Courtesy Reuters

The Socialist Alternative in Italy

WHEN Fascism fell in Italy, the old Italian Socialist Party, survivor of many vicissitudes since its founding in 1892, reappeared upon the political scene bound by a "joint action" agreement with the Communists. The pact had been drawn up first in France in 1934, at a critical point in the struggle of the anti-Fascist underground and on the eve of the creation of the French Popular Front. The aim was to assure the future unity of the working class to which both Socialists and Communists appealed on the basis of Marxist principles. After the war, the agreement continued to function smoothly enough so long as all the anti-Fascist parties hung together in the Italian governments stemming from the Committee of National Liberation and so long as the Western Powers continued to be on good terms with Soviet Russia. In October 1946 it was officially reaffirmed.

But gradually the structure of Italian political life became more complex. Each of the parties assumed a function of its own, and at the same time the rift between Russia and the West widened. Now there was less harmony within the Socialist Party regarding coöperation with the Communists. One group held that an organic bond with them was essential in the interest of the working class; another, represented by two periodicals, Critica sociale and Iniziativa socialista, took a stand for independence of action and accused Pietro Nenni, the leader of the first group, of having subordinated the interests of the party to the strategic designs of the Soviet Union. At the party convention in January 1947 the second group, led by Giuseppe Saragat, cut itself away. Saragat resigned from the presidency of the Constitutional Assembly and organized the Right-Wing Socialists, now the Italian Social Democratic Party; Nenni left the vice-presidency of the Cabinet and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, though retaining leadership of the group which continued under the Socialist name.

At first Premier Alcide De Gasperi did not alter the make-up of the government, in which all the

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