Communists on Wall Street

Interview with Communist Party of Italy official on 'eurocommunism'

"Euro-communism" is the new doctrine of the Italian, French, and Spanish communist parties; the three largest non-governmental CP's. Just what is the new doctrine of Euro-communism, which has provoked a great deal of debate and speculation about the communist parties? As good an indication as any comes from the interview, reprinted below, with the Italian Communist Senator Eugenio Peggio, one of the leading officials of the Communist Party of Italy. The interview originally appeared last year (April 6) in the Roman paper La Repubblica.

Q: Senator Pecchioli, you are a Communist deputy, as is your colleague Boldrini. In early April you had a meeting in the Salomon Brothers skyscraper on Wall Street with generals, bankers, and industrialists representing corporations such as Chase Manhattan, Lehman Brothers, Mobil Oil, and Pan American. How was it?

Pecchioli: In the U.S. generals and bankers are particularily interested in Italian developments. This was their first direct contact with Communists. Naturally they had certain worries. Those who plan to invest with us understandably enough expect Italy to be politically stable, expect Italy to have a capable, effective government.

Q: How do these people see the role of the Communist Party of Italy?

Pecchioli: They see in the CPI a party, that can govern and stablise, a party that is capable of demanding the necessary sacrifices from the workers. At the same time I also sensed doubts and mistrust in our partners. A number tended to confuse our participation in the government with a seizure of power. We explained to them that in Italy the only possible government is a coalition government, and that the Italian constitution supplies all the necessary guarantees.

Q: Which political explanations did they ask you to make?

Pecchioli: They wanted to know in detail what the reasons were for the polemic between ourselves and the Soviets, in connection with the form of socialism that we want to build in Italy. One asked me why we still call ourselved Communists. I answered that we have a tradition and that the name is not important -- but that our name links us to the entire history of the workers' movement in Italy, to which we felt and will continue to feel strong ties.

Q: Which guarantees were asked of you?

Pecchioli: For example that the public sector in Italy would not be further enlarged. But our public sector is sufficiently large as it is. The problem is democratic planning, and that is a guarantee for those who want to invest with us. They have to know that our economic development is following specific goals, which will not be changed from day to day. Particular emphasis was laid on wage rates; we explained that these are only one aspect of the economic problems of Italy.

Q: And what did you say to the generals!

Pecchioli: We repeated that the entry of Communists into the government would not result in Italy leaving NATO. Of course our goal is the gradual dismantling of the blocs. But the military equilibrium must be maintained. Thus we accept military bases in Italy. One has to work toward the reduction of armaments, but on an equal basis.