Fanfani’s first Centre-Left Government of 1962 promised considerable reforms as a quid pro quo for the extra-governmental support of the psi—nationalization of electricity (this was actually achieved, though in an utterly non-socialist fashion), regional autonomy, and agrarian reform. The present Moro-Nenni government came into being with more timorous objectives—a measure of (indicative) economic planning, moves to check property speculation, a drive against the Mafia, the repeal of the Fascist legal code. Regional autonomy and an agrarian reform were not specifically renounced, but were clearly postponed for the forseeable future. The formation of the new left socialist party, psiup, represented a rejection of this programme.

Recent developments have amply justified the decision to form the new party. The first government statement of aims on planning, made to the national planning commission in early May by the socialist finance minister Giolitti, was simply an emasculated version of the two-year old Saraceno report on economic development, which itself did no more than extrapolate from existing trends and project them into the future as forecasts. The government’s first act to check property speculation, the so-called ‘167’ law, is being challenged in the courts at Turin, and it seems only too probable that the already astronomical compensation rates will be upscaled. In Sicily, where a number of mafiosi have been pulled in, it has incidentally been revealed that the police have always had full knowledge of the identity and whereabouts of all the principal members of the society. But the formation of Centre-Left local administrations is increasingly serving to buttress the social and political order originally created by collusion with the Mafia. As for the repeal of the Fascist legal code—still the basis of the Italian legal system —there seems no chance of its implementation in the near future, although a horrifying roof of its urgency was given in May when Vincenzo Razzano died in the prison of Santa Maria Capua Vetere after 96 hours strapped to a ‘Letto di contenzione’; this is like some medieval instrument of torture—the prisoner is strapped down on a sort of bed with his limbs in the form of an X. Under the fascist prison code any prisoner considered uncontrollable can be strapped down for an unlimited period. In this case, it was the same priest who had provoked a nervous crisis in the prisoner by refusing him absolution, who gave the order for him to be put on the ‘letto’.

Regional autonomy and agrarian reform have been postponed indefinitely too. In the parliamentary commission on the regions, the psi has been voting against amendments proposed by the pci and psiup which it had itself helped to formulate. And it has entirely ceased to participate in the campaign of the left against the immensely powerful and corrupt Federconsorzi, (Federation of Agricultural Consortia) one of the main bastions of the dc.

In this context of full vindication of the decision to form the psiup, an important pointer towards the new party’s chances of becoming a significant political force was provided by recent elections for the newly constituted region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The psiup started in particularly unfavourable circumstances, since the entire local party apparatus had remained in the hands of the psi. Despite this, it captured twenty thousand votes in the region, one fifth of the previous socialist vote, a considerable achievement after only four months existence, and disproves Nenini’s early attempt to dismiss the split as one by party cadres. If the psiup can achieve this degree of mass support in an area where it, in fact, has no cadres, it will be interesting to see what it can do in the many areas where large sections and often majorities of the cadres of the old party have joined the new.