The predominance of the Italian Communist Party and its promotion of the ideas of Gramsci have resulted in much of the history of the revolutionary left in Italy being obscured if not totally hidden. This issue of Revolutionary History corrects this imbalance by presenting for the first time in the English language a series of essays which describe the rise and development of the Italian Trotskyist and Left Communist movements from the late 1920s through to the aftermath of the Second World War, as they fought in exceedingly difficult circumstances tomaintain the revolutionary Marxist tradition against the Stalinist degeneration of the Communist International.
Many of the contributions have been written by Paulo Casciola, a prominent historian of the Italian labour movement. Amongst them is a detailed account of Pietro Tresso's political odyssey, from his expulsion from the Central Committee of the Communist Party, through his role as a leader of the Italian Trotskyist organisation, to his death, which was almost certainly the work of a French Stalinist hit squad. Paulo Casciola also provides vivid pen portraits of other prominent Italian Trotskyists of the period, outlining their activity under Mussolini's Fascist regime, in exile in France, and during the Spanish Civil War.
The Allied invasion of Italy in 1943 and the ensuing fall of Mussolini were accompanied by a remarkable political ferment, and a tremendous upsurge in working class militancy. Arturo Peregalli, another leading authority on the Italian labour movement, has provided a substantial description of the wide range of left wing groupings which emerged during this stormy period, including the Internationalist Communist Party, a Left Communist organisation. Paulo Casciola describes the activity of the Trotskyists during this period, and the problematic relationship that they had with the leadership of the Fourth International, whilst the noted French historian Pierre Broue gives an overview to the general political scene in Italy, showing the pernicious role of the Communist Party as it succeeded in derailing the revolutionary situation, and diverting the working class into supporting a bourgeois government that would be acceptable to Churchill and Roosevelt as well as to Stalin.
- From the back cover