By Antonio Michel de Jesus Miranda

Catholic University of Pernambuco

Recife, PE, Brazil

Catalographic card: LOLE, Ana; et al. Estado e vontade coletiva em Gramsci (orgs.). Rio de Janeiro: Mórula, 2018.


The manuscripts compiled in the book Estado e vontade coletiva em Gramsci were be organized in dossers thematic and published, in 2017, in two journals, Movimento-revista de educacão, of Fluminense Federal University, and O Social em Questão, of Catholic Pontifical University (PUC-RJ), by 80 years since Gramsci’s death and the October Revolution 100 years on, organized by Ana Lole, Giovanni Semeraro e Percival Tavares da Silva, all PhD, college professors of Faculty of Education of Fluminense Federal University (UFF) and members of Core for Studies and Research in Philosophy, Politics and Education (NuFIPE/UFF). Rene José Trentin Silveira, professor of Faculty of Education of State University of Campinas (UINCAMP), had prefaced the book. It proposes reflections in search of an effective Brazilian democracy, from eleven chapters and an interview.

In Gramsci's historical block: structure, hegemony, and dialectical interactions, by Derek Boothman – University of Bologna – translated by Nicholas Davies, we find the indication of similarities with the elements of the Historical Block. Through the analysis of Prison Notebooks 10 and 13, the author reflects on the dynamic connection between all the different spheres of human activity (p. 25), showing that there is a temporal dynamism, common to the social totality – historically, determined – and to the historical block. It is worth remembering that for Gramsci, the historical block is the set of these dynamic and historically determined relations whose internal articulation is revealed by aspects of the dialectic and the concept of “unity of opposites”. Finally, the complex lexicon of Gramsci is analysed, in the “exploration of the dialectic” and, starting from the understanding of the unitary forces between theory and practice, which historically move the Historical Block, the author evokes a new block, aware of these forces, “without internal contradictions” (p. 39).

In State and civil society and the relations between the public and the private in Brazil: reflections from the thought of Antonio Gramsci, Ana Lole and Inez Stampa, through the Gramscian concept of State and Civil society, elucidate the private logic. For Hegel, Civil society is an economic, legal and administrative system in the private and not a collective interest, leaving the State to universalization, Marx says that this dynamic is difficult, and the State is an “executive committee” of the bourgeoisie, at the service of oppression and with pseudo interest universal. From Marx and Hegel, one arrives at Gramsci, defining Civil society as “the central organizing principle of socialist theory” (p. 46). Thus, the State is the unity between the civil and the political and for the achievement of human and political emancipation, the arena is Civil society, which in the face of contemporaneity, has been understood as a “third sector”, from a privatized perspective coined in capitalism, contrary to what was proposed by Gramsci.

Gramsci and the October Revolution, by Guido Liguori, president of the International Gramsci Society Italy, and translation by Eduardo Granja Coutinho, gives Gramsci an intellectual turn, starting from the Revolution, as coined in a Marxism with which he agreed. His intellectual maturation is presented, in a critique of a mature thought, given in a post-Revolution moment, without losing his predilection for subjectivity, but he assumes himself Marxist, in a historical-social thought, responsible for freeing him from “idealistic incrustations and spiritualists who conditioned him “(p. 74). Already in prison, there is a new maturation, called “intellectual and moral reform”, revolutionizing the concept of revolution. The revolutionary will in Marx and Lenin had not been replaced, but Gramsci argued that the need for a thorough historical and social analysis of the terrain, which developed the class struggle, was added (p. 77).

In Notes from Gramasci's reflection on the Russian Revolution, Anita Helena Schlesener, Doctor in History, points out the importance of the Revolution for the history and democracy of the 1917 Russian working class, something” that we, the poor westerners, domesticated by bourgeois ideology , we have difficulties in understanding and explaining “(p. 84). It searches the social, political and economic context of the time, capable of starting such a movement, headed by Lenin and Trotsky, seen by Gramsci as authentic, with universal interests, giving workers control of their lives and jobs, a support of the revolutionary proletarian Russian, to boost, to invigorate, to emancipate the class. Appropriating the revolution, Gramsci intensified the incentives to the Italian workers' movement, regarding the understanding of the set of power relations of which they are part, so that they know how to control what their rulers impose on them.

Sérgio Miguel Tucartto, PhD in Education, in his text Gramsci: education and collective will discuss education and the collective will in Gramsci, placing them to praxi and as a political strategy for hegemony. Based on the relations of factory workers, the author establishes links for the understanding of the educational dimension, through the participation of the worker in cultural associations. Education and collective will are discussed, based on the pedagogical relationship in the philosophy of praxis, which enables us to think of reality as a movement towards the future (p. 109), an education in terms of ideologies, capable of justifying and consolidating the historical process. Through the categorization of philosophy of praxis, education and historically established relationships, the will transcends itself and passes to the common interest, that is, it passes to a general will, understood by collective will.

Political and pedagogical challenges and tensions in Antonio Gramsci, by Sebastián Gómez, translated by the Doctor in Education Rodrigo de Sá Netto, brings Gramsci political-educational, based on hegemony, even without having him as a pedagogical theory, drawing on the prison writings and juveniles. It reveals the school as an apparatus of state hegemony that, in the name of a supposed democracy, condemns the function of leaders to a few and to the masses, instrumentalism, eternalizing the social division of labor. An ideal type of teacher is explained, in social care, averse to the reproduction of dominant interests. The pedagogical sense in Gramsci, resides when the political-educational relations dynamize another conception of the world and break the devices of hegemony. Like Marx, Gramsci proposed an omnilateral, unique school, with a general humanistic (disinterested) and professional culture (without dualities), without restricting the cultural collection.

The praxis of the political formation of the popular classes, by Percival Tavares da Silva, discusses the political-educational as an emancipatory action, in his experiences in Baixada Fluminense, Grande Rio - RJ. It recalls the militancy of the Popular Church of Nova Iguaçu, during the Military Dictatorship and in view of the market logic that entered Brazil. According to the author, the Diocese has been investing in social formation projects (popular political education), in partnership with the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), with community leaders, with a view to apprehending knowledge and overthrowing co-optation practices. This happens through the School of Political Formation, whose methodological key is the “inventory of praxis and the political culture of those enrolled, standing out for its theoretical and practical articulation” (p. 155). The author evokes Gramsci and Paulo Freire as the curricular basis of the Training School, articulating the universal knowledge of praxis and the culture of those enrolled.

The eighth chapter, entitled Gramsci, Virgílio de Pasolini?, by Angelo D'Orsi, del Dipartimento di Studi Storici / Universitá di Torino, Italy, translated by Eduardo Granja Coutinho, and the ninth Gramsci's ashes: Pasolini and the crisis of the will revolutionary, by Eduardo Granja Coutinho, Doctor in Communication, discuss the poem “As ashes de Gramsci”, by Pasolini, in the midst of the Italian intellectual crisis, its relationship with communism and its similarity as the poet's passion and ideology to theory and Sardinian ideology. The poem is understood in the apprehension of the political-social context of the time, with the overthrow of the anti-fascist revolutionary desire and of a political project theoretically founded on Gramsci, as well as of the poet's passions when launching countless metaphors, among them, of a will collective reduced to ashes. The pessimistic poem excites the overcoming of a mechanistic, optimistic and uncritical Marxism. The authors discuss the revolutionary desire that “succumbs to the tomb”, but which emerges in the “conscious populism” of Pasolini's verses.

The chapter Renaissance and reform in Quardeni del cárcere: the political reading of Antonio Gramsci de Marcos Del Roio, Doctor of Political Science, and Geraldo Magella Neres, Doctor of Social Sciences, sees Renaissance and Reformation as important categories in Gramsci. It is clarified that although the terms have historical fame, they take on different meanings in Gramsci: The Renaissance, leads to a formally elaborated elitist culture, distant from the masses. While The Reformation, although little elaborated, is linked to the interests of the masses. These categories are compared in order to explain Italian historical development, far from a collective will. After all, even though the Renaissance was progressive in Western Europe, it had been regressive in Italy, which although it forged a richly elaborated culture, was nevertheless distant from the masses, of a purely elitist character. Finally, a dialectic between these categories is proposed as ideal for articulating the mass culture, but with a high intellectuality.

From Giovanni Semeraro, one of the organizers of the work, the text Gramsci and religion: a reading from Latin America, analyses Gramsci's proposals about religion as a human and anti-emancipatory imagination. Socialism, based on critical thinking, places it on a denunciative level, that is, maintaining the subalternities of the classes. Gramsci rejects the Catholic Church, considered as hegemonic and ideologically allied with the elite. However, he recognized the historical and intellectual importance of Christianity, which in modern times had lost its proximity to the people. On Latin America, the “Liberation Theology” have recovered – inspired by Marxism – which, in the middle of these lands, from 1960, the Church yearns, struggles, and organizes against the dominant hegemony. Contrasts are portrayed between what Gramsci proposed and the Christianity he liberates, which, at times, aspire intertwine.

Concluding the book, Gramsci's reception in Brazilian education: interview with Dermeval Saviani, granted to Percival Tavares da Silva, by e-mail and previously published in the Movimento-revista de educação, in 2017, mentions Saviani as a pioneer of Gramsci in stricto sensu studies in Brazil. Although he only met him through the initiative of the first doctoral class in Education at PUC-SP, the Sardinian philosopher is captive in his research and pedagogical predilection that contemplates materialism-dialectic-historical, that is, a “historical-dialectic theory “Of education in which historical-critical pedagogy, based on Marx's political economy method, has social practice (the concrete situation) as the starting point and the end point of educational practice” (p. 249). Saviani sees in Gramsci, the unitary school as a way out of the broken pedagogy in Brazil.

The work achieves what its organizers were willing to do: instigate reflections in search of a Brazilian State built in a democracy of, and for the people. However, in our contemporary Brazil, the elites, in the name of a false democracy, insist on being hegemonic. The spectacular way of distributing the chapters throughout the work stands out, so that one complemented the other and brought to its reader the delight in each discussion and the heating of the flame that perhaps was exactly felt by the first readers of Pasolini in “ Gramsci's ashes “, who in fact have understood the poem. Nowadays nationally, this book review helps us to understand Brazil, not wrapped in ashes. That when in our chest, due to so much horror, the desire for us, of the masses, to seize the intellectual saber, so that the project we know would fail the opposite to the subordinate classes, was already cooling, frozen in our hearts.


LOLE, Ana; et al. (Orgs.). State and collective will in Antonio Gramsci. Rio de Janeiro: Mórula, 2018.


ANTONIO MICHEL DE JESUS DE OLIVEIRA MIRANDA - Deaf Professor. He holds a master’s degree, is a PhD student in Religious Sciences, at the Catholic University of Pernambuco. Member of the Research Group “Transdisciplinary Studies in Social History”, UNICAP, and is coordinator of postgraduate studies in Teaching Religious Teaching – FAESPA, and professor of the effective staff of the municipal departments of Buriti dos Lopes, PI and Tutoia, MA.


Received: 10.08.2020

Accepted: 13.10.2020