In its first part, this essay deals with the concept of "trasformismo" in Gramsci’s writings prior to his imprisonment. The claim to an autonomous proletarian thought derives from the rejection of a socialist strategy founded on the practice of compromise and on the acceptance of protectionist policies contrary to the interests of both the subaltern classes and the South of Italy. The second part considers the Prison Notebooks, where "trasformismo" appears an important element of the theory of "passive revolution". The democrats become moderate, the socialists become democratic and reformist, the revolutionary syndicalists become fascist: so the revolutionary phases in Italy would end up with the preservation of the traditional social balance. The last part deals with today’s reassessment of Gramsci’s judgement on "trasformismo", in the light of a wider effort to understand Italy’s political transition in the globalization era.
Keywords: "Trasformismo", proletarian political thought, "passive revolution", Fascism, Italy, globalization