Italian Communist Party

   The Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano—PCI) emerged in 1921 when advocates of Leninism broke away from the Italian Socialist Party. The PCI was declared illegal by Italian premier Benito Mussolini in 1926, though under the direction of Antonio Gramsci and after his imprisonment Palmiro Togliatti it continued as an underground organization. Having been re-legalized in 1944, the PCI was a constituent of coalition governments until 1947, though it suffered defeat in the general election a year later. Though never formally taking office, the PCI lent its support to left-wing governments in Italy from this time onwards. Under Luigi Longo, the party moved closer to the Soviet Union and received generous aid from Leonid Brezhnev’s administration. However, the emergence of Enrico Berlinguer as PCI leader saw the party cast aside its MarxismLeninism and promulgate eurocommunism. After Moscow refused to condemn Czechoslovakian support for the terrorist Red Brigades, in 1979 the PCI severed all ties with the Soviet Union. In the 1980s, it shed its Marxist ideals entirely and transformed into a social democratic party, before disbanding in 1991 to form the moderate Democratic Party of the Left (Partito Democratico della Sinistra—PDS).

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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