The Women's Movements of the United States and Western Europe: Consciousness, Political Opportunity, and Public Policy

By Mary Fainsod Katzenstein; Carol McClurg Mueller | Go to book overview

by which it functions successfully as a party. It can undoubtedly continue to operate by making only limited concessions to the new challenges that confront it on this level; in doing so, however, it mortgages its future. If the PCI does not eventually alter its internal model of militancy, its very engagement with the social sphere threatens to put it increasingly out of step with many of the most vital forces in society.


NOTES
1.
In the PCI, provincial federations are the key level of organization below the national level. Confusion occasionally arises from the fact that provinces and their capital cities bear the same name in Italy. To avoid confusion, all references to "Turin" in the text will refer to the capital city (pop. 1.2 million) unless clearly qualified. General references to "the party organization" should be understood in terms of the entire federation; i.e., the province (pop. 2.4 million).
2.
It is generally accepted that the turning point in the PCI's attitudes toward feminism took place at the party's National Conference of Communist Women in 1976. Numerous speakers and the conclusions of a top-ranking leader (Gerardo Chiaromonte) linked the issues of emancipation and liberation, and indicated unprecedented openness on the part of the Communists toward many of the more radical themes of the women's movement ( Ravaioli 1977, 5; for more details, see Ergas 1982).
3.
The interviews took place on 8 February and 31 May 1978.
4.
Interview, 24 February 1978.
5.
I personally witnessed, in March 1978, a successful effort by the head of the Women's Commission and members of the federation secretariat to keep UDI from joining other women's groups in Women's Day celebrations. The party wanted UDI to join the funeral cortege for a Turinese policeman killed by the Red Brigades. This was the period during which Aldo Moro was being held hostage, and the PCI was throwing all its weight behind a hard line against terrorism, at least in part to further legitimize itself as worthy of inclusion in a national governing coalition. UDI did not take part in the Women's Day activities and did send a delegation to the funeral.
6.
The bulk of the material reported here was gathered in 1978; biographical references have been standardized to that date. At the time, the apparatus had 43 or 44 memhers (the number was constantly in flux); 41 interviews were carried out.
7.
For a fascinating and well-documented discussion of the German case, see Roth ( 1964, chap. 5); for a wider-ranging analysis of the Italian movement's culture pertaining to work and workers, see Accornero ( 1980).
8.
For the PCI as a whole, 60 percent of all functionaries and 20 percent of all activists reported, in 1979, that they spent at least three evenings per week in party-related activities ( Sebastiani 1983, 138).

REFERENCES

Accornero, Aris. 1980. Il Lavoro come ideologia. Bologna: Mulino.

Accornero, Aris, and Vittorio Rieser. 1981. Il Mestiere dell'avanguardia. Bari: De Donato.

Ariemma, Iginio. 1975. L'Impegno del comunisti torinesi per uscire dalla crisi, per costruire un' Italia democratica e antifascista nella prospettiva del socialismo

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