Between 1918 and 1945 the British Labour Party effected the transition from the political opposition to the area of government. The transformation was not due to an innate British attitude toward a two-party system, but it was the result of a struggle to remove the taint of being a party “unfit to govern”. Thus Great Britain set an example to other European socialists. Until then communist had been saying that you could only build Socialism through dictatorship, just like in Russia, now social-democrats took Great Britain as an example of a feasible “socialism with freedom”. On two occasions British socialism became a matter of contention between the conflicting souls of the Italian left. In 1946 it became the shibboleth to distinguish fellow travelers from democratic socialists. Saragat’s social-democrats affirmed that the Italian Socialist Party should have become like the Labour Party: a democratic party, independent from communists and ready to develop ties with the middle class. On the opposite side, Basso indicated the British experience as the perfect example of social-democratic betrayal, with its rejection of revolutionary ideals and class struggle. In 1951 Piero Calamandrei had a debate with Togliatti on whether it was possible to challenge the social question in a parliamentary democracy. The secretary of the Italian Communist Party affirmed that the Western system was irredeemable, while Calamandrei held Great Britain as the only case in which political freedom coexisted with social rights. In these discussions the non-democratic left developed such objections toward the social-democratic Welfare State and mixed economy that it took various decades to be removed.

Il “campo sperimentale” del socialismo : la vittoria laburista del 1945 e i suoi riflessi sulla sinistra italiana

Ettore Costa
2011

Abstract

Between 1918 and 1945 the British Labour Party effected the transition from the political opposition to the area of government. The transformation was not due to an innate British attitude toward a two-party system, but it was the result of a struggle to remove the taint of being a party “unfit to govern”. Thus Great Britain set an example to other European socialists. Until then communist had been saying that you could only build Socialism through dictatorship, just like in Russia, now social-democrats took Great Britain as an example of a feasible “socialism with freedom”. On two occasions British socialism became a matter of contention between the conflicting souls of the Italian left. In 1946 it became the shibboleth to distinguish fellow travelers from democratic socialists. Saragat’s social-democrats affirmed that the Italian Socialist Party should have become like the Labour Party: a democratic party, independent from communists and ready to develop ties with the middle class. On the opposite side, Basso indicated the British experience as the perfect example of social-democratic betrayal, with its rejection of revolutionary ideals and class struggle. In 1951 Piero Calamandrei had a debate with Togliatti on whether it was possible to challenge the social question in a parliamentary democracy. The secretary of the Italian Communist Party affirmed that the Western system was irredeemable, while Calamandrei held Great Britain as the only case in which political freedom coexisted with social rights. In these discussions the non-democratic left developed such objections toward the social-democratic Welfare State and mixed economy that it took various decades to be removed.
Settore M-STO/04 - Storia Contemporanea
Twentieth Century Italy; Labour Party; Socialism; PSI; PCI.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/124662
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