In 1991 the Italian Communist Party completed its long process of social-democratization. For many years the PCI was proud of its 'communist identity' and even of its 'diversity' in the context of the national political system and the European left. For several decades it was not only the main force of the Italian workers' movement but also the biggest Communist party in the capitalist West. But at its last congress in Rimini it abandoned its historic name and took that of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS). At the end of such an itinerary a balance sheet is necessary. In From the PCI to the PDS, Livio Maitan looks at some key moments in PCI history and underlines the problems and contradictions that prepared the conditions for its final turn.
Livio Maitan (1923-2004) was active in the ltalian workers' movement since the beginning of the Second World War. A national organizer of the Socialist Youth at the Liberation, he broke with social democracy in 1947. Since 1991 he was in the leadership of the Party of Communist Refoundation. He taught sociology at the University of Rome and translated and introduced almost all the ltalian editions of Trotsky's writings. His works in English include Party, Army and Masses in China (1976).