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The rage over ""Eurocommunism""--the catchall term signifying independence from Moscow and acceptance of democratic processes--has died down of late, thanks to electoral slippages by the Communist Parties of Italy and France. But to Marzani the lull is just that: Eurocommunism, he believes, is here to stay. In this enthusiastic review, he fills in the history of European and other Party deviance from Moscow, and surveys the status of Communist politics in Italy, France, and Spain. Italy, however, is Marzani's main interest--and not only does the Italian scene occupy over half the book, it colors his view of Eurocommunism as a whole. He combines some standard political history and slightly worn textual recitations with interviews and conversations--conducted with Communists, Christian Democrats, Vatican officials, journalists, far-leftists, and others--into a wholehearted justification of the Italian CP's policy of actively seeking coalition with the Christian Democrats: the so-called ""historic compromise."" Citing the growth of Italian feminism, the traditional radicalism of Italian monists, and the rampant corruption of the ruling Christian Democrats, Marzani sees the PCI as the only hope for Italy's future. Unlike most others, he also stresses the importance of agriculture for Italy's development, and cites the successes of Communist-inspired agricultural co-ops as evidence of the PCI's potential for redirecting the country from within and offering a new path. Marzani's enthusiasm overflows when he takes Pope John Paul II's affirmation that the Vatican should stay out of politics but champion the world's poor as an invitation for Eurocommunism and Catholicism to join together into a world-wide coalition leading the Third World. Marzani's portrait of Italian Communism is interesting in its breadth--though no match in acuity for Jane Kramer's (above); his narrow focus, however, distorts the phenomenon of Eurocommunism as a whole.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1980
Publisher: Lawrence Hill