SPECIAL REPORT: THE ITALIAN COMMUNIST PARTY TODAY

Created: 10/16/1964

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REPORT

italian communist party today

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THE ITALIAN COMMUNIST PARTY TODAY

The Italian Communist Party (PCI) la the second largest, and the most Influential Communist partyeveloped country, It la the leading exponent In the non-Communist world of greater autonomy for national Communist parties within a frameworkacceptable to Moscow. Although PCI meeber-shlp Is declining, the party has captured slightly over uarter of the national vote In Italy, and its ability to attract aupport la now at an all-tine high. The party haa managed tomooth transition from Palmlro Togllattl'sto that of Luigl Longo. the former ViceGeaeral. The party haa long had someInternal problem, but it is very unlikely that Its strength will be significantly diminished In the foreseeable future. Passage and implementation of the Moro government's reform program offers the best cbance for a gradual reduction of the PCI's appeal to the Italian electorate. The PCI'scould also be further reduced should it become politically possible for the Nenni Socialists to sever their remaining ties with the PCI In the trade union confederation and In local government

Role of Togllattl

Palmiro Togllattl, one of the last of the Cominternof the, helped establish the PCI1 and was Its unchallenged boss for almostears before his death last August. Hisand political abilityhim to control internal rivalries for power andeffective party Togllattl always favored and, whenever possible, pushed for refinements and changes in classic Marxist doctrine in the best interests of PCI, but never to the extent of outrightwith the USSR. In his lasts infor example, he pressed for fuller and more rapid "de-Stall zatlon." Although the PCI was forced to pull backhe publication of the final testament emphasized more strongly than ever before its determination toub lie Image of autonomy In order to push strategies tailored to fit circumstances In Italy.

Togllattl, like theParty of the Soviet Union,as convinced thatby armed struggle would be disastrous in Italy except

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under conditions where the party was able to secure power In cooperationroad range of popular forces In for example, to ancoup from the right. They believed that the Italian Communist Party and. In fact, all Western European Communist parties, could best achieve power gradually by tactical alliances with other leftist parties to transform the "bourgeois state" by reform.

Sinre Togliattl's death, party leaders have emphasized that his policies will bein toto. It has always been an absolute necessity to emphasize party unity, and it is particularly so now on the eve of the national municipal elections next month.

Longo's Position

Despite the smoothof leadership, Togllotti's death brings to the forefront some of the party's knottier problems. Potentially the most disruptive of these is the possibility that the PCI'aunder Longo's leadership will sooner or later be His solution to the problem oficegeneral is likely to give the first indication of his prospects.

Longo's accession is viewed by most observerstopgap measure, but it could yet prove totable Longo will almost certainly find It much more difficult than Togliattl did

to conciliate opposing positions within the party.

It is also apparent that he will not attempt to wear as many "hats" as Togliattl did. Longo nay try toelative power balance among the other leaders, but he may find himself confronted with an effort toegtal leadership. Another handicap Longo must overcome is his popular identificationStalinist," trong Is being made to dispel this image.

Longo, on the other hand, holds some strong cards,the most important of which Is Soviet support. Partyalso recognize the need to keep ranks closed to avoidthe impression that the party's elan will deteriorate without Togliattl. ardbolled, tireless worker who has occupied theslot in the partysince the end of the war.

He can be expected to exploit thLs advantage to consolidate his power between now and the next party congress scheduled forinally, the manner of Longo's release of Togliatti's last writing probably helped establish his claim as the rightful heir to the top position.

Longo's Competition

Longo's potential rivals include Giancarlo Paletta and Amendola, representing the party's so-called "revisionist" wing on the right, and Pletro Ingrao, who Is currentlyhimselfpokesman for the left,

The things Amendola, Pa.jetta, and Ingrao have inoutweigh their differences. The three men realize that It Is essential that the party avoid a public exposure of their fight tolear Moreover, they arecommitted to Togliatti's policies on most basic Issues, Including the autonomy ofCommunist parties and oppositionlno-Soviet showdown.

Party Politics

The basic differences of opinion within the party are matters of interpretation of the party line, particularly what tactics are to be followed toward the center-left. These cannot be readily categorized as representing right or left "factional" positions. The

large "center" of the party is more or less In generalon policies.

Atlhough the partyhole is concerned over how to adapt itself to the conditions of an Increasingly affluent society, the main point ofamong its members is how far and how fast it must go in this process. Theargue that the PCIremain permanently Inwithout eventually facing demoralization and They, therefore, stress the need to achieve power within the limits Imposed by the democratic system. In this connection, the party hastrong attempt toIts essentiallyand subversive nature andublic Imageemocratic force prepared to step down, once in power, If Its popular mandate were lost. The right wing also favorsforces with other parties on the left in promotingprojects which they think will push Italy toward the gradual acceptance of Socialism.

In general, the positions held by the right wing are in line with those that Togllattl propounded although then contrast with thedvocates that tactics betoroader and more rapid adaption to the changing Italian society.

The party's "left" has severely criticized theparticularly for not having

tronger effort to block the formation of the center.left government anduchaggressive opposition to it. Leftists' deplore the party's "moderate" stand against the government as little more than "bourgeois" democraticand argue thatpolicies will result in the loss of party Integrity. The left-wingers argue that as the PCI moves to the right in its attempt to transform the state fromthey realize isruns the danger of being transformed and loses its Communist character.

The Party "Democracy" Problem

A debate Is nowamong the party's rank and file over the lack of Ultra-party democracy in determining party policies. In Togllatti's day, policy formulation, to ft considerable degree,ne-man operation. Hts decisions stuck because the partywere tightly disciplined and because the membership had faith in the PCI'* mission. The present debate, if Longo falls to control it, could turnof discontent among the cadres into outright factional-Ism which would severelyparty unity.

Party leaders publiclythat "democratic centralism" bo used Inay as tomeaningful participation by the cadres ln party decision making. At the party'son Organization last March, Ingrao and other left-wingers

vigorously pushed this line, but they were pulled up short by Togliattl. Whether or not his successors can control the left on this Issue remains to be seen, but the odds appear to be against it.

The Membership Problem

In the past decade,in the PCI has dropped by almoBt nd that of its youth (FGCI) by Tbe party anticipated that membership losses would occuresult of Itsto socioeconomic changes in Italy, but it probably did not anticipate losses on thin scale. Although all partyexpress concern publicly over membership losses, this is somewhat exaggerated and Is, ln part, an attempt to spur party cadres to Intensify their activities.

The party, moreover. Is troubled by the fact that the gap between Its voting strength-and Its membership is greatest in Industrial centers even though the number of industrial workers in Italy has beensharply. The FCCIdrop in part reflects the inclusion of many of these Into the PCI proper; the failure to attract young members in any Significant numbers Is aworry.

The party,nonetheless, remains the second largest force in Italian politics. Itsis as large as, or

ITALIAN COMMUNIST PARTY ft YOUTH MOVEMENT (FGCI) MEMBERSHIP DATA'

COMMUNIST PARTY MEMBERSHIP BY OCCUPATtON*

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than, that of theremocrats. In the3 parliamentary elections itlllloc votes,gain of over one million In five years. The gain attests to the party's ability to the "opening to the left" for Its own purposes as well as its excellent organizational structure. One out of every four Italians votes for the party out of disenchantment with the failure of previous governments to enactreforms and through athat the PCI is the most effective Instrument for forcing successive governments to adopt policies thatetter way of life.

The PCI and the Center-Left

he Socialist Party (PSI) of Pietro Hennl has painfully moved away from close cooperation with the Communists. Inignificant number of Socialists,much of the party's left wing, renounced Nenni's party and founded the Italian Socialist Party ofUnityow between the PCI and the PSI have become acrimonious. Communist Party leaders have, however, carefully distinguished between Nennl and his closestthey claim are breaking the "unity of thethe PSIhole. The Socialistin the government since last December is the mostpotential threat that the PCI's "national unity" tactic has suffered since the end of the war. If the Socialists can convincingly claim that thrLr

hand In the government madethe enactment ofreforms, they mightbe able to make deepInto the PCI's mass support.

Paced with the fact of the center-le-ft.Togliattl stressedreal turn to the left" la, genuine progress on the reformout of the question without the PCI. He also asserted that the Socialist had been seduced by theDemocrats into compromising the very "class character" of their party.

The PCI has also calledstrikes in variousof the economy. This has been aimed both at thethe government'a economic programs and embarrassing the Socialist leaders before their rank and file, since the PSIretain their affiliation with the Communist-dominated, Trade Union Confederation (CGIL).

Positions on In ternaIionai communIsm

The PCI Is by far the largest Communist Party In Westernwith almost four times as many members as all otherEuropean Communist parties combined. The party haspromoted its ideas on what tactics should be employed by Communists in advancedsocieties using its owngrowth as evidence.

The PCI's "doubts and on the advisability of an international Communist conference stem In part from Its fear that by going along with Moscow's tactics agalnat

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the PCI would exposeto renewrd charges that It is "taking orders fromnd thus adversely affect its domestic Image. There Is also considerable apprehensionino-Sovlet showdown wouldfactionalism In the PCI and perhaps even bringplit In the left.

The so-called "Chinese"In the PCI have latelyin numbers, but they still represent only anminority. Some fiftyof his persuasion, coming from most of Italy's larger cities, are reliablyto haveational strategy meeting last June. They are said to have decided to in the party, proselytize, androgram ofinternal dissension within the party.

Togliatti's last writingthe Italian resistance to Moscow's attempts to Impose disciplined unity on pro-Moscow parties and recorded disapproval of the methods the Soviet party has been using. Longo hasthat the PCI willthe mid-December meeting In Moscow, but has said It would follow Togliatti's Injunction against "excoranunicatIng" the Chinese. Togllattl had alsothe specific right toand explain" the PCI's views on the International However, the PCI'supon the Soviet Union for financial assistance and Itswith maintaining some measure of unity in themovement place Important

limitations on the degree of "autonomy" the PCI will actually be able to maintain.

Outlook

It is too early to predict how the PCI's efforts to cope with problems posed by Togllattl death will turn out. It would appear, however, that the party1 present high caliber leadership, together with Its strong organl-f zational structure willany significant loss of strength in the foreseeable In thisore vigorous antl-Communlst government program willecessary component to reduce Communist Influence.

Moreover, Communist power In Italy will not be diminished in any appreciable measurethe underlying conditions that form the foundation of its mass appeal are corrected. arked improvement In living standards in recent years economic dlspartics are still widespread and the PCI hps been able to exploit theof past governments todeal with this and many other basic socioeconomic prob-I lems.

The center-left government' program provides for corrective action for most of theseits failure thus far i to Implement the programake it possiblo for the ntsts once again to enlargehare of the vote In theoming national elections. 'ww

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