General Motion Approved by the IXth Congress (Extraordinary) of the PR

General Motion Approved by the IXth Congress (Extraordinary) of the PR
Milan, February 14, 1971

ABSTRACT: In conjunction with the February 11 anniversary (Lateran Pact, ed.), a series of "national conferences" is held in Milan in which Liberals, Republicans, pro-divorce militants, and religious believers converge in a great national assembly for the abrogation of the Concordat which leads to the formation of the LIAC. The Radicals participate in this after holding, also in Milan, their IXth (Extraordinary) National Congress.
The motion and the declaration that the Congress approved unanimously show the contribution of ideas and struggle that the Radicals offer to the LIAC and the anti-Concordat movement; in
particular, the immediate reproposing of the referendum for abrogation as the only one able to provide the necessary support for a "mass action" capable of involving the "entire nation" in a parliamentary initiative that needed to be taken in that year and to which the party offers its support.
("The Battles, the Victories and the Proposals of the Radicals as Seen in the Documents of Their Congresses and Their Statutes" - November 1985 - Edited by Maurizio Griffo - Pamphlet Published by the Treasury of the Radical Party)


The Extraordinary IXth National Congress on the Radical Party, held in Milan on February 14, 1971, hears the report of the party secretary and approves it: it extends its greetings to the other national parties being held at the same time of the Liberals, Republicans, pro-divorce actionists, to the meeting of religious believers promoted by Senator Albani and to all those - members of Parliament of various parties, elements from university circles and of lay culture - who have adhered to this initiative and to party members who have come to Milan to participate in the National Assembly for the abrogation of the Concordat;

indicates as the suitable and democratic instrument an Italian League for the Abrogation of the Concordat to be organised according to the statutory principles already assumed and drawn up by the LID, which is a political and militant organisation composed of an assembly or sovereign congress and which is divided into a council, a secretary, and a president without other statutory organs. A national congress that must be held no later than next November will be authorised to discuss this structure again and to consider other possibilities of organisation;

reaffirms the goal of a referendum to abrogate the Concordat or of the laws that keep it in effect as the necessary instrument to carry the anti-Concordat fight to the country and to give it a mass base;

recommends to all militant Radicals, whatever degree of responsibility they presently hold in the Radical Party, to act in such a way that the party's direct work, putting its statutes and congressional deliberations into effect, be considered absolutely pre-eminent, in order to avoid, as has happened with the League for Divorce, that delays and unfulfilled tasks accumulate and distort the necessary and urgent development of the Radical Party. This is the major contribution that the Radicals can and must assure to the fundamental united lay and libertarian battles of the new left, the only one that presently cannot be omitted or delegated to others.

The Unanimously Approved Declaration

The long, almost desperate fight that the Radical Party has waged alone for the last fifteen years to impose a united political battle for the abrogation of the Concordat, for an intransigent, rigorous anti-clerical reply to the scandal of a Church and a State that are united to reciprocally assure the clerical, authoritarian and classist oppression - this fight is now won. In taking note of this, the Extraordinary IXth Congress of the Radical Party emphasises the debt that all democrats and laymen owe to Ernesto Rossi for his fundamental contribution as the first one to inspire and lead this fight, all too often misunderstood, when not actually derided, even by those who professed an abstract and formal respect for him. Today, instead, his stature as a political man is confirmed as is his role of incomparable militant for the assertion of of civil rights in Italian society. All the more unjust, painful and irreparable appears today his passing away four years ago in the light of how much of vigour and nec
essity his thought and his work has given to the construction of a new society and not any longer to his Radical comrades alone.

The edifice of the clergy and the Concordat in Italy, after four decades of the iniquitous Lateran Pact, after centuries of unaccomplished reform and reforms both civil and religious, has been struck a first serious blow with the people's fight for divorce and its victory in Parliament. This civil victory has removed a corner stone from the edifice of Vatican power - that of the juridical monopoly over the family. This fact is as constitutionally legitimate as it is logically and historically contradictory with the spirit of the Concordat. After the vote on
article 7 of the Constitution, after twenty years of growing subordination of all the lay forces, a historical tendency has been dramatically overturned from below that too many people had thought was by now irreversible in Italy. Now the accelerating claims of the lay-libertarian movement, which represents the human and civil commitment of the masses and new generations of believers and non-believers, can take up the cause of the school, the social functions, economic power, land-holding, real estate, finance, and the methods of massive dislocation and of
real and true alienation of public property in the sectors of health, social assistance, "free-time" structures, the historical function of making sacred the "constituted disorder" and the "violence of the State". These demands threaten to violate the
gates, whether strait or barred, of authoritarianism, defended by an ecclesiastical and State leadership that is always more behind the times with regard to the common sentiments of the citizens.

And this, in effect, is what the Radical Party must help to organise and guarantee. Moat of all, it cannot defend divorce except by attacking the very foundations of the protean forms of power that is being mobilised to cancel it out.

And, clearly, the opposite is also true: without re-conquering power and the sacredness that derives from the juridical indissolubility of marriage and the clerical monopoly on its indissolubility, pontifical power is in danger. For this reason, with the referendum for the abrogation of divorce, with its massive support, that tears up like old, no longer usable paper, the Fascist Concordat, to worsen it and enforce it, the church of the CEI and the CEI of the Bishop of Prato attempt to overturn the Fortuna-Basilini law.

Thus, in a historical climate that did not seem to tolerate it, a new attempt is made - which until yesterday had succeeded - to isolate Italy from the rest of the civilized world, like Spain, Ireland and Portugal, and to make it into the temporal foundation of Roman Catholic politics.

The necessary maximisation, the unavoidable violence implicit in such a policy, are in themselves a proof of weakness and the guarantee of an ultimate defeat. But for this to happen in time so that another political generation need not be suffocated and gratuitously sacrificed, it is necessary that one does not entrust oneself passively to the logic of things, that one does not abdicate the responsibilities that the occasion presents.

The National Congress of the Radical Party notes that more than three hundred thousand people, spontaneously aggregating and gathering round a political action promoted by organisations that were thought to be disarmed just because poor and not integrated with the regime - groups like the Radical Party, the LID, the LIberal Left, the ARLI, the Federation of Republican Youth - these people have already requested a referendum to abrogate the Concordat or the laws which enforce it. The racket of public information, practised by all the political parties in Parliament, thus sequestering the constitutional and democratic rights of minorities, making a swindle of democratic processes, has on this occasion been of no use except to define a popular and grass roots success without precedent. The Concordat will be swept away only in this way and by this battle; neither unilateral denunciations by the executive following on the abolition of article 7 (nor the verification of habitual and constant violations on the p
art of the Vatican), nor parliamentary actions directed at that result, objectives that the Radical Party has made its own, will ever, in fact, be to any purpose without a mass action in support of it.

Only a great popular battle, clear and honest, will actually be able to arouse the country, and in particular the large democratic masses that give their trust and their vote to the PCI, to isolate and overcome the erroneous, neo-Concordat and anti-ecumenical policies that the present group of leaders seem intent on pursuing and worsening. Only so focused a battle as this can provide the immediate,concrete mobilisation from below of the great masses of non-clerical believers, not otherwise accessible, unless one thinks that the present ecclesiastical structures are also suitable and useful to transmit, collect and strengthen the lay-libertarian message too, which is certainly the most relevant for the objective of a modern, anti-Concordat struggle.

The IXth National Congress of the Radical Party is worried to note that a specific anti-Concordat objective on a political level has been forthcoming only from the side of the pro-divorce groups;

hopes, therefore, that activists will make the effort to propose and study ways for transforming the following objectives into concrete public and parliamentary initiatives:

a) the abolition of congrue (tax exemptions?) and all other forms of State financing of any cults and their personnel according to the letter and the spirit of article 20 of the Constitution; of religious instruction in the schools; of any subsidies and transferring of public property to the Church and its collateral organisations. We propose the publication of a critical and annotated edition of the Siccardi and Combes laws.
b) expropriation of Church property in the subsidised schools, particularly in the kindergartens, in social assistance, in public health; the confiscation of all property that may be considered prevalently as profits of the regime in the sense accepted by the Fascist leadership in 1946.
c) abrogation of all the laws putting into effect the financial convention, the treaty and the Concordat that provide for particular financial and fiscal advantages for members of religious orders.