A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988
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From a war-torn and poverty-stricken country, regional and predominantly agrarian, to the success story of recent years, Italy has witnessed the most profound transformation--economic, social and demographic--in its entire history. Yet the other recurrent theme of the period has been the overwhelming need for political reform--and the repeated failure to achieve it. Professor Ginsborg's authoritative work--the first to combine social and political perspectives--is concerned with both the tremendous achievements of contemporary Italy and "the continuities of its history that have not been easily set aside."
died in the attempt to transplant it. 105 Some care must be taken not to exaggerate beyond bounds the real extent of this powerful Catholic subculture. The Coldiretti organized 200,000 peasant families in the Veneto, but as Cittante admitted there were another 150,000 in the region who had not joined. In the diocese of Vicenza there were 95,000 members of Catholic Action in 1958, but this represented only around IS per cent of the population.106 Even in its heyday, and even in its heartland,
recover their sense of self-respect and national dignity if they fought against the Germans without offering any truce at all. They also refused to have anything to do with Mussolini's attempts to woo the working class by proclaiming an advanced programme of 'socialization' of the factories under the control of the Republic of Salo.36 Only a tiny percentage of workers voted in the elections for the internal factory commissions which Mussolini had established, and clandestine 'com mittees of
Communists postponed in the honourable name of national unity, their oppqnents acted, decided, manoeuvred and, not surprisingly, triumphed. The king, Badoglio, the Allies, the church hierarchy, the southern landowners, the northern capitalists, every one of them continued to pursue their objectives with all the means at their dis posal. Of course, any determined Communist policy of pursuing social and political objectives at the same time as the war of liberation would have encountered stiff
boards were not as bad, but all were valuable sources of local patronage for the D C. They were also un democratic and authoritarian towards the peasants themselves. The ob136 ligatory cooperatives set up by the reform in Calabria were resounding . failures. At a post-reform conference organized by the D C, peasant dele gates were highly critical of the relationship between reform bureacracy and peasant assignee. As one of them said: 'It should be the peasant owner who seeks the collaboration
Others have referred to the state being 'colonized' by the dominant political party. Others still have referred to the 'symbiosis' between party, government and state.24 All have grasped the essential element of the continuity and permanence of Christian Democrat power, with its inevitable consequences for the relationship between party and state. However, permanence in power did not go hand in hand with unity of purpose. If we examine Christian Democrat strategy as it developed in the 1950s, we