The following letter was sent to comrades in Italy’s Partito Comunista to mark the anniversary of the founding of the original Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921.
The central committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) sends warm and fraternal greetings to the leaders and militants of the Partito Comunista on the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the original Communist Party of Italy. We salute all those who celebrate the best traditions of your country’s struggle, carrying both the pride and responsibility of bringing that historical inheritance into the present.
We see it also as our responsibility to educate workers in Britain as to the history and importance of the Italian Communist party, which for over 20 years heroically fought the fascist regime. Undoubtedly, it had one of the most heroic journeys of the European communist parties, but also a particularly ignominious end, with its self-dissolution in 1991. The causes of this must be studied and we are grateful for the important sources that your party makes available on these matters, in your publication La Riscossa.
We must remember that during the bitter antifascist fight, Antonio Gramsci, the party’s leader, and many others perished. We remember that of the 140,000 political prisoners sentenced by Mussolini’s courts, 85 percent were communists.
There are valuable lessons of strategy and tactics to be learned by studying your antifascist struggle, which was based upon close cooperation between the Socialist and Communist parties after the pact of 1934. A broad national, antifascist front was established in December 1942 and the National Committee of Liberation was formed in September 1943. It comprised the Communist, Socialist, Christian-Democratic, Activist, Liberal, and Labour-Democratic parties, and it directed the expanding underground movement.
The Vatican, of course, played both sides: while vigorously supporting the Mussolini regime, it also, under pressure of the catholic masses, affiliated its Christian-Democratic party to the national front.
In March 1943, the workers in Milan, Turin and other northern cities declared a general strike, which brought out three million workers, and in April the movement culminated in a general insurrection all over northern Italy. In July of the same year, Mussolini was forced to resign, and on 28 April 1945, at Lake Como, Italian workers publicly hanged him and his mistress.
In today’s world, with the capitalist economic crisis deepening every day, workers in Italy, as in Great Britain and across the world, are oblivious to the victories of our movement in the past and are truly suffering the consequences of that oblivion. What they need more than ever before is the class analysis and action that the Italian communists offered a century ago.
They also need a contemporary party that denounces the neo-Nazi imperialist alliance of the Eureopean Union and Nato and calls for anti-imperialist resistance. We rejoice to see your political activity on these matters; to see that the legacy of the Communist party in your country and the militant anti-fascist spirit you embody are going from strength to strength.
So it is with great honour that we join you in remembering the 102 years full of glorious and dramatic events, of which the Italian communists have been active protagonists, from the workers’ struggles of the early 1920s and the organisation of resistance against fascism to the great struggles of the postwar period.
It was a glorious moment in the history of the world communist movement when, at the end of the war, Italian citizens remembered the consistency of those who resisted and gave them their vote. The PCI’s contribution to the new Italian democratic constitution was decisive. After the war, the party became the second-largest in Italy.
Although the Eurocommunist deviation caused enormous damage to your country, your party today is able to uphold the revolutionary science of Marxism-Leninism.
Your practical solidarity and attention to the developments of the class struggle in Great Britain, which we greatly appreciate, are further confirmation of the internationalist spirit of which you are inheritors. In both our countries, we are acknowledging an urgent thirst for the communist perspective among the popular strata and youth, which the anti-Marxist, conservative or reactionary identity politics of the dominant bourgeois ideology have trouble controlling.
It is our role in our respective countries to spread the teachings of Marxism, ignite class-consciousness, and fight against opportunistic practice on the political level, against theoretical disarmament and confusion on the ideological level, to denounce class collaboration and the pursuit of social peace on the trade-union and organisational level.
In the international communist movement, we cannot fail to note opportunist positions of support for Nato and the misrepresentation of the drive to war against Russia and China as an ‘interimperialist conflict’. These are the result of deviations that do not take into account the Leninist analysis of imperialism and the state. We are proud to be standing next to your party and acting in unity with the aim of strengthening and mobilising the international communist movement by exposing and challenging these harmful tendencies.
We consider this to be the greatest test of our times; one that demands the collaboration of all honest anti-revisionist parties in an anti-imperialist alliance capable of restoring the ideological, political and organisational unity of the movement on an authentically Marxist-Leninist basis.
We have no doubt, dear comrades, that, as you stood with us in our position on Brexit, you will work hard to show workers in Italy that the EU can never be reformed and that Italy should also exit the EU. We have no reservations that the Partito Comunista and the CPGB-ML should stand together to demand ‘No cooperation with imperialist war’ and ‘Disband Nato’.
VI Lenin predicted that “The example of the Italian party will be of great importance to the whole world.” At the same time, he warned against delusion and against parliamentarian opportunism. The fight is still ongoing.
With the sincere hope of strengthening the ties that unite us, the exchange of theoretical analyses and practical experiences and the collaboration between our two parties, we wish you new victories in our common struggle for a world without imperialism and capitalist exploitation.
Workers of all countries, unite!
International committee, CPGB-ML