Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 6 No. 1


Trotskyism in Italy Today

Dear Comrades

Robert J. Alexander’s book International Trotskyism, reviewed by you (Revolutionary History, Volume 4, no. 4, pp. 169–83; Volume 5, no. 2, pp. 164–5; Volume 5, no. 3, pp. 239–46) has some blameworthy omissions in its chapter on Italy. Alexander’s only references for the whole period following the Second World War are to some letters by Livio Maitan. So we learn nothing about the attempt to regroup in Azione Comunista in 1956. And Alexander’s sole source for the history of Trotskyism in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s is a polemical pamphlet by the Spartacists.

Concerning the period of entrism, Maitan omitted to inform us that a Central Committee member of the Italian Communist Party, Silvio Paolicchi, who was the first to vote against Togliatti on the Central Committee, adhered to the Fourth International. The Gruppi Comunisti Rivoluzionari recruited many young militants in the FGCI, the youth organisation of the Communist Party. One of them, Gorla, afterwards a leader of Avanguardia Operaia and Democrazia Proletaria, was the Italian group’s delegate to the 1966 World Congress of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. The Fourth International Tendency was in a minority during the crisis of 1968. The majority voted to dissolve the organisation and carry out joint activity in the broader movement. The amount of space devoted to the Lega Socialista Rivoluzionaria (p. 597) considerably underestimates its importance. It was formed when Dario Renzi, a young supporter of Moreno, split the GCR. The resulting LSR was strong in Naples and published Avanzata Socialista. They expanded on a national scale in 1979–80. Both the LSR and the Lega Comunista Rivoluzionaria (the new name of the GCR) ran in the 1980 elections, with very poor results. The Lega Operaia Rivoluzionaria (p. 598), which published Workers Politics, joined the LCR in the mid-1980s. It was not merely a continuation of the GBL, but the result of a fusion between the GBL (publishing The Militant) and the minority of the Communist League that had refused to join the DP along with Massari. In 1987 the LCR also united with the DP. The LCR had a large turnover of membership, and worked among the youth and in the alternative trade unions. They changed their name, firstly to Organizzazione Prospettiva Socialista (publishing the bi-monthly Prospettiva Socialista) and then in 1990 to Socialismo Rivoluzionario, publishing the bimonthly Altra Sinistra and the journal Socialismo O Barbarie.

There is another mistake on page 597. Roberto Massari’s Lega Comunista joined the DP in 1979, and Massari is now an editor and writer. A section of Pablo’s international, the TMR (Marxist Revolutionary Tendency), also existed in Italy in the 1970s.


Yurii Colombo

Updated by ETOL: 28.9.2011