From Elite to Mass Politics: Italian Socialism in the Giolittian Era, 1900-1914

From Elite to Mass Politics: Italian Socialism in the Giolittian Era, 1900-1914

From Elite to Mass Politics: Italian Socialism in the Giolittian Era, 1900-1914

From Elite to Mass Politics: Italian Socialism in the Giolittian Era, 1900-1914

Synopsis

In this study James Miller argues that in their pursuit of gradual change the dominant reformist faction of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) deliberately built a party structure that limited mass participation in the movement and handed control to middle-class parliamentary deputies. Mistrusting the peasant and urban masses, the reformists built a small organization with a membership drawn overwhelmingly from an elite of better paid, better educated, and well organized farm and industrial labourers while they actively sought the votes of reform-minded members of Italy's middle class. Major reforms took place in Italy between 1900 and 1912. However, Giovanni Giolitti, Italy's shrewd Prime Minister, authored and exploited them to tame both the Socialist Party and the workers' movement. Giolitti offered concessions designed to cement the support of individual Socialist deputies, weaken party discipline, and eventually entice the deputies - and through them, the PSI - into his coalition government as a minority partner.
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