Italian Socialist Party (PSI) Partito Socialista Italiano
Since its beginning in 1892, the PSI continually experienced splits within its ranks. This remained the case through the postwar years. The issue dividing the party during that period was the question of relations with the PCI. Under its leader, Nenni, the PSI closely aligned itself with Italy's communist party. This caused a split in 1947 when a group under Saragat left the PSI and formed the Social Democrats. During the mid-1950's, Nenni reversed his position and drew his party away from the PCI partnership. He then became an advocate of a DC-PSI coalition. The coalition occurred in 1963 but not before creating another split within the party ranks. Protesting the PSI's moderation, a group of dissenting left-wingers broke away and formed a new group under the old name Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP). Schisms continued to plague the party but it remained a formidable power.
In the early 1960s the ruling coalition sought to broaden its government majority by inviting the Socialists to join as a center-left coalition member. Each side made concilliatory gestures to accommodate the other. The Socialists withdrew their long standing objection to Italy's membership in NATO and in turn the government nationalized all electric power plants. This historic "opening to the left" was consummated in the 1963 elections and continued through the decade. However, it did not produce the expected or desired results. The move to nationalize power plants proved costly to both the consumer and the government. For their part, the Socialists appear to have learned how to exploit the national system during this coalition period. Also, their position in the coalition became more contradictory and divisive.
Aldo Moro's first cabinet fell in 1964 over a school reform issue. I0 In 1966, his second cabinet fell over another school related issue. The center-left coalition was plagued by its inability to deal effectively with the country's broad based problems. From this point forward nothing of substance would be achieved by the center-left government of 1963-1968. In the 1970s a general sense of dissatisfaction resulted from the failure of the center-left government coalition (Christian Democrats, DC, and the Italian Socialist Party, PSI) to deliver most of the social reforms it promised.
In 1976, at the beginning of the reawakening process started by the PSI, the two major parties could count on a solid hegemony over Italian political life. In 1983, the situation took on quite different connotations. A new articulation of the Italian political system was achieved. A new political culture was being [laboriously] asserted. The "Italian case" had finally become an element in the political and cultural context of Europe and was no longer cited as an atypical example virtually capable of revolutionary out-comes. The Socialist milieu and the intermediate lay forces had regained a specific function and an autonomous space. The same two major political forces, each with its own characteristic and its identity, had undergone profound processes of change.
The Socialist presidency, which marked an important shift in our country's political balances, was seen as the the guarantee of a process of renovation and modernization of the institutions and of Italian society. The PSI's outlooks were in turn closely linked to definitive renovation of the political system, in accordance with the characteristics of European democracy, and to a reawakening of the Italian left, in the search for a modern reformism and in rejection of modern archaic pseudo-revolutionisms.
The THESES FOR 43RD ITALIAN SOCIALIST PARTY CONGRESS, Verona, 11 - 15 May 1984 stated that "From the military point of view, the breaking of the global balance of power, triggered at the end of the 1970's by rearmament and by Soviet expansionism, and the lack of a solution for, or an aggravation of, the conflictsand the regional crises - in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America - are multiplying the risks to peace, raising the international tension and stimulating the rearmament race. From another point of view, the draining and weakening of the international organizations are reducing the possibility of peaceful mediation and vitiating the search for a more just international order."
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