Hal Draper & Ignazio Silone


The “Third Camp”

Hal Draper debates Ignazio Silone

(January–April 1956)

From Labour Action, Vol. XX No. 5, 30 January 1956, pp. 6–7, Vol. XX No. 6, 6 February 1956, pp. 6–7, & Vol. XX No. 14, 2 April 1956, pp. 6–8.
Copied with thanks from the Workers’ Liberty Website.
Additional transcrip0tion by Einde O’Callaghan.
Marked up by A. Forse & Einde O for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The following introduction is from the Workers’ Liberty website and is not a part of the original text as it was published. Readers should note that the order in which the texts are presented here does not match the chronological order in which they were originally published in Labor Action. This series originally appeared under various headlines, but here have been consolidated under one headline also not original to the text itself.

Ignazio Silone (1900–1978) is best known today as a novelist, author of Bread And Wine, Fontamara, and other books. He was a founder member of the Italian Communist Party (in 1921); he broke with Stalin in 1931, speaking out for independent working-class politics, and moved to the right in the 1940s and 50s, contributing to the famous anthology The God That Failed (1949). Recent historians have found evidence that he was secretly a police informer from the early 1920s, but at the time of the debate it was assumed that his history was honourable.

The first contribution by Ignazio Silone was a response to an article [not reproduced here] in Labor Action on Silone’s political activities, written by Lucio Libertini, an Italian independent socialist. In the middle of the debate, Silone threatened to take Libertini before an Italian court on charges of libel. He charged him and then withdrew. He talked too of suing Labor Action. Nothing came of that. Leaving aside that drama, the discussion remains an important episode in the history of “Third Camp”, independent, working-class socialism.

As a prelude we publish an interview with Silone from 1939 to which the debate refers.

An Interview with Ignazio Silone

Ignazio Silone:
My Political Faith

Hal Draper:
An Open Letter to Ignazio Silone

Ignazio Silone:
My Political Faith, Second Round

Hal Draper:
Silone’s Politics – Then and Now

Last updated on: 24 February 2015