Home > Vol 6, No 11 (2017): 155-189 > Doğan
The Intellectual Movement in Turkey Through Gramsci and Luxemburg

The Intellectual Movement in Turkey Through Gramsci and Luxemburg.

El movimiento intelectual en Turquía a través de Gramsci y Luxemburgo.

Sevgi Doğan

Universidad de Pisa, Italia

Abstract A petition signed by Turkish and Kurdish intellectuals denouncing the attacks in South East of Turkey and demanding a return to peace allows to question how this intellectual movement can be evaluated as a political action and/or a form of resistance. Here I will try to analyze it from two different aspects: 1) the role of intellectuals leading social change; 2) the form of this movement. The first aspect is associated with the relation of theory to praxis. The questions are: is the role of intellectuals in society only educative or pedagogical? Or can they also play the role of directors, organizers, and illuminators of larger groups? Regarding the second aspect, which brings us to the form of resistance, we should ask whether the movement led by this petition is spontaneous or organizational. For this purpose, firstly, I will use Antonio Gramsci's theory of intellectuals. In the Prison Notebooks. Gramsci considers the problem not only as a cultural problem but as one directly linked to the concept of hegemony, praxis, and ideology. I will concentrate on some paragraphs in his fourth (§ 33, §49, §51), twelfth (§1, §3), and eleventh (§12) Notebooks. Secondly, I will try to analyze this movement through Luxemburg’s concept of spontaneity and her understanding of consciousness especially by the use of Mass Strike and Stagnation and Progress of Marxism.

Key words Hegemony; Spontaneity; Organization; Theory; Praxis, Consciousness..

Resumen Una petición de firmas por parte de intelectuales turcos y kurdos denunciando ataques en el sudeste de Turquía y que, además, solicitaban un retorno a la paz, abre la problemática de si este movimiento “intelectual” puede ser evaluado y estudiado como una acción política o bien como una forma de resistencia en contra de un régimen autoritario. En ese sentido, intentaré analizar este punto a través de dos dimensiones: 1) el papel de los intelectuales que lideran el cambio social; 2) la forma de este movimiento. En relación al primer aspecto, el vínculo entre la teoría y la praxis es lo que más importa. En este punto, además, las preguntas centrales son: ¿el papel de los intelectuales en la sociedad es solamente educativo o pedagógico? ¿O pueden también desempeñar el papel de directores, organizadores e iluminadores de grupos más grandes? En segundo lugar, debemos preguntarnos si el movimiento expresado en esta petición es espontáneo u organizativo, lo que nos dirige a las formas de resistencia. En este artículo, para vincular estas dimensiones, utilizaré los lineamientos de Antonio Gramsci sobre el papel de los intelectuales. Gramsci, cuando analiza estas problemáticas en sus Quaderni, no solo lo considera un problema de cultura, sino también un problema relacionado con los conceptos de “hegemonía”, “praxis” e “ideología”. Me concentraré, primeramente, en algunos párrafos de su cuarto (Q4, § 33, §49, §51), duodécimo (Q12, §1, §3) y undécimo (Q11, §12) Quaderni. En segundo lugar, analizaré este movimiento a través del concepto «espontaneidad» formulado por Rosa Luxemburgo en Mass Strike y Stagnation and Progress of Marxism.

palabras clave Hegemonía; Espontaneidad; Organización; Teoría; Praxis; Conciencia.

Recibidoreceived 24-09-2017

Aprobadoapproved 22-11-2017

Publicadopublished 13-12-2017

Nota del autor

Sevgi Doğan , Departamento de Civilización y Formas de Conocimiento, Universidad de Pisa, Italia.

Correo electrónico: sevgidogan79@gmail.com. | ORCID: 0000-0002-5220-5847

Las Torres de Lucca, Nro. 11, Julio-Diciembre 2017, pp. 155-189 . ISSN-e 2255-3827.

Iustum enim est bellum quibus necessarium, et pia arma ubi nulla nisi in armis spes est.

(Titus Livius, IX, I)1

I believe there is a continuity between the philosophical and political position of Rosa Luxemburg and Antonio Gramsci, two great Marxian theorists. Theoretically criticizing Marxist philosophy, both philosophers try to improve it and fight politically for the sake of what they believe. It is easy to find some philosophical continuous elements such as the consideration and evaluation of culture, ideology and hegemony in Luxemburg’s “Stagnation and Progress of Marxism” (1940a) and Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks.2 But Luxemburg does not elaborate these concepts as much as Gramsci does. Obviously, it is not a new perspective on these prominent Marxist thinkers. Luciano Amodio (1986) claims that “si può dire che sia cronologicamente sia ideologicamente Gramsci cominci dove è terminate —in conseguenza del suo assassinio— l’opera di Rosa Luxemburg” (p. 83).3

In this article, I will try to elaborate on the current problem of the intellectual through their philosophies. The main questions are: what is the fundamental role of intellectuals in a social movement? Luxemburg’s idea on the party and intellectual or the bearer of consciousness will illuminate our question. What is the relationship between the mass and proletarian education? Following Gramsci, Said considers that the role of the intellectual is to disturb the status quo as an outsider and amateur (1996, p. x, 1995, p. 10). In this regard, Said (1996), in some sense, refers to the Marxian definition of ideology and determines the task of intellectuals as follows: “One task of the intellectual is the effort to break down the stereotypes and reductive categories that are so limiting to human thought and communication” (p. xi). Another thinker, Noam Chomsky (1967), makes a similar definition about the role of intellectual in society and writes that “intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions”. The task of intellectual throws off ideology’s mask, which is for Marx just illusion and lays bare the “reality and truth of appearances”. In this point, a group of intellectuals in Turkey tries to disclose the truth hidden under the appearances. They try to realize their theory into praxis. On the one hand, academics are professionals in their special fields who have a function, role, and vocation in society which lead them to be included in the practical bureaucratic activities which are carried out mechanically. On the other hand, they have the opportunity to produce theories and engage in mental activities which permit them to liberate themselves from the mechanical ones.

The longstanding problem of intellectuals continues puzzling contemporary scholars. It is an unending discussion whether intellectuals belong to a class or if they constitute one in themselves. There have always been intellectuals but particularly with the emergence of industrial societies, the definition of intellectuals extends and becomes composed of not just writers, philosophers, artists, but also of different professionals. This definition of intellectuals can be found in Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks. When we make a profound investigation on the discussions and analyses about the definition, responsibility, and role of intellectuals, we encounter many articles and books written especially during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. The general discussion revolves around the idea that both the definition and the form of intellectuals have changed. According to these researches, the traditional idea of intellectuals does not exist anymore. Many researches after the 1960s are generally based on the Gramscian understanding of the intellectual. Until the emergence of the industrial society, the practice of intellectuals is not considered as vocational. There was not any need for solidarity either (Hofstadter, 1963, p. 38). However, with the emergence of the industrial society and technological developments the intellectuals need solidarity. As Marx pointed out in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852/2010),4 the unity and solidarity of working classes and intellectuals is in some sense easier than the solidarity and unity among peasants. At this point, Marx is referring to the French peasants and talks about the relation between class, class consciousness and class representation. Peasants are “incapable of enforcing their class interest in their own name, whether through a parliament or through a convention. They cannot represent themselves, they must be represented” (Marx, 1852/2010, p. 62). Luxemburg by contrast would be against the idea of representation by others than peasants themselves.

The view and role of intellectuals differ from Julien Benda and Karl Mannheim to Michel Foucault and Edward Said. Nevertheless, these different approaches share the idea that “intellectuals are indispensable to any society” (Shils, 1974, p. 21). These works’ analyses of the problem of intellectuals are feeble. Max Adler (1910/1974) in Der Sozialismus und die Intellektuellen declares that the aim of his pamphlet is to discuss and clarify the relation of intellectuals with culture. In this sense, the interest of intellectuals is a cultural interest but not a bourgeois or proletariat one (1910/1974, p. 141). Adler’s understanding of intellectuals refers to the Gramscian understanding of the intellectual, which does not contain only writers, scholars, academics but more generally all professions.

When I examine some works on the problem of intellectuals from the 1960s until today, I realize that they make similar analyses or benefit from Gramsci’s examination. Yet, they make few references to Gramsci. It is only Said who makes direct references to Gramsci. Even in Foucault’s analysis, who deals with the intellectual problem in one of his interviews called “Truth and Power” published in 1977 (1980c), the idea of the intellectual, albeit a little bit vague, ambiguous, “confused, and uncertain” (p. 132), is, in some sense, not different from the understanding of Gramsci.5 Foucault propounds that intellectuals:

Have got used to working, not in the modality of the “universal”, the “exemplary”, the “just-and-true-for-all”, but within specific sectors at the precise points where their own conditions of life or work situate them (housing, the hospital, the asylum, the laboratory, the university, family and sexual relations). (1980c, p. 126).

From this quotation, one can see that the definition of intellectuals is much broader than the classical understanding and closer to Gramsci’s account (1996, p. 200). Before everything else, for Foucault, intellectuals are no longer the spokesmen for an organization or the masters of truth or justice. In this sense, they do not function only as organic intellectuals. Foucault depicts organic intellectuals within the specificity of their class position (1980c, p. 132). He calls them not universal but “specific” intellectuals (1980c, p. 126). Foucault does not believe in intellectuals as the bearers of universal values. They are, instead, persons within their specific position, which is linked to the function of “an apparatus of truth” (1980c, p. 132).

When talking about penal or criminal justice system, Foucault claims that in the past intellectuals were those “who have been the intermediaries in the bourgeoisie’s spreading and imposing of the ideological themes” (1980b, p. 27). Here Foucault declares that intellectuals were intermediaries to carry out bourgeois ideology. The role of the intellectual is not to be an advisor, but to “provide instruments of analysis” (1980a, p. 62). Here, unlike Gramsci, Foucault portrays a more theoretical role of intellectuals but not in militant practice: “In other words, a topological and geological survey of the battlefield —that is the intellectual’s role—” (1980a, p. 62). Foucault here explicitly separates the intellectuals from their practical activities. Just as Gramsci talks about the transformation and changes in the function of intellectuals with the increase of capitalism and development of industrial society (1951, p. 30), Foucault refers to the same changes which lead a new “connection between theory and practice” (1980c, p. 126). He defines the concept of intellectuals in terms of their social function within the special social relations, which we can already find in Gramsci.

I am convinced that Gramsci’s approach to the problem is broader than the modern or contemporary attitude, which facilitates to comprehend the contemporary problem of intellectuals. This research on the particular intellectual movement in Turkey tries to give a new approach to the problem through Luxemburg’s theory of spontaneity and Gramsci’s analysis of the intellectual, which scrutinizes carefully their culture, state, structure of society, economic determination etc. The intellectual movement in Turkey, called Academics for Peace, has a spontaneous feature we can find in Luxemburg’s theory of spontaneity and its critique in Gramsci.

By intellectuals, I will refer to those who are not only specialists but also leaders (dirigente) in a Gramscian sense, so they do not remain just in their field of theoretical specialization, but they play a role in the sphere of politics and praxis. They thereby become leaders (Gramsci, 1996 p. 243). The intellectuals who have a part in Academics for Peace movement can be characterized, following Gramsci, as new intellectuals, which are also organic intellectuals. They are new intellectuals because they are not only specialists in their social positions and relations but also cultural organizers (organizzatore della cultura), directors (dirigente) or leaders. They are able to combine theory and praxis.

Approach to the problem

Gramsci creates and describes the concepts of ideology and hegemony around a theory of intellectuals. It is more difficult to analyze these concepts and questions in Luxemburg, who does not directly address the problem. The problem in Luxemburg can be explored through the relationship between the mass and the party or the leader as bearer of consciousness, and by the role of the party and the leader in the education of masses.

For both Luxemburg and Gramsci, it is clear that the proletariat, as Marx many times pointed out, is the bearer of “universality”. The intellectuals also play a universal role in carrying out and uncovering or discovering universality and universal values. Besides, like Marx, Gramsci and Luxemburg believe that politics is necessary for the emancipation of the proletariat. In one of his articles, Gramsci claims that “politica, […] è l’atto creativo dello spirito pratico” (1967, p. 188).6 Likewise, in Prison Notebooks (Q 4, §72), he describes new intellectuals in relation to politics by giving them a “leading” (dirigente) role as “specialist[s] in politics” (Gramsci, 1996, p. 243). The existence of the individual is possible, as Hegel pointed out in Elements of the Philosophy of Right, through participation in politics (§301, p. 342). With the claim and declaration of freedom and individual rights, individuals began to have a voice for their rights and freedom, which is possible by way of getting involved in politics.

A group of intellectuals takes a firm political action against the Turkish military intervention in some cities of the Southeastern Turkey, by accusing the government of acting violently and therefore damaging and violating civilian life and human rights (Akademisyenler, 2016). They demand the state to turn back to negotiations. Based on critical criteria, they try to get involved in politics and point out the human and civilian conditions of the region by writing and signing a petition with the following slogan: “As academics and researchers of this country, we will not be a party of this crime” (Akademisyenler, 2016). This political action will be the case study for the discussion of the role of intellectual in the political movement. Their action can be read both through the Luxemburg’s and Gramsci’s accounts. There are differences between these two-great political figures. However, some careful and detailed analyses of their texts will show that there are more similarities than differences. This is not, however, the topic of this paper. These intellectuals take a responsibility for their people and act according to their intellectual role, which leads them to challenge the illegal and unjust punishment and repressions.

As Gramsci reminds us in “Il Partito comunista”: “ogni fenomeno storico, […], deve essere studiato per i suoi caratteri peculiari, nel quadro della attualità reale” (1920/1987a, p. 652).7 Here I will analyze this reality through the conceptions of Gramsci and Luxemburg. Gramsci considers the intellectual issue as a practical matter but also relates it to theory. There are three different areas in this study: 1) the relationship between the intellectual and the masses, which can be considered an organizational problem; 2) the influences of intellectual on the social changes concerning the role of intellectuals; 3) the form of their activity or their movement: their “spontaneous character”.

Point of Departure: Luxemburg

I will analyze two important works of Luxemburg to comprehend and reveal the role of intellectuals under an authoritative regime. Some of her concepts, such as spontaneity, masses, general strike, will guide us. When Luxemburg creates her own theory as a theory of spontaneity, we should not forget that her thesis remains on a level with Marx’s position. Both aim to comprehend the essence of the proletarian movement (Guillaume, 1970, p. 6).

In her final writing, Die Rote Fahne (1919), Luxemburg writes that “the first duty of fighters for international socialism is to consciously follow the revolution’s principles and its path”. Even in this last writing, she particularly emphasizes the role of masses: “[t]he masses are the crucial factor. They are the rock on which the ultimate victory of the revolution will be built”. She states that the masses would and must create a new leadership. I believe that lack of leadership is the actual and basic problem of present day, which paves the way particularly for the political crisis in society. This leadership can be a party, a person or an original idea or ideology that put the masses in action. But the important thing for Luxemburg is that this leadership will be a production of masses themselves and comes to existence from their conscious activity and action. At the beginning of 1800, the revolutionary struggle in Europe in 1831 and 1848 suffered many defeats, which in the end contribute to “our strength and understanding” (Luxemburg, 1919). It seems that Luxemburg’s view of history as a teacher and as a place where we gain experiences is in the heart of her understanding of intellectuals and consciousness. In this regard, she writes that “the ultimate victory can be prepared only by a series of ‘defeats’” (1919). The teacher of proletarians is history. History gives the proletarian experiences. In the “Junius Pamphlet: The Crisis of German Social Democracy”, she emphasizes that “the modern proletariat comes out of historical tests differently. Its tasks and its errors are both gigantic: no prescription, no schema valid for every case, no infallible leader to show it the path to follow. Historical experience is its only school mistress” (Luxemburg, 1915/2003). The real leader of the modern proletariat is history and historical experiences. Here Luxemburg overemphasizes the dialectical materialist method of historical analysis.

All these historical defeats contribute to the development of consciousness. Luxemburg favours the representation of the masses and the bearing of consciousness realized by workers themselves. In this point, she has a common idea with Gramsci about the understanding of masses, as the latter does not reduce the bearer of culture and consciousness to particular intellectuals.

Historical conditions naturally create indispensability and necessities, or essential and inevitable actions and results. Luxemburg claims that the Russian Revolution teaches us that mass strike is neither an “artificial” movement or the result of a “random decision” (1906/1925). According to Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Luxemburg’s work tries to reveal “the efficacy and significance of the mass strike as a political tool” (1992, p.8). Within the context of Marx’s historical and dialectical materialism, it is a historical phenomenon and results from the social and economic condition of a society. According to Luxemburg, the problem is not to elaborate the utility and disadvantage of mass strike or to speculate about the possibility and impossibility of mass strike but to examine the social conditions and factors that lead it. Explaining the development of mass strike in different periods and places in Russia, she emphasizes that there is not any preconceived plan of these mass strikes; in other words, they happen because of “different causes and in different forms” (Luxemburg, 1906/1925). The conflict between labor and capital “reflects all the complexity of social organization and of the political consciousness of every section and of every district” (Luxemburg, 1906/1925). In this pamphlet, she tries to show how these mass movements or mass strikes happen spontaneously. Without any precondition, propaganda, organization, these strikes are realized by the masses. Due to general arrangements of labor and capital, people from every walk of life begin to be conscious of heavy capitalist social and economic conditions. With this class-consciousness and class-feeling, there began “a spontaneous general shaking of and tugging at these chains” (Luxemburg, 1906/1925). Laclau and Mouffe (1992) define Luxemburg’s spontaneity as “beyond the capacity of regulation and organization of any political or trade union leadership” (p. 8). The period of the economic struggle of 1905 led to the development of social, economic, and intellectual standard of the proletariat. Luxemburg emphasizes that “the intellectual, cultural growth of the proletariat […] offers an inviolable guarantee of their further irresistible progress in the economic as in political struggle” (1906/1925). The intellectual and cultural development of a working class led them to gaining strength in economic and political struggles.

In his biographical work, J. P. Nettl writes that “what makes [Luxemburg’s] writing so seductive is that the seduction is incidental; she was not writing to convert, but to convince” (1966, p. 7). In this regard, the relationship between the intellectual and the masses is not based on the “educative” but on the “instructive”. Not just the proletariat learns something from the intellectuals, but the intellectuals also learn something from the working class. Luxemburg tries to portray a mutual relationship between the two and to abstain from establishing hierarchical or authoritative relations between them.

She writes that “we have tried to make clear to them from first to last that they will not get from us any ready-made science, that they must continue to go on learning, that they will go on learning all their lives […]” (Protokoll… 1908, in Nettl, 1966, pp. 393). She believes that the masses have to learn by themselves and should take always an eager interest in learning: “what the masses need is general education, theory which gives them the chance of making a system out of the detail acquired from experience and which helps to forge a deadly weapon against our enemies” (Protokoll… 1908, in Nettl, 1966, pp. 394). Theory and knowledge are necessary apparatus in order to struggle strongly against the enemies. Even if action comes first, theory is considered as a necessary means to struggle. She never loses her strong belief in the power of the masses and their intellectual and cultural development and growth.

The intellectual improvement of masses creates a strong movement at a spontaneous moment. Luxemburg (1906/1925) wrote that mass strikes are merely a form of revolutionary struggle. In other words, it is a method to bring the proletarian mass into action. The general strike began with a pure economic and a partial trade-union conflict; it finally transformed into the political demonstration through all the stages. But the progress of movement does not only proceed from the economic to the political but also from the political to economical struggle. Every great political mass action can be transformed into an economic strike after the political action has attained its highest form. It can be not only applied to the great mass strikes but also to the revolution as a whole. These two political and economic spheres have interactive relations. Political struggle tries to make the proletarian’s life condition better and concentrates on their will and desire to struggle; therefore, every victory of political struggle transforms into a powerful impetus for the economic struggle. Through this analyses and conceptions of Luxemburg on the political and economic mass strike, we can analyze the Academics for Peace intellectual movement. I will call this sort of movement “partial” but not “integral” because this political action stays at the limits of a political struggle and fails to address the economic problems of the region. This will be the general problem of this sort of a small spontaneous movement unless they have an organization. They are organized but they are deprived of an organization under which they can easily unite. After the government’s ongoing attacks, academics are forced to struggle and remain with their political-economic problems.

Luxemburg considers the spontaneity of development as a basic law of history. But she also objects to the understanding of fatalism or determinism, which is intrinsic in her theory of spontaneity (Oelssner, 1953, p. 198). The theory of spontaneity gives priority to the proletarian action and underestimates revolutionary theory and the function of party. Oelssner (1953) claims that while for Stalin “the revolutionary party must be armed by a revolutionary theory, recognize the law of movement and the laws of revolution” (p. 199), Luxemburg asserts that there are no general laws of revolution that are accepted and consciously applied by the party. But Oelssner misinterpreted Luxemburg when claiming that she believes that only in or during the struggle, the proletariat obtains class consciousness and the consciousness of objects of struggle (p. 199). The struggles are great experiences to get class consciousness but the proletariat obtains class consciousness in their ordinary life, within their experiences.

In one of her letters from prison to Marta Rosenbaum in 1919, Luxemburg describes how she is against fatalism:

History itself always knows best what to do about things, even when the situation looks most desperate. I speak this word not as some sort of comfortable fatalism! Quite the opposite! The human will must be spurred on to the utmost, and it’s necessary to fight consciously with all one’s might. (Adler, Hudis and Laschitza, 2011, pp. 370-71).

Luxemburg always refers to the consciousness of fighting and to the will to fight. She means that when we think that there is no hope, “the deep, elemental, hidden wellsprings of history” appear and lead a “conscious effort toward influencing the masses”. She once more lays emphasis on the conception of history through her theory of spontaneity. “We are linked with the laws of historical development, and these never fail, even if sometimes they don’t go exactly according to some ‘plan F’ that we have worked out. And so, in all eventualities: Hold your head high and don’t let your courage fail” (Adler, Hudis and Laschitza, 2011, pp. 370-71).8 She opposes fatalism because she always talks about the struggle. But sometimes our struggle or our projects do not actualize and the laws of historical development become a part of that struggle. The laws of historical development are possible only if you make some contribution to historical developments.

When Luxemburg talks about her theory of spontaneity, she tries to elaborate the task and function of the party during and at the time of revolution. We should remember that Luxemburg never negates the function and importance of the party and its educative task, but she is also aware of the consciousness of working classes; their power to realize their emancipation as Marx in 1867: “the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves” (1867/1964). Marx underlines that this struggle for emancipation by the working class is not a struggle for privileges but “for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule” (1867/1964).

In relation to the problem and the role of intellectuals, the question of organization is our fundamental concern. According to Luxemburg (1904/1970), it is a historical production of class struggle in which social democracy carries the political consciousness (p. 14). Her basic concern is “self-activity” of the masses or the working class. In this regard, she discusses two Marxist aspects: party school and centralization. Luxemburg criticizes party school for ignoring “the capacity of workers to learn from their daily activities” because party school indicates that the workers should learn all practical matters from the party.9 Therefore, according to Luxemburg, the party school “denied the whole of basis of growing class consciousness as postulated by Marxism” (Nettl, 1966, p. 393). She also condemns Lenin’s idea of centralization because with this centralization, the Central Committee can determine everything and would thus be “the only thinking element in the party. All other groupings would be its executive limbs” (1904/1934). The other organs of the party would be only instruments. Criticizing Lenin’s centralization and exemplifying the 1896 mass strike in St. Petersburg, she elaborates her theory based on the conception of spontaneity by demonstrating that before theory there is action. “Our cause made great gains in these events” (Luxemburg, 1904/1934). The following are not things “separated chronologically and mechanically”: 1) the activity of party organization; 2) the growth of the proletarians’ consciousness of their class struggle; 3) the struggle itself. During the struggle —action and movement— the proletarian becomes aware of their objectives. The centralization of social democracy cannot be based on the mechanical subordination and obedience of party membership to the central committee or the leading party center (Luxemburg, 1904/1934). Lenin’s notion of centralization is based on two principles: 1) “the blind subordination, in the smallest detail, of all party organs to the party center which alone thinks, guides, and decides for all”; 2) “the rigorous separation of the organized nucleus of revolutionaries from its social-revolutionary surroundings” (Luxemburg 1904/1934). Then she writes that “Lenin’s concern is not so much to make the activity of the party more fruitful as to control the party – to narrow the movement rather than to develop it, to bind rather than to unify it” (Luxemburg, 1904/1934). In his response to Luxemburg, Lenin asserts that she does not correctly understand what he claimed. Luxemburg, in “Junius Pamphlet”, claims that revolutions are not made by a recipe in the hand of a party leader. The great movement of the mass cannot be also produced according to some technical recipes. “The existing degree of tension between the classes, the degree of intelligence of the masses and the degree or ripeness of their spirit of resistance – all these factors, which are incalculable, are premises that cannot be artificially created by any party” (Luxemburg, 1915/2003).

It seems that Luxemburg’s main aim is 1) to avoid the centralization and its hierarchical characteristic and, therefore, to escape from the separation between intellectuals as leaders and the masses; 2) to enhance or to maximize the efficiency of the masses in making decisions and in participating in politics, struggles, and mass movements. In Russian Revolution, Luxemburg (1918/1940b)10 wrote that “not through a majority, but through revolutionary tactics to a majority —that’s the way the road runs”. Revolutionary tactics, or party program would direct and guide the majority. Here she emphasizes the importance and significance of the party. “Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party —however numerous they may be— is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently” (Luxemburg, 1918/1940b). In revolution and socialism “the whole mass of the people must take part” (1918/1940b). Otherwise, socialism will be enforced just by a decree regulated by some intellectuals.

Theory and working class

In every class society, intellectual culture (science and art) is created by the ruling class; and the aim of this culture is in part to ensure the direct satisfaction of the needs of the social process, and in part to satisfy the mental needs of the members of the governing class. (Luxemburg, 1903/1940a).

This statement reminds us of the Gramscian conception of hegemony. In Prison Notebooks (Q4), Gramsci claims that every class creates its own intellectuals who serve to the dominant class. Like Gramsci, Luxemburg believes that intellectual culture, like science and art, serves to the dominant or ruling class to satisfy their needs. Gramsci calls science and art as intellectual activities and ideology. Unlike Gramsci, however, Luxemburg does not call these cultural activities of dominant class directly ideology. She uses them as ideological apparatus of a social dominant and ruling class.

It is not surprising to find some similarities between Gramsci and Luxemburg concerning the concepts of hegemony, ideology and culture. In the Notebooks, we know that Gramsci reads Luxemburg’s “Stagnation and Progress of Marxism”. Of course, Luxemburg does not clarify these concepts in the same terms that Gramsci does. Luxemburg makes some observations that we can find in Gramsci: when subjugated by the ruling class, “progressive” classes could create new science and art so that they establish a political dominion through the creation of an intellectual dominion. This is Gramsci’s emphasis on the superstructure. Indeed, the superstructure determines the political dominion through activities such as ideology, art, science. In other words, through cultural activities. She believes that the proletariat as a non-possessing class should create its own culture through science, art, literature or other cultural activities. Otherwise, within the framework of bourgeois society and by remaining in its culture, it cannot create and develop its own mental-intellectual culture. “The working class will not be in a position to create a science and an art of its own until it has been fully emancipated from its present class position” (1903/1940a). Under her Marxist view, the working class should overthrow the bourgeois society and be able to realize its own cultural, scientific, intellectual, and artistic development. In Q 7 (§43), Gramsci writes that Luxemburg discusses scientific development and its deficiencies (1977b, p. 892). He clarifies that the aim of scientific development is to develop an elite. By elite he means the creation of high culture (alta cultura). But the aim of creating a high culture also entails the education of the masses. For this reason, the development of an elite, which refers to the development of Marxist culture and education of the masses, is not separated but rather one intertwined with another. In Q 3 (§31) Gramsci avers that with the establishment of a State of working class, the problem of a new civilization and the necessity for the elaboration of more refined and decisive weapons arise. For Gramsci, this is “una lotta per la cultura superiore [struggle for a superior culture]” (1977a, p. 309).

Point of Arrival: Gramsci

Why is Gramsci interested in the problem or concept of the intellectual? From my reading of Gramsci’s writings, in particular his Prison Notebooks, I am convinced that his basic concern is an attempt to understand the new structure, form, and movement of the working class —proletariat, which had begun to change with the development of capitalism and the industrial society—, and its relation to civil society, State, culture, and organization. Put simply: party and politics. With his theory of the intellectual, he places the working class much closer to the classical understanding of intellectuals who are considered only as bearers of universal values. My question at this point goes as follows: Is it possible to read Gramsci’s theory of intellectuals as a “new class theory”? For Gramsci, the intellectuals are definitely not a new class and he never tries to assert such a claim. He aims to widen the classical Marxist understanding of class. I do not have any intention to discuss it in this article, as it could be a topic for another paper.

Before anything else, Gramsci considers the intellectual issue as a superstructure problem, of ideology and hegemony. According to Fabio Frosini (2010, p. 26), this understanding allows us to grasp “il concetto di egemonia e il progetto della filosofia della praxis [the concept of hegemony and the project of philosophy of praxis]”). It is a problem of the civil society. The definition of “intellectual” in Gramsci is much wider than ours, as Althusser pointed out (For Marx 1969, p. 105). According to Althusser, Gramsci defines intellectuals according to their social function as organizers and leaders. In Q4 (§49)11 Gramsci begins the passage with the question of whether intellectuals are an independent or autonomous social group, or whether every social group has its own intellectual category. Every social group creates their own intellectual category. Here he describes Italian philosophers such as Croce and Gentile as representatives of the bourgeois class. These intellectuals created by dominant groups help this class to “propagate their ideas and worldview at a social and cultural level” (Srivastava & Bhattacharya, 2012, p. 58). This organic intellectual is the result of a mode of production. For example, for Gramsci, the oppressed social groups, such as peasants, do not create a group of organic intellectuals. The concept of “organic” means to serve or represent the interest of a social class, and also refers to the link between or the unification of physical and intellectual force/effort.

Every social group arises from the essential function of economic production and creates their own intellectuals. These intellectuals bring about the homogeneity and consciousness of function not only in economics but also in the social and political field (Gramsci, 1977c, Q12, p. 1513). For example, capitalists create technicians for industry, scientists for the economy, organizing a new culture, a new law. There must be an organizer of mass in the industry, there must be an organizer in charge of selling capitalists’ goods, etc. In this level, the intellectuals exist in a social group; they are dependent on a social group, such as the capitalist. But they are also independent and autonomous groups like the ecclesiastical group, who seems to independently influence the social, political and economic life through monopolizing religious ideology, in other words, the philosophy and science of that period through the school, institution, morality, law, charity etc. (Gramsci, 1977c, Q12, p. 1514).

When we analyze the concept of hegemony, philosophy of praxis, civil society, and many others, we can realize how these concepts are related to the question of the intellectual and what Gramsci’s main concern is throughout Prison Notebooks: 1) the problem of intellectuals and 2) the relationship between ideology and intellectuals. In this sense, in Q4 (§3 Due aspetti del marxismo) he points out that “Marxism had two tasks: to combat modern ideologies in their most refined form; and to enlighten the minds of the popular masses, whose culture was medieval. This second task, which was fundamental, has absorbed all its energies, not only ‘quantitatively’ but also ‘qualitatively’” (Gramsci, 1996, p. 141). These two asks are important because they refer to the intellectuals. In the same Notebook (Q4, §3), he writes that “in the history of cultural developments, one must pay great attention to the organization of culture and the people who shape it” (1996, p. 143). Gramsci highlights that not only intellectuals are bearers of culture but also people can be the bearers of a new culture. In this point, he explains how the German people were the historical bearers of the Reformation. From the reformed popular masses or classes, a new group of intellectuals appeared who led the emergence of German philosophy of 1700-1800. Since the intellectuals are not the bearers of culture, society lacks a high culture. Gramsci attempts to relate masses to high culture and to intellectuals. In this point, according to him, Marxism “became mixed with a form of culture that was somewhat superior to the popular mentality” (Gramsci, 1996, p. 141) but it was not sufficiently good to fight against other ideologies of the educated classes. According to him, original Marxism supersedes “the highest cultural manifestation of the time”, that is the classical German philosophy.

While Gramsci (Q12) accentuates that all human beings are intellectuals, he also differentiates the intellect-brain developing effort from muscular-effort (1977c, p. 1550). They have different levels of special intellectual activities. In paragraph § 1 (Q12) he repeats that there is no human activity that excludes the intellectual intervention; “non si può separare l’homo faber dall’homo sapiens [you cannot separate the human faber from human sapiens]” (Gramsci, 1977c, p. 1550). Theory and praxis work together. Every individual can be a philosopher or an artist and can contribute to and modify the conception of the world. In this sense, Luxemburg and Gramsci remain in the same vein. The creation of a new organic intellectual needs to develop the intellectual activity, to change its relationship with physical or “muscular-nervous effort” and therefore to create a new balance between intellectual and physical efforts or activities. Beyond a classical understanding of the intellectual limited to cultural activities, Gramsci places special emphasis on creating a new type of intellectual based on the unification of physical and intellectual labor. His solution is to change the aspect of technical education tied to industrial work and forming it at the heart of new intellectuals, whose base is found in technical education.

His new definition of the intellectual states that the intellectual is not simply an orator or a public speaker who effects temporarily the feelings and passions of people, but one actively involved in practical life as a director, organizer, instructive, inventor, contractor, “persuasore permanentemente [permanently a persuader]” (Gramsci, 1977c, p. 1551) and mediator for consensus between the mass and political society. The new intellectual consists of being a specialist and a participant in politics together. Gramsci therefore gives an answer to those who believe that intellectuals must be occupied with the mental intellectual activities realized in the library, laboratory, and academic events. Through Academics for Peace movement, the intellectuals, in this Gramscian sense, try to direct, organize, and persuade the masses to indicate the truth behind the appearance hidden by the government. In contrast to this progressive movement, there was a “reactionary movement” realized by some nationalist intellectuals through “counter-petition”, which was in favor of the government’s political and military implementations in the Southeastern Turkey by way of supporting and being a voice of the government’s ideology. Here this counter-group is a group of organic intellectuals of the dominant class.

The relationship of intellectuals with the world of production and the masses

The relationship of intellectuals with the world of production is mediated by the complex structure of the superstructure because it does not have direct relations with the means of production. It is mediated through two different levels: 1) by civil society with the private organizations (private sphere); 2) political society or the State corresponding to the function of hegemony through/in which the ruling class dominates all society. In these spheres, they have the organizing and connective roles. Gramsci (Q4, §49) writes that the intellectual has a function in hegemony; this function is “organizzativa o connettiva [organizational or connective]” (1977a, p. 476). It means that the intellectual has a function to organize the social hegemony of a group and its governmental or political dominion. These intellectuals also defined as the clerks “comemssi [functionaries]” of the dominant class. They have the subaltern function to organize 1) the spontaneous “consenso [consensus]” given by the mass to the dominant class; 2) the “l’apparato di coercizione [coercive apparatus]” to realize the consensus.

Gramsci defines these intellectuals as an organic category of a social group. Through the petition written by Academics for Peace in 2016, the intellectuals try to practice and carry out the consensus between the mass or civil society and the government or political society. They are organic intellectuals of oppressed people against the political and military action of government (AKP, Justice and Development Party). There were also other organic intellectuals who were organized by the government of the Turkish Republic on 4 April 2013 and composed of 63 individuals under the project called Democratic Initiative Process (Demokratik açılım süreci).12 These writers, artists, actors, and academics were called Council of Sages. Their aim was to explain Solution Process (Kurdish-Turkish Peace Process) to people. In the Gramscian sense, AKP government created its organic intellectuals, seeking consensus between civil society and political state. They did not act against the government as Academics for Peace did, but they acted jointly. These intellectuals had a political role and function other than their professions. They were the representation of hegemony. Here, these intellectuals were considered as bearers of truth of government to the masses.

The problem between the intellectual and the mass is based on knowing, comprehending and seeing. Gramsci writes that people can feel but do not understand or comprehend what they know; the intellectuals instead know but do not comprehend and especially do not feel, so there is a big gap between these two elements. The intellectuals make mistakes because, absent comprehension and feeling, they think that they can know. Yet, on the contrary, the lack of feeling and comprehension brings about a distance between the masses and intellectuals: they would have a bureaucratic and formal relation, which can be transformed into a historical-block by reversing the relation between intellectual and people, between ruler and governed into an organic relation in which feeling and passion become comprehension.

Organization in Gramsci

As Amodio (1986) pointed out, according to Gramsci “l’organizzazione è […] la via del consenso, il grande strumento del proletariato (come la concorrenza è lo strumento principe e il principio della borghesia)” (p. 91).13 Therefore, the organization expresses ethics-politic and the economic-corporative disappears in the organization.

When Gramsci mentions the organization and party, in L’Ordine Nuovo, in 1920, with the title “Il Partito Comunista”, he writes that the Communist Party is an instrument and the historical form of the process of emancipation. Thanks to this emancipation the working class transforms itself from mass into the initiator (iniziatore), leader, and guide; from labor (braccio) to intellect (cervello) and will (volontà) (1920/1987a, p. 655). He defines the relationship between the party and the mass, in which we can find a special similarity with Luxemburg emphasizing the consciousness of the mass realized by the working class itself through the course of class struggle. Here Gramsci demonstrates that it is “le masse che spingono e educano il Partito della classe operaia e non è il Partito che guida ed educa le messe” (1920/1987a, p. 659).14 For Gramsci and Luxemburg, it is the mass that guides the party but it is not party that educates or guides the mass. Again, in another article titled “Cronache Dell’Ordine Nuovo, 39” in L’Ordine Nuovo he emphasizes that not only can the masses carry out the communist revolution but also the party, a president of the republic with succession decree can realize it. He underlines that it is the idea of Marx, Luxemburg and Lenin but it seems that for Gramsci there is not only one instrument like the masses to realize the communist revolution, there are also some others (1920/1987b, p. 704). The political party achieves and produces the productive interaction relation between the spontaneity and steering or orientation/direction.

Some Analyses

La scienza non deve essere uno svago egoistico: coloro che hanno la fortuna di potersi dedicare a studi scientifici, devono anche essere i primi a mettere le loro cognizioni al servizio dell’umanità.

(Lafargue, 1951, p. 42)15

As Paul Lafargue pointed out in this citation, Marx claims that those who deal with science never stop participating actively in public life and never remain isolated in their rooms or laboratories. Marx means that they should be a part of the life, the social and the political struggle of their time. I believe that Gramsci tries to demonstrate it with his theory of intellectuals.

As defined by scholars, one of the problems of intellectuals is “their divorce even from the possibility of action” (Steiner, Kolakowski, O’Brien, 2015, p. 228). A Gramscian thinker defines intellectuals as subjects of action: “Their social and political role is to transform the subjected subjects —or ordinary individuals— into subjects of action who can generate critiques of dominant ideologies and structures of power under which they live” (Pannian, 2016, p. 97). The intellectuals lead people to be the subjects of their action and thus to be the critics of the ruling ideology and the structure of power. It does not mean that intellectuals must necessarily be academics, but they are the individuals who are able to represent and speak the truth to the power. In this regard, the public prosecutors, judges, engineers etc., are intellectuals who do not carry their own weight and do not serve for the truth and justice at the present moment. They render service to the exiting dominant class and the government (AKP). As Julien Benda claimed (2014, p. 72 and elsewhere), they betray their intellectual role. Just as these intellectuals disregard the ethical-political values such as justice and human rights, they decrease the value of their social and intellectual functions.

The contemporary understanding of the intellectual still coincides with the traditional view of intellectuals who are considered as artists, scientists, philosophers, writers, journalist, etc. Gramsci’s definition of the intellectual actually refers to the combination of theory with praxis: manual labor and intellectual labor. But with his new formation of intellectuals, he points at the political participation of individuals, which also leads the individuals to get involved in practical life, becoming more active, productive, and creative. Academics signing a petition as a “progressive activity” demonstrates the reconciliation of praxis and theory. It is progressive because it appears with emphasis on human rights.

Due to political tensions, the loss of hope for peace, the increase of violence and human rights abuses in some cities, Academics for Peace movement spontaneously appears without any propaganda, or under any guidance of an organization or a party. Of course, the petition which causes an effective movement and result is organized by a group of intellectuals, but it is not organized to be a mass movement. However spontaneously, it becomes a movement supported by different groups of people from socialist, liberal, even from religious people in the national and international level. In contrast to Luxemburg’s understanding of consciousness, in this movement the intellectuals take the responsibility for demonstrating or reminding the importance of universal values such as freedom, human rights, and peace which they think that they are in danger. They play the role of carrying consciousness and truth to the masses. Here they are organic intellectual of an oppressed people. According to Gramsci and Luxemburg’s conception of intellectuals, these scholars are bearers of truth in terms of their social positions, functions, and relations but not as the members of an organization or a party.

Academics for Peace movement teaches us two things regarding the Gramscian and Luxemburgian view of intellectuals. 1) As Gramsci wrote, the intellectual still can be a politically organizer, the director of a mass movement; 2) the character of this mass movement even if it is spontaneous, becomes an organizational movement, independent from a party, through a great solidarity among intellectuals in the national and international platform. Luxemburg gives importance to the self-creativity and self-activity of working class. She focuses on “the political training acquired by the working class in the course of their struggle” (Luxemburg, 1904/1934). Here the intellectuals are not directors or organizers of the working class, as Gramsci highlighted. In the traditional intellectual understanding, unlike the working class, intellectuals could independently realize their own activities in self-efficacious way. But it seems that in the Gramscian sense of intellectual, intellectuals lack of this self-determination due to the division of labor and this is what makes them to be closer to the working class. As explained before, this is the main concern of Gramsci and Luxemburg concerning cultural and political questions.

Even when there have occurred different form of social struggles spontaneously, in contrast to post-modern claims, the masses always need a political “leader” in order to take action. This leader can be a party, which takes the masses much further, and it can be a person who gains their confidence and receives their support. Although the Luxemburgian idea claiming that the masses have priority over of the leader and that the spontaneous movement of masses has an important role in struggling is in some cases important and effective, it is necessary the support of a party, organization and leader who put the masses in action and steer them. As Machiavelli underlines in different parts (chapter 3, 6) of The Prince, if a prince ensures a government or a State to be able to stay in power, then a leader or leaders who gain the confidence of the masses and satisfy their needs enable the masses to take action (2017, p. 12). The working class as a driving power will need powerful leaders who direct them when a spontaneous movement appears. When this power finds its way, the leader or leaders must allow the masses to direct their own movements. Therefore, the decisiveness of the masses can be preserved. The intellectuals taking part of Academics for Peace movement create an awareness of masses concerning the social and political questions.

When we evaluate the Academics for Peace movement according to the Luxemburgian theory of spontaneity and her theory of consciousness, we need to examine what sort of features make it spontaneous. It seems that what makes it spontaneous is not only their unexpected reaction against the government implementation but the reactions of the government including the imprisonment and dismissal of academics. The unexpected response of the government to the petition signed by Academics for Peace creates a spontaneous movement. And the reaction of the government generates the increase of signatures. But in contrast to the Luxemburgian theory of consciousness, the masses become aware of the violations of rights in South East Turkey against the Kurdish population through the movement of intellectuals who uncover the political practices and military applications of the government. Without doubt, the Academics for Peace movement does not lead a great mass movement but it puts some unfair, unjust situation in discussion. The intellectuals materialize their universal role, which is to serve, to fight for and to protect the universal values such as human rights, justice, truth, and freedom.

According to Laclau and Mouffe, “the centrality attributed to the working class is not a practical but an ontological centrality, which is, at the same time, the seat of epistemological privileges: as the ‘universal class, the proletariat—or rather its party—is the depository of science” (1992, pp. 57-57). What does “not to be practical but ontological” mean? It means that the working class is a necessary element and moment for the existence of the masses. The working class appeared as the actor of history and placed in the status of universal class “from the beginning of Marxist orthodoxy” (Laclau & Mouffe, 1992, p.57). The ontological and epistemological centralities that Laclau and Mouffe give the proletariat are valid for the intellectuals in the sense that they have the functions to combine civil society with the political State, theory with praxis. Academics for Peace, in this ontological and epistemological sense, try to draw together different social groups under a particular—specific problem.

For Laclau and Mouffe the concept of class alliance is not adequate to characterize a hegemonic relation (1992, p. 64). They suggest a new conception by using Gramscian terminology in substitution for class alliance which is collective wills. “From the Leninist concept of class alliances to the increasing extension of hegemonic tasks, to the extent that for Gramsci, social agents are not classes but ‘collective wills’” (Laclau & Mouffe, 1987, p. 98). They arrive to the idea that today there is the multitude and therefore there is not any universal class or “social actor for itself.” (Negri, 2015) Simply for them, in the contemporary era, the classical Marxist understanding of class has decomposed itself, which terminated the homogeneity and constructed heterogeneities or multiple different identities. Toni Negri (2015) states that Laclau and Mouffe “replaced the political mechanism of hegemony […] with a wholly formal, discursive concept”. In this point, Peter Thomas is very critical of Laclau and Mouffe’s approach to Marxist class understanding and he insists on the working-class struggle. Negri (2015) agrees with Peter Thomas on his critique of Laclau and Mouffe about hegemony because “Gramsci’s thinking was constructed based on a Marxist and Leninist position for which dictatorship was understood not as a totalitarian command, but precisely as hegemony – that is, as the organic construction of a revolutionary constituent power”. In this point, the reference of Laclau and Mouffe to Gramsci is weak. According to Negri (2015), since they are looking for “a supposed lineage,” they miss “a true ontological derivation”.

The intellectuals of Academics for Peace movement represent a dynamic element in civil society according to Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. The existence of civil society is important for the existence of intellectuals. The realization of the intellectual’s action is possible in a civil society. In this point, Peter Thomas defines Gramsci’s theory as follows: “With the theory of hegemony, Gramsci was attempting to understand how it would be possible to introduce a dynamic element of progress into the really existing historical societies of his own time” (2014). Among the above-mentioned readings and interpretations of Gramsci’s concepts, I found Peter Thomas’s interpretation much closer to Gramsci himself. Academics for Peace is mainly a political movement rather than an economic one. It appears due to the ethical-political concerns. This spontaneous movement remains as a political reaction and could not evolve into the mass movement. The uncertainty and complexity of feelings make the rational foresight impossible. It is the basic characteristic of spontaneity. It is based on the arbitrary will and therefore performs (functions) with senses and feelings rather than with reason. Spontaneity indeed is a stone in front of the organized formation and conscious orientation. For Gramsci (1967), just one feeling (sentimento) continues to exist until now and characterizes the working class, the feeling of solidarity (solidarietà) (pp. 362-363). Academics for Peace triggers a mass movement and different social struggles against the government policy. The government dismissed many academics from their universities and took all civil rights from the health insurances to pension rights. Academics for Peace remains as a spontaneous movement because there is not any political organization which generates a strong unification, develops political strategies for the next step, and liberates this movement from the will and arbitrariness of spontaneity.

I would like to conclude the paper by referring to Julien Benda, who gives a great responsibility to the intellectuals for the increase of hatreds in his period. He points out that the intellectuals are responsible for creating or producing new political passions which were once “purely passionate impulses, natural explosions of instinct, devoid of all extension of themselves in ideas and systems” (Benda, 2014, p. 47). He believes that these political passions enable to increase the national sentiment, feelings to nationalism, hatreds to other cultures and languages, the movement against the Jews, the movement of possessing class against proletariat, the movement of authority against the defenders of democracy (Benda, 2014, p. 45). He writes that “our age is indeed the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds” (Benda, 2014, p. 48). According to him, this becomes obvious when we take a look at the moral history of humanity. For him, for example, anti-semitisim, socialism, French Monarchism, Pan-Germanism are not only political manifestations but also representations of moral attitudes, “a particular form of intelligence, of sensibility, of literature, of philosophy and of artistic conceptions” (Benda, 2014, p. 48). Benda simply shows how those who make philosophy, write novels, create artistic conceptions or artistic products are responsible for the political manifestations and for creating new moral values such as new national sentiments. In short, they created a new ideology, and they were in favor of political passions which led them to become distant from universal values such as justice, and human rights. At this point I would like to draw attention to the text (counter-petition) written against Academics for Peace. This counter-petition simply points to national sentiments by questioning the national loyalty of Academics for Peace.

Benda’s consideration to the intellectuals as ideological apparatus is similar to Gramsci’s mentions to the ideological role of intellectuals.16 Luxemburg and Gramsci believe that Marxism is an ideology. While Gramsci directly analyzes Marxism as an ideology in Prison Notebooks, Luxemburg implicitly mentions it in her short essay called Stagnation and Progress of Marxism. Gramsci relates the problem of intellectuals to his concept of hegemony related to the ideology. The category of intellectual is the main condition of hegemony. The ideological role of intellectuals in the political arena is obvious once we observe their progressive and reactionary attitude. The role of intellectuals as bearers of fascism is historically significant and deterministic. With the appearance and the increase of AKP (Justice and Development Party) of Erdogan, Turkish liberal thinkers or intellectuals support AKP and believe that it is modern and radically different from other previous Islamist parties, which can embrace all the differences and resolve the basic problems of Turkey, such as the Kurdish question and the relation with the European Union. Since 2004-2005, with the EU process, AKP has gotten support from intellectuals. But they are considered as an apparatus and the bearers of ideology of the then incumbent government. Today, these intellectuals withdraw their support and regret to be a part of their project. One of these intellectuals and writers, who was also among the Council of Sages, Murat Belge, as a liberal, secular, and democratic writer, avers that especially after the Gezi Park protests in 2013 he realizes that he was mistaken about both Erdogan and AKP (Sözcü 2015). The liberal intellectuals who take sides with the government consciously or unconsciously become the organic intellectuals of rulers and spokesmen of their ideology. However, in contrast to these organic intellectuals, there are other organic intellectuals who commit themselves to truth, critical thinking, and who are in contact with their people.

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Notas Notes

1 “War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms” (In Machiavelli, 1981, p.103).

2 In the text, Prison Notebooks will be taken into consideration with its abbreviation of Italian name, Quaderni del carcere: Q, and the symbol “§” will be used for the paragraph in Gramsci, 1977a, 1977b and 1977c.

3 We can say that both chronologically and ideologically Gramsci began where the work of Rose Luxemburg ended —because of her assassination—

4 In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Marx analyzes the question of the peasantry. He believes that the peasants are a “potential ally of the working class” which is approved also by Gramsci and Luxemburg. The solidarity among peasants is less than that among the working class because, as Marx explains, they are isolated from each other due to their mode of production. This mode of production does not bring them into “mutual intercourse” (Marx, 1852/2010, p. 62). There is no “division of labor in its cultivation no application of science, and therefore no multifariousness of development, no diversity of talent, no wealth of social relationships” (Marx, 1852/2010, p. 62). Almost every peasant can satisfy their own needs, so they are self-sufficient and they have direct relation with their consumer needs. This means that they have a direct relation with nature rather than with society.

5 It is enough to look at the Prison Notebooks, Q 4, §49 in which Gramsci writes that “the worker is not specifically characterized by his manual or instrumental work but by his working in specific conditions and within specific social relations” (1996, p. 200, italic is mine). Based on this Gramscian statement, Peter Thomas (2009) writes that “similarly, Gramsci implicitly suggests, the intellectual should not be specifically characterised by intellectual labour, but by the position of this intellectual labour in determinate social relations (including political ones)” (p. 415). The intellectual, according to Gramsci, can be characterized not by the intrinsic nature of intellectual activity but by “the system of relations wherein this activity is located within the general ensemble of social relations” (1996, p. 200). Gramsci differentiates his understanding of intellectuals “with the emphasis upon social and political organisation rather than specific intellectual activity” (Thomas, 2009, p. 415). In Q1 (§44), he suggests that intellectuals do not have an independent class or group but intellectuals exist in every class.

6 Politics […] is the creative activity of practical spirit.

7 Every historical phenomenon, [...], must be studied for its peculiarities, in the context of the actual reality.

8 This letter is dated February 4 and 9, 1919.

9 Party school was a school founded by the SPD in Berlin in 1906 as a Central Party School “in order to strengthen the work of the existing Arbeiterbildungsschule” (Nettl, 1966, p. 388). Its aim was to educate the socialist workers. In 1891, the party lecturers travelled the provinces and gave the courses called Wanderkurse. But this new formation was more of an elite school which trained suitable candidates in the party or organization and trade union who then became the teachers or activists as well (Nettl, 1966, p. 388). In the middle of 1906, the party formed a party educational commission in which there were Franz Mehring and Clara Zetkin. Rosa in 1907 was a part of the school and taught the courses in political economy and economic history (Nettl, 1966, p. 390). Even Luxemburg had had some doubts about the party school at the beginning, but her doubts dispelled and she taught anyway. She was always critical to party school because the party school thought that they could teach everything about practical life. Luxemburg does not just reflect on teaching but also on what these workers could do after their education when they got back to their provinces. This was Luxemburg’s problem that related to tactics (Luxemburg, Protokoll…1908, in Nettl, 1966, p. 393).

10 The Russian Revolution (1918/1940b) was published by Paul Levi in 1922.

11 Then he widens the discussion in Q 12 (§1) (1977c, pp. 1513-1540).

12 Democratic Initiative Process launched by the then prime minister Recep Tayipp Erdoğan had aimed to the development of democracy, freedom and human right in Turkey. The government named the project “The Unity and Fraternity Project” (Milli Birlik ve Kardeşlik Projesi) in 2009. The target was to end terrorism and improve democratic standards. In this regard, “Solution Process” or as known the Kurdish-Turkish Peace Process commenced in 2012 as a part of this project aiming to resolve the Kurdish-Turkish conflict (since 1978).

13 The organization is the way of consensus, the great instrument of the proletariat (as competition is the basic instrument and the principle of bourgeoise).

14 It is the masses that push and educate the working-class party and it is not party which guides and educates the mass.

15 Science has not to be an egoistic leisure: those who have opportunity to devote themselves to scientific studies must also be the first to put their cognition in the servant of humanity ―Paul Lafargue who met with Marx in 1865 quotes these words of Marx―.

16 We should not forget that Gramsci criticizes Julien Benda’s idea of intellectuals and finds it insufficient to solve the problem, because Benda’s analysis does not include the economic determination of intellectuals. In this respect, Gramsci compares Benda with Croce. For further information see: Gramsci, 1977a, Q 3, p. 285, 1977b, Q 10, § 47, p. 1334; Q 10, §41.


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