In this detailed and probing work, Lucio Magri, one of the towering intellectual figures of the Italian Left, assesses the causes for the demise of what was once one of the most powerful and vibrant communist parties of the West. The PCI marked almost a century of Italian history, from its founding in 1921 to the partisan resistance, the turning point of Salerno in 1944 to the de-Stalinization of 1956, the long ’68 to the “historic compromise,” and to the opportunity—missed forever—of democratic transformation.
With rigor and passion, The Tailor of Ulm merges an original and enlightening interpretation of Italian communism with the experience of a militant “heretic” into a riveting read—capable of broadening our insights into contemporary Italy, and the twentieth-century communist experience.
The vicissitudes of Italian history is full of lessons for the contemporary left. From the early days of Italian Communism under Gramsci and Bordiga, through the Communist-lead resistance to Italian Fascism, the emergence of Operaismo, the pathbreaking work of Italian feminists and the building of the largest Communist party in Europe in the post-war years, the country was once an inspiration for the radical left throughout Europe. Yet, in recent years many have struggled to understand what is happening politically in Italy with “berlusconismo” and the rise of Renzi and the Five Stars Movement
To discuss the past and present of the Italian left, Tariq Ali interviews Alberto Toscano, author of Fanaticism and reader in critical theory at Goldsmiths University in London.