Eurocommunism was a revisionist trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties, which said they had developed a theory and practice of social transformation more relevant for Western Europe. During the Cold War, they sought to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was especially prominent in Italy, Spain and France.
The origin of the term "Eurocommunism" was subject to great debate in the mid-1970s, being attributed to Zbigniew Brzezinski and Arrigo Levi, among others. Jean-François Revel once wrote that "one of the favourite amusements of 'political scientists' is to search for the author of the term Eurocommunism". In April 1977, Deutschland Archiv decided that the word was first used in the summer of 1975 by Yugoslav journalist Frane Barbieri, former editor of Belgrade's NIN newsmagazine. Outside Western Europe, it is sometimes referred to as "neocommunism". This theory stresses greater "independence".
According to Perry Anderson, the main theoretical foundation of Eurocommunism was Antonio Gramsci's writing about Marxist theory which questioned the sectarianism of the left and encouraged communist parties to develop social alliances to win hegemonic support for social reforms. Early inspirations can also be found in Austro-Marxism and its seeking of a "third" democratic "way" to socialism.
Eurocommunist parties expressed their fidelity to democratic institutions more clearly than before and attempted to widen their appeal by embracing public sector middle-class workers, new social movements such as feminism and gay liberation and more publicly questioning the Soviet Union. However, Eurocommunism did not go as far as the Anglosphere-centred New Left movement, which had originally borrowed from the French nouvelle gauche, but in the course of the events went past their academic theorists, largely abandoning Marxist historical materialism, class struggle and its traditional institutions such as communist parties.
The Prague Spring and particularly its crushing by the Soviet Union in 1968 became a turning point for the communist world. Romania's leader Nicolae Ceauşescu staunchly criticized the Soviet invasion in a speech, explicitly declaring his support for the Czechoslovakian leadership under Alexander Dubček, and while the communist parties of Portugal, South Africa and the United States supported the Soviet position, the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) firmly denounced the occupation. Even the leadership of the Communist Party of Finland and the Communist Party of France (PCF), which had pleaded for conciliation, expressed their disapproval about the Soviet intervention, with the PCF thereby publicly criticizing a Soviet action for the first time in its history. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) suffered a major split over the internal disputes regarding the Prague Spring, with the pro-Dubček faction breaking ties with the Soviet leadership and founding the KKE Interior. The usually very pro-Soviet Communist Party of Ireland initially condemned the invasion, but later changed their stance, resulting in the short-lived Eurocommunist split the Irish Marxist Society.
Some communist parties with strong popular support, notably the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) adopted Eurocommunism most enthusiastically. The Communist Party of Finland was dominated by Eurocommunists. In the 1980s, the traditional, pro-Soviet faction broke away, calling the main party revisionist. At least one mass party, the French Communist Party (PCF), as well as many smaller parties strongly opposed to Eurocommunism and stayed aligned to the positions of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union until the end of the Soviet Union (although the PCF did make a brief turn toward Eurocommunism in the mid-to-late 1970s).
The PCE and its Catalan referent, the United Socialist Party of Catalonia, had already been committed to the liberal possibilist politics of the Popular Front during the Spanish Civil War. The leader of the PCE, Santiago Carrillo, wrote Eurocommunism's defining book Eurocomunismo y estado (Eurocommunism and the State) and participated in the development of the liberal democratic constitution as Spain emerged from the dictatorship of Franco. The communist parties of Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria also turned Eurocommunist.
The PCI in particular had been developing an independent line from Moscow for many years prior, which had already been exhibited in 1968, when the party refused to support the Soviet invasion of Prague. In 1975, the PCI and the PCE had made a declaration regarding the "march toward socialism" to be done in "peace and freedom". In 1976, Berlinguer had spoken of a "pluralistic system" ("sistema pluralistico" translated by the interpreter as "multiform system") in Moscow and in front of 5,000 communist delegates described PCI's intentions to build "a socialism that we believe necessary and possible only in Italy". The compromesso storico ("historic compromise") with Democrazia Cristiana, stopped by the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro in 1978, was a consequence of this new policy.
The Communist Party of Finland changed its leadership already in 1965 with leadership post changing from the Stalinist Aimo Aaltonen, who had even a picture of Berija in his office, to a "revisionist", quite popular Trade Union man, Aarne Saarinen. The same happened and even more drastically when Finnish People's Democratic League changed its leadership also, with the reformist Ele Alenius leading it. In 1968 CPFI (and) FPDL were the only parties to directly oppose the actions of the Soviet militarship in Prague in 1968, thus the two organizations split de facto into two different parties, one reformist and one hard-line Soviet. What was peculiar was that the Youth was nearly completely Taistolaist. Progress was hard to make as the party accorded that the Taistolaist strongly pro-Soviet movement named after their leader, Taisto Sinisalo, had equal rights of power in the party though it was a minority and the vast majority of the CPFI/FPDL was Eurocommunist. In 1984, with a strong Eurocommunist majority the PCFI hard-line organizations were massively expelled from the already weakened party. Pro-Soviet hard-liners formed their own cover-organization, "Democratic Movement". In 1990, the new Left Alliance integrated the CPFI/FPDL, but FPDL:s ex secretary Alenius chose not to be member of it because they also took hard-line Taistolaists.
Western European communists came to Eurocommunism via a variety of routes. For some, it was their direct experience of feminist and similar action while for others it was a reaction to the political events of the Soviet Union at the apogee of what Mikhail Gorbachev later called the Era of Stagnation. This process was accelerated after the events of 1968, particularly the crushing of the Prague Spring. The politics of détente also played a part. With war less likely, Western communists were under less pressure to follow Soviet orthodoxy yet also wanted to engage with a rise in western proletarian militancy such as Italy's Hot Autumn and Britain's shop steward's movement.
Eurocommunism was in many ways only a staging ground for changes in the political structure of the European left. Some – principally the Italians – became social democrats while others like the Dutch CPN moved into green politics and the French party during the 1980s reverted to a more pro-Soviet stance.
Eurocommunism became a force across Europe in 1977, when Enrico Berlinguer of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), Santiago Carrillo of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and Georges Marchais of the French Communist Party (PCF) met in Madrid and laid out the fundamental lines of the "new way".
Eurocommunist ideas won at least partial acceptance outside of Western Europe. Prominent parties influenced by it outside of Europe were the Movement for Socialism (Venezuela), the Japanese Communist Party, the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of Australia. Mikhail Gorbachev also refers to eurocommunism as a key influence on the ideas of glasnost and perestroika in his memoirs.
The breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War put practically all leftist parties in Europe on the defensive and made neoliberal reforms the order of the day. Many Eurocommunist parties split, with the right factions (such as Democratici di Sinistra or Iniciativa per Catalunya) adopting social democracy more whole-heartedly, while the left strove to preserve some identifiably communist positions (Communist Refoundation Party in Italy or PSUC viu/Communist Party of Spain).
Two main criticisms have been advanced against Eurocommunism. First, it is alleged by critics that Eurocommunists showed a lack of courage in definitively breaking off from the Soviet Union (for example, the Italian Communist Party took this step only in 1981 after the repression of Solidarność in Poland). This "timidity" has been explained as the fear of losing old members and supporters, many of whom admired the Soviet Union, or with a realpolitik desire to keep the support of a strong and powerful country.
Other critics point out the difficulties the Eurocommunist parties had in developing a clear and recognisable strategy. They observe that Eurocommunists have always claimed to be different – not only from Soviet communism, but also from social democracy – while in practice they were always very similar to at least one of these two tendencies. Critics thus argue that Eurocommunism does not have a well-defined identity and cannot be regarded as a separate movement in its own right.
From a Trotskyist point of view, Ernest Mandel in From Stalinism to Eurocommunism: The Bitter Fruits of 'Socialism in One Country'' views Eurocommunism as a subsequent development of the decision taken by the Soviet Union in 1924 to abandon the goal of world revolution and concentrate on social and economic development of the Soviet Union, the doctrine of "socialism in one country". According to this vision, the Eurocommunists of the Italian and French communist parties are considered to be nationalist movements, who together with the Soviet Union abandoned internationalism.
From an anti-revisionist point of view, Enver Hoxha in Eurocommunism is Anti-Communism argues that Eurocommunism is the result of Nikita Khrushchev's policy of peaceful coexistence. Khrushchev was accused of being a revisionist who encouraged conciliation with the bourgeoisie rather than adequately calling for its overthrow by the dictatorship of the proletariat. He also stated that the Soviet Union's refusal to reject Palmiro Togliatti's theory of polycentrism encouraged the various pro-Soviet communist parties to moderate their views in order to join cabinets, which in turn forced them to abandon Marxism–Leninism as their leading ideology.
More generally, from the point of view of most revolutionary left-wing movements Eurocommunism simply meant an abandonment of basic communist principles, such as the call for a proletarian revolution, which eventually led many Eurocommunists to abandon communism or even socialism altogether (by giving up their commitment to overthrow capitalism). Such critics felt strongly vindicated when several Eurocommunist parties scrapped their communist credentials following the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Conference of Communist and Workers Parties of Europe was an international meeting of communist parties, held in the city of East Berlin, capital of the communist-governed East Germany, on 29–30 June 1976. In all, 29 parties from all Europe (except Albania, Iceland and some microstates) participated in the conference.The conference highlighted several important changes in the European communist movement. It exhibited the declining influence of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and a widening gap between the independent and orthodox camps amongst European communist parties, with the ascent of a new political trend, Eurocommunism.1981 in Mexico
Events in the year 1981 in Mexico.Austromarxism
Austro-Marxism was a Marxist theoretical current, led by Victor Adler, Otto Bauer, Karl Renner and Max Adler, members of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria in Austria-Hungary and the First Austrian Republic (1918–1934). It is known for its theory of nationality and nationalism, and its attempt to conciliate it with socialism in the imperial context. Hence, Otto Bauer thought of the "personal principle" as a way of gathering the geographically divided members of the same nation. In Social Democracy and the Nationalities Question (1907), he wrote that "The personal principle wants to organize nations not in territorial bodies but in simple association of persons", thus radically disjoining the nation from the territory and making of the nation a non-territorial association.C.-H. Hermansson
Carl-Henrik "C.-H." Hermansson (14 December 1917 – 26 July 2016) was a Swedish politician. He was born in Bollnäs. He was chairman of the Communist Party of Sweden (during his leadership renamed to the Left Party – Communists) from 1964 to 1975 and member of parliament from 1963 to 1985. He was a major force in redirecting the Left Party Communists policies away from Moscow loyalism towards Eurocommunism and Scandinavian Popular Socialism. He wrote several books regarding capitalism and the owners of the large corporations, as well as on communists and the policies of the left.
At the time of Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, Hermansson praised Stalin as a brilliant scientist and a great leader. He subsequently regretted this and referred to his own words about Stalin as reprehensible. Hermansson died on 26 July 2016 at the age of 98.Communism
In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism and anarchism (anarcho-communism), as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism; that in this system there are two major social classes; that conflict between these two classes is the root of all problems in society; and that this situation will ultimately be resolved through a social revolution.
The two classes are the working class—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production.
The revolution will put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production, which according to this analysis is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.
Critics of communism can be roughly divided into those concerning themselves with the practical aspects of 20th century communist states and those concerning themselves with communist principles and theory.Marxism-Leninism and democratic socialism were the two dominant forms of socialism in the 20th century; democratic socialism advocates economic reform through gradual democratic legislative action rather than through revolution.Enrico Berlinguer
Enrico Berlinguer (Italian: [enˈriːko berliŋˈɡwɛr] (listen); 15 May 1922 – 11 June 1984) was an Italian politician.
Considered the most popular leader of the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano or PCI), which he led as the national secretary from 1972 until his death during a tense period in Italy's history, marked by the Years of Lead and social conflicts such as the Hot Autumn of 1969–1970. He distanced the party from the influence of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and pursued a moderate line, repositioning the party within Italian politics and advocating accommodation and national unity. This strategy came to be termed Eurocommunism and he was seen as its main spokesperson. It would come to be adopted by Western Europe's other significant communist parties, in Spain, Portugal and later France, its significance as a political force cemented by a 1977 meeting in Madrid between Berlinguer, Georges Marchais and Santiago Carrillo. Berlinguer himself described his "alternative" model of socialism, distinct from both the Soviet bloc and the capitalism practiced by Western countries during the Cold War, as the terza via or "third way", although his usage of the term has no relation to the more centrist Third Way practiced by subsequent Prime Ministers Romano Prodi and Matteo Renzi.
Under Berlinguer, the PCI reached the height of its success, winning significant victories in the regional and local elections of 1975 and 34% of the vote in the 1976 general election, its highest share of the vote and number of seats. With these gains, he negotiated the Historic Compromise with the Christian Democrats, lending support to their government in exchange for consultation on policy decisions and social reforms. He took a firm stand against terrorism after the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro and used the PCI's influence to steer Italian labour unions towards moderating wage demands in order to cope with the country's severe inflation rate after the 1973 oil crisis. However, these stands were not reciprocated with sufficient concessions from Giulio Andreotti's government, leading the PCI to leave the coalition in 1979. The combination of austerity advocacy, hard line against the Red Brigades and attempts at an accommodation with the DC affected the PCI's vote at the 1979 election and the Compromise was ultimately ended in 1980. The PCI remained in national opposition for the rest of Berlinguer's tenure, retaining a solid core of support at the 1979 and 1983 elections, but its main strength from that point would remain at the regional and local level.Berlinguer had an austere and modest but charismatic personality and despite the difficulties that confronted the PCI during the historic compromise, he remained a popular politician, respected for his principles, conviction and bold stands. He characterised the PCI as an honest party in Italy's corruption-ravaged politics, an image that preserved the party's reputation during the Mani pulite corruption scandals. He was characterised by Patrick McCarthy as "the last great communist leader in Western Europe" and remains identified with the causes of Eurocommunism, opposition to Soviet repression in Eastern Europe and democratic change in Italy. He was an atheist.Greek Left
Greek Left (Greek: Ελληνική Αριστερά, Elliniki Aristera, abbreviated EAR) was a Greek political party.
It emerged, in January 1987, from the split in the Communist Party of Greece (Interior) into the Communist Party of Greece (Interior)-Renewing Left and the Greek Left. Its ideology was Eurocommunism.
In December 1988 Greek Left signed a common report with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) about the current political situation. This was the first step in the creation of Synaspismos, a coalition of parties, in February 1989. The common report was written by Mimis Androulakis and Giannis Dragasakis of the KKE and Grigoris Giannaros and Dimitrios Papadimoulis of the Greek Left. It was published in Rizospastis on 8 December 1988.Greek Left was the main power in Synaspismos, after the KKE.
Its leader was Leonidas Kyrkos and its general secretary, from 1989 to 1992, was Fotis Kouvelis.
The Greek Left participated with Synaspismos in three parliamentary elections, once in the local elections and once in the elections for the European Parliament in 1989. In 1992 it merged into Synaspismos when the latter transformed from a coalition to a single party.Historic Compromise
The Historic Compromise (Italian: Compromesso storico), called also Third Phase (Italian: Terza Fase) or Democratic Alternative (Italian: Alternativa Democratica), was an Italian historical political alliance and accommodation between the Christian Democrats (DC) and the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in the 1970s.Hot Potato (1979 film)
Hot Potato (Italian: La patata bollente) is a 1979 Commedia all'italiana film directed by Steno. The film discusses a range of issues such as homophobia in the political left, Anni di piombo violence, working class culture, and the sustainability of Eurocommunism.Hoxhaism
Hoxhaism is a variant of anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism that developed in the late 1970s due to a split in the Maoist movement, appearing after the ideological dispute between the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania in 1978. The ideology is named after Enver Hoxha, a notable Albanian communist leader.List of communist ideologies
Self-identified communists hold a variety of views, including Marxism, Dengism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, council communism, Luxemburgism, anarcho-communism, Christian communism, Islamic socialism and various currents of left communism. The offshoots of the Leninism (Marxism–Leninism) are the most well-known of these and have been a driving force in international relations during most of the 20th century.This list includes ideologies which are or were
communist in the sense of maintaining the ideal of common ownership and control of at least the means of production (and possibly of other property) regardless whether the word "communism" is always used by the adherents of the ideology or not; and,
notable enough to be either mentioned in a non-trivial way in more than one scholarly work about history of communism, or to be an official ideology of a party at least represented in a parliament of a country with more than 1,000,000 citizens.Besides the principal communist ideologies (like Marxism or anarcho-communism), the list may contain also branches limited in their theoretical scope (e.g., Lysenkoism) or in their regional extent (e.g., Kádárism), provided they fulfill the above conditions.Marxist schools of thought
Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that frames capitalism through a paradigm of exploitation, analyzes class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. While it originates from the works of 19th century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marxism has had several different schools of thought.New Communist Party of Britain
The New Communist Party of Britain is a communist political party in Britain. The origins of the NCP lie in the Communist Party of Great Britain from which it split in 1977. The organisation takes an anti-revisionist stance on Marxist-Leninism and is opposed to Eurocommunism. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the party signed up to the Pyongyang Declaration in 1992. It publishes a newspaper named The New Worker.New Times (politics)
New Times was an intellectual movement among leftists in Great Britain in the late 1980s. It was centred on the Eurocommunist faction of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), and most of the intellectual groundwork for the movement was laid out in the latter party's official theoretical journal, Marxism Today.Nicos Poulantzas
Nicos Poulantzas (Greek: Νίκος Πουλαντζάς [ˈnikos pulanˈd͡zas]; 21 September 1936 – 3 October 1979) was a Greek-French Marxist political sociologist and philosopher. In the 1970s, Poulantzas was known, along with Louis Althusser, as a leading Structural Marxist and, while at first a Leninist, eventually became a proponent of eurocommunism. He is most well known for his theoretical work on the state, but he also offered Marxist contributions to the analysis of fascism, social class in the contemporary world, and the collapse of dictatorships in Southern Europe in the 1970s (e.g., Franco's rule in Spain, Salazar's in Portugal, and Papadopoulos' in Greece).Santiago Carrillo
Santiago José Carrillo Solares (18 January 1915 – 18 September 2012) was a Spanish politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) from 1960 to 1982. He was a key figure in Spanish communism since from the era of the Second Spanish Republic to the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy. He fought in the Spanish Civil War, his role in the Paracuellos massacres being particularly controversial. He would later be exiled, and during the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco (Francoist Spain) he was a leader of the democratic opposition to the regime. His role as leader of the PCE would later make him a key figure in the transition to democracy. He later embraced Eurocommunism and democratic socialism, and was a deputy in the Congress of Deputies from 1977 to 1986.Socialist Party of Ireland (1971)
The Socialist Party of Ireland (SPI) was a minor left-wing political party which existed in Ireland from 1971 to 1982.
The SPI was set up by ex-members of Official Sinn Féin. It was formed on 13 December 1971 in Dublin and published its political manifesto on 19 January 1972. The SPI saw itself as a hard-line Marxist-Leninist alternative to the Communist Party of Ireland, which it criticised for its “blurred philosophy, loose structure, of discipline and unity”. The SPI opposed the friendly stance taken by the CPI towards official Sinn Féin, which it saw as a “mixture of petit-bourgeois radicals, nationalists and ultra leftists”. The SPI supported the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Moscow Declaration of 1969. The party also advocated Eurocommunism in the 1970s.
It staged its first national congress in Dublin on 1–2 December 1973. The congress elected a seven-member central committee consisting of Fergus Brogan, Desmond Hughes, Deirdre Uí Bhrógáin, Éamonn Ó Fearghail, Seamus Ó Reachtagáin, Fergus Quinlan, and Séamas Ó Brógáin.
In the late 1970s, the party started discussions with several other groups with a similar policy on the National Question, including the British and Irish Communist Organisation (B&ICO) and the Limerick Socialists headed by Jim Kemmy. Eventually the three groups merged forming the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) with one elected representative in the Dáil (Parliament). The DSP eventually merged with the Irish Labour Party which became a junior partner in a coalition government.
During its life, the SPI was very active in campaigning for divorce (Divorce Action Group), contraception (Contraception Action Campaign), abortion (Right to Choose) and, in particular, opposition to nationalism and the campaign of the Provisional IRA (Socialists Against Nationalism). It supported the Two States Theory which accepted the right of the Unionist population of Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom until such time as a majority of the population choose otherwise by democratic means.The party's head office was at 23 Parliament Street, Dublin 2. In 1976, it renamed itself the "Socialist Party".
Several SPI members ran as independents in Irish elections, the most successful being Eamonn O'Brien from Ballymun, who won six percent of the vote in the Dublin County North constituency at the 1977 general election. He also joined the Workers' Party and later the Labour Party and represented Ballymun as a city councilor.
On 1 December 1982, the Socialist Party dissolved with the majority joining Jim Kemmy's Democratic Socialist Party and the others either joining the Workers' Party of Ireland or B&ICO.State monopoly capitalism
The theory of state monopoly capitalism (also referred as stamocap) was initially a Marxist doctrine popularised after World War II. Lenin had claimed in 1916 that World War I had transformed laissez-faire capitalism into monopoly capitalism, but he did not publish any extensive theory about the topic. The term refers to an environment where the state intervenes in the economy to protect larger monopolistic or oligopolistic businesses from threats.
As conceived by Lenin in his pamphlet of the same name the theory aims to describe the final historical stage of capitalism, of which he believed the Imperialism of that time to be the highest expression.Occasionally the concept also appears in neo-Trotskyist theories of state capitalism as well as in libertarian anti-state theories.
The analysis made is usually identical in its main features, but very different political conclusions are drawn from it.Western Marxism
Western Marxism is a current of Marxist theory arising from Western and Central Europe in the aftermath of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the ascent of Leninism. The term denotes a loose collection of theorists who advanced an interpretation of Marxism distinct from that codified by the Soviet Union.The Western Marxists placed more emphasis on Marxism's philosophical and sociological aspects, and its origins in the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (for which reason it is sometimes called Hegelian Marxism) and what they called "Young Marx" (i.e. the more humanistic early works of Marx). Although some early figures such as György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci had been prominent in political activities, Western Marxism became primarily the reserve of the academia especially after World War II. Prominent figures included Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.
Since the 1960s, the concept has been closely associated with the New Left. While many of the Western Marxists were adherents of Marxist humanism, the term also encompasses their critics in the form of the structural Marxism of Louis Althusser.
|Theory and practice|