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New Left Review 58, July-August 2009



Rarely do elections outside the imperial centres have much international reverberation. [1] Cristina Corradi, Storia dei marxismi in Italia, Manifestolibri: Rome 2005, €30, paperback 438 pp, 978 8 8728 5386 3. More peripheral cultures, marginal to the grander schemes of accumulation or geopolitical design, are usually denied the honour of global attention: ‘world-historic’ events happen elsewhere. Exceptions to this rule tend to prove it. Fittingly, then, it was with an exception that the ‘Italian anomaly’ came to an end, with Berlusconi’s third victory in the spring of 2008. It was not so much the incumbent and newly ‘democratic’ centre-left’s crushing defeat at the hands of a motley crew, united by little more than a collective decision to pursue particularist interests, that attracted attention. Rather, it was the fact that, for the first time in the history of the Republic, there were to be no parties in the Italian parliament making explicit reference to the Communist and Marxist traditions. Crowning the victory for the right, or adding insult to injury for the left, was the fact that the ostensible ‘refounders’ of these traditions had themselves contributed in no small measure to their ostracism, votes for imperialist occupation by a self-declared party of ‘non-violence’ playing the role of the scratchings on the pottery of old.

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Peter Thomas, ‘The Moor’s Italian Journeys’, NLR 58: £3

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