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Strong Communist Thrust In Italy

The biggest Communist Party in the Democratic West exists today in Italy.

What causes have given rise to such a strong communist movement, with a membership of over 1,250,000 members? Youth organizations and fellow-travelers boost the total past 2,000,000.

Historical Causes

The fact that Italy is 99 per cent Roman Catholic accounts for much. For long generations, especially since the Counter Reformation, the Italian people have been nurtured with a religious system and doctrine which in denying freedom of investigation has deprived them of an effective sense of personal responsibility. This facilitated the rise of a formalistic and hence anti-democratic mind (for democracy requires freedom of thought and speech). In addition, the Italians were governed till 1870 by a number of absolute monarchies. They were kept bereft of many civil rights; to speak of freedom and democracy was a crime. This antidemocratic stream provided the cadres of Fascism, just as today it provides the cadres of communism. At the end of World War II, when Fascism collapsed, many leaders and members were accepted into the Communist Party. Entire brigades of fascist militia entered communist organizations.

Economic Causes

Poverty in Italy is a chronic disease. Many factors contribute to its permanence: shortage of resources, unemployment, underemployment, overpopulation and the egotism of privileged classes. These factors induce a large mass to long for an overthrow of the present situation, and to look at the Communist Party as the only agency able to operate such a change.

Political Causes

The powerful Soviet Union, reaching with her satellites to the borders of the peninsula, suggests to the majority of Italians a ...

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