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Reflections after the events in Chile


Enrico Berlinguer
(We print below the full text of an article by Enrico Berlinguer, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Italy. The article was originally published in the form of three successive articles in Rinascita between September 28-October 12, 1973. The three main headings were in the original. The subheads are ours. The translation was prepared by the Communist Party of Italy. We have made a few minor corrections) 1. IMPERIALISM AND COEXISTENCE IN THE LIGHT OF EVENTS IN CHILE Events in Chile have been and are being lived by millions of men in all continents as a deeplyfelt drama. People everywhere have sensed that these are events of world-wide implication, which not only arouse feelings of execration for those responsible for the reactionary golpe' and the mass massacres and soUdarity for the victims and those who are resisting, but also raise questions for those of us who are fighting for democracy in every country, and require serious reflection. It is useless to hide the fact that the severe blow dealt to Chilean democracy and the social gains and prospects for advance of the workers of that country is also a blow to the liberation and emancipation movement of the Latin American peoples in general and to the entire world-wide democratic and working class movement. And as such it is felt in Italy by the Communists, by the Socialists, by the working masses and by all democrats and anti-Fascists. But as in the past, in the face of other such grave events, the fighters for freedom and Socialism have not reacted with discouragement or with condemnation and anger alone: they have tried to learn something from what has happened. In the present case, the lesson directly concerns vast masses of the world population, forcing broad social strata not yet won to our vision of the social and political confrontation taking place in the world today to grasp certain basic facts of reality. And the grasping of these facts is one of the basic conditions for a broader and more vigorous participation in the fight to change them. The Enemies of Democracy First of all, events in Chile extend an awareness, without any illusions that the characteristics of imperialism, and North American imperialism ' Coup. in particular, remain economic and political oppression and strangulation, a spirit of aggression and conquest, and the tendency to oppress peoples and deprive them of their independence, freedom and unity, whenever the concrete circumstances and balance of forces give it the chance. In the second place, events in Chile clearly show who the enemies of democracy in the so-called "free world" are and where they stand. Public opinion in these countries, after years of being bombarded by a propaganda that identifies the enemies of democracy in the working-class movement as the Socialists and Communists, are now faced with irrefutable evidence that the bourgeois ruling classes and the parties that represent them or let themselves be used by them are quite ready to destroy all freedom and stamp all civil rights and human principles underfoot, when their own privileges and power are undermined or threatened. The task now facing the Communists and all fighters for democratic progress and Uberation of the peoples is to use this wider awareness to focus vigilant attention on the dangers that imperialism and the bourgeois ruling classes represent for the freedom of the world's peoples and the independence of nations, and to develop democratic and revolutionary commitment amongst the ever wider masses, so as to further shift the balance of forces in the world and in each country in favour of the working people, of the national liberation movements and the whole democratic and antiimperialist grouping. The events in Chile can and must give rise not only to a strong and lasting movement of solidarity with the Chilean people, but also to a more general reawakening of democratic consciousness and, above all, to action to draw new forces into the fieldforces willing to fight concretely against imperialism and reaction. To this end, careful reflection on the political tragedy of Chile is indispensable. From this experi-

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ence we must draw useful lessons for a broader and deeper assessment of both the international picture and the strategy and tactics of the workingclass and democratic movement in a series of countries, among which is our own. US Intervention Decisive No one can seriously deny the decisive role played by the presence and active intervention of US imperialism in events in Chile. Popular consciousness sensed this immediately. Quite aside from the highly enlightening political and diplomatic events reported in the press during the golpe itself and in the days immediately preceding it, the fact is that, right from the beginning of the Popular Unity government, the North American monopolies that dominated the Chilean economy (copper, ITT) and leading groups in the US administration undertook systematic action on all levelsfrom economic warfare to open subversionto bring about the failure of the Allende government and overthrow it. These and other methods of US intervention against the peoples and nations that aspire to independence are certainly not the exception, but rather, particularly in Latin America, the rule. Who does not remember the brutal interventions in Guatemala, in the Dominican Republic and in many other States'? Who is not aware that Socialist Cuba, with its firmness and unity and thanks to the solidarity and support of the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries, for years had to resist manoeuvres, provocations, economic boycott and direct attacks on its territory, and must still today be constantly on guard to protect its independence. In the other areas of the world as well, in the underdeveloped areas of Asia and Africa and in the advanced capitalist countries themselves (from lapan to Western Europe) US imperialist penetration and initiative are constantly at work in all possible ways to maintain or extend its economic, political and strategic positions. Changing Relations of Forces What can hinder, limit and drive back this imperialist trend? The simplest answer is also the truest: progressive modification of the relationship of forces against it and in favour of the peoples aspiring to liberation and the countries fighting for a new world order and a new type of relations among the States. It is precisely in this direction that the world historical process has been moving for the last almost 60 years, ever since the Russian Revolution of 1917 iirst broke the exclusive domination of imperialism and

capitalism. Since then, and particularly since the victory over Nazism, since the Chinese Revolution and the collapse of the old British and French colonial systems, the area subject to imperialist control has progressively shrunk. With the defeat of the insane and adventurous policy of roll-back against the Socialist regimes established in Europe and Asia after the Second World War, the capitalist powers, and the United States itself, have been forced to recognise that the socialist regimes now existing in all parts of the world, cannot be touched, that their presence must be taken into account, that it is necessary to negotiate with them. Other States have arisen from the ruins of the colonial system, and have succeeded in building their independence and defending it with increasing vigour. And some of these States have made it clear that they intend to build their economic and social orders along Socialist lines. In this context, the victory of the heroic people of Vietnam, supported by the Socialist countries and by a powerful international solidarity movement, has been and is of enormous importance. This victory dealt imperialism a new, severe blow and represents a new decisive contribution to the change in the relation of forces in the world and to the progress of a policy of detente and peaceful negotiation in relations among the States. Furthermore, the United States is today facing a growing spirit of autonomy in the countries of Western Europe a spirit that has emerged particularly in recent years. Finally, despite the bitter blow of the overthrow of the Popular Unity government in Chile, the liberation movement in Latin American countries remains an indestructible reality and will certainly not cease to express itself in the most varied forms and find ways to resist North American domination and its local servants. What other meaning can we give to the fact that the military coup d'etat in Chile meets with a resistance from the Chilean people and a condemnation and reaction in other Latin American countries and everywhere of a sort not encountered in the case of past reactionary coups d'etat. Recognition of the underlying trend emerging in the world historical processa trend that in the last analysis is progressively shrinking the area of imperialist dominationdoes not prevent us from seeing (and a new, severe warning comes from Chile) that international imperialism and the reactionary forces in many countries are still in a position to contain the liberation struggle of the peoples and, in certain cases, to inflict crushing setbacks on the forces that animate this struggle. Only if we keep this fact in mind and

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grasp in every region of the world, in every country, the concrete forms that this fact takes, or may foreseeaWy take, can we avoid being taken by surprise and making mistakes. Only in this way can we organize and conduct prompt, adequate democratic and revolutionary action. Peaceful Coexistence and Coups Today some people are asking how it is possible for such brutal interventions of the sort carried out in Chile by the forces of imperialism and reaction to continue to occur at a stage in international life when increasingly rapid progress is being made along the road to detente and peaceful coexistence in relations between States with different social systems. But who has ever maintained that international detente and coexistence mean the advent of an era of tranquillity, the end of the class struggle on the internal and international plane, the end of counter-revolutions and revolutions? The policy of detente and the prospect of peaceful coexistence are, first of all, the only way to guarantee a primary goal of vital interest to all humanity and to every people; the goal of avoiding atomic and thermonuclear war, of ensuring world peace, and asserting the principle of negotiations as the only means of solving controversies among the States. Furthermore, to the extent that they imply progressive reduction of all armaments and growing forms of economic, scientific and cultural cooperation, on both bilateral and multilateral levels, detente and coexistence are one of the ways to jointly come to grips with the great problems facing the contemporary world, such as development of the depressed areas, pollution, the fight against poverty and social disease, etc. Detente and coexistence do not, in themselves, automatically and in the short run. imply an overcoming of the division of the world into blocs and zones of influence. Therefore, they do not prevent the United States from intervening in various ways, including the most brazen, in those zones and countries it would like to keep permanently within its direct or indirect sphere of domination. The division of the world into blocs and different areas is a fact that goes back long before the policy of detente and coexistence. It is the result of the whole development of the world historical process, from the October Revolution to the Second World War, down to the events of a different nature that have determined the present dislocation of international and internal equilibrium over the past few decades. Nor must we forget the negative influence on international life exerted by divisions among the Socialist

countrie.s, of which the most serious remains that between People's China and the Soviet Union. A Dynamic Conception Further change of present equilibrium in favour of the forces of progress depends, in the first place, on the capacity for struggle and initiative of the proletariat, the working people and popular masses and their organisations in each individual country. But it is also obvious that the progress of detente and coexistence is an indispensable condition for overcoming the division of the world into blocs or spheres of influence, for establishing the right of every nation to independence and therefore, in the last analysis, for reducing the possibility of imperialist intervention in the life of other counties. At the same time, moving resolutely down the road of detente and coexistence means stimulating the processes of development of democracy and freedom in all countries, whatever their social system. This is our conception of detente and coexistence: a dynamic, open conception that stands in direct contrast to the conception held by imperialism, whose goal, even when it is forced to negotiate with the Socialist countries, is to preserve the present status quo in the balance of forces in the world and in the various countries. All this confirms the need to continue fighting on the international level to advance the process of detente and coexistence and to develop all the positive potentialities in each situation, and, at the same time, to continue in every country the fight for national independence and to tranform, in a democratic and Socialist direction, the economic, social, political and State systems. Our party has always kept the inseparable relationship between these two levels strictly in mind. On the one hand, as Togliatti trained us to do. we have tried to evaluate cooly the overall conditions of world relations and the international context in which Italy is placed. On the other, we have striven to assess the exact state of relation of forces within our own country. In particular, in all our action, we have always given due importance to the basic fact represented by Italy's membership in the political-military bloc dominated by the United States and to the ways this fact inevitably conditions the Italian situation. But awareness of this fact has certainly not led us to inertia or paralysis. We have fought back with our initiative and struggle. We have repulsed all attempts to crush us and isolate us. Our strength and influence among the popular masses and in national life have increased, rather than diminished. Along this road, we can and must move forward. The first problem is thus to modify the

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internal balance of forces in such a way as to discourage or thwart all attempts by internal and international reactionary forces to subvert the democratic and constitutional system, to undermine the gains our people have won, to break their unity and halt their advance towards the transformation of society. At the same time, we must develop our struggle and initiative on the international level, both by making our contribution to all the battles in Europe and in the world that weaken the forces of imperiahsm, reaction and Fascism, and by promoting an Italian foreign policy that stresses not only our country's will to live in peace and friendship with all other countries, but also the right of the Italian people to build their own future in absolute freedom. Today resolute steps forward can be made in this direction. First, because the needs and proposals we are advancing fall within a European context characterised by considerable progress towards detente; and, second, because these proposals meet with similar aspirations and initiatives in other countries of Western Europe. From this we have worked out a line that hinges on the proposal to work for peace in the Mediterranean and for an autonomous, peaceful and democratic Western Europe. Working for this goal does not mean placing such a Europe, and Italy within it, in a position of hostility towards either the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries or the United States. Anyone attempting to do so would be attempting something absurd, unrealistic and, in the last analysis, contrary to the logic of a policy of detente and democratic development for our country and for all the countries in Europe. Consistent struggle for such a foreign policy is a fundamental part of the perspective we call the Italian Road to Socialism. II. THE DEMOCRATIC ROAD AND REACTIONARY VIOLENCE Events in Chile require careful thought not only concerning the international framework and problems of foreign policy, but also concerning problems related to the perspective of democratic and Socialist transformation in our country. Communists and democrats must keep in mind the significant differences between the Chilean and Italian situations. Chile and Italy are located in two quite different parts of the worldLatin America and Europe. There are differences in the respective social systems, economic structures and levels of development of the productive forces, in the institutional systems (a presidential republic in Chile and a parliamentary republic in Italy) and in the organisation of the State. Other dif-

ferences exist in the traditions and orientation of the political forces, in their respective weight and in their relationships. But together with the differences, there are also similarities, and in particular the fact that the Chilean Communists and Socialists had also set out to pursue a democratic road to Socialism. This mixture of differences and similarities must therefore prompt us more deeply and better to define exactly what the Italian road to Socialism is and how it can advance. "In Democracy and Peace" First of all, we must keep in mind the basic reasons that led us to elaborate and follow the political strategy Togliatti termed the strategy of "Italy's advance towards Socialism in democracy and peace". As we all know, the origins of this strategy go back to the thought and action of Antonio Gramsci and the leadership group that gathered around him and continued to work along the path of his teaching. The 1926 Lyon Congress sealed the victory of the struggle against the extremism and sectarianism that had characterised the Party's action in the very early years of its existence and that Lenin had harshly criticized and strongly urged us to overcome. The Lyon Congress marked the beginning of the Communist analysis of the history and structures of Itahan society, which was later developed and deepened by Gramsci in his writings from prison and in the orientations and activities of the leadership group around Togliatti, who led the Party during the years of Fascism and established its capacity for political action. But for the life of the Party and the life of the country, the decisive moment in the assertion and full flowering of the historical and political option that underlies all our action came with the unity-oriented line we advanced and followed during the war of anti-Fascist Uberation and with the change of course announced by Togliatti in Salerno. After the Liberation and re-establishment of democratic freedom, Italy found itself in the condition of a country occupied by the armies of the capitalist powers (the United States, Great Britain). This fact must certainly not be underestimated, just as later, and still today, we must not underestimate the fact that Italy is part of a particular politcal-military bloc. In those places such as Greece in 1945 where this international condition was not considered in all its implications, the working-class and Communist movement fell into adventure, suffered a tragic defeat, and was thrown back into the situation of illegality from which it had barely emerged.

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A New Unity But this was not the only factor that determined our choices in strategy and tactics. The deeper sense of our change of course lay in the need and the Communist Party's will to come to grips with Italian history as a whole, and therefore with all the historical forces (of Socialist, Catholic and other democratic inspiration) present on the Italian scene and fighting together with us for democracy and the independence and unity of our country. The new element lay in the fact that in the course of the war of Liberation a unity had been created among all of these forces a unity that went from the proletariat, the peasants and broad strata of the petty bourgeoisie to groups of the progressive middle bourgeoisie, a large part of the mass Catholic movement and even parts of the armed forces. In the opening part of his report to the X Congress of the Party, Togliatti gave a masterly summary of this policy: "We had been in the front lines among the promoters, organisers and leaders of this Unity which possessed a certain program of its own for renewal of all national life, a program only partially formulated in written agreements, but oriented towards establishment of an advanced democratic political system, far-reaching reform of the whole economic and social system and advent to the leadership of society of a new bloc of progressive forces. Our policy lay in fighting openly and consistently for this solution, which implied democratic development and social renewal in the direction of Socialism. Thus it is not that we had to choose between the road of insurrection, tied to the prospect of defeat, and a road of peaceful evolution devoid of difficulties and risk. There was only one road open before us, dictated by the objective circumstances, by the victories won in fighting and by the unity and programs that had emerged in the course of the struggle itself. The problem was to lead and push forward a real mass movement that had emerged victorious from the trials of a civil war, working to overcome and break down all obstacles and resistance. This was the most revolutionary task that presented itself at the time, and we concentrated our forces on fulfilling it." We all know that the policy of rupture of popular and anti-Fascist unity pursued by the internal and international conservative and reactionary groups and by the Christian Democrat Party a policy that cost the country dear inter-

rupted the process of renewal begun by the Resistance. It did not, however, succeed in ending it. In the country and in the consciousness of the masses, a widespread robust fabric has once again begun to grow on the social and political level. It is growing in new forms, certainly, but the forces involved are the same that united during the Resistance. For Democratic Renewal The essential task lying before usand it is a task we can fulfillis to extend this fabric of unity, to rally the vast majority of the people round a program of struggle for the democratic renewal of our whole society and the State and to build a coalition of political forces that corresponds to this majority and this program and is capable of realising it. Only this line, and no other, can isolate and defeat the conservative and reactionary groups; only this line can give democracy solidarity and invincible strength; only this line can advance the tranformation of society. And, at the same time, only by following this road can we begin to create today the conditions for building a Socialist society and State that guarantee the full exercise and development of all the freedoms. We have always been aware that the advance of the working people and democracy will be opposed with all possible means by the ruling social groups and their power apparatus. And we know, as the tragic Chilean experience has once more demonstrated, that this anti-democratic reaction tends to become all the more violent and fierce when the popular forces begin to get their hands on the fundamental levers of power in the State and in society. But what conclusion must we draw from this awareness? Perhaps that urged on us by certain irresponsible people who would have us abandon the terrain of democracy and unity for a strategy that is nothing but smoke and of which the rapid and inevitable outcome would clearly be isolation of the vanguard and its defeat? On the contrary, we are convinced that if the ruling social groups count on smashing the democratic framework, on splitting the country in two and unleashing reactionary violence, this must spur us on ourselves to embrace ever more solidly the cause of defense of freedom and democratic progress, to avoid the vertical division of the country, and to work with even greater resolve, intelligence and patience to isolate the reactionary groups and seek every possible form of agreement and convergence among all the popular forces. It is true that not even consistent implementation of this fine by the revolutionary vanguard can exclude open reactionary attack. But who can

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deny that it makes it more difficult and, in any event, creates the most favourable conditions for repelling such an attack and nipping it in the bud? As Comrade Longo has said, the possibility that reaction may resort to violence "must not lead to a duality in our prospect and practical preparation". To those who ask us how to go about gathering the forces necessary to defeat the reactionary attacks, even in the light of the Chilean experience, we continue to answer with Comrade Longo's words: "by developing to the utmost the people's organisation, mobilisation and fighting spirit, by extending and consolidating the fighting alliances of the working class with the popular masses, thus realising, in the struggle itself, its function as the leading class". The essential thing is thus "the level reached by this mobilisation and combativeness" within the working class and the majority of the people. Democracy Defended It was firmness and consistence in applying these principles and methods of political struggle that made it possible to overthrow Fascist tyranny in Italy, to re-establish a democratic system and abort the attempts made by the conservative and reactionary forcesfrom Scelba down to Andreottito undermine our free institutions and drive the working-class and popular forces back. This was the case after 1947-48 in the struggle against the discriminatory policies, persecutions and attacks on freedom committed by the Centrist governments. This was the case in 1953 when an attempt was made with the "trick law" to distort the electoral system and the representative nature of Parliament in the anti-democratic sense. This was the case in 1960 when the authoritarian adventure embarked on by Tambroni was nipped in the bud. This was the case in 1964, when we thwarted a series of anti-democratic manoeuvres and threats of a reactionary coup, including attempts to involve a part of the armed forces and police, turning them against the Republic. This was the case in 1969, in the struggle against the chain of acts of provocation and reactionary and Fascist sedition, inspired and supported by imperialist and Fascist forces in other countries, and aimed at creating an atmosphere of exacerbated tensions and a situation of political and economic confusion that would open the road to authoritarian, anti-constitutional solutions or, at any rate, to a lasting turn to the right. In all cases, we replied by taking up the flag of defence of democracy and the democratic method, calling the broad working and popular masses to struggles that were bitter indeed and promoting the broadest possible convergence and agreement

among all the forces interested in safeguarding the principles of the anti-Fascist constitution. These experiences by the working class, the Italian people and our Party confirm the somewhat abstract nature of those positions that tend to schematically reduce the choice of a strategy for advance towards Socialism to a dilemma between a peaceful and non-peaceful road. For many years now social and political developments in Italy have been peaceful, in the sense that they have not led to civil war. But these developments have certainly not been quiet and bloodless; they have been marked by bitter struggles, by crisis and acute clashes, by more or less deep ruptures or threatened ruptures. Thus choosing the democratic road does not mean indulging in the illusion that the evolution of society from capitalism to Socialism will be smooth and painless. Role of Parliament We have also always considered it mistaken to see the democratic road simply as a parliamentary road. We do not suffer from parliamentary cretinism, whereas there are some people who suffer from anti-parliamentary cretinism. We see Parliament as an essential Institution in Italian political life, and not only for today, but also in the phase of transition to Socialism and in building Socialism itself. This is all the more true, given the fact that in Italy the rebirth and renewal of Parliament was won primarily by the struggles of the working class and the working masses. Therefore, Parliament cannot be conceived and used as in Lenin's times and as may occur in other countries, as nothing more than a place to denounce the evils of capitalism and the bourgeois governments and to make Socialist propaganda. In Italy, it is also, and above all, a place where the representatives of the working-class movement develop and concretely implement their initiative on the political and legislative level, working to influence the direction of national policy and to assert their leadership function. But Parliament can fulfil its role, as Togliatti said, only if it increasingly becomes a "mirror of the country" and if the parliamentary initiative of the parties of the working-class movement is tightly linked to the mass struggle, to the growth of democratic power in society and to the establishment of democratic and constitutional principles in all the sectors and organs of the State. The many battles we have fought for the Republic and the Constitution have all been based on this clear-cut orientation: the fight to give women the vote in order to complete universal suffrage; the fight to defend proportional representation against all attempts to abolish it; the day-to-

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day fight to guarantee the Chambers' prerogatives against all tendencies to limit and undermine them on the part of the executive and other centres of economic, political and administrative power. This same orientation has guided our battles for the establishment of the Regions and for full respect for local autonomy and the powers of local government. Democratisation of the State But there is also another very important aspect of our democratic strategy. The working-class movement's decision to maintain its struggle on the terrain of democratic legality does not mean fulling prey to any sort of legalistic illusion, abandoning that essential part of our work, whether in the goverment or in the opposition, that lies in promoting a constant initiative for far-reaching democratic renewal of the laws, structures and organs of the State. Our own experience, even before the experience of other countries, teaches us the ever-present need to unite the battle for economic and social transformation with the battle for renewal of all the State organs and powers. Our efforts in this direction must take two forms: one directed to ensure that all the State bodies are increasingly permeated by a sense of conscious loyalty to the Constitution and close ties with the working people; and the other aimed at promoting concrete measures for democratisation in the organisation and life of the judiciary, armed forces and all State bodies. Such action is extremely important to ensure that the process of democratic transformation of society does not develop in a lopsided fashion, producing an imbalance between those sectors affected by these processes and others that are left out or pushed into positions of hostility; a danger that is very serious indeed and can well prove fatal. In the last analysis, the chances of success for a democratic road to Socialism depend on the working-class movement's capacity to make its decisions and assess its initiatives not only by the international yard-stick, but also in relation to the concrete relationship of forces in every situation and at every moment, and on its capacity to deal with the reactions and counter-reactions transformation sets off in all aspects of society: in the economy, in the structures and organs of the State, in the positions and orientations of the various social and political forces and in their mutual relationships. We thus come once again to the problem of the criteria for evaluating the relationship of forces, to the problem of alhances and the relationships between social transformations and economic de-

velopment and the problems of political groupings. III. SOCIAL ALLIANCES AND POLITICAL GROUPINGS We have observed that the democratic road is neither straight nor painless. In general, we can say that, whatever the forms of struggle, the march of the working-class movement has never been and cannot be one of uninterrupted advance. There are always ups and downs, periods of advance, followed by periods when the major task is to consolidate gains already made and even by periods when it is necessary to stage a retreat in order to avoid defeat, regroup our forces and prepare the conditions for a new advance. This is true both when the working-class movement is fighting in opposition and when it takes power or enters a government. Revolutionary Strategy Lenin wrote: "We must understandand the revolutionary class learns to understand from its own bitter experiencethat you cannot win without learning the science of offensive and the science of retreat." Lenin himself, who was certainly the most daring revolutionary leader in the science of ofi'ensive, was also the most daring in knowing when to grasp the moments requiring consolidation and retreat and in using these moments to gain time, to reorganise his forces and begin a new advance. Two revealing examples of Lenin's brilliant capacity in this area were the compromise with German inperialism in connection with the Brest Litovsk peace and compromise with the internal capitalist forces that characterised NEP. Nor must we forget that Lenin did not hesitate to make these choices against the stream. These two masterly revolutionary operations, which played a decisive role in saving Soviet power and guaranteeing its future, were made under historical circumstances that cannot be repeated, but this in no way lessens their value as lessons in farsightedness and tactical skill. The goal of a revolutionary force is to concretely transform the existing facts of a given historical and social reality. Such a goal cannot be reached on the basis of sheer will-power and the spontaneous class drives of the most combative sectors of the working masses. It can only be reached on the basis of a clear vision of what is possible, uniting combativencss and determination with prudence and a capacity for manoeuvring. The point of departure for the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary movement is an exact assessment of the state of existing force relationships at any given moment and, in general, an under-

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Standing of the overall framework of the international and internal situation in all its aspects, never unilaterally isolating this or that element. Consensus and Force The democratic road to Socialism is a progressive transformation of the entire economic and social structure, of the underlying values and ideas of the nation, of the power system and the bloc of social forces in which this system finds expression. In Italy this transformation can be achieved within the framework of the anti-Fascist Constitution. What is certain is that this general transformation we want to achieve in Italy by the democratic road needs both force and consensus in all its phases. The element of force must find expression in unceasing vigilance, in the combativeness of the working masses, in our determination in quickly thwarting manoeuvres and attacks on freedom, democratic rights and constitutional legality. Being fully aware of this absolute necessity, we have always warned the working and popular masses against all forms of illusion and naivete, against all tendencies to underestimate the aggressive intentions of the right-wing forces. At the same time, we have warned the enemies of democracy against every illusion. As Comrade Longo stressed at our XIII Congress, anyone cultivating plans for adventure should know that our Party will fight and win on any terrain, calling to unity and struggle all the popular and democratic forces, as we have done in the past in the most difficult moments. A far-reaching transformation of society by the democratic road requires consensus in a very specific sense: in Italy such transformation can only come about as a revolution of the great majority of the people, and it is only on this condition that consensus and force complete one another and can become an invincible reality. For that matter, such a relationship between force and consensus is necessary no matter what the form of struggle adopted, whether the most advanced or the most bloody. Our national liberation movement, which was an armed movement, was able to resist and win because it was based on unity of all popular and democratic forces and because it succeeded in winning the support and consensus of the vast majority of the population. Indeed, on the opposite extreme, we have seen that anti-democratic movements and Fascism itself cannot win with reactionary violence alone, but must have a more or less extensive mass base, particularly in countries with complex and highly-differentiated social and economic structures. And it is hardly necessary to point out that.

in general, the rule of the bourgeoisie does not rest solely on its instruments of coercion and repression (from the most brutal to the most subtle), but also on a more or less manipulated base of consensus, on a certain system of social and political alliances. The Problem of Alliances The problem of alliances is thus the decisive problem for every revolution and every revolutionary policy, and it is therefore also decisive for the success of the democratic road. In countries like Italy we must start from the fact that there exists a highly complex social stratification and political diversification. The capitalist development of Italy has led to the formation of a sizeable proletariat. This class, which the experience of almost a century of proletarian battles, together with the educational work of the Socialist movement and the decisive influence of the Communist Party over the past 50 years, has made particularly combative and mature; this class which is the mainspring of any process of transformation of society, nevertheless still represents only a minority in our country's population itself. To a greater or lesser extent, this is true of all the capitalist countries. Between the proletariat and the big bourgeoisiethe two basic class antagonists in the capitalist system a network of intermediate categories and strata has grown up in the cities and countryside. These categories and strata are often lumped together under the generic term "middle class", but in reality each of them has its own particular position and function in social, economic and political life and its own ideological orientations which must be concretely identified and defined. Alongside and often interwoven with these intermediate classes and categories and with the proletariat, there are also in our society strata of the population and social forces which do not as such qualify as "categories" (for example a large part of the Southern and island populations, the masses of women and youth, the forces of science, technology, culture and the arts), but which share a condition in society that to a certain extent unites them above and beyond their professional positions and even their membership in a certain social class. It is clear that for the outcome of the democratic battle we are waging for the transformation and renewal of our society, where these intermediate classes and strata stand and in what direction they tend to turn and move will prove a decisive factor. It is evident, that is, that for the fate of democratic development and the advance of Socialism whether the weight of these social

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forces is thrown on the side of the working class or against it is decisive. From this economic structure and social stratification we have drawn not only consequences for our policy in the present phase, but also have taken up a number of clear attitudes concerning the place that certain issues such as the Southern question, women, youth, the schools, culture and the role of the middle classes, must have in the Italian revolution. The Middle Classes As regards the middle classes, our Party's most important document, the Program approved by our VIII Congress (1956), states: "An objective agreement of ends exists between the working class that fights against the monopolies and to overthrow capitalism, and no longer the proletarian and semiproletarian masses alone, but also an impvortant part of the productive middle classes in the cities. This creates new possibilities to enlarge the alliance system of the working class and the mass base for democratic and Socialist renewal." "The mass of the middle class population is made up of different social strata and groups in relation to the various economic and social characteristics and the different levels of development in the different zones. Therefore, although it is necessary to differentiate from zone to zone, the possibility for a permanent alliance between the working class and strata of rural and urban middle class arises from a convergence of economic and social interests that grows out of the historical development and present structure of capitalism . . . " "On the other hand, it must be clear that for decisive groups of the middle class transition to new Socialist relations or to relations of a Socialist type will come about only on the basis of their economic advantage and free consensus, and that in a democratic society developing towards Socialism their economic activities will have to be guaranteed." Reforms and Alliances The strategy of reforms can thus succeed only if it rests on a strategy of alliances. Indeed, we have stressed that in the relationship between reforms and alliances, the latter are the decisive factor, because if the alliances of the working class shrink and the social base of the ruling classes expands, sooner or later the possibility of realising any reforms at all will cease to exist and

the whole political situation will move backwards. Naturally, the point of departure for an alliance policy lies in the search for convergence between the immediate economic interests and perspectives of the working class and those of other social groups and forces. But this search must not be conceived and put into practice in a schematic or static manner. We must, that is, point to demands and pursue goals that concretely offer these strata of the population and these social groups and forces secure prospects that guarantee in new forms, their living standards and role in society, in the context of a different kind of economic development and a more just and modern social system. To this end, we must also work to bring about an evolution in the mentality of these classes and social forces, in the sense of spreading among the whole population a concept of the defense of individual and collective interests that is increasingly less individualistic or narrowly sectional and increasingly more social. We do not, then, limit ourselves to seeking and establishing convergence with already defined social forms and economic categories. We rather aim at winning over and incorporating in a diversified grouping of alliances, entire groups, social forces not classified as classes, such as women, young people, the popular masses of the South, cultural forces, movements of opinion, etc. We propose goals that are not only economic and social but involve such areas as civil development, democratic progress, personal dignity and the expansion of the many human freedoms. This is how we understand and carry out the concrete work to build and prepare the bases, the conditions and guarantees for what has been called a new "model" of Socialism. Consensus of the Vast Majority A big problem which occupies us on the political level, and to which the Marxists and advanced scholars of Italy and the other Western countries must pay greater attention from the theoretical point of view, is how to implement a program of far-reaching social transformationwhich necessarily sets off reactions of all sorts by the reactionary groupsin such a way that it does not drive broad strata of the middle classes into positions of hostility, and instead wins the consensus of the vast majority of the population in all its phases. Obviously this implies a careful selection of priorities and speeds, and, consequently, care not only to avoid economic collapse, but also to guarantee the efficiency of the economic process even in the most critical phases of transition to new types of social organisation.

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This is certainly one of the vital problems facing a government of working class and popular forces; but it is an equally basic problem in a country such as Italy where a great force like ours, which has long since left the terrain of pure propaganda behind it, seeks, while still in opposition, to impose the beginnings of a program of social transformations. If it is true that a policy of democratic renewal can succeed only if it has the support of the vast majority of the population, it follows that a policy of broad social alliances is not in itself sufficient. What is also needed is a particular system of political relations capable of favouring convergence and collaboration among all the democratic and popular forces, with the aim of achieving a political alliance among them. For that matter, a confrontation and head-on clash between the parties that have a popular base and through which important masses of the population feel themselves represented, would lead to a split down the middle of the country which would be fatal for democracy, overwhelming the very foundations on which the survival of the democratic State rest. A Democratic Alternative With this in mind we have always thought and today the Chilean experience strengthens our convictionsthat unity among the workers' parties and left-wing forces is not enough to guarantee the defence and progress of democracy in situations where this unity finds itself confronted with a bloc of parties extending from the centre to the extreme right. The central political problem in Italy has been, and more than ever remains, the problem of how to avoid the welding of a solid and organic bond between the centre and the right, the formation of a broad front of clericoFascist stamp, and instead succeed in drawing the social and political forces in the centre in to consistently democratic positions. Obviously the unity, the political and electoral strength of the left-wing forces, and an increasingly solid understanding among their various and autonomous expressions, are an indispensable condition for maintaining a growing pressure for change in the country and for bringing such change about. But it would be illusory to think that, even if the left-wing parties and forces succeeded in gaining 51 per cent of the vote and seats in Parliament (something which would in itself mark a big step forward in the relationship of forces among the parties in Italy), this fact would guarantee the survival and work of a government representing this 51 per cent. This is why we talk not about a "left-wing al-

ternative", but a "democratic alternative", that is, a political prospect of collaboration and agreement among the popular forces of Communist and Socialist inspiration and the popular forces of Catholic inspiration, together with formations of other democratic orientation. Our stubborn insistence on this prospect is the object of polemics and criticism from various sources. But the truth is that none of our critics has succeeded in pointing to another valid prospect, capable of getting Italy out of the crisis in which the policy of division of the democratic and popular forces has thrown it, of finding a solution to the immense economic, social and civil problems now open, of guaranteeing the democratic future of our Republic. And, if we look carefully, the polemics and attempts to make such a prospect impossible have not prevented it from gaining ground in the consciousness of ever-broader popular masses and their movements and even, to a certain extent and in various ways, in political life and in the parties themselves. Here lies the proof that the problem we have raised is becoming every day more mature and urgent. And if no one is able to present a different alternative, it is because in Italy such a different alternative does not exist. Dialogue witli the Catholics Our policy of dialogue and debate with the Catholic world necessarily develops on different levels and with different interlocutors. There is, first of all, the problem posed by the presence in Italy of the Catholic Church and its relations with the State and civil society; on this problem our principled position and political line are well-known. Then there is the problem of the search for a broader mutual understanding and working agreement with those movements of Catholic orientation which are, in growing numbers, taking their stand within the workers' movement and adopting clearly anti-capitalist and ant-imperialist attitudes. But it is impossible to escape the other big problem represented by the existence and strength of a political party like the Christian Democrat Party which, quite aside from the fact that it calls itself "Christian", gathers in its ranks, or under its influence, a large part of the working and popular masses of Catholic orientation. A few months ago Rinascita published a series of articles and essays examining the various aspects of the Christian Democrat question. We refer the reader to these articles and shall here limit ourselves to the underlying terms of the issue. The major error to be avoided is that of seeing

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the Italian Christian Democrat Party, and indeed all the parties that bear this name, almost as if it were an historical, quasi-metaphysical category, destined by nature, in the last analysis, to be or to become a party on the side of reaction. It is downright laughable that the whole analysis of the Christian Democrat Party offered by certain people, who pompously set themselves up to impart lessons in Marxism to everyone, boils down to no more than this. Naturally, our assessment of the Christian Democrat Party is equally distant from the one advanced by those leaders who, using the same a-historical approach we have just criticised, but reversing the content, present the Christian Democrats as a party that is "by nature"' the guardian of freedom and standard bearer of democratic progress. In reality, both these judgements are totally lacking in seriousness and purely instrumental in nature. The only Marxists criterion, and indeed the only criterion for any serious political analysis, lies in considering the Christian Democrat Party from the stand-point of both the historical political context in which it is situated and works and the composite social and political reality it expresses. Only in this way can we hope to intervene and effectively influence the orientations and practical conduct of this party.

initially opposed the Fascist movement, passing then to support participation in the first Mussolini government, with which it later broke, to arrive, through a long, difficult process, at participation in the clandestine struggle and full, direct involvement in the Resistance alongside and in unity with the proletarian and popular forces. After the Liberation, after the advent of the Republic and the new Constitution, fruit of an agreement among the three great mass parties (Communist, Socialist and Christian Democrat), it was the Christian Democrat Party that, in the climate of diversion in Europe and in the world created by the incipient Cold War, became the major force in breaking the government alliance with the Communists and Socialists, the unity of the trade union movement, and, more in general, the working agreement among the anti-Fascist forces. It was the Christian Democrat Party that then embarked on a policy of contra-position and head-on confrontation with the working-class and popular movement of Communist and Socialist inspiration. The defeat of this policydue to the combativeness of the working-class, peasants, agricultural workers and the working people in general, together with their pohtical and trade union organisations, and also to the fact that our Party never deviated from its unity-oriented line has reopened a prospect of advance for the Christian Democrat Party We have always kept firmly in mind the ties democratic movement and the country and also existing between the Christian Democrat Party created a new shuation within the Christian and the ruling groups of the bourgeoisie and the Democrat Party itself. important, and at times decisive, influence these In fact, while maintaining the conservative groups exert on the Chritian Democrat policy. and moderate in.spiration of its line, it is no But other forces and economic and social inter- longer in a position to recreate a situation of ests are also present within and around this party vertical division and head-on confrontation in the forces and interests that range from various country. When one of its leaders, Mr. Tambroni, middle class categories to sizeable segments of the made an extreme attempt to do just this, he was popular strata, particularly in certain regions and rapidly overwhelmed by a vast groundswell of zones, peasants, young people, women and even popular and unity feeling and liquidated by his workers. The weight and pressures arising from own party. But there is more: when the Christian the interests and aspirations of these forces have Democrats finally realised this line of theirs was also made themselves felt to a greater or less defeated and embarked on a new type of manextent in the course of the life and policy of the oeuvre, aimed at isolating the Communist party of Christian Democrat Party and can be made to Italy with the Centre-Left experiment, they failed count more. on this level as well. Alongside this varied and contradictory social The Christian Democrat Party has not yet overcomposition, we must also consider its origins, its come the crisis of perspective brought on by the history, its traditions and the different political and ideological trends that have been and are at failure of these various attempts to split the work within it: from reactionary to conservative people and the country. It senses that continuing and moderate, to democratic and even progres- to play the card of contraposition and confrontasive. All this helps to explain the tortuous histori- tion has become extremely difficult and laden cal development of this party, often marked by with risks of fatal adventures for everyone and for itself, but it has not yet arrived at the point of sharply contradictory stands. consistently taking an opposite road. And this is Born as a popular, democratic, secular party, it

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one of the determinant causes of the crisis now gripping the country. What to Do? What can we do? In what direction should we try to push things? From the summary recapitulation of the Christian Democrat Party's social composition and political conduct we have outlined above, it is clear that this party is not only a varied, but also a changeable reality. And it is clear that these changes are determined both by its internal dialectics and, even more, by the developments of international and democratic events, by the struggles and relationship of forces among the classes and parties, by the weight exerted on the situation by the working-class movement and the Communist Party of Italy, by their strength, their policies and their initiative. It is enough to think of the most recent events, the experience of the Andreotti government; the active hostility of the popular masses, the combativeness and unity-oriented initiative of the Communist opposition, the battle conducted by the Socialist Party and by groups, currents and personalities within the Christian Democrat Party itself, led to a progressive disintegration of the Centre-Right coalition and created a situation in which the very majority within the Christian Democrat Party that had put Andreotti in power, or in any event supported him, evaporated. The Christian Democrats were forced to abandon the Centre-Right policy and prospect. This being the reality of the Christian Democrat Party and the point it has reached today, it is clear that the duty of a Party such as ours can only be to isolate and drastically defeat those tendencies that aim, or may be tempted to aim, at contraposition and splitting the country in two, or that in any event refuse to budge from a position of preconceived ideological anti-Communist exclusion, which in Italy implies in itself an impending danger of splitting the nation. On the contrary, we must work to constantly increase the weight and ensure the eventual predominance of those tendencies that, with a sense of historical and political realism, recognise the necessity and maturity of a constructive dialogue and agreement among all the popular forces, without this imply-

ing confusion or renunciation of the ideological and political differences proper to each of these forces. Certainly, we are the first to realise that the march towards this prospect is not easy and cannot be hurried. We also know how many difficult battles will have to be waged, with determination and patience, on the most varied levels and not by our Party alone, to ensure the success of this perspective. But neither must we think that the time at our disposal is infinite. The gravity of the country's problems, the still-impending threats of reactionary adventures, and the necessity to open at long last a sure road of economic development, social renewal, and democratic progress for the country, make it increasingly urgent and pressing to arrive at what we can call the great new '"historical compromise" among the forces that represent the vast majority of the Italian people.

Marx Memorial Library


Classes start T h u r s d a y 21st "RevolutionStrategy and Tutor: Betty Matthews. February. Tactics"

"The FamilyHistory and Present Day Problems"Tutor: Veter Pink. Also Classes on "Political Economy (advanced)" and " M a r x and Personality", T u t o r s and dates to be announced. Lectures also start in February. "Morning Star" and " T r i b u n e " further information. Phone: 01-253 1485 or write 37a Clerkenwell Green, E.C.I. See for

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Reviews and Re-estimations:

Lord of the Flies


Raymond Southall
(Dr Raymond Southall, whose Literature and the Rise of Capitalism was recently published by Lawrence and Wishart, is author of The Courtly Maker and now Professor of English, Wollongong University College, N.S.W., Australia.) Lord of the Flies is one of the most widely read post-war novels. Its popularity is in part due to its appearance on school syllabuses'^ and in larger part to its apparent offer of serious matter for political digestion. In this latter respect its appeal is somewhat similar to Orwell's 1984, an equally popular black Utopia. William Golding's first novel, Lord of the Flies was published in 1954. Its theological "action" is illuminated if one is aware that the title alludes to 2 Kings 1: 2, 3, where Baalzebul (i.e. Lord of the Demons) is mockingly referred to as Baalzebub (i.e. Lord of the Flies). It is not, however, with the obscure and ancient demonology of the novel that I am concerned here but with its contemporary political implication. Social Regression Set in a period of atomic war, the novel concerns a group of English school-boys marooned on a coral island when the plane evacuating them to Australia crashes into the Pacific. The novel traces the social regression of the boys from an ineffective attempt at primitive democracy to a state of murderous savagery. The initial essay in democracy is an attempt by the children to observe adult principles of morality and rationality as these are vaguely grasped by them. They adopt Ralph as their leader and the younger ones at least obey his summons because, we are told, "he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority."^ His two chief supporters are Simon, a withdrawn, epileptic and inarticulate boy, but one in whom rationality seems to be instinctive, and Piggy, a much ridiculed, shortsighted, asthmatic boy, who has the clearest understanding of the adult code of practical morality. It is Piggy who points out to the boys that they must "put first things first and act proper."^ And as long as what are called "the taboos of the old life" remain strong the children do "act proper". Roger would like to throw stones at Henry, but he cannot because "round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law."' However, the attempt at democracy fails, for the younger boys wish only to play on the beach and the older ones orly to hunt the island's wild pigs. With Jack the need to hunt becomes a "compulsion to track down and kill" which overrides all other considerations, such as the need to keep a signal fire burning. Gradually his blood lust affects the others and becomes the most powerful unifying force at work amongst the boys, finding expression in the killing which concludes the hunt and in the communal dance in which the kill is re-enacted to the chant of "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in."'' It may be that pig-sticking is intended to have some additional point, although this isn't really evident in the novel. It was a favourite pastime of Goering and of the pukka sahibs in India and, according to Lawrence, it had some powerful, ritualistic importance in ancient Italy: the Etruscans must have loved it, for they represent it again and again, on the tombs. It is difficult to know what exactly the boar symbolised to them. He occupies often the centre of the scene, where the one who dies should be: and where the bull of sacrifice is. And often he is attacked, not by men, but by young winged boys, or by spirits. . . . It is a symbolic scene. . . . For it is obviously the boar who must die. . . . He is the father of life running free in the forest, and he must." Anthropological speculation, however, adds little if anything to the anthropological fiction of the growing savagery of the boys as this is presented, for

' One assumes, perhaps rather unkindly, that it is felt to be a "relevant" alternative to Coral Island, a book = ' Golding, p. 50. referred to on a couple of occasions in the novel. For a ' Golding, p. 67. post-Blackboard Jungle generation, however, it would need to be set in a school p'ayground before it could be ' Golding, p. 82. thought truly contemporary. " D. H. Lawrence, Etruscan Places, Penguin, 1950, ^ William Golding, Lord of the Flies, Faber, 1958, p. 64. pp 160-1.

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