(from Il Programma Comunista, issue 8 of 1953)
The day of March 29, the date of the shameful parliamentary and political defeat brought about by the social-stalinist opposition on the ground of the vote on the majority electoral law, was to conclude in a scurrilous manner the long-standing fable about the illegalism of the PCI.
The farcical epic of Stalinist insurrectionism began on April 25, 1945, when the demo-Catholic-Stalinist partisan bands received from the Allied command the notice that the German armies were on the rout and that it was therefore time to use the machine guns dropped by parachute on the mountains by the American aircrafts, together with cans of meat, chewing gum and Chesterfields. Until that day, which was jokingly called National Liberation and was nothing more than a descent from the mountains, the signal of the green light having finally appeared in the valley, partisanism “had been hibernating”. Since then, not a day has gone by that the propaganda of the PCI has not collected a lavish interest from the investments in glory and insurrectional heroism made in close collaboration with the Anglo-American powers advancing from the “Gothic Line”. Since then, the commanders of the Volunteers of Freedom, who had become colonels and generals several hundred meters above sea level, sported the smirk of the smoke-black insurgent and told all Italians, in the pages of Unità and Avanti, to keep the peninsula under the perennial threat of the resumption of partisan hostilities and civil war.
To believe it were, throughout this period, just those who from the Republic of Salò, protected by German tanks, threatened, by the mouth of Graziani, to administer a merciless Night of St. Bartholomew to the pro-allied partisan crouching in the caves of the Apennines, but never found the courage to face... the nuisance of a sleepless climb to the shelters of the adversaries. They too were waiting for an advance that did not come: the German advance that, according to Goebbels, should have thrown the Anglo-American armies overboard. Today, as if nothing had happened, using the inexhaustible rot of Italian rhetoric, they also work to build a glorious epic with the facts of crime of which they were unfortunate protagonists.
We have never believed in the insurrection of the PCI despite the snickers of Longo, Moscatelli, Valerio and their officers. We have never believed in it, because those who wait to have behind them powerful armies, masters of the sky, sea and land, in order to fight, cannot claim to continue (forgive the disrespectful comparison) the traditions of the fighters of the Paris Commune, who rose up not against one, but two armies united in spite of the state of armistice, or those of the Bolshevik revolutionaries who rose up in the daring revolutionary enterprise to which both coalitions of belligerents of the First World War had to react.
By the same token, we always refused to consider the so-called revolution of the four black-shirted assholes who in 1922 staged the March on Rome with the permission of the police headquarters as anything other than a macabre farce.
So we have not commented otherwise than with a smile of pity, which befits the bragging of the “cardboard hoodlums”, the boisterous threats formulated in Unità, on the eve, shit, not even that, just a few hours before the imposition of the majority law. Malenkov’s armies were far away and the Russian General Staff was intent on flirting with its Anglo-American colleagues; nor did the Italian police headquarters, which on that occasion brought out tanks and armored cars, showed any signs of harboring benign intentions towards the leadership of the Communist Party.
How, then, could it not be supposed, even for a fleeting moment, that in the face of the government’s open illegalism and the insulting behavior of the liberal Catholic majority in the Senate, the leadership of the PCI had paid the bills of exchange signed on April 25, 1945? If it had been the Russian armies at the Brenner Pass and the American aircraft carriers at the bottom of the Mediterranean, well then, we would have seen some movement, and Togliatti would be the new Garibaldi as conqueror and Longo as Nino Bixio. But in that eventuality, Scelba would have been careful not to present the majority law, and soon the leaders of the MSI would have pulled out the certificates of good conduct issued at the time of the National Liberation Committee. But so what: no overwhelming offensive of mighty armies took place on March 29. How would you like the fierce warriors, the fearless heroes, the retired revolutionaries of the PCI to do anything other than what is vulgarly indicated by the expression of “couldn’t hold it in their pants”? And indeed they couldn’t!
And yet, within hours of the vote of authority on the majority electoral law, which would drastically reduce the PCI’s seats in Parliament, despite the fact that it had regained its votes on April 18, thus combining damage with mockery, L’Unità had published a searing sign of defiance. The poor sap historian, who three thousand years from now will read the March 29 issue of L’Unità without bothering to read the issue that followed it, would swear that in the night between March 29 and 30, 1953 a terrible revolution broaek out in Italy. Indeed, he’ll find the following phrases: “No subversion of parliamentary rules will be tolerated, no impairment of the prerogatives of the Senate, no limitation of the regulatory and constitutional rights of the Opposition”. And again: “De Gasperi has the boot kept on his neck. If the government dares to attempt to trample on these rules (parliamentary and constitutional), more than it has already done, the response will be exemplary: in the Senate, where the Opposition is fighting admirably, availing itself of its good right and great successes (!) obtained, and in the country where the people’s voice is raised higher and higher in these crucial days”. Verbatim.
Well, what happened was that on the evening of March 29, the Christian Democrat government not only “dared to attempt to trample”, but trampled, like a pig tramples on mud, on the famous sacred order of Parliament and the Constitution. The parliamentary norm was subverted, the prerogatives of the Senate undermined, actually ridiculed; the rights of the Social-Communist and Monarcho-Fascist Opposition treated with s... in the face. But nevertheless, in spite of the threats made by L’Unità, the leadership of the PCI did not react, did not give the “exemplary response”, limiting itself to ordering the “revolution of the tablets” in the Senate. Indeed, if the former heads of the partisan democratic insurrection managed to slap the fat faces of the rich Christian-Democrat deputies, they were not able to dodge some well-aimed kicks to the derriere in the comic melee that followed. The general strike proclaimed as a sign of protest was so embarrassing it’s better to not even bring it up. The only truly general strike to be recorded in post-war Italy was that of July 14, 1949, at the time of Palmiro’s assassination attempt, but maybe it succeeded because it was not wanted by the leadership of the PCI, which, much more energetically than the disoriented police forces, succeeded in crushing the insurrectional ambitions of the masses. On that occasion, the Italian working class truly believed, and was atrociously mistaken, that it was defending its leader: on the proclamation of the general strike of March 20, however, many illusions had fallen in the meantime, and the great majority of the workers refused to fight to keep the seats of the social-communist parliamentarians, who had not been able to keep them. Such was the “response” of the PCI and of Nenni’s servants, in Parliament and in the country.
The pulp novel of the PCI rebelliousness ended like the tragicomic story of the protagonist of Petronius Arbiter’s famous novel. When the hero finally meets his beloved, he realizes that he lacks, shall we say, the prerequesites for copulation. On March 29, the Social-Stalinist Opposition should have kept the commitments it made on April 25, 1945 as a heroic defender of democracy; it should have responded to the government’s act of force with proportionate extreme measures; it should, in keeping with the alleged insurrection against the regime that had arisen from the Fascist coup d’état, have responded accordingly. But when the moment to rise up came, the PCI crouched down and whined about its own misfortune, sending couriers to Einaudi to implore his intervention against the government (!). Eight whole years of frenzied exaltation of partisanism went down the drain. We have seen that the insurrectional rebelliousness of the PCI had the same vigor as the “a leather soaked in water” to which Petronius Arbiter compared a certain anatomical feature of his character. Called to marriage by the Goddess Insurrection, the PCI reported suck, complaining of an insurmountable marital impotence.
To raise its tone a bit too much, having had the balls to define what the government’s action actually was – a full-scale coup d’état – and drawing the necessary consequences meant, for the PCI, frightening the petty-bourgeois and big-bourgeois herds that politically graze “on the left”, thus losing the bourgeois voters who still flirt in the shadow of the Picasso dove. In order to keep them, they preferred to coward themselves in an act of extreme self-degradation. Well, keep them, if you need their votes to grab the seats in parliament. But only the fools will be able, after March 29, to continue to believe, Mr. General Luigi Longo and Mr. Colonel Walter Audisio a.k.a. Valerio, that the PCI really led an insurrection against the established order.