Italy Between the 1960’s and 1970’s Part 3
In the meantime, the reunification process was underway within the two socialist parties. In November 1965, the XXXVI national congress of the PSI was held (the autonomist current had obtained 80% of the votes against 18% of the Lombardians, but the positions of the two leaders of the autonomist current began to differ due to the reserves of De Martino on the certainties of Nenni) and a “period of common action and common responsibilities at party, parliamentary group and local government level” was proposed to the PSDI. In early January 1966, in Naples, the XIV national congress of the PSDI reaffirmed its unanimous propensity for unification. A joint committee was charged with preparing the charter of principles, the statute and the transitional norms of the new party; the documents were prepared during the summer (on the ideological and programmatic level we were referring to the principles of the Socialist International and on the organizational level it was foreseen a duplicity of offices at all levels up to the first national congress), extraordinary congresses of the two parties, which ratified the agreements and merged, on October 30, into what was called the Socialist Constituent Assembly. Nenni, who had fought more tenaciously for that result, was proclaimed president of the new party, while the secretariat was hired by De Martino for the former PSI and by Tanassi for the former PSDI. Shortly thereafter, having overcome the economic phase, having marked a full recovery in 1966, and approaching the end of the legislature, the urgent problem of a the broadest possible implementation of the original reform agenda. This was the subject of the so-called “verification” requested by the new unified socialist party against the DC, which led to a general agreement in early March 1967 on the prompt approval of the five-year plan (which was definitively approved by the Chamber within a few days and the Senate in July) and on the electoral law of regional councils, which came into force in February 1968.
As the political elections, set for May 19, 1968, approached, the coalition could, yes, claim to have made the country overcome the economic crisis and to have led to the approval of some of the main programmatic hinges, but it could not but be affected by the disappointment aroused by the postponed implementations or by the opposition raised by counterproductive measures such as that on pensions, taken almost on the eve of the elections: not to mention the heavy climate for the sudden and sensational student revolt that spread between the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968 in Italian universities. It was a revealing explosion of a precarious university situation, but which assumed precise political and social meanings,
In August 1964, Togliatti suddenly died in Yalta, leaving behind a document critical of Soviet politics, which claimed a wider margin of autonomy for individual communist parties. It happened to him at the party secretariat L. Longo. But the repudiation of the line taken by the Chinese Communist Party, in the great schism that tore the communist world, raised opposition and criticism in the name of revolutionary principles and led to the creation of small but numerous Marxist-Leninist nuclei outside and to the left of the PCI; Longo’s new direction, within the broader framework of the line of international detente and the development of national paths to socialism, was driven to evaluate the effective possibilities of action in Italy and of possible confluences with other forces. Thus was launched in 1964 the idea of a single party of the Italian left, or prospects of convergence with the Catholic left, what was called the “conciliar republic”, were advanced. The same IX national congress of the PCI, held in Rome at the end of January 1965, debated these perspectives and in any case revealed an internal ferment that until then had not had the opportunity to manifest itself and a differentiation of positions between the right of Amendola and the left of Ingrao.
According to Mysteryaround, the elections of May 1968 marked a further decline compared to 1963 for the center-left parties, down from 59.6 to 55.6%, but with a difference compared to the previous elections. If then the decline had been almost entirely of the DC, this time it was all of the new unified socialist party. The DC increased slightly from 38.3 to 39.1%, and so did the PRI from 1.4 to 2%. The electoral body, on the other hand, shattered the hopes placed on unification, causing the new formation to lose as much as 5.4% of the votes (from a total of 19.9 to 14.5%). A large part of these votes converged on the PSIUP (4.5%), towards which the new protesting youth groups were mainly oriented, and a part instead contributed to the further success of the PCI, which increased from 25.3 to 26, 9%. On the right all the parties dropped: the PLI from 7.0 to 5.8%, the PDIUM from 1.8 to 1.3% and the MSI from 5.1 to 4.5% with an overall loss of 2.3%. The bitter electoral disappointment led to the decision of the ministerial “disengagement” in the unified socialist party, making the attempt by the Hon. Rumor of setting up a new center-left government, in place of Moro sacrificed by the DC as a result of the defeat of the coalition.