Gramsci: Unions and councils

Gramsci: Unions and councils

A new translation of Antonio Gramsci’s article, Unions and Councils, from 1919.


The leaders of the organization do not notice this deep and widespread crisis. The more it clearly appears that the working class is not organized in forms corresponding to its real historical structure, the more it happens that the working class is not lined up in a configuration which incessantly adapts itself to laws which govern the intimate process of real historical development of the class itself; the more these leaders persist in their blindness and force themselves to “juridically” settle dissent and conflicts. Eminently bureaucratic spirits, they believe that an objective condition, rooted in the psychology which is developed in the living experiences of the factory, can be overcome with a discourse which moves feelings, and with an order of the day unanimously voted in an assembly made ugly by hubbub and oratorical meanderings. Today they force themselves to “rise to the height of the times” and, as if to demonstrate that they are also capable of “hard thinking,” refashion the old and worn-out union ideologies, tediously insisting on relations of identity between the soviet and the union, tediously insisting on affirming that the present system of union organization constitutes the system of forces in which the dictatorship of the proletariat must be made flesh.


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