Italian communism and violence, 1921-48

Spring / Summer 2010

This article deals with the relationship between communism and violence in Italy in the years 1921-1948. The author describes the different phases during which the Italian labour movement resorted to violent methods of struggle (both as defence and as an instrument of aggression), focusing in particular on the origins of this phenomenon, and the idea of violence as reflected in the writings of Gramsci, Bordiga, Togliatti and other communist leaders; the struggle against fascism; the Resistance; and finally the outburst of violence following the attempt on Palmiro Togliatti’s life in 1948. The article proposes to analyse the violence employed and theorised by the Italian communists as having the ‘lawmaking character’ mentioned by Benjamin.


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TCC2 Communism and political violence