The failure of the collaboration strategy with the bourgeois governments after the Second World War

Report of the Communist Party (Italy), presented by Comrade Guido Ricci (International Dept.), at the International Conference of the European Communist Initiative, held in Istanbul on 16 and 17 February 2019, on the occasion of the centenary of the Communist International. The Conference entitled “Fight for communism: 100 years of political heritage” has deepened the study of the lessons to be drawn from history with an exchange of experiences on the struggles of communist parties in each country by analyzing different critical points in the history of the international communist movement.

The question of collaboration not only with governments, but also with bourgeois parties, is very complex and ultimately concerns the fundamental strategic problem if, under what conditions, to what extent and for what purposes the workers’ parties can participate in the institutions of the bourgeois state within the framework of bourgeois democracy.

The general consideration on this issue that our parties have to face is therefore very broad and cannot be concluded in this document. For this reason, in our contribution we will limit our summary analysis only to the historical experience of the communists in Italy, distinguishing between the collaboration with some bourgeois parties, participation in elective institutions in the context of bourgeois democracy and support, or worse, the participation in governments, that is the “business councils” of the bourgeoisie.

1. Historical and theoretical premisses

In the first ten years of its existence, within the PCd’I (it will be renamed PCI after 1943) there was a hard discussion between the various positions on these issues, sometimes in contrast with the positions of the Communist International. Bordiga and most of the central leadership until 1926 were on intransigent positions that wanted a “pure and pristine” party, excluding any form of cooperation with other parties, as well as participation in elections and parliament. In this way the communists’ organized participation in the “Arditi del Popolo” (popular assault groups, anti-fascist armed groups composed of socialists, anarchists, revolutionary trade unionists, republicans, elements without party and communists in disagreement with Bordiga) was lacking, despite the anti-sectarian recommendations of Lenin, of the Comintern and of Gramsci, which divided the anti-fascist movement and severely compromised the ability to resist fascism. Gramsci and the new majority after the 3rd Congress in 1926 and the expulsion of Bordiga from the Party in 1930 defended the positions of the Comintern, but were forced to work illegally, in conditions of open fascist dictatorship; moreover, many leaders were imprisoned, including Gramsci himself. The conflict between this new majority and the right wing of the party, led by Angelo Tasca, concerned the line to be taken with respect to social democracy in the fight against fascism. In fact, Tasca supported the need to reach an agreement with the leadership of the Social Democrats and the General Confederation of Labor, which was largely merged into fascist unions, to develop a common anti-fascist action with undefined ends. Togliatti, Grieco, Secchia, Longo and the majority, albeit with different nuances, emphasized the active role of social democracy in the repression of the workers’ movement in Germany and, more generally, in Europe, its responsibilities in the rise of fascism to power in Italy and its collusion with the fascist government. In line with the formal position of the Comintern on social-fascism, they categorically excluded, in the current phase, any form of collaboration with social democracy, which had to be denounced and attacked to build communist hegemony in the working class, bringing it back to revolutionary positions and open confrontation with fascism. The clash with Tasca will end with his expulsion in 1929.

However, the differences in the strategic conception are very strong even in the majority coming out of the 3rd Congress and will profoundly influence the Party line in the years to come, during the Resistance and after the Second World War.

In a very schematic way, we can say that Togliatti in those years was already influenced by gradualism; he proposed as a goal of the fight against fascism and the war, considered inevitable, the establishment of a Republican Assembly, supported by workers’ councils, which – once fascism was defeated by the insurrection – could promote democratic reforms. Later, to find a compromise, Togliatti will say that the Republican Assembly is just a form of agitation slogan, a sort of intermediate goal, but the final goal remains the workers’ state. Secchia, Longo and the communist youth were aiming to transform the inevitable imperialist war into an anti-fascist uprising and civil war for the establishment of the workers ‘and peasants’ government; since the imperialist war does not transform itself into a revolutionary civil war, it was necessary to strengthen the party by creating an “internal center” capable of operating simultaneously both in “legality” and in direct contact with the masses, infiltrating the fascist mass organizations and in the most rigorous underground conspiracy. Togliatti’s approach is more “parliamentary” than the approach of Secchia and Longo, more oriented towards a direct contact with the working masses. This difference will remain and will strongly influence the further debate within the Party. However, these are two political lines that, beyond their historical validity, are equally sincere and noble, even if inspired by different concepts. It would be wrong to see dishonesty or dishonest ends in them, unlike the bad and low diatribes of the heirs of the protagonists of those years. The subsequent prevalence in the PCI after 1943 of the Togliatti line, obviously adapted to new developments, partly explains the PCI’s political attitude after the war, until its dissolution in 1991, towards bourgeois governments and bourgeois parties.

2. The governments of anti-fascist unity (1944-1947)

The debate between these two positions remained alive throughout the period of clandestinity, the participation in the Spanish Civil War and the anti-fascist armed resistance, with different nuances, in accordance with the successive lines of the Comintern, from the united front to the social one, with fascism, with popular fronts.

Togliatti returned from Moscow to Italy at the end of 1943, after the arrest of Mussolini, the Anglo-American landing in Sicily, the armistice and the flight of the king and the royal court. Italy is divided and under two occupations: Northern Italy is occupied by Nazis and fascists, southern Italy by Anglo-American troops. While armed resistance began in Northern Italy, under the leadership of the Communist Party, the mechanisms of the former monarchical-liberal state were restored in southern Italy, under the government of Marshal Badoglio and the communists have their representatives in a sort of bourgeois parliament. In northern Italy, the communists are the main party both in the armed struggle and in the new political bodies, born in it, the national liberation committees. Here we see a difference in positions between the northern communists engaged in armed struggle and in the southern communists, involved in good faith in the compromising quagmire of bourgeois parliamentarism. The former see in the armed anti-fascist resistance not only a way for national liberation, but also a way for social emancipation and anti-capitalist revolutionary transformation; the latter conceive the Resistance exclusively in the aspect of military action to liberate the country and defeat Nazi-fascism, concerned not to damage the war effort of the Soviet Union by breaking the anti-fascist unity due to problems with the form of the state (monarchy or republic ?) or social system (capitalism or socialism?). Upon his return to Italy, Togliatti proposed this second line to the Party, which postponed the struggle for institutional and economic-social objectives to a time after the end of the war and the defeat of Nazi-fascism, creating a dichotomy between the struggle for liberation and the revolutionary struggle for socialism, between the army and the political moment. After a bitter debate within the Party, the Togliatti line prevailed, despite the strong resistance of the armed struggle cadres, who accepted it for discipline, certainly not out of conviction, given the undisputed authority of Togliatti in the Party. On April 22, 1944, in Salerno, on the basis of the temporary renunciation by the Communist Party of any anti-monarchical and anti-capitalist precondition until the complete liberation of the country, the second Badoglio government was formed, with the participation of the PCI and Togliatti as Deputy Prime Minister until 1945, then as Minister of Justice until 1946. No one can say whether this line was actually suggested by Stalin, but it is a fact that within the party and outside it, Togliatti was regarded as the spokesman for Stalin, which does not fully correspond to the truth. On the other hand, considering the situation of military occupation of the country and the need to concentrate all efforts in defending the only socialist state in the world, this choice to collaborate with other bourgeois parties and even with the monarchy was justified, even if the bourgeois parties were more represented in the political bodies than in the armed units of the partisans. The participation of the Italian Communist Party in the so-called “anti-fascist unity governments” lasted until June 1, 1947, when, by order of the United States, the communists were excluded from the government. Due to Togliatti’s excessive fears in provoking a conflict situation, not even an hour of strike was called; there were only a few timid protests on the pages of L’Unità, the Party newspaper.

After the end of the war and the referendum on the form of state, monarchy or republic, a Constituent Assembly was created with a significant participation of leaders of the Italian Communist Party who left their mark in the text of the Italian Constitution, making it different and more progressive socially, with respect to the constitutions of other bourgeois states and the previous liberal state. However, the new Italian Constitution was the result of laborious parliamentary compromises, achieved without resorting to the pressure of the popular masses and remained the constitution of a bourgeois state, though advanced. Alternative institutional bodies, born directly from the anti-fascist armed struggle and from the expression of a self-ironic northern Italy, have been excluded in the name of bourgeois parliamentarism. Moreover, it was a programmatic constitution and, as such, would have been frozen in the future by legally licit behavior, but politically opposed to its implementation.

What balance can be drawn from these events? We seriously consider it wrong to try to justify anything that touches the Togliatti line and the majority of the PCI leadership group at that moment and exempt ourselves from the necessary self-criticism by resorting to the convenient category of “betrayal”. The need to help the Soviet Union by any means possible in its effort to militarily defeat the Nazi fascism objectively justified the temporary postponement of the revolutionary objectives and the compromise with the monarchy and the bourgeois parties. We think that the further developments, unfavorable to the working class and to the communists, are the result of an incorrect evaluation by Togliatti of the other conditions that occurred and of his misinterpretation of Gramsci’s teachings on the socialist revolution in the Italian conditions.

A first error is the a priori acceptance of the mechanisms and forms of bourgeois democracy. Without prejudice to the postponement of the form of state after liberation, it would have been undoubtedly more consistent with Marxism-Leninism not to embrace tout court the solution of the Constituent Assembly elected by universal suffrage (in a country not accustomed to the exercise of democratic rights, in largely illiterate and manipulated by the priests!), but to refer to those forms of organization of state power that were concretely originating from the Resistance.

A second error is the perpetuation of a compromise that should have been temporary and limited to the period of belligerence, up to the final acceptance, after the XX Congress of the CPSU, of the “parliamentary way” to socialism through participation in bourgeois institutions such as the only possible terrain of struggle. We believe that these deviations derive, first of all, from a misinterpretation of Gramsci’s teachings and from a gradualistic, evolutionary and non-dialectical conception of the revolutionary process, which led to the inability to understand that the “democratic state born of the Resistance” was still a bourgeois state. Secondly, the underestimation of the strength of a party that had 2,500,000 members at the end of the war, including 500,000 in arms, generated in Togliatti the fear that the Communists would not be able to withstand a showdown with the allied occupation forces and with the bourgeoisie. This fear prevented the struggle to introduce into the Constitution more social content favorable to the working class and to react to the parliamentary coup which excluded the communists from the government in 1947. Thirdly, Togliatti overestimated the firmness and duration of the anti-fascist unity, from one side, and the real opportunities that formal bourgeois democracy leaves open to the struggle of the proletariat, on the other hand. Because of those errors, the wrong assessments and the fears that derive from it, not because of a betrayal, the Communist Party was not able to resolve the dualism of power in its favor, created at the end of the Resistance in post-fascist Italy, despite its great humanity and material strength.

The period of participation of the Italian Communist Party in the coalition and in the government of anti-fascist unity ended with an unexpected defeat that would lead the Party to a long period of opposition, sometimes very harsh, with insurrectionist forms.

3. The period of opposition from 1947 to 1972

The exclusion of the communists from the government in 1947 marks the end of the anti-fascist unity. Gradually, the partisans were excluded from the state apparatus, the police and the army, while the fascists were reinstated, amnestied by a provision signed by the same Togliatti, again on the basis of his errors of evaluation on the real nature of the state and the duration of the anti-fascist unity. At the economic and social level, the Communist Party, through the trade union, has opened a long season of effective offensive struggles, which will lead, in the subsequent 70s, to a significant improvement in the living conditions of workers and to the legislative recognition of their rights . At the political level, however, the PCI has stalled on purely defensive positions of defense of a “state born of resistance” that no longer existed since 1947. After the 20th Congress of the CPSU and the 8th Congress of the PCI, this line of defense of the bourgeois state, uncritically identified with the “state born of the Resistance” and the affirmation of the parliamentary way to socialism through the mechanisms of bourgeois democracy finally became part of the political program of the Italian Communist Party. Once again, the fight in a defensive form was determined by the fear of Togliatti and the majority of the PCI leadership that any offensive, in those conditions – in hindsight we can say mistakenly – could have led to a reaction that the Party would not be been able to deal with, resulting in its banning.

It cannot be said that this line of postponement of the question of power, of the passivity towards the reintegration of the fascists in the state apparatus after the amnesty was shared by the whole body of the party, especially by those who participated in the armed struggle against fascism. Think of the case of the “Volante rossa” (communist armed group of partisans, translater note), units armed with workers and partisans who until the 1950s eliminated fascists and collaborators who were pardoned or released by the bourgeois courts. Think of the numerous semi-spontaneous episodes of armed uprisings, again to repel the fascist revival, in Milan in 1947, in Genoa and in many other Italian cities in 1948 after the attempt to assassinate Togliatti, also in Genoa, in Reggio Emilia, in Rome in 1960. In all these cases, the central leadership of the PCI asked to renounce any further revolutionary development for fear that the Party would be outlawed and direct military intervention by the United States would occur. The repressions were still harsh and the Communist Party, which did not publicly admit the existence of its own military structure, was forced to save many of the comrades who were part of it, making them flee to the socialist countries, especially in Czechoslovakia, democratic Germany and the Soviet Union . However, this has not changed the official position of the party, lying about the illusion of a gradual and parliamentary way towards socialism and the acceptance of formal bourgeois democracy as the sole terrain of struggle.

To understand the beginning of the degeneration of the Party, we cannot fail to mention the changes in the cadres, decided at the 4th Organization Conference in preparation for the 8th Congress. Up to 30% of the cadres were replaced by elements that joined the Party after the end of the war and did not experience armed struggle. The process of changing the class composition of the Party will be completed in the 13th Congress, in 1972. On that occasion the vote of the territorial organizations was ratified as the only valid one for the election of delegates to the Congress, excluding the vote of the party organizations of the factories. With the criteria in force until then, the delegates were voted both in the factory and in the territorial organizations, to guarantee the prevalence of the workers’ delegates, present both in the factory and in the territory. From that moment on, the workers’ component would have been diluted into territories, where the non-proletarian component would have been the majority and this would have led to a prevalence in the party of elements extraneous to the working class. Having said that, we must stress that, until that time, socialism remains the goal of the Party’s action and its conceptual substance is not called into question. Until the 13th Congress the fundamental ideological concepts of Marxism-Leninism were not questioned; they were certainly misunderstood and deformed, but not formally denied. We must, however, recognize and criticize:

– A contradiction in the party line between the final goal (socialism) and the way to achieve it (bourgeois democracy, parliamentary way), due to a wrong analysis of the class nature of the state and a concept of classless democracy;
– An erroneous concept of the relationship between consent and coercion in the defense of the socialist state (see support for Dubcek’s attempted counter-revolution in 1968);
– A strong discrepancy between the intensity of the struggle for economic, social and civil rights and that of the political struggle for the seizure of power, practically non-existent;
– A wrong policy of cadres and of safeguarding the class nature of the Party.

4. Eurocommunism and external support for bourgeois governments

On the death of Togliatti in 1964, Luigi Longo, legendary commander of the international brigades in Spain and armed communist groups during the Resistance, was elected general secretary of the party. In 1972, at the 13th Congress, due to Longo’s poor health, Enrico Berlinguer was elected general secretary of the party. Under his secretariat begins the process of progressive abandonment of Marxism-Leninism also from an ideological point of view. Founding father of one of the most destructive revisionist aberrations, Eurocommunism, Berlinguer laid the foundations for the self-dissolution of the Italian Communist Party.

Here we cannot fully analyze the ideological and political deviations for which Berlinguer and the Eurocommunist Party leadership are responsible, from the rejection of the Marxist-Leninist state theory, from the deformation of Gramsci’s thought, from the theory of historical compromise, from the cancellation from the Statute of the Party of all the references to Marxism-Leninism, the acceptance of NATO, the break with the communist parties of the USSR and Eastern Europe, etc. We will only say that Berlinguer and Eurocommunism ideologically disarmed the working class and distorted its party. For the purposes of this contribution, we would like to emphasize the attitude of the PCI led by Berlinguer towards the state and bourgeois governments.

In the 1970s Italy suffered a profound economic crisis, which reflected the crisis in the international payments system due to the unilateral closure of the Bretton Woods agreements in the USA and the increase in [the price of] oil and raw materials, accentuated in Italy by the unprejudiced (unscrupulous, translater note) use of the competitive devaluation (“svalutazione competitiva”) that favored the exporting sectors. Inflation reached 22% and even wage indexation was not able to completely protect workers from rising prices. In those years, under the Berlinguer secretariat, the Italian Communist Party adopted a clearly reformist strategy, proposing a program of reforms of the various sectors of society and the economy that, in fact, did not call into question the nature of capitalist production relations . On a theoretical level, Berlinguer and the PCI leadership team argued that “structural” reforms would introduce “elements of socialism”, allowing for gradual and “democratic” overcoming of capitalism. Apart from the unscientific character of this theory of the transition to socialism, the Eurocommunists have distorted the very concept of socialism as a final goal. Proletarian dictatorship, as a form of the socialist state, was rejected, while democracy and formal liberties of bourgeois society were universalized in an anti-historical and classless way. The socialization of the means of production was also denied, ensuring that the property would still be safeguarded, in a society in which the state would have limited itself to nationalizing companies in crisis or, at most, large strategic companies. It was a party that had already abandoned Marxism-Leninism to become “secular” and ideologically eclectic. A party with enormous economic resources, consisting of buildings and companies that operated in a pure market logic. A party that, after the success of the 1975 local elections and the 1976 parliamentary elections, was in the government of many regions, provinces and municipalities, with a strong representation in both houses of parliament. A party, therefore, well inserted in the institutions and in the bourgeois state, with the will to remain there, making more improvements to some aspects of the system, but not radical changes. The party’s electorate, traditionally made up of workers and popular strata, began to be composed also of elements of the “left” bourgeoisie which, within the party’s leading group, already had a greater weight than the proletarian elements. However, despite being the second party in Italy for electoral strength and despite having a strong base in the working masses, the Communist Party was formally in opposition, due to the persistence of an anti-communist prejudice, supported internationally by the United States. To demonstrate its reliability to the bourgeoisie, the PCI continued to slide down the slope of renunciation of principles and of the guarantee of “governability”, that is an increasingly weak opposition, characterized, among other things, by a moderation of trade union demands . In 1977, the so-called “EUR line” (“linea EUR”) was approved by the Congress of the General Confederation of Labor (CGIL, translater note), transforming the latter from a conflictual union into a concertation one: from that moment on there would be no longer struggle, but negotiation and dialogue with the employers of work.

This line of concessions and of demonstration of loyalty to the bourgeoisie and its state convinced a part of the bourgeoisie, politically represented by the secretary of the Christian Democratic Party, Aldo Moro, to hypothesize the involvement of the communists in the government of the country, thus ensuring the acquiescence of the popular masses and trade unions in the face of the austerity measures adopted to deal with the crisis. Needless to say, the PCI of Berlinguer became a supporter of the austerity policy, asking workers for new sacrifices to cope with the crisis. The sacrifices for the people, masked by an elaboration that claims “austerity, as a new model of development and consumption”, had become one of the cornerstones of the PCI’s political line and one of the main tools to increase exploitation and make workers pay for the capitalist crisis.

A galaxy of extra-parliamentary left-wing groups, which no longer recognized themselves in the PCI’s reformist drift, had begun to form on its left since 1963. In 1970 the “Red Brigades” were founded, a group that was openly inspired by the armed struggle in historical conditions that objectively excluded it. Composed of elements of PCI defectors and intellectuals of Catholic-social formation, the Red Brigades, although they had received limited sympathies in the working class at the beginning, never had broad support from the workers. The preference given to the military aspect of the struggle, neglecting mass political work, caused them to lose all ties with the working class, isolating them and making sure that they were easily infiltrated by provocateurs and intelligence agents, not just Italians. For example, the contacts of the second strategic steering committee (“secondo comitato direttivo strategico”) of the Red Brigades with the Israeli Mossad are proven. The escalation of the terrorist actions of the Red Brigades reached its peak with the kidnapping and killing of Aldo Moro, the political secretary of the Christian Democrats, a supporter of the PCI’s involvement in the government of the country. Faced with a crisis that severely affects the working class, instead of engaging in a revolutionary battle, taking advantage of the change in the relationship of international forces after the “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal, the victories of the liberation movements in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia , Angola and Mozambique, and in the internal relationship of the forces, after the electoral success in 1975 and 1976, the Italian Communist Party fell into the trap of the instrumental use of terrorism by the bourgeoisie and concentrated all its strength and its influence in the uncritical defense of the bourgeois state, summarized by the slogan “with the state, against the Red Brigades”, while in the meantime the bourgeois state used terrorism to exacerbate the repression of class conflict. The condemnation of terrorism as a foreign method to the working class and contrary to the teachings of Lenin was certainly a duty, but the support for a state that was the expression and guarantee of class oppression was undoubtedly a grave error, from which the PCI did not recover anymore . In 1976, the PCI abstained from voting against the government, ensuring its survival until 1978, when, following the murder of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades, it gave its vote of confidence to the so-called government of national solidarity, endowing it with support until 1979. The subsequent rethinking of the PCI, with the adoption of the “left alternative” tactic, will not stop the slow electoral decline of the party and the decrease of its members until the death of Berlinguer in 1984, just before the European Elections. On this occasion, on the emotional wave aroused by the death of Berlinguer, the Italian Communist Party, without reaching the historic peak of 1976, beat the Christian Democrats for the first time, becoming the first Italian party. This success, due to emotional causes and not to political reasons, was short-lived and did not restore the political confidence of the working masses in the party. Thus began the process of dissolution of what had been the strongest communist party in the capitalist world and which, by now, was moving so far away from the very perspective of socialism that it could not even be defined as a social democratic party. Ingloriously closing a glorious page in Italian history, the PCI broke up in 1991 and some of its members founded the Left Democrats Party, while a minority founded the Communist Refoundation Party.

5. Collaboration with bourgeois parties and governments after the dissolution of the PCI (1991 – 2008)

The noble attempt to keep the communist project alive in Italy after the PCI’s self-dissolution arises and develops with an underlying defect: the intention to revive the PCI’s experience without the necessary self-criticism of its history, in a a line of continuity that, in effect, had as its reference a party that had long ceased to be a communist party. Without any critical analysis of the PCI’s experience, the Communist Refoundation Party was founded in an ideologically eclectic manner, simply gathering those who somehow referred to that denomination, including Trotskyist elements totally unrelated to the labor movement. Without the necessary self-criticism of past experiences, without a solid Marxist-Leninist ideological foundation and a serious political program, it was obvious that the new party would have fallen into the trap of parliamentarism and collaboration with bourgeois governments, despite its radical phraseology.

The end of the second republic, which took place in the courtrooms for corruption and violation of the law of public financing of the parties, also meant the end of the traditional parties that had been protagonists of Italian history. The Christian democrats, who ruled the country for over 45 years, were shattered and their pieces were dispersed in new political formations on the right and on the left; the Italian Socialist Party, overwhelmed by the scandals, has practically disappeared as a party from the political arena. In this situation, Silvio Berlusconi, a viscerally anticommunist entrepreneur, linked to the most compromised exponents of the Socialist Party, entered politics. His choice was mainly dictated by the need to protect himself against judicial investigations against him and to favor the companies of his group. His decision, however, scared professional politicians, not so much because of the possibility of a right turn in the country, but for reasons of competition and fear of losing parliamentary weight.

In 1994 the Communist Refoundation Party became part of the center-left electoral coalition, called “Progressives” (“Progressisti”), giving up, for the first of a disastrous series of times, the name and symbols of the party in the name of the unity of the left. The coalition’s electoral program reflected its heterogeneity and the weight of the PRC’s positions was almost non-existent. The real cement that held the coalition together was its anti-Berlusconi purpose. This “joyful war machine”, as Achille Occhetto called it, one of the PCI liquidators, has obviously lost the elections, crushed by the center-right coalition led by Berlusconi.

For the 1996 general election, the Communist Refoundation Party found itself alone, after having signed an agreement with the center-left coalition for the division of electoral colleges. The center-left coalition won the elections and Romano Prodi formed the new government with the external support of the PRC. Once again the two-stage policy was used: immediate sacrifice for workers to meet the requirements to enter the euro area in exchange for promises that will remain a dead letter (“lettera morta”). In 1998 the PRC, with great delay, withdrew its external support, causing the government to fall. In disagreement with this choice, a patrol of members of parliament, led by Armando Cossutta and Oliviero Diliberto, separated from the PRC and founded the Party of Italian Communists (“Partito dei comunisti italiani”). The reason for this division was certainly not the idea of ​​finally affirming the communist project, but rather the desire to keep the center-left government alive and, above all, to safeguard their well-paid positions in the bourgeois institutions of all levels. In the following years, the Party of Italian Communists (PdCI, translater note) will participate in all the coalitions and all the center-left governments with at least two ministers until the 2008 elections, becoming complicit in the criminal war against Yugoslavia and the most hateful legislative measures against workers , like two counter-reforms of pensions, the theft of the compensation package (“pacchetto di indennità”) given to employers and insurance companies, the restriction of workers’ rights, the growing economic sacrifices imposed on workers in the name of Europe and the euro, etc. The Communist Refoundation Party, which remained in opposition until 2006 and had adopted a position against the war in Yugoslavia, although from the point of view of the classless pacifism, did not hesitate to participate in the second Prodi government with the same political forces that had carried on the war and the social slaughter of the Italian working class. For the 2008 elections, both parties participated in a coalition of “radical left”, called “Rainbow”, together with the Green Federation which, despite being a small minority, managed to veto the use of communist symbols. The participation in bourgeois governments and the complicity in the adoption of anti-people measures to support the big capital, the lack of a serious program in favor of the working class and the popular strata were harshly punished by the voters: the “Rainbow” coalition failed even to elect one member of parliament. For the first time in Italian history, the communists had no parliamentary representation. With the 2008 elections, the story of the participation of the two self-proclaimed communist parties in the bourgeois national governments ends. Despite the formal self-criticism, the changes of denomination and leadership, however, the collaboration with the bourgeois parties, impossible at the central level due to the elimination of their parliamentary representation, continues at the local level, as well as the acceptance to participate in the elections with communist names and symbols disguised under generic and non-characterizing coalition names.

Our Party, the Communist Party (Italy), born in 2009 based on a Marxist-Leninist critique and on the self-criticism of the history of the PCI and the following attempts to keep a communist project alive in Italy, is proud to have returned the workers, for the first time in 17 years, the possibility of voting for their party, the Communist Party, with its historical symbols, the red flag with the sickle, the hammer and the star, the flag we raise without compromise, fear or concessions .

6. Conclusion

The position of our party regarding the attitude to be taken towards bourgeois institutions, governments and parties is clear and articulated. We believe that the main task of the Party consists in the development of the class struggle at all levels and in the creation of a revolutionary social block of the working class with all the layers of the population potentially allied, capable of overthrowing the domination of capital and the bourgeoisie. To do this, participation in elections and, if successful, in parliament and in other elected bodies, is a form of struggle that we must practice, but it is not the only one. The main fields on which we must conduct the class battle remain the workplaces, the places of study and the squares, that is the places in which class contradictions arise, develop and appear. The style of work of the communists elected in the representative bodies of the bourgeois state must be consistent with the objective of overthrowing the power of the bourgeoisie and capital. As Lenin taught, they must act as “agitators in the enemy’s camp”, working within the institution, but against it.

History has shown that communist involvement in bourgeois governments has not changed the class nature of those governments and their policies and has not favored workers. On the contrary, the class nature of those parties has changed in a degenerative sense, making them complicit in anti-people policies and breaking their ties with the workers until they disappeared from the political arena. Therefore, we exclude any participation in executive bourgeois state management bodies, from the national government to local governments.

The construction of a revolutionary social bloc under the leadership of the working class implies the development of its social alliances with layers of non-proletarian population, still oppressed by capital. We must be able to demonstrate the commonality of their interests with those of the working class and its universality as the class that, freeing itself, liberates the entire society. This, however, does not imply the development of political alliances with bourgeois parties, not even if they are parties that, directly or indirectly, are the political expression of the strata of those masses that we want to transform into allies of the working class. Therefore we exclude any form of coalition agreement for electoral purposes, in which mathematics prevails over politics. Also in this case, the historical experience of the last 25 years shows that these coalitions bind the party to mediated and botched programs, totally devoid of class content. This is not sectarianism, but the duty to preserve the autonomy of the Party needs to continue coherently with its program of revolutionary transformation of society towards socialism-communism.

Source: La Riscossa

3 thoughts on “The failure of the collaboration strategy with the bourgeois governments after the Second World War

  1. Pingback: O fracasso da estratégia colaboracionista com os governos burgueses após a Segunda Guerra Mundial – LavraPalavra

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