Italian Socialism: Between Politics and History

By Spencer M. Di Scala | Go to book overview
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16
TWO HISTORICAL MOMENTS

Carla Sodini

In his clear and concise paper, Luciano Pellicani cites as the root cause of the "Italian anomaly," the cultural aspect of the postwar PCI "hegemony" over the PSI. Italy is the only Western democracy that has never been led by the Left and that has excluded the extremes of the ideological spectrum from its national government ( Giovanni Sartori uses the term polarized pluralism). Taking his cue from this interpretation and in the light of the most significant events of the past fifty years, Pellicani reviews the most important developments in the difficult search for Socialist autonomy and raises problems and questions of great interest.

To Pellicani's analysis on the PSI's long and troubled journey toward recovery of its political and cultural autonomy, I add some reflections on the historical conditions of two moments that were particularly important for the Socialists and that appear to provide proof of their disconcerting "self-destructive vocation": the one following the Palazzo Barberini split and the other linked to the 1968 developments in Italy and Europe.

As Pellicani justly observes, in the years following the war, the PCI was the most open and flexible Communist party of the Western world. Togliatti had succeeded in wedding the elements typical of the revolutionary tradition to those of the reformist matrix. To this initial reason for Communist supremacy must be added Socialist instability and the hard struggle between socialism's revolutionary and reformist souls. As pointed out by Antonio Landolfi, Giovanni Sabbatucci, and Giuseppe Tamburrano, the results were the Palazzo Barberini split and the Popular Front's defeat in

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