General Motion Approved by the XIVth Congress of the PR

General Motion Approved by the XIVth Congress of the PR
Milan, 1,2,3 and 4 November, 1974

XIV congressoXIV congressoABSTRACT: The success of the referendum of May 13, 1974, that sees a large majority of Italians reject the request of the clergy to abrogate the divorce law, the Radicals' battles in the "hot summer" of the same year, with Marco Pannella's hunger strike against the RAI (Italian National Radio and TV) censorship of news of Radical Party activities for approval of the law giving the vote to eighteen-year-olds, for a first try in Parliament on an abortion law - none of all this, according to the Radicals, has brought about an inversion of tendency in the policies of the leftist parties who are always in competition with each other and thus always prepared to reach agreements or compromises with the regime in power, the DC. The picture is worsened by the fact that the PSI is visibly always less important and less representative in the Italian electoral context and in political struggles. Thus the Milan Congress is a newer and more mature expression of the policies followed in recent years by the party. By now,
the motion of the Congress states, it is necessary to organise "the policies and program of an alternative government" to push the DC into the opposition - and not for the far future but within a reasonable length of time. To attain this goal the first thing is to strengthen the libertarian Socialist camp so that it wins at least twenty per cent of the vote and thus put the ranks of the Italian left back into balance. From now on al the party's energies will be focused on this goal.

The campaign to collect signatures for the eight referendums failed because of sectarianism and errors of evaluation (as well as obstructionism on the part of the TV news programs). But the Congress reaffirms the validity of the undertaking and renews it for the coming year with a few technical changes (reduction of the number of the referendums).

The Congress elects Gianfranco Spadaccia as Secretary along with a Secretariat composed of Guido Aghina, Walter Baldassarri, Giuseppe Ramadori, Angelo Pezzana and Sergio Stanzani.
("The Battles, the Victories and the Proposals of the Radicals as Seen in their Congressional Documents and Statutes" - November 1985 - edited by Maurizio Griffo - pamphlet published by the
Radical Party Treasury)

The XIVth Congress of the Radical Party, held in Milan on November 1,2,3,4, points out that political answers to the grave economic crisis in the country, as well as the democratic and institutional ones, are either non-existent or dramatically inadequate.

The economic crisis has international origins and dimensions that involve all European capitalist countries. But in Italy it is made worse by a corporative regime that has blocked the creation of all reforms and civil structures, even those that are necessary for and natural to a modern capitalist system. Instead the regime has created an enormous parasitical and unproductive structure based on patronage.

For these reasons Italy will pay an extra price which will once again fall on the shoulders of the popular masses, the working class, the petite bourgeoisie on a fixed income, but above all the South, the classes outside the production system, the young people in search of a job, and the mass of women.

The crisis for the democracy and institutions of the Republic has once more been confirmed by recent revelations of subversive plots, provocations and coup attempts, the existence of terrorist groups, which only today have been revealed and combated.
But attempts are useless to seek the responsibility for such hot-beds of anti-republican activities in a limited Fascist phenomenon alone and outside the country's institutions. Felonious generals, intrigues by secret services, independent corps and parallel police forces, the responsibility of ministers who have favoured or at least tolerated such behaviour show that the phenomena has its origins within the institutions themselves and only finds its henchmen and hangmen on the outside in some sectors of the financial world, its financiers, and in the Fascist movement.

The true cause of the Italian political crisis, the economic one as well as the institutional one, lies in the contradiction of a country that on May 13 indicated with a large majority that it wants an alternative to the Christian Democrats, to their values, their interests, their methods of governing and a political situation that does not yet permit this possibility of change and alternative.

A new way of governing, the very possibility of a different, more human and more just model of development, the achievement of real and radical reforms, cannot be realised by the block of social, corporative, clerical, classist and parasitical interests that make up the Christian Democrats, nor in collaboration with them. On the contrary, these objectives presuppose homogeneous social forces that have alternative interests and express an alternative will and program.

To reintegrate public morality and constitutional legality, to regain for political and civil life the old republican virtues of good government, equal rights for all, honest administration, one must overthrow a power system that has replaced Fascist violence with corruption, consumerism, the promiscuous use of the mass media, but has kept and reinforced authoritarian Fascist laws and behaviour, structures and corporative ideology. The attempts they are making to create the new center-left show these days how far the present political-parliamentary balance, the current political debate, the very limited possible options for governmental formulas or alliances, the hypotheses for programs themselves - how far these all are from these fundamental and by now indispensable and urgent needs of the Italian democracy and the country.

The Radical Party does not ignore the grave responsibilities that in this moment necessarily condition the large Italian leftist parties in Parliament and the large labour unions. Therefore the party does not make facile judgements concerning their behaviour or their present choices. The gravity of the general crisis in the country is nevertheless such that if a political alternative and program for a government is not under present circumstances to be achieved, it should not however be postponed to the distant future but must already be prepared so that it can be achieved in time to be implemented for solving the country's problems faced by this political generation.

It's contents must be prepared for an immediate great debate and political confrontation on a common alternative program of reforms - economic, structural and superstructural, social, civil, institutional, - that will be capable of indicating, involving and representing the widest and most homogeneous range of social forces that can and must present themselves as candidates and protagonists of the great democratic and socialist change in our society and our State.

It must be politically prepared with coherent and adequate undertakings and methods. A political-parliamentary action must be taken to put the Constitution into effect and impose minimally legitimate methods and practices on those in power. This action must be supported, solicited and controlled by the grass roots, by democratic and popular participation, by direct mass actions such as are beginning to assert themselves in the country and which must be constantly strengthened and diffused in their capillary action. These must, in turn, find and achieve an organic connection and an adequate political expression in the representative parliamentary institutions if they are not to be confined to social practice and agitation.

The confrontation of ideas, morals, politics and also legislation on the great themes of liberty, civil rights, on how to think about and live with the Christian Democrats, the Church, the forces of tradition and conservatism, must not be suffocated and avoided but, on the contrary, investigated and imposed, above all when it corresponds to a level of cultural and civil maturity in the country and to serious objective problems of society, to the requirements for happiness, to the struggles and hopes for liberation, to the new generations' new conceptions of conscience, to women and even to the mass of believers.
We must oppose, counterattack, defuse and paralyse the worst forms of discrimination and social injustice by adding other forms of organised, collective civil disobedience similar to factory strikes but outside the factory.

All this, however, is not enough to create the conditions for an alternative if these battles and a general political perspective do not help create a socialist-libertarian component that reinforces the entire Italian left-wing by putting it back into balance.

If the Socialist and libertarian component does not succeed in winning at least twenty per cent of the vote, there is the risk that this element will only find an alibi for its impotence and failure in establishing a united and autonomous partnership with the Italian Communist Party, in disputing over the historic compromise (the Communists' decision to support the coalition givenrment,ed.), the politics of Togliatti, the imperfect bipartisanship,
and the co-administration of power in Parliament and society. And the creation of a large Socialist and libertarian force is the necessary condition for a democratic and Socialist alternative policy.

By strengthening its own structures, the Radical Party intends to make its independent contribution to the prospects for this new, united structure: not through agitation that only has value as a form of pressure on the leftist parties in Parliament and on the trade unions, but by promoting and developing new battles for freedom and liberation; by becoming a point of reference and federational co-ordination for the new libertarian, democratic-Socialist, national and local movements; by working to create new democratic conditions and to give them adequate political and institutional outlets; in other words, not to erode for sectarian motives the political and electoral margins of the other parties but, on the contrary, to widen the global potential of Socialism and the entire left.

The Radical Party believes that in pursuing its battle for civil rights, which has up to now prevalently characterised its political activities, the first right to acquire and implement is the right to referendums as the right of the citizens and the people to participate in the legislative process.

In a national political situation that for more than thirty years has blocked the abolition of the authoritarian and Fascist laws of the Rocco code and of the anti-constitutional military codes and regulations, the norms of the clerical-Fascist Concordat between Church and State and other laws limiting the liberty and the rights of citizens - in this situation the popular mass action to collect signatures for abrogation referendums is also an essential instrument for supporting the reformist activities of the democratic forces in Parliament, for breaking the clerical-Fascist resistance, for unblocking the legislative paralysis in the chambers of Parliament that occurs each time questions of liberty come up.
The XIVth Congress of the Radical Party therefore confirms the validity of the project on abrogation referendums that was approved at the last Congress and already attempted last year; it gives a mandate to the administrational organs of the Radical Party to define the manner of taking up the project again during 1975 with whatever modifications may turn out to be opportune; it appeals to all democratic political and union forces, in and out of Parliament, to understand the importance of this popular action for the democratisation of the State and not to repeat the error previously committed on two occasions of blocking and boycotting it.

The XIVth National Congress, having received the proposals of the comrades of the Women's Liberation Movement, a party confederate with whom the Radicals confirm their full solidarity for the most general feminist struggles, commits the party organs to renew and develop the fight for abortion. The shameful plague of illegal and clandestine abortions must stop to which millions of women - mostly proletarians - have been and are being forced to have recourse with serious effects on their physical and mental health.

The party will continue the struggle to remove penalties for abortion and to liberalise it and for women's right to make free decisions concerning their lives and their bodies:
1) by use of the abrogation referendum;
2) by pressures and battles in Parliament so that, while respecting its own regulations and the commitments given to it by the Chamber of Deputies' Justice and Health Commission, it will finally hold the debate on the bill presented by the hon. Loris Fortuna (a Socialist leader, ed.) and thirty other Socialist deputies.
3) by developing the campaign for self-incrimination for abortion or abortion assistance ( a civil-disobedience tactic, ed.);
4) by direct action, political, legal and journalistic help on behalf of all the victims of the present laws and all those organisations and persons who publicly, as does the CISA (Italian Center for Sterilization and Abortion), offer assistance to women who must face the drama of an illegal, clandestine abortion.

The Congress commits the party organs to organise by January a national conference on abortion together with the Women's Liberation Movement.

The Congress denounces the serious delay that is taking place in Parliament on the vote for eighteen-year-olds. This delay threatens to impede three and a half million voters of the youngest generation to participate in the next elections whether of the administrative regional type or of the early political type. We must fight to get Parliament to approve immediately the bill lowering the age of majority without confusing this with the more complex law to revise the Constitution on the active and passive electorate. Thus it appeals to the FGCI (Italian Federation of Young Communists), the FGSI (Italian Federation of Young Socialists), the FGR (Federation of Young Republicans), the extra-parliamentary parties and movements, and in particular to the PDUP (Proletarian Unity Party) for the Communists, to Avanguardia Operaia and Lotta Continua to organise immediately a national unity-in-struggle day in all of Italy.

It commits the party's organs to take immediate action in this sense.

The Congress, having heard the presentations of comrades from the LOC (League of Conscientious Objectors), and on the basis of the intra-mural debate concerning the role of the army today, on the present state of implementation of the conscientious objectors law and of alternative civilian service, on the origins and development of the "Objectors in Uniform" at the side of the LOC, gives a mandate to the party organs to convene by Spring the Vth National Anti-militarist Congress.

In view of the nearing elections and in particular with the possibility of early elections, the XIVth National Congress commits the parties' organs, the Radical associations, and individual
activists, to mobilise right now for presenting themselves in the Radical lists. If new facts do not develop within the left-wing, if alternatives and factors of renewal are not activated in the sense indicated in the motion, the Radical Party would not, in fact, be able to abdicate its responsibility to express politically the undeferrable needs of Italian democracy, even in the elections and bringing its initiatives into the parliamentary institutions.

All decisions regarding participation in the elections on the national, regional or local levels, will, however, have to be deliberated by the Federated Council according to criteria of unity.