Italy in the 1970's 2

Italy in the 1970’s Part 2


By mid-1976 terrorism had intensified its actions and its dangerousness. The murder of two magistrates – the Genoa Attorney General F. Coco with the two men of the escort by the Red Brigades (BR) in June on the eve of the elections, and Judge V. Occorsio prosecutor in the trial against the movement neo-fascist New order at the hands of a right-wing terrorist in the following July – showed that the phenomenon had reached a new level, that of the targeted killing of individual public figures. It was accompanied, mainly by left-wing terrorist groups, by a stream of attacks aimed at intimidating, injuring and seriously maiming with the practice of ” gambling ”. Politicians, lawyers, will fall under the fire of terrorists

Faced with terrorism, political forces were paying for attitudes of lightness and incomprehension. In the politics of public order, the men of government had long belittled the unrest of previous years by endorsing the theory of ” opposite extremisms ”, a theory that seemed to justify and in fact tolerate direct confrontation between extreme right and extreme groups. left as it is destined to weaken both sides. To the insufficient containment of public manifestations of violence, the premise of a climate inclined to tolerate any form of radicalization, was added the lack of control over the work of sectors of the secret services, responsible for having unscrupulously favored or covered the most serious actions of right-wing terrorism. In left-wing political parties, and in particular in the PCI – which even had adequate cognitive tools – left terrorism continued to be treated as ” objectively fascist ” without committing to identifying common or long-shared ideological matrices. From all this derived a widespread political and cultural impotence to understand and face a rapidly expanding phenomenon (v.terrorism, in this Appendix).

Relevant for the alleged incisiveness (and because they touched, with the abolition of some midweek holidays, both civil and religious, inveterate customs), but essentially inadequate the first measures of the so-called government of “ no mistrust ” aimed at containing consumption and public spending, and to initiate an austerity policy. However, a series of requests for financial policy were complied with, an indispensable step in obtaining loans from the EEC and the International Monetary Fund, which were then granted in the spring of 1977. At the same time, the parties that supported the government were painstakingly developing a common program which was approved in July. following. Beyond a series of general indications – constantly reiterated in the following years – such as those concerning the reduction of public spending, the problems of organized crime, etc., the agreements reached on specific aspects, such as those on ” tightening of the police detention to fight terrorism, the strengthening of the public security forces, the agreements on Rai-TV, while some problems reserved the complex transfer of state powers to the regions. In the meantime, the government of abstentions carried out the reform of the secret services and the law on youth unemployment, which however proved largely inadequate. This law appeared little more than a palliative when compared to the 1977 explosion of juvenile malaise.

In the first months of that year, according to, a large protest movement of undergraduate and middle school students began with occupations in some universities. It then resulted, in Rome, Bologna, Milan, in violent street clashes and in real episodes of urban warfare, in which for the first time some demonstrators used firearms. Both the social and cultural crisis of the urban areas (in which the prospects of unemployment for young people who are increasingly educated) and the extreme radicalization and the conflictual vocation of some sectors of the new left converged to determine this mobilization, in severe controversy with the PCI. Protagonists of the clashes and hegemons in the movement were the groups of the so-called workers’ autonomy: with numerous others they were at the origin of innumerable attacks on political offices, public offices, industries, of ” proletarian expropriations ”, of violence against things and people, so much so that 1977 marked the birth of ” widespread terrorism ”. Different in origins and motivations, but contiguous in crucial moments was the other, more numerous, component of the movement, the one called ” creative ”, which radicalized a series of alternative behaviors in which music played a large weight, cultural and symbolic. rock and drugs.

At the end of a year marked by mounting unrest and tensions, on 2 December, a large concentration of metalworkers in Rome was perceived by the left parties as the signal to try to impose a more incisive policy, especially on the economic ground. where the crisis hit large industrial sectors with serious debt and loss of productivity. The goal of the left was by now the formation of an emergency government. But at the bottom remained the problem of the role of the PCI in the new majority.

With Andreotti’s resignation, on January 16, 1978, a long phase of negotiations began, dominated by Moro’s attempt to achieve, in harmony with Berlinguer, a complete insertion of the PCI into national political life. Abandoning the hypothesis of a direct participation of the Communists in the government, as was in the initial requests of the left, Moro managed to overcome the Christian Democrats’ resistance to a wider collaboration with the PCI. Both the appreciation for the defense of pluralism and democracy made by Berlinguer in a speech in Moscow during the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution and the new orientation of the trade unions had helped to consolidate the hypotheses of an agreement. An assembly of the general councils and cadres of CGIL, CISL, UIL, held in Rome at EUR in February 1978, it had in fact pronounced itself in favor of a policy of austerity and sacrifices, including wages, to relaunch the economic system and employment. And it was the general secretary of the CGIL, the communist L. Lama, who announced the turning point in an interview on 24 January.

Italy in the 1970's 2