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Bordiga and the First World War

The concluding article on the political ideas of Amadeo Bordiga up to 1917

In an article in Avanti, the newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), in August 1914 Bordiga identified as a dangerous development 'a sympathetic feeling for the Triple Entente [the alliance between Britain, France and Russia], not only justifying, but praising the attitude of the French socialists, to support that Italian socialists should hasten to fight in defence of France’. This was to become the position of Mussolini, at that point editor of Avanti.

For Bordiga, the concept of ‘fatherland’ was by definition anti-socialist and a defensive war on its behalf inconceivable. In September, in an article in Il Socialista on ‘Avanti and the war’, he addressed Mussolini's attitude openly, criticising the ambiguity of the line he had taken on the war in the party’s newspaper.

Early Bordiga and Electoral Activity

The second part of our series on the views of Amadeo Bordiga up to the 1917 Russian revolution.

In March and April 1913, the magazine Avanguardia published a series of articles by Bordiga entitled 'For the Theoretical Conception of Socialism'. In them he expressed his political vision.

'We should not be philosophers but men of action… the proletariat is still in search of its programme and it will not find it permanently until after a long series of struggles and inevitable mistakes committed in action. (….) We have a programme de facto: the abolition of private property and of the wages system. We have to pay attention to the deceits of bourgeois thought and in particular to idealist forms that seek to distract the attention of the proletariat from the economic problems that it seeks to resolve with the violent suppression of their domination.’

Amadeo Bordiga as Intransigent Socialist

We begin a three part series on the pre-1917 political views of this Italian thinker who later became the first leader of the Italian Communist Party and then a Left Communist critic of the state capitalist regime in Russia.

Amadeo Bordiga (1889-1970) was probably the closest among Italian political thinkers and activists to the revolutionary ideas put forward by the World Socialist Movement. We would share his consistent opposition to reformism, militarism, and all forms of nationalism as well as some of his views on the use of parliament. We would, however be entirely opposed to his advocacy of insurrectionary violence, his aversion for democracy (which was determined by his identification of it with the freemasonry of his day), and his support for a centralist control model.

Antonio Labriola: A Strict Marxist?

We examine the life and political approach of this Marxist political thinker.

The Italian political thinker, Antonio Labriola (1843-1904) was described by Friedrich Engels as ‘a strict Marxist’. However, he approached Marxism quite late in life and first mentioned Marx in 1883 in a review of Bärenbach’s book on the social sciences (Die Socialwissenschafte).

Labriola started corresponding with Engels in 1890 and in the same year, with Filippo Turati, founder of the ‘Italian Socialist Party’, he wrote an address to the German Social-Democratic Workers' Party Congress in Halle. When the ‘Italian Workers’ Party’ was founded at the Congress of Geneva two years later, Labriola was critical of its platform, and when that organisation became the ‘Italian Socialist Party’ in 1894 under the leadership of Turati, Labriola complained to him in the following terms:

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