).

The unitary national elaboration of a homogeneous collective consciousness requires multiple conditions and initiatives. The diffusion, by a homogeneous center, is the main condition, but it must not and cannot be the only one. A very common error is that of thinking that every social stratum elaborates its consciousness and its culture in the same way, with the same methods, namely the methods of the professional intellectuals (GRAMSCI, 2011b, p. 205).

Gramsci (1968) understood the importance of civil society organizing itself and, for him, it would only be possible with the advent of a new culture. Cultural organization is a central element for what he called anintellectual and moral reform (DORE, 2007). Gramsci (1968) thought about a hegemonic center, which would spread a new culture based on an educational structure. Thus, it would provide the necessary conditions to avoid improvisations and amateurism, leading people to a consensus (GRAMSCI, 2011a).

Twisting the conception of culture as an entirely subordinated dimension to the economy that dominated the labor movement is his days; he understood that founding a new State depended on a much broader process of creating a new civilization. For this reason, he considered essential to “organize culture”, expanding the means to spread new conceptions of the world, allowing the subordinate classes to take “self-awareness” on their own ends and making their own history (DORE, 2007, p. 80).

According to Gramsci (2011), new conceptions of the world would only be possible with a new cultural meaning, which should embrace subaltern classes. It would consequently offer elements to enable peasants and workers to “take consciousness” and to organize themselves in groups, in which they could actually identify themselves with in order to take part in political actions.

Gramsci dedicated various pages in his Prison Notebooks to Journalism and he actively worked in journalistic4 tasks while he was free. Based on that, he believed that Journalism was directly associated with his own political activity.

From that moment on, the idea of a power structure based on the factories’ internal committee cells and enlarged by the masses of workers increasingly aware of their own role became the driving force behind L’Ordine Nuovo. This way, expanding internal commissions “became the central problem, it became L’Ordine Nuovo’s ideal (…) it became for us and for all those who followed us, the newspaper of the factory councils.”5 The paper, therefore, began to operate in a very different field from than it was common to the other magazines we have already mentioned. It acted very close to the workers, much more than Critica Sociale, until then the socialist party’s magazine (ARRIGONI, 1988, p. 74).

According to Peter Mayo (2007), L’Ordine Nuovo played an important role in adults’ formation and education, especially, regarding Turim’s workers. The paper enabled workers to develop important reflexive actions. It provided them critical support and helped them to appropriate dominant cultural elements. The paper developed an analysis from the proletariat’s standpoint regarding their own cultural situation and represented their interests. It is also important to point out its capacity “{…} to formulate more emancipatory popular culture elements in order to create a new proletarian culture”6 (MAYO, 2007). Indeed, L’Ordine Nuovo, offered elements to sustain the working class. It enabled them to get to know their own reality and, consequently, it allowed them to create a new conception of the world.

Therefore, in the next section, the paper dedicates to discuss the war of positions concept. This approach was critical to Gramsci understand how civil society as well as political society develop their strategies to become hegemonic.

3. WARS OF POSITION

Theconcept war of positionsis important to understand the standpoint that L’Ordine Nuovo’swriters took. This concept guided the journal’s intellectuals and, for this reason, it is critical to understand how Gramsci, working along with workers and civil society, promoted a revolutionary process.

The same thing happens in the art of politics as happens in military art: war of movement increasingly becomes war of position, and it can be said that a State will win a war in so far as it prepares for it minutely and technically in peacetime. The massive structures of the modern democracies, both as State organisations, and as complexes of associations in civil society, constitute for the art of politics as it werethe “trenches” and the permanent fortifications of the front in the war of position: they render merely partial” the element of movement which before used to be “the whole” of war, etc.(GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 24).

That said we could see how military actions and political life are similar. The war of movement can become a war of position. Thus, Gramsci used war terms and applied them into political art.

Gandhi’s passive resistance is a war of position, which at certain moments becomes a war of movement, and at others underground warfare. Boycotts are a form of war of position, strikes of war of movement, the secret preparation of weapons and combat troops belongs to underground warfare (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 124).

It seems that the “war of movement” in a historical-political context is not determining, once a strike does not necessarily indicate a socialist and permanent revolution, such as the proletariat dictatorship. It only reveals changes that could benefit workers within the bourgeois State. Meanwhile, in the “war of position” there are critical changes, new conceptions of the world as well as cultural penetration. Therefore, the subordinates could promote deep structural changes within society, what, according to the Sardinian author (2011c), was done by Gandhi.

For Gramsci, the space in which hegemony can be challenged is the broad territory that maintains it. In other words, civil society is seen as a space for conflict. He argued that the State, as it really is, is supported by civil society’s institutions. It can not be confronted by those who aspire to transform it, those who aim to develop a new social relations system. Gramsci reffers to a “war of maneuver / front”. In his view, much of the State transformation process and its coercive apparatus must precede and not try to take power. People who work toward social transformation must engage in a “war of position,” a social organization and a broad-based cultural influence process. This process should translate political views into a revolutionary strategy, based precisely on a “war of maneuver”and the frontal attack to the “war of position”. It should be adequated to Western conditions, where the exercise of hegemony is entrusted to the achievement of a consensus in all the great articulations of civil society7 (SCHETTINI, 2008, p. 05).

Gramsci developed a significant distinction between political society and civil society. On one hand, civil society, as mentioned above, is defined as an auspicious territory in which citizens seek for hegemony and, at the same time, establish a war of position. The apparatus that legitimates the State as a coercive and dominating force, on the other hand, characterizes political society. Thus, from a liberal point of view, the State is characterized by the “administrative, legal and military organization of the fundamental apparatus or the State is seen as a ‘night guard’, as a peace, security and order keeper” (FONTANA, 2003, p. 117).

Civil society, meanwhile, defined as a field in which a war of position takes place, is characterized by a continuous search for “consensus and moral direction”. According to Gramsci (2011b), political society and civil society are in “opposite directions” (FONTANA, 2003, p. 116). The “war of position” embodies several organizations and social groups in complex ideological and cultural conflicts. Gramsci, intelligently, “extended the State concept” (FONTANA, 2003, p. 116), specially, when he talked about:

The confusion between civil society and political society. For it should be remarked that the general notion of State includes elements which need to be referred back to the notion of civil society (in the sense that one might say that State = political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armour of coercion) (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 244).

When, in a specific group or party, subordinates, as the proletariat, who seek deep changes in the bourgeois State, are seeking hegemony, they should use a “war of position”, which is “a long term social organization and cultural influence process” (MAYO, 2007, p. 54). The “historical block, meanwhile, is created through the association of the various social groups within society”8 (MAYO, 2007). Based on that, for Gramsci (2011b), the historic block “is not only founded on the convergence of economic and even political interests, but also on cultural similarities” (COUTINHO, 1999, p. 73).

According to Gramsci (2011c), we should not use a “maneuver/frontal war” (MAYO, 2007, p. 54), although it is greatly effective, especially, when it is “applied to political art” (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 71). It canonly be enforced in two moments: in the first one is when “the immediate economic element (crisis, etc.) is considered a field trap” (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 71). Perhaps this may be the most important element, once the market drives life; the second one would ideologically be “to open a gap to defend the enemy” (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 71). Gramsci pointed out that the effectiveness of a“maneuver war” could break down when:

{…} the most advanced States, where “civil society” has become a very complex structure and one, which is resistant to the catastrophic “incursions” of the immediate economic element (crises, depressions, etc.). The superstructures of civil society are like the trench systems of modern warfare (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 73).

Based on the argument above, Gramsci proposed, “studying ‘in depth’ which elements of civil society correspond to the defensive systems in a war of position” (GRAMSCI, 2011c, p. 73). In this perspective, in order tostudy the elements of civil society and investigate the war of position, we will analyze, in the next section, the intellectual’s role within society. We will also discuss education as a tool to build a new perspective of the world.

4. THE INTELLECTUALS AND EDUCATION

Education was one of Gramsci’s (2011c) main concerns and it was explicit in his political project. For him, in order to transform society, it would be necessary to transform education. His educational project gave special attention to adults training, mainlyreferring to workers. In this regard, Manacorda (2008) and Paolo Nosella (1992) agrees that Il Grido greatly contributed to proletariat’s educational formation. Regarding Il Grido 9 magazine, Manacorda (2008) states:

School policy themes and pedagogical guidelines became more equitable. (Il Grido developed a systematic campaign to culturally and ideologically renew the socialist party), and the concrete initiatives within the educational field followed one another (MANACORDA, 2008: 30).

Il Gridobecame, indeed, an important cultural and educational source for the proletariat. Not in a positivist aspect, but because it was able to build an efficient internal organization freeing workers from the traditional bourgeois intellectuals.

According to Paolo Nosella (1992, p. 27), “{…} the working class did not really understand that increasing production and employment is not always an absolute value. Production is a mean not an end”. (NOSELLA, 1992, p. 27). Based on that, it was necessary to develop a “training project”, therefore, an educational process. This project should help workers to develop a critical reflexion, so they could understand that producing weapons and producing tractors were not the same thing. Therefore, they should “{…} be political active not only to claim wage increase, but also to take part in the national political production” (NOSELLA, 1992, p. 27-28). In this context, workers’ intellectual formation was crucial “{…} to overcome the limits of individual economy (passion-selfish) to maturely introduce themselves in the ethical-political moment” (NOSELLA, 1992, p. 27-28).

It certainly was an intense job that had to be developed with the proletariat, so they could achieve “political-intellectual heterogeneity” (NOSELLA, 1992, p. 29). Nevertheless, once there was a reciprocal education between intellectuals and workers, it would be possible to promote cultural changes toward a proletarian revolution. Gramsci, lastly, defended that education should not be impoverished and it should not stand on common sense. He believed it should start from common sense, but remaining at this level would mean doing the same thing the dominant class had always done. In other words, the education system would remain conservative.

In order to overcome innocence and idealism, Gramsci saw common sense as “a contemptuous attitude to the abstruseness, ingenuities and obscurity of certain forms of scientific and philosophical exposition” (GRAMSCI, 2011a, p. 118). Through common sense, citizens would take the first step toward a new conception of the world, reaching, therefore, people’s intellectual progress.

The position of the philosophy of praxis is the antithesis of the Catholic. The philosophy of praxis does not tend to leave the “simple” in their primitive philosophy of common sense, but rather to lead them to a higher conception of life. If it affirms the need for contact between intellectuals and simple it is not in order to restrict scientific activity and preserve unity at the low level of the masses, but precisely in order to construct an intellectual-moral bloc which can make politically possible the intellectual progress of the mass and not only of small intellectual groups (GRAMSCI, 2011ª, p. 103).

Based on the gnosiology theory, it is necessary to implement a high-level educational system, so workers and intellectuals couldacquire broad knowledge aboutthe current ideology in spite of transforming society. Broadening, creating and changing the conception of the world became, in fact, a reality on L’Ordine Nuovo pages. The paper described Turim’s workers experience as well as the actions they would have to carry out afterwards. The paper provided them instructions in such a way that workers had a project to build a new socialist society, a proletarian revolution, as Gramsci wished. The paper became an extension of the factory itself. They narrated the battles and, at the same time, described the positions and determinations.

Gramsci, Umberto Terracini and Palmiro first published L’Ordine Nuovoon May 19, 1919. It was considered a socialist culture magazine and, therefore, an important source of adult education. It was a medium, in which cultural productions, at that time, were analyzed through the “subaltern” class perspective, once the magazine represented its interests 10 (MAYO, 2007, p. 61).

Education, for Gramsci, is a long process. That is, his educational conception goes beyond school walls, especially when it becomes possible among the working class. Education was a frequent topic not only in Prison Notebooks, but also in the letters he wrote to his wife and to his sister-in-law.

It can be said, therefore, that the idea of educating from the workers’ reality and not from cold and encyclopedic doctrines; the idea of educating for a concrete, historically determined, universal freedom and not for the external authoritarianism emanating from the defense of individualistic and partial freedom, constitute the soul of Gramsci’s educational conception. These principles have already been expressed in his criticisms to the Popular University of Turin and will continually come up until his death. Taking from concrete experience of modern labor is the hallmark of Gramsci’s historicist educational process: in the light of the current productive problem, information from past historical events (Luis Blanc, Eugenio Fornière, the Paris Commune, etc.) make sense and come alive (NOSELLA, 1992: 36).

Indeed, Del Roio (2006) agrees with Nosella (1992). They believe that the proletariat’s educational process starts with their own existence and experiences. This way, it is possible to think about a broader educational ideal, in which the student teaches the master. Thus, the press and, particularly, L’Ordine Nuovo, assume an educational role. Hence, they developed “a political-cultural formation activity” (MANACORDA, 2008, p. 134). The journal became a “cultural hegemony tool” (MANACORDA, 2008, p. 169).

Notwithstanding, as proposed and witnessed in L’Ordine Nuovo, especially in an article published on August 14, 1920, when Gramsci himself spoke about an “editorial coup” (Ordine Nuovo), it was shown that until this date, the paper was only an anthology, an abstract and intellectually poor cultural review. Gramsci, along with his colleagues Terracini and Togliatti, L’Ordine Nuovo’s co-founders, promoted a radical change in the paper’s objectives. Tasca, however, did not agree with them. According to Gramsci, Tasca only wanted to report what a poor and ignorant working class did.

The article we just quoted was published in the weekly L’Ordine Nuovo, n. 7. This edition registered the paper’s great theoretical turn regarding the political relationship between the Internal Committees (and Boards), the Trade Unions and the Party (P.S.I.). In a text published inAugust 1920, Gramsci recalled this turn: “We urged Tigliatti and myself to a redactive coup d’état: the problem of the Internal Commissions has received its proper line explicitly in no. 7 of the magazine. A few nights before I wrote the article, I had exposed Terracini’s central ideas and he agreed; the article was published, with Togliatti’s collaboration, and what we had predicted happened: we, Togliattí and Terracini, were invited to debate in educational circles, in factory assemblies, in internal committees…The problem of the internal commission development became the central problem. It became ​​L’Ordine Nuovo’s ideal, the fundamental problem of the workers’ revolution, that is, the problem of proletarian freedom. The workers loved Ordine Nuovo (this we can affirm with great satisfaction); and why did the workers love Ordine Nuovo? Because in the paper’s articles they had found a part of themselves, the best part of themselves. They felt that Ordine Nuovo’s articles permeated their own spirit of inner search! How can we become free?”How can we become ourselves? Who did not agree with this new theoretical line and stayed away from no. 7, was Tasca who did not collaborate in anyway with this formation (NOSELLA, 2016, p. 72-73).

After the “coup”, L’Ordine Nuovo assumed a new orientation. The concept of education and work became closer, in other words, they established a deep relationship between work and school. Gramsci’s concept regarding factories and school mainly lied under the fact that “Italian workers, for the first time in history, found, in L’Ordine Nuovo’s socialists, determination to materialize, to put into practice, what they had been theoretically discussing for a long time” (ARRIGONI, 1988, p. 74). This way, L’Ordine Nuovo was able to reach the working class and enabled them to look into their own realities inside the factories. That is, the magazine translated the workers own conception of the world and stimulated their desire to acquire knowledge.

The same “New Order” was the instrument used to analyze the cultural productions of that period from the “subaltern” class’ point of view and whose interests the journal had proposed to represent. In fact, through the circles, Gramsci’s factories and press councils supported the relationship between intellectuals and workers, in which the first ones, based on theoretical formation, acted with a directive capacity in regard to the second one, and at the same time, allowed them a certain directive capacity, claiming an active connection of mutual relations, where each teacher is always a student and each student is a teacher11 (SCHETTINI, 2008).

L’Ordine Nuovo presented clear elements of a revolution. First, it highlighted the importance to fight against the ruling class, responsible for establishing an educational system based on idealistic principles. Second, it showed that workers should fight against unions and political parties linked to the bourgeoisie, once they were not able to “promote education as a way to emancipate and organize workers self-education” (DEL ROIO, 2006, p. 313). Undoubtedly, workers education was constantly in debate in the paper. It defended an education for freedom. L’Ordine Nuovo’s educational scope amazed people because it technically introduced cultural and humanist knowledge and demonstrated that “the economical and moral problems caused by the war could only find a solution on workers international solidarity” (NOSELLA, 1992, p. 39).

Intellectuals believed that once workers were trained and educated, they, somehow, wouldbe able to manage their own factories. It would be possible if there were “a hierarchical-cultural organization in order to build a great national school able to reach workers in all levels” (NOSELLA, 1992, p. 39).

However, it was not Gramsci’s intention to keep the old L’Ordine’s group in the ICP, but to build a new managing group, able to create a new “education system” suitable to their conditions. This group ought to educate itself, overcoming thereligious spirit, and at the same time, it should be able to assimilate the best expression of culture and political action generated within the working class itself. In addition to self-educating, the educator should continue to be educated by the learner. Thus, and only then, the regressive risks, from the cultural and political point of view, present in Bordiga and Tasca’s different positions, could be overcome in a new theoretical synthesis (DEL ROIO, 2006, p. 313).

It was in this perspective thatBordiga and Tasca saw a gap between popular masses and intellectuals and developed the conceprt of interchangeable knowledge. They “did not realize that the teacher could and must be taught by the student” (DEL ROIO, 2006, p. 319). From this frame, in the next topic, we will discuss the traditional as well as the organic intellectual’srole. We will analyze the organic intellectual’s role within society and in the world of interchangeable education.

5. THE INTELLECTUAL’S ROLE

There is, in fact, an attempt to demystify the intellectuals’ role and to highlight their true and adequate performance in society. Looking at it from Gramsci’s perspective as well as discussed in L’Ordine Nuovo’s pages, we can see the organic intellectual as an alternative to the traditional one. Gramsci’s approach enables us to analyze the traditional intellectual’s role in order to think about an organic intellectual able to develop a critical awareness within his/her cultural group.

What are the “maximum” limits of acceptance of the term “intellectual”? Can one find a unitary criterion to characterize equally all the diverse and disparate activities of intellectuals and to distinguish these at the same time and in an essential way from the activities of other social groupings? The most widespread error of method seems to me that of having looked for this criterion of distinction in the intrinsic nature of intellectual activities, rather than in the assemble of the systems of relations in which these activities (and therefore the intellectual groups who personify them) have their place within the general complex of social relations.

Gramsci tried to demonstrate that society should see intellectuals according to their social relations and not based on what they enforce as professionals. Intellectuals’ formation depends on their links with the social groups they represent. This is, indeed, the most important aspect. These intellectuals “serve” dominant groups and it is through this process that they assimilate the current ideology. Thus, an intellectual’s profile is based on his/her group’s cultural level as well as on his/her own development. It determines not only quantitative characteristics, but alsoespecially qualitative aspects.

According to Gramsci (2011b), traditional intellectuals play two main roles in bourgeois society: the first one is to establish a consensus among subordinates as a way to make them submissive to the ruling class; and the second one is to ensure “state coercion” on insubordinate groups during crisis.

Gramsci not only observed their intellectual lives, but he also analyzed what an active intellectual experiences. In fact, an organic intellectual, as Gramsci (1968) called, works creatively as part of the society he/she lives in. The organic intellectual engages in his/her own reality, he/she is attentive to cultural, political and work related transformations (SEMERARO, 2006).

The mode of being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in eloquence, which is an exterior and momentary mover of feelings and passions, but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organizer, “permanent persuader” and not just a simple orator (but superior at the same time to the abstract mathematical spirit); from technique-as-work one proceeds to technique-as-science and to the humanistic conception of history, without which one remains “specialized” and does not become “directive”(specialized and political) (GRAMSCI, 2011b, p.53).

The intellectual should not be connected to phenomenons apart and far away from the real world. He should not be stuck to abstractions that may not offer concrete solutions to the current social challenges. Being “separated” regards to an intellectual traditionalism that behaves in a “superior” way towards subordinated classes.

In fact, Gramsci advanced the concept of intellectual giving more attention to popular knowledge. He focused on organic characteristics in order to characterize an intellectual as current and active. Hence, when Gramsci (1968) said “all men are intellectuals, one could therefore say: but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals” (GRAMSCI, 1968, p. 36), he meant that even though someone performs physical work, he/she is using rationality. For him, everyone may contribute to develop knowledge and society, because there is an exchange of knowledge among people, workers and intellectuals.

In this context, we can clearly see the importance of educating and preparing mass educators and the revolutionary party. In order to structure a united front, the party should subtract the socialist’s base of influence in the working class, disorganizing this union, which would demand organic capacity in the factory and in the union, that is, intellectual and organizational capacity. The mechanistic and positivist view of the bourgeoisie, which permeated the working class, should be faced. For this, a growing mass of working class organic intellectuals would have to be closely linked to the labor process, it would be necessary to enforce the necessary social control of production, the foundation of the revolutionary goal (DEL ROIO, 2006, p. 326).

Another important point is what the intellectual has to offer. At this point, the focus is on what is traditionally known as teaching, but the intellectual actually legitimates the State and the bourgeois. The intellectual should overcome the idea that he/she is the only one who has knowledge to teach. Gramsci, in fact, hoped that intellectuals were more activelyinvolved in people’s reality instead of giving speeches or elaborating great thoughts. He expected them to work with the communities in order to build a new civil society. The intellectual’s contribution is also a moral issue because a social reform isan intellectual and moral revolution. In civil society (such as the press, the church, the school, the unions, etc.) as well as in political parties we should think about freedom and consciousness, especially a critical consciousness to guide our everyday actions.

Organic intellectuals, if they are homogenous to the class / group, can mediate the ideological and political unity of the existing hegemony. On the other hand, if they are organic to the subordinated group or class that aspires to take power, they may engage in the war of position that allows them to make the necessary alliances to succeed. If they are organic to a subordinated group, it is their mission to contribute to an “intellectual and moral reform”, which Gramsci felt was necessary and urgent to establish the foundations of a fair society12 (SCHETTINI, 2008, p. 09).

Accurately, Semearo (2006) points that “the interconnection between the labor structure, the scientific universe, the humanities and the political views built together, according to Gramsci, a new educational principle and the new organic intellectual basis” (SEMERARO, 2006, p. 378). This connection would lead to an intellectual and moral reform, which Gramsci believed to be connected to the entire social life. Hence, any economic and social-political plan would be directly related to a moral and intellectual reform.

Indeed, L’Ordine Nuovo became a privileged space for knowledge exchange. Its intellectuals made a great effort to teach Factory Councils, once on a simultaneous educational movement, intellectuals started to learn with workers. Gramsci believed that the union of workers, the subordinated class and peasants was in the heart of the revolutionary process.

In order to achieve hegemony, the working class would need to organize itself in spite of becoming the leading class. This is the reason why political parties and organic intellectuals are so important. Meanwhile, to build a party Gramsci enumerated three elements:

{…} for a party to exist, three fundamental elements (threegroups of elements) have to converge: 1). A mass element, composed of ordinary, average men, whoseparticipation takes the form of discipline and loyalty, rather than anycreative spirit or organizational ability. {…} 2) The principal cohesive element, which centralizes nationally and renders effective and powerful a complex of forces, which left to themselves, would count for little or nothing. This element is endowed with great cohesive, centralizing and disciplinary powers; also—and indeed this is perhaps the basis for the others—with the power of innovation {…} 3) an intermediate element, which articulates the first element with the second and maintains contact between them, not only physically but also morally and intellectually (GRAMSCI, 1968, p. 317).

Notwithstanding, these three elements would have to be perfectly articulated, so the party could remain integrated and articulated. He considered cohesion to be the most important element, the diffusion principle, responsible for elaborating issues. It would supposedly work as a bridge, linking the first and the second principles enumerated above. It woud be responsible for circulating and publicizing the information discussed. In Gramsci’s view, a political party is formed according to this organizational and articulation system, in which each individual overcomes his/her particular historical moment. Each citizen should take into account his/her own daily job as well as other activities and these, consecutively, would have a national and international scope (GRAMSCI, 1968).

6. CONCLUSION

This article aimed to comprehend Gramsci’s analysis on how periodicals, and more specifically journals, played an important role in promoting a moral and intellectual reform. Therefore, Gramsci, tried to understand their influence as an educational medium. According to him, each periodical has its own scope, itsown-targeted readers, each one tries to reach a specific group, but they all aim to develop a cultural architecture, a new conception of the world. In fact, the journals became tools to disseminate a new culture, new ideas and to conquer hegemony.

The journals became essential elements in the proletariat’s educational process, especially, L’Ordine Nuovo and Il Grido. These two publications represented Gramsci’s experience as an organic intellectual. The periodicals became “battle fields” for what the author called wars of position, a political and cultural organizational process.

Thus, the journals’ pages represented an educational exchange between intellectuals and workers. In this view, the students were able to teach their masters, once the second ones were not always able to understand their subordinates’ reality. The educational principle enabled Turim’s proletarians to move from common sense to critical sense. They could understand their own reality and the mechanisms used by the ruling class to maintain the bourgeois state. We can say that Gramsci’s experiences influenced a moral and cultural reform that contributed to improve workers’ educational and intellectual skills.

The educational principle affected workers as well as organic intellectuals. Intellectuals learned aboutworkers’reality, once this method overcame traditional intellectual’s metaphysical and alienating notions that aimed to maintain the ruling class’ ideology. Intellectuals and proletarians (the people) assumed, then, a new perspective. They assumed a protagonist role and they were intellectually capable of seeing capitalist society and proposing a moral and intellectual reform in order to acquire hegemony through a passive revolution.

REFERENCES

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1Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was born in Ales, Sardinia. He was an Italian intellectual, a political activist, a journalist and one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party. Gramsci was a brilliant student. He studied Literature at the University of Turin, with a scholarship that he obtained in a contest. He was Secretary General of the Communist Party and a Parliamentary. He was arrested by a special fascist court and, in prison, he wrote his most important work Prison Notebooks – published in six volumes..

2The expression “Sardinian thinker” refers to the Sardinian island, in Italy, where Gramsci was born (REIS, 2014).

3On April 1919, along with Angelo Tasca, Palmiro Togliatti and Umberto Terracini, Gramsci launched, in Turin, a weekly cultural review (COUTINHO, 1999, p. 24).

4Gramsci collaborated with the newspapers: Il Grido del Popolo, L’Avanti and mainly L’Ordine Nuovo (REIS, 2014).

5“It became the central problem, it became L’Ordine Nuovo’s ideal (…) it became for us and for all those who followed us, the newspaper of the factory councils “ (ARRIGONI, 1988, p. 74).

6“To formulate more emancipatory popular culture elements in order to create a new proletarian culture” (MAYO, 2007, p. 61).

7“For Gramsci, the space in which hegemony can be challenged is the broad territory that maintains it. In other words, civil society is seen as a space for conflict. He argued that the State, as it really is, is supported by civil society’s institutions. It can not be confronted by those who aspire to transform it, those who aim to develop a new social relations system. Gramsci reffers to a “war of maneuver / front”. In his view, much of the State transformation process and its coercive apparatus must precede and not try to take power. People who work toward social transformation must engage in a “war of position,” a social organization and a broad-based cultural influence process. This process should translate political views into a revolutionary strategy, based precisely on a “war of maneuver”and the frontal attack to the “war of position”. It should be adequated to Western conditions, where the exercise of hegemony is entrusted to the achievement of a consensus in all the great articulations of civil society” (SCHETTINI, 2008, p. 05)

8“a long term social organization and cultural influence process” (MAYO, 2007, p. 54).

9Gramsci was a collaborator in the newspapers Il Grido del Popolo, L’Avanti and mainly L’Ordine Nuovo (REIS, 2014).

24Gramsci, Umberto Terracini and Palmiro first published L’Ordine Nuovoon May 19, 1919. It was considered a socialist culture magazine and, therefore, an important source of adult education. It was a medium, in which cultural productions, at that time, were analyzed through the “subaltern” class perspective, once the magazine represented its interests “ (MAYO, 2007, p. 61).

10“The same “New Order” was the instrument used to analyze the cultural productions of that period from the “subaltern” class’ point of view and whose interests the journal had proposed to represent. In fact, through the circles, Gramsci’s factories and press councils supported the relationship between intellectuals and workers, in which the first ones, based on theoretical formation, acted with a directive capacity in regard to the second one, and at the same time, allowed them a certain directive capacity, claiming an active connection of mutual relations, where each teacher is always a student and each student is a teacher” (SCHETTINI, 2008, p. 12-13).

11“Organic intellectuals, if they are homogenous to the class / group, can mediate the ideological and political unity of the existing hegemony. On the other hand, if they are organic to the subordinated group or class that aspires to take power, they may engage in the war of position that allows them to make the necessary alliances to succeed. If they are organic to a subordinated group, it is their mission to contribute to an “intellectual and moral reform”, which Gramsci felt was necessary and urgent to establish the foundations of a fair society” (SCHETTINI, 2008, p. 09).

Received: April 20, 2015; Accepted: December 26, 2017

Contact: Egberto Pereira dos Reis, Av. José Cecílio Ribeiro, 308, Residencial Nova Floresta, Guaxupé|Minas Gerais|Brazil , ZIP CODE 37.800-000

*

PhD in Education and has a Master’s degree in Philosophy. Professor and Coordinator at the Philosophy Department, Centro Universitário da Fundação Educacional (UNIFEG), Guaxupé, MG; Professor at Fundação Universitária Vida Cristã (Funvic), Mococa, São Paulo. E-mail:<egberto@libero.it>.

**

PhD in Education, professor at the Education Department, Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCAR).Email:<josecarlos@rothen.pro.br>; site:<www.rothen.pro.br>.

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