Avanti! (Italian newspaper)
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|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (August 2011)|
Avanti! ("Forward!") is an Italian daily newspaper, born as the official voice of the Italian Socialist Party, published since 25 December 1896. It took its name from its German counterpart Vorwärts, the party-newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
First housed in Rome, it moved to Milan in 1911. While it advocated neutrality on the wake of World War I (which it viewed as an imperialist conflict), the paper was becoming infused with the militarist and irredentist attitudes of its editor at the time, future Fascist leader Benito Mussolini (who had risen to prominence as an opponent of Filippo Turati during the Italo-Turkish War). Mussolini's dissent caused his ousting from the party, Avanti!'s direction being taken over by Giacinto Menotti Serrati, Mussolini then started his own paper Il Popolo d'Italia with Syndicalist and Republican dissidents from the Socialist Party.
The paper's headquarters were set on fire by Mussolini's Blackshirts on 15 April 1919, and it was banned by the government in 1926. From that point on, Avanti! was issued as a weekly, and was edited in exile – first in Paris and then in Zürich, at the Ristorante Cooperativo.
With Mussolini's first fall in 1943, the paper returned to Italy. However, its circulation was drastically curtailed due to changes in political options after World War II. After losing its popularity, Avanti! ceased to be a respectful newspaper merely becoming a party-newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI).
 The Fall
Avanti! was to keep a certain notoriety, notably increased in the 1980s - with the analytical editorials of Bettino Craxi (which he signed with the pen name Ghino di Tacco). During the Craxi management however, the party underwent an expensive modernisation project involving billions of lira. However such project and the management of the last director Roberto Viletti left the party with debts amounting to 40 billion lira. In 1992, the PSI was hit by a series of corruption scandals and Viletti conditioned by Bettino Craxi made sure L'Avanti! supported and defended the PSI. This behaviour showed the political nature of the newspaper which by 1993 only managed to sell 15,000 copied a day, far from the golden days of the 1980s. Viletti resigned in October 1992 been replaced by a more neutral Francesco Gozzano. The situation was however out of control since the end of 1992 with the electoral defeat of the PSI in the local elections. Avanti Translation Services In May 1993, Gozzano failed to pay the workers of the paper who in turn refused to work. The PSI, who had since 1896 financed and safeguarded the newspaper failed not only to help the latter but left L'avanti! to its catastrophic fate. In fact in August 1993, L'avanti! came to an end. A series of fund-raising events were organised but the newspaper failed to revive. The company in charge of the newspaper Nuovo Editrice L'avanti! was formally decleared bankrupt in March 1994 after the electoral collapse of the Italian Socialist Party which had failed to gain a minimum of 3% of the vote. The fact that the paper was a political newspaper and the influence of the Craxi in a way contributed to its fall when the PSI was hit by heavy corruption scandals.
 Heirs of Avanti!
In 1996, an American company International Press created a daily paper with the name of L'Avanti!. However, with many financial difficulties the paper closed down.
After the American attempt, in 2003 Fabrizio Cicchitto and other former socialists re-constructed L'Avanti!. Although this Avanti! is formally neutral, its former director was a close friend of another former Socialist Gianni De Michelis, who was then secretary of the New Italian Socialist Party (NPSI). The NPSI, which was in coalition with the centre-right, was an antagonist of the Socialists who found home in the centre-left led by the Italian Democratic Socialists, who created an opposing weekly paper with the name of "Avanti della Domenica" which however ran out of funds and closed soon after.
In 2006, Fabio Ranucci becomes director and quickly defines the paper an independent "socialist" newspaper of information. However with the re-composition of the small often tiny Socialist political formations into the modern-day Italian Socialist Party in 2007, the paper strongly came associated with the latter.
The paper, which lacks the structural and financial means of the old L'Avanti, still manages to survive and like the old paper is associated with the modern-day Italian Socialist Party, although with more independence and neutrality.
 Notable contributors
- Gaetano Arfé
- Fabrizio Cicchitto
- Bettino Craxi
- Antonio Gramsci
- Oddino Morgari
- Christian Rakovsky
- Filippo Turati