Italy’s Red Decade

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In two superb essays published in the London Review of Books recently, Perry Anderson describes the politics of Italy’s Second Republic in the context of the consolidation of power by Silvio Berlusconi and the recent history of the Italian Left, respectively. These are worth reading by anyone interested in politics and contempory European history in general and to those on the Left in particular. To coincide with this I decided to dig through the archives of the Irish Socialist Network and put up two pamphlets on Italian political history that I worked on a while ago.

This post concerns the first, Italy’s Red Decade, which deals with the surge of popular activism that occurred in Italy after 1968 and the subsequent huge mobilization in factories and in communities that lead this New Left to become the largest and most impressive popular movement for social change in Western Europe.

Ultimately, however, the Italian Communist Party, who claimed the leadership of this new movement, were unable to channel the forces that exploded after 1968 leading to the failure of the movement as a whole.

Download Italy’s Red Decade


One Response

  1. Ciarán

    March 13, 2009 4:03 pm

    I read both of Anderson’s essay and they were, as you say, superb. But they were also, on my interpretation, deeply depressing. Particularly his essay on the decline of the Italian left. What surprised me is the depth of its compromise with Berlusconi – which Anderson details in a rather ruthless fashion. I can read Italian very well and try to keep up with the various left newspapers – L’Unitá, Liberazione, Il Manifesto are the three I read pretty often and I still am trying to figure out what the left means in Italy today. Anderson’s essay was illuminating in that regard, as it clarified several things I only vaguely understood, in particular the true nature of Walter Veltroni and, to a lesser extent, Napolitano. I’ll read your article Ed, as it looks interesting from a quick scan.