|General Secretaries|| Palmiro Togliatti |
|Founded||21 January 1921|
(as Communist Party of Italy)
15 May 1943
(as Italian Communist Party)
|Dissolved||3 February 1991|
|Preceded by||Communist Party of Italy|
|Succeeded by|| Democratic Party of the Left |
Communist Refoundation Party
|Headquarters||Via delle Botteghe Oscure 4, Rome|
|Youth wing||Communist Youth Federation|
|Political position||Before 1970s:|
Left-wing to far-left
|National affiliation|| National Liberation Committee (1943–47)|
Popular Democratic Front (1947–48)
Historic Compromise (1976–80)
|International affiliation||Cominform (1947–56)|
|European Parliament group|| Communists and Allies (1973–89)|
European United Left (1989–91)
The Italian Communist Party (Italian : Partito Comunista Italiano, PCI) was a communist political party in Italy.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.
The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played a major role in the Italian resistance movement. It changed its name in 1943 to PCI and became the second largest political party of Italy after World War II, attracting the support of about a third of the vote share during the 1970s. At the time, it was the largest communist party in the West, with peak support reaching 2.3 million members, in 1947,and peak share being 34.4% of the vote, in 1976.
The Communist Party of Italy was a communist political party in Italy which existed from 1921 to 1926 when it was outlawed by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.
Livorno is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western coast of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of 158,493 residents in December 2017. It has traditionally been known in English as Leghorn.
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy. Founded in Genoa in 1892, the PSI dominated the Italian left until after World War II, when it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party. The Socialists came to special prominence in the 1980s, when their leader Bettino Craxi, who had severed the residual ties with the Soviet Union and re-branded the party as liberal-socialist, served as Prime Minister (1983–1987). The PSI was disbanded in 1994 as a result of the Tangentopoli scandals. Prior to World War I, future dictator Benito Mussolini was a member of the PSI.
In 1991, as it had travelled from doctrinaire communism to democratic socialism by the 1970s or the 1980s,the PCI evolved into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), which joined the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists. The more radical members of the organization formally departed to constitute the new Communist Refoundation Party (PRC).
Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside a socially owned economy, with an emphasis on self-management and democratic management of economic institutions within a market or some form of decentralised planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with what they hold to be the democratic values of liberty, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can be achieved only through the realisation of a socialist society. Democratic socialism can support either revolutionary or reformist politics as a means to establish socialism.
The Democratic Party of the Left was a democratic-socialist and social-democratic political party in Italy. Founded in February 1991 as the post-communist evolution of the Italian Communist Party, the party was the largest in the Alliance of Progressives and The Olive Tree coalitions. In February 1998, the party merged with minor parties to form Democrats of the Left.
The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of democratic socialist, social-democratic and labour political parties and other organisations.
The PCI participated to its first general election in 1921 as the Communist Party of Italy, obtaining 4.6% of the vote and 15 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. At the time, it was an active yet small faction within Italian political left, which was strongly led by the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) while on the international plane it was part of Soviet-led Comintern.
The Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy was the main legislative body of the Kingdom of Italy descended from the lower house of the Kingdom of Sardinia, but supplemented with deputies from territories captured during the Second Italian War of Independence and the Expedition of the Thousand. Along with the Senate of the Kingdom of Italy, it formed the Italian Parliament from 1861 until 1939.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
In 1926, the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini outlawed the PCI. Although forced underground, the PCI maintained a clandestine presence within Italy during the years of the Fascist regime. Many of its leaders were also active in exile. During its first year as a banned party, Antonio Gramsci defeated the party's left-wing which was led by Amadeo Bordiga.
Italian Fascism, also known as Classical Fascism or simply Fascism, is the original fascist ideology as developed in Italy. The ideology is associated with a series of three political parties led by Benito Mussolini, namely the Revolutionary Fascist Party (PFR) founded in 1915, the succeeding National Fascist Party (PNF) which was renamed at the Third Fascist Congress on 7–10 November 1921 and ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943 and the Republican Fascist Party that ruled the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Italian Fascism is also associated with the post-war Italian Social Movement and subsequent Italian neo-fascist movements.
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy from his golpe in 1922 to 1943, and Duce of Fascism from 1919 to his execution in 1945 during the Italian civil war. As dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, Mussolini inspired several totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler.
Antonio Francesco Gramsci was an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician. He wrote on political theory, sociology and linguistics. He attempted to break from the economic determinism of traditional Marxist thought and so is considered a key neo-Marxist. He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.
Gramsci replaced Bordiga's leadership at a conference in Lyon and issued a manifesto expressing the programmatic basis of the party. However, Gramsci soon found himself jailed by Mussolini's regime and the leadership of the party passed to Palmiro Togliatti. Togliatti would lead the party until it emerged from suppression in 1944 and relaunched itself as the PCI.
Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.
Palmiro Togliatti was an Italian politician and leader of the Italian Communist Party from 1927 until his death. He was nicknamed by his supporters Il Migliore. In 1930 he became a citizen of the Soviet Union and later he had a city in the country named after him: Tolyatti.
The party played a major role during the national liberation ( Resistenza ) and in the April 1944 after the svolta di Salerno (Salerno's turn), Togliatti agreed to cooperate with King Victor Emmanuel III so the Communists took part in every government during the national liberation and constitutional period from June 1944 to May 1947.The Communists' contribution to the new Italian democratic constitution was decisive. The Gullo decrees of 1944, for instance, sought to improve social and economic conditions in the countryside.
In the first general elections of 1948, the party joined the PSI in the Popular Democratic Front (FDP), but it was defeated by the Christian Democracy party. The United States spent over $10 million to support anti-PCI groups in the election.Fearful of the possible FDP's electoral victory, the British and American governments also undermined the quest for justice by tolerating the efforts made by Italy's top authorities to prevent any of the alleged Italian war criminals from being extradited and taken to court. The denial of Italian war crimes was backed up by the Italian state, academe, and media, re-inventing Italy as only a victim of the German Nazism and the post-war Foibe massacres.
The party gained considerable electoral success during the following years and occasionally supplied external support to centre-left governments, although it never directly joined a government. It successfully lobbied Fiat to set up the AvtoVAZ (Lada) car factory in the Soviet Union (1966). The party did best in Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Umbria, where it regularly won the local administrative elections; and in some of the industrialized cities of Northern Italy. At the city government level during the course of the post-war period, the PCI demonstrated (in cities like Bologna and Florence) their capacity for uncorrupt, efficient and clean government.After the elections of 1975, the PCI was the strongest force in nearly all of the municipal councils of the great cities.
The PCI's municipal showcase was Bologna, which was held continuously by the PCI from 1945 onwards. Amongst other measures, the local PCI administration tackled urban problems with successful programmes of health for the elderly, nursery education and traffic reformwhile also undertaking initiatives in housing and school meal provisions. From 1946 to 1956, the Communist city council built 31 nursery schools, 896 flats and 9 schools. Health care improved substantially, street lighting was installed, new drains and municipal launderettes were built and 8,000 children received subsidised school meals. In 1972, the then-mayor of Bologna, Renato Zangheri, introduced a new and innovative traffic plan with strict limitations for private vehicles and a renewed concentration on cheap public transport. Bologna's social services continued to expand throughout the early and mid-1970s. The city centre was restored, centres for the mentally sick were instituted to help those who had been released from recently closed psychiatric hospitals, handicapped persons were offered training and found suitable jobs, afternoon activities for schoolchildren were made less mindless than the traditional doposcuola (after-school activities) and school programming for the whole day helped working parents. Communists administrations at a local level also helped to aid new businesses while also introducing innovative social reforms.
In Naples, the PCI government under Mayor Maurizio Valenzi (1975–1983) reduced the corruption in the affairs of local government and 333 kindergarten classrooms were opened between 1975 and 1979, compared to the 210 which had been built in the previous 30 years.
The Soviet Union's brutal suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 created a split within the PCI. The party leadership, including Palmiro Togliatti and Giorgio Napolitano (who in 2006 became President of the Italian Republic), regarded the Hungarian insurgents as counter-revolutionaries as reported at the time in l'Unità , the official PCI newspaper. However, Giuseppe Di Vittorio, chief of the communist trade union Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), repudiated the leadership position as did prominent party member Antonio Giolitti and Italian Socialist Party national secretary Pietro Nenni, a close ally of the PCI. Napolitano later hinted at doubts over the propriety of his decision.He would eventually write in From the Communist Party to European Socialism. A Political Autobiography (Dal Pci al socialismo europeo. Un'autobiografia politica) that he regretted his justification of the Soviet intervention, but quieted his concerns at the time for the sake of party unity and the international leadership of Soviet Communism. Giolitti and Nenni went on to split with the PCI over this issue. Napolitano became a leading member of the miglioristi faction within the PCI which promoted a social-democratic direction in party policy.
In the mid-1960s, the United States State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 1,350,000 (4.2% of the working age population, proportionally the largest communist party in the capitalist world at the time and the largest party at all in whole Western Europe with the German Social Democratic Party).United States government sources have claimed that the party was receiving $40–50 million per year from the Soviets while the United States investment in Italy was $5–6 million. However, declassified information shows this to be exaggerated, although the PCI relied on Soviet financial assistance more than any other communist party supported by Moscow.
According to the former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, Longo and other PCI leaders became alarmed at the possibility of a coup in Italy after the Athens Colonel Coup in April 1967. These fears were not completely unfounded as there had been two attempted coups in Italy, Piano Solo in 1964 and Golpe Borghese in 1970, by military and neo-fascist groups. The PCI’s Giorgio Amendola formally requested Soviet assistance to prepare the party in case of such an event. The KGB drew up and implemented a plan to provide the PCI with its own intelligence and clandestine signal corps. From 1967 through 1973, PCI members were sent to East Germany and Moscow to receive training in clandestine warfare and information gathering techniques by both the Stasi and the KGB. Shortly before the May 1972 elections, Longo personally wrote to Leonid Brezhnev asking for and receiving an additional $5.7 million in funding. This was on top of the $3.5 million that the Soviet Union gave the PCI in 1971. The Soviets also provided additional funding through the use of front companies providing generous contracts to PCI members.
In 1969, Enrico Berlinguer, PCI deputy national secretary and later secretary general, took part in the international conference of the Communist parties in Moscow, where his delegation disagreed with the "official" political line and refused to support the final report. Unexpectedly to his hosts, his speech challenged the Communist leadership in Moscow. He refused to "excommunicate" the Chinese Communists and directly told Leonid Brezhnev that the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact countries (which he called the "tragedy in Prague") had made clear the considerable differences within the communist movement on fundamental questions such as national sovereignty, socialist democracy and the freedom of culture. At the time, the PCI was the largest communist party in a capitalist state, garnering 34.4% of the vote in the 1976 general election.
Relationships between the PCI and the Soviet Union gradually fell apart as the party moved away from Soviet obedience and Marxist–Leninist orthodoxy in the 1970s and 1980s and toward Eurocommunism and the Socialist International. The PCI sought a collaboration with Socialist and Christian Democracy parties (the Historic Compromise). However, Christian Democrat party leader Aldo Moro's kidnapping and murder by the Red Brigades in May 1978 put an end to any hopes of such a compromise. The compromise was largely abandoned as a PCI policy in 1981. The Proletarian Unity Party merged into the PCI in 1984.
During the Years of Lead, the PCI strongly opposed the terrorism and the Red Brigades, who in turn murdered or wounded many PCI members or trade unionists close to the PCI. According to Mitrokhin, the party asked the Soviets to pressure the Czechoslovakian State Security (StB) to withdraw their support to the group, which Moscow was unable or unwilling to do.This as well as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a complete break with Moscow in 1979. In 1980, the PCI refused to participate in the international conference of communist parties in Paris although cash payments to the PCI continued until 1984.
Achille Occhetto became general secretary of the PCI in 1988. At a 1991 conference in a working-class section of Bologna, Ochetto stunned the party faithful with a speech heralding the end of Communism, a move now referred to in Italian politics as the svolta della Bolognina (Bolognina turning point). The collapse of the Communist governments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe led Occhetto to conclude that the era of Eurocommunism was over. Under his leadership, the PCI dissolved and refounded itself as the Democratic Party of the Left, which branded itself as a progressive left-wing and democratic socialist party. A third of the PCI membership, led by Armando Cossutta, refused to join the PDS and instead seceded to form the Communist Refoundation Party.
The electoral results of the PCI in general (Chamber of Deputies) and European Parliament elections since 1921 are shown in the chart below.
|Chamber of Deputies|
15 / 535
19 / 535
0 / 535
0 / 535
104 / 556
130 / 574
143 / 590
140 / 596
166 / 630
177 / 630
179 / 630
228 / 630
201 / 630
198 / 630
177 / 630
|Senate of the Republic|
50 / 237
56 / 237
60 / 246
84 / 315
101 / 315
94 / 315
116 / 315
109 / 315
107 / 315
101 / 315
24 / 81
27 / 81
22 / 81
Enrico Berlinguer was an Italian politician.
Amadeo Bordiga was an Italian Marxist, a contributor to communist theory, the founder of the Communist Party of Italy (CPd'I), a leader of the Communist International (Comintern) and later a leading figure of the International Communist Party. Bordiga was originally associated with the CPd'I, but he was expelled in 1930 after being accused of Trotskyism.
Luigi Longo, also known as Gallo, was an Italian communist politician and secretary of the Italian Communist Party from 1964 to 1972.
Achille Occhetto, is an Italian political figure. He served as the last secretary-general of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) between 1988 and 1991, and the first leader of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), the parliamentary socialist successor of the PCI, from 1991 to 1994.
The International Communist Party (ICP) is a left communist international political party which is often described by outside observers as Bordigist, due to the contributions by longtime member Amadeo Bordiga. The strongest base of the ICP remains Italy, where it was founded, but the Party also has sections in other countries.
Giorgio Napolitano, is an Italian politician who served as the 11th President of the Republic from 2006 to 2015, and the only Italian President to be reelected to the Presidency. Due to his monarchical style and his dominant position in Italian politics, critics often refer to him as Re Giorgio. He is the longest serving President in the history of the modern Italian Republic, which has been in existence since 1946.
Meliorism was a wing of the Italian Communist Party. Its leader was Giorgio Napolitano, and counted among its number Gerardo Chiaromonte and Emanuele Macaluso. It was also referred to as the "right wing" of the Italian Communist Party, due to its more moderate views.
The Proletarian Unity Party was a political party in Italy.
General elections were held in Italy on 19 May 1968 to select the Fifth Republican Parliament. Democrazia Cristiana (DC) remained stable around 38% of the votes. They were marked by a victory of the Communist Party (PCI) passing from 25% of 1963 to c. 30% at the Senate, where it presented jointly with the new Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP), which included members of Socialist Party (PSI) which disagreed the latter's alliance with DC. PSIUP gained c. 4.5% at the Chamber. The Socialist Party and the Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI) presented together as the Unified PSI–PSDI, but gained c. 15%, far less than the sum of what the two parties had obtained separately in 1963.
General elections were held in Italy on 5 and 6 April 1992 to select the Eleventh Republican Parliament. They were the first without the traditionally second most important political force in Italian politics, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), which had been disbanded in 1991. It was replaced by a more social-democratic oriented force, the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), and by a minority entity formed by members who did not want to renounce the communist tradition, the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC). However, put together they gained around 4% less than what the already declining PCI had obtained in the 1987 Italian general election, despite PRC had absorbed the disbanded Proletarian Democracy (DP).
Onorato Damen, was an Italian left communist revolutionary who was first active in the Communist Party of Italy. After being expelled, he worked with the organized Italian left, became one of the leaders of the Internationalist Communist Party, commonly known by their paper Battaglia Comunista. The Internationalist Communist Party formally founded in 1945, was numerically the largest left-communist organization in the post-World War II period. In 1952, Amadeo Bordiga, who had by then fully came out of retirement to found the International Communist Party, known by its paper Programma Comunista. Many elements of the original Internationalist Communist Party left to join the party Bordiga had formed. Onorato Damen lead the older party that did not follow Amadeo Bordiga into the new party but rather maintained the original name Internationalist Communist Party, maintained the original theoretical journal Promoteo, and their paper Battaglia Communista. Onorato Damen was politically active his entire adult life. He was the author of Gramsci: tra marxismo e idealismo.
Rossana Rossanda is an Italian left-wing politician and journalist.
Giancarlo Pajetta was an Italian communist politician.
L'Ordine Nuovo was a weekly newspaper established on May 1, 1919, in Turin, Italy, by a group, including Antonio Gramsci, Angelo Tasca and Palmiro Togliatti, within the Italian Socialist Party. The paper was the successor of La Città futura, a broadsheet newspaper. The founders of L'Ordine Nuovo were admirers of the Russian Revolution and strongly supported the immediate creation of soviets in Italy. They believed that existing factory councils of workers could be strengthened so that they could become the basis of a communist revolution. However, Amadeo Bordiga, who would become the founder of the Communist Party of Italy, criticised the plan as syndicalism, saying that soviets should only be created after Italy had come under communist control.
Eurocommunism was a revisionist trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties, which said they had developed a theory and practice of social transformation more relevant for Western Europe. During the Cold War, they sought to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was especially prominent in Italy, Spain and France.
Rinascita was an Italian political and cultural magazine published in Rome, Italy between 1944 and March 1991. It was one of the media outlets of Italian Communist Party (PCI).
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Edward Luttwak, interview: "[W]e estimated at the time they were getting $40–50 million a year at a time when we were putting $5–6 million into Italian politics.
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