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He declared
that "in the present condition of the organization and the present state
of mind of the Party" a participation in the government which was "not
imposed by a real popular movement, would profoundly weaken Socialist
action, aggravating the already existing lack of harmony between purely
parliamentary action and the development of the political consciousness
and the capacity for victory on the part of the great mass of the
workers."[103] In other words, as in France, the working people,
especially those in the unions, will not tolerate a further advance in
the reformist direction, but Turati and Bissolati, like Jaurès and
Vandervelde are striving to compromise, just as far as they will be
allowed to do so. There is thus always a possibility of splits and
desertions in these countries, but none that the party will abandon the
revolutionary path.

The tactics of the Italian "reformists" were immensely clarified at the
Congress of Modena (October, 1911). For the question of supporting a
non-Socialist ministry and of participating in it was made still more
acute by the government's war against Tripoli, while the Bissolati case
above mentioned was also for the first time before a national Party
Congress. Nearly all Socialists had opposed the war, as had also many
non-Socialists--but after war was declared, the majority of the
Socialist members of Parliament voted against the general twenty-four
hours' strike that was finally declared as a demonstration against it.
This majority had finally decided to support the strike only after it
was declared by a _unanimous_ vote of the executive of the Federation of
Labor, and then its chief anxiety had been lest the strike go too far.
The revolutionary minority in the parliamentary group, however, which
had consisted of only two at the time of the Bissolati affair, was now
increased to half a dozen of the thirty-odd members, while the
revolutionary opposition to "reformism" in the Modena Congress, as a
result of these two issues, rose to more than 40 per cent of the

At this Congress the reformists were divided into three groups,
represented by Bissolati, Turati, and Modigliani. All agreed that it was
necessary not only to vote for certain reforms--to this the
revolutionists are agreed--but also at certain times to vote for the
whole budget and to support the administration. Modigliani, however,
declared (against Bissolati) that no Socialist could _ever_ become a
member of a capitalist ministry; Turati, that while this principle held
true at the present stage of the movement, he would not bind himself as
to the future; while Bissolati was unwilling to make any pledge on this
question. As Bissolati did not propose, however, that the Socialists
should take part in the present ministry _at the present moment_, this
question was not an immediate issue. What had to be decided was
whether, in order to hasten and facilitate the introduction of universal
suffrage and other social reforms, the government is to be supported at
the present moment--when it is waging a war of colonial conquest to
which all Socialists are opposed.

The resolution finally adopted by the Congress was drawn up by Turati
and others who represented the views of the majority of reformists.
While purely negative, it was quite clear, and the fact that it was
finally accepted both by Bissolati and by Modigliani is highly
significant. It concluded that "the Socialist group in Parliament ought
not any longer to support the government _systematically_ with their
votes." It did not declare for any systematic _opposition_ to the
administration, even at the time when it is waging this war. It did not
even forbid occasional support, and it left full discretion in the hands
of the same parliamentary group whose policy I have been recording.

As a consequence the Italian Party at this juncture intentionally
tolerated two contradictory policies. Turati declared: "We are in
opposition unless in some exceptional case, in which some situation of
extreme gravity might present itself." Rigola, who was one of the three
spokesmen appointed for the less conservative reformists (with Turati
and Modigliani) said: "We have been ministerialists for ten years, but
little or nothing has been done for the proletariat. Some laws have been
approved, but it is doubtful if they are due to us rather than to the
exigencies of progress itself." In other words, Turati and Rigola
thought there could be occasions for supporting capitalist ministries,
though the present was not such an occasion; while the latter
practically confessed that the policy had always been a failure in
Italy. But in the face of all criticism Bissolati announced that he
refused absolutely _to pass over to the opposition to the ministry of
Giolitti_. Turati and his followers, now in control of the Party, might
tolerate this position; the large and growing revolutionary minority
would not. This could only mean that Socialist group in the Italian
Parliament, like that of France, and even of Germany, would divide its
votes on many vital matters, or at least that the minority would abstain
from voting. Which could only mean that on many questions of the highest
importance there was no longer one Socialist Party, but two.[104]

Turati himself wrote of the Modena Congress:--

"Only two tendencies were to be seen in the discussion and the voting;
_two parties in their bases and principles_: the Socialist Party as a
party of the working people, a class party, a party of political,
economic, and social reorganization, and on the other side a bourgeois
radical party as a completion of, and perhaps also as a center of new
life force for, the sleeping and half moribund bourgeois democratic
radicalism."[105] That is, the "reformist" Turati denied that there is
anything Socialistic about Bissolati's "ultra-reformist" faction. To
this Bissolati answered that compromise and the political collaboration
of the working people with other classes, was not to be reserved, as
Turati had said, for accidental and extraordinary cases, but was "the
very essence of the reformist method."[106] The revolutionaries, of
course, agree with Bissolati that, if the Socialists hold that their
prime function is to work for reforms favored by a large part of the
capitalists, compromises and the habit of fighting with the capitalists
instead of against them are inevitable.

Turati now began to approach the revolutionaries, said that they had
given up their dogmatism, immoderation, and justification of violence,
and that he only differed from them now on questions of "more or less."
The revolutionaries, however, have made no overtures to Turati, and
Turati's overtures to the revolutionaries have so far been rejected.
Turati's "reformism" seems to be less opportunistic than it was, but as
long as he insists, as he does to-day, that it is only conditions that
have changed and not his reformist tactics, that the revolutionaries are
moving towards the reformists, the relation of the two factions is
likely to remain as embittered as ever. Only if the revolutionaries
continue to grow more powerful, until Turati is obliged still further to
moderate his "reformist" principles and to abandon some of his tactics
permanently, instead of saying, as he does now, that he lays them aside
only temporarily, will there be any real unity in the Italian Socialist

Within a few weeks after the Modena Congress, Turati had already
initiated a movement in this direction when he persuaded the executive
committee of the Party, after a bitter conflict, and by a majority of
one (12 to 13), to enter definitely into opposition to the government,
which in the meanwhile had given a new cause for offense by delaying on
a military pretext the convocation of the Chamber of Deputies.[107]

Among the opportunist and ultra "reformists" who were still anxious to
take no definite action, were such well-known men as Bissolati,
Podrecca, Calda, and Ciotti. Bissolati deplored all agitation in
criticism of the war except a demand for the convocation of the Chamber.
Turati and others who had at last decided to go over definitely to the
opposition, did so on entirely non-Socialist and capitalist grounds such
as the expense of the war, the unprofitable nature of Tripoli as a
colony, the aid the war gave to clericals and other reactionaries
(elements opposed also by progressive capitalists), and the interference
it caused with other reforms (favored also by progressive capitalists).
Turati, indeed, was frank enough to say that he had Lloyd George's
successful opposition to the Boer War as a model, and called the
attention of his associates to the fact that Lloyd George became
Minister (it will be remembered that Turati is not on the whole opposed
to Socialists also becoming ministers--even in a capitalist cabinet).
Even now it was only the revolutionary Musatti who pointed out the true
Socialist moral of the situation, that failure of the non-Socialist
democrats to stand by their principles and to oppose the war, ought to
lead the party to separate from them, not only temporarily, but
permanently, and to make impossible forever either the participation of
the Socialists in any capitalist administration or even the support of
such an administration in the Chamber of Deputies.

It was only when Bissolati secured a majority of the Socialist deputies,
and this majority decided to _compel_ the minority to accept Bissolati's
neutral tactics as to the war and his readiness actively to support the
war government at every point where that government was in need of
support, that Turati rebelled and demanded that his minority, which
announced itself as willing as a unit to obey the decisions of the Party
Congress, should be recognized as its official representative in the
Chamber. Turati's position was the same as before, but Bissolati's
greater popularity among the voters, _including non-Socialists_, gave
the latter control of the Parliamentary group, and forced the former to
a declaration of war. The effect was to throw Turati and his followers
into the arms of the revolutionaries, where they form a minority.

And thus the situation becomes similar to that in France.

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Keywords: action, principles, question, bissolati's, reforms, non-socialist, deputies, strike, parliament, political
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