Communist Influence In Italy

Communist Influence in Italy in Europe

Communism: Communist Influence in Noncommunist Countries Western Europe Italy

The Italian Communist Party was one of the most potent communist parties in Western Europe after World War II. It was established in 1921 by a radical group of the Italian Socialist Party. The party was outlawed by the Fascist regime but reappeared as a major force in Italian politics in 1944.

Captained by Palmiro Togliatti and later by Enrico Berlinguer, the Italian Communist Party governed many regions and cities, and attracted numerous intellectuals, young people, and trade unionists. At the height of its popularity, in 1976, the party captured more than one-third of the votes in the national elections. That same year the party approved a stance of “historic compromise” with groups once considered opponents, among them bourgeois liberals, social democrats, the Catholic Church, and even the NATO alliance. In addition, the Communists deepened their detachment from the Soviet regime and adopted a more moderate line, rejecting those Soviet policies that were considered repressive of human rights. This approach was widely labeled Eurocommunism. The adjustment in course, however, did little to forestall a profound crisis. The Italian middle class and peasantry remained skeptical of the feasibility of Eurocommunism and disengagement from Soviet policy, and the party’s policies held little attraction for some radical left-wing factions, which turned to terrorism instead. In 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell, the Italian Communist Party lost half of its members. Two years later, under a new chairman, Achille Occhetto, it renounced the principle of class struggle and changed its name to the Democratic Party of the Left. The party received 15 to 20 percent of the vote in subsequent Italian elections. (1)

In this Section: Communist Influence, Communist Influence in United States, Communist Influence in Canada, Communist Influence in Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Communist Influence in Western Europe, Communist Influence in Italy, Communist Influence in France and Communist Influence in Western European Parties.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Encarta Online Encyclopedia

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