General Motion Approved by the XX Congress of the PR

General Motion Approved by the XX Congress of the PR
Bari, November 1,2,3,4 and 5, 1978

ABSTRACT: 1978 is a difficult and dramatic year for the Radical Party. In January it is decided to "suspend the party's national activities" as a protest against the ever stronger boycott of the party's activities by the regime and the information media.
1978 is, however, also the year of the referendums sponsored by the PR. The results of the vote, although reduced to only two issues (public financing and the anti-terrorist Reale Law) deeply mark the political picture. In particular, the one on public financing indicates a solid dissent in the country on the great political agreements. Chasing Leone out as President of the Republic was one fruit of the election results.
At the center of the Congress's studies is the policies of national unity, strenuously defended by the PCI and denounced as the terrain where the regime is finding a new cohesion. The Congress's motion also confirms and amplifies the significance of political ecology which represents the keystone for intervention in the economic and energy policies.
The Congress elects Jean Fabre as Secretary and Adelaide Aglietta as Treasurer.
("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 the Radical Party Treasury)


In order to cover its crisis, by now the regime's corporative and inter-classist order must daily produce new and worse acts of violence against our Constitution and our democracy , against our very hopes for the possibilities of a more just and humane society.

The majority coalition, after two years of wielding power, after having tried to squash dissent and democratic confrontation of every kind, even - and most of all - in Parliament, after having tried to suffocate all true opposition in our society, no longer manages to hide its contradictions and its impotence.

A Corporative State

It is the crisis of the thirty-year-old strategy of the Italian left, Communist and Socialist. A strategy lacking in all belief in the possibility of building an alternative through the full development of political democracy, and founded instead on economics, on the abandoning and negation of the great battles for freedom and civil rights, on the subservient acceptance of a corporative pluralism, based on organicism, of a Catholic-fundamentalist and Fascist stamp, on the reconstruction of a State that has maintained and consolidated the laws and fundamental ordinances of Fascism.

A Free Society

While the Christian Democrats maintain full possession of the regime's basic power centres and, like thirty years ago, frustrates any possibility of alternation in the government, the PCI must come to terms with a society that no longer accepts authoritarian tutelage, with a vast political and electoral base that has no intention of passively watching the failure of its hopes and everywhere - in the parties, the unions and at the polls as well - makes claim to the independence of its judgement, its choices and its initiatives.

The Reply to the Regime

Without the opposition of the Radicals in Parliament, without the referendums of June 11, without a left-wing outlet provided by the Radical lists for the revolt of a city like Trieste (a "revolution" of the voters, ed.), with this regime and with a left wing of this kind, there would only have been a choice of rebellion and class disintegration on the one hand, or the violence of the Red Brigades on the other.

There is in the country, instead, the possibility of a democratic and libertarian reply to the regime and the subservient policy of the PCI. To promote and organise this reply is the task of the party of civil rights, of non-violence and civil disobedience, of libertarian and self-governing Socialism, of anti-clericalism, of anti-militarism, of women's and of sexual liberation, and today, of the great problem of defending the environment as well.

But for this reason it is necessary to intervene where the gap between the real needs of the citizens and the policies of these institutions and parties are most evident and most deeply felt: on the outskirts of the cities, in the villages, in the cities.
It is necessary and urgent to fully realise the statute of the Radical Party and its federalist and federative dimensions by political struggle, by the conquest and the activation of the democratic institutions and tools denied by the regime. Radical parties, that is, with their seats in the regions and in the cities, built on associative, independent and federated realities, united in their diversity.

Independent Association

It is not a desire to withdraw from the centre of the political battle. On the contrary, it is the desire and the need of multiplying the country's potential for democratic struggle: by offering the possibilities and the tools for political expression; by constructing a model of organisation and participation that is an alternative to the bureaucratic and centralised one and, lastly, by contributing to a democratic and independent associational fabric as a counterpoise to that of the organs and corporations, the only one today allowed by our culture, by state organisation, and by the manipulation of information.

Intervention in the Economy

It does not mean abandoning analyses, strategies, the methods of battle that belong to the history of the Radical Party and that have left a positive mark as well on the history of Italian democracy and the Italian left with its great political victories and civil reforms. On the contrary, it means the desire to plant in our society and multiply the struggles for civil rights, the methods of non-violence and civil disobedience, conscientious objection to illegality, injustice and unjust laws and ordinances; the defence and the activation of the tools of direct democracy and of the referendum: in short, all the battles and the historical contents of the Radical initiative. But also new and emerging battles and contents, that by now have an urgent nee of being faced. The time has come for the Radicals to intervene directly in the heart of the economic and social problems that ever more heavily condition the life of the citizens. The keystone is political ecology and in first place the fight against nuclear en
ergy and for alternative energy: a terrain on which today new contradictions of the regime are determined and the possibility of new alternative struggles.
The New Political Subjects

The struggles for the environment are appropriate to the needs of the new phase of the party. As a counterpart they have, essentially, the local agencies; they have objectives defined and different from place to place, and yet, if carried over into an alternative political project, take on a national, necessarily European importance. They imply the "reappropriation" by the people of the great choices which have always been reserved for the experts, that is to say, the regime. It is not a reappropriation that starts off from the center, from the State, but from the edges, from the revitalisation of the local governments against centralism, from the concreteness of daily life as opposed to the ideological monopoly of the "Roman" parties. New collective subjects enter into the political struggle; the villages, the small and medium-size towns, the regions, understood as a single body, on the cultural level of prospects and development too. In short, people + territory + self-government, in conflict with "the hig
her national interests" as was happening at Montalto di Castro (site of a nuclear energy plant, ed.), as did happen in Trieste.

Defending the Referendums

Ten Trieste's is what the regionalisation program must bet on in the coming years, since the program cannot be for one year only.
The instruments of direct democracy and the referendums must be defended and reconquered after the attacks made by the Constitutional Court and the coalition majority in Parliament. The regime fears and wants to liquidate them because they represent the only cracks in the power balance and in the political and legislative compromises at the top. They are to be defended against the attempts to annul them permanently. They are to be reconquered by implementing the regional referendums and the laws of popular action foreseen in the statutes of the regions; by action, because it is by starting from the concrete initiatives and organisational realities born in the regions that new national referendums can be promoted.

Only by means of these struggles in the country, of which the objective situation becomes the Radical Party's concern, only by the creation of an always stronger and articulated libertarian party will it be possible to stop the crisis of the institutions, their being annulled and overturned.

Leone's Expulsion

Only thus will it be possible to reacquire hope and the strengthening of the entire Italian left, its unity and its candidacy as an alternative government. This goes not only for the PCI but also for the PSI whose "new policy" today is in danger of being of being dissolved - with a fictional conflict inside the regime, and only if they stop on the threshold of consistent and decisive choices - in a cover up of the squashing of real dialectic in the institutions and in the country. The Radical Party extends its fraternal greetings to the millions of Communist, Socialist and democratic voters who, on June 11, refusing passive obedience to the very serious political choices of their parties, made possible a great democratic victory, of which the resignation of President Leone - until then protected by the parties of the regime - was a direct consequence. The Radical Party also extends its thanks to the Communist, Socialist and DC voters who supported the Radical lists in Trieste, thus strengthening on the left
the fight against the ecological massacre of Carso which would be the inevitable consequence of implementing the economic part of the Osimo treaty.

The Fight at Trent and Bolzano

The XXth Congress of the Radical Party, in wishing success to the comrades in the Trentino and the South Tyrol occupied with supporting the lists of the "Nuova Sinistra - Neue Linke" (New Left in both Italian and German for these largely German-speaking regions, ed.) which contain elements of other parties, in particular Lotta Continua, as well as Radical components, appeals to the voters of these regions to vote for the representation of a true opposition in these elected assemblies to the thirty-year-old DC government of Piccoli and of Magnago's SVP (Suddeutsche Volkspartei - South German People's Party, ed.).

Presence At The European Elections

The Radical Party will participate in the European Parliament elections in order to bring its own internationalist, federalist and regionalist positions into that assembly and to counter the Europe of national and nuclear States, and of the multi-nationals, with alternative values and programs. The presence of the Radicals is all the more necessary in that the alternative
minorities of other European countries will be excluded from the European Parliament, either by their own choice or because of their respective national electoral laws. Elements of the New Left will also have no voice there, having been squashed within the Socialist, Social Democratic and Communist parties. For Italy the European elections of next June will be a fundamental transition to the national elections in which we must make substantial
Radical gains in Parliament to guarantee an effective opposition to the regime.

During this Congress, the press has spoken of a crisis in the Radical Party. The supposed crisis consists in the enormous discrepancy between the means at the Radical Party's disposal and the strenuous tasks imposed on them by the dramatic situation in the country and the choices made by other parties of the left.

But this has always been the Radical Party's situation from 1963 until today and which has always been overcome by the power of non-violence, by the mobilisation of our active members capable of waking the interest and the commitment of citizens, and by the consensus and support obtained from our society and our people.

The Theoretical Conference

Fifteen years of Radical theory and practice have by now become the property of thousands of active members. Only the information media of the regime and a kind of culture that listens only to the voice of power have not noticed - or noticed only superficially - the exceptional importance that this theory and practice
have had and are having for the country's political and civil life and its institutions. And they impede the knowledge and diffusion of it, its study and comparison. The XXth Congress therefore receives with satisfaction the publication of the acts of the Theoretical Conference decided on by the Bologna Congress last year and hopes that it can be the first tool and basis for a debate and a collective study among active members. In this framework the Congress confirms the commitment of the Federative Council for holding at the beginning of 1979 the conference on "Women's Liberation, Sexual Liberation, Non-Violence".

A Different Relationship With the PCI

The Congress thanks comrade Renzo Trivelli for his participation as a representative of the PCI. This participation can be considered to be a new fact in the last two years, and allows us to hope that, in all frankness of dissent, dialogue can finally become a substitute for disattention or attacks.

The Tasks of the Regional Radical Parties

The XXth Congress of the Radical Party invites the executive and deliberating organs of the regional parties to draw up within a year political projects and battles based on their respective social, institutional and economic realities as well as their particular experiences as associated groups, to be realised and enacted by Spring of 1979. The Congress hopes that these projects can immediately be turned over for enactment to the instruments for direct democracy foreseen in the regional statutes (projects for bills of popular origin, referendums for consultation or abrogation) or for the promotion of such institutions in those cases where they lack tools and norms for enactment, or else, as in Sicily, where they are lacking everything. It also asks the regional parties to guarantee the co-ordination of these initiatives, these projects and these battles, in the Federative Council and with the Secretary and the committee.

Energy Policy

The Congress, taking into account the commitment of the regional parties, many associations and Radical groups in the fight against the nuclear program and for an alternative, non-polluting energy policy, believes that these initiatives must be compared and co-ordinated to make the battle ever more incisive. It invites the regional parties to participate in the organisation and the success of the conference to be held in Spring by "The Friends of the Earth" on "Energy Policies for Europe and Problems of Information".

Against Hunting

Taking note of the proposals and initiatives already existing inside and outside the party that aim at promoting a national referendum for the abolition of hunting, the Congress considers that the regional Radical parties, associations and active members could not do other than support and participate in such a referendum whenever it should become a concretely organised and financed project that can be realised within the sphere of the federal mechanisms or the regional parties. It excludes, within the framework of the congressional options, that the federal organs should take on this initiative.

The Tasks of the Secretary

THe Congress gives the Secretary a mandate to:

1) to prepare the party for participation in the European elections, beginning at once the actions and struggles to assure that the campaign is not suffocated, that the currently weakest parties are not discriminated against, that there is a stop to partisan use of the mass communication media and, in particular, of the RAI-TV;

2) to organise a great party action on the motives, the contents, and the objectives of the Radical's participation in these elections;

3) while confirming the Radical party's anti-militarist, pacifist and internationalist commitment, to activate the party for full support of the three proposals on which the Socialist League for Disarmament will base its offer of a federative pact for the coming year to the Federative Council of the Radical Party:

a) the organisation of the "disarmament train" from Brussels to Warsaw scheduled for the Summer of 1979;

b) the calling of an international conference in 1979 on non-violent popular defence;

c) the revival on the European institutional level of the fight against military codes and courts;

4) to study together with the FRI (Radical Front of Invalids) proposals for a federative pact as a substitute for those that could not be realised last year because of the condition in which the party found itself. Such proposals, if agreed upon, will have to be submitted to the Federative Council for the purpose of re-activating the fight for the liberation of the invalids from the impediments that block their fullest participation in civil and productive life;

5) to support politically and organisationally the action of the Brussels Radical group to call and promote an international conference on abortion to be held in Brussels in the Autumn of 1979 in collaboration with feminist and democratic groups from all over Europe.

Public Financing

The XXth Congress of the Radical Party notes that although the June 11 referendum was a victory from a general political point of view, it was a defeat for the party of self-financing and self-management in regard to the specific issue of public financing. The Congress believes that with such a result the battle cannot be considered closed and is to be presented again beginning next year, with both legislative bills and other initiatives, partial (party budgets and ordinances and public controls) or total, not excluding a new referendum, whenever that is possible. It takes note, however, that for the party, after June 11, public financing is no longer a transitory problem that it can be hoped to solve, at least in the short term, with the abrogation of the law, but is rather a permanent problem, a contradiction that will have to be assumed and resolved by the party within the party. And for the party there is only one way not to let itself be overwhelmed and distorted, which is that of turning it entirely a
gainst the regime.

Its alternative use

The Congress therefore decides:

1) that public financing must not be entered in the party's budget (ordinary and extraordinary expenses), but must be administered in a separate fund;

2) that public financing must not be used for the direct or indirect purposes of the party organisation (offices, telephones, officials, reimbursements for expenses, information, etc.) or for its militant activities which must be guaranteed by self-financing;

3) that public financing must be exclusively used for the purpose of guaranteeing services and realising projects that allow for contesting and opposing, for limiting and if possible overcoming the obstacles that the regime constructs against every antagonistic battle and potential alternative.

The Treasurer's Tasks

The Congress therefore gives a mandate to the National Treasury to administrate the public financing in a budget separate from that of the party's ordinary budget and to use it exclusively for these purposes:

1) the elimination of the deficit contracted by the party in the 1977 campaign of collecting signatures for the 8 referendums;

2) direct investments for information;

3) the creation, if conditions should make it possible, of a radio production center and of technical assistance for Radical radio stations;

4) investments for electoral commitments assumed by the Congress or the Federative Council.

© 1978 Partito Radicale. Tutti i diritti riservati