The spectral figure of Amadeo Bordiga: a case study in the decline of Marxism in the West - John Chiaradia

John Chiaradia's 1972 dissertation on the left communist Amadeo Bordiga, specifically his political activities between 1912 and 1926, when he played a major role in the Italian Socialist party and later in the Italian Communist party, from which he and thousands of other anti-Stalinist communists were later expelled.

This is a study of the ideological and political activities of the founder of Italian Communism, Amadeo Bordiga, during the years between 1912-26, when he played a major role first within the Italian Socialist party and later in the leadership of the Italian Communist party. Following the victory of the Socialist left wins: in 1912, Bordiga emerged as one of a number of ideologues seeking to make the party take more seriously its revolutionary goals. Well before 1914 he showed that he understood the conflict leading to war, and in 1915 he became the spokesman for the antiwar Socialist base, Bordiga came to the fore of Socialist politics again in 1919, when the journal with, which he was associated, Il Soviet, urged the Socialists to abstain from the national election and turn their energies to building soviets, Bordiga then led the left wing in abandoning the Socialist party to form the Communist party in 1921, A majority of the Communist membership continued to adhere to left-Communist views, until the ranks were purged and dismembered by a faction formed in 1924 in the leadership of the party by Antonio Gramsci upon his return from Moscow.

The narrative is divided into seven chapters. The first reviews the contradictory appraisals of Bordiga found in various historiographies; emphasis is placed on the revival of interest in him appearing in Italian left-wing writings. Subsequent chapters look into the political background influencing the views of the young Bordiga, the policies pursued by the Communist party at the time of the Sinistra, that is, left, leadership, the conflicts between that leadership and the Third International, and the means used by Gramsci to break the resistance of the Sinistra base, thus neutralising the loyalty to Bordiga. In the course of presenting Italian Communism in a new light, two findings are claimed: 1) that the contributions of Gramsci to the origins of Italian Communism were minor, and 2) that Bordiga was the outstanding Italian Marxist during the years under review. The political eclipse of Bordiga was a major event in the decline of Marxism in the West, and was accompanied by the abandonment of a revolutionary perspective by the new Communist leadership headed by Palmiro Togliatti.

Contents

Introduction
I: The image of Amadeo Bordiga in historiography
II. The making of an ideologue
III. The birth of the PCI
III. The Bordigan party, 1921-22
IV: The conflict with the International
VI: The agony of the Sinistra
VII: Conclusions and a view to the future
Appendix

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