Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Edited by Kees van der Pijl

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of the changing world of global production. Chapters cover the geography of why and where jobs are moving in both manufacturing and services. The authors discuss topics relating to the human and natural basis on which production rests, from the consequences of exploitation and marginalization on body and mind, to sex work, biotechnology, and the prospects for ecological re-balancing. This Handbook will appeal to academics at all levels interested in political economy, international studies and politics, as well as trade unionists and NGO activists.
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Chapter 13: Trasformismo and the defeat of the Left in Italy

Davide Bradanini


How to make sense of the demise of the largest communist party in Western Europe and its subsequent transformation? How was this trajectory conditioned and shaped by the dynamics of the capitalist system and the production process in Italy? These are the questions addressed in this chapter. By using the Gramscian notion of trasformismo I will reconstruct the strategy of the Italian ruling classes to prevent the emergence of a counter-hegemonic historic bloc based on the autonomous political culture of the working class. In the postwar years the formation that might have built such a bloc was the Italian Communist Party (PCI). Ever since the country’s unification in the mid-nineteenth century the development of the Italian political economy and its insertion into European and global capitalism included a specific political and productive settlement. The particularities of this settlement prevented the Left, epitomized by the PCI, from obtaining the advantages of capital–labour compromise typical of postwar Western Europe. The PCI in most areas of the country was electorally confined to the industrial working class. It was unable, or perhaps unwilling, to expand its base of support to include all wage earners, as pursued by Social Democratic parties in central and northern Europe.

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