Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Nini Rosso Il Silenzio 1965 - Lucio Colletti - A Marxist House of Cards

Evocation - remembering the sound of IL Silenzio of Democracy and Class Struggle Editor's first visit to Italy and his discovery of Italian Communism

We heard Il Silencio where ever we went in Italy in 1965

Lucio Colletti - A Marxist House of Cards by Nickglais

This is short article I wrote on the death of Lucio Colletti in 2001 when I was studying the philosophic roots of revisionism. I wrote another article on Roger Garaudy here at the same time. I trust some comrades may find these articles useful.


Lucio Colletti was a bright young comrade in the Italian Communist Party and between 1956 and 1962 he was one of the editors of "Societa" the Italian Communist Party's Cultural journal and a follower of the views of Galvano Della Volpe.

Gallvano Della Volpe did not think much of dialectics and sought to replace it with his own scientific deductive method and was highly critical of Hegel. 

This is an old story and this anti dialectical thinking of people like Della Volpe which was similar to Bogdanov's thinking which forced Lenin to defend the materialist dialectic in Materialism and Empiro-Criticism..

Gallvano Della Volpe's hostility to Hegel was to mark the card of Lucio Colleti who continued his anti Hegelian fight all his life.

There is a lot in Hegel to combat as well as to retain and Hegelianisers have done harm to the communist movement especially the early Luckacs in" History and Class Consciousness,"and the bourgeois left of the Frankfurt School.

However the fight Lucio Colletti fought was to replace the Marxist theory of knowledge with the Kantian one bypassing the advance that Hegel had made over Kant as far as the theory of knowledge was concerned.

What Marxism should retain from Hegel was his advances over Kant .. but it was precisely this that Colletti wanted to jettison.

Hegel contested Kant's absolute distinction between the thing in itself and the thing for us . Reality in Hegel is a unified whole in which the objective and subjective sides are not simply disjoined from each other but form a unity. The objective world of things can be truly known

Hegel also refused to acknowledge any irremovable opposition between reason and reality or provide any limit to the power or province of reason, he said what is real is rational and what is rational is real.

Whereas Kant held that the raw material of experience was unformed, while perfectly pure forms existed in sensibility and the mind.

Hegel maintained that there was no content without form and no form without some specific content. The truth is concrete.

For Kant, contradiction existed only between propositions, it was purely mental.

Hegel insisited on the univerality and objectivity of contradiction.

Hegel's objective idealism had the merit of overcoming the subjectivism, dualism and formalism of Kants theory of knowledge.

Hegel resolved the the contradiction between the objective and subjective elements of experience that Kant was unable to overcome. Marxism did and can derive more from his logic and epistemology than those of Kant.

In 1961 Illyenkov a soviet philosopher who understood the importance of Hegel's advances over Kant in the theory of knowledge was published in Italy for the first time and instead of studying him Colletti abused him saying he relied on "Hegelian Rests".

Colletti's road back to Kant is extremely well worn and will be traversed again and again if Marxists are too Hegelophobic. Marxists, Hegelians and Kantians have different theories of knowledge and understanding the advances and limitations of Hegel's thought is essential to understanding Marxism.

The road of Kant led Colletti out of the communist movement to the Italian Socialist Party and ultimately to be a senator for Silvio Berlesconi's Forza Italia until his death in 2001.

I write this as a warning to younger comrades not to build a Marxism based on Kant as it is a house of cards.

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