January 21 marks 100 years since the foundation of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). Borne out of workers’ struggles, the party fought against fascism and played a key role in restoring democracy. In the postwar period it became the most important communist party in Western Europe, but in the Cold War context it ended up drifting away from socialism before dissolving in 1991.
The 100 years since that historic conference in Livorno are full of milestones and lessons. The country will forever be indebted to the PCI for its resistance against fascism and its work rescuing democracy. But at the same time, the organization’s path became plagued by mistakes and misguided analysis. In the eagerness to distance itself from the socialist bloc and quit fighting for radical changes, the party’s ideal faded away, and so did the mythical strength it had built.
Research and text: Ricardo Vaz. Artwork: Kael Abello