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(en) Italy, FDCA: Il Cantiere anno 2022 n. 8 - A fist of militant workers THE GAAP of Turin (1949-1957) - Paolo Papini (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Tue, 10 May 2022 09:09:57 +0300


In the National Congress of Carrara in September 1945 the Italian Anarchist Federation (FAI) was established, a synthetic organization that brings together the libertarian movement dispersed by fascism. Within it, very different tendencies coexist, carrying interpretations of anarchism that are often difficult to reconcile. Nonetheless, in the early post-war years the anarchists received significant support and sympathy in the popular classes, rediscovering their roots in the workers' movement and in the unitary trade union, the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), where they organized themselves in the current of the Trade Union Defense Committees ( CDS).
However, the revolutionary energies and expectations arising from the Resistance soon run out and the anarchist movement experiences a serious crisis in the new framework characterized by the opposition of the two imperialist blocs dominated by the USA and the USSR, by the capitalist restoration guaranteed by the centrist governments and by the hegemony of the Party. Italian Communist (PCI) on the workers' movement, which controls and contains its most radical thrusts.
Index of this crisis is the affirmation, starting from the second FAI Congress in 1947, of the aclassist and anti-organizer component, linked to the groups of the magazines "Volontà" and
"The Gathering of Refractories" is influenced by the historical leader Armando Borghi, who intends to transform the Federation into a "humanist" opinion movement, risking isolating it from the working masses thus condemning it to residuality. Against this drift, following the third Congress of 1949, a markedly organizing and libertarian communist tendency is formed in the FAI, gathered in the Initiative Group "For an Oriented and Federated Movement", which publishes the bulletin "The Impulse". Composed mainly of young workers from Tuscany, Lazio and Liguria and led by Pier Carlo Masini and Arrigo Cervetto, the Initiative Group fights against the "nullity" and "immobility" of anti-organizers by trying to "orient" and "structure»The Federation according to a class and revolutionary approach.
Expelled by the FAI in the subsequent fourth Congress of 1950 on charges of neo-Marxist and authoritarian deviation, the Initiative Group gave life in February 1951, in the National Conference of Genoa Pontedecimo, to the trend organization of the Proletarian Action Anarchist Groups (GAAP). The new party of young revolutionary workers' cadres has its own historical and theoretical references in the Bakuninism of the First International, in the political, communist and organizer anarchism of Cafiero, Malatesta, Fabbri and Berneri, in the libertarian councilism of the Red Biennium and in the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists, known as Aršinov's Platform. Based on the principles of the distinction between political organization and mass organization, on theoretical and tactical unity and on collective responsibility, the GAAP immediately distinguished themselves, even by operating in the CDS, for a strong commitment in the CGIL marked by worker unity and trade union autonomy, as well as for a significant theoretical elaboration activity that aims at the actualization of anarchism through the recovery of its class roots.
The Anarchist Group "Barriera di Milano", already a member of the Initiative Group, sends its delegates to the Pontedecimo Conference and forms itself in the Turin section of the GAAP. It includes Stefano Candela, Mario Colombarini, Aldo Demi, Achille Ferrario, Paolo Lico, Gino Navolini, Roberto Peretti and Giuseppe Visconti, some of whom fought in the Spanish war and in the Resistance. Residents in the popular district of Barriera di Milano, mostly young FIAT workers and trade union activists
of the CGIL, several of them are members of the internal factory commissions, of the governing bodies of the Chamber of Labor and of the National Council of the FIOM. They also hold leading roles within GAAP: Ferrario and Visconti in the National Committee, Demi in the trade union commission, Colombarini in that of organization and Candela in that for propaganda.
Among the activities undertaken in the area, in addition to the regular militant dissemination of "L'Impulso" and proselytism aimed at bringing new sympathizers, there are also the promotion of initiatives for the financing of the newspaper, the abstentionist propaganda on the occasion of the elections and the relations with some related Piedmontese groups that remained within the FAI, including the Anarchist Group «Thought and Action» of Turin, the «Pietro Ferrero» of Asti, the «Gaetano Bresci» of Gattinara and those of Venaria and Villadossola.
Particular attention is paid to the recruitment work in the factory, in the union and in the CPI worker base, often clashing with the hostility of the apparatuses. Peretti keeps in contact with Georges Fontenis, who goes to Turin to meet the Group, and with the Fédération Communiste Libertaire, a French sister organization born from the evolution of the Fédération Anarchiste in a class sense and organizational efficiency, together with which GAAP promoted in 1954 the new Libertarian Communist International.
Present with its representatives at all National Conferences and meetings of the National Committee throughout the six-year life of the organization, from 1951 to 1957, the Group takes part in the intense debate
internal title for the definition of programmatic theses, on intervention in the workplace and in the trade union, for the construction of the Third Front against the "unitary imperialism" of the USA and USSR, on participation in elections and on alliances with other forces of the revolutionary left. It also contributes to drafting the statute and assumes responsibility for the publication of "L'Impulso", which has become the national press organ of GAAP, and of the booklet "Anarchists and Communists in the Council Movement in Turin" written by Masini. There is no shortage of critical contributions: the section opposes the membership and establishment of an Internal Control Commission and in favor of statutory provisions that guarantee the right to dissent. Peretti resigned in 1955 in disagreement on the congressional results, while Demi soon moved to the PCI, deeming anarchism and GAAP action insufficient in the new political and social context.
In the Sixth National Conference of 1956, the organization adopted the name of the Libertarian Communist Federation (FCL) and in the wake of the Hungarian uprising and the crisis of Stalinism, it initiated the process of merging with the other formations of the revolutionary and internationalist left, based on research of an organic ideological unity of the working class. Thus the Action Committee of the Communist Left was established at a national level, to which the Communist Action Groups (GAC), formed by exiles of the PCI, the Revolutionary Communist Groups (GCR), the Italian section of the Fourth International, belong together with the FCL. Trotskyist, and the Internationalist-Battle Communist Communist Party (PCInt-BC), a dissident Bordigist. The contradictions inherent in this ambitious political project soon exploded precisely in Turin on the occasion of the unitary national conference on intervention in workers' struggles and in the trade unions, organized by the local Communist Left Committee in which Ferrario represents the Group. With the adhesion of GCR and PCInt-BC not willing to discuss their own ideological prejudices and already in open controversy between them, the last National Conference of the FCL sanctions in 1957 the confluence with the GAC in the Communist Left Movement.
Thus comes to completion the gradual process of detachment of the GAAP / FCL from anarchism, of which they have not been able to fully utilize the rich ideological heritage and historical experiences. In the first place they failed to untie the fundamental theoretical knot of the state, renouncing to choose all the way, for fear of generating internal divisions, between simultaneous liquidation and transition period, between direct workers' power and the dictatorship of the proletariat, inevitably compromising the autonomy and full credibility of their political path. The initial fruitful integration of Marxist tools of analysis into one's own theoretical background is thus boundless in Leninist degeneration.

The small component headed by Masini will soon land in the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) in an attempt to graft libertarian ferments, while the area linked to Cervetto will later give rise to Lotta Comunista (LC) and others will return to the FAI. Even the Turin Gaapists will find themselves at the crossroads between reformism and Leninism, choosing different paths that will lead them to the PSI, the PCI or the LC and in some cases to the abandonment of active politics.
After 1968 a new generation of militants will rediscover the Platform and the GAAP experience, enhancing them in a critical form, recovering the demands of class anarchism and giving life to new libertarian communist organizations, until the establishment of the Federation of Anarchist Communists, today Alternative Libertarian.
Bibliography:

Guido Barroero, The Children of the Workshop. The Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action (1949-1957), Franco Salomone Documentation Center, Fano, 2013;

Franco Bertolucci (edited by), Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action. The ideas, the militants, the organization, 3 vols., BFS, Pisa / Pantarei, Milan, 2017-2019;

Gino Cerrito, The role of the anarchist organization. Organizational efficiency, the problem of the minority, the transitional period, classism and humanism, RL, Pistoia, 1973;

Saverio Craparo, Anarchist Communists: a question of class. Theory and strategy of the FdCA, La Giovane Talpa, Milan, 2009;

Adriana Dadà, Anarchism in Italy: between movement and party. History and documents of Italian anarchism, Teti, Milan, 1984;

Ugo Fedeli (edited by), Italian Anarchist Federation. Congresses and conventions (1944-1962), FAI Library, Genoa, 1963;

Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action, Thesis of Pontedecimo, Alternative Libertarian, Fano, 2010;

Guido La Barbera, Communist Struggle. The original group. 1943-1952, Communist Struggle, Milan, 2012;

Guido La Barbera, Communist Struggle. Towards the strategy party. 1953-1965, Communist Struggle, Milan, 2015;

Pier Carlo Masini, Anarchists and Communists in the Council movement in Turin (first post-war red 1919-1920), Group
«Barrier of Milan», Turin, 1951;

Nestor McNab (ed.), The Organizing Platform of the Anarchist Communists. Origin, debate and meaning, La Giovane Talpa, Milan, 2007;

Nestor McNab (edited by), Manifesto of Libertarian Communism. Georges Fontenis and the French anarchist movement, Franco Salomone Documentation Center, Fano, 2011.
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