APPPqVED. trip .PEIHASE
SUBJECT,: The Italian Comraunist Party: Its Role in the Election and After
Although tht following paper talks about th* Italian election echeduled for Sunday and Monday, it really ie "tore about what ie likely to happen after the vote. The relative performance of the varioua partieo will of course affect the poet-electionwf there arc other longer-term oonaidemtione at play, including Sraly's maeeive economic problems,are liksly to have equal or greater influence aa the parties jsort cut their options.
'. thie ie probably the moat important Italian election eo far in, because it uill inevitably be seen as tha country's verdictnique phase of its postwar political history;, period of Communist-Ch^'istian Democratic cooperation, which saw the two parties come as close as they have7 to sharing seats in thewhich broke down when stiff resistance to this rapprochement developed in both parties.
longer-term factors pushing the Christian Democrats and Communis te together will be especially important if, as most eotimates suggest, the election does notramatic shift in party strengths. Moat polls and the private estirvites of politicians have the ruling Christianpercent ineveral points and thepercent inlosing eevsi'al. Whether thieignificant difference
in the political equation uill be determined in large pm't by the performance of the Socialists and smaller parties. Most estimates doubt they will gain enough to give the Christian Democrats an effective independable alternative to cooperation with the Ccwi.iis.a.
But there are enormouA uncertainties i* all cf the estimates and that is the crbjeot of thef this paper. The general conclusion of that pari; ' that it will take an unexpectedly dramatic electoral ehij- to reverse the long-term trend toward cooperation between the two 'odor parties. Moving on from that conclusion, the second part of the paperetailed look at vfrere the PCX stands today on issues of major concern to the US and ite allies.
The paper was commissioned by an inter-agency working group, cochaired by the NSC Staff and the State Department, ae an input to its pericdic review of developments in Western Europe. It was prepared under theNational ^Intelligence Officer for Western Europe byi
the Office of Political
as the working group wiehed to haveinaepenuaniewe and Judgmentsualified expert in the area, the paper has not been-formally coordinated within the national Foreign AeesoBmant Center, Agency, or intelligence community.
ariety of reasons,une electioness predictable than most previous Italian elections. Throughout most of the postwar period the Italian electorate was among the most stable in Westerna reflectionart of the extent to which cultural and social change lagged behind the economic and demographic revolutions of. Theoteworthy electoral features of that period were the stability of the Christian Democratic (DC)alwaysoint or twohe steady but incremental growth of the Comnunist (PCI) vote, starting fromercent6 and Inching up9 percent In the. In contest after contest, an analyst could feel fsirV safe predicting that the Christian Democrats would be sorr.ewhere aroundercent and that the Communists would probablyoint or two. Except when allied with the Social Democrats, the Socialist Party stayedercent, while most of the. smaller parties fluctuated within similar bandsower level.
But by the, it was clear that something was changing in the electorate and that elections had become less predictable. The first tangible sign came in the early lg7Cs, when the neo-fascists made Impressive gains in local elections and went on toercent2 parliamentary contest, doubling their vote and becoming the country's'fourth largest party. There was speculation at the time about a rgence of the right in Italy, but itlear Inneo-fascists have since dropped back close to their postwar average of bvoters were merely gropingay to protest governmental Immoblllsm in the face of worsening social and economic conditions. [ 1
J It'soon became clear that the Communists would be the chief beneficiaryentiment. One factor working forincreasing secularization'of Italianillustrated vividly by the divorce referendumn which voters endorsed legalized divorceandslide over the strong protestations of the Church and the Christianven with that warning, however. It cameurprise to most observers when the Communist Party capturedhird of the vote the following year in nationwide municipal, provincial and regional elections. '
i In addition to secularization, the Communists had been.aided by superior organization,ew lawyear-olds to vote for the first time,the Internationalthe atmosphere of detente. But cutting across most of these factors and benefiting
the Communists more than anything else was the widespread feeling In Italy that everything wasmood the party caught perfectly In its campaign slogan: "Change Italy with the PCI."
: If Ms therefore not surprising that in6 parliamentary election, the party was able to repeat5 performance. The parliamentary contest waseplav of the localear earlier: the Issues were the same, and not enough time had passed for the party to have either disappointed or rewarded its new supporters. In political terms, in fact, the Communists' local trimirh had been little moreun-up to the national contest.
_ The Current Complexities
> Three years later, the calculus for the average Italian voter has become even more complex. Now thereecord on which to judge the Xonminlsts ability to "change Italy" in positive ways. But itecord ofcscaredhole series of complications which must make It Incredibly difficult for the average voter to form judgments about the parties' accountability for what has or has not happened. I i
erhaps the major complicating factorhe governing formula that has prevailed since the last election. First the Ccwimunists proppeJ upinority Christian Democratic government by abstainingarliament; later, inhey switched to outright support, hhether there was moreymbolic difference between viewing the Communists as part of the government or merely as part of Its majority often seemedheologicaloliticaloccasion for end ess hairsplitting on both sides. Essentially, the Christian Democrats claimed the Communists were outside thewhenuited them to associate the Communists with some difficult decision. And the Communists claimedwhen they wanted to underline government Ineptitude.;
*Jnuancesjof the last three years havs been set aside for the election campaign, whichroceedinghe usual no-holds-barrednd manyhard core of eachdoubtless support their parties regardless of whataid. But one of thesuggested by recent elections is that in theew group of floating" voters, increasingly inclined to make up their minds on the basis of issues and performance, has gradually developed. Among these voters, those who endorsed the Communists for the first tim*
will probably have the most difficult decision this year.*
for supporting the Communists were multiple and complex, but most voters probably hoped their support would somehow lead to rapid and visible improvements. It can be argued that Italy would beuch worse snape today had Lhe Communists remained in opposition, but the benefits of their cooperation with the government have not matched expectations created by their rhetoric. The country's overall economic situation has not improved dramatically, political terrorism has grown, and other long-neglected problems^-the backward South is the classic case--st1ll await solutions.**
But If the Communist Party's new supporters are disappointed, what are they do to? Do they return to thoir former parties, which seem no more dynamic or effective now than Or do they stay withCommunists, accepting the party's argument thats still the best hope for change 1nItore direct role in the government? Or do large numbers of these voters,ercent of the electorate, do as the Communists fear and gravitate to the smallarty, whose aggressive civil rights campaigns have made theotential magnet for protest? The response of thes? voters is difficult to predict, not only because theirs is an Inherently difficult choice but also because Italian voters have never had the questio. putuite those terms;eriod, with the Comrrxmists "halfnd half out of the government, has no precedent.
factors help explain the virtually unprecedented number of undecided voters: this year-estimates range fromercent toercent of the electorate. This ambivalence may also account for some of the
' ercentage pointe Ciacomo Sani of Ohtc .State.University calculates thatercent comeear-olds voting for tne first time (cfillion voters in thie categoryercent went to theercent were defectors from centerright.parties such as the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats,ans, and Neo-Fascists, and ar^roxHrvtely2izeroent transferred from the
Socialist and smaller left-wing parties. i
'J outharticularly naggin^-prif6lem for the PCX because ito electoral eurge6 stemmed in large port from its strong gains there-game that prcbabhj reflected hopetronger Communist Party could
tL^Jr* fK^Sff tofrom the South suggest
the PCT will take losses there this^
public sector deficit and high wage costs. Any lasting solutions to these problems would inevitably touch the vital interests of both major parties: the Communists would have to risk their credibility with the party's labor base, and the Christian Democrats would have to lessen their dependence on public sector patronageource of political power.
Italy currentlyong-term program to deal with such problems. Treasury Minister Pandolfl's three-year plan was set aside during the political skirmishing that led up to the government crisis in January. In fact, so little attention has been given to economic affairs lately that monetaryhe only economic tool available to the government at the monent.
Chances are the situation will be more serious by theew governmentormed. For exanple, inflationary pressures will increase if labor succeeds in its effort to get around government guidelines on wages by -rapping up major contracts before the election. Oil prices, expected to rise at Jeastercent in dollar terms this year, will also underline the need for tougbpr austerity measures. And Italy's membershiphe European Monetary System wiM also push dome-sHc policy in the direction of austerity.[
But just how important is Communist cooperation to solvingproblems? It would be misleading to suggest that thesomehow "deliver" organized labor, or that Italy's problems areas to require Immediate and comprehensive action. InItalian party has enough control over theareto put bread-and-butter issues ahead ofmakewhatants. And anyone who has watched Italy survive aseemingly mortal economic crises must be skepticaldoomsoayabout theis not only remarkably elastic butextremely difficult to
Still, the economic problems are serious enough, and the nextcannot neglect them altogether. The stopsill nave toat least as tough as the tax and public service hikes that Andreotti enacted twobe extremely difficult if organized labor fought them.
key to the economy's ability to withstand eo much politicalie the existence in Italy of an extensive "submerged economy.submergedby small and medium-sized fima thatmuch of the restraint imposed by governmenton large induetrial enterprises. The submerged sector isgmerata aboutercent of national income.
That is when the Communist factor will come intoit did when Andreotti passed his austerity program. The Communists did not so much "deliver" labtr as provide thehock absorber for labor reaction. They endorsed austerity publicly and made an attempt to explain its rationale to the average worker. And the Communists were able to do this more credibly than other parties. While they do not control the unions, they have more influence than any other party, and Communist labor leaders such as Luclana Lama generally have more prestige among the workers than leaders affiliated with the Socialist, Christian Democratic
or other parties.
:The Communists, moreover, can exert Influence not only by what they do but also by what they do not do. Through fairly strenuous exertions they helped keep labor quiescent;hey should doa fortiori if they should encourage strikes and other actionsthe government's ab*Hty to hold the line with labor would be In serious question. In short, the Communists' ability to "unleash" the unions Is greater than their ability to "deliver" thr*. With their superior organization and discipline, the Communists have potential to make laboruch more disruptive phenomenon th-i* at present. Of course they would have to be careful not to seem demogoglc, but the party has always been able__tp choose issues and opponents so as to minimize that Impression.
PCI Presence ,
;8ut the Importance of having the Communists aboard on any'laborore general phenomenon which Is also notbe affected significantly by the election: the party's "presence"many areas of Italian life. The PCI isarrowly-basedsocio-economic profile of its electorate nearly parallelsthe Christiannd over the yearsas built up aof grass-rootscommittees,tenants' associations,ryrlad ofonly direct contact many Italians haveolitical.the same time, the Christian Democrats' gn-ssII 'I '*it * -
] 'Trie Ccmmmiet electorate (uith comparable figuree for the Christian Democrats innskilled workers and farm6killed workers,8 percent (SIhite aollar workers,artisans, smallBusinessmen, ^executives,8ercent).
iThere are other mope visible signs of Communistuch as their dominant position In local governments covering more than half of Italy's population. But this merely reflects the party's success in slipping into the mainstream of Italiancontrast, for example, to the French Communists, whoarrowly based "cultureulture." rop of several percentage points in the election will not change one stubborn political fact:s difficult for the Italian government to do anything important without getting involved in some way with;the Communist Party. r
of this would not matter so much if Italyocialist Party that could do the same things for the Christian Democrats. But it does not, and^hat is another stubborn fact the election will probably not change.
-Most election estimates have the Socialists remaining about where they were ingaining slightly. Butharp Socialist Increase, say torercent, would not solve the Socialists' basiceep spilt In the party over whether its Interests are best served by alliance with the Christian Democrats or one with the Communists. Although the Socialists' ambivalence has an Ideological dimension, it also reflects tacticalome Socialists argue that being in thehe only way to avoid domination by the Communist Party, while other Socialists put more emphasis on the risk the party would run Ifermitted the Communists to criticize freely from the opposition.
JAU Socialists seem agreed, however, that the decade they spent in center-left coalitions with tne Christian Democrats damaged the party materially and morally, and thus that an old style center-left government isossibility this time around. What they seem to be groping for is some way of joining the government without exposing themselves to either Christian Democratic Inroads or Communist sniping,rty chief Craxi, for example,enewed alliance with the Christian Democrats butnsisting on near-parity withhas made It clear that the possibilityocialist prime minister shouldard look. As regards the other side of the spectrura, Craxi has hinted, and leftward-
looking Socialists have stated more directly, that the Socialists want some arrangement to neutralize Communist criticism, suchrogrammatic accord involving the Communists in the formulation of government policies.
"It seems highly unlikely that the Socialists will get much cf what theyew Christian Democrats are willing toaritywith them, if only because parity would narrow the Christian Democrats' patronage base. And while the Cofxunists may ultimately settle for some kind of programwatit. accord, the PCI would be wary of any arrangement that merely proppedew center-left rather than Increasing the Communists' own role substantially. Moreover, unless Craxi secured major concessions from both big parties, it wnuld be an open question whether he could bring his party Into any governmental arrangement without splitting It. In fact it seems likelier that the "big two" would negotiate directly with each other over the Socialists'to their detriment, f
Implicit in this analysis is the question of whether Italy can be governed without the left. This wasossibility with the outgoing Parliament, because the smallerthenot strong enough to give the Christianajority without either the Communists or the Socialists. But what if the smaller parties next month gain the few percentage points required toenter-right majority?! - ;j.
i that event, the possibilityenter-right coalition would
be debated. It is extremely doubtful, however, whetheroalition could govern effectively or for long. For one thing, the
; Communists would not greet It with the benevolence to which theas becomeiaccustomed.They would see itundamental changeourse and* just as they did when the Christian Democrats last tried
an arrangementould fight it strongly in and out of
! Parliament. And the parties that would participate in such ai Christian Democrats, Social Oemoerats, Liberals, and: have Jtroublenited front on major policy questions. The Social Democrats, for example', differ from the Socialists only in their opposition to Communist participationhe government and wouldhemselves at loggerheads with the fiscally conservative Republicans. And the coalition's narrow majority would accentuate the problem posed by the "sharpshooter" phenomenon in the Christian Democratic
tenoency of dissenting factions to defect in secret parliamentary ballotino on controversial issues. There are signs thatated center-right coalition2 at one point had to rely on Neo-fascist votes to pass the government's budget.
i Three major conclusions flow from the foregoing analysis:
Although many uncertainties surround the election,do not seem likely to fundamentally alter ibalance of power in Italy;
; - It will nonetheless be extremely difficult for the
political parties toompromise solution after the election,rolonged period of maneuvering seemsj i ear certainty. There will probablyendency to
postpone major decisions until after the Christian Democratic Party congress in the fall,emporary caretaker govem-!. mentistinct possibility;
the dust settles, however, the Communist Party will
certainly have t* least acole in the
'jj governing process as it has in the last three years
'This prospect suggests we ought toard look at wherestands; today,
;In considering the current state of the PCI, three general.areas seem worth exploring: the party's internal life, its goals in Italy, and its views on.foreign and security policy. The literature on these subjectsast and no attempt wll1 be made here to deal with them in an encyclopedicather, the aim will be to focus on the aspects of those questions
that'have been of greater concern to Italy's alliesecent years, and
to determineatparty has been changing in these areas.
! The State of the PCI :
In recent years, observers of the Italian scene have paid increasing attention to the way the PCI organizes Itself andrty policy. The central question has usually been:he party stilleninist organization, tightly controlled from the centerarrow leadership group, or is it becoming more "democratic? I-
He know the PCI operates by the principle of democratic centralism because in the first place theoes. Most recently, atn party congress in early April, the PCI proclaimed the value of democratic centralismarty seeking tothe foundations and class natureociety and the This came in the courseabyrinthine Ideological discussionhich the party reaffirmed the importance of Marx, Engels, and Lenin but emphasizedid not view their thoughtoctrinaire system. *"
the party so describes itself, however. Is no reason to assume that no further questions nued be raised. After all, the party might retain the label after it had radically altered the practice: to do otherwise would cost the PCI support among militant leftists and probably would cause an identity crisisarty which has already been having enoui-htrjuble demonstrating thats different from other Italian parties. >^
In fact, however, theremple evidence that democratic centralism, or something very much like It, does operatehe PCI. The party does not have the sharply delineated and highly organized factions that characterize most other Italian parties, especially the Christian Oemocrats. Communist party congresses are generally smoothly-run affairs with few surprises and no organized minorityvidence; the party leader, who Is chosen by the central committee, does not have to worry about being replacedopular vote at the congress. And thereropter tendency thanther Italian parties for Communist leaders to adhereparty line" In responding to questions about sensitive foreign and domestic issues; the use offirst personstill less common among Communist leaders, who tend more than other Italian politicians to talk In terms of "We"or "the party." Moreover, there islose connection between the attitude of local Connunist politicians and those of party headquarters. Following the PCI's exit from the national
governing majority in January, for example, local Communist leaders pulled
out of similar regional arrangements in Lombardy, Campania, and Sicily, |
But at the same time, theremple evidence that democratic centralism in the PCI'does not workin the stereotypical fashion. Despite the party's taboo against factions, there are distinguishable currents of opinion in the PCI, and adherence to themne of the criteria party leaders consider when apportioning influential party posts. Itifficult to label these PCI "factions" accurately because,reater extent than In other Italian parties, they stem from conflicting ideas rather than personality differences
or patronage disputes. And sorting out these groupsade all the more difficult by the fact that foreign and domestic policy positions do not always fall into neathardliners" on domestic strategy are not necessarily pro-Soviet and vice versa.
Nevertheless, it is possible torevisionist" group, which is less bound by traditional Communist precepts and more inclined to favor compromises designed to make the existing system work, and which looks mainly to PCI elder statesman Giorgio Amendola as Us leader. Then there is the "newroup more orthodox on domestic policies--but not necessarily in its view of the Soviets--which centers nalnly on Chamber of Deputies President Pletro Ingrao. Therenother group of relativePajetta, Armando Cossuta, Tullio Vecchletti, and Darioare distinguished more by their stronger pro-Soviet sympathies than by their advocacyarticular domestic strategy. Berlinguer rid his group are mlddle-of-roaders nn all thesef the main reasons why he is party leader.
pvrTGJ rn cms from the center, as
nrncprhjres for making
troversial issues and has continually sought to gauge the membership's mood. We notice the leadership's response to the base's mood only on dramatic occasions--Berlinguer bringing down'the oov&rnment tva yearsow, partiallyesponse to dissatisfaction anwng PCI supporters with government policies. But It Is reasonable to assume that rank-and-file views are factored into party policy in moree ways as well.T
That is certainly the impression gainederies of Interviews which.an American political scientist conducted with PCI politicians several years; ago.* While Communist politicians were found to be more attached to party life than other Italian political leaders, theirs was not an uncritical (loyalty. They stressed the importance of discussion ind persuasion, suggesting that their loyalty was not to the orders leader but to the consensus within the party as an organization.
Putnam, "The Italian Communiet Politician" in Cofrmtnirm in Italu and Fransn, Donald Blaokmer and Sidney Tarrov (editors!,
The study also found the Communist respondents generally stronger than other Italian politicians in their support for certain democratic valuesincreased participation by ordinary citizens in politics and governnent, hostility to elite management of political affairs, equality of opportunity. But they were not so committed to other elements of liberalrule of law, limited government, free speech. In shcrt, the Communists thought maximum equality and participation more important than political competition and civic freedoms. This is not very reissuring to civil libertarians, but it is worth noting that this latter characteristicne the Communists shared with many respondents from the governing parties.
Discipline and Cocnunication
Moreover, the party's use of democratic centralism does not moan that party leaders are punished for speaking out against the party line to the extent that they are, for example, in the CPSU or the French Communist Party. The older, more established PCI leaders in particular are prone to critical outburts when Berlinguer does something they regard as offensive. For example, former party chief Lulgl Longo grumbled publicly3 about the dangers of "compromising" with the Christian Democrats after Berlinguer had unveiled his "historic compromise" strategy. Before5 congress,wanted Berlinguer to arrclerate the PCI campaign for governmentbitterly In public that the secretary general was stifling debate in-the party. And Umberto Terracini, the PCI elderwho served as president of the constituent asse*-M> that wrote the constitutionrgued while &erVnguer was supporting the government that the PCI really ought to be In thethe workers did not understand the party's policy, J
It can be argued that ths party is engagingarmlessoldtimers with little organizational clout to vent their But the PCI leaderships' acceptance of this sort ofsharply with the practice in parties like the PCF andleaders are less tolerant and where elderndpolitical
Also typical of the'PCIhis respect is the way that Berlinguer has analyzed the troubles the PCI has experienced in the last couple of years. One of the prominent theme:is speeches has been the need to Increase coirnunicatlon in thenot just from the top down. The theses for che recent congress also reflected that theme when dealing with
democratic centralism. The congress did not make any sweeping reforms in this respect, but it did recommend organizational changes, such as the creation of a "nationalhat would stimulate criticism and debate at all party levels and broaden Individual contributions to the decisionmaking process in the party. emonstration ofdemocracy, amendments to some congress theses were putote and, for the first time, there were clear divisions rather than unanimous approval of the texts as developedommissions dominated by the party hierarchy.*"
response contrasts markedly with the way the French Communists have reacted to similar pressures. The French have decided to tighten up internally, and they viewed the reaffirmation of democratic centralism as one of the most important aspects of their party congress earlier this month. Prior to the congress, local party leaders were callednd questioned by the party hierarchy on their political views. Those who did not hew to the party line were removed from their posts. The party's dissentingoppose thP pcf rptrp*f. to orthodoxy-were not even allowed to attend the congress.
There is no evidence ofystematic weeding out by the PCI in recent years. Inhe most analogous PCI event was the expulsion of the Manifesto dissident group* But itlso worth remembering that the Manifesto group was Ideologically and programmatically more orthodox than the PCI leadership and that it accused the PCI essentially of selling out to the existing system.
Judging the PCI's democratic credentials must also take into account the tendency of other Italian parties to behave In ways that do not
'The congreee aleo eliminated the-formal requirement that the party faithful study the works of Marx, Lenin, and Engele, although it reaffirmed the value of their work ae analytical guides and research tools. In addition, the congreee removed Marx, Lenin and EngeU from their central dominating rolee in Italian Communism and placed themar with Italian Communist theoreticians such as LaBriola, Gramsci, and logliatti. Although the congress thus failed to go as far as the Spanish Communists, whose congreee last year struck "Leninist" from the party's self-description, it did notCI "involution, "as seme observers have suggested.
n tathe PCI into the
Moro and his associates not onlymm lo ma uCTision but alsoindictive approach in the aftermath. Moroecisive role, for example,aving the group's leader ;ousted from his job as Christian Democratic leaderilan province. These things go on, of course, in the PCI as well, butlose look at Italy's other parties doest least some respects
the PCI is not very different from them
seem particularly democratic. One might say, for example, that the PCI could be considered more democratic if its leader was elected freely and directly by the delegates to the partyfor the fact that the Christian Democrats began doing that only at their last congressefore then. Christian Democratic leaders were chosen through factional bargaininghe party's national council. Or we could take the advice of an American scholar who claims that the real test of denoc-acy Is "whether evidence exists that dissent is permitted and protected as legitimate political behavior."* But if that is the criterion, how do we square it with Aralntore Fanfjnl's summary dismissal of the Christian Democratic youth leaders for criticizing his policies inwith Aldo Moro's treatment of the "Grouphe Christian Democratic dissidents who opposed hisnational governing majority early last year?
*Jorgen Ra&rmiBeen, The Frooeoo of
Still, the overall impression gained from reviewing PCI policy isarty that has-yet to come to ^rtps with some fundamental contradictions. On the one hand, it wants to hold on to Its Leninist heritage; on the other, it wantc to prove the party is immune to the excesses that seem .inherent in the concept. The ambivalencespecially evident when Italian Communists talk about political pluralism and about what Italy jwlll be like after the "socialist transformation." They claim therel still be room for other political parties after class Interests are eliminated, becausetaly parties ar? the expression not only of 'class Interests but of ideological, cultural, and religious differenceswill survive the "transformation." But most PCI theorists who talk about the future put more emphasis on synthesizing various points of view rather than on toleratinghey continue to speak of.albeit "hegemony based onnd some might argue that this iformulatlon is not very_different from democratic centralism as now practiced by the PCl.pl
But these ideas themselves are markedly different from what most other Communist parties espouse. Moreover, ft seems reasonably clear that the partyenuinely wrestling with the fundamental contradiction between "democracy" and "centralism.Over the postwar period,asair distance from the classic Leninist model. And the pressures still pulling it in thisesire to hold on to its socio-econoroically diverse constituency and to broaden its appeal, the need to gain acceptance among Italy's other parties and itseventually become greater than the forces that tie the party to its past.
.Domestic Policy Arena
Berlinguer has always been quick to turn back any suggestion that the PCI Isocial democratic party. He and other PCI leaders insists and willommunist organization. They say, however, that they reject all existing rscdels, both social democratic and Communist, and want to transforma uniquely Italian "Thirdasocialist society.
But, however much PCI leaders may desire such athe goal does seem morehetoricalhave not yet figured out the details of how to achieve It. To be sure, the Communists'and even their conception ofell us something about the "Ideal world" they have in mind: an egalitarian socialist society characterized by mass political participation, with consensus prevailing overndontrast to the vagueness of its long-term goals, theren abundance of data on what the party would Hke to accomplish domesticallyhe near and medium-term. Ue have the party's concrete actions during the period when It participatedhe formulation of government policy under Andreottl. There arge body of PCI literature which lays out the party's views.
'.Perhaps the most comprehensive such statement is the medium-tern plan published In Although parts were written with an eye to critics and skeptics, the plan was more thanublic relations effort. ]There were serious arguments over Its merits among the party's economic experts, who took moreear to produce 1t.
The plan set out the Communists' "maximum objectives"eriod of about five years. Party spokesmen argued that this focuseaHftlc given Italy's economic situation; but of courselso permitted the party to remain vague about Its longer-term plans fcrItalian society. 7
the communists tout comprehensive economic planning as the fundamental solution to italy's economic problems. yet their program expresses the objective of "upgrading" and "rechannellng" the activities of the free market rather than supplanting it. their proposed system of planning would focus on control of large-scale industry. [
the communists claim they would develop and impose economic plans through the legislative mechanism, with regional authoritiesajor role. unlike their french counterparts, they do not call for outright nationalization of industry. in some undefined way, the bureaucracy would use "levers of direct and indirect public intervention" to ensure that economic units follow plan directives. the communists foresee worker, surveillance playing an important mle in policing business behavior,
;the party favors government intervention to assure that investment promotes both import substitution and job growth. it recommends that investment be directed into labor-intensive service activities rather than into the capital-intensive manufacturing sector. to foster job creation in the backward south, the communistsreeze on job levels in northern cities. jul;-
party would enhance labor mobility through special assistance to people between jobs. for the workers, the communists recommend higher take-home payeduction of fringe benefits and social insurance.
:the programall for tight control of multinationals and for closer supervision of state corporations to promote efficient operation. the communists also advocate government review of pricing decisions.r
the plan envisions greater investmentgriculture, reactivation of fallow land, and replacement of small family farming units with cooperatives. comnunist economists hope to raise farm production and to reducearge trade deficits in food, which they regardrag on industrial growth.
According to the program, the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Community has exposed Italian agriculture to damaging competition from other EC members and is the main obstacle to Italian self-sufficiency in food. The party demandsrofound changehe mechanism on which EC policy
Regarding foreign economic policy, the Communists flatly rule out protectionism. The Communists express concern that EC integration has slowed and attribute this to the different balance-of-payments performances of the member states. emedy, thev suggest joint management of EC members foreign exchange reserves.
The party proposed that the EC expand its cooperation with Third World and Communist countries. In Horth-South relations the Communists advocate commodity stabilization pacts, debt relief fjir_the poorest nations, and trade concessions to developing countries.
In the area of public finance, the medium-term planather conservative note, stressing measures aimed at reducing budget deficits. It states that deficit financing should be restricted to capital projects.
The plan recommends greater effort against tax evasion, higher and more
progressive taxes on income and wealth, and curbs on public spending.
To hold down government expenditures, the Communists would abolish certain agencies that have been prime sources of patronage for the Christian Oemocrats and wouldreeze on the hiring of administrators. The party would lower payroll taxes for social insurance, making up the revenue loss with heavier direct taxation. It would reduce the present large deficitshe social insurance system by .scaling down health benefits, imposing some charges for medical services, and tightening up the policing of claims for disability pensions. |
For the most part this program is decidedly non-revolutionary. It attempts to find real solutions to real economic problems, within the current Italian framework. It is of course open to criticism: on the political plane, for example, it demands sacrifices of the Christian Deirccrats' patronage apparatus while steering clear of issues that are dplicate for the PCI; it merely makes vague exhortations to greater productivity and offers promises of voluntary wage restraint once the "grand transfonv-ion" has been achieved. And asarlier PCI statements, littleaid a* he escalating deficit spending of regionaland municipal governfiien.s, many of which are Communist-controlled.
Moreover, the plan seems misguided in its focus on agriculturalgoal that could be achieved onlyasteful propping up of the farm sector, notwithstanding its abjuring of protectionism, in fact, the plan seems to downplay potential gains from trade; it presses for the expansion of import substitution industries to the exclusion of export industries. Policies such as these, however, nay mean simply that the party still lacks the expertise to appreciate the limitations of autarky; the fact thato longer favors protectiont it is gradually coming to grips with
The most controversial part of the medium-term plan is the section on economic planning. The call for governmental control of thes broader and more strident than in earlier Communist pronouncements. The Communists would use economic planning to divert resources into activities to which the party assigns high priority. To this end, the Communists seek greater government Influence in pricing, employment decisions, credit allocation, and investment.
Kith ell its practicaloften are revealing inmedium-term plan remains the clearest indication of what Communist thinkers come up with when they wrestle with Italy's mammoth economic and social problems. Most of the ideas were echoed in the various documents produced by the PCI congress last month, although the congress put much more emphasis on the difficulty of protecting working class interests wtfile moving toward these goals. I ^1
The Plan in Context :
.'The plan was, of course, not conceivedacumm. The year during which it was developederiod of cautious experimentation for the DC and PCI; both were probing the limits of the governing arrangement worked out after6 election, when in exchangeaguely-defined consultative role the PCI had agreed to support Andreotti's OC government Indirectly by abstaining in Parliament. This was the least hostile and most productive phase of the flirtation. The major leaders In both parties seemed convinced that the potential advantages of the deal outweighed the risks, and the result wasapproval for an economic austerity package that was relatively tough by Italian standards. ^
The main feature of that packageeries of tax Increases and public utility hikes. Although labor refused to permit tampering with the mech?nism providing for automatic cost-of-living wage increases.
Andreottl was able, with PCI help, to win approvalemporary and partial freeze on the wages of higher paid workers, curbs on absenteeism, greater labor mobility, the abolition of several holidays, and pledges of restraint in some company-level wage negotiations.
Labor costs have continued to rise In the last three years, but many Italian businessmen say the PCI's Involvementeriod of economically beneficial "labor peac*." Berlinguer *as Increasingly concerned in this period that he arlgnt not be able to extract adequate policy concessions from the Christiandeed, this concern was one of the motivating forces behlng the medium-term plan. But he also demanded formal negotiations with the DCrogrammatic accord for thethat were still in progress as the PCI put the finishing touches on the medium-term plan.
Oust aslan is the best existing statement of PCI program goals,7 programmatic accord is the best indication of what emerges when the PCI's program ideas confront the DCs. It is thus worth glancing back at the program accord, because it was the last occasion on which the PCI and Christian Democrats negotiated seriously on concrete issues; the two government crises8 and Januaryso dominated by political Issues that the government economic programs accompanying the crisis settlements were little more than refinements of7 accord.
'./hat can we concludeeview of the program accurd? Thend DC were able toromising beginning in some areas but had tododge the hard questionsthers. The agreement was full of specifics on economic policy, for example; it gaveandate for continued austerity, andpecifically endorsed the International Monetary Fund's guidelines for Italy, sucheduction of the budget deficit,of resources from consumption to investment, and the reduction of unit labor costs. I
Although the accord stopped short of recommending fundamental reform of the wage escalator mechanism, it stressed the need for Increased productivity and Included provisions for Increased labor mobility. To implement other economic aspects of the agreement, the partieselling on public spending by national and local authorities, restoration of limited taxing authority to localeduction of social insurance costsariety of means,emporary freeze on public sector hiring at both the national and the local government levels. ariety of fiscal measures were envisioned to further dampen domestic consumption, stimulate investment and create new Jobs.
The agreement was also quite specific on law-and-order measures but grew very fuzzy when talking about more politically divisive Issues such as refora of the education system, changes affecting control of the printed and electronic media, and new procedures for personnel appointments in the publicthe touchiest Issue of all.
What Went Wrong
Most of the proposals in the programmatic accord never got off paper. The reasons are complex but Involve mainly the resistance that grew in both the parties to the cooperation developing between their leaders. First, the PCI's labor supporters argued the party was getting little in return for its support of austerity measures. Such labor pressureey factor in Berlinguer's decision in7 to topple Andreotti's cabinet and pushore direct PCI role. After two months of tortuous bargaining with* Christian Democratic leader Aldo Moro, Berlinguer got what hemembership in the government's parliamentarytatus Berlinguer hadJemtL regarded as the last way station before PCI cabinet membership.
The programmatic sccore} seemed back onthen Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades terrorists on the day the new government was to take office. In this chaoticwas murdered by the Red Brigades two monthsissues dwarfed everthing else, and economic policy was simply put on the shelf. Moro, Italy's most commanding poTitlcal figure, had concluded that DC-PCI cooperation was the only way out of Italy's political dilemma, but when he was no longer around to defend this vision, Ms opponents in the Christian Democratic Party dug in'their heels. Thisurn fed the Communist rank and file conviction that .cooperating with the DCosing
Among the aonoluaibna that might be drawn from thiethree eeem particularly .1 ='j :
Although PCI leadere cherish the notioneooialiBtin Italy, they are willing to run the political rieke required to dealwith Italy 'e immediateut only if convx-'oed auch cooperationolitical quid pro quo.
Chriatian Democrate are willing to compromise program-
matically with the PCI and make politicalonly if convinced they have no alternative.
vould be premature to declare the Moro-Andreottiailure inasmuch ae the two foregoing conditions were in effect for no more than three or four months in the period after the? program accord was concluded.
Foreign and Oefense Issues
Berlinguer recently told his critics that it Is simply impossible to "measure in centimeters" the PCI's proximity to various countries. Although Indisputable, Berllnguer's complaintnlikely to mute the controversy that has long raged over PCi foreign policy. The debate has been confused by exaggeration on both sides. Sone have suggested that the party's moderate stands on certain foreign policy Issues mean it no longer pays much attention to Moscow. Others assert that the party's policy choices are merely tactical and that it actsTrojan Horse" forforeign policy. And on both sides, thereisleading tendency to assume that PCI foreign policyero-sum game, 'nove away from Moscowove toward Washington and vice versa. Butruth the game Is much more complex,ar larger dose of ambivalence and uncertainty than any such simplifications, j
PCI-Sov1et Relations i
The Soviets seem tc view the Italian situation with mixed emotions.one hand, they probably hope that the PCI's growing influence will'further some of Hoscow's long-termthe respectability of &jmmunist partiesesterntd elsewhere, nudging Italian foreign policyore pro-Soviet or atore neutralist stance, dividing Italy from Its allies, and weakening NATO. But at the same time, Moscow worries that the possible reactions to the party's entry into thediplomatic backlash In the Westight-wing reaction Indamage Soviet interests by jeopardizing detente and perhaps making Italy an even lessplace. And despite the many points on which Moscow and the PCI agree, the Soviets have genuine ideological differences with the Italian party and fear that Its success could further dilute Soviet influencehe Communist world. '
The differences between Moscow and the PCI have traditionally centered on the Italians' advocacy of autonomy for all Communist parties, on their*rejection of the Soviet model of socialism, and on their criticism of the human rights situation In Communist states. All of these Issues were sources of Irritation during Berllnguer's last trip to Moscow in October.
But for all these differences, the PCI has many reasons not toreak with Moscow at present. First,tep would cause Ij serious internal problems for the party. Although more thanercent It of the PCI's members joined afterperiod of Increased PCIriticism of Moscow following the Czechof the party's ij older members still find anti-Soviet comments highlynd I; beyond such practical problems, the party leadership also sees the
e extremely difficult to gauge the extent of pro-Soviet in the PCI memberehip, and analysts kjve usually settled1 percent for the hard core of thie group. Chancee are that leae sharply defined pro-Sovietiem is more diffuse in the party. Much attention haa !' been givenor example,oll conductedologna reecaroh !! institute in whichercent of the PCI members surveyed said they thought socialism existed in the Soviet Union. Most commentators have jumped that figure to the conclusion that there is far wider support in the PCI 1; for Moscow than previously believsd. To put the figure in however, it is useful to lookimilar pollearby POXA, Italy 'e leading polling agency, inimilar number of PCI !: the PCI in its controversies uith Soviets. It is always risky to make too much of Italian poll data, but these two surveys suggest isarge part of the PCI is sympathetic to v. the Soviets without necessarily agreeing with them. Finally, when talking'about the pro-Soviet factor in the PCI, it should be borne in mind that in additionillion members, the PCI must be attentive to the additionalillion Jtolfena who vote for the party and who are not predominantly
soviet experience as an Important component of the PCI's Ideological heritage; thereign that the party's ideological revisionism has yetoint that would allowo sever its Sovietevere identity crisis. Moreover, the party remains profoundly distrustful of the Us and, as it surveys the role the US has played_in_Dpstwar Italian politics, undoubtedly feels it has reason to.
To the extent that genuine differences with the Sovietsthe record makes clear that theyPCI's polite diplomatic style helps keep them from getting inflated beyond control. Itn the PCI's nature--perhaps Us Italianemphasize compromise andmittcollisions. Although some PCI leaders
breement with some of Spanish Communist mr-has gone so far as to say the Soviet system
is notdeplore his blunt and abrasivethat nothing is to be gained from antagonizing the Soviets. But the fact that the PCI'* divergence from Moscow lacks Car. illo's clarity and boldness does not mean it is less credible. The typical PCI leader
would simply argue that in the long run more will be accomplish tryingg the Soviets around to the PCI's point of view.
recent PCI congress showed these conflicting considerations at work. In commenting on the congress, many observers have focused on Berlinguer's pro-Sdv1et rhetoric and the enthusiastic response it received from the delegates. Berlinguer did put more emphasis.than usual on the historical importance of Lenin and the October Revolution; and he generally portrayed the Soviets as working constantly for peace while thealthough not exactlyportrayed as provocative and interventionist.
However, the stress Berlinguer placed on such themes was not so great as to throw his speech out of balance, Read in its, the speechlassic example of the PCI's nuanced, two-handedo complex and controversial Issues. Iteplete with "on the one hand, on the other" statements designed to give everyonehe PCI's diverse constituency something to agree with. Tor example,s not long after hearing about Soviet virtues and the "crisis" of capitalism that the delegates are told about the "crisis factors" In the Communist world, where "there
are as yet no societies characterized as the loftiest development of democracy and freedom." And while "Comrade Brezhnev's peace speech"redited with restoring international calm during the China-Vietnam conflict, the US and Japan are also, complimented for their "moderation and prudence' during the affair
In any event, the conventional interpretation of the congressecisive swing back toward Moscow seems off the mark. Viewedhe context of all that has gone on in the party andtaly over the last year, Berlinguer's performance looks moreightrope act. Over the months leading up to the congress, excellent sourcesharp debate in the leadership between those who think the party should move further away from the'and closerocial democratic stance on domesticthosere more concerned about tradition and think the evolution has gone far enough. Berlinguer's speech shows him once again as the pragmatic leader synthesizing all these points of viewn effort to unify the party priorrltlca' election.
Berlinguer's complimentary treatment of the Soviets may haverelations with Moscow and firmed up wavering support among somebut it Is doubtful that the congress gave Moscow cause tobasic assessment af .he Italian party.
jhe PCI's latest bidoverning
view the prospect with considerable ambivalence.
Thus the PCI-Sovict reV-'tlonshipso much elsn about the PCI highly complex and ambiguous. I
Foreign Policy Issues
Soviet suspicion has probably been fed by the pragmatic approach taken by the PCI to certain foreign policy issues in recent years. In domestic politics, the PCI has for decadesillingness to accept realities, to make compromises, and to negotiate with allies and opponents. But during most of the Cold War years, the attitude on domestic matters contrasted sharply with the close linkage of the PCI's foreign policy line with Moscow's. Even today, the PCI's overall foreignat least outside ofstrongly slanted towardendency especially evident on Third World issues. Apart from any pressures that Moscowmaythese positions essentially reflect the PCI's assessment of the party's interests. It is, among otheray for the party to maintain its "revolutionary" and "internationalist" credentials among left-wing Itallens inclined to mistrust Its reformist compromising political style. .j |
In recent years, the PCI has brought Its pragmatic calculus to bear on more foreign policy questions as these questions have become more closely related to the goal ofhare of power and as the climate of detente has helped Increase the party's room for maneuver. The tendency shows up mainly with respect to Western Europe and most clearlyhe evolution of PCI po'iicy toward the European Community.f
7 the PCI was the only Italian party to vote against ratification of the treaty of Rome. But as it became clear that the EC was contributing to the crowing prosperity of the PCI's working-class constituents, the party
first recognized the "reality" of the Community and then moved onositive appraisal of it. Today, few Italians question the PCI's commitment to European institutions, even though the party makes clear its desire to "democratize" the Community by pushingarger labor role in EC decision-making and working to make it more independent of the
PCI turnabout on the EC doubtless began with the calculation that continued opposition would be countert1ve electorally; indeed public opinion polls showed that support for European Integration was higher in Italy than anywhere else In the EC. In che process, many Italian Communists came to see participation by the party in EC affairsay of giving theisible roleystem that Italy's allies did not perceive as threatening. The PCI probably hopes in this way to forestall adverse reaction should it enter the government in Rome, and perhaps even to surround itself with West European allies who might help dampen any such reaction. |
The PCI's new posture toward NATO is another, if less developed, example of the trend toward pragmatism in its foreign policy. Until the, the party line reflected all-out support for Soviet attacks on NATO. At2 congress, however, the PCI announced that it "did not pose the question of Italy's leaving the Atlantic Pact" sinceevelopment would upset the European balance of power.
The PCI's switch,ofealization that opposition to NATOerious obstacle for the party's governmental ambitions. But It also reflected the leaders' perspective on global realities. The party appears to have concluded from the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and from its belief In "imperialist" responsibility for Allende's fall in Chile that the world was still basically bi-polar and that Its earlier line callingear-term dissolution of both European blocs was just wishful thinking. The party was probably also influenced by Its growing awareness that detente had become critical to the success of its domestic strategy and byas West Germany's Ostpolitik anddetente was occurring within the framework of the existing alliance structures. ^
Since the initial PCI shift on NATOhe, there have been two significant developmentshe party's line on the Alliance. During6 election campaign, Berlinguertatement Implying that he
"The party's medium-term plan also makes it clear that the PCI Intends to press Italy's economic Interests within the EC: see above,
regarded NATOind of shield behind which he could pursue his independent policies free of Soviet meddling. Berlinguer did not convey any great enthusiasm formerely said it was useful. And he balanced this by noting that there were forces in NATO that were also trying to limit his autonomy.
Berlinguer has often said the Yugoslavs come closeodel for the PCI, and he may merelyen applying the formulaugoslav foreign minister: "As Yugoslavs, we need the Americans to protect us from Russians. As Communists, we need the Russians to protect us from the Americans." Moreover, in trying to carry water on both shoulders, thereis undoubtedly In Berlinguer's formulation an element of electioneering.
not for the firstelection campaigna change in the public line that carried the PCIong way beyond its previous stance. I
A further significant refinement of the party's NATO line came inhen it joined the other major parties in voting for parliamentary resolutions terming* NATO and the EC the "fundamental terms of reference" for Italian foreign policy. The resolutions, reportedly negotiatedigh level among the major parties, have been conveniently forgotten by the non-Communist parties during the current campaign. Nevertheless, they stand as reminders that the PCI and the other parties can find common ground even on foreign policy if convinced, as they seemed to be inhat they are doomed to govern together. [
Although Berlinguer has reiterated verbatim in the current campaign
6 statement, the PCI's commentary on the Alliance has remained
rather vague. The PCI's broader rationale for accepting NATO seems to
stemesire not to upset detente; anything that increases friction
among the superpowers is seen as jeopardizing the PCI's domestic political
strategy. The PCI .also says it wants to reduce what it regards as the
preponderant US role in the Alliance as part of its effort to achieve a
Western Europe independent of both the US and the USSR. But how_ it
would reduce US influence and howould keep Europe independent of
the Soviets If the USesser roleas not said. And it takes a
very narrow, legalistic, and territorially restricted view of the Alliance,
do Italy's other majoruse of Italian NATO
bases for operations outside of- |
The PCI's parliamentary voting record on defense issuesixed picture. During the period when it was pledged to support the government,bstained on defense budgets and on army and navy modernization laws. It can be counted on to criticize NATO programs thatlear offensive rather than defensive orientation or that rely on weapons systems produced with little or no Italian participation. Such NATO issues do not often come upotearliament, however, so the PCI has often been spared difficult choices. When it does opposerogram, the PCI is usually in the company of another major Italian party or interest group. For example. In opposing Italian participation In NATO's Airborne Warning and Control Systemshe PCI washe same side as theorce, which argued that Italyse the funds more productively to upgrade Its own defense capabilities.
There have been few signs in recent years that the party is prepared to move beyond United acceptanceore positive level of supportr that its attitude toward the Soviets is evolvingay that would hastenhange. Although the PCI's views seemed to be evolving rapidlyhend, the pace seems to have slowed since
This is not to say there has been no discernible movement In the last few years. For example, the PCI seemed to support Romania last year in its reluctance to spend more on defense as Moscow wished; L'Un1ta Claimed the International situation did not warrant added expenditure by Warsaw Pact nations evenATO had decided to increase expenditures. Meanwhile the PCI's specialized institutes have held seminars on the USSR and the Prague Spring, and produced several books on Stalin and the Soviet Union which cut deeper in their criticism of Moscow than the PCI hierarchy ever does in public* And buried in Berllnguer's congress speech are some significant passages on the "new internationaln which he floated the ideacharter" to define the aims and principles of new movement, consisting of communists, socialists, social democrats, and liberation movements. Comingarty that long ago dropped "proletarian Internationalism" fron Its lexicon and which also says there is no longer.an International communist movement, Berllnguer's "new internationalism" must be seen from Moscowistinctly unwelcome idea.
But despite such examples, the PCI clearlys reluctant to take the kind of positions the US would regardefinitive break with the party's Communist heritage. This reluctance reflects fcoth tactical and Ideological constraints. On the tactical plane, Berllnguer's rapid strides toward rapprochement with the Christian Democratic Party have left him with less room for similar maneuvers on the international stage. It has been hard enough for the rank-and-file to swallow Berllnguer's cooperation with the traditional domestic enemy; had he been moving at the same rate in the foreign affairsrocess that would inevitably arouse concern in the party that he was moving toward the US, the traditional
political analyst, Pierre Hassner, asserts that the PCI leadership initiates and approves these activities, using party specialistsedagogic and exploratory way, to say what the leadership thinks but does not want to be committed to officially.
foreignwould probably have had trouble holding the party together. Moreover, the PCI probably calculates that there are not many extra votes to be gainedore pro-Western foreign policy stance, particularlyurther dramatic shifthis direction might mean corresponding losses on it* left. And in any event, domestic Issues have almost always overshadowed foreign policyhe competition for the favorItalianfactor that diminishes the domestic pressureurther PCI evolution. I I
But beyond such tactical considerations, the PCI is also constrainedorld view in which the threat to itstocomes from more than one direction. [
From the PCI's point of view, the most serious threat still seems to be the possibility of some kind of US intervention In Italy, presumably intended to undercut the PCI.
-- econd kind of threat cones from the restrictions on Italian independence which the PCI associates with NATO membership; the PCI worries, for example, that Italy could become involvedome conflict outside ofin Africa'or the Middlethe PCI's sympathies might He on the other side.
Finally, the PCI, br at least the top leadership, almost certainly recognizes that the USSR alsootential threat to Italy and to theone that to tries seems less immediate, less well-defined, and mitigated by ^hfi-varlous points the PCI and Moscow still have in common.
Concerning this third threat,6 statement saying he felt "more secure' in NATO than he would In the Warsaw Pact is the closest he has come to directly acknowledging It. Some PCI leaders reportedly speak in privateoviet military threat, especially to Yugoslovla and,by implication, to Italy. But the scarcity of public statements like Berlinguer's indicates that the subjectn extremely difficult one for the PCI to discuss in the open. Just how dlfflcut was suggested by the PCI's awkward and embarrassed handling of the Kampuchea-Vietnam-China conflict. |
When Vietnam attacked Kampuchea, the PCI's first Instinct was to look the other way; it clearly hoped ft would not have to comment on why one "progessive" state, linked to Moscow, had attacked another, linked to China. When it realized it could not remain silent, the PCI's second instinct was to support theimplicitly the Soviets-citing the need to correct "aberrations" in the Pol Pot regime. But the dangers of relying on that rationale became all too apparent to the PCI when China later invaded Vietnam, sayingad to teach theesson. The PCI almost immediately condemned thethen began to rethink the whole affair. The result was apparent In Berlinguer's congress speech, in which he discussed the conflict in careful detail, scolding both Vietnam and China and emphasizing heavily the Importance the PCI attachrs_to_the principle of non-interference in the affairs of another state.
Three points emerge from this review of how the PCI grappled with the Indochina issue. First, the party's cumbersomeat odds with its normal handling of InternationalIt clear that the PCI was wrestlingerious ideological dilemm*. Second, by coming down where it did, the PCI showede to admit that, even among Socialist states, national Interests can override ideological ties and threaten international staMJKy. Third, it would therefore not take too much imagination for the PCI to conceivesocialist Italy, or even an Italy in which the PCI hadoalition role, being threatened eventually by the USSR.'
However, we should not expect the Italian Communists to standsoon and announce this to theonly because theyyet sure the threat from the East is as real as the one theyin the West, but also because thinking about such things stillclose to theirthe party probably still has to
Soviet meddlingts internal affairs; certain PCI sections to receive literature
aimed at strengthening rank and file resistance to the PCI's criticism of the Czech invasion.
Nevertheless, it is not inconceivable that the PCI night slowly come around to greater acquiesencepossibly fuller acceptance ofactivities that strengthen Western defenses against the USSR. Again, the Yugoslav example is instructive. Despite their desire to maintain
smooth relations with the Soviets, the Yugoslavs are perfectly willing to buy sophisticated US weapons that are clearly IntendeC for defense against the USSR. But there is another lesson in the Yugoslav case; Belgrade is willing to do this only so long as thereowhich suggests the PCI wilLnot submit easily to public "tests" of its allegiance to the West.
Foreign and defense Issues are the aspects of PCI policy which lend themselves least to generalization. Several conclusions are suggested by the foregoing analysis, however:
main features of the PCX's foreign policy are:
desire to avoid international hostilities that
might jeopardize detente;
ore assertive and independent
Italian foreign policy;
pronounced tendency to distrust US motives in
international affairs and to give thehe benefit of the doubt, particularly outside Western Europe;
fundamental opposition to Soviet hegemony in
US thus has ample cause for concern about the growth of
PCI influence inso do the Soviets;
differences between Moscow and the Italian party are
moat intense on ideological questions, but they have the potential to grow in other areaa the closer the PCI comesormal share of power;
differences seem likely to persist because vital
interests are at stake on boththe PCI ite credibility with the Italian electorate and for Moscow the legitimacy of ite etyle of socialism;
it ie possible that the PCI will become gradually
less negative toward Western defense efforts, this will be qualified in tuo important ways:
PCIenuine interest in minimising
ite differenaes uith the USSR and in ensuring that any fiwther evolution auay from Moscowradual and lony-tem proceea;
PCI uanta to communicate uith and understand
the US, but in moving auay from Moacou it doee not see itself moving toward Washington; its goal istcnarry for Italy, and for Europe,is both the US and the Soviets.
And finally, in foreign affairs as in ths domestic field, the PCI's positions are laced uith heavy doses of ambivalence andittle inexperience. In ite typically dialectical fashion, the party ie certain to not'fy these positions in tha light of experence, and to do pa in^ways that pose new challenges to bath major powers.Original document.