European Communist Parties and '68

Horn, Gerd-Rainer

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/09/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23399

One effect of the May 1968 uprisings was to highlight and/or hasten the split between communist parties and social movements in Europe.



For some time already, some Western European Communist parties had begun to loosen the umbilical cord tying them to the Kremlin, most prominently so the Italian Communist Party (PCI). But for Communist Parties tentatively striking out in the direction of at least some degree of autonomy from Moscow, it was the Prague Spring [the reform movement in Czechoslovakia, which was crushed by the Soviet invasion - ed.] that constituted the crucial event - and only to a lesser degree, the massive social movements occurring all throughout the world to the west of the Iron Curtain.

During the Hungarian (and Polish) revolts of 1956, Western European Communist Parties had still closed ranks behind the repressive phalanx of Soviet-dominated counterrevolutionary actions and words. In the wake of the Prague Spring, the PCI daily l’Unità was frequently removed from newsstands in Eastern Europe due to their editorialists’ outspoken critique of Moscow.

Most other Western European Communist Parties were less overtly critical, but by the early 1970s "Eurocommunism" began to become the talk of the town. The Italian, Spanish, Belgian, British and other Communist Parties now began to form tentative links between each other in an effort to chart a new course.

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