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New Left Review I/106, November-December 1977


Giorgio Amendola

The Italian Road to Socialism

We may distinguish, schematically, three ‘models’ of the road to socialism, three types of strategy for transition. The first is the Leninist, or ‘classical’ model, on Which the revolutionary left bases itself. The growth and intensification of capitalist contradictions heighten working-class combativity and increase class consciousness until these culminate in a pre-revolutionary crisis: there is a generalized upsurge of struggles, dual power, a test of politico-military strength, then defeat or victory of the revolution. This was the pattern of February to October in Russia; November 1918 and March 1923 in Germany; 1936 in Spain; and, in a more ambiguous and embryonic fashion, 1973 in Chile and 1975 in Portugal. The second is the social-democratic model. Electoral victory brings a socialist government to power. With the support of the organized masses, this puts into practice a programme of social reforms which add up to socialism. Finally, there is the ‘reformist-revolutionary’ model, on which the Communist and trade-union left in Italy in the 1960s based itself. A government of workers’ parties comes to power and unleashes a lengthy process of transition to socialism. The dialectic between socialist government and masses gradually imposes a series of anti-capitalist structural reforms, which extend over a long period of time but are cumulative in effect. To which of these ‘models’ does the strategy of the Italian Communist Party [pci] correspond?

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