The Debate of the Central Committee of the Italian Communist Party on the 22nd Congress of the CPSU
I. THE ITALIAN PARTY
The Italian Communist Party, in exile and jail for 20 years under Mussolini, was re-formed in 1944 in the throes of the Resistance. Relatively uncompromised by the equivocations and complicities of the 30’s, the Party’s formative experience was national resistance and insurrection. The majority of its cadres were younger than those of the other West European Communist parties. It enjoyed in the writings of Gramsci the unique advantage of a sophisticated and indigenous Italian Marxism. Finally, again largely because Fascism had placed the workingclass movement in cold storage so early on, the party was not divided by years of mutual recrimination and suspicion from the Socialists. Excluded from the government in 1947, and defeated in the elections of 1948, the Party nevertheless survived the period of intense cold war with great resilience. Working-class unity with the socialists was maintained intact, electoral support steadily increased, and a margin of political and ideological independence preserved. Throughout the worst years of the Cold War, party militants could read Trotsky, Bukharin or Radek in the Gramsci Institute in Rome. The Italian section of WFTU fought a discreet underground action against the full theory and practice of Stalinism: in 1951, Di Vittorio, secretary of the CGIL, even wanted a WFTU delegation to be sent to the Soviet Union to investigate the charges of forced labour then being made against it at the ILO (he was over-ruled by Saillant of the French Communist Party). At home, sociologists, economists and trade-unionists discussed the problems of Italian neo-capitalism with far greater freedom than in the other European parties, contributing towards the resurgence of the CGIL in the Iron Triangle—Milan, Turin, Genoa—after its defeats in the early 50’s.
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
By the same author:
With the collisions over Ukraine, the contradictions in Russia’s relations with the West have been sharpened by sanctions and economic crisis. Perry Anderson on the spectre of Great Power status that still informs the post-multinational nation—and why, despite all the Kremlin’s attempts at integration with the US–EU, the country remains indigestible.
Retrospective on the liberated life and work of Alexander Cockburn, whose last book, A Colossal Wreck, completes a dazzling triptych. Shaping influences of family, place and political epoch on a singularly radical temperament, and the keen-edged prose in which it found expression.
Deadlocks of American politics viewed within a longer optic, as outcomes of interlocking determinants—regime of accumulation, sociological shifts, cultural mutations, catalytic minorities—within an all-capitalist ideological universe.
Ronald Fraser, 1930–2012
Tribute to the author of Blood of Spain, locating the impulse behind his oeuvre in a commitment to explore lived experience. Reconstructions
of work, war, politics and subjectivity, from Napoleonic era to post-Fordist present.
After the Event
Replying to critics, Anderson renews his critique of European narcissism, before turning to the dynamics of the EU debt crisis, and Berlin’s role in producing and exacerbating it.
Homage to an outstanding figure of the European Left, who fought to preserve the link between radical thought and mass politics as Italy’s Communist tradition dissolved around him.
Perry Anderson on Patrick Wilcken, Claude-Lévi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory. Deciphering the life and thought of the anthropological mage.
On the Concatenation in the Arab World
From Tunis to Manama, 2011 has brought a chain-reaction of popular upheavals, in a region where imperial domination and domestic despotism have long been entwined. A call for political liberty to reconnect with social equality and Arab fraternity, in a radical new internationalism.
How to explain the opposed outcomes for communism in Russia and China, after 1989? Classes and leaders, anciens régimes and external settings, examined in comparative perspective.