The policy of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) today is based on the conviction that Italy is in the grip of a very serious crisis and that the labor movement must do everything in its power to overcome this crisis. To transform Italian society in the direction of socialism - which remains our ideal - we must emerge from this crisis. If the workers, the left-wing forces, and the Communist Party did not put forward their own constructive proposals - both short-term and medium-term - aimed at preventing a deterioration of the conditions in which Italy is struggling today, if they did not contribute to a united effort of all democratic forces, the crisis might come to a head, with catastrophic results for Italian democracy. Progress toward socialism would be hopelessly delayed; there might be a very grave political and social slide backward.
At the same time, it will be impossible to pull Italy out of the crisis without effecting certain far-reaching social reforms, substantial changes in policy and methods of government. This is why we say that economic, social and political reforms and victory over the crisis are two sides of the same coin. In this light, we have worked in recent years for a loyal collaboration among all democratic political parties, especially among the larger parties - the Christian Democrats (DC), the Communists (PCI), and the Socialists (PSI); this collaboration has been developing, in fact, since the general election of June 1976 and has already borne fruit. Italy is in a phase of transition, but certain basic conditions for real change have been agreed upon, although considerable difficulties and dangers still lie ahead, as the recent dramatic events have pointed out once again.
But what is the "Italian crisis"? What are its main characteristics? We fully realize that the whole global system of economic relations is in crisis. When the dollar was declared nonconvertible in 1971, there began a long period of monetary instability; and the sudden sharp rise in oil
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