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Italian communism and violence, 1921-48

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This article deals with the relationship between communism and violence in Italy in the years 1921-1948. The author describes the different phases during which the Italian labour movement resorted to violent methods of struggle (both as defence and as an instrument of aggression), focusing in particular on the origins of this phenomenon, and the idea of violence as reflected in the writings of Gramsci, Bordiga, Togliatti and other communist leaders; the struggle against fascism; the Resistance; and finally the outburst of violence following the attempt on Palmiro Togliatti's life in 1948. The article proposes to analyse the violence employed and theorised by the Italian communists as having the 'lawmaking character' mentioned by Benjamin.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • Twentieth Century Communism provides an international forum for the latest research on the subject and an entry-point into key developments and debates not immediately accessible to English-language historians. Its main focus is on the period of the Russian revolution (1917-91) and on the activities of communist parties themselves but its remit also extends to the movement's antecedents and rivals, the responses to communism of political competitors and state systems, and to the cultural as well as political influence of communism.
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