Italian Communists Remain in Doubt

SENIGALLIA, SILVIO R.

Italian Communists Remain in Doubt By Silvio F Senigallia Rome Alaconic communique, issued by the Italian Communist party's directorate at the conclusion of a recent "advisory" national...

...He got rid of an uncompromising ideological opponent within central headquarters and made good use of his brains and drive to combat the actions of Msgr...
...Now many Italians, Communists and non-Communists alike, are asking: Will the leader of the "tough line" bounce back and put an end to the "peaceful tactics" of the Italian Communist party...
...Conservative circles seem to believe that a very firm Government attitude and energetic anti-Communist efforts are the top-priority objective...
...Political circles immediately buzzed with speculation about this shake-up in the largest and most powerful Communist party outside the Iron Curtain...
...Italian Communists Remain in Doubt By Silvio F Senigallia Rome Alaconic communique, issued by the Italian Communist party's directorate at the conclusion of a recent "advisory" national conference, confirmed the power of party boss Palmiro Togliatti and announced the exile of Deputy Secretary Pietro Secchia to the post of regional party secretary for Lom-bardy...
...In the blunt light of the new reality, certain ambiguous and at times hair-splitting distinctions by liberal intellectuals or non-Marxist neutralist groups are no longer possible...
...First of all, the appointment of Bulganin, a military man, as new Soviet Premier strikes a hard blow at the pacifist tactics followed stubbornly and successfully here by the Communists since 1945ódespite the many gyrations of Soviet foreign policy...
...This was intended to reassure large sections of the party which are still loyal to socialist ideals and opposed to a Socialist dictatorship based on power politics...
...How does Moscow's new leadership affect Togliatti's prestige and his differences with the party's extremists...
...For the first time, there is a real prospect that many Italians who back the Communist party merely as an insurance measure may find sufficient strength on the anti-Communist side to switch their allegiance...
...Finally, the myth of a new, more conciliatory and more flexible Communism after Stalin's death was an important factor in the June 1953 Italian national elections, as well as a useful propaganda weapon for the Reds...
...Others said that Secchia was a casualty of the Kremlin's then current line of peaceful coexistence, but denied that "the man who never laughs" had led a revolt against Togliatti...
...But if this coalition cabinet is reshuffled after the May Presidential election, even if a slight turn to the left or the right takes place, one of the two aspects of this double-pronged action will become a mere appendage of the other...
...Secchia had been given a new, equally important job...
...The new, uncertain phase of Soviet foreign policy is also likely to complicate relations between the Communists and left-wing Socialists...
...The dissension caused by the Communist party's policy of passive respectability and some losses by the Communist-dominated CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labor) have prompted foreign observers to put considerable emphasis on the setbacks and disappointments suffered by the Communists...
...If Khrushchev's leadership produces a sharp change in Moscow's attitude, it is virtually certain that a similar policy will immediately be followed by the Italian Communist party...
...Most observers agree that the answers to these questions depend chiefly on how tough the new Soviet boss, Khrushchev, wants the new Kremlin line to be...
...Some wrote that Secchia was demoted for leading a hard core of "actionists" and tough revolutionaries who want the party to adopt a more aggressive ideological tone...
...A third group observed that Togliatti had killed two birds with one stone by sending Secchia to Milan...
...Even though Khrushchev's degree of toughness is still a matter for speculation, Togliatti and the Italian party have been unfavorably affected by the Moscow struggle for power...
...Despite undercurrents of dissension and opposition on the part of his party's revolutionary wing, the "moderate" Togliatti followed Malenkov's soft line, aiming, among other things, to avoid a premature revolution in Italy which might spark an atomic war...
...So far, there is no indication that such a change is imminent...
...They advocate stern anti-Communist measures...
...Giancarlo Pajetta...
...A switch to the left would take all the teeth out of the anti-Communist measures...
...For ten years, the latter has been the Vatican's unofficial "foreign minister," and he is one of the leading prospects to succeed Pope Pius XII...
...But the Communists and their left-wing Socialist allies did not mention that Secchia's every action in his new post will be closely supervised by a Togliatti-appointed liaison man...
...It should be noted, however, that in the past few weeks Secchia's supporters have been reported more active than ever, especially in the industrial city of Genoa, where they founded a "Committee for Communist Action" against the so-called "coexistentialist softness" of bourgeois Togliatti...
...Otherwise, they reasoned, he would have been expelled and not appointed chief organizer in the heavily industrialized region of Lom-bardv, which includes Milan...
...All other speculation stemmed from malicious, wishful thinking by Communism's enemies...
...Montini, the city's new archbishop...
...They fall into two main categories: (1) dismissal of officials in central and provincial administrations who are security suspects...
...Non-Communist observers agreed that it revealed a crack in the party's allegedly monolithic structure, but they differed on the reasons and significance of Secchia's demotion...
...Secchia...
...Malenkov was identified with "peaceful coexistence" and detente tactics...
...This could bring Secchia out of exile and give the tough elements control of the party...
...Pajetta was the only Communist leader to forecast a Secchia-Montini battle or, for that matter, to offer specific comment...
...The initiative, they argue, now appears to be in the hands of the free-world forces...
...a switch to the right would slow the economic and social-reform program to a standstill...
...Communist whip in the Chamber of Deputies, also suggested this view and, of course, denied that Secchia had been demoted...
...Moreover, many of his nominal subordinates are prominent Togliatti supporters...
...All the pro-Government forces came out in favor of the strong anti-Communist measures announced in December...
...The Secchia case was about to drift out of the news when Malen-kov's resignation made it topical once more...
...they pointed out, was responsible for an appeal against the "personal rule and political tyranny" of Togliatti which was clandestinely circulated during the national conference...
...The official party version was that there was no shake-up or crisis...
...Local political observers ascribed great importance to the Socialist organ Avanti's immediate interpretation of Malenkov's ouster as "new evidence of the Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence...
...Progressive groups, while agreeing that the Government must protect democratic institutions against any possible Communist sabotage or infiltration, maintain that anti-Communist measures must be only a complement to a continuous and effective program of economic and social reforms...
...2) limitation of the financial benefits accruing to the Communist party through its control of cooperatives, provincial administrative bodies, and concerns trading with Iron Curtain countries...
...The emphasis of the support varies, however...
...The middle-of-the-road Scelba Government is committed to both measures and programs...

Vol. 38 • March 1955 • No. 12


 
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