Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 5 No. 4

Appendix: Alfonso Leonetti

Why I Am Rejoining the Italian Communist Party [1]

BY RE-ENTERING in the Italian Communist Party today, I do not consider myself as miraculously healed by the [CPSU’s] Twenty-Second Congress. In fact, my break with the oppositional groups, of which I had been a member after 1930, and my agreement with the Communist parties can be clearly traced back to the time of the Resistance period I spent in France. Since then I sought and established contact with the French Communist Party, and, whilst not being allowed to hold a membership card, I considered myself politically as linked with the Communist Party alone, and refused to join any other working class party either in France or in Italy. As a matter of fact, ever since the time of Popular Fronts I started to be convinced of the political correctness of the positions of the Communists, and my criticism of Trotskyism ripened.

The recognition of the correct line of the Communist parties and of the mistakes of Trotskyism in analysing and assessing the Communist parties and the USSR became very clear to me around 1940, at the start of the great international fight against Fascism. Today, all reasons for disagreeing with the general line of the PCI, which go back 30 years, have ceased as far as I am concerned. The Twentieth and Twenty-Second Congresses of the CPSU, with their criticism of Stalin and of past mistakes, gave a great impetus to the building of Communism and to the strengthening of Leninism in the Communist parties.

My conviction about the correctness of the line of the PCI, whose merit, it seems to me, should be ascribed for the most part to the political actions of Palmiro Togliatti, has been increasingly strengthened, together with my confidence in the PCI’s ability to lead the struggles of the working class and the people, to grow stronger, and constantly to renew itself. For that reason, and for many years, I have felt the need to go back to the PCI, and to make the contribution that I could and will be able to bring. And it is a cause of great joy and emotion to me to work and struggle again together with old as well as young Communist comrades.

As to the differences and the reasons that in 1930 drove me and other comrades to abandon the party, I believe that those questions, in their essence, are only of interest to historians of the Italian and international workers’ movement.

Our mistake was certainly serious, however, insofar as we brought our opposition and the political struggle to the point of a break. And this happened at a time when the Communist Party was engaged in a deep-going fight against Fascism in Italy. Our lack of any links with the Italian masses and the émigrés, and our hostility to the policy of the Popular Front which had begun in France with the demonstration of 14 July 1935, brought about our complete isolation and the disintegration of our group.

I am sure that, under different conditions, being in touch with the masses, and in the course of a democratic debate, the differences would have been resolved on the basis of political and ideological unity. It was, I repeat, a mistake to break with the party, because facts have always shown that, outside the party, nothing can be done but hinder revolutionary work and the proletarian movement. I know that, not in the abstract, but because of my personal experience.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, the struggle against Fascism was the acid test for all political groups and movements. And it was especially during that decisive historical event that one could verify the weaknesses of those petty groups which had emerged on the fringes of the Communist parties and in opposition to them. Scattered and undermined by sectarianism, dogmatism and personal quarrels, these grouplets did not stand the test, were unable to link themselves to the masses, and collapsed, thereby showing their political and ideological weakness.

As for our group, it had in fact already disintegrated in 1935 when its members entered the Socialist and Maximalist parties. The years that I spent outside the party, as a member of different ‘oppositions’, proved to me the sterility of the activity of these groups, which had no living links with the working class and with the process of its actual development. These years showed me the foolish presumption of these grouplets who sought to substitute themselves for and oppose the Communist parties with their glorious traditions of struggle, with their indestructible class roots, and with their tested ability to grow and constantly to renew themselves. Indeed, it is not only by multiplying ‘theses’ or by writing motions that it is possible, under very different circumstances, to fight against the class enemy and for Socialism. For a Marxist, political positions should always be tested amongst the masses. You cannot be a Marxist either alone or inside your own room, having no contacts with the working class and the popular masses.

The organised world Communist movement has existed for about half a century now, and the Socialist revolution has broken out its isolation and has become the main factor of contemporary history. It has happened in the USSR and in several other countries at the cost of great sacrifice and bitter struggles, the core of which were made up by the Communist parties. Experience shows us therefore that, for a Marxist, there could be no true revolutionary experience outside the Communist party. The historical failure of Trotskyism and Social Democracy proves this, despite the fact that these movements included remarkably capable individuals who nevertheless condemned themselves to sterility because they placed themselves outside the real, modern revolutionary current, the main component of which is represented by the Communist parties.

Wherever they act, and whatever the circumstances of their struggle, the Communist parties express the consciousness and the will of the working class, and they must be supported by all those who wish to fight for Socialism.


1. L’Unità , 17 February 1962.

Updated by ETOL: 25.9.2011