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Which Socialism, Whose Détente?

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Maud Bracke

Part I. West European communism and internationalism, 1956–1967

Chapter 3. West European Communism and Internationalism, 1962–1967

Texte intégral

1Two major developments in the 1960s dramatically changed the international situation in which the West European communist parties operated: the Sino–Soviet dispute and the coming of European détente. The situation inside the communist world was at this point a highly complex one, and the PCI and PCF took part in the many disputes and positioned themselves with regard to the multiple cleavages. With a few exceptions, the literature dealing with the PCI and PCF in this period has not fully investigated the interactions between these parties’ domestic developments and the complex interplay within the world communist movement. Here, the impact of the conflicts inside the world communist movement on these parties’ general developments is at the centre of attention, and will be dealt with in some detail in the first part of the chapter. In the second part of the chapter, the changes in these parties’ internationalism will be further explained in as far as they depended on domestic developments and on the situation of both countries in the East–West conflict.

2The analysis looks at the domestic impacts of European détente in France and Italy and identifies the conditions of “domestic détente” in the two cases, or the gradual integration of the communist party into the political system and society. The relation between the impacts of European détente on the one hand, and domestic détente on the other, was very different in the two cases. In the case of the PCI, symmetry existed between European détente and domestic détente, a dynamic which pushed the party towards change in terms of its internationalism. In the case of the PCF, such symmetry did not exist: while domestically it was stimulated by a drive towards unity on the Left, European détente and the role played in it by the Soviet Union did nothing less than obstruct the PCF’s programme for domestic détente.

1. THE COMMUNIST WORLD: THE SINO–SOVIET DISPUTE AND DIVERSIFICATION

1.1. The Sino–Soviet dispute

  • 1 A monograph exists on the Sino–Soviet conflict and West European communism: Timmermann, The Declin (...)
  • 2 On the Sino–Soviet conflict generally, see Westad, Brothers in Arms.

3The Sino–Soviet dispute directly affected the West European communist parties on more than one level.1 It did so, firstly, by changing the structure of the communist world; and secondly, by profoundly challenging “orthodox” doctrine. Domestically, the conflict weakened the sources of legitimation of the two parties, in particular revolution and anti-imperialism, and put pressure on their internal unity. Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union started to deteriorate in 1957, and the conflict broke out openly in 1960.2 Very different causes lie at the basis of the increasing tension between the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and Maoist China: superpower interests and territorial claims, personality clashes, disagreements regarding strategy towards the capitalist world and regarding communist strategy in the Third World, the arms race and the question of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, hegemony over the world communist movement, and disagreements regarding doctrine. From 1957 onwards Mao made it clear that he disapproved of peaceful coexistence, of the acceptability of parliamentary and non-violent roads to socialism, and, above all, of de-Stalinization. China disagreed with Soviet strategy in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and with the signing by the Soviet Union and the United States of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. Inversely, the Soviet Union under Khrushchev disapproved of the Great Leap Forward of 1958, and, under Brezhnev in 1966, of the Cultural Revolution.

4In Eastern Europe, the Sino–Soviet rift strongly contributed to bloc disintegration in terms of doctrine, organization and the legitimacy of Soviet leadership. While Albania in 1960 allied with China, Romania took on a neutralist position and strongly criticized Soviet foreign policy and doctrine. The fact that the Chinese Communist Party developed a national course and its own definition of socialist revolution, and that the Soviet Union was not able to do anything about it, created a powerful precedent. Worse was that Maoism explicitly challenged Soviet doctrine from an allegedly more orthodox and revolutionary position. Maoist China started arguing that the Soviet Union was no longer a true revolutionary state and therefore could no longer be considered as socialist. Henceforth, Soviet authority in the world communist movement faced a permanent form of radical criticism, which attacked it for being revisionist and, at a later stage, imperialist. Radical criticism of the Soviet Union had, of course, existed since the Bolshevik Revolution. In (Western) Europe, it had been influential especially through Trotskyite groups and parties. However, what was new about the Maoist challenge was, firstly, that it came to be a truly global challenge to Soviet power; and secondly, that it was embodied by a socialist state.

  • 3 Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” p. 315.
  • 4 The increase in this share was higher than the increase in funding to African, Asian and Latin Ame (...)
  • 5 In the West, only the Dutch Communist Party (CPN) broke its ties with the Soviet Union in a clear- (...)

5The effects of this on relations between West European communist parties and the Soviet Union were complex and ambivalent. On the one hand, the Sino–Soviet rift created space to renegotiate party autonomy as well as opportunities to exploit the tensions between the major actors in the communist world. Furthermore, the Soviet Union became, through its conflict with China, more dependent on support from (West) European communism in terms of organizational discipline and political and ideological support.3 To assure themselves of the support of these parties, the Soviet leaders increased the Assistance Fund to Western Europe from about $ 7,800,000 in 1960 to about $ 9,000,000 in 1964.4 Some Western parties, such as the Italian, the Swedish and the Norwegian, indeed took up the opportunity of the Sino–Soviet schism to emphasise their autonomy from Moscow, though remaining inside the Soviet camp. Other parties, such as the French, the Danish and the Belgian, displayed a high degree of loyalty to the Soviets.5

  • 6 The domestic position of the smaller parties was severely damaged by Maoist schisms and/or exclusi (...)

6On the other hand, in terms of doctrine and internal party unity, the dispute tied the West European parties closer to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union used the argument of the “threat of Maoism” to discipline the European communist parties and states—but with limited success only. Ideologically, there was no reason for West European communism to be on Mao’s side, as the latter denounced as revisionist the post-1956 strategies of the peaceful road to socialism and peaceful coexistence, which had become the bases of West European communist strategy. Furthermore, just as Mao criticized the Soviet Union from the Left and put into question its revolutionary character, the West European communist parties increasingly faced criticism from Maoist and other radical-revolutionary groups and parties in their countries. Maoist thinking and its revolutionary discourses and symbols appealed to young, radicalising public opinion in the West: it brought into question the revolutionary character of the Soviet-aligned parties and denounced the Eurocentrism of the Soviet-aligned communist movement. The diffusion of Maoist ideas put severe pressure on the internal unity of these parties in the 1960s. In a similar way as the Soviet Union did vis-à-vis European communist parties, leaders of the West European communist parties invoked the “danger of Maoism” to contain dissent and to justify disciplinary measures.6

1.2. Khrushchev’s campaign for “unity” and shifting alliances

7The Sino–Soviet dispute became intertwined with the pressing issue of the organization of a world communist conference. This was so because Khrushchev’s main motive for convening such a conference was a collective condemnation of Maoism. The diplomacy inside the communist world movement regarding the holding of such a conference shaped and altered alliances. As disunity in the communist world increased, the preparatory meetings became a forum in which disagreement became obvious, and in which some of the more autonomous-minded parties expressed their objections to Soviet dominance in increasingly explicit ways. The conference was eventually held in the 1960s, but it was dominated by the open conflict between the Soviet Union and China. In addition, the Soviet Union was challenged from the “right,” by the Italians and the Yugoslavs. The conference’s general call for the “struggle on two fronts,” which was an attempt at defining a “centrist” position between what was called “right revisionism” and “left dogmatism,” reflected this double challenge.

  • 7 For more detail on the conference proceedings and the positions of the PCI and PCF, see Fejtő, The (...)

8The PCF was fully supportive of the Soviet leadership, its delegation being one of the most enthusiastic defenders of the Soviet line against the severe Chinese attacks. This led it to downplay its anti-revisionism and its attacks on the PCI, and to concentrate on the “menace of dogmatism.” This created an alternative PCI–PCF alliance, which supported the Soviet Union; for example, the PCI and PCF helped to block Chinese attempts to delete from the documents all references to the 20th CPSU Congress. Nonetheless, the PCI was increasingly critical of the Soviet Union as a leader of the communist world. Although the PCI delegation explicitly claimed to be on the Soviet side in the Sino–Soviet dispute, it strongly emphasised the need for independence of each communist party. The “Chinese threat” improved the relative power position of the “revisionist” and autonomy-oriented parties. This was illustrated most clearly by the fact that the PCI succeeded in having the (Soviet) call for the isolation of Yugoslavia removed from the conference texts.7

  • 8 According to Griffith, the Italian–Romanian alliance was effective not only in blocking the confer (...)
  • 9 Luigi Longo was general secretary of the PCI from 1964 to 1972. He was a former resistance leader (...)
  • 10 See also Kriegel, “The International Role,” pp. 46–47.

9After the open break between the Soviet and Chinese communist parties in 1962, Khrushchev made continuous efforts to convene another world meeting. The main aim, an official condemnation of Maoism, was camouflaged as a campaign for the restoration of “unity” in the communist world. An increasing number of West European communist parties now opposed this, including the Swedish and British. The PCI’s criticism amounted to obstruction of the conference project: in October 1963, the Romanian and Italian communist parties both announced that they would continue to oppose the convening of an international conference in the given circumstances.8 General secretary L. Longo underscored this by visiting Tito in Belgrade in January 1964.9 Faced with such open PCI rebellion, the PCF fell back into its role as the keeper of “unity”: it launched an appeal for the holding of such a conference in late 1963. It attacked the PCI for its obstruction of the conference and for its polycentrism.10

  • 11 Interview with Longo in L’Express, Paris, 2/11/64. Quoted in Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling C (...)
  • 12 Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” pp. 404–405. Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling Commu (...)
  • 13 Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” p. 404.

10Following Khrushchev’s downfall in October 1964, and after some initial hesitation, the new Brezhnev–Kossygin leadership continued attempts to bring about an anti-Maoist conference. The previously opposed positions of the PCI and PCF moved towards a pragmatic alliance, characterised by critical loyalty towards the Soviet Union. In early 1965, the PCI suddenly shifted from opposing the conference project to accepting it under certain conditions.11 It did so partly because it had obtained a number of its own conditions—among others, the fact that the “Chinese question” would not be mentioned. The non-mentioning of China also resulted from a somewhat more reconciliatory position on the part of the Soviet leadership vis-à-vis China in around 1965, after Khrushchev’s downfall.12 The relative autonomist victory was made possible by the cooperation between a number of West European communist parties, including the Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Norwegian parties, with Romania.13 The PCF now undertook a partial and tactical shift towards the “autonomist” position. While its ambition remained to enhance the cohesiveness of the communist world on the basis of a monolithic rather than a polycentric basis, the PCF realized that, given the strong divisions in the movement, a conference in the given circumstances would only increase disunity and provide a forum for various parties to attack the Soviets.

  • 14 Decisions of the Central Committee meeting, 7–9/7/1965. Published in Unità, 10/7/1965.
  • 15 According to what Moretti, an influential PCI representative in Prague, told the SED, Longo did so (...)
  • 16 There is no study of PCI positions regarding Third World struggles. Some useful information on PCI (...)

11However, one “autonomist” proposal, for which the PCI in particular had been pressing, was not accepted and never would be: the invitation of non-communist groups to the conference. In July 1965 the PCI’s Central Committee, while deciding on conditional acceptance of the project, called for the invitation of non-Marxist groups “with a firm anti-imperialist attitude” from Africa, Latin America and Asia.14 In bilateral contacts with East European communist parties, when asked about their position towards the world communist conference project the PCI leaders stated and restated that a condition for their adherence to the project was the invitation of non-communist groups.15 This policy, later to be called allargamento, was, from the mid-1960s onwards, the central vehicle for change in the PCI’s internationalism, as polycentrism had been in 1956. Behind the discussions about the inclusion of non-Marxist groups from the Third World lies the more important question of attitudes with regard to Third World revolutions, an issue on which the Soviet and Italian communist positions diverged in the 1960s. The PCI constantly attempted to pressurize the Soviet leadership into more activism in the Third World, in order to expand the strategic effectiveness of the world communist movement outside Europe and to counter Maoist influence. In the PCI’s view, a broad array of Third World liberation movements should be supported, whether explicitly Marxist or not. While the Soviet position was also flexible regarding the ideological orthodoxy of the Third World movements, it was highly concerned with these movements’ loyalty and discipline, and therefore more selective in its support.16

  • 17 The PCF’s shift towards tactically opposing the conference is not mentioned in Kriegel, “The Inter (...)
  • 18 Letter from Guyot to Suslov, 28/2/65, in APCF, Fund Fajon, box 11 “International,” folder 1.
  • 19 Both parties continued to oppose the conference plan up to early 1968. For an overview of the posi (...)

12In early 1965 the PCF used the strategic position in which it found itself to criticize the drafts of the conference resolutions, which were written by the Soviet delegation alone.17 In doing so, it expressed its dissatisfaction with Soviet leadership over the movement and Soviet capacities to guard orthodoxy in an unusually blunt, though “private,” way. In late February, in response to the draft texts, the PCF sent a letter to the CPSU, criticizing these texts on two important points. The first of these was that peaceful coexistence should be mentioned more explicitly as an “essential task” of communist parties worldwide. Secondly, the PCF objected to a statement which foresaw the organization of bi- and multilateral meetings dealing with the conference preparations.18 Its objections here were a mix of its anti-polycentric position and the fear of being excluded from important decisions. While the positions of the PCF and the PCI at this point converged, it is important to note that the two parties had almost opposite motivations for obstructing the conference. The PCF, from what was a profoundly conservative position, feared it would bring too much diversity to the surface; the PCI feared this would not sufficiently be the case.19 Nonetheless, however tactical the motivations behind the PCF’s position, this episode had a strong impact on the PCF’s internationalism. The PCF’s tactical shift towards the PCI’s stance was provoked not only by disagreement with the way in which the Soviets handled the Chinese question, but also, as will be analyzed below, by a largely hidden but severe deterioration in Soviet-PCF relations in around 1965, resulting from PCF domestic strategy and European détente.

1.3. The creation of a West European communist cluster

  • 20 For a similar view of the emergence of a West European “pressure group” inside the WCM in the mid- (...)
  • 21 For example Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling Communist Parties.”

13In the mid-1960s, the West European communist parties intensified their contacts with one another and started to operate as an informal pressure group inside the structures of the world communist movement. This led to a dynamic among the West European communist parties, which, despite its cautious character and the important differences between the parties involved, was important as it made official the general state of disunity in the communist world.20 It influenced the parties involved, especially the smaller ones, and also, for the time being and on specific issues, the PCF. However, the weakness of this convergence was that it came about as a tactical move. This was so especially on the part of the PCF, but the PCI also conceived it in the framework of its agenda of putting pressure on the Soviet Union. Some of the literature on Eurocommunism has overestimated the autonomous character of the West European communist cluster in the WCM in this phase and has wrongly understood this development as running counter to the interests of the Soviet Union on a fundamental level.21 When analyzed in close connection with the events taking place in the wider communist world outlined above, it becomes clear that motivations behind the convergence were diverse and that its effects were blurred. The regional meetings and conferences were not only expressions of growing autonomy and polycentrism; they were also intended, particularly by the PCF leadership, to limit centrifugal tendencies in the world movement.

  • 22 There had been a first West European communist conference in 1959 in Rome, which did, however, lea (...)
  • 23 “Notes CC d’avril: points de désaccord avec Longo,” ms., s.n. (but probably Waldeck Rochet), s.d. (...)
  • 24 Final resolutions of the Brussels meeting, in Timmerman, H. “Moskau und die Westkommunisten: von B (...)

14The West European communist parties converged because they perceived a minimal set of common interests within the world communist movement. Key moments in this development were, firstly, the rapprochement between the PCI and the PCF, which resulted in two summit meetings in 1965 (Geneva) and in 1966 (San Remo), and two regional conferences of West European communist parties, in Brussels in June 1965 and in Vienna in April 1966.22 In Geneva and San Remo it was decided to improve relations between the two parties and among West European communist parties more generally, in particular by organizing regional conferences on a regular basis.23 The agenda for the Brussels Conference was completely in line with WCM programs: (1) the joint struggle for Vietnam, (2) the struggle against “German militarism” and for a European system of collective security, including the joint struggle against the Multilateral Force, and (3) the organization of a campaign in support of the Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and West German communist parties operating in illegality. The Italian proposal to have peaceful coexistence as the general topic was strongly opposed by the French. The delegations discovered that many disagreements existed on important matters of domestic program, European and global strategy, and the organization of the world communist movement. For example, the Italians did not succeed in their aim to present a joint statement on the EEC and European integration.24

  • 25 Report of the Roasio-Grund meeting of 18/5/65, in: SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY 30/3521 (“Büro Ulbricht”).
  • 26 APCF, BP, 24/4/65.
  • 27 Honecker asked the organizing Belgian Communist Party if he could send an “observer” to the Brusse (...)
  • 28 “Berlin, 4/2/67. Bericht über den Aufenthalt einer Delegation des ZK in der DDR in der Zeit 11–13/ (...)

15The PCI–PCF rapprochement at this point was not considered by the orthodox communist parties in the East as running counter to their interests. It was viewed, for example by the SED, much as an expression of growing unity. At a meeting with the Italian communist Roasio in May 1965, Grund, a member of the Central Committee of the SED, affirmed that his party “had an interest in PCI–PCF rapprochement.” The SED even attempted on this occasion to organize a meeting in Berlin between Longo and Rochet, which failed.25 However, support from the East European parties rapidly faltered when the rapprochement took on a logic of its own. The communist parties in the East viewed the Brussels and Vienna conferences with suspicion, because they had a regional dimension which made it more difficult to control the dynamic. The PCF leaders regularly informed the Soviet and East European communist parties of the proceedings of the West European conference preparations.26 Throughout the preparations for the Brussels Conference, the SED tried to influence and to control the process that came about through the Brussels preparations.27 There are no traces in the archives of active East European attempts to influence the Vienna Conference. Still, it is clear that at least the SED remained very concerned about the regional conferences. It brought the issue up at a meeting with a PCI delegation in February 1967. On this occasion, the PCI presented the regional conferences as “a way to go against isolationist tendencies in the northwest European parties.”28

  • 29 As Jacques Denis, member of the Bureau politique, told SED leaders in January 1967. “Vermerk über (...)
  • 30 APCF, BP, 24/2/65.
  • 31 APCF, BP, 11/3/65.

16The PCI’s motivations in the regional meetings were quite straightforward: attempting to bring about polycentrism on a West European level within the communist world. The PCF motives for engaging in this process were more complex. Firstly, it expected its involvement in a West European communist conference to be beneficial to its position and its bargaining power in the wider communist movement. In the context of its disagreement with the Soviets over the Chinese question and over European strategy (see below), the PCF leadership started to see the advantages in a tactical alliance with the PCI, which could serve as a bargaining tool in its relationship to the Soviet Union.29 To the PCF, the Brussels and Vienna meetings were instruments, first and foremost, in winning the PCI and the smaller parties over to its own positions on a number of current problems in the world communist movement. The attempt was to contain the doctrinal “revisionism” of the PCI and other parties and to counterbalance its influence among West European communist parties. The PCF leadership internally affirmed that the Brussels Conference should “not modify but instead work with the analysis made at the Conference of 81 Parties [in 1960].”30 The PCF leadership remained wary of any kind of polycentric tendency. As the Bureau politique concluded in early 1965: “Bi- or multilateral meetings can be useful, but [we must] be very careful that these meetings do not lead to further diversification on a regional basis.”31

  • 32 “The regional conference will contribute to the preparation of the Conference on European Security (...)
  • 33 “Vermerk über ein Gespräch des Gen. Hermann Axen mit Gen. Jacques Denis, am 30. Januar 1967,” 3 pa (...)

17A final factor motivating the PCF was that the preparations for the Vienna Conference entirely coincided with the preparations of the Conference of European Communist Parties on European Security, which was held in Karlovy Vary in April 1967. The PCF was a strong advocate of this conference and explicitly intended the West European meeting to clear the ground for it.32 In unofficial talks during the Vienna Conference, the PCF delegation discussed with its Italian counterpart the issue of a pan-European communist conference on security and détente. Some months later, at a meeting with the East German SED leaders, the PCF gave a detailed report on the positions of the West European communist parties regarding the pan-European conference on security, thus amply referring to the Vienna talks.33

18Modes of interaction at the regional meetings differed somewhat from the old-style meetings of the world communist movement. A clear innovation was that the Vienna Conference did not end its sessions with a final declaration, which, in WCM custom, was usually an expression of enforced unanimity. However, it was precisely this unwillingness to impose conclusions that hindered the meeting from taking a clear stance with respect to their Eastern “brother parties” and prevented new proposals from gaining more influence. This, along with the differing PCI and PCF motivations, was to become a permanent characteristic of the West European communist cluster and Eurocommunism later on, limiting its potential as a vehicle for more fundamental change. Nevertheless, the Brussels and Vienna regional conferences were important for the mere fact that they were held. The conferences and the time-consuming preparatory processes created a network of contacts among West European communist leaders, which was one important factor that made possible the dissent of most of the West European communist parties against the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

2. EAST–WEST RELATIONS AND THE RISE OF EUROPEAN DÉTENTE

19From the mid-1960s onwards, a situation of détente emerged on the European continent. This was the result of changes in the security paradigms held by the Soviet Union and the United States after the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. In Western Europe, it resulted from the growing feeling that the Soviet Union no longer represented an immediate security threat. Furthermore, European détente resulted from the fact that the two superpowers to some extent shifted their Cold War attention away from the old continent. Soviet foreign policy during the 1960s, while aiming at expansion outside Europe, held a defensive view with regard to strategy on the European continent, aiming at “saving what was gained” on the old continent. During the 1960s, US policy in Western Europe oscillated between the wish to retreat somewhat from the heavy military, economic and political involvement it had engaged in during the previous decade, and attempts to maintain its hegemonic role in Europe. Finally, European détente went hand in hand with a crisis within both the Atlantic alliance and the Soviet-dominated bloc, as states and societal actors on both sides of the Iron Curtain demonstrated a rapidly growing interest in engaging in diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with “the other side.”

  • 34 On the coming about of détente after 1962, and American, Soviet, French and West German motives in (...)

20This was connected to a general shift to the Left in West European political opinion and a widespread questioning of bloc allegiance.34 This situation was positive to West European communism, but only up to a certain point. It went together with a decrease in anti-communism in Western Europe and granted new legitimacy to the anti-NATO, and to some extent even the pro-Soviet, policies of these parties.

2.1. Soviet strategy: global anti-imperialism and European détente

21When looking at the complex challenge which détente posed to West European communism, I will deal first with the problems posed to them by the Soviet definition of détente. Khrushchev was ousted from the Kremlin in 1964 and replaced by a troika, of which L. Brezhnev had emerged as the dominant figure by 1966. Foreign policy agenda and internationalism were focused on the following principles:

  • to expand Soviet and communist influence outside Europe, primarily by supporting movements of national liberation
  • to decrease tension with the United States and to initiate arms control talks on an equal basis, once strategic parity with the United States was achieved
  • a military build-up in Europe to achieve this strategic parity
  • in response to West Germany’s Ostpolitik, initiated in 1966, to secure the recognition of the two German states and the post-1945 borders (the so-called territorial status quo)
  • to halt centrifugal tendencies in the communist world, to restore discipline and to counter the influence of Maoism.35
  • 36 Gaiduk, The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War, esp. chapters 4 and 5.

22Under Brezhnev, Soviet priorities and perspectives shifted from the European continent to the globe. There were Soviet interventions in Vietnam, and during the 1970s in Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique. From the mid-1960s onwards, one of the central issues in Soviet global strategy was involvement in the Vietnam War and support to the North Vietnamese Communist Party, led by Ho Chi Minh. The triumphant and seemingly non-problematic rhetoric on solidarity with the Vietnamese communists, omnipresent in the world communist movement at the time, in fact dissimulated very different views on how to end the war in Vietnam. While both Moscow and Beijing supported the North Vietnamese communists, they did so from a different perspective on the importance of Third World liberation movements in the global Cold War. Although Soviet economic, technical and military support to North Vietnam was, as of 1966, very significant, Moscow was also concerned with avoiding US retaliation. The Soviets continuously attempted to pressurize Hanoi into a negotiated settlement with the Americans. By contrast, Mao, for whom the Cold War had turned from an East–West conflict into a North–South one, advocated the continuation of the guerrilla war until the bitter end. The Chinese communists understood Vietnam as the start of a wave of local anti-imperialist wars which might culminate in a global one. While Moscow hoped the struggle in Vietnam might build towards greater unity in the world communist movement under its leadership, exactly the opposite happened in the short term. In the autumn of 1966, China refused the Soviet proposal of “antiimperialist unity of action” in Vietnam, which provoked a further deterioration in Sino–Soviet relations.36

23Nonetheless, around the world the North Vietnamese communists and Ho Chi Minh became the prime symbols of the struggle against imperialism. In Western Europe and elsewhere, propaganda in favor of the Vietnamese revolution reinforced opposition against American hegemony. It also updated the otherwise somewhat rusty image of the Soviet Union as a force of liberation and revolution. The Soviets understood that Vietnam was to West European communism the most suitable vehicle for the expansion of domestic support. Vietnam dominated public-political discourses on the West European Left in the second half of the 1960s, and it enabled the Soviet-aligned communist parties to find common ground with the peace movement and other anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist groups. However, while “Vietnam” was indeed instrumental to the general rise of the Left in Western Europe in this period, it proved to be first and foremost to the advantage of Maoist, Trotskyite, and other radical and revolutionary groups rather than the Soviet-aligned parties. The different positions of the Soviet Union and China with regard to the war in Vietnam were translated into different positions among these left-wing groups in the West.

  • 37 For a similar interpretation see Duhamel, Les Soviétiques et les voies de la révolution, pp. 222–2 (...)
  • 38 Rey, Le dilemme russe, pp. 311–313.
  • 39 For a discussion of the complex intra-communist tensions on security policy in this period see, es (...)

24While outside Europe the expansionist dimension in Soviet foreign policy prevailed, stability and preservation were the key words with respect to the old continent. From the Soviet perspective, détente was a means to normalize relations with Western Europe, and Germany in particular, and a stable Europe was a means to normalize relations with the United States.37 The Soviets wished to improve relations with the West European states for three reasons: firstly, trade and the exchange of technological and scientific know-how; secondly, to create the conditions for arms control and negotiations; and thirdly, to achieve an agreement on Germany.38 Around the mid-1960s a serious conflict arose inside the WTO regarding the implications of détente for Europe, which put the Soviet Union in a precarious position.39 Disagreement clustered around the issues of defense strategy and the German question. The WTO strategy with regard to the German question was seriously disturbed by the initiation in 1966 of Ostpolitik. Ostpolitik, the policy of the “Grand Coalition” government under Chancellor L. Erhard and foreign minister W. Brandt, aimed at “change through rapproachement” with the East and ultimately at German unification”

  • 40 For similar view on West German motives behind early Ostpolitik, see Garton Ash, In Europe’s Name, (...)

25In the longer term, the aim was to influence the communist regimes through contacts with the West, “from above” as well as “from below” (via citizens and grass-roots movements), and ultimately to achieve the reunification of Germany.40 The first sign of Ostpolitik was the abandonment of the Hallstein doctrine in 1966, which had stipulated the non-recognition of any state that recognized the German Democratic Republic. While Moscow initially showed some enthusiasm for the new policy, it was seriously opposed by its East European allies, especially East Germany and Poland. The Soviets for the moment chose to avoid further cracks in communist solidarity and to satisfy both East Germany and Poland in their security concerns. The recognition of the territorial status quo by West Germany remained the sine qua non for any kind of negotiations. This policy, however, was seriously disrupted by the fact that Romania and Yugoslavia initiated diplomatic relations with Bonn in 1967. The outcome of these discussions was a specific policy of détente, laid down at two meetings: the WTO meeting in Bucharest in 1966, and the Karlovy Vary Conference of European Communist Parties on European Security in 1967. In the “Declaration on the Strengthening of Peace and Stability in Europe,” signed by all WTO members in Bucharest in 1966, a concept for a “system of collective security in Europe” was developed, including:

  • the increase of bi- and multilateral contacts between states of Eastern and Western Europe, in cultural, economic and political terms
  • military détente through the initiation of talks on the disarmament of the European continent
  • the territorial status quo: the recognition of the Oder–Neisse line and of the German Democratic Republic
  • the renunciation of nuclear weapons by both German states
  • the calling of a conference of European states on security
  • the eventual dissolution of both military blocs.41
  • 42 The resolutions of the Karlovy Vary Conference can be found in (CPSU, ed.) Pour la paix, la tranqu (...)

26Although the actual commitment to it remained unclear, the perspective of the simultaneous dissolution of both the WTO and NATO was significant, because it was presented as the ultimate goal of détente. The Karlovy Vary conclusions, with respect to the Bucharest Declaration, shifted somewhat back to anti-American and anti-German discourses. This was a matter of opportunity: firstly, the most anti-West German parties (East Germany and Poland) swiftly reacted to the NATO crisis in 1966–1967; and secondly, there was an ambition to exploit growing anti-Americanism in Western Europe.42

2.2. West European communism and (Soviet) détente

27The general atmosphere of détente and the developing of cultural and economic ties across the Iron Curtain had positive effects on the domestic position of the West European communist parties in the short term. It led to a decrease in anti-communism in Western Europe and to openings towards the (non-communist) Left in several countries, including Italy. In the case of France, the rapprochement with the socialist regimes brought the country into a situation in which the possibility of communist participation in government no longer seemed constrained by bloc allegiance. However, on a more fundamental level, détente created new problems for West European communism, especially for the PCF. The Soviet and world communist concept of European détente posed two problems for the West European communist parties. A first problem was Moscow’s search for friendly relations with the West European governments. A second problem was the strategic priority of the German question and of the territorial status quo, for the Soviets and especially for East Germany and Poland. This made changes in the “balance of forces” on the continent difficult. At the heart of the matter lay the fact that Soviet rapprochement to a number of (non-communist) governments in the West by no means brought West European communists closer to power, and in some ways even obstructed their domestic strategy. The Soviets’ positive response to the very conservative and traditionally anti-communist Charles de Gaulle revealed the Soviets’ strategic priorities and the negative implications of these for the West European communist parties.

28The Soviet conception of the role of West European communism in détente should be understood in the light of the broad European and global strategic options outlined above, and can be summarized as:

  • support for the Soviet aim of strategic parity with the United States: pressure, via the West European governments, towards the disarmament of Western Europe and towards disunity in NATO
  • global anti-imperialism: propaganda in favor of North Vietnam and other liberation struggles and pressure on the West European governments on this issue
  • the German question: pressure on West European governments and public opinion for the recognition of the GDR and the border issue
  • in the world communist movement, the West European communist parties were considered crucial in intellectually and morally backing the Soviet Union in matters of ideological continuity and of “orthodoxy” against “heresies” or “deviancies.”43
  • 44 Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” pp. 315–317. There is, of course, a broader historical and political (...)
  • 45 In 1964–1967 it remained at about $ 10,200,000 for Europe. Instead, the funding of the Latin Ameri (...)

29The actual spread of socialism and revolution to Western Europe was, in this overall scheme, a very low priority. Around the mid-1960s, revolution in the West had, from the Soviet perspective, become subordinate to relations with the Western powers—in particular concerning a German settlement and disarmament—to its global ambitions, and to its competition with China.44 This was reflected, for example, in the fact that the total amount of the Assistance Fund designated to the non-ruling European communist parties stagnated, while under the Khrushchev years it had grown steadily.45 If the West European communist parties at this point did not (openly) analyze this as a clear-cut divergence of interests, they did perceive a lack of attention for their cause from the Soviet Union and the world communist movement. The West European communist parties reacted to this, generally, in three ways. Firstly, they formed a cluster among themselves inside the world communist movement, as discussed above; secondly, they shifted attention to the domestic level of operation; and thirdly, they started cautiously to criticize the Soviet regime. These reactions will be analysed below for the PCI and PCF.

  • 46 It was also intended by the Soviets as an intra-communist preparation for the envisaged pan-Europe (...)

30The Conference of European Communist Parties on European Security held in Karlovy Vary in 1967 gave expression to the complex challenge of (Soviet) détente to West European communism. It did so in two ways: firstly, in the world communist movement, by provoking irritation among all these parties regarding their status as second-rank parties in the organization and strategies of the communist world; and secondly, in the context of the East–West conflict, by giving proof of the very different conceptions of détente among the West European parties. With this meeting, the Soviet leadership hoped to create the necessary “ideological” backing for its policy of détente in the world communist movement, particularly from the West European communist parties that did not participate in the bloc meetings, such as the Bucharest meeting of 1966. It was hoped that the topic of détente and “peace” could convince the West European parties of the interests they shared with the other parties in the world communist movement.46

  • 47 Enrico Berlinguer, future general secretary of the PCI, was at this point a Direzione member. Duri (...)
  • 48 “Incontro Kliszko 9/10/67,” hand-written report of the meeting by Berlinguer, in APCI, Fund Berlin (...)
  • 49 In October 1965, the French Bureau politique decided to “investigate the idea” for the conference. (...)
  • 50 The PCF protested against this privately. APCF, BP, 11/5/67.

31Widespread irritation was caused among the Western parties on the issue of the draft resolutions of the Karlovy Vary meeting. These were proposed by the Polish party and had been, in old communist habit, written before the meeting took place. At a preliminary meeting between the Italian leaders E. Berlinguer and L. Longo and the Polish leader Kliszko in October 1967, the former formulated a number of requests.47 Most importantly, “progressive forces” and non-communist groups from Western Europe and the Mediterranean region should be invited to the conference. Furthermore, the meetings should be open to (communist and non-communist) journalists, and, generally, “it should not be a question of first the East Europeans, then the others.”48 The PCI’s demands were supported by the PCE and smaller parties such as the British, Austrian, Swiss, Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian; they were not, however, accepted. In the autumn of 1966, the PCF was asked by the Soviets to be the official convener of the conference, with the Polish POUP.49 Then, in an attempt to assuage the Italians and, probably, to divide the emerging West European coalition, the Soviets unexpectedly asked Longo, head of the Italian delegation, to deliver the general closing speech to the conference. As by custom this was done by the hosting party (the CPCS in this case), the matter seriously irritated the French who felt by-passed as the most loyal and “responsible” Western party.50

  • 51 APCF, BP, 6/4/67. Galluzzi, La svolta, pp. 150–152.

32More importantly, the Karlovy Vary Conference also brought to the surface the fundamental disagreements that existed among West European communist parties themselves regarding questions of European strategy, notably the German question. This caused cracks in the vulnerable West European cluster that had recently formed itself. On the German question, the central issue of the Karlovy Vary Conference, cleavages were complex and cut through the East–West division. While in his speech Brezhnev suggested the possibility of a positive response to Ostpolitik, the delegations of East Germany and Poland fiercely rejected this. Among the Western parties, the PCI strongly argued in favor of a positive response to Bonn, which would go beyond rhetoric and would consist of actual co-operation. Other parties, such as the PCE and the KPOe, advocated a positive response to Bonn. The PCF, the Danish and the (absent) Dutch parties, by contrast, remained wary of any positive re-evaluation of West German politics.51 The positions on this issue were first and foremost national ones and closely connected to the domestic sources of legitimation of the communist parties.

33The impossibility for West European communism to reach a common position on more strategic matters, generally, reflected the ambivalent value of the Soviet conception of détente to them. Communist parties such as the French continued to perceive the global class struggle in terms of the classic East–West confrontation. Relaxation of this confrontation towards the United States or West Germany appeared to them as a retreat from the global class struggle. The Italians, Spanish and others tended to stress the positive dimension of détente in so far as it was a revolutionary movement on a world scale which created the conditions in which they could escape their domestic isolation, and which resulted in a general shift to the Left in Western Europe. The impossibility among West European communists to agree upon an analysis of détente and Ostpolitik goes to the heart of the reasons behind the impossibility of bringing about a lasting West European communist grouping during the Czechoslovak crisis and, later, during Eurocommunism.

2.3. The crisis of Atlanticism

  • 52 For more on the crisis of Atlanticism with emphasis on the economic base, see Kaldor, The Imaginar (...)

34The communist détente policies were mirrored by tendencies towards détente expressed by West European governments and in public opinion. This took place in the context of a severe crisis in transatlantic relations and a crisis of “Atlanticism” more generally, as not only a military, but a political, economic and cultural alliance.52 In the mid-1960s, divergences occurred in military, political and economic matters between the United States and several West European governments, primarily France and West Germany. This resulted from a mix of security concerns in Western Europe, dissatisfaction with American leadership over the alliance, and a wish to have a greater say and a (political and economic) interest in Eastern Europe. The crisis of the Atlantic alliance created the possibility for West European governments to pursue more autonomous foreign and military policies. Under President de Gaulle, France increasingly objected to American hegemony over Europe and wished to develop its own national nuclear program, the so-called Force de frappe. In political and economic terms, de Gaulle envisaged an independent, strong and enlarged Europe, “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” based on the national sovereignty of strong states (l’Europe des Patries). Gaullist détente strategy in the mid and late 1960s consisted of a rapprochement with the socialist regimes of Eastern Europe and the re-enforcement of the French–German axis, in which the French would have a nuclear monopoly. In a highly publicised encounter, de Gaulle met with Brezhnev in Moscow in June 1966. Furthermore, de Gaulle visited Romania and Poland, and foreign minister Couve de Murville visited Warsaw, Prague, Bucharest, Budapest and Sofia throughout 1966–1968. These strategies were aimed at upsetting the existing European order, by which the two superpowers largely determined the fate of the continent and which reduced France’s role in the world to a secondary one. West Germany was susceptible to this vision, and in 1963 the Bonn–Paris axis was reinforced by a bilateral treaty.

  • 53 On French–American relations in this period, see, for example, Paxton, Wahl, De Gaulle and the Uni (...)
  • 54 Against de Gaulle’s expectations, the Soviet Union reacted very negatively to the French–West Germ (...)
  • 55 Among the many publications on the crisis in NATO and the EEC in the 1960s, see, for example, Lund (...)

35Gaullist détente strategy, however, was handicapped by two problems. The first blank spot of Gaullist détente were the relations of this new Europe with the Soviet Union. Although it was not his central aim, de Gaulle had an interest in the disintegration of the Soviet sphere of interest, as this was expected to run parallel with the disintegration of the Western bloc. However, as the immediate effect of his policies was a crisis in the Western alliance, his interests tended to converge in the short term with Soviet interests.53 Secondly, the limits of Gaullist détente lay in the German question, as both Romania and Poland made it clear to de Gaulle that there could be no real détente without the recognition of the GDR. However, in order not to upset the Paris–Bonn axis, de Gaulle did not touch upon the question.54 While not capable of fundamentally upsetting the European order, Gaullist foreign policy did cause serious crises in the EEC as well as in NATO. In the EEC, disunity rose to a peak when de Gaulle blocked British entry in 1963. A crisis occurred in the EEC institutions, which brought to the surface fundamental disagreements regarding the political and economic nature of the communities, such as the question of supranationality and trade protection. In NATO, in 1964, France blocked the American proposal for a Multilateral Force (MLF), a missile fleet under mixed NATO command. The crisis broke into the open when, in 1966, France left the joint military command of the alliance.55

36While the EEC and NATO found themselves in crisis, alternative conceptions of “Europe” multiplied. Pan-European visions of a “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals,” of a “third way” Europe, a neutralist Europe, were diffused rapidly and with enthusiasm. However diverse these ideas, however vague sometimes their content, and however different the orientations of their advocates, they all seemed to hint at two things. Firstly, there was, in diplomatic terms, the search for a new role for the European continent in the world, independent of both superpowers. Secondly, in terms of the socioeconomic and political order, there was a search for an alternative model of society, different from both American-modeled capitalism and from Soviet-modeled communism.

37Frustration in Western Europe regarding American hegemony, in particular in the context of the protests against American involvement in the Vietnam War, went hand in hand with a revival of Marxist ideologies and a shift to the Left in public and political opinion. On the one hand, socialist and social democratic parties entered government with reform programs in West Germany, Great Britain, and in Italy. On the other hand, by the end of the decade sudden outbursts of protest occurred in the major cities of France, Italy, West Germany and Britain and other countries. These were directed against the domestic political and socioeconomic order, against the world order and international alliances, and against hegemonic culture. While cultural and sociological phenomena, such as the baby boom and the construction of new youth cultures, were at the basis of the contestation movements in Western Europe in the late 1960s rather than political problems in the strict sense, the discourses which the young radicals took on were profoundly political. These referred not only to domestic politics but also to international politics and the bipolar world constellation. As we will see below for the cases of Italy and France, these protests were the result of détente in Europe in the sense that they were only the most radical expressions of a more widespread questioning of American hegemony and Atlantic loyalties.

3. THE PCI: THE SYMMETRY OF DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

38Between 1962 and 1967, the PCI pursued its quest for autonomy in the world communist movement. There was, however, a significant change in its internationalism at this point: whereas, before 1962, the quest for party autonomy and new modes of interaction inside the world communist movement had been mostly instrumental to domestic affairs, now a more fundamental questioning of the geographical boundaries of the communist world took place, which was, at the same time, a questioning of the ideological contours of socialism. It was also a search for an alternative to the bipolar world order, understood as the necessary precondition for the coming about of socialism in Italy. This dynamism came about as the result of the interaction between the development of European détente and the domestic political changes in Italy.

3.1. Domestic détente

  • 56 More detail on the PCI as an organization and a subculture in this period can be found in Sani, “I (...)

39The political situation in Italy after 1962 can be described as a “domestic détente”: the PSI entered a coalition government with the Christian Democratic Party (DC), a general shift to the Left took place, and anticommunism decreased. The PCI’s socio-cultural isolation gradually came to an end by the mid-1960s, although not its political isolation. To an increasing number of non-communist Italians, the PCI gained some degree of mainstream respectability as the major political force on the Left. Increasingly, the party succeeded in presenting itself as a strong, hardworking and disciplined organization whose militants were concerned with the everyday problems of common people. The PCI’s strategy of infiltration in all fields of public life proved successful in its own terms: it now had its own established strongholds in mass media, journalism and academia. It retained a strong implant in society and preserved its distinct identity and subculture. However, membership figures continued to decline up to the late 1960s, although this was a more general phenomenon in West European societies. More importantly, the party was not sufficiently rejuvenated, for which it was to pay a high price in the context of the radical student and worker protests of 1968–1969.56

  • 57 On the coming about of the centro-sinistra see Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, pp. 362–382; Mammarella, (...)
  • 58 Flores, De Bernardi, Il sessantotto, p. 156.

40The DC’s “opening to the Left” policy was caused by a crisis in the DC, the breakdown of its alliance with the (neo-fascist) Right, and the rise of both the socialist and communist parties. Due to opposition from public opinion, it was increasingly difficult for the DC to base its majority on support from the far Right, the reactionary monarchist party and the neo-fascist Movimento sociale italiano (MSI).57 This became very apparent through the massive popular protests against the MSI congress taking place in Genoa, symbolic city of the Resistance, in June 1960. The political mobilization of June 1960 was crucial in awakening new trends of radicalism and contestation. The PCI benefited from the rediscovery of an anti-fascist identity and discourse.58

  • 59 For more on the debates in the PSI on the eve of its entry into government see Degl’Innocenti, Sto (...)
  • 60 About 20 per cent of the PSI’s members followed Basso into the PSIUP, as did 38 MPs of the PSI and (...)

41The PSI, which had, up until 1956, still been considered a PCI and Soviet client party, for the first time supported the DC-dominated government in parliament in September 1962 and entered government in December 1963.59 Two immediate causes made majority opinion in the PSI leadership swing in favor of government participation: the fact that the DC agreed with the main condition posed by the socialists, the nationalization of the electricity sector; and secondly, the national elections of April 1963. The electoral stagnation of the PSI and the clear victory of the PCI (which now reached 25 per cent of the vote) urged the PSI to aim at becoming the preferred partner on the Left. From the outset an important left-wing current opposed the choice, adopted by party leader P. Nenni, of entering government. The party split over the issue as two left-wing leaders, Basso and Vecchietti, refused to vote for the governmental program in parliament in December 1963. In early 1964, Basso formed the Partito socialista italiano di unità proletario (PSIUP), which, as we shall see below, was to radicalize and to become a threat to the PCI from the Left.60 After the PSIUP schism, the PSI moved to the centre, which naturally brought up the issue of unification with the social democratic PSDI again. The two parties unified in 1966 into the Partito socialista unificato (PSU).

  • 61 Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, pp. 373–378.

42The three centre-left governments under A. Moro, which governed the country up to June 1968, proposed a program of neo-Keynesian economic reforms, including, among other things, the nationalization of key industries such as the electricity sector, the stimulation of agriculture in the South through massive investment, and the modernization of the country’s education system. However, by 1968 there was a widespread feeling that the centro-sinistra governments had failed to carry out a coherent reform program. The centre-left coalition became increasingly weak and immobile, due to the weakness of the PSI, worsening economic circumstances, and the mobilization of reactionary and conservative forces against it. Symptomatic of this was the plan for a coup secretly developed in the summer of 1964 by the head of the carabinieri, General de Lorenzo.61

  • 62 Another source of minor irritation was the removal by the Americans of their Jupiter Missiles from (...)
  • 63 Gualtieri, “Il PCI, la DC e il vincolo esterno,” pp. 69–70.

43The coming to power of the centre-left government signified a subtle shift in foreign policy orientations. Italy, traditionally among the most loyal allies of the United States in NATO, now expressed some objections against American foreign and military policy. The revival of neutralist tendencies in the PSI was one factor which cast some shadow over Italo-American relations. In addition, Italian political opinion in the early 1960s was somewhat irritated with US European policies, as Italy, like other European states, wished for a greater share in military and nuclear decision making.62 At the same time, the Italian government followed a general European trend by demonstrating an interest in improving (economic, cultural, but also political) relations with the communist regimes. The visit by Soviet Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Podgorny to Rome in January 1967 marked the high point in this evolution. Furthermore, Italian foreign minister Fanfani increasingly put emphasis on the issue of pan-European co-operation and security. Especially on the issue of trade relations with the East, the positions of the PCI and the Italian government seemed to converge, which was a sign of the benefits of détente to the PCI.63

  • 64 Pietro Ingrao had been a member of the PCI since 1941 and an MP since 1948. Among the many account (...)

44The challenge posed by domestic détente and the coming about of the centre-left coalition significantly affected not only the PCI’s domestic strategy but also its identity and doctrine. It was in response to the coming about of the centre-left government that the PCI made a number of crucial, longer- term choices regarding domestic strategy. In the early 1960s, the PCI tended to elaborate analyses of Italy’s political and economic problems in an increasingly concrete and less dogmatic way. Neo-Keynesian economic planning and structural reforms were at the centre of attention at the 10th Party Congress in 1962 and at the conference on “Tendencies of Italian Capitalism” organized in the same year by the Istituto Gramsci. The discussions in the party leadership which had developed since 1960 on domestic strategy and reform on the one hand, and on Stalinism on the other, developed after Togliatti’s death in 1964 into a debate that was remarkable for its openness and its creativity. While the debate on domestic strategy crystallized around the question of what attitude to take towards the centre- left government and towards the PSI, underlying it was the more fundamental problem of how to relate to the rapid modernization of Italy. The debate evolved into a sharp antagonism between two upcoming leaders, P. Ingrao, who headed the “Left,” and G. Amendola who led the “Right.”64

  • 65 Ragusa, I comunisti, pp. 108–109.

45The two tendencies agreed on two essential points: firstly, that the centro-sinistra had failed to carry out the necessary political and economic reforms; and secondly, that a classic Left alliance with the Socialist Party was not a viable strategy in a country such as Italy dominated by the Christian Democratic Party. They disagreed, however, on the strategy for an alternative alliance. The Right thought in terms of classical schemes of an expansion of political alliances with political parties (“from above”), a variation of the 1930s Popular Front model. In his controversial but influential article “Hypothesis on reunification,” Amendola argued for the formation of a unified party on the political Left: a merging of the PCI, the PSI, and the leftist currents in the DC. He argued that the PSI could be saved from becoming a social democratic party through an alliance with the PCI. Similarly, the integration of the working classes in the capitalist system could be avoided by a broad left-wing government coalition. The first step on the “Italian road to socialism,” in this view, was the development of a program of structural reforms of the economy and democratization of the political system. More clearly than the other PCI leaders, Amendola defined governmental participation as the short-term goal for the (enlarged) communist party and emphasized its responsibilities as a national party.65

  • 66 An analysis of ingraoism, its bases of support and its eventual defeat in this period, can be foun (...)

46Ingrao and the Left, by contrast, rejected the strategy of co-operation with the Socialist Party or (segments of) other existing parties, and called for the creation of a “workers’ alternative.” It was envisaged not as a party in the Leninist sense, but as a radically anti-capitalist “social bloc” based on the autonomy of the working classes. For the time being, the PCI should engage in alliances with “progressive” groups in civil society, on a social and ideological basis rather than on an organizational one. This included alliances with the Catholic working masses, which, in this view, should be separated from the party structures of the DC. The Ingrao current, although far from being an ideologically homogeneous group, became strong by the mid-1960s. It appealed to the new radicalism among young PCI militants and to a new form of “workerism” which resulted from the rapid industrialization of Italy and from a general, often fluid, dissatisfaction with the gradualist and reformist strategy of the party leadership. The Ingrao current was influenced by other socialist experiences than the Soviet one. While its emphasis on autonomy, its conceptions of “socialism from below” and “selfmanagement,” referred to Yugoslavia, it was strongly influenced by (proto-) Maoist revolutionary discourses. Ingraiani openly disagreed with the PCI’s critique of Maoism and in some cases with peaceful coexistence.66

  • 67 The stagnation of the PCI in this phase has been argued, for example, in Tranfaglia, “Socialisti e (...)

47Much of the literature has focused on the question of whether these debates caused innovation in the PCI’s domestic strategy, or rather stagnation.67 In comparison with the PCF, the innovations carried out in terms of doctrine and the analysis of capitalism are evident. Both the Left and the Right demonstrated the will to adapt to the rapid societal changes by responding to different aspects of these changes. In terms of political strategy, the Left was more in touch with new radicalism among young people and young workers than was the Right, although its project for a new type of alliance, not party-based, was more difficult to envisage and at times unclear.

  • 68 After this, a purge took place inside the party, through which a number of federation and local le (...)
  • 69 Taviani, “L’impossibilità di un riformismo borghese?,” pp. 311–312.
  • 70 This is argued, for example, in Tranfaglia, “Socialisti e comunisti nell’Italia repubblicana,” pp. (...)

48At the 11th National Congress of the PCI in 1966, the theses of the Left were largely rejected.68 The strategy laid down was the creation of a broad Left party rather than of a “new social bloc.” With this perspective, the PCI made the longer-term choice of entering the sphere of mainstream politics, on the basis of the existing party system. At the same time, however, the exact configuration of this left-wing alliance remained unclear and the program included some aspects of the Ingrao model, such as privileged relations with progressive Catholic currents.69 It was the unwillingness of the party to make a clear-cut choice, either for an immediate alliance with the Socialist Party, or for a radically different party concept, which led to the immobility that characterized the party’s strategy up to the early 1970s. Moreover, the focus on political strategy and economic reforms made it difficult for the party to capture the profound changes that Italian society was undergoing in cultural and social terms.70

3.2. Polycentrism, détente and Europe

  • 71 Immediately after Togliatti’s death, the new leadership (future general secretary L. Longo in part (...)
  • 72 The insistence on the unity of the WCM in the late writings of Togliatti has become clear recently (...)

49After 1961, polycentrism was reintroduced in PCI texts. It did not envisage the weakening of internationalist allegiances, nor even the re-enforcement of individual party autonomy per se. Rather, the idea was to adapt the communist world and its internal organization to the changed global conditions and to make it more effective in the global expansion of socialism. In this view, geographical scope and political potential were more important than doctrinal discipline. This expansion of international alliances in the longer term led the party to stretch its concept of socialism. This was the general line of thought in Togliatti’s famous “Yalta Memorandum,” which he wrote in the summer of 1964, a few days before his death, and which was intended to be sent to Khrushchev.71 His pessimism regarding the possible reconciliation of the Soviet Union and China led Togliatti to advocate doctrinal pluralism and political diversification inside the world communist movement. In his view, China should be recognized as a regional centre of power over the smaller Asian parties, in political as well as in ideological terms.72 In a similar line of thought, polycentrism in PCI usage in the early 1960s took on a third meaning: not only the communist movement, but the entire world was becoming polycentric. Decolonization, détente and the crisis in the Western alliance were understood as the major signs of universal polycentrism, and of the end of bipolarism.

  • 73 The resolutions of the 10th National Congress are published in (PCI, ed.) Documenti politici dal X (...)
  • 74 Sassoon, The Strategy, pp. 209–211. Although this last slogan was not new and had been part of PCI (...)
  • 75 Older, but still highly useful on this, is Griffith, Sino–Soviet relations, chapters 2 and 8.

50The 10th National Party Congress of 1962 was largely devoted to the issues of European détente and global anti-imperialism.73 It was largely the Khrushchevite line on peaceful coexistence which created the possibility for the PCI to innovate its internationalism. The choice to put peaceful coexistence at the heart of the discussions was motivated by a wish to support the Soviet leadership and to counterattack Mao, who strongly criticized the PCI for its “reformism.” Moreover, the congress texts were, strictly speaking, not heterodox. Nonetheless, the points which were stressed gave proof of a growing awareness of the PCI’s own interests in both peaceful coexistence and anti-imperialism. Given Italy’s position in the East–West conflict, international détente in the sense of the loosening of relations inside the political-military blocs was an important precondition for the PCI’s entry into government, as an American veto remained one of the main obstacles for PCI government participation. A number of “personal touches” were introduced with regard to détente and anti-imperialism. A quasi-heterodox statement was the positive evaluation of “neutral states” in terms of foreign policy, referring primarily to Yugoslavia. Also new was the emphasis on the demand for the “withdrawal of all foreign bases across the European continent” [emphasis added].74 This came close to a Maoist interpretation of imperialism—understood as referring to the two superpowers—although the PCI was careful not to make this explicit. Much attention was granted by PCI texts in this period to anti-imperialism and the “national-democratic struggle” in the Third World, always emphasizing the strategic effectiveness of these movements and downplaying the question of their ideological alignment. Here, too, there was subtly expressed disagreement with the Soviets. To the latter, organizational loyalty and ideological alignment to the world communist movement were the main criteria for granting support to these movements, rather than strategic effectiveness or even Marxist orthodoxy.75

  • 76 It is not clear what the reactions were to this report in the wider PCI leadership. According to G (...)
  • 77 “Nota per la conferenza sulla sicurezza europea. Commenti Pietro Ingrao sul progetto,” 18/7/67, in (...)

51During the debates inside the PCI preceding the Karlovy Vary Conference in 1966–67, criticism from part of the PCI leadership of the Soviet understanding of peaceful coexistence and détente came to the surface. In reaction to the draft resolutions to the conference, Ingrao wrote an alternative version, in which he strongly advocated the need for European autonomy in the East–West conflict and criticized the way peaceful coexistence was carried out by the socialist states.76 In line with WTO policies, the text argued for a strong emphasis on the need for the recognition of the post–Second World War borders and of the GDR, but it was stressed that this was not a conservative or status quo policy. The call for a system of collective security was linked to the unity of an autonomous and continental Europe, which should assume a “new role.” The critique of the Soviet conception of détente was nearly explicit: “The struggle for peaceful coexistence has in recent years not had the necessary development and impulse, also because it has been understood by part of our forces as a struggle to be carried out essentially by the economic and state initiatives of the socialist countries.”77

  • 78 A first preparatory meeting took place in Rome in January 1968, which was attended by, among other (...)

52Expanding the boundaries of socialism also meant expanding the party’s international alliances and those of the world communist movement. Next to the creation of a West European communist cluster, the PCI tried out other ways to do this. One of these was its proposal for allargamento, or the enlarging of the communist world. Allargamento became one of the central claims of the PCI in the communist world. Initially, allargamento was a proposal for the inclusion of non-communist groups, such as liberation movements in the Third World, peace organizations and “progressive” movements in civil society, and European socialist and social democratic parties. However, its importance went far beyond the question of who to invite to a conference: it was conceived as a first step in making the world communist movement more pluralist and open, and in expanding its influence in the capitalist world. It was linked to anti-imperialism, as the PCI envisaged in particular co-operation with (non-communist) movements in the Third World. As far as the Mediterranean area was concerned, in 1966 the PCI started a campaign for the convening of a regional conference of “progressive forces” of the Mediterranean.78

  • 79 On the PCI and Europe see, essentially, Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, chapters 5 and 6.
  • 80 Although the PSI’s support of the PCI in this respect was important, the former party did not go a (...)
  • 81 From 1965 onwards the CGIL openly started to criticize the Soviet and PCI theses on the crisis of (...)

53The PCI’s potentially very upsetting, but mostly implicit critique of Soviet foreign policy in the 1960s was its changing attitude vis-à-vis West European integration and the EEC.79 Throughout this decade, the PCI shifted from a hostile attitude towards economic and other forms of West European integration, to conditional support of the EEC, which resulted in the entry of a PCI delegation to the European Parliament in 1969.80 Although the PCI’s international point of reference in the 1960s undoubtedly remained the “socialist camp” rather than Western Europe, the latter sphere started to be an integral part of PCI strategy. An international conference on “Tendencies of European capitalism” in 1965, which followed the above-mentioned conference on Italian capitalism, marked a breakthrough. At this meeting it was argued by CGIL leader B. Trentin that European economic integration had led to an increase in the real wages of Italian workers—an affirmation which clearly went counter to the heavily biased opinions expressed on this occasion by the Soviet delegation.81

  • 82 Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, pp. 212–233.

54These new analyses influenced part of the leadership, in particular CC member G. Amendola. In March 1966 a “Study Centre for European Politics” was created (CESPE), which developed more objective and sophisticated analyses of European affairs. Increasingly, and especially from the 1970s onwards, “Europe” became one of the core points of reference of the PCI’s international outlook and strategy, and a standard element in its rhetoric and political discourses. While the shift towards Europe was primarily a matter of pragmatism and the acceptance of existing situations, there was also an ideological and teleological dimension in the PCI’s European policy. The idea emerged of an enlarged and socialist Europe, which should play an autonomous and key role in détente. Through working inside the European institutional framework, the PCI would contribute to making Western Europe socialist. Concretely, however, the “alternative development of democracy” as a strategy for Europe remained vague. At this point only the immediate, “democratic phase” of the strategy was more or less clear: it focused on the democratization of the European institutions, for example through the direct election of the European Parliament.82

  • 83 See also Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, pp. 303–304.

55There was a close and crucial connection between the PCI’s emerging European strategy and the development of its ideas on détente and peaceful coexistence in Europe. While the thesis of the EEC in origin being a product of the Cold War was maintained, the belief grew now that a “new Europe,” increasingly autonomous from the United States, could be turned into an instrument of European and global détente. Europe, in its continental scope, would be able to contribute to “the overcoming of the blocs.” A strategy similar to the party’s domestic one should be developed on the West European level: a broad mobilization, in the first instance, behind general democratic and anti-monopolistic objectives. In its further implications, this strategy did go counter to Soviet interests as it raised the question of the boundaries of this Europe and the future of the Eastern part of the continent. However, the PCI carefully avoided discussing the exact eastward boundaries of this socialist Europe; this indeed remained the crucial weakness of its European strategy.83 However, this fact, together with its growing insistence on the overcoming of both military-political blocs, seemed to favor the weakening of Soviet dominance over Eastern Europe.

  • 84 On the PCI and the SPD see, especially, the many publications by H. Timmermann, for example Timmer (...)
  • 85 This happened at a meeting between the PCI and the SED in December 1967. Galluzzi, La svolta, pp. (...)

56Another important issue on which the PCI (implicitly) disagreed with Soviet foreign policy was the attitude vis-à-vis West Germany. As had become clear at the Karlovy Vary meeting, Ostpolitik did not trigger an immediate change in communist bloc strategy towards the FRG. As noted above, in his speech to the conference Longo had hinted at his party’s disagreement with this by emphasizing the strategic changes that were taking place in West Germany and in the SPD. The PCI engaged in direct (though private) contacts with the SPD, the motives behind this being a complex mix of détente aspirations on the one hand, and old communist diplomacy on the other.84 Its motives included: mediating in the improvement of relations between the SPD and the SED; lobbying for the recognition of the Oder–Neisse line by the SPD; and lobbying for the end of the ban on the West German Communist Party. The two first aims were part of a deal concluded with the SED in December 1967: in return for the PCI’s mediating efforts, the SED would no longer actively oppose the PCI’s contacts with the SPD.85 The SPD was motivated, firstly, by a genuine interest in the policies of the reform-minded PCI, in its strategy of Ostpolitik as a way to influence the communist world “from below.” At the same time, however, the SPD attempted to search the ground for possible contacts with the SED via the PCI.

  • 86 Carlo Galluzzi was at the time head of the Foreign Affairs Section of the Central Committee, and w (...)

57From September 1967 onwards, CC member S. Segre met on a regular and informal basis with O. Bauer, close collaborator of Brandt. This led in November to a meeting in Rome between an SPD delegation led by E. Francke, and a PCI delegation composed of Berlinguer, his secretary S. Segre, and foreign policy specialist C. Galluzzi.86 This policy was a marked victory for the PCI in terms of party autonomy inside the world communist movement. While the non-prohibition of the communist party in West Germany was obtained through these contacts, the much more important issue of East–West German relations remained unresolved. A summit meeting between Berlinguer, Galluzzi and Bauer took place in March 1969, but the results of the endeavor were not entirely satisfactory to any of the parties involved. In the changed conditions of détente after 1968, the SPD no longer considered the PCI useful as a “backdoor” to the East, as it initiated direct contacts with both the Soviet and East German regimes.

4. THE PCF: THE ASYMMETRY OF DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

  • 87 Lavau, for example, has only noted “little enthusiasm” for the Soviet policies by the PCF in this (...)

58Between 1962 and 1967, the internationalism of the PCF underwent important and rapid changes. These explain the party’s disagreement with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. I will argue here that the conflict between the Soviet and the PCF leaders in the mid-1960s should be understood as a genuine—though mostly disguised—change in the party’s internationalism. Most of the literature has failed, in my view, to notice the gravity of the PCF’s conflict with the Kremlin in this phase.87 It is this conflict which explains the change in the party’s positions on such issues as the world communist conference and West European communist regionalism. This change was the consequence of the French communist leaders’ deep dissatisfaction with Soviet international(ist) policies on two major issues. Firstly, the French communist leadership criticized the Soviet leaders for their failure to get a grip on the “centrifugal tendencies” in the communist world and to safeguard “orthodoxy.” Secondly, the friendly relations between Brezhnev and de Gaulle made the PCF leadership understand that a divergence of interests had occurred between the CPSU leadership and themselves. This came acutely to the surface on the occasion of the presidential elections of 1965, when the Soviets openly preferred de Gaulle to the Left alliance in which the PCF was involved. The central problem for the PCF in this phase was the asymmetry between, on the one hand, the domestic “détente,” a situation in which the party benefited from the decrease of anti-communism and in which it aimed at becoming an actor in the party-political system, and, on the other hand, the conditions of European détente, which showed an incongruence between Soviet strategic priorities and its own domestic strategy.

4.1. Marxist theory and alliance strategy

  • 88 Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 76. Waldeck Rochet was general secretary between 196 (...)
  • 89 Furthermore, a more general rejuvenation of the party leadership occurred after 1964: half of the (...)

59As had been the case in the PCI after 1956, the PCF’s new emphasis on communist party autonomy in the world communist movement was, to an important extent, the result of the shift in the party’s understanding of its domestic interests. After Thorez’s death in the summer of 1964, some of the forces in the party open to change were able to come to the fore. After 1964, important shifts in domestic strategy occurred, as well as a reassessment of the balance between domestic and internationalist interests, giving more weight to the former. The post-1964 leadership, headed by Waldeck Rochet, succeeded in breaking with the party’s immobility and political isolation. As has been argued by Kriegel, Rochet, probably partly unconsciously, was engaging in a policy line that had the potential of fundamentally changing the PCF’s internationalism, in the priority granted to domestic strategy.88 The internal functioning of the party was to some extent democratized, and some elements of collective leadership were introduced. Rochet was assisted by advocates of a gradual and reformist domestic strategy, such as Ch. Fiterman. From the winter of 1966–1967 onwards, J. Kanapa became very influential.89 At the same time, the inner party leadership still counted a number of influential, conservative Thorezains, which Rochet was neither able nor willing to oppose, such as Thorez’s widow J. Vermeersch-Thorez and J. Duclos.

  • 90 Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet, p. 215.
  • 91 More on Althusser’s thought and his situation on the French Left at the time in Khilnani, Arguing (...)

60The aggiornamento of the PCF in this period consisted, firstly, of the initiation of a debate on party theory and interpretations of Marxism, and secondly of the development of the strategy of Union de la gauche, the alliance with the Socialist Party. Intense discussions took place after 1964 in and on the fringes of the party on the actualization of Marxist theory. The terms of these debates were set by two groups: on the one hand, those in favor of an “Italian,” Gramscian adaptation of Marxism to modern pluralist democracies, and on the other hand, those in favor of a more radically anti-capitalist interpretation of Marxist thought based on structuralism. Roger Garaudy was a leading figure in the first group: he emphasized the humanist elements of Marxism and argued, for example, in favor of finding common ground with religious movements.90 Louis Althusser headed the second group; he was the leading PCF intellectual and Marxist theorist at the time, influencing not only communists but a much broader progressive and radical audience in France and abroad. Althusser intended to reconstruct the PCF’s ability to present itself as the political subject unifying revolutionary theory and action in a Leninist sense, in a context in which it was exactly this that was contested by an increasing number of radical intellectuals, students and left-wing critics. He did not, however, place the question of a revolutionary strategy in an explicitly international context and only dealt with the PCF’s alignment with the Soviet Union after 1969. Nonetheless, his analyses of the state, ideology, education and theory itself were very influential, particularly among radical students and Maoist sympathizers, and came to be an important foundation for post-structuralist thought in the 1970s and later.91

  • 92 Rochet is to have admitted to Althusser later on that the party needed to criticize him in order t (...)
  • 93 Verdès-Leroux, Le réveil des somnambules, passim.

61These intellectual debates took place in a general context of relative intellectual freedom which was unseen in the PCF. It was enhanced by such journals as Les Lettres françaises and La Nouvelle critique, and initiatives such as “Les Semaines de la pensée marxiste.” Nonetheless, the PCF leadership only opened up this intellectual space to then strictly delimit it. The CC meeting held in Argenteuil in 1966 was an attempt by the Rochet leadership, using old Leninist tactics, to create a centrist line between what were defined as the “Right” (Garaudy) and the “Left” (Althusser).92 The resolution of the Argenteuil meeting formally recognized the “right to free creation” inside the party. The result was ambivalent: while, on the one hand, intellectuals genuinely acquired more freedom of thought, on the other hand it signified a certain “retreat from politics” on behalf of the intellectuals. It marked the start of a decline in the influence of intellectuals on party politics.93

  • 94 For more detail on the “French Chinese” see Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 149–154.
  • 95 The continued crisis in the UEC throughout 1963–1967 was connected to internal party matters, as t (...)

62Discontent with the “Khrushchevist” shift of the new leadership existed in the entire party apparatus and its affiliated organizations. Generally, the influence of Maoist ideas in and close to the party created a serious threat to “unity.” As was the case in other European communist parties, pro- Chinese groups, with or without active support from Beijing, attempted to create a faction or a dissident party. Chinese and Italian influences at times blended into a powerful critique of the party leadership and its strategy.94 Although the critiques departed from ideologically opposed positions— calls for a more radical line on the one hand and calls for integration into the political structures of liberal democracy on the other—what they had in common was strong opposition to the PCF’s continued subordination to Moscow. The leadership, faced with these open expressions of disagreement, felt the need to mark the limits of free debate. This happened through the brutal “realignment” of the youth organization: carried out in 1963–1966, it led to the exclusion of Maoist and Trotskyite groups and “revisionists.”95 The price which the PCF had to pay for the ideological cleansing of its youth organization proved high in the longer term. It limited the effects of the intellectual opening-up in and around the party; moreover, the party lost contact with young people and students, a situation that would become painfully clear during the May 1968 events.

  • 96 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 124–126.
  • 97 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 474.

63Nonetheless, the central party line integrated new analyses of the domestic situation, insofar as these fitted with the basic outline of domestic strategy. The review Economie et politique, whose position some years earlier had still been precarious, in 1966 elaborated the “theory of monopoly state capitalism” (capitalisme monopoliste de l’Etat, or CME), which was to become the official party analysis of capitalism up to the 1970s. The 18th Party Congress of 1967 adopted this theory, which was new on two points in particular. Firstly, it recognized certain modernizing and growth capacities in capitalism and did away with the theory of absolute impoverishment; secondly, it emphasized the active role of the state in advanced capitalism. The state was understood as being controlled by monopolistic capital, but in itself neutral. Thus, when taken over by a broad alliance of “progressive forces,” it could be democratized.96 The CME theory was an elaboration of the “peaceful road to socialism” and of the older Popular Front strategy. It presented itself as a modernized strategy, was motivated by a wish to operate from the existing institutional framework, and was somewhat influenced by PCI models. Its main contradictions, however, lay in the question of alliances and pluralism. On the one hand, the party now accepted the plurality of parties in the transition to socialism. On the other hand, Rochet maintained that, once socialism was established, the communist and socialist parties should retain a “special function” and other parties would only be allowed if they “respect socialist legality.”97 While the PCI already in 1956 foresaw the possibility of “roads to socialism” in which the communist party would not take the leading role, to the PCF pluralism was a less important value per se.

  • 98 For more detail see Kergoat, Histoire du Parti socialiste, pp. 144–151.

64The basic choice which the PCF made in this period was similar to the one made by the PCI, insofar as it was a choice for further integration into the parliamentary system and mainstream politics. The PCF, in a more straightforward way than the PCI, opted for an alliance with the Socialist Party. The first contacts between the PCF and the SFIO had already occurred in 1963, without mounting to an agreement. The main obstacle was that the SFIO aimed at organic unity, which the PCF refused. Instead, election alliances on the local level occurred during the following years. A strategic shift in French socialism occurred in the mid-1960s, away from the centrist option and towards a left alliance. The attempts by G. Defferre to bring about a centre-left alliance, excluding the communists, failed in mid-1965, especially because of obstruction by the SFIO and its leader G. Mollet. The latter then merged with the Radical Party, the republicans of the CIR, and a number of socialist “clubs,” into the Fédération de la Gauche démocratique et socialiste (FGDS), headed by F. Mitterrand. Mitterrand presented the FGDS as a clear break with the past, as more to the left than Defferre, and more “modern” than Mollet and the old guard of the SFIO. Although he was contested in this, Mitterrand was resolutely in favor of an alliance with the communists. In tems of foreign relations, Mitterand was a supporter of the Atlantic alliance.98

  • 99 For more on Rochet’s motivations see Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet, pp. 234–236.
  • 100 There had been a first electoral alliance in March 1965 for the city council elections. Courtois, (...)
  • 101 Bell, Criddle, The French Socialist Party, p. 45.

65The great breakthrough in communist–socialist relations came in the summer of 1965, when Waldeck Rochet, in what was a highly personal decision, announced that the PCF would support the socialist candidate Mitterrand in the upcoming presidential elections. Rochet had gradually and secretly been intensifying his contacts with Mitterrand. The PCF leadership considered Mitterrand as a suitable ally, not only for the reasons mentioned above but also, tactically, because he lacked the kind of support from the party apparatus that Mollet had enjoyed. Indeed, Rochet stated quite explicitly that the goal of the alliance was to reinforce the party’s position on the Left.99 Tactical motivations notwithstanding, the Rochet leadership was strongly committed to the unitary strategy. It was ready for far-reaching compromise and entered into the alliance without having negotiated a common program, which Mitterrand had refused.100 The outcome was a success: while in the first round of the December 1965 elections Mitterrand obtained 32 per cent, in the second round he lost to de Gaulle, but only just, obtaining 45 per cent. The outcome was highly significant: it raised the perspective of the victory of the Left alliance, and it destabilized de Gaulle’s stature as the incarnation of national unity.101

  • 102 The sense of frustration only increased when, on the occasion of the 23rd Party Congress of the CP (...)
  • 103 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 274–280.

66At this point the PCF leadership felt how problematic the party’s ties with the Soviet Union were in strategic terms, as the latter apparently no longer supported a fairly “orthodox” and potentially successful domestic strategy. Moscow, in reaction to Mitterrand’s pro-NATO stance, openly supported de Gaulle during the presidential campaign of 1965. At the peak of the election campaign, Pravda published a series of articles supporting de Gaulle’s foreign policy, while omitting any reference to the PCF and its domestic strategy. Moreover, the press agency TASS published a statement of support for de Gaulle. This was an extremely bitter pill to swallow for the French communists. In an unusual, and in intra-communist relations very meaningful, reaction, a Humanité commentary objected to the “interpretation of the domestic problems in France by a foreign agency” [emphasis added]. More explicit objections to the TASS communiqué were debated by the PCF leadership but rejected.102 Despite clear signals of Soviet disagreement, the PCF in 1966–1967 continued its Union de la gauche strategy. Regular discussions took place on a high level, and working groups were established which more concretely discussed the program for socialism in France. In October 1967, a draft common program was issued. Foreign policy, an area of disagreement, was also discussed. While strongly diverging positions existed on Algeria, Vietnam and the Middle East, a limited convergence took place with regard to European matters. The PCF by now accepted the existence of the EEC, and the FGDS wished to make Western Europe, both in economic and political terms, more independent from the United States. Both parties declared themselves against supra-nationality and envisaged an integrated Europe with elements of a planned economy.103

  • 104 In the same year, a delegation of the PCF, led by Thorez-Vermeersch and composed mostly of Soviet- (...)
  • 105 Mollet furthermore argued that the PCF should abandon its “complex of solidarity” with Moscow. Bar (...)

67In the multiple disagreements that existed in the world communist movement at this point, the PCF’s domestic strategy was valued differently in different East European capitals. As K. Bartošek has illustrated, Prague in 1965–1967 not only took on a different attitude from Moscow vis-à-vis the Union de la gauche in France but actively stimulated its development. During these years, a series of top-level talks took place between the Czechoslovak Communist Party on the one hand, and the French socialists on the other. This was preceded by a trip by Waldeck Rochet to Prague in 1965, where he discussed the party’s domestic unionist strategy. In October 1966, an SFIO delegation led by Mollet visited Prague, followed by an FGDS delegation led by Mitterrand in November 1967.104 The episode demonstrates the efforts that the PCF undertook to make its Union de la gauche policy acceptable to its East European “brother parties.” By involving the CPCS in its domestic strategy, the PCF hoped, firstly, that Mollet and Mitterrand would become acceptable to its “brother parties.” Furthermore, the attempt was to influence the FGDS leaders, in particular on foreign policy matters, which remained the crucial area of disagreement. As to the motivations of the SFIO and the FGDS, it is clear how strong the need was to develop an Ostpolitik, as the socialists were on this issue challenged by both the communists and the Right. The positions of the CPCS and FGDS seemed indeed to converge, at least on paper, on a number of issues of international politics, such as security in Europe, a “European solution” for Germany as an alternative to an “America-dominated” West Germany, and the peaceful transition to socialism in France.105

  • 106 “Die FGDS und die Deutschlandfrage,” in Misterium fuer Auswärtiges Amt (Berlin), Politisches Archi (...)

68Besides the CPCS, the East German SED also seemed particularly interested in the French Union of the Left. Although it is not clear whether there were direct contacts between the SED and the SFIO or FGDS, the French communists regularly reported to their East German comrades on the proceedings of their domestic negotiations. The specific interest of the SED was obviously the “German question.” The SED displayed a remarkable readiness to perceive the positive aspects of the French socialists’ position on this issue. In an SED report of 1967 it was noted that, although the FGDS still envisaged German reunification in the longer term (which was obviously considered as negative), Mitterrand was personally in favor of French diplomatic recognition of the GDR. This implied that the Left alliance in France would be more attractive to East Germany than de Gaulle was.106 The remarkable attitudes of the otherwise very Soviet-loyal East German and Czechoslovak communists on the issue show just how disputed Soviet leadership over the communist world had become. It seems that in their analysis of the French Left alliance the SED and the CPCS were ready to let their countries’ own national strategic interests (particularly with regard to a possible settlement of the German question) prevail over discipline with respect to Moscow.

69Gaullist détente strategy provoked an impasse for the PCF in another way. In its domestic environment the PCF was less pressured than the PCI to weaken its symbolic and discursive relations with the communist world and the Soviet Union. Generally, in France at the time a sort of “rush to the East” took place: friendly relations with the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe were considered to be in the interests of the nation and its sovereignty, as they provided France with a more independent position vis-à-vis the Western alliance. More generally, as the party’s links to the Soviet Union had always been a source of domestic legitimation, there was little interest for the PCF in publicizing its conflict with the Kremlin. While the PCF leadership increasingly considered the strategic dimension of its relations with the Soviet Union to be problematical, this could not lead to a dramatic revision of its internationalism, as the situation was one of deadlock. The PCF’s conflict between domestic strategy and internationalist loyalty could not lead to a further increased emphasis on the former, because it was considered to be in the interests of domestic appeal and domestic legitimation, as well as party unity, to maintain links with the Soviet Union.

4.2. The conflict with the Kremlin and the concept of internationalism

70The PCF positions on the organization of the communist world and its attitudes towards the Soviet Union in this phase were marked by contradictions. While, on the one hand, in the context of the world communist movement the party continued to be the staunchest defender of “orthodoxy” and “unity” and remained opposed to change, on the other hand it suddenly shifted to the advocacy of a degree of party autonomy, and on some issues allied with the PCI against the Soviet Union. However, the rationale behind this apparently contradictory attitude was a disconnection between, on the one hand, the PCF’s own vision of internationalism, including a cohesive communist world led by strong Soviet leadership and respect for (Leninist) “orthodoxy,” and, on the other hand, its negative appreciation of actual Soviet leadership over the movement and its strategy towards the West. Most of this, however, took place as a hidden development, which gave proof of the party’s continued inability openly to distance itself from the Soviet Union on significant matters.

  • 107 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p 190.
  • 108 Moreover, it seems that sharp discontent was expressed in the middle and lower echelons against th (...)

71The first expressions of criticism of Soviet leaders by the PCF, in veiled terms and behind closed doors, occurred before the 1965 conflict over domestic strategy, and were to do with dissatisfaction with the ways in which the Soviets dealt with the crisis in the world communist movement. Apart from the disagreement with the Soviets on the issue of the world conference of communist parties discussed above, the PCF, like the PCI, sent a delegation to Moscow following Khrushchev’s downfall in the autumn of 1964. Their request for further explanation gave proof of the increased self-confidence of both parties vis-à-vis a weakened Soviet authority.107 But, once more, their motivations for doing so differed radically. While the PCI wished to find out whether the power change would not disrupt the de- Stalinization course, the PCF was keen to ensure that Khrushchev’s anti- Maoist campaign would be continued. As anti-Maoism had been, ultimately, the issue on which the PCF had accepted Khrushchevism, the PCF now felt that it should object to the fall of the leader who had personified anti- Maoism.108

  • 109 According to Bartošek, nothing on the PCI was published in Humanité without the agreement of the C (...)
  • 110 According to Fejtő, Waldeck Rochet said at a meeting with Chinese leader Chou-En Lai in November 1 (...)
  • 111 APCF, BP, 14/12/67.

72In its conception of the world communist movement, doctrinal uniformity and tight cohesiveness were more important than geographical scope or strategic potential. In terms of doctrine, it continued to condemn “revisionism” and did not change its basically negative portrayal of the PCI’s strategies, despite its tactical shift towards the PCI.109 With regard to “dogmatism,” the PCF opposed Sino–Soviet negotiations. As Fejtő has argued, there was a point at which the PCF leadership would have subordinated its traditional loyalty to Soviet policy to its own vision of the coherence of world communism in doctrinal and organizational terms.110 In its idealvision of the world communist movement, unity would come about on the basis of egalitarian relations between communist parties, and, as was said in the Bureau politique in late 1967, not on the basis of “one or more leading centers.” This was a—private and cautious—questioning of Soviet leadership over the movement.111

  • 112 “Abteilung Kultur, Internationale Verbindungen, 12/1/1965,” in SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY 30/IV A 2/20, 4 (...)

73Furthermore, the PCF’s position on the crisis inside the world communist movement and its critique of the Soviet Union were very clearly expressed on the occasion of its refusal to co-operate in the preparations for a planned “world meeting of writers” in 1965. The meeting, as proposed in January 1965 by the East German SED and probably supported by the CPSU, would convene communist writers in Berlin and Weimar. While the PCF’s refusal in itself was not strictly new in these matters, the argumentation which they put forward demonstrated a greater assertiveness regarding the party’s own interests, and a readiness openly to talk about (and exploit) divergences. As the SED delegate reported: “The PCF is opposed to the project, on the one hand because a broad attendance of parties cannot be guaranteed, and on the other hand because all the present divergences on issues of cultural policy will come to the surface. The PCF considers that this is not useful for the present struggle of the West European brother parties.”112

  • 113 “23/6/67. Aux membres du BP. Info suite à la délégation d’étude du Parti en Union soviétique,” G. (...)

74The party’s first, limited, criticism of the Soviet Union as a regime was expressed in this period. Following the study trip to the Soviet Union by a PCF delegation sent by the Bureau politique, a report was sent to the members of this body, which included remarkably negative elements. Points of criticism were the organization of the economy, the election system and the absence of different candidates for elections (“we can ask ourselves whether our comrades should not be a little more vigilant on this issue”), and the minimal role of parliament. It was concluded that, given the “lack of parliamentary traditions such as the French one,” the political problems in the Soviet Union should not be exported to France. This was similar to the type of relative criticism of the Soviet Union that could be heard in the PCI since 1956. This type of criticism, however, was not made public to the wider party.113

  • 114 Courtois, Lazar, Histoire du PCF, pp. 328–329.

75Besides the private complaints addressed to the Soviet leadership, the PCF leadership suggested its distancing from the latter by not objecting to open support for Soviet dissidents by PCF intellectuals and compagnons de route and by not calling them to order. In February 1966 Humanité published an article by the influential party intellectual and Marxist theorist L. Aragon, which criticized the condemnation to work-camp labor of the writers I. Daniel and A. Siniavski by the Soviet authorities. Although Aragon made sure carefully to balance this with an appraisal of the Soviet system as a whole, his support of these dissidents was highly significant and unusual in PCF history.114 While in neither case the party leadership took an official position, the fact that it was willing to provide the critical intellectuals with a forum was telling of the (modest) changes its internationalism had undergone over the past years.

  • 115 “La diplomatie soviétique et sa lutte pour la sécurité collective. Rapport présenté à la Section d (...)

76Furthermore, while officially supportive of the Soviet strategies of peaceful coexistence and European security, the public and private insistence on the “orthodoxy” of peaceful coexistence, and on its offensive rather than defensive nature, suggests that there were difficulties in convincing the party of the benefits of peaceful coexistence. For example, in a report drafted by J. Gacon for the Foreign Policy Section in early 1967, it was emphasized that peaceful coexistence was “an authentic Leninist concept and not a Khrushchevite invention.”115 However damaging Soviet détente strategy proved to be to the PCF’s domestic strategy, a criticism of peaceful coexistence and détente could not be made, as this would re-enforce Maoist criticism of the Soviet Union.

Notes

1 A monograph exists on the Sino–Soviet conflict and West European communism: Timmermann, The Decline of the World Communist Movement. However, it fails in my view to grasp the complexities of the challenge posed by the Sino–Soviet rift to West European communism. Older, but still very useful, is Griffith, “European Communism and the Sino–Soviet Rift,” in Griffith, Communism in Europe, vol. 1.

2 On the Sino–Soviet conflict generally, see Westad, Brothers in Arms.

3 Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” p. 315.

4 The increase in this share was higher than the increase in funding to African, Asian and Latin American parties. Only from 1963 onwards did a small shift towards Africa and Asia occur. Riva, Oro da Mosca, pp. 46–65 and 239–240.

5 In the West, only the Dutch Communist Party (CPN) broke its ties with the Soviet Union in a clear-cut way over the Sino–Soviet rift. Timmerman, The Decline of the World Communist Movement, pp. 46–51.

6 The domestic position of the smaller parties was severely damaged by Maoist schisms and/or exclusions. More or less important Maoist groups were excluded from or left the communist party in Switzerland and Austria (1963), Spain (1964), the Netherlands and Portugal. Lazar, “Unité et crises,” p. 38.

7 For more detail on the conference proceedings and the positions of the PCI and PCF, see Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 116–125; and Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” p. 401.

8 According to Griffith, the Italian–Romanian alliance was effective not only in blocking the conference plan, but also in making Moscow temporarily cease its open polemics with China. Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” pp. 402–403.

9 Luigi Longo was general secretary of the PCI from 1964 to 1972. He was a former resistance leader and had been known, in the post-war period, as a rival of Togliatti. Biographical information on Longo can be found in the various contributions to Vacca, Luigi Longo.

10 See also Kriegel, “The International Role,” pp. 46–47.

11 Interview with Longo in L’Express, Paris, 2/11/64. Quoted in Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling Communist Parties,” pp. 26–27.

12 Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” pp. 404–405. Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling Communist Parties,” p. 27.

13 Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” p. 404.

14 Decisions of the Central Committee meeting, 7–9/7/1965. Published in Unità, 10/7/1965.

15 According to what Moretti, an influential PCI representative in Prague, told the SED, Longo did so, for example, on the occasion of his meeting in Prague with CPCS leaders on 16 and 17 November 1965. “Aussprache des Gen. Dr. Neubert, Mitarbeiter der Abt. Internationale Verbindungen beim ZK, mit den Gen. Moretti (Moranino), Leiter des Bueros der Kommunistischen Partei Italiens in Prag, am 24 November 1965,” Berlin, 25/11/1965, Neubert, 4 pages dact. Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv (SAPMDB), Zentrales Parteiarchiv SED (ZPA-SED), DY 30/IV A 2/20, 504.

16 There is no study of PCI positions regarding Third World struggles. Some useful information on PCI–Soviet tension on this issue can be found in Griffith, Sino–Soviet relations, chapter 2.

17 The PCF’s shift towards tactically opposing the conference is not mentioned in Kriegel, “The International Role,” pp. 46–47. I am in disagreement with Kriegel’s argument that the PCF at this point no longer favoured a monolithic WCM.

18 Letter from Guyot to Suslov, 28/2/65, in APCF, Fund Fajon, box 11 “International,” folder 1.

19 Both parties continued to oppose the conference plan up to early 1968. For an overview of the positions of the West European parties on the issue around 1967, see “Sulla conferenza internazionale dei partiti comunisti ed operai,” Roma, 25/1/67, s.n. (but most probably Berlinguer), in APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 35.2. For an outline of the Italian position on the Chinese question see “Nota Berlinguer,” 18/2/67, APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 35.1.

20 For a similar view of the emergence of a West European “pressure group” inside the WCM in the mid-1960s, see Fejtő, L’héritage de Lenine, p. 339.

21 For example Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling Communist Parties.”

22 There had been a first West European communist conference in 1959 in Rome, which did, however, lead to an autonomist movement.

23 “Notes CC d’avril: points de désaccord avec Longo,” ms., s.n. (but probably Waldeck Rochet), s.d. (but probably early 1966). APCF, Fund “Waldeck Rochet – Provenance Secrétariat Marchais,” box 27, folder 4. It was noted here that there were “positive and negative aspects” in PCI policies; with regard to foreign policy “they [the Italians –mb] pose fewer questions [than we do –mb] on NATO and other difficult matters.”

24 Final resolutions of the Brussels meeting, in Timmerman, H. “Moskau und die Westkommunisten: von Breshnew zu Gorbatschow,” in Berichte des Bundesinstituts für ostwissenschaftliche und internationale Studien. 1989, nr. 3.

25 Report of the Roasio-Grund meeting of 18/5/65, in: SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY 30/3521 (“Büro Ulbricht”).

26 APCF, BP, 24/4/65.

27 Honecker asked the organizing Belgian Communist Party if he could send an “observer” to the Brussels meeting. The West German KPD (no doubt under SED pressure) proposed inviting the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands—Westberlin. The first proposal was rejected, the second accepted. “Information,” 5/12/1964, 4 p. dact., in ASPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY 30/IV A2/20, 462.

28 “Berlin, 4/2/67. Bericht über den Aufenthalt einer Delegation des ZK in der DDR in der Zeit 11–13/1/67,” in ASPMNB, ZPA-SED, DY 30/IV, A2/20, 505.

29 As Jacques Denis, member of the Bureau politique, told SED leaders in January 1967. “Vermerk über ein Gespräch des Gen. Hermann Axen mit Gen. Jacques Denis, am 30. Januar 1967,” 3 pages dact., in SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY/30/IV A 2/20, 457, p. 3.

30 APCF, BP, 24/2/65.

31 APCF, BP, 11/3/65.

32 “The regional conference will contribute to the preparation of the Conference on European Security,” APCF, BP, 18/5/66.

33 “Vermerk über ein Gespräch des Gen. Hermann Axen mit Gen. Jacques Denis, am 30. Januar 1967,” 3 pages dact., in SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY/30/IV A 2/20, 457, p. 3.

34 On the coming about of détente after 1962, and American, Soviet, French and West German motives in this, see Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 3–23. For an emphasis on the “strains of nuclear destruction,” see Suri, Power and Protest, pp. 7–43.

35 See Edmonds’ discussion of the “four basic tasks for Soviet foreign policy,” formulated at the 23rd CPSU Congress in 1966. Edmonds, Soviet Foreign Policy, pp. 8–16. On the Soviet concept of détente see, especially, Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 36–52. As for the terminology, in Soviet/communist official documents, peaceful coexistence was the term most often used, referring to the policy. Détente was increasingly used in the second half of the 1960s and referred to the outcome. Light, The Soviet Theory, p. 63.

36 Gaiduk, The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War, esp. chapters 4 and 5.

37 For a similar interpretation see Duhamel, Les Soviétiques et les voies de la révolution, pp. 222–228.

38 Rey, Le dilemme russe, pp. 311–313.

39 For a discussion of the complex intra-communist tensions on security policy in this period see, especially, Selvage, “The Warsaw Pact and Nuclear Non-Proliferation.”

40 For similar view on West German motives behind early Ostpolitik, see Garton Ash, In Europe’s Name, pp. 54–57. On the Soviets and Ostpolitik, see Sodaro, Moscow, Germany and the West. On East German responses, see Sarotte, Dealing with the Devil.

41 Since 1957, Polish foreign minister Rapacki had been pressuring towards disarmament talks, linking this to the acceptance in the West of the territorial status quo. For more detail on the Rapacki plans see Erickson, “The Soviet Union and European détente,” in Dyson, European détente, pp. 172–194, at 174–178.

42 The resolutions of the Karlovy Vary Conference can be found in (CPSU, ed.) Pour la paix, la tranquillité, le bonheur des peuples d’Europe. For a discussion of Karlovy Vary from the military policy perspective, see Erickson, “The Soviet Union and European détente,” pp. 177–179.

43 For a similar view see Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” pp. 317–329.

44 Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” pp. 315–317. There is, of course, a broader historical and political debate on whether the Soviet Union at any point after 1948 favoured revolution in Western Europe. The relevant point here is that Soviet non-support for a Communist takeover in the West had since the start of the Cold War not yet become as explicit as in France in 1965.

45 In 1964–1967 it remained at about $ 10,200,000 for Europe. Instead, the funding of the Latin American and African parties increased, though not significantly. Riva, Oro da Mosca, pp. 45–67 and 306–307.

46 It was also intended by the Soviets as an intra-communist preparation for the envisaged pan-European conference on security. Albania, Romanian and Yugoslavia boycotted the conference, as did the parties of Iceland and Norway.

47 Enrico Berlinguer, future general secretary of the PCI, was at this point a Direzione member. During the 1960s he became increasingly influential in international affairs. He had been a leader of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. For a biographic account of Berlinguer see Fiori, Vita di Enrico Berlinguer.

48 “Incontro Kliszko 9/10/67,” hand-written report of the meeting by Berlinguer, in APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 41.1.

49 In October 1965, the French Bureau politique decided to “investigate the idea” for the conference. This usually meant they would present the project to the Soviet leaders. Some days later, in a talk with R. Guyot, responsible for foreign affairs in the BP, Ponomariov agreed to the schedule proposed by the former and to the official launching of the idea, which happened at the PCF’s national congress in Lavallois in late 1965. APCF, BP, 26/10/65 and 28/10/65.

50 The PCF protested against this privately. APCF, BP, 11/5/67.

51 APCF, BP, 6/4/67. Galluzzi, La svolta, pp. 150–152.

52 For more on the crisis of Atlanticism with emphasis on the economic base, see Kaldor, The Imaginary War, part II.

53 On French–American relations in this period, see, for example, Paxton, Wahl, De Gaulle and the United States, chapter 4.

54 Against de Gaulle’s expectations, the Soviet Union reacted very negatively to the French–West German treaty. On Gaullist policy vis-à-vis Eastern Europe in this period, see Rey, La tentation du rapprochement, esp. pp. 277–284. On de Gaulle and the German question generally, see Maillard, De Gaulle et le problème allemand; and Soutou, L’alliance incertaine.

55 Among the many publications on the crisis in NATO and the EEC in the 1960s, see, for example, Lundestad, “Empire” by Integration, chapter 6.

56 More detail on the PCI as an organization and a subculture in this period can be found in Sani, “Italy: the changing role of the Italian communist party,” in Albright, Communism and Political systems in Western Europe, pp. 54–57; and Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, pp. 393–403.

57 On the coming about of the centro-sinistra see Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, pp. 362–382; Mammarella, L’Italia contemporanea, chapter 3.

58 Flores, De Bernardi, Il sessantotto, p. 156.

59 For more on the debates in the PSI on the eve of its entry into government see Degl’Innocenti, Storia del PSI. Vol. III, chapter 3.

60 About 20 per cent of the PSI’s members followed Basso into the PSIUP, as did 38 MPs of the PSI and the bulk of the socialist leadership of the CGIL. Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, p. 371.

61 Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, pp. 373–378.

62 Another source of minor irritation was the removal by the Americans of their Jupiter Missiles from Italy in 1963. On Italian-American relations in the 1960s see Nuti, Gli Stati Uniti, esp. pp. 38–57.

63 Gualtieri, “Il PCI, la DC e il vincolo esterno,” pp. 69–70.

64 Pietro Ingrao had been a member of the PCI since 1941 and an MP since 1948. Among the many accounts of the Ingrao–Amendola dispute, see two recent, archive-based analyses: Ragusa, I comunisti e la società italiana, pp. 106–115; and Taviani, “L’impossibilità di un riformismo borghese?,” pp. 299–323. See, furthrmore, Mammarella, Il partito comunista italiano, pp. 143–147; Sassoon, The strategy of the Italian Communist Party, pp. 221–228.

65 Ragusa, I comunisti, pp. 108–109.

66 An analysis of ingraoism, its bases of support and its eventual defeat in this period, can be found in Amyot, The Italian Communist Party, esp. pp. 155–169. According to Amyot, the ingraiani were openly in the majority in some federations, and nationwide around 15 to 20 per cent of the active members were supporters of the Left.

67 The stagnation of the PCI in this phase has been argued, for example, in Tranfaglia, “Socialisti e comunisti nell’Italia repubblicana,” pp. 499–511.

68 After this, a purge took place inside the party, through which a number of federation and local leaders who had expressed support for Ingrao were eliminated. See Amyot, The Italian Communist Party, p. 169.

69 Taviani, “L’impossibilità di un riformismo borghese?,” pp. 311–312.

70 This is argued, for example, in Tranfaglia, “Socialisti e comunisti nell’Italia repubblicana,” pp. 499–511.

71 Immediately after Togliatti’s death, the new leadership (future general secretary L. Longo in particular) decided to publish the “Yalta Memorandum” in the party press. The full text is published in Togliatti, Opere scelte, pp. 1170–1181.

72 The insistence on the unity of the WCM in the late writings of Togliatti has become clear recently from archival research. See Pons, “L’URSS e il PCI,” p. 27.

73 The resolutions of the 10th National Congress are published in (PCI, ed.) Documenti politici dal X al XI Congresso.

74 Sassoon, The Strategy, pp. 209–211. Although this last slogan was not new and had been part of PCI propaganda since the 1950s, the emphasis on it was striking.

75 Older, but still highly useful on this, is Griffith, Sino–Soviet relations, chapters 2 and 8.

76 It is not clear what the reactions were to this report in the wider PCI leadership. According to Galluzzi, there was no time to propose this alternative version to the conference, but the amendments proposed by the PCI to the resolutions (see above) were based on this text. “Nota per la conferenza sulla sicurezza europea. Commenti Pietro Ingrao sul progetto,” 18/7/67, in APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 35.3.

77 “Nota per la conferenza sulla sicurezza europea. Commenti Pietro Ingrao sul progetto,” 18/7/67, in APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 35.3.

78 A first preparatory meeting took place in Rome in January 1968, which was attended by, among others, the PCF, the Algerian FLN, the Yugoslav League of Communists, the Greek AKEL, the PCE, and non-communist groups and parties from Morocco, Turkey and Iraq. PCF reluctance to co-operate with the FLN, however, remained an obstacle for this type of convergence. The resolutions of the meeting can be found in “Documento interno approvato nella riunione preparativa della conferenza delle forze progressive del mediterraneo. Roma, 22–23 gennaio 1968,” in APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 41.2.

79 On the PCI and Europe see, essentially, Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, chapters 5 and 6.

80 Although the PSI’s support of the PCI in this respect was important, the former party did not go as far as to make its support of Italian ratification of the Rome Treaties dependent on communist inclusion in the Italian delegation in Strasburg, as Galluzzi requested. The Rome Treaties were ratified by the Italian Parliament in November 1965, with the support of the PSI; the PCI and the PSIUP voted against. Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, pp. 232–239.

81 From 1965 onwards the CGIL openly started to criticize the Soviet and PCI theses on the crisis of capitalism. On the European positions of the CGIL in European affairs and its influence on the PCI leadership, see Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, pp. 227–232.

82 Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, pp. 212–233.

83 See also Maggiorani, L’Europa degli altri, pp. 303–304.

84 On the PCI and the SPD see, especially, the many publications by H. Timmermann, for example Timmerman, “Im Vorfeld der Neuen Ostpolitik.” See also Galluzzi, La svolta, pp. 171–185. However, while Timmerman has, in my view, overestimated the strategic importance of these contacts to détente in Europe, Galluzzi has exaggerated the antagonism between the PCI and the SED on this issue.

85 This happened at a meeting between the PCI and the SED in December 1967. Galluzzi, La svolta, pp. 175–178.

86 Carlo Galluzzi was at the time head of the Foreign Affairs Section of the Central Committee, and was known as an advocate of cautious reform.

87 Lavau, for example, has only noted “little enthusiasm” for the Soviet policies by the PCF in this period. Lavau,”L’URSS et eux…,” pp. 202–203.

88 Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 76. Waldeck Rochet was general secretary between 1964 and, officially, 1972. Before, he had been responsible for agricultural policy. He had profiled himself since 1956 as an advocate of change. See the biography: Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet.

89 Furthermore, a more general rejuvenation of the party leadership occurred after 1964: half of the Central Committee members were replaced in the space of three years. Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet, pp. 111–220. Biographical information on Jean Kanapa can be found in Streiff, Kanapa.

90 Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet, p. 215.

91 More on Althusser’s thought and his situation on the French Left at the time in Khilnani, Arguing revolution, chapter 4.

92 Rochet is to have admitted to Althusser later on that the party needed to criticize him in order to be able to criticize Garaudy. Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet, p. 217. For more on the Argenteuil meeting see Khilnani, Arguing revolution, pp. 105–111.

93 Verdès-Leroux, Le réveil des somnambules, passim.

94 For more detail on the “French Chinese” see Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 149–154.

95 The continued crisis in the UEC throughout 1963–1967 was connected to internal party matters, as the different tendencies in the UEC were allied to tendencies in the party. The UEC in 1963 was dominated by an “Italian” tendency, which outnumbered the party-allied “orthodox” tendency. Moreover, Trotskyite, Castrist, and increasingly Maoist ideas were influential. The party leadership gradually re-established control over the UEC by using the old Leninist tactic of infiltration and alliance building. For more detail on the UEC crisis see Dreyfus, PCF. Crises et dissidences, pp. 141–153.

96 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 124–126.

97 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 474.

98 For more detail see Kergoat, Histoire du Parti socialiste, pp. 144–151.

99 For more on Rochet’s motivations see Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet, pp. 234–236.

100 There had been a first electoral alliance in March 1965 for the city council elections. Courtois, Lazar, Histoire du PCF, p. 320.

101 Bell, Criddle, The French Socialist Party, p. 45.

102 The sense of frustration only increased when, on the occasion of the 23rd Party Congress of the CPSU in Moscow in 1966, the Soviets unanimously cheered the name of de Gaulle, while Rochet, in his speech, had carefully avoided mentioning the president’s name. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 200.

103 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 274–280.

104 In the same year, a delegation of the PCF, led by Thorez-Vermeersch and composed mostly of Soviet-loyalists, did the same. There were antecedents: while in 1956 Jacques Duclos had expressed the wish in Prague that the CPCS could “help the PCF in establishing relations with the socialists,” Roger Garaudy two years later had formulated a similar request. Bartošek, Paris–Prague, pp. 177–180.

105 Mollet furthermore argued that the PCF should abandon its “complex of solidarity” with Moscow. Bartošek, Paris–Prague, pp. 178–182.

106 “Die FGDS und die Deutschlandfrage,” in Misterium fuer Auswärtiges Amt (Berlin), Politisches Archiv, MfAA, B. 24, Bd. 606. This was not, however, the official position of the FGDS.

107 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p 190.

108 Moreover, it seems that sharp discontent was expressed in the middle and lower echelons against the fall of Khrushchev. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 193.

109 According to Bartošek, nothing on the PCI was published in Humanité without the agreement of the Central Committee. Bartošek, Paris–Prague, p. 175.

110 According to Fejtő, Waldeck Rochet said at a meeting with Chinese leader Chou-En Lai in November 1964 that, in the event of a Soviet truce with China, the PCF would not go along. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 192.

111 APCF, BP, 14/12/67.

112 “Abteilung Kultur, Internationale Verbindungen, 12/1/1965,” in SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY 30/IV A 2/20, 457.

113 “23/6/67. Aux membres du BP. Info suite à la délégation d’étude du Parti en Union soviétique,” G. Plissonnier, in APCF, Fund “Waldeck Rochet –Provenance Sec. Marchais,” box 8 “1967 (fin).” All the critical passages in this document were omitted from the report that was sent to the Central Committee. “3/7/67. Envoi par Roland Leroy d’un texte de la délégation d’études du Parti en URSS. Aux membres du CC” (same location).

114 Courtois, Lazar, Histoire du PCF, pp. 328–329.

115 “La diplomatie soviétique et sa lutte pour la sécurité collective. Rapport présenté à la Section de politique extérieure le 17/3/67 par Jean Gacon,” in APCF, Fund Fajon, box 10 “International—URSS.”

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