Created: 10/25/1968

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Italian Communist Party Draws Further Away From Moscow

Special Report



By supporting (hedefiance of Soviet sensibilities,

the Italian Communist Party (PCI) hat Hakcd out forew degree of autonomy. Italian Communist theory hat been develop inn in tiro direction-with some deviation*hen party leader Togliaitl firsthismany roadt to socialismIn previous crises in the international Communist movement, however such as when the CSSRHungary6 and supported lhe Arabs in the Middle East crisis ofItalian Communisti supported the Moscow line, la the present crisis, the Italian party has shown an unwonted degree of unity and has sought tonited front of Western European Communist support for the Prague government Over the lone term. Moscow may seek to oust unfriendly Italian Communist leaders or to split the party if it maintains its present position. In the shorter term, continuing tension between the Soviet and Italian parties seem inevitable. In domestic politics, the Italian party may seek to use evidence of Soviet disapproval to improve its image as an independent, democratic political force respectable enough to Bit with the democratic parties in an Italian government

art awry reads loSocLtiUm.


Thend fovimmtiu uf ihrc initrvrtiion mil accrpiird by Ac Cjfc'io davah Cownmml md paly.

Lulgi Lottfo.$


to Divergence

Tha origins of the Italian-Soviet disagreement, which has now cone to an open split over Czechoslovakia, go back moreecade. The PCX, aheir of the resistanceof World War II, has long been tha political party in Italy with the largest number of votes after the Christian Democratic Party, the key member of every coalition government of the pastears. Having achieved such success and cone so close to victory through the democratic political process, the PCI has been increasingly keen toart in national rule.

Particularly in recent years, the PCI has been struggling to escape from the isolation it has experienced since itsally, the Socialist Party, became instead the ally andpartner of thsDemocrats. The PCI has repeatedly sought to show that Italian Communism is compatible with the democratic process either because world-wideis no longeror, if this thesis is not tenable, because Italianisufficiently different path from thatommunist dictatorship.

Togliatti's Polycttntrlsm

Forecade, Italian Communist theory has beenjustificationtance mors independent from the Soviet Union. The Italianleadership first advocateddegree of autonomy for each In aInterview that year, Pal-miro Togliatti pointed out that "there are many roads toand insistedystem in which bilateral partywould replace completeon the USSR. Under pressure, however, he subsequently modified these views by calling for "democraticogliatti redefined this term to involve close contacts with the Soviet Union, but allowed for certain variations in policy to take account of nationalin each country.

The Italian leadership4 began topoly-centrlsa, andeptembermemorandum" by Togliatti, who had Just died. In this document, Togliatti stressed full support for the Soviet Union in the Sino-Soviet ideological conflict but saidormal split with China must be avoided. The PCI, he said, "would be against any proposal to create oncenity must be achieved "in the diversity of our concrete politicalin each individual Togliatti emphasized that the nonruling Communist parties should be more flexible snd adapt to local conditions. He criticized the Soviet leaders for the reluctant pace of de-Stalinlzation and called for frequent contacts among Communist

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on equality and not on Moscow's traditional rule

otimpoaed from


The Mediterranean Conference " Movement

7 andhe Italian Communists attempted toine separate from that of the Soviets byegional Mediterranean conference that waa to include leftist as well aa Communist parties. The proposal had been originated by the Yugoslav Communistseft-wing Italian Socialist splinter group.

The PCI backed the idea of cooperating with the"progressives" in order to help the party during Italy's elections in the springy establishing an identification not only with Tito but with the various leftist parties in tha area, the PCI hoped to shed its old domestic imageool of Moscow and thereby increase its appeal to tha electorate.

Tha ideaediterranean gathering gained strength after the Israeli-Arab war of7 The decisive Israeli victory had stunned the Arab governments and had heightened fears among local "progressive" parties that the US would become more involved in the area. This situation, in the words of these parties,the threat of "aggressive Atlantic-American imperialism" and threatened to transform the Mediterraneanotentially explosive new "front" or "scene

of dangerous confrontation"the CS Sixth Fleet and tho newly introduced Soviet naval units.

After preliminary meetings in Italy and Yugoslavia, someeftist and Communist parties fromediterranean countriea met in Romeout little emerged from the secret discussions. Themovement has had little impact, and now appears to have been dropped, at least

The Develo.


The Soviet Union reportedly was consulted by tho Yugoslavs on the project but,on-Mediterranean power, probably never received an invitation nor sought toelegation. The Soviet reaction was cool and Moscow was probably put off by the Yugoslav proposal to discuss the presence of Soviet naval units. In addition, the Soviets undoubtedly feared theof ideas and positions that would strengthen trends toward autonomy and Jeopardize their hegemony in international



The Italian Communistschat theof the internationalmovement, as exemplified In Prague's experiment, wasto their domesticsuccess. The PCI, whichto decline in the national elections inctually went up from9 percent

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the total vote. This success may have resulted partly fron the adoption by the Czechoslovak and French Communist parties of more nationalistic roles.

As the Czechoslovak crisis developed, the Italian Communist leaders sought both publicly and privately to dissuade the Soviets from violent nction. TJsbbbbbbbbbbbI

aSBSBSKSBsTpor ' '' it" IV.'

during the Italian-Soviet talks In Moscow fromouly. Carlo Galluzzi, the leader of the foreign affairs section of the Italian party, told thethat his party backed the now Czechoslovak leaders. He warned that, should the Soviets Intervene militarily in the Italian party would formally and publiclyitself from the act. After he returned, Galluzzi told the PCI directorate that French Communist leader Waldeck Rochet, who had gone to Moscow with the Italians, hadimilar but loss explicit position against Soviet intervention.

Publicly, too, the PCI sought to demonstrate its support for Dubcek. The official party organ L't'nita reported onuly that the PCI believed that "frank and fraternal debates and meetings" should be held in an attempt to end tha divergence of views over Czechoslovakia. CI communique* expressedthat the Bratislavahad reaffirmed Communist and collaboration "on the basis of the autonomy of each party and each country in the search for ways ofof Socialist society." Onugust, party socretaryLulgi Longo flew to Moscowbrief period of repose" that presumably included talks with Soviet leaders about


Tho intervention shocked the PCI and cameurpriso, as far as timing was concerned, even to tho leaders. Thoy were widely scattered in Italy and abroad for the traditional Italian August holidays. Only two PCI politburo ironbers could be found to work with lesser officials ina pronouncement on party The leaders decided on immediate censure andommunique onugust after telephone clearance from Longo in Moscow, but withoutwith othor top-ranking party


'ITw Italian Communis! Partyn several occasions prior to the Czech Oil ovikith Moscow when Soviet politics were under lira. Most notably, the PCI supported Its Soviet colleagues during the de-Stalinizatioo controversygain later that year at the time of the Soviet intervention in Hungary, and during the Arab-Israeli war

Tha Italian party, even though lorn by internal dissension during the furor over dc-Slaunriation, nevcrtnefcas maintained its support of Moscow. The pubocaDoo of rUiruschchsv's speech denouncing Stalin inh Soviet Communist Party Congress provoked serious ferment and demands for clarification In order to soften the consequences andebellion within his party, Toguatli gave an interview in which he interpreted the events in the Sonet bloc aa the beginningew course for lhe Western Communist parties. This exposition of "polycentriinTead letter, however, and pod Ileal life within the party continued lo develop along the officially established lines. During the whole summerhe partyautious attitude of expectation with regard to further de-Staunuatwn The difficulties seemed lo be gradually subrirbng. until the Hungarian insurrection took peace at the end of

The crtaat over rhe Soviet invaboti of Hungary shook not only rhe rank and file of the Italian party but the leadership as wall. Pro!cats came in from all over the country, and the hostile altitude of the rank and file threatened party integrity. Further developmentrimarily, and Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact-enabled the Italian Communist leadership, which supported the Soviet action asrievouso regain control

In the Arab-Israeli disputehere were serious differences within the party, with right-wing leader Amendola opposing tbe strong Soviet support for the Arabs and left wing leader Ingrao endorsing il. In no case, however, did the Communist press or the party leadership pubtidy criticise the Soviets. Although at first the party lagged behind the Soviets an pro-Arab expressions,ew weeks the PCI one was fullyharmony with Moscow's. Disagreement within the party was evidenced moat notably by the resignation of Ihc editor of tha important Communist line paper Paeas Sera.

members. Party loaders areto have consented chat this situation was worse than the Hungarian intervention, that it upset everything the Italian Conmunists had donehat Brezhnev and Koaygin wore American agonta and should be shot, and that tho Soviet Union was on the road to Nazism.

During the week after the

intervention, all Communistthroughout Italy rati-fied the leadership position,

seiow tne reparation level,local PCI loaders expressed doubt and disagreement on both sides of tha Issue. Particularly among oldor Communists, there was some tendency to trust the

Soviets. Nevertheless, the old Stalinists still prominent in the party failed to defend the USSR, and the two most prominent leaders sided unequivocally with Longo's position. Kiddle-class Communists, intellectuals, and many younger members considered the PCI position too bland.

uppoi BlOVI


After the intervention, the PCItrong effort to rally international Communistto tha Soviet action. The Italians wanted to protect the Dubcek government, if possible, but in any case to distinguish the Italian Communist position clearly and unmistakably from


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of tho Soviets. The PCIpecial point of working with its French colleagues. Longo stopped for consultation in Paris on his flight home from Moscow onugust, and both parties called for theof the Soviet troops. In early September, Italianemissaries visited Sofia and Budapest as well as Bucharest and Belgrade. They held further consultations with the French and, according to severalwith other West European parties, including the British, the Austrian, and the Spanish.

The Italian Communists were determined toorld-wide Communistof the Soviot intervention at the international meeting long scheduled to open onovember in Budapest. They sought to have the meeting postponedand evidently found much sympathy for this point of view at the preparatory meeting in Budapest oneptembor. ew preliminary session is now scheduled forovember and,

I the So-Irget dateeneral conference to

Effect on Auxiliaries

The Italian reaction to the Soviet invasion has been reflected in Communist auxiliaryas well as in party affairs. The communist-dominated Italian labor confederation, cgil,the party's condemnation of the USSRommemorative issue of L'unita one month after

the intervention. CGIL leadersequest to go to Moscow for an immediate parley with the Soviets, and instead insisted on consulting with Yugoslav and French laborwith thea meeting onctober. In addition, the Prague-based World Federation of Tradeat the initiative of Italian and Frenchcondemned the Soviet invasion.

In the World Peace Council,


memberseeting of the leadership to discuss tho situation. The two delegations succeeded in fomenting adescribedovietas "very confused" and "very bad."

The Italian Communist youth federation is also at odds with its Soviet control elements. The PCI and the youth federationhave reached anto avoid all encounters with Soviet functionaries except at the highest party levels. PCI leaders may well have feared that the Soviets would try, as they have in France, to persuade party elements to support the Soviet position. The top levels of the Italian party are also undoubtedly eager to keep lower levels of the party from making de facto policy until theyhave set over-all

The secretary general of the federation evidently tried toisit in late

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Septemberomsomol mission that tha Soviets had already scheduled and announced. oviet Embassy official refused to discuss the question with the Italians, however, insisting that the Komsomol group wasanyway.

Repercussions and Prospects

The Italian party's stand against Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakiaew degree of autonomy from the The party's position is, in fact, an outright rejection of Soviet leadership of the world Communist movement, even if the Italian comrades continue to say polite things about theof the USSR in that The Italian party under its present leadershipnlikely to return to the relationship it had with the Soviet partyAugust. The PCI has been unequivocal and persistent in criticizing the Sovietin Czechoslovakia. It was in the forefront of efforts to strengthen opposition to thein Communist partiesthe free world. Moreover, although some low-level Italian Communists still think the USSR is infallible, the Italianleadership has given ovory sign of an unusual degree ofand Luigi Longo'sas top leader seems enhanced.

In trying to bring the Italian Communists into line, the Soviets have two principalhreat to cut off financial aidhreat to read tho Italian party out of the CommunistSome sources have suggested that the Soviets will first choose to cut off the flow of funds.

After the PCI had disapproved of tha Soviet march intoAmerigo Terenzi, diroctor of the party press and apparently the agent for Soviet press subsidies, remarked to the director of the influential Paeno Sera in two or fctnnM months the paper might have to Close

11 ] tnac, as rigs were going. It wascertain there would be no more money. As yet, however, there is no evidence that Moscow has cut its financing.

Although the Soviets have long provided the ItalianParty with substantial financial support, it is not clear how essential Soviet aid is to maintaining the size and strength of the party. he USSR contributed5 millionarty budget of justillion, according

Since let subsidy has probably decreased markedly, but the Soviets undoubtedlyto provide additional funds for special occasions such as election campaigns.

Soviet financial pressure cn the Italian Communist Party may also take the form of curtailing trade throughItalian commercialwhiah have customarilyubstantial cut to the party. The party could perhaps make up part of any shortfall

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in Soviet funding by seeking contributions from private Italian industry. industrialists have longputting all their eggs in one basket and,atter of policy, contribute to allgroups with major Italy's industry has thus contributed substantially to the PCI over many yeara to provide itselfriend at court if the PCI achieves its ambition ofovernment The PCI's successocal government level and in the labor movement has alsoindustry with reasons to contribute.

If the split widens between the Soviet and Italian parties, the Soviets may seek to emphasize throughout the world Communist movement that the Italians have deviated from the true Marxist line. Such an indictment would be damaging to the Italiansense of belongingorldense that has been part of their appeal. in this event, however, the Italian party is not likely to view itself as havingnique stand on Marxist doctrine.

Over the long term, if there were no alternative, the Soviets could undoubtedly split theCommunist Party and could then provide supportaction accepting Moscow's dominance. Any such faction, however,would drawmallof present Italianstrength. In any case, the Soviets would probablytrong effort first to secure more friendly Italian partyby bringing pressure for the ouster of some loaders and by attemping to showfear orpracticalityro-Soviet stance. The most likely immediate outlook therefore, is for continuingbetween the two parties.

in domestic politics, the Italian party will seek to use its disagreement with the Soviets to further its contention that it istool of Moscow.-The party must avoidtigma if it is to make further progress toward its most ardently sought domesticcooperation with loft-wingDemocrats and Socialists to the point where tha Communists will be accepted as partnersovernment coalition.

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