Third National Congress of the Italian PRC (1/4)

Luciano Dondero DOND001 at
Thu Oct 10 12:02:06 MDT 1996

Third National Congress of the Italian PRC=20
(December 1996)
Summary of motions=20

There are two documents that have been presented for discussion and voting
at the Congress.

The first text has been put forward by Fausto Bertinotti and Armando
Cossutta, respectively Secretary and Chairman of the Partito della
Rifondazione comunista (PRC =3D Party of Communist Refoundation); the second
by Giovanni Bacciardi, Marco Ferrando, Franco Grisolia and Livio Maitan,
members of the Direzione nazionale (National Leading Body).

These documents have been adopted at a meeting of the Comitato Politico
Nazionale (CPN =3D National Political Committee, equivalent to a Central
Committee) in early October. The branch and city congresses will be held
during October and November leading up to the national gathering in early

The CPN also adopted regulations for the Congress which fixes the terms for
the representation of the different positions expressed in the debate. These
regulations will be briefly summarised as well.=20

The materials I am forwarding are a summary of the two documents to be
discussed and voted on during the Congress. Obviously the summary and the
choice of selected quotes does reflect my standpoint. However, I will
forward separately my own views and comments on these documents.
Here I have tried to keep my notes down to the bare essential required for
understanding the texts. Each note is clearly marked Translator=92s Note and
contained within square brackets, as follows:=20
[Translator=92s Note: each note is clearly marked Translator=92s Note and
contained within square brackets]

(214 signatories among CPN members)

The document aims to put forward a broad perspective, posing for the
Congress the tasks of "addressing the political culture and the very mode of
existence of the party".

"A crucial political need =96 it says =96 is putting back on the political
agenda the issue of the transformation of society to give an immediate start
in the country to a reforming turn". The political proposal means "stressing
the refoundation".

This purpose is also expressed with two synthetic formulae: the "duality
radicalism/unity" and the emphasis on the need to "move from resistence to
proyect, that is to building the mass political moviment for the
alternative". The document as a whole is centred on this perspective of an
alternative to the capitalist system.

A good chunk of the text argues in concrete about the current political
situation =96 which sees a center-left government which exists thanks the
votes of the PRC in Parliament =96 obviously to stress the validity of the
choices made by the party in 1996, from the "pact of desistenza"
[Translator=92s Note: A no-contest agreement] with the Olive Tree=
coalition to the current line of critical support to the government.

At the same time there are elements and attempts to bring forward for a
deeper study of the following issues:
1.- The need for a clear anticapitalist perspective.
2.- The breakthrough character (in an anticapitalist direction) of the
struggles of 1968-1969.
3.- A "return to Marx", argued for by Bertinotti by saying that "(...) it is
in Marx=92 thought that the category of revolution, that is the historical
passing to a different social order, finds its highest point of elaboration,
and together with it, politics finds it"
4.- The international crisis of the workers movement, although this concept
is formulated in a vaguer and more nuanced fashion than this, linked to the
collapse of the USSR. The antimperialist choice of the PRC is restated and
with it the need to develop the struggles on a Paneuropean level.
5.- More in general the need to study and ponder over an entire century of
struggles and experiences of the international workers movement.

The current period of the capitalist system in Italy and in the world is
seen as a period of reorganisation and modernisation of capital after the
end of bipolarism, in the course of which they carry forward a social
counter-reform and new forms of authoritarianism.

Hence the "deep and structural crisis" of reformism. And it is posed the
need of a "revision, in the political culture of the workers movement, of
the relationship between demands, reforms and the transformation process".

The document insists on the need to develop the political culture of the
workers movement, by means of a critical approach towards all the concrete
experiences, towards the "different Marxisms" that existed throughout the
century. It poses the necessity to redefine the "subject of the
transformation", with a criticism both towards the apologists for new
subjects that should somehow replace the class conflict, and towards
workerists positions. And to aim for a synthesis that would incorporate "the
women=92s experience", environmentalist issues, the struggle against racism
and xenophobia.

The document outlines briefly the recent history of Italy in relation to the
"destructuring of politics", against which is poses "bringing back a meaning
to political actions" by means of gathering together different forces
committed to "outline the plan for a societal alternative". This commitment
is regarded as the watershed dividing the "two left-wings which have come
into existence in Italy". [Translator=92s Note: Reference is made to the PRC
and the other party issued from the final crisis of the Italian Communist
Party, the Partito Democratico della Sinistra (PDS =3D Democratic Party of=

In relation to the PDS, the text refers to "a left-wing that breaks with the
whole tradition of the workers movement adopting a liberal political
culture", which means a left-wing that is completely internal to the
capitalist society and does not have a perspective of going beyond it.

The PRC fixes for itself the task of "aggregating and giving force both in
Italy and in Europe to the proyect of a left-wing which is antagonistic,
anticapitalistic and for the alternative", but also to put forward a search
for unity.

Here comes the dualism "radicalism-unity", seen as a combination required to
face -- for a proyected long period of existence of the two left-wings --
what the text calls the "challenge for the hegemony" within the workers

With this in mind it proposes to the party a process of opening itself to a
dialogue with society, and here it raises "the struggle against any form of
sectarianism and conservatorism".

It is argued that this struggle is meant as a political-cultural opennes and
cannot be seen as "the way to weaken and delegitimate political dissent from
the political line" nor, much less "as a way to solve the internal disputes
within the leading bodies; disputes which should be solved with the
democratic method of participation and with the development of the ability
to understand the richness in the pluralist composition of the leading=

This is also connected to a political argument with the "closed, sectarian"
views attributed to the internal oppositors. The document argues in
substance that the Prodi government should be to supported because it can
open a reforming season to improve the conditions of working people.
--Luciano Dondero--

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