Antonio Gramsci, A Marxist Admirer of the Protestant Reformation

  • Michael Löwy
Part of the Radical Theologies and Philosophies book series (RADT)


Antonio Gramsci, the founder of the Italian Communist Party, paid the greatest attention to the Protestant Reformation. However, unlike Engels and Kautsky, he does not focus on Thomas Müntzer and the Anabaptists, but on Luther and Calvin. For Gramsci, the Protestant Reformation is a truly national-popular movement that is able to mobilize the masses. It is a paradigm for the great “moral and intellectual reform” that Marxism wants to accomplish. The Reformation in Gramsci is the philosophy of praxis—a philosophy that is also politics and politics that is also a philosophy. While Kautsky, living in Protestant Germany, idealized the Italian Renaissance, and despised the Reformation as “barbarian,” Gramsci, the Italian Marxist, praised Luther and Calvin and denounced Renaissance as an aristocratic and reactionary movement.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Löwy
    • 1
  1. 1.French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)ParisFrance

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