As a territorial section of Comintern, the PCI adopted the same program, the same conception of the party and the same tactics adopted by the II Congress in Moscow of The official program, drawn up in ten points, began with the intrinsically catastrophic nature of the capitalist system and terminated with the extinction of the state. For a while, this identity resisted, but the fast progress of the reaction in Europe produced a change of tactics in a democratic direction within the PCUS and consequently within the Comintern.
This happened in particular regarding the possibility, previously opposed, of an alliance with the social democratic and bourgeois parties. The proposals of the Left were no longer accepted and the conflict became irremediable. The purpose of this is not utopian because already in this society, especially in production, some structures are born on future results. In two articles of , this concept was developed so deeply that it was asserted that the vanguard party is not a simple part of the proletarian class , but already a structure beyond the classes, already fitted to the classless society and designed in accordance with its future duties.
Revolution was not a problem of organizational shape, but of strength as revolution could not be "done" an infantile and unrealistic goal , but rather "led". From the organizational point of view, the party was to abandon elective democracy, internal hierarchies and work "organically"; that is, like a biological organism, where the single parts or cells and different organs work together for the whole. During its 2nd Congress in , the new party registered 43, members. Tasca's current was not represented while Gramsci was the only representative of the Center the other representative of Ordine Nuovo was at the time aligned with the Left.
The national structure included provincial federations, local sections, union groups and a clandestine organization for the fight against the armed Fascist groups, the Ufficio Primo. According to the report of the Central Committee to the 2nd Congress, during the polls in the Unions Camera del Lavoro the Communist motions received , votes. In , some members of the party were arrested and put on trial for "conspiracy against the State". This allowed the intense activity of the Communist International to deprive the party's left-wing of authority and give control to the minority centre which had aligned with Moscow.
In —, the Comintern began a campaign of "Bolshevisation" which forced each party to conform to the discipline and orders of Moscow. Before the Lyon Congress in , the Centre won almost all the votes in the absence of much of the Left, who were unable to attend as a result of fascist controls and lack of Comintern support. Recourse to the Comintern against this evident manoeuvre had little effect. The organisation continued with the support of the Comintern and a new structure and leadership.
The Left continued as a faction, principally functioning in exile. It published the newspaper Bilan , a monthly theoretical bulletin. In , Bordiga and Gramsci were arrested and imprisoned on the island of Ustica. In , Palmiro Togliatti was elected secretary in place of Gramsci. In , Bordiga was expelled from the Comintern and accused of Trotskyism. Under this name, it reorganised in Italy and became a parliamentary party after the fall of Fascism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For the party active from to , see Italian Communist Party. For the party founded in , see Communist Party of Italy Communist Party of Italy. Politics of Italy Political parties Elections. Before Second World War. In fact, the majority accepted the war, not as a purely national event, but as the class struggle transposed onto an international plane.
- Freely available.
- Green, White And Lots Of Red: How Italy Got The West's Biggest Communist Party.
- ProjectLibre User Guide Reference Manual;
- Getting to Know Ronnie: A Story About Autism.
- Table of Contents.
The military struggle was seen as the starting point for a social revolution after the defeat of Fascism. Basso claimed that the turning point had occurred in However, they had difficulty in developing a systematic critique of Stalinism, for this would have necessitated a thoroughgoing reassessment, and consequently would have obliged them to endorse a considerably more radical standpoint, such as that of the PC Internazionalista.
This explains both the theoretical weaknesses of these movements, and, to a certain extent, their organisational disintegration and absorption into the two parties of the historical left. The continuation of the war meant that the differences between them and the PCI in respect of the postwar situation was of decreasing significance. The struggle of the day became more pressing, and theory was increasingly replaced by discussions of a merely organisational nature.
Communist and Socialist leaders easily convinced many militants that the situation after the war depended on the strength which they could exert during it. There were other reasons for the demise of the opposition movements; the harshness of their treatment and their isolation should not be underestimated. But the underlying reason of the failure of the left wing opposition is due to the fact that the working class did not achieve political independence.
The opposition currents accurately predicted the consequences of the policy of national unity in respect of the postwar social structure of Italy. Nevertheless, the umbilical cord which still joined many of these movements to the ideology of the historical parties of the left had not been cut, and their assimilation by the latter was inescapable.
There was also a link with the political experience of the left wing militants who were forced into exile in France and Belgium during the period of the Fascist dictatorship. Despite being seen as its ideal leader, Bordiga did not take part in the activities of the Faction. After prison and internal exile, he chose to remain in Italy, and he resumed his work as an engineer.
For this reason he refused to join his followers abroad who, together with Trotsky, had called on him to leave Italy , and he turned down the approaches of the new leaders of the PCI.
- Communist Party of Italy.
- Beyond the iron curtain of historiography, between party canon and scholarly standard.
- Johnny Depp Movies - 1984-1994?
- ARSENAL FCS RISING SON: RYO MIYAICHI.
- A Hazy State of Separation;
Bordiga considered that the Second World War was an imperialist conflict which had succeeded in involving the entire world proletariat, and this made any chance of its recovery on an independent basis even more remote. Not even the partisan movements, born at that time to oppose Nazi-Fascism, kept their class independence, since they took part in the military conflict, taking orders from a military command.
He saw its reconstitution only in relation to a future resumption of general proletarian class struggle, and solely on the basis of a revolutionary process. In particular, this should be based on firm principles, and tied to a very precise programme. For this reason, although Bordiga offered his support and advice to the Left Faction of the Italian Communists and Socialists when it emerged in Southern Italy, he did not officially join it.
After landing in Sicily in July , the Allied army slowly moved northwards, and finally arrived in Rome in June Italy was thus cut in two by the military front line. Political life in the south resumed during these 10 long months, and trade unions and political parties were reformed. The leadership of the PCI chose to keep its distance from this vast working class movement.
After taking a ministerial post in the government, one of the most pressing problems for the PCI was how to achieve theoretical and organisational homogeneity. Confused political concepts and uncontrolled organisational initiatives still existed within the party. On his return from the Soviet Union, Togliatti realised that this current had to be destroyed if its supporters refused to accept his new orientation, and they were duly expelled from the PCI. The formation of the Faction not only involved those who were expelled from the PCI at this time, but also activists who had previously been expelled because of their links with the left, such as Ludovico Tarsia and Antonio Natangelo, plus some comrades who, like Edoardo Magnelli, had supported the Faction of the Communist Left abroad with Enrico Russo.
Unlike Russo, however, these comrades had not left Spain, but had remained until the war began.
The main figure in the Faction was Renato Matteo Pistone, who had lived in Spain in the s, and was in direct contact with the Trotskyist opposition. These exchanges brought the whole movement towards positions which were in complete opposition to Stalinism. The Faction sought to draw the existing left wing parties back to a working class standpoint — if there was still any chance of doing so — and only to form an independent party if this task proved impossible, or if the situation demanded a clear demarcation between revolutionary and reactionary forces.
The origins of these policies were to be found in the decisions of the Third Congress of the Communist International, which were seen as marking a shift away from a direct assault upon capitalism, and towards a compromise with reformist organisations. This had merely been a tactical error which could have been corrected, but the degeneration that had occurred since then had resulted in the PCI proposing unity with the bourgeoisie, and selling it to the workers as a necessary compromise.
Many branches soon appeared in Naples and the surrounding areas, with over members and supporters. The movement grew larger with every new expulsion or voluntary resignation from the PCI. Members of the PCI sometimes resigned in protest against disciplinary action taken by the leadership against fellow comrades. For example, when Vincenzo Iorio, Secretary of the Chamber of Labour in Naples and a member of the Faction, was expelled, a group of Communists resigned from the party in solidarity.
Branches of the Faction were established in Castellammare, Torre Annunziata, Avellino, Salerno and in countless other towns in Campania. The PCI appeared to pay no attention to the Faction, and never directly referred to it in its official press. It preferred to work secretly, spreading damaging comments about individual members. It repudiated any affinity with Trotskyism, for defending Trotsky from the lies of Stalinism did not mean endorsing his theories and political views.
Il Proletario then made a prediction which was soon to come true:. We are certain that the Marxist Ercoli [Togliatti] will disarm the proletariat. The Faction had great hopes in the partisan forces, but not because it considered them to be a revolutionary Socialist movement. The left in southern Italy was well aware that this movement was divided into several tendencies. Fascism had been created by the bourgeoisie, but, on 25 July , the latter had rejected it, and this marked a definite move in the game, a game which no one would have played if the pseudo-proletarian parties had not supported it.
These parties were actively helping to divert attention from the real responsibility of the bourgeoisie, and located the basis of Fascism, not in capital and the bourgeoisie, but only in certain specifically reactionary sections of it. The Faction reached the masses, as we have said, through its work within the unions. The Faction soon reached the conclusion that the only means remaining to defend the working class was by working within the CGIL.
After reaching the conclusion that these groups represented positive forms of opposition, the Faction behaved towards them with some sectarianism on a theoretical level, and it refused to unite with any of them. The Faction agreed to discussions and debates, but its leaders refused to compromise on theoretical issues. This intransigence was above all due to the need to maintain the independence of the vanguard of the working class in view of the impending revolutionary situation. This had not yet happened, but it would occur sooner or later.
The strength of the Italian proletariat would then be complemented by the recovery of the European working class, which, after a long period of demoralisation, would spring back to life. That month, the government formed by Bonomi and Togliatti refused to allow the legal publication of Il Proletario ,  and a few months later La Sinistra Proletaria received the same treatment.
Shortly before that, the same fate had befallen the paper Frazione di Sinistra salernitana Left Wing Faction of Salerno , which the movement of that name published in the city. Divided amongst themselves, the small left opposition groups were unable to oppose these repressive moves, and what strength did they have compared with the new state? The only opposition movement which could have become a unifying pole of attraction was the Faction.
In the new year, the Faction entered into a period of intense and widespread activity. Branches were set up almost everywhere in the south. The Faction decided to publish a leaflet which would summarise its general views. The exiled opposition under Fascism had considered that this was the central issue to be resolved, in order to pave the way for the recovery of the Socialist movement.
The crucial political problems were rooted in the political transformation that had occurred in the Soviet Union. After the end of the war, all prospects of unification with other groups in the south of Italy were abandoned. Nevertheless, the question remained open as to whether a party could be created on a national basis. Considerable differences of opinion emerged within the Faction, which led to the rise of two currents, one led by Libero Villone and Enrico Russo, and the other headed by Ludovico Tarsia, La Camera, Maruca and Pistone.
Its character was so unique that the PCI used it as a yardstick when condemning the policies of the various organisations which stood to its left.
Although the party was formally launched on 8 September , its organisational structure was in place long before then. The movement was at first centred in Milan, which was the main city in Lombardy and the centre of anti-Fascism in northern Italy, and steps were made to establish the party elsewhere. The Internationalists made their first contact with other left wing movements in Milan during This did not lead to any cooperation taking place, as the intransigent positions and the historical and theoretical traditions of this group meant that they had little in common with any of the other movements formed during the war.
However, this tradition was re-established by the militants who had remained in Italy and had filled the Fascist prisons and places of internal exile confinos. He had repeatedly been arrested and sentenced under the Fascist regime. Subsequently, many militants, including Mauro Stefanini, Gigi Danielis and Tullio Lecci, returned from abroad and gradually joined the evolving organisation, bringing with them their experience of the struggle in exile. The militants who were to form the PC Internazionalista considered that a revolutionary period, similar to that which swept across Europe and Russia during and immediately after the First World War, was more or less imminent, and that the working class, acting autonomously and independent of other social classes, would be able to make a serious intervention.
Whereas all the other left wing groups tended towards a struggle which at first was to be anti-Fascist and only later anti-capitalist, the Internationalists argued for the need for a joint struggle on both fronts, or, more accurately, a defence on both fronts, since the proletariat was temporarily in a clearly inferior position in respect of these two forces.
The PC Internazionalista counterposed to this an analysis which posed the war as the repetition — albeit in a different form — of the First World War. The Second World War was seen as the inevitable outcome of successive phases, or partial conflicts, which had followed one another — the invasion of China and Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War, etc.
Lucio Colletti, Antonio Gramsci and the Italian Revolution, NLR I/65, January–February
The proletariat was obliged to maintain a staunchly independent position to defend its very existence, even if only in the physical sense. The difficulties caused by the war prevented Prometeo from elaborating a theoretical analysis of the real causes of the conflict. Finally, the Internationalists claimed that the conflict was not between democracy and totalitarianism, as the left wing parties argued, because the rulers of the Soviet Union had during the s imposed a totalitarian system upon its people, and had liquidated both politically and physically almost all those who had fought alongside Lenin during the October Revolution.
They were not afraid of being a tiny minority, and they drew upon the experience of the Zimmerwald and Kienthal conferences. The Internationalists considered that Fascism fell on 25 July because the ruling class had no more use for it. A leaflet distributed in Turin in August declared:. This right exclusively belongs to the working class, the peasants and the soldiers, who are the eternal victims of the imperialist octopus.
Anti-war sentiments ran deep within the working class, and strikes against the continuation of the war took place, involving tens of thousands of workers. The strikes that erupted from mid-August had a profound class content, with demands for the freeing of all political prisoners, the release of all workers who had been arrested, wage increases, the removal of soldiers from the factories, and the adoption of measures for the establishment of factory committees.
In the meantime, factory committees had spontaneously reappeared. The Internationalists saw their creation as a very positive sign, for they had expressed, albeit in a limited and sporadic manner, the desire of the masses to go beyond purely economic struggles. The Internationalists found themselves in a rather difficult position after the Armistice. They thought that the demise of Fascism would lead directly to the collapse of the capitalist state. This, however, was an illusion. In December the PC Internazionalista published a manifesto against the war and for the creation of a proletarian united front.
The united front was not intended to be an alliance of parties, but was essentially to create working class unity, irrespective of political ideology. The only response to this appeal, however, was from revolutionary trade unionists and libertarian Communists. This episode demonstrated the weakness of such left wing movements in the face of the continuing war. They were not, however, autonomous institutions. They existed merely to implement the orders of trade union leaders, prefects and the German military authorities, and militants learned through their own experience that the purpose of the committees was essentially to spy on and to police the workers.
The Internationalists took part in the strike wave that broke out in northern Italy at the end of December The strikers managed to win economic improvements, but the victory was ephemeral, as it did not solve the deeper problems that the working class faced because of the war: the bombing, the loss of their homes, and the difficulty in obtaining food. This was a crucial matter, as the rank and file of the PCI was sentimentally attached to Stalin and the Soviet state, which for them still represented the October Revolution and the building of Socialism.
The respect for the Soviet Union grew dramatically during the war and for a short period afterwards. Most workers favoured a militant proletarian policy, and considered that the policy of an all-class alliance favoured by Moscow was merely a tactical move, which at the appropriate moment would be replaced by a genuinely anti-capitalist strategy.
Socialism had been repudiated in favour of an isolated state, which, far from withering away, had repressed and neutered the soviets, the most genuine organisations of proletarian power. The Soviet state with which the Internationalists identified was that of the revolutionary period, that of October.
Moreover, the bulk of the Italian bourgeoisie had distanced itself from Fascism, and its only social support was the German occupiers. The distinct and uncompromising political positions of the PC Internazionalista inevitably led to a violent response from the official Communist leaders. One of them, Pietro Secchia, actually denounced the Internationalists as being directly in the service of the Nazis.
In particular, he accused them of spreading passivity and failing to participate in the struggle of the Resistance. The Internationalists did not regard the partisan struggle as an isolated issue, but saw it as part of an imperialist conflict, a war that was against the proletariat. They opposed any participation in the war, irrespective of the form it took, and called for social revolution. They understood how the course of the war had brought the partisan squads into existence.
Prometeo suggested that the partisan forces should assert their political independence, and adopt a revolutionary standpoint. Some links were made with the help of couriers, but very little progress was made. Two militants attempting to forge links with the partisans were murdered by PCI activists. The clash with the official Communists was direct and very violent, above all because the PC Internazionalista claimed the heritage which had brought the PCI itself into existence.
On 1 March a strike wave broke out in northern Italy and Tuscany. It was overtly political, with an anti-German emphasis. Although the strike involved almost the entire workforce and paralysed the factories for a whole week, it proved unsuccessful. Strikers were confronted by Nazi terror, and threatened with deportation to Germany. The workers were unable to win any concessions, despite the promises that had been made the previous November and December. The Internationalists participated in the strike, but unlike the CLN, they raised their usual class-based demands: an end to the war, and the defence of the economic interests of the proletariat.
They considered that this strike should not have been called in the absence of a solid base within the factories that would enable the masses to go onto the offensive. A manifesto distributed at the end of February declared that general strikes and armed uprisings were not to be played with. The news that Togliatti had agreed to join a monarchist government and to abandon all working class demands, swept across the entire country. The April issue of Prometeo was set up for printing, and a flyer was produced to be distributed with the paper. The Internationalists stated that the political evolution of the PCI had to be analysed if its entry into a monarchist government was to be understood.
II. The Left Wing Faction of the Italian Communists and Socialists
Prometeo claimed that the PCI represented a new and even more ruthless form of Social Democracy, as its capacity for undertaking audacious initiatives enabled it to be all the more capable of assisting the bourgeoisie in times of crisis. Its new orientation was not the decision of a nationally-based party, but was part of a vast strategy elaborated on a global level by the Soviet Union in collaboration with the main Allied powers.
It strongly disagreed with the terrorist attacks carried out by the Gruppi di Azione Patriottica Groups for Patriotic Action and other partisan squads, not because of any revulsion against violence, but because such tactics were alien to working class traditions and Marxism. After the strikes of March , despite enormous difficulties as the Fascist repression became more ruthless, and communications were becoming increasingly hazardous, the PC Internazionalista attempted to build a base within the working class by calling for the building of mass organisations to oppose the Fascist factory committees.
It was difficult to link anti-war slogans with the day-to-day struggle in the factories. It was not accidental that Prometeo gave little space to trade union demands. They tended to undervalue trade union work and to overlook the link between it and revolutionary politics, and they did not publish any factory or trade union papers. This helped the PCI to increase its influence amongst militant workers.
It stated that an Allied victory would strengthen world capitalism, and thus reduce the possibility of a successful proletarian revolution. Nevertheless, the left wing parties which were committed to defending capitalism would be unable to survive should the war continue. The Internationalists expected that the future state structure — or at least its outward appearance — would be democratic, but this would not alter their tactical approach. The revival of working class activity in the autumn of saw the Internationalists engaging in political work in the factories.
Once again, their aims were diverse but in general demanded wage increases, and opposed the deportation of workers to Germany. This strike was victorious, and two months later, in November , the workers of Lombardy struck again. However, the political situation was generally bleak, and the winter presented many difficulties. The Allies delayed the invasion of the Po Valley until the following spring, and General Alexander urged the partisans to demobilise.
By the winter of the PC Internazionalista was the only left wing opposition remaining in the north. Even so, the party was unable to publish Prometeo for the duration of the winter. In February the PC Internazionalista attempted to put into practice the strategy outlined in the manifesto that it had launched in June The Internationalists had already formed some agitation committees or factory groups, composed of party members and sympathisers, with the aim of conducting united activity with the factory organisations of other political movements.
On 10 February this appeal was sent to all left wing parties, including the PCI. In April the Allies launched a major offensive, and the end of the war in Italy was in sight. Obviously, the Internationalists had not favoured a Nazi victory, they were merely evaluating an accomplished fact, an analysis of the balance of power between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on a world scale.
But they did not despair. There were still revolutionary possibilities, as the working class would soon be confronted by a deep capitalist crisis that would ensue when the bourgeoisie attempted to shift to a peacetime economy. This would open up the possibility of the international proletariat engaging in the struggle for power. Now more than ever, the revolutionary party should reject any compromise or hybrid alliance, either political or parliamentary.
It is most likely that the participation of the PC Internazionalista in the huge uprising in the northern Italian cities of 24—26 April was due to this concept of an imminent deep social crisis.
Related Stalin e il comunismo (Italian Edition)
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved