Published in 1969 by the Institute for Workers’ Control, Antonio Gramsci’s Soviets in Italy opens with a study of workers’ democracy. Gramsci writes: “An urgent problem today faces every socialist with a lively sense of the historical responsibility on the working class and on the Party which represents the critical and active consciousness of the mission of the class.” He continues: “The aim of this article is to stimulate thought and action. It is an invitation to the best and most conscious workers to reflect on the problem and collaborate – each in the sphere of his own competence and activity – towards its solution … Only common solidarity in a work of clarification, persuasion and mutual education will produce concrete, constructive action.”
This pamphlet and Gramsci’s wider writings have an important influence on and, half a century ago, upon the work of the Institute for Workers’ Control. Ken Coates, from the IWC, heralded Gramsci as ‘The greatest Marxist this century’ (Labour Weekly, July 14 1978).
Reproduced by kind permission of New Left Review
IWC Pamphlet Series No.11