As the few determined readers of this off-and-on column probably have gathered by now, I believe that one of the most important contributions Antonio Gramsci has made to modern political thought, is his break with the economic determinism of many early Marxists.
It has been an ongoing debate, to which extent Marx himself can be blamed for the rather dogmatic and mechanistic turn historical materialism took around the turn of the 19th century. It can however hardly be contested that the major contributions to this ideological blind alley, came after Marx death, by other Marxists such as Karl Kautsky and Nikolai Bukharin.
All though it is uncontroversial that humans are formed by the material conditions under which they grow up, and their thoughts are thus to an extent shaped by social class. To go from this, to claim that all of human history by necessity goes through certain distinct phases, with revolutions in-between, is naturally to take a leap into a world where the human mind’s need to construct order and patterns overshadows what can be actually concluded from empirical data.