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.
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.
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.
The powerful Soviet Union, reaching with her satellites to the borders of the peninsula, suggests to the majority of Italians a ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more