General Motion Approved by the XVth Congress of the PR
General Motion Approved by the XVth Congress of the PR
Florence, November 1,2,3,4, 1975
ABSTRACT: Held in Florence after the June 15 elections, the Florence Congress would have been hard to imagine just two years ago as regards the quality and quantity of the attendance (besides the very large number of participants, there were about one thousand registered party members and numerous Socialist leaders). The Congress notes, that not much time remains for making the choice between a leftist alternative government and the historic compromise. Considers indispensable that the left wing present itself as a candidate to run the country and work out and discuss a common platform for the following legislature, and give all citizens, furthermore, the hope of achieving modern Socialism, lay and libertarian, by a total application of the Constitution and the elimination of the authoritarian, fascist, clerical and corporative norms. The PR looks to the Socialist Party, preparing for its own congress in February, and as asks it for a discussion and a commitment on these issues. If the Socialist reply shou
ld be positive, it will be possible to initiate a federative pact together. But the Socialists and the other political groups must make various important political choices: a first and fundamental test will be the discussion on the abortion law that is about to take place in the Chamber of Deputies. Reaffirming what was already affirmed in the Milan Congress, the PR also considers indispensable the forming of a libertarian Socialist group self-governed by the grass roots and equal to 20% of the electorate, similar to what has been done in France. And it concludes: either it will be possible to aggregate this 20% around a radically reformed PSI in which certain hardened equilibriums have been overturned and certain old power principles defeated, or else the Radical Party will be forced to take note that it is the only group in Italy to represent the new Socialist ideal which is widely demanded in the country, and it will be obliged to run on its own account in the next national elections.
("The Battles, the Victories and the Proposals of the Radicals as Seen in Their Congressional Documents and Statute" - November 1985 - Edited by Maurizio Griffo - pamphlet published by the Treasury of the Radical Party)
The XVth Congress of the Radical Party confirms in its interests the appraisal of the political situation and the basic indications contained in the concluding motion of the preceding congress held in Milan.
Confronted with the worsening and the spreading of the crisis in the regime which threatens to involve and drag down the entire society and the country, the political processes have accelerated which assert the demand and the need for a deep and radical political alternative that is democratic and Socialist. This political process found a first political-electoral expression in the June 15 elections - a still partial expression, but indicative of the society's and the State's great potential for democratic and Socialist renewal and transformation, reformation and revolution. The struggles for liberty and civil rights, from divorce to the vote for eighteen-year-olds, have accelerated this process. In reality a vast liberation movement has expressed itself through them, the need for a revolution in the relations between the State and the citizens, the general demand for a new and different quality of life. A decisive element of disintegration has been produced in the complex of authoritarian, clerical, corpora
tive and classist values that kept united the block of social, political and electoral interests on which the Christian Democrats and the regime have built their edifice of power. General political and unifying outlets have been offered to the class movement, to youthful dissent, to the women's liberation movement and the emancipation of the outsiders, to new structures for political participation and struggle that have spread in the factories, the schools and the neighbourhoods with forms of direct democracy.
Otherwise one could not explain the unprecedented success, thanks to which the Radical Party was able to collect eight hundred thousand signatures for the abortion referendum with the sole support of its own modest organisational possibilities. Nor could one explain the consensus obtained in the campaign for the other referendums against the Concordat the Rocco Code (a remnant of Fascism that contains "crimes of opinion", ed.), military courts and codes, against the liberty-killing Reale Law (repressive anti-terrorist law, ed.) on public security, all of which nevertheless ended with a momentary insuccess because of the isolation in which the Radical Party was left by the other leftist political and union groups in and out of Parliament.
The PCI has been the principle beneficiary of the June 15 electoral shift determined by this greater political and social movement. It cannot use the results of June 15 against the lay, libertarian and democratic majority of May 13 (the date of the divorce referendum, ed.). This general liberation movement is inseparable form the class struggle not
only for wages, for jobs, for overcoming the economic crisis but
also for a new social- economic system. The acceleration of the
economic, political and institutional crises of the regime, poses
responsibilities to the left wing that cannot be avoided or delayed. One cannot overcome an economic crisis that is caused not only by international factors but also by national peculiarities and structural characteristics rather than merely
conjunctural ones, with emergency or medium term programs that do
not anchor its measures to a general program of economic, social, institutional and administrative reforms and without urgently demanding that the government assume direct responsibility
for the crisis.
A program of reform cannot be achieved by leaving it to the Christian Democrats and other political and social groups that are responsible for the crisis. One cannot refuse to take into account or consider secondary the fact that the present Parliament no longer represents the balance of forces manifested
in the country, that the country is run by a minority government
lacking all power and credibility. While the dispute over the tax
jungle and the income of the parasitical elements is often demagogic, whereas the poorest elements and the poorest paid of
public employees have already been obliged to pay a high price for the economic crisis while still greater sacrifices are being
prepared for the working class in terms of salary as well as employment levels, the left is compelled to work within the power relationships of this Parliament and negotiate with this government.
On the political, institutional, legislative and administrative
levels, all the instruments of authoritarian and fascist power,
preserved and consolidated or created anew by this regime, remain
in the hands of the Christian Democrats, of the various bourgeois
categories and in particular of the State bourgeoisie.
The Radical Party rejects with disdain the continual demands for
democratic guarantees made to the left, the working class, the alternative social forces, the Communist Party itself, by an unjust and oppressive regime, corrupt and corrupting, that has taken hold in the country and made void the formal democratic guarantees of a State governed by law and constantly violated the fundamental rules of the constitutional pact and republican
legality. The only guarantees of its democratic nature that the left need give the country, the citizens, the various classes, is by taking on the job of fully applying the Constitution, by asserting the rights of liberty and equality of all the citizens and by refurbishing republican legality in all fields. This is the only serious guarantee that tomorrow the left will not use the same instruments against its adversaries that up until now have been used against the working class, the exploited, the outsiders, the "different", the leftist activists. This ignoble operation must be unmasked that, hiding behind the pretext of democracy, demands treaty-bound power guarantees that the left should furnish to the Christian Democrats, to the Church, to the wielders of income and profits, to various corporations , to the United States of America, in short, to the bosses of yesterday and today.
In this picture, the Radical Party is worried and alarmed over the absence on the Italian left of a large Socialist and libertarian component such as has been created in neighbouring France thanks to a revamped Socialist Party. While repeating its desire to contribute to the construction and renewal of a lay and libertarian Socialist left which will represent at least 20% of the electorate, the Congress rejects the interpretations which have been made of its motives as pretexts and the desire to instrumentalise. A party that for thirteen years has been consistent in its battle for an alternative, for the unity and renewal of the entire Italian left, cannot be under third-force, opportunist and classist influences. The Socialist and libertarian component must be strengthened, renewed, re-established, to strengthen and renew the creative unity of the entire Italian left on a new basis, and to guarantee that it will assert itself with non-authoritarian, non-centrist ideas but, on the contrary, with democratic,
libertarian and self-governing ones.
The big prospects, however, are measured by the concrete battles and commitments, on the responsibilities that must already be assumed today.
The XVth Congress:
commits the entire party, its federated movements, and the Radical associations, to the defence of the referendum and the attainment of freely decided abortion in public health structures free of charge;
affirms that no compromise can be reached to the detriment of Italian women;
reaffirms that any law approved by this Parliament, controlled by a Christian Democratic and Fascist majority, could be nothing but fraudulent and that, rather than to resolve, it would only worsen the scourge of mass clandestine abortion and take the decision out of the hands of the people by means of the referendum or the next Parliament which will have a lay and leftist majority;
denounces the suppression of the debate in Parliament on the pretext of technical and procedural grounds due to the creation of a restricted committee for the combining of various bills, and the grave responsibility that Socialist and lay members of parliament have assumed by taking part in it;
rejects the principles already passed during unification and in particular the casuistic ones;
urges all democrats, and in particular the 800,000 who signed the referendum petition, to from committees everywhere for the
defence of the referendum;
commits the entire party to support everywhere the CISA-MLD health counseling centers, also in the new forms of intervention and struggle such as self-help, responsibly controlled and managed, as announced at the Congress by Emma Bonino;
gives the National Secretariat a mandate to organise with the CISA, the MLD and the women's commission of the PSI, the International Conference on Abortion that these organisations already have in program for January 23,24,25, 1976 in Milan, and to agree on all the other necessary initiatives for the rigorous defence of the referendum together with the groups that have declared their availability;
furthermore gives a mandate to the Secretary to take all necessary political steps for the creation in Parliament and in the country of resistance and opposition to the Communist proposals on limitations to the right of referendum.
The XVth National Congress of the Radical Party:
believes that it is not possible to delay further the enforcement of the republican Constitution in every field of political, civil, and social life, and that a second historical chance must not be lost, as was the first one after the Resistance, to interrupt the continuing enforcement of the structures and laws of the Fascist State that this regime has not been able to assure;
therefore it commits the party starting next March to promote the collection of one million signatures for bills of popular origin, which the Federative Council is empowered to draw up in content and in number, while considering that they must however regard: the Concordat, the crimes of opinion and of unions of the Rocco Code, the Reale Law on public order, military courts, the demilitarisation and the assertion of political, civil and union rights for soldiers.
Only a large mass movement in the factories, the military barracks, the schools, in all the country's cities and towns, and beginning with the struggles that are taking place there, can assure that the next legislature is the one where the republican Constitution is fully applied and democracy and civil rights are fully and irreversibly asserted.
The Congress appeals to the next Socialist Party Congress to commit itself with the Radical Party and the other available groups to preparing and presenting a program for the government and the legislature that can be a necessary basis for a program of the entire left wing in the elections. The Congress also appeals to the PSI to implement its organisation, its activists and its Parliamentary groups to help reach the preceding two objectives regarding abortion and the collection of a million signatures for bills of popular origin.
The Congress declares that from the moment of receiving a positive reply form the PSI, the Radical Party will be available for establishing a federation with them that could create the premises for a larger unification of Socialist and libertarian forces without annulling their differences but, on the contrary,
augmenting and strengthening their different experiences, energies and potentials.
The Radical Party also reaffirms its own policies for unification and its desire to collaborate with all the forces of the left. It
therefore gives a mandate to the National Secretary to propose a periodic pact to the three largest organisations of the revolutionary left (PDUP, LC, and AO) for consultations to compare their respective programs and hopefully to agree on collaboration and common initiatives.
The Radical Party furthermore declares its willingness for frank and loyal encounters and collaboration with the Communist Party in whatever forms the latter considers proposing, emphasising that however serious their differences, the Communists are the necessary counterpart of Socialists and libertarians in a dialogue for the unity of the left and a leftist alternative.
The Congress cannot ignore the fact that the gravity of the political situation and the choices of the left may make it necessary for the Radical Party to take on the burden and responsibility of representing a lay, Socialist and libertarian position even at the elections.
Even while hoping that this will not be necessary and working to avoid it, the party must prepare for this eventuality too.
While confirming the mandate of the preceding Congress, the XVth Congress urges the Secretary and Federative Council to set the deadlines, the criteria and the forms for preparing the Radical lists for seats in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate so that they will be ready by the end of January.
The Congress notes with satisfaction that there has been a broadening of the democratic movement for civil rights with new forms of organisation on all levels during the year. In this framework it considers of prime importance the strengthening of a movement for a police labour union and the creation of movement of democratic non-commissioned officers with its corresponding battles.
The Congress extends its greetings to the party's one thousand new members who have registered during the year and to the newly created Radical associations; it notes the creation of the League for the Application of Article 6 of the Constitution and for the Protection of Linguistic Minorities, which was requested of the Radical Party by the federation, and it gives a mandate to Federative Council to predispose the instruments for the actuation of the federation within the terms of the Statute;
it further notes how much has been done for establishing the Non-Violent Socialist League for the Rights of Convicts. On the basis of the debate in the commissions and the assembly, the Congress also gives a mandate to the Secretary and the Federal Council to support the commitment announced by the Radical associations of The Marches to organise a conference on the programs of Radical Party action in sectors of Socialist interest. In this framework in particular, the Congress asks the party to broaden and deepen the issue of civil disobedience by promoting and participating in the campaign for self-reduction of bills for services of prime necessity. The XVth Congress of the Radical Party, having received the indications emerging from the work of the commissions, also commits the Secretary and the newly nominated organs, giving them the broadest powers and indeed urging them to solicit the maximum decentralising of the local associations and regional parties, each with its own jurisdiction, to:
a) promote a national action to combat the designs of the war industry for liberalising the sale of arms and to make massive investments in technological research on new weapons; in particular, by organising a conference of economists, military and international politics, Radicals, democrats and Socialists for a project to gradually convert military expenditures into civil investments with absolute priority for solving the problems of child care and assistance to the aged;
b) assure their own participation in the international anti-militarist march at Verdun and to convene a new anti-militarist march in Sardinia analogous to the traditional one in Friuli, in collaboration , among others, with the League for Article 6 and the Protection of Linguistic Minorities;
c) continue the fight against the military in all of its various forms; for full recognition of the right/duty of conscientious objectors, for the demilitarisation of civil service and putting it into the hands of the regions, and in support of our total objectors comrades who thus testify to the opposition of the fraudulent law and to militarism; against military prisons with particular efforts necessary for the abolition of the military prison at Gaeta;
d) assure the widening of the experiment already made in Milan by the party and the ALRI (Association for Religious Liberty in Italy) for a campaign of self-exoneration from religious lessons by students who have reached the age of majority;
e) promote the broadening of the judicial front against the Sacra Rota with actions at all levels directed at blocking as well the recognition of the civil effects of the verdicts of the Rota;
f) organise for February 11 a big conference day on clericalism in the schools with particular reference to the examining of the bill on secondary schools reforms in which there have already appeared very serious concessions to the demands of the clergy;
g) realize a Radical organising conference on the battles of the schools on various levels and with the objective of strengthening the Radical presence this sector starting out from the traditional party attitudes (but also going beyond them);
h) assure the active commitment for the success of the campaign to collect signatures for the petition against useless social assistance agencies and promote a first conference on the theme of "An Assistance Charter";
i) continue the fight to modify the drugs law being approved in the Chamber and renew the civil disobedience campaign if the law should be passed containing its current ambiguities.
The regional Radical groups will take on the fight for sexual liberation. The concrete proposal is to intervene in all those towns, provinces and regions where sexual education counselling exists or is being organised. The Radical proposal is to transform them into the most complete and open centers of sexual education, and not any longer exclusively heterosexual ones, with the direct participation of feminists and homosexuals.
The Motion on Organisation
The XVth National Congress of the Radical Party was dominated by the consciousness of the party's having acquired by now a secure position as a living and vital political force in the country and of the existence of a vast Radical area radiating around its organisational structures at various levels.
To begin the strenuous job of turning this objective condition into party terms - this is the party's goal for 1976, a job that, as always, requires courage, imagination and dedication.
Faced with this task, the Congress reaffirms the validity of the party statute as a lay and libertarian instrument which should be reconsidered by old as well as new members, also for possible subsequent updating of a technical nature. This will be an essential presupposition for the future life of the party as well as for next year's Congress.
Therefore, alongside the battles for reform that the party is presently fighting, members and sympathisers will soon have to reflect jointly on the party which must not fail to offer occasions for encounter and debate on all internal institutional levels beginning with the Federative Council whose activity must be strengthened in all the aspects and functions foreseen in the Statute. The Congress, in particular, points out that periodic organisational conferences of registered members would be an essential method by which the lay and libertarian party can promote internal discussion and confrontation between one congress and the next. And from this moment it gives the National Secretary a mandate to take charge of organising two national conferences with the collaboration of the regional parties, who will take on the responsibility, one on the Statute and the other on the problems of the schools.
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