Northern Illinois University Press

In Stalin's Shadow

Angelo Tasca and the Crisis of the Left in Italy and France, 19101945

Alexander J. De Grand

As one of the founders of the Italian Communist party, Angelo Tasca was an important figure of Italian socialism in the first half of the twentieth century. Though never so well-known as Gramsci or Mussolini, he played a significant role in the politics of the Left in both Italy and France. In this political biography, the first full-length study of Tasca in English, De Grand analyzes Tasca's dynamic thought and controversial career.

From 1921 to 1928 Tasca was a committed Communist. In 1928, as a leader of the right wing of the Italian Communist party, he was sent to Moscow as the party's representative to the Executive of the Communist International. A supporter of Nikolai Bukharin, Tasca openly defied Stalin and attempted to rally the Italian party against the Soviet leader. Tasca's defiance earned him an expulsion, on Stalin's direct orders, from the Italian Communist party and from the International.

Once out of the orbit of the Third International, Tasca was drawn to a revision of Marxism. Convinced that the proletariat would never comprise a majority of the working population and that the key struggle between the Left and the Fascists was for the loyalty of the lower middle class, he began to search for a new socialist "humanism," one that would have an appeal beyond the working class and would be anticapitalist and non-Marxist. Now deeply suspicious of the Communist movement, he actively fought against a unified front alliance between the Communist and Socialist parties.

The defeat of France in 1940 brought Tasca to a serious crisis of faith. Convinced that the conflict between Socialists and Communists had played a large part in the disintegration of France during the 1930s, he joined those French Socialists whose virulent anticommunism led them to collaborate with the Vichy regime. This collaboration cost Tasca a postwar political career in both Italy and France. Faced with the impossibility of resuming a direct political role, he spent the remainder of his life attacking the Communist movement in a number of studies of the French Communist party and of Soviet foreign poicy. His life ended in 1960 in bitter opposition to the movement that he had helped found and to which he had given his best years.

(1986) 239 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-116-2
cloth $35.50

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Generation of Exiles
1. The Making of a Revolutionary Socialist
2. Tasca and the Italian Revolution
3. Tasca, the Third International, and Unity of Action
4. Tasca and the PCI in Exile
5. Tasca's Expulsion and the Stalinization of the PCI
6. Marxism Revised: Tasca and Monde
7. Tasca's Return to the PSI
8. Neoreformism versus Unity of Action
9. A Foreign Policy for a Dying Europe
10. The Renewal of Unity of Action
11. The Decline of Unity of Action
12. The Rupture of Unity of Action
13. Tasca's Vichy Gamble
14. Cold War Politics
Conclusion: The Outsider as Politician
Bibliographical Essay

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-116-2
cloth $35.50