The Prisms of Gramsci

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Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004225824

The Political Formula of the United Front

Marcos Del Roio, UNESP (campus of Marilia)

In this work, Marcos Del Roio analyses Gramsci’s pre-prison political-theoretical activity in light of a radical thesis: that throughout Gramsci’s life we see a total continuity between his political praxis and his philosophical reflection. That is not to ignore the changes, turns, and even fractures in the Sardinian communist’s thinking across his brief but rich existence. On the contrary. Reading Gramsci, we find key ideas that set the rhythm of all of his thought, at least from the time of the Turin factory councils up till the writing of his final notebooks. These ideas also established the essential identity of his thinking, throughout (and over and above) the diversity of its manifestations: just as we typically find in all great thinkers. This book’s title, referring to the metaphor of a ray of light passing through a prism, expresses this counterpoint between identity and diversity. The main category we find in the subtitle speaks to this same problematic, considered in the context of Gramsci’s political action and the radical Leninism that guided him in his victorious battle with Bordiga: the ‘united front’. This political formula was coined in Germany in 1921 and was central to the late Lenin’s thinking, and in this work Del Roio shows its various different interpretations as the basis for analysing Gramsci’s own position in this regard.

Biographical note

Marcos Del Roio, PhD in Political Science at FFLCH-USP, is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Philosophy and Sciences at UNESP (campus of Marilia), where he focuses primarily on the areas of Political Theory of Socialism and Worker Policy. He has published books, book chapters, and articles in Brazil and abroad. He is the editor of the journal Novos Rumos, and director of the Astrojildo Pereira Institute.


Scholars and activists interested in the development of Gramsci’s thinking and/or the development of United Front politics during the 1930s and the rise of German fascism.

Table of contents

Acronym List
Foreword: Identity and diversity in Gramsci’s thought by Giorgio Baratta

1. War, Revolution and the Communist Split in Gramsci
2. The Paradox between Communist Split and United Front
3. Gramsci’s View of the Communist Refoundation and the United Front
4. The Strategy of the Anti-Fascist United Front