FOREIGN observers of the Italian political situation have the advantage of a comprehensive view. Italians themselves, on the other hand, are acquainted with a host of details which have to be taken into consideration in the formulation of an efficient line of action. Sometimes those who rely on the bird's-eye view make trouble when they attempt to advise those who have to put the advice into practice. Take the attempt of the British Labor Party to unite the forces of Italian Socialism. The result of this attempt is that today there are two Socialist parties in Italy where before there was one. Or take the effort of the American trade unions to create a single non-Communist Italian labor force. The Minister of Transportation has just told me that there now are eight railway workers' unions where six months ago there were two.
Of course the mistakes that foreigners make about Italy are no different from the mistakes made by Italian observers in other countries. I know this from my own experience when I was in exile during the Fascist régime. After I had spent a fortnight in France I was sure that I understood that country completely, but after 18 years I was completely in the dark and found the political setup unutterably complex and mysterious. Fortunately for the French, I was a mere exile and had none of the influence wielded in Italy by the British Labor Party and the American trade unions.
Those who read this article will find neither a complete explanation of what is going on in Italy today nor a key to the solution of all her problems, but merely information on various details and an Italian politician's opinion on certain questions of interest not only to Italy but to other countries as well. The first thing I must say is that in my view the democracy which was installed in Italy after the fall of Fascism is in crisis. But let me add quickly that
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