IT IS the fashion in Italy to abuse the political parties -- those genuinely anti-Fascist groupings which, in spite of their widely differing aims, combined in 1943 to form the national and regional Committees of National Liberation (in Italian, Comitati di Liberazione Nazionale, always referred to as CLNs). These Committees made a great contribution to the defeat of Nazi-Fascism; but its magnitude was not appreciated outside Italy at the time and is now being forgotten at home. For reasons peculiar to Italy, the disillusionment which followed the end of the fighting has been even more devastating in that country than elsewhere, and Italians have found it easy to throw the blame for present conditions upon the CLN parties which are governing the nation until a Constituent Assembly can be elected. This irritation with politics and parties is exceedingly dangerous, for it is pregnant with a totalitarian mentality.
In Italy today the most urgent economic questions must be politically determined. Poverty is so great that social peace is impossible without a radical redistribution of the little wealth that, more than ever, is concentrated in the hands of a few; and this necessitates action by the state. One may be Socialist or anti-Socialist in theory in Italy today, but it is difficult not to be temporarily Socialistic in practice. This is the basis on which CLN plans for the future were worked out. The Action Party, in some ways the most interesting of the CLN groups, has evolved a program synthesizing guaranteed liberty for the individual with socialism in industry and, to some extent, in agriculture. The program is close to the line of British Labor, though more particularly to the conceptions of Beveridge. The Action Party is, however, a small one, born out of the anti-Fascist Giustizia e Libertà group; it appeals to intellectuals and has many distinguished sympathizers of the caliber of Count Sforza.
The CLN parties which have hitherto represented large masses of the population are the Christian Democrats, the Socialists
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