Securing Democracy: Political Parties and Democratic Consolidation in Southern Europe

By Geoffrey Pridham | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter four

The role of the Italian Communist Party in the consolidation of parliamentary democracy in Italy

Donald Sassoon


Introduction

The establishment of the new democratic framework in post-fascist Italy was achieved largely by the political parties which had led the Resistance. They devised the new institutions and legitimized the new regime, above all by involving in it those sectors of the population which previously had been marginal or absent from political life. Christian Democracy (DC), as heir to the Partito Popolare, had to perform the task of transferring the loyalties of the rural Catholic masses-once disenfranchised by papal opposition to the new unitary Italian state-on to the new liberal-democratic framework. The Italian Communist Party (PCI), heir to the Italian Socialist tradition (or, at least, to its maximalist wing) had to do the same for the working classes.

Hence the Resistance and its component parties demonstrated that Fascism had not destroyed civil society (contrasting perhaps with Portugal, where long authoritarian rule induced political passivity). It was instrumental in mobilizing large popular sectors into politics, an important feature of Italy's transition to democracy. 1 Therefore the subsequent behaviour of these parties in channelling this activity was crucial not only to a successful transition but also to the prospects for democratic consolidation. This period is broadly equivalent to Rustow's 'habituation phase' in democratic transition, where 'both politicians and citizens learn from the successful resolution of some issues to place their faith in the new rules' and 'experience with democratic techniques and competitive recruitment will confirm the politicians in their democratic practices and beliefs'. 2 However, the Italian case is less straightforward than some other cases of the move from transition to consolidation examined in this volume. As Pasquino has noted, controversy over the post-war transition has persisted-not over its achievement and the crucial role of the parties, but over its evaluation especially concerning the defeat of the left in the 1948 election and its consequences. 3 One may therefore say that certain formative influences of transition-above

-84-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Securing Democracy: Political Parties and Democratic Consolidation in Southern Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 227

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?