Italy: new Gramsci mural causes row

FI, FdI slam 'ideological' work

23 November, 18:30

    ROME - A new mural of Marxist philosopher, political theorist and martyr to Fascism Antonio Gramsci on a Florence council housing block has caused a row in Italy.

    The centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party said Gramsci (1891-1937) was undeniably an important intellectual and a brave anti-Fascist politician, but at the same time a convinced Communist-Leninist, and asked "can such a figure reconcile himself with the values of freedom and democracy that should unite us?" The rightwing nationalist Brothers of Italy (FdI) party accused Florence's centre-left city council of "filling (Florence) with huge murals with a blatant ideological message: an iconography that recalls that of totalitarian regimes, but without coherence and courage".

    The mural is the work of street artist Jorit, who put up a mural of Nelson Mandela on another municipal block of flats two years ago.

    He started the new mural with a famous quotation from Gramsci's Prison Notebooks: 'The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.' Gramsci was a Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime for 11 years, dying of ill health a year before he was due to be released.

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