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Conclusion: The ‘Red Resistance’ and Its Myths

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Abstract

This chapter explores the echoes of the so-called Red Resistance in the culture of the postwar Italian Left and especially in the post-1968 extra-parliamentary Left. Tracing the continual re-emergence of militant anti-fascism and the politics of insurrection, it points to the disappointed hopes of the Resistance period that continued to fuel political violence. It presents repressed partisan radicalism as an enduring factor for instability in Togliatti’s new Communist Party, as in the new Republic itself.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-76489-0_10
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Notes

  1. 1.

    ‘Festa AN tra cori e braccia tese’. La Repubblica, 29.4.2008.

  2. 2.

    Quoted in Giuli, Alessandro 2007, Il passo delle oche, Turin: Einaudi, p. 38.

  3. 3.

    See 2.1, the obituary in MCd’I. 1944. I nostri martiri. Rome: Bandiera Rossa, as well as Saracino, Lello. 2015. Il tenore partigiano, Roma: Alegre.

  4. 4.

    ‘Alemanno celebra le Fosse Ardeatine’. La Repubblica, 6.5.2008. Sabatini’s words are displayed at the caves although he was in fact executed at the Forte Bravetta six weeks after the Fosse Ardeatine atrocity.

  5. 5.

    Ibid.

  6. 6.

    ‘“La Resistenza non si discute” ma Alemanno tace sul fascismo’. L’Unità, 6.5.2008. My emphasis.

  7. 7.

    ‘Alemanno la memoria è un dovere’ and ‘Alemanno celebra le Fosse Ardeatine’. La Repubblica, 6.5.2008.

  8. 8.

    See, for example, Magri, Lucio. 2012. The Tailor of Ulm. London: Verso.

  9. 9.

    See Traverso, Enzo. 2016. Left-Wing Melancholia. Marxism, History, and Memory. New York: Columbia University Press. for useful reflection on this theme.

  10. 10.

    On the history of Rifondazione Comunista, see Favilli, Paolo. 2011. In direzione ostinata e contraria: per una storia di Rifondazione comunista. Rome: DeriveApprodi.

  11. 11.

    ‘Bandiera Rossa’. Bandiera Rossa, 5.10.1943.

  12. 12.

    ‘Chiarificazione’. Bandiera Rossa, 5.10.1943.

  13. 13.

    MCd’I, I nostri martiri.

  14. 14.

    For example, the highly tendentious works by Roberto Guzzo, 1945. L’Inferno dei vivi, Rome: EILES and 1964 [under pseudonym ‘Giorgio Genzius’]. Tormento e gloria. Verità alla ribalta, Florence: Guzzo; it is briefly but not incisively discussed in Chilanti, Felice. 1969. Ex. Milan: Pesce d’Oro.

  15. 15.

    Notably Corvisieri, Silverio. 1968. Bandiera Rossa nella Resistenza romana. Rome: Samonà e Savelli.

  16. 16.

    See Di Loreto, Pietro. 1991. Togliatti e la “doppiezza”. Il PCI tra democrazia e insurrezione 1944–1949. Bologna: il Mulino and Zaslavsky, Victor. 2004. Lo stalinismo e la sinistra italiana: dal mito dell’Urss alla fine del comunismo: 1945–1991. Milan: Mondadori.

  17. 17.

    See the conference minutes: Procacci, Giuliano et al. (eds.). 1994. The Cominform: minutes of the three conferences, 1947/1948/1949. Milan: Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. Zhdanov’s cutting criticisms of the PCI appear from p. 195.

  18. 18.

    On this episode see Behan, Tom. 1996. ‘“Going Further” The Aborted Italian Insurrection of July 1948’. Left History, Vol. 3.2–4.1. Teenage MCd’I member Osvaldo Schiavoni (interview with DB, 28.11.2012) reports that upon disinterring his weapon buried after Liberation, his father found it no longer worked.

  19. 19.

    Notable was the playing down of the military aspect of this episode in later PCI communications to party members on the success of the strike that followed: see the article ‘Esperienze di un grande sciopero’, from Quaderno dell’Attivista, August 1948 (published in book form by Mazzotta in 1976).

  20. 20.

    Mafai, Miriam. 1984. L’uomo che sognava la lotta armata, Milan: Rizzoli took this as its title. For a superior biography, see Albertaro, Marco. 2014. Le rivoluzioni non cadono dal cielo. Pietro Secchia, una vita di parte, Bari: Laterza.

  21. 21.

    ‘Il sinistrismo: la maschera della Gestapo’. La Nostra Lotta, November 1943.

  22. 22.

    See Wright, Steve. 1998. ‘Missed Opportunities—New Left Readings of the Italian Resistance’. In Davidson, Alastair and Steve Wright (eds.). ‘Never Give In’. The Italian Resistance and Politics. New York: Peter Lang.

  23. 23.

    For example, Del Carria, Renzo. 1970. Proletari senza rivoluzione. Rome: Oriente and Bermani, Cesare. 1997. Il nemico interno. Rome: Odradek.

  24. 24.

    See, for example, Pantaloni, Alberto. 2011. ‘La dissoluzione di Lotta Continua nella Torino della seconda metà degli anni “70”’. Thesis, Florence University, p. 44.

  25. 25.

    See Franzinelli, Mimmo and Alessandro Giacone. 2020. 1960. L’Italia sull’orlo della guerra civile: Il racconto di una pagina oscura della Repubblica. Milan: Mondadori.

  26. 26.

    Basso, Lelio. 1965. ‘Il rapporto tra rivoluzione democratica e rivoluzione socialista nella Resistenza’. Critica Marxista, III/4, July–August.

  27. 27.

    Ibid.

  28. 28.

    Quazza, Guido. 1976. Resistenza e storia d’Italia: problemi e ipotesi di ricerca. Milan: Feltrinelli.

  29. 29.

    Lanzardo, Liliana. 1974. Classe operaia e partito comunista alla Fiat: la strategia della collaborazione: 1945–1949. Turin: Einaudi.

  30. 30.

    Gobbi, Romolo. 1973. Operai e Resistenza. Turin: Musolini.

  31. 31.

    The aforementioned Corvisieri, Bandiera Rossa nella resistenza romana.

  32. 32.

    Wright, ‘Missed Opportunities—New Left Readings of the Italian Resistance’, p. 87, cites a letter sent by one woman to Lotta Continua after the killing of a comrade: ‘Altogether, comrades, if we are communists and not just anti-fascists, I believe it’s because we don’t struggle against the hand of capital but against capital itself. It’s capital’s headquarters that must be blown up, not just those of the fascists, to [a]venge the death of comrade Rossi’.

  33. 33.

    ‘Franceschini: Le Brigate Rosse usarono armi dei partigiani’, La Repubblica, 5.9.1990 and Franceschini, Alberto. 2001. ‘Alberto Franceschini: quando fondai le Brigate Rosse’, at http://bit.ly/2xPW1yD, each boasted of the Red Brigades’ roots in the partisan war.

  34. 34.

    Pantaloni, ‘La dissoluzione di Lotta Continua nella Torino della seconda metà degli anni “70”’, offers an interesting focus on Lotta Continua in Turin.

  35. 35.

    See the first chapter of Broder, David. 2020. First They Took Rome: How the Populist Right Conquered Italy, London: Verso, for the effects this scandal had on the wider Italian political system.

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Broder, D. (2021). Conclusion: The ‘Red Resistance’ and Its Myths. In: The Rebirth of Italian Communism, 1943–44. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-76489-0_10

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