The pci’s strategy is not based on any of these ‘models’, for the very good reason that such models do not and cannot exist. I reject categorically the idea that there are one or several models of the transition to socialism from which we should draw our inspiration. There are only specific, unique, different societies, within unique, specific and different world contexts. It is pure metaphysics to seek a common model of revolution for all countries and in every context. Is there a classical model of the transition from feudalism to capitalism? Did the bourgeois revolution come about, I am not saying in the same way, but even in a comparable fashion, in France, Britain, Germany and Italy—to say nothing of the third world? If you try to deduce a strategy from a universal model, you inevitably fall into over-generalization and miss the main point: the specificity of a historical situation which requires a specific strategy.

We can speak of them in the same language, that of the Comintern. But even in the examples you have given, the purpose of historical analysis is to see what is different. You may employ a uniform academic language, while the reality to which you apply it is entirely heterogeneous. In Spain, there was working-class unity; in Germany, there was division and bitter struggle between socialists and communists; in Russia, it was different again. It is metaphysical to think that these diverse experiences involve one and the same model.

There are obvious international obstacles. Europe is divided into military blocs. Each country is conditioned by this; each has ‘limited sovereignty’. No country has absolute independence. The sovereignty even of France, a great independent country and the home of national independence, is limited; in the economic sphere by the multinationals and her financial dependence, and in the political domain by the Atlantic alliance. Even if she is no longer part of the pact, she still participates in the alliance. So these global divisions establish a balance of forces, which is a primary factor. . . .

In Angola the situation was different, not yet settled or organized, the situation was open. . . .

In Portugal, I believe that it had a profound effect, notably in the economic sphere. What was wrong with the Portuguese left was precisely that it did not understand clearly the constraints imposed on revolutionary class action. This lack of understanding has been responsible in large measure for the present outcome of the Portuguese crisis.

In Italy, the main obstacle is not just these external conditions; it is the fact that the majority of Italians are not convinced of the need for socialism—in the sense that we understand it, as a global transformation of society. You cannot make a revolution against the wishes of the majority. Even the Bolshevik revolution, an armed revolution, enjoyed the strong support of the basic masses: soldiers, peasants and, of course, workers. In Italy there is a majority, a consensus, for measures of transformation—on condition that these are not presented, as is often done, with the declared objective of destroying the system. For people do not give a damn about the strategic aims of groups or parties—even those of the Socialist Party. You have the Lombardi wing of the Socialists who say: we must put forward demands designed to disintegrate the system.footnote1 Well, that is a fine argument! Most workers have every right to say: ‘That is your affair; you are revolutionary strategists, so do your job; but I want to sort out my own problems.’ So the question we face is whether we can resolve particular problems—of daily life, of work, of the transformation of cultural conditions, of health and so on—and thus advance towards socialism. Then socialism will not seem imposed by doctrinal choice, by violence, but a necessity born of the actual experience of people who come to realize that the economy can only be put in order by planning which sets limits to private enterprise. Socialism is, therefore, a need arrived at freely, with popular participation. It is a majority, not a minority concern.

This precisely proves that the great majority of Italians is not convinced. Antonio Labriola used to say that the formation of socialist consciousness is a difficult process, requiring time—decades. Since the liberation from fascism, Italy has been through a period of great progress. I scandalized everybody by saying that Italians have never been as free and as well off as they are today. The statement was provocative, but not basically false. So many Italians say: we must defend these gains. Never have workers had as many rights in the factory as they do now; never have they had as many civil liberties. There is more freedom in Italy than in France.