The State of Italian Politics

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December 9, 2016
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September 12, 2000
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June 27, 1957
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Approved For Releas 2001/03/0 79R0090044A000300040005-9 C E i 1 T a I A L I I I T E L L ? I G L I 1 ' C E A C E I I AGLUCY OFFI CL OF II&TI C?It L I: TTI LkTGS 27 June 1957 OAH DISuz;st llgil Oily D:.iurr I'O;.' TiL D1:10TO21 Oi. ca-IT1:11L :,Tda'i LIC- ICE Stl?JZCT= The State of Italian Politics 1, Italian politics are in an unhealthy coixiition0 The coa33? tion formula under which Italy has boon governed since 1946 finally collapsed two months ago& and no succession arrangement has yet been fou o With elections required by June 1958,9 the sma13, center parties were uz tiilix to accept the responsibilities of power without gain. ing some of the advantages of it, and the Christian Democrats have been unable to devise a policy which would satisfy their own require. ments and the conflicting aims of their erstwhile coalition partners* 20 Underlying those maneuvers is the sad arithmetic of Italian politics; about U0P of the electorate supports leftist and rightist views opposed to the constitutional system, and it is impossible to constitute a majority government except on a coalition baaiso The Christian Democratic Party is ridden iLth factionalism and torn by personal, conflictso A substantial ri nority of the Italian electorate DOCUMENT NO, AL CHANGE IN CLASS. DECLASSIFIED SS. CHANGED TO: TS S 0 NEXT REVIEW DATE; ADTH: HR 70-2 . A8 . APR 1980 REVIEWER: 018645 Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Release 2001/03/04'1DP79R00 OA000300040005-9 is strongly anti??o1oricals and many of those who vote ChristAan Democratic do so because it jr, the least undosi.rab7.o alternative, There is almost ovorft hone a cyut c about governments an intense desire for a. changes but a notable lack of enthusiasm for being governed by reds, priestss facista, or monarchists, 3a Italy needs some festal changes in its politics. The red devile on the loft need to be exercisud and the fascist pug on the ri0ht reds to be drain off and cast a ,yo The Christian Democratic party in the center needs u ?.ty and dtscipsi no , A dcmo cratic-eocialist alternative on the left of center atd'a liberal. capitalist alternative on the right of center need to be built. These bsaeverr are ideals; the. irate problem is how best (a) to prevent the present stagnation and disillusionment from developing into a revolutionary situation and, (b) to establish g basis for growth ttatard a healthier political situations 4o. Toward the end of 1955 and early in 1956 it so d as if there was some chance of cooperation between the center coalition and the extreme left, The latter, attempting, to end its pariiamentar r isolations supported several important government reform bills which otherwise probably would not have been passed. It appeared that iuzuobilism in Italian policy had cow to an end, at least temporarily, Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Relee 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00 OA000300040005-9 WOW as both center and left sought to take crodit for the reforms desired by the majority of the Italian people. However the Krushchev revela- tions concerning Stalin and suppression of the Hungarian revolt added a new dimension by disrupting the unity and mili,tcy of the C st party and putting it on the defensiveo Henni8 who had been trying to create the impression that he was separating himself from the Communists., evidently decided that the time had arrived for a bold move to capture popular attention and to exploit the new situation to establish himself as the leader of the leftist "democratic " forces. At the same time, the rank and file of both Socialist parties began urging Socialist reunificaa tions and Saragat - caught up in the pressure ?a- met with Nenni to discuss terms and procedures, The consequence was the end of Socialist= Communist parliamentary unity., the inauguration of an exchange of Socialist and Communist polemics, and a feeling that Socialist unifica- tion was inevitable, 5o Center-leftist cooperation to terminate immobilism also cane to an end, and the old business of political maneuver occupied the politicians. Saragat was determined not to be stampeded Into unification lest he.lose both his leadership and his principles. Nenni was trying to have the beat of two worlds; he was trying to enjoy the benefits of parading as a democrat and a constitutionalist without offending his own predilections (and those of many of his followers) toward main: ai ning =g - Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Release 2001/03/0DP79R009A000300040005-9 working lass unity, The Christian Democratic leadership was fearful of socialist unification because a substantial democratic socialist party on the left would threaten their p dominance in Italian politics, tend to weaken their hold upon the workers and ireftis is in their own ranks, nd deepen the differences in their own party which rape;ir whenever cooperation with the left is seriously considered, The Communists,, co incident with attempting to shore up their own position, used all their assets to weaken Nenni and to confuse the socialist unification move~meat, The minor center parties, mindful of the coming elections,, were not to be outdone in protecting their own positions? They refused further to compromise their policies no as not to eliminate their excuses for existence, Reform legislation became a secondary consideration as each of the parties maneuvered to preve>at arealignmeat of the Italian elect= torate at their expense. The result was the present unresolved crisis. 6. There does not seen to be any easy way out, Nenni in fact has lost control of his party, and the merger movement has begun to recsedoo The Cists have recovered their equilibrium,, The Christian Democrats retain their electoral support and are b peful of wig a parliamentary majority, The minor center pa roes, including the Democratic Socialists, sewn to be slipping further despite their efforts to protect themselves. Not only has immobilism returned, but the whole machinery of constitw. tional government is at a standstill, defeated by political arithmetic Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 'Approved For Releae 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00 OA000300040005-9 and by partisan and personal politics, Vie cannot predict how long this can continue before Italy returns to the pattern of the ear3,y 192D 'a and prepares to accept another anti-democratic dynamic solution, If the Christian Democrats can win a majority at the general elections, which will probably be held this autumn unless some unforeseen break in the cabin:: t problem occurs, Italy win probably at least be able to constitute a government. But the Christian Democratic Party represents so many diverse interests and is so lacking in parliamentary discipline that the imnobilism would continue in any case, Thus, no attack upon the social and econcmlic conditions encouraging revolutionary change would be made; on the contrary, so long as the social ist parties remain hopelessly split and out of poorer, the drawing per of Co uunism probably would increase, 7, If the US is to make an effective attack upon Italian Camcnunism and to assist in the development of a healthy body politics, it must do more than support the Christian Democrats and urge them to make life un- pleasant for the Communists, 'We must recognize that the Christian Democratic Party is not a capable instrument for carrying out the reforms which the majority of the Italian people desire. Nevertheless, in the present situation we have no acceptable alternative to giving it full support in an effort to assist it in winning: a majority or near majority m5? Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 w in the next general election. Since no early change in the party alignment of the Italian electorate appears likely, the cause of democracy can be better served by having a Christian Democratic Party in a safe majority position than by having an unstable coalition which is dependent upon the continued good will and satisfaction of small minorities. However, so long as the immobilian which has characterized the last ten years continues, the Communists will continue to be a powerful political force, and there is a good chance that they will pick up additional popular support. Vie must, therefore, do all we am to encourage the Christian Democrats to get on with a dynamic reform progrwno 8p The only longuterm policy for cutting into Co nu ist strength which appears to us to have any reasonable chance of success is the development of a strong democratic party on the left. The existence of such a party would have the added advantage of being a constant pressure upon the Christian Democrats to develop a liberal social program and to generate the necessary. discipl ne to cmrryr it out. Neither the present Socialist k'arty nor the Social Democratic Party appears to be a very good candidate. The former is still tied in many ways to the Coumnunists, and its directing machinery is ridden with pro4ommunists and party Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Release 2001/03/04 P79R00.90 A000300040005-9 buxeaucrato seeking to perpetuate the old relations with the Communists. The Social Democratic Party is a bourgeois,, intellectualist party that has failed to draw much working-class support and appears to be insufficiern,1y concerned with the local problems and local issues which m:,an so reach to the Italian voter, Both parties lack the strong trade union ba?.o: which is so esziential to the political strength and vote-getting crpaci )' of European socialist parties, The leftist tra- dition in Ita:lya alpays strong, has come under the near monopoly of the Cmnmunists, and the labor movement - until recently also almost a . C munist monopoly =-n is not associated with either socialist parse. 9, We do not belie v a that anythini would be gained by attempting, under present ci aumstanceu to push the Social Democrats into a merger w Lth the Ital i7,n Socialist t arty,. The party bur eaucrato and the pro-- (aommnuni& is c%ex ise too much control in the latter pane. Ho evese the present dr,s seem a propitious time to attempt to split the PSI itself by holding out inducements to those within the PSI who desire socialist unity :?.n democratic terms. Such. an attempt would have a better chance of su-.,cess if it were portrayed as a merger and if there were not too rigid requirements established ii the field of foreign policy,, than if it an ai.14empt wer+a made to carry/owl. by simply inviting dissident Sociaii is t 'i join the Domocratio Sociali e.?. Warty, It would have its best chance Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00.9Q4A000300040005-9 of success if Nonni could be persuaded to come over without the consent of, or in opposition to, the majority of the Socialist Party bureaucrats and pro-Communists? Such a move would oleo have a better chance of success if the Social Democrats mended their ways,; if they began to act more like a party bent upon social change and less like a stalking horse for US foreign policy. They ought to dig more deeply into the mire, they ought to exert themselves more at the local level, they ought to seek a stronger position in the trade union movement, The entire trade union field ought to be reviewed to determine what would be required further to weaken the Communist hold on the Confederation of Labor and to determine the feasibility of trying to merge all or parts of the trade union movement in Ita]y, In short, we think we ought not to put all our faith in the Christina Democratic Party, but ought to encourage dramatic moves to strengthen the democratic left, -In so doings, we need to exercise care that the . socialists do not fal l into Communist hands, but the stakes being what they are, we should not be too greatly Ooft- corned over the extent to which a reinvigorated socialist movement supported US foreign policy. 10, Over the longer run,, if a virile social democratic alternative is developed an the left, the Christian Democratic Party would probably tend to move increasingly to the right. This wau]d have some disadvantages; it would encourage defection from the la rty's left,, and it would encourage Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 Approved For Rele 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP79R004A000300040005-9 a tendency to cooperate with the anti-democratic right - a tendency which the party has so far steadfastly resisted. It would therefore be desirable at some future time to give consideration to encouraging a realignment an the right. The neo-fascists and monarchists are gradually losing strength, and time will probably produce further drops in strength unless a new popular rightist authoritarianism is born of growing political frustration. Rather than have the Christian Democrats become a party of the right, a new conservative grouping based upon traditional and wealth=holding interests probably should be encouraged. Thus, the Christian Democrats might come to hold the pivotal position in Italian politics, turning to right or left for support as needs wad opinion requi re. ll. The problen of Italy is insoluble in the short term, The obstacles and difficulties in ways of developing a healthier, stabler body politic seem so great that suggestions for revitalizing Italian socialism or creating a leftist alternative seen like pipe dreams, Suggesting that the US might encourage a political formation which did not support its foreign policy seems downright self-defeating and improper, If the Christian Demoerate can gain power, the immediate danger will be reduced; however., for the longer term we ought to be prepared to consider some rather unpalatable alternatives to a steady corrosion of democratic institutions and a steady accretion to the political power of the Communist left. Approved For Release 2001/03/04 :,C P& RDP79R00904A000300040005-9 S