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The Militant, 8 June 1946

Rosa Di Bartolomeo

Italy Before the June Elections

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 23, 8 June 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


ROME, Italy – Italian political life today rests on the plane of municipal elections. These elections precede, and in a certain way, prepare for the coming political elections. All the parties – from the “left” to the extreme right – are engaged in a battle whose outcome is still in doubt.

What is already clear is that the bloc – “esarchia governativa” – will be broken by these first elections, shifting the struggle to an arena in which the battle positions will be held by the Socialist-Communist bloc and the Democratic-Christian.

There have been many oscillations. First came a puff of “wind from the right.” Later there was a shift to the left. In the large industrial cities like Milan and Turin, the municipal elections have not yet been held. The parties of the “left” are confident of a clear victory in these overwhelmingly proletarian centers.

On the eve of the political elections which will decide whether the House of Savoy will remain or give way to the democratic republic, one finds the Democratic-Christian Party still wavering on this question. It is characteristic that in the slates for municipal elections this party ran its candidates jointly with suspicious elements, rabid monarchists and adventurers of the neo-fascist movement, Uomo Qualunque.

The liberals, likewise divided on the question of “monarchy or republic,” the Actionists, the labor democrats and other political formations and currents play a secondary role in this first “democratic” battle.

The Qualunquisti are undoubtedly the most avowed and definitely reactionary party. This movement embraces a section of yesterday’s fascists, groups of unscrupulous politicians, malcontents, a few naive individuals and a section of the unemployed and disillusioned veterans who returned to Italy hoping to find things changed.

Up to now, however, the campaign of “absenteeism and confusion” conducted by Uomo Qualunque has not taken hold of the masses.

It is incorrect to believe that a wave of reaction can be unleashed only by the Qualunquist movement.

Undoubtedly, Qualunquism represents one form of reaction. The very real and dangerous reaction, however, is rearming itself under the guise of “democracy;” the conservative cohorts of Demo-Christians tied with the clerical hierarchy of the Vatican; the big financiers and industrialists now utilizing the Liberal Party, all these and other, forces of the bourgeoisie are biding their time.

For their part, the Socialist and Communist parties, embracing the working masses who still do not see clearly nor understand the new and old betrayals, have encouraged and strengthened the bourgeoisie. They have done this by collaborating in the government, by their policy of concessions and trade union compromises, by their slogans of “progressive democracy” and “democratic republic” which they have substituted for the tactics, strategy and the very ideas of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism.

What is evident is that the working class still remains superior to the bourgeoisie in the relationship of forces. Also clear is the fact that, historically, the proletariat finds itself on the plane of the struggle for the conquest of power in Europe and winning national independence and emancipation of the colonial and backward countries.

In the given historical situation, the proletariat cannot smash the national bourgeoisie without a revolutionary theory capable of uniting all the victims of capitalism – the workers, the peasants and middle classes. The proletariat cannot crush the bourgeoisie without sweeping away the old parties of the Second and Third Internationals who continue to betray and deceive the workers.

There can be no middle road in the present economic and political conditions. The alternative is not democracy or fascism, but socialism or capitalism.

The task is to restore revolutionary Marxism in order to build, with the aid of past experience, a party which can act as the real leader of the working class. This party must have a policy capable of welding together all the broken links of the chain; it must have a tactical-strategical plan and revolutionary positions capable of unmasking the reformist and collaborationist policy of the parties of the Second and Third Internationals; it must place clearly before the workers of the whole world and especially of Europe the correct solutions demanded by the exigencies of the movement. All this is necessary because without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement, and without a class party, the victory of the proletarian revolution cannot be guaranteed.

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