Antonio Gramsci’s sardinian indipendence roots.

Written by Gavino Guiso; based on articles by Mario Carboni and Francesco Casula

There is a temporal coincidence in the History between the founding date of the Partidu Sardu – Sardinian Action Party and that of the Communist Party of Italy. This coincidence is useful to remember that even Antonio Gramsci, considered one of the leading communist exponents, was independentist from a very young age as he wrote to Giulia Schucht, Tatiana sister, in a letter of 6 March 1924:

“I thought then that it was necessary to fight for the national independence of the region: “The continents people at sea”. “How many times have I repeated these words.”

This phrase has always been interpreted, when reluctantly quoted, as a conviction of a little boy, an immature student, who however later became an adult and now immersed in the wider world of class struggle and communist and above all continental revolution, far from the provincial Sardinia, he would have overcome it and even denied it

It is evident that Gramsci, once he went to Turi, was in fact immersed in another political game, as we all know, and how the practical and contingent interest distanced him from that goal, but not from certain convictions that he did not they will never abandon him.

In fact, if we analyze Gramsci’s sentence in the letter written in 1924, that is, by an adult Gramsci who has been engaged for years in the midst of a great pro-Soviet struggle and with great cultural and political maturity, one cannot fail to underline how he uses the concept with precision. of national independence, in the sense of state independence, which can be translated practically only as the Sardinian and national Republic, that is, referring more precisely to the Sardinian Nation.

Antonio Gramsci was certainly familiar with Lenin’s theses on national self-determination and Stalin’s The National and Colonial Question written on the orders of Lenin and which had become a bible for all colonial peoples and stateless nationalities of the time.
Then we know well how these lines were not applied and also how the USSR, which was formally federal, was actually organized according to a centralized scheme

What is certain is that Antonio Gramsci, who dealt with politics since he was a child even during high school, although the Sardinian Action Party was not yet born, came into contact with the lively anti-protectionist movement of Attilio Deffenu and others, at which Gramsci had joined with enthusiasm, as he was consciously independentist and Sardinian nationalist, and he declared it to Giulia so that no trace and memory of it would be lost.

In truth, although there is no certainty that Antonio Gramsci as a young man, when he said “to sea the continents people”, was completely adherent to an ideologically mature Sardinian independence and nationalist thought, there is no doubt that for his statements he could have been defined as separatist like many Sardinians of the time and in particular like the other young Sardinian students. Antonio Gramsci also had Ireland as his north star and the national liberation struggle of that island people against the United Kingdom.

Anyone today, like the young Gramsci, who says to “sellat sea the continentals people” or the milder “first the Sardinians”, would be accused of separatism, while we know that this is how popular is expressed nothing other than the awareness that pervaded the Sardinians and led to the expulsion of the Piedmontese on April 28, 1794, a date that in fact the Sardinians celebrate every year calling it “Sa die de sa Sardigna” (the day of Sardinia)

Nino’s conviction (the nickname with which Antonio Gramsci was called by family and friends) and his activism in this sense are testified once again when he writes to Giulia “I don’t know how many times I have repeated these words” and remembers having faced the question of the independence of Sardinia many times, as if it had been a topic of normal discussion among his young friends and in any case with whom he had reason to discuss politics.

So the independence and the expulsion of the Italian colonialists was on the agenda in the political discussions of the time and in particular among the high school students and probably among the many children like Gramsci and not so young Sardinians who would then have been thrown into the furnace of the Grande Guerra and in the experience of the Sassari Brigade.

From this point of view it can be said that the Great War (1914-1918) and the subsequent movement of fighters who founded the Sardinian Actiom  Party on April 17, 1921, were a powerful, tragic and innovative catalyst for a political reaction which, on the basis of elements of reflection and claim that started at least from the Perfect Fusion of the Kingdom of Sardinia to the Principality of Piedmont in 1847, they created both the proposal for Autonomy and Federalism and the Sardist political actor under the flag of the four Moors.

In 1924, however, for Gramsci, as he wrote to Giulia, youthful thinking corresponded to the desire for the national independence of Sardinia, which was probably not on the agenda of his main thoughts and programs in 1924, but evidently considered plausible, just and worthy of being remembered at least for posterity even if inserted in such an intimate and personal letter.

Antonio Gramsci (and this is confirmed by the famous letter to the sister Teresina, in which he urges her to teach the Sardinian language to her children and to let them suck all the Sardism possible,  was therefore convinced of the existence of the Sardinian Nation, characterized by its own national language, Sardinian , distinct from the Italian nation and with all the rights to national self-determination.

It is good to underline that the Sardism to be sucked then, given that there was no other Sardism, was that represented by the Sardinian Action Party, even today the Leading Party for the liberation of Sardinia and its emancipation from foreign colonialism and centralism now represented for the Satdists. no longer from that of the Savoyard Monarchy, but today from the Italian Republic, a concept also owned by Gramsci who, instead of Emilio Lussu, did not confuse the state with the nation.

Only two years later, in 1926, the right to self-determination, on the impulse of Antonio Gramsci, was inserted in the Theses of Lyon, which he probably wrote decoding from an intimate planning of the Sardinian Republic, inserted in the Italian Soviet Federation which was supposed to replace the monarchy and fascism.

1926 was also the year of the correspondence with Emilio Lussu, from which we deduce that for Antonio Gramsci the Sardinian question was to be considered in all respects as a national question and not just an autonomist one. Antonio Gramsci always showed the intimate conviction, both as a young resident of Cagliari, and in the 24th and 26th, that Sardinia was a nation and that he had the right to independence with his own official language.

And about the Sardinian language Antonio Gramsci was very clear and direct on the occasion of the famous letter to tje sister Teresina of March 26, 1927 in which he wrote: “Franco seems very lively and intelligent: I think he already speaks correctly. What language does he speak in? I hope you will let him speak in Sardinian and you will not give him any trouble about it. It was a mistake for me not to have let Edmea, as a child, speak freely in Sardinian. This hurt her intellectual formation and put a straitjacket on her imagination. You shouldn’t make this mistake with your children. Meanwhile, Sardinian is not a dialect, but a language in itself, although it does not have a great deal of literature, and it is good for children to learn more languages, if possible?”.

“Then, the Italian, which you will teach him, will be a poor, incomplete language, made up only of those few phrases and words of your conversations with him, purely childish; he will have no contact with the general environment and will end up learning two jargons and no languages: an Italian jargon for the official conversation with you and a Sardinian jargon, learned in bits and pieces, to speak with the other children and with the people he meets on the street or in the square. I sincerely recommend you not to make such a mistake, and to let your children suck all the sardism they want and develop spontaneously in the natural environment in which they were born: this will not be a hindrance for their future: all ‘other”.

Antonio Gramsci’s mails to the wife Giulia and to the sister Teresina are so significant and it absolutely confirm his sardinian independence roots.

Forzis Nineddu, dae cando fuit piciocu, si fuit abizadu chi sos de su continente fuerint furende sa cultura e sa limba de sos sardos e cun issos sa dignidade puru de unu populu, su sardu, cun d’una istoria millenaria.  (Perhaps the little Nino, from his child life, noticed that continents people were deleting the culture and the language of saedinians and with its also his proud of a people with a millennial history.