Pietro Secchia 1944
First published: La Nostra Lotta, June 1944;
Source: I Communisti e l’insurrezione, 1943-45, Editori Riuniti, Roma, 1973;
Translated: by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2007.
The Garibaldini were the Italian partisans affiliated with the Italian Communist Party.
The liberation of Rome and the Allied landing in France signal the beginning of the decisive phase of the war. The hour of the end for Nazi-fascism has sounded.
To the great offensives of the Soviet and Allied armies must correspond the daring and impetuous offensive of the Italian people. It is highly probable that in the coming weeks other regions of Italy will be the object of military operations of great importance.
It is necessary that every Communist be at the head of the struggle. It is necessary that every Communist be ready to cope with the developments of the situation . It is necessary that the Communist organizations know how to resolve – even is they are temporarily cut off from the party center – the problems that the rapid development of such a situation pose and will pose. One sole objective must guide us: passing to the offensive in order to prepare within the struggle the conditions for the national popular insurrection.
This means that we want and must develop and activate as much as possible the partisan front; that we must organize large scale systematic sabotage of production, the interrupting of lines of communication, the distribution of the means of transport, of arms deposits, of supplies and fuels for the enemy.
This means that agitation, demonstrations, strikes against hunger and deportations must be multiplied and follow one on another in a growing and ever-stronger wave, must uninterruptedly explode, must assume an ever more violent and mass character, must unite in a great general movement so as to lead to the popular insurrection.
What counts now is action. It’s not a matter of writing and distributing tracts, of hoisting flags, of holding meetings and making propaganda. Agitation is useful and necessary insofar as it serves to mobilize the Italian people for the insurrection; agitation is useful insofar as it serves to bring ever larger masses to the fight for the liberation of our country and for victory.
What counts today is action. It is absolutely necessary that every comrade realize that the essential task today of every Communist and patriot is that of, using all means, attacking the Germans; to attack him from the rear, to break up the railroad lines, to destroy machinery, to sidetrack the trains that transport German troops and material, to delay their arrival. Today the essential task of Communists and patriots is that of impeding the transport of the Nazi-fascist enemy’s troops and arms, of destroying his paths of communication, to blow up his depots. It’s a matter of systematically, at an increasing rhythm, the sabotaging of the enemy’s production. Blow upon blow must rain down from everywhere on the nazi-fascist enemy, to make life impossible for him in our country.
These, today, are our tasks if we want to hasten the hour of the liberation of our fatherland, the hour of victory. These are the tasks to be discussed and resolved these days in our cells if we Communists truly want to be at the head of the Italian people in struggle. No, we can’t limit ourselves to applauding and demonstrating for the liberation of Rome, to rejoice at the opening of the second front. The moment has not yet come for demonstrations of jubilation: now is the hour of struggle, the hour of action. We must facilitate, with all our force, with all our means the military actions of the Allies who have come to liberate our territory from the invader. It is our duty, our task to do all we can to see to it that the Allies succeed. These today are the tasks of the Communists, of patriots, and they are truly new tasks.
These new tasks, which don’t allow for delay, can only be confronted with a combatant’s spirit, with revolutionary enthusiasm. It is necessary that all comrades, those at the base as well as in positions of responsibility, break with the traditional, bureaucratic, routinier work of every day. It is necessary that all of us feel that there is something new in the world, that the decisive hour has come.
The liberation of Rome and the realization of the second front must also signify a turn in our work, must also mean for us the deployment of all our energy. We can’t continue in the humdrum of daily activity, of daily meetings, of the usual weekly cell meetings, of union discussions, of the distribution of newspapers, of the collecting of quotas, of chatting with comrades at work, of eight hours at the factory every day from Monday to Saturday, one week after the other, as if there was nothing new under the sun. No, working in this spirit means working with a wait-and-see spirit, even if you’re against waiting-and -seeing; means doing nothing differently today from what was done yesterday; means ‘waiting’ for the Allies to arrive and liberate us; means abandoning oneself to spontaneity, waiting for things to happen on their own.
Today the duty of every Communist and patriot is to abandon the factory, the office, the fields; to take up the gun against the German invader. Today it is the duty of Communists and Italians to plan and organize the interruption of the railway and communication lines of the enemy, to impede, hinder, delay its transport of arms and troops. Today it is the duty of every Communist and every Italian to organize and carry out in the factories, the construction sites and the offices the sabotage of production for the enemy.
Every day, every hour, in every factory, in every village, in every neighborhood of the city, in every path of communication something must be done that damages the Nazi-fascist enemy. Today it is the duty of every Communist to work with the sprit that animates the revolutionary combatant, who completely gives his all, without limits, for the reaching of this objective.
Above familiar concerns, above work issues, above personal demands, today the duty is to the fight for victory, the fight to destroy Nazi-fascism as quickly as possible. Not everyone can leave for the front, but the entire national territory should be considered one great front. Every Communist must feel the necessity of the task that he has to perform; whatever task the party has assigned him he should consider it necessary to contribute to defeating the enemy. We must work with the same enthusiasm, with the same spirit of sacrifice, with the same contempt for danger, with complete dedication, deploying all our energy, as if we were at the front.
If there are comrades who sleep eight hours a day, they’re sleeping too much; if there are comrades who work punctually and hard eight hours a day behind their machines, who work and produce well for war production, these comrades are not Communists, they aren’t fulfilling their duties; if there are comrades who today find too much time to rest and amuse themselves, these are not soldiers, they aren’t combatants.
Those comrades who work in a way as if today were yesterday are not combatants; who pass their lives as if they were in time of “peace,” and not on the eve of the national popular insurrection; who pass their lives at the workshop, the evening with the family, chatting in cafes with friends and then to bed with the wife.
Today the supreme duty of a Communist, of an Italian is that of being a combatant at the front and behind the lines, in front of and behind the enemy, in the mountains and in the cities, in the trenches and in the factories.
It is absolutely necessary that every day at day’s end every comrade be able to see that he has worked another eight hours to earn his daily bread and enrich his exploiters, but can also say: “ Today I did something to destroy Nazi-fascism, to conquer liberty. Today I dealt a blow to my mortal enemy.”
And so work hard, with enthusiasm, feverishly, without bureaucratic delays. Above all have present the tasks which we must today confront. In the current situation it is the task of our organisms to reduce bureaucracy, paperwork, archives, collections of documents to a minimum.
Become accustomed to working quickly and resolving problems promptly and not get lost in long discussions. This is not the moment for great discussions, meetings, congresses. Arriving hurriedly at the right moment with a tract, an appeal, a directive, also written rapidly, is better than arriving late with a carefully styled document. Derailing a train of German men and material tonight is worth more than passing the night making up grand projects, fantastic plans to be realized in who knows what future.
In particular the most qualified comrades must seek to be ready in the same way as is a combatant before the attack. They must seek to relieve themselves of all ties that are a weight and an obstacle to their action. They must organize their work in such a way as not to be tied to their technical and organizational posts. The must be in a position to be able to leave their cities from one moment to another, to go from one locality to another where their work is necessary; they must be in a position to be able to pass from political work to military work, from agitational and propaganda work to that of commanding a detachment or vice versa, according to the circumstances.
It is only by working with a truly practical and revolutionary spirit, only with the dedication of all our forces, of all our physical and moral energies, that we will be able to acquit our tasks of today, that we can maintain the offensive, that we can lead the national insurrection.