Forging socialism through democracy: a critical review survey of literature on Eurocommunism

Autumn 2019

The article provides a critical overview of the latest phase of scholarly engagement with Eurocommunism, firstly, by pointing out the resilience of a ‘Cold War framing’ in many of the new studies of the phenomenon, secondly, by stressing the resulting blind spots in the assessment of its geographical scope (e.g., the lack of attention paid to Spain, scarce contributions on Eurocommunism’s ramifications beyond West Europe). It then proposes a de-centred perspective on the phenomenon that is able to encompass its global roots and outreach, especially regarding the Third World; contrary to the prevalent focus on individual national cases of Eurocommunism, the article calls for a framing of Eurocommunist coordination as a transnational formation, so that both the leading role of Italian communists and the cross-border exchanges that shaped it can factor into a revised scholarly engagement with the topic. From this vantage point, Eurocommunism emerges as a strategy of transition for the global conjuncture of multiple crises that the 1970s represented, one that nevertheless failed to present a viable alternative to neoliberalism, another product of the decade in question. The article concludes by approaching the little explored gender dimension of Eurocommunism, visible in its entanglement with the second-wave feminism.

Twentieth Century Communism 17 cover