Communist Refoundation Party

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Communist Refoundation Party
Partito della Rifondazione Comunista
Secretary Paolo Ferrero
Founded 12 December 1991
Headquarters via del Policlinico 131
00161 Rome
Newspaper Liberazione
Youth wing Young Communists
Membership  (2013) 32,901[1]
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
National affiliation Progressives (1994–95)
PRC–Olive Tree (1995–98)
The Union (2005–08)
The Left–The Rainbow (2008)
Federation of the Left
(2009–12)
Civil Revolution (2012–13)
The Other Europe (2014–present)
International affiliation International Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties
European affiliation Party of the European Left
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left (1995–2009, 2014–present)
Chamber of Deputies
0 / 630
Senate
0 / 315
European Parliament
1 / 73
Website
www.rifondazione.it
Politics of Italy
Political parties
Elections

The Communist Refoundation Party (Italian: Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, PRC) is a communist party in Italy. The party participates both in the Party of the European Left (of which Fausto Bertinotti, a former PRC leader, was the first president) and the European Anticapitalist Left. Its members in the European Parliament used to sit in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group. The party's current secretary is Paolo Ferrero.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

In 1991, when the Italian Communist Party (PCI), led by Achille Occhetto, became the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), dissidents led by Armando Cossutta launched the Communist Refoundation Party. In the same year Proletarian Democracy, a far left outfit, merged into the new party, which aimed to unite all Italian communists.

The first secretary of the PRC was Sergio Garavini, who resigned in June 1993, being replaced by Fausto Bertinotti, a long-time Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) trade union leader, who had left the PDS only some months before. The leadership of Bertinotti was a turning point for the party, which jumped to 8.6% of vote in the 1996 general election.

The centre-left[edit]

The party supported the Prodi I Cabinet until 1998, when Bertinotti's Communists turned to opposition and the government lost its majority in Parliament. However this decision was divisive also in Bertinotti's camp, where a group of dissidents, led by President of the party Armando Cossutta, split off and founded a rival communist outfit, the Party of Italian Communists (PdCI), which joined Massimo D'Alema's government.

In October 2004, the PRC joined the centre-left opposition and in April 2005, Nichi Vendola, an openly gay politician and one of the emerging leaders of the party, was elected President of traditionally conservative Apulia Region, due to the support of the whole centre-left and after a primary election, which saw Vendola beat a centrist opponent. He was the only regional President ever belonging to the PRC.

After the 2006 general election in which centre-left The Union coalition won narrowly over the centre-right House of Freedoms, party leader Fausto Bertinotti was elected President of the Chamber of Deputies, and was replaced by Franco Giordano as party secretary. The PRC joined the Prodi II Cabinet, which included Paolo Ferrero, a long-time member of the party, as Minister of Social Solidarity.

The decision to participate in the centre-left coalition government, and in particular the party's decision to vote to refinance the Italian military presence in Afghanistan and send troops to Lebanon attracted criticism from other sections of the European far left[2] and provoked the splits of many groups, notably the Communist Workers' Party, the Communist Alternative Party and Critical Left.

Out of Parliament[edit]

A PRC rally in Rome, 2007.

In December 2007 the party participated in the creation of The Left – The Rainbow with the Party of Italian Communists, the Federation of the Greens, and Democratic Left. This coalition was defeated in the 2008 general election, winning 3.1% of the vote (compared to 10.2% won by the composite parties individually two years before.)

In April 2008, following the severe defeat of the party in the 2008 general election, a group of former Bertinottiani, composed primarily of former members of Proletarian Democracy, led by Paolo Ferrero and Giovanni Russo Spena, allied with other minority factions to force secretary Franco Giordano to resign. They criticised The Left – The Rainbow alliance and the political line of Fausto Bertinotti.

In the July congress the internal left-wing prevailed over Bertinottiani and Paolo Ferrero was elected new secretary. He was supported by a bare majority 53% of the party delegates, and the party remained divided around factional and regional lines with Vendola, the standard-bearer of Bertinottiani, accusing Northern delegates of having absorbed leghismo and stating that "it was the end of the party I knew".[3]

On 24 January 2009 the faction centered around Vendola, including Giordano and with the silent support of Bertinotti, decided to leave the party and to transform their faction into a party under the name Movement for the Left (MpS). The goal of MpS was forming a new party with other left-wing groups, including a part of the Federation of the Greens led by Grazia Francescato, Democratic Left, Unite the Left (splinters from the PdCI), and United to the Left.[4] However, some members of RpS, including Giusto Catania, Milziade Caprili, and Tommaso Sodano, decided not to leave the PRC[5] and re-organized themselves into To the Left with Refoundation.[6]

After the split of RpS/MpS, the PRC formed a joint list known as Anticapitalist List with the PdCI, Socialism 2000, and United Consumers for the 2009 European Parliament election. Originally, Critical Left was also to join, but eventually chose to step aside.[7] The list received 3.4% of the national vote and failed to return any MEPs. In December 2009 the Anticapitalist List was transformed into Federation of the Left (FdS).[8][9] The FdS held its first congress on 20–21 November 2010. Oliviero Diliberto (PdCI) was elected spokerperson of the group by the national council.[10][11]

In the 2013 general election the PRC was part of the Civil Revolution coalition, which obtained 2.2% of the vote and no seats.[12] Disappointed by this result, the party's central committee scheduled an "extraordinary conference" to be held later in 2013, which would radically re-envision the party's program, objectives, and methods.[13] In particular, the party's central committee reprimanded itself for "... a top down method of unity [...] treaty agreements between elites, which only caused further division and fragmentations." The party's regional secretaries gathered in April to organize the event.[13]

Factions[edit]

PRC headquarters in Castello, Venice.

The majority of the party following the October 2004 congress was led by Fausto Bertinotti (59.2%) and it views itself as the party representing the anti-globalization movement in the Italian political scene. Notwithstanding, during that congress the party included some recognised factions, which opposed the line imposed by Bertinotti: the hardline communists of Being Communists (26.2%), what remains of the late faction led by Armando Cossutta, and trotskyists of Critical Left, Communist Project and HammerSickle (14.6% altogether).

Communist Project left the party shortly after the 2006 general election because of its opposition to the participation of the party in The Union and the Prodi II Cabinet: a group led by Marco Ferrando formed the Communist Workers' Party, while others, led by Francesco Ricci formed the Communist Alternative Party. A tiny minority of the former Communist Project decided not to leave the party and gathered in a new faction named Countercurrent.

In February 2007 Senator Franco Turigliatto, one of the leaders of Critical Left along with Salvatore Cannavò, voted against two motions on the government's foreign policy, leading Romano Prodi to temporarily resign as Prime Minister. In April Turigliatto was expelled from the party and thus Critical Left was suspended from it. In December the group officially left PRC to be transformed into a party.

At that point Being Communists suffered a split by those who opposed the decision of leader Claudio Grassi to vote in favour of the expulsion of Senator Turigliatto from the party: a group, led by Fosco Giannini, left the faction and launched The Ernesto, without leaving the party itself.

In April 2008, following the severe defeat of the party in the 2008 general election, a group of former Bertinottiani, composed basically of former members of Proletarian Democracy and led by Paolo Ferrero and Giovanni Russo Spena, allied with the other minority factions to force Secretary Franco Giordano to resign. They criticized The Left – The Rainbow alliance and the political line of Fausto Bertinotti.

In the 24–27 July 2008 congress the Refoundation in Movement motion of Ferrero and Grassi (40.1%) faced the bulk of Bertinottiani, who organized themselves around the motion titled Manifesto for the Refoundation (47.6%) with Nichi Vendola as standard-bearer. The Ernesto of Giannini and Counter-current (7.7%), HammerSickle of Claudio Bellotti (3.2%) and a minor group of former Bertinottiani called "Disarm, Renew, Refound" (1.5%) decided to join forces with the Ferrero-Grassi group. Vendola, defeated by Ferrero, announced the creation of a new minority faction, Refoundation for the Left (RpS).[3][14]

On 24 January 2009 that faction finally left the party to form the Movement for the Left. However several members of RpS led by Augusto Rocchi decided to stay in the PRC and launched To the Left with Refoundation.

Popular support[edit]

The electoral results of the PRC in the 10 most populated regions of Italy are shown in the table below.[15] Since 2006 the party has ran in alliance with the Party of Italian Communists. The 2006 result refers to that of a joint list comprising also Democratic Left and the Federation of the Greens. The 2014 result refers to that of The Other Europe, a joint list including also Left Ecology Freedom.

1994 general 1995 regional 1996 general 1999 European 2000 regional 2001 general 2004 European 2005 regional 2006 general 2008 general 2009 European 2010 regional 2013 general 2014 European
Piedmont 5.9 9.3 10.3 4.6 5.5 5.9 6.6 6.4 5.9 3.4 3.3 2.6 2.1 4.1
Lombardy 5.1 7.7 6.8 4.0 6.4 5.0 5.6 5.7 5.5 2.9 2.7 2.0 1.6 3.5
Veneto 4.4 5.0 5.3 2.8 3.0 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.9 2.2 1.8 1.6 1.3 2.8
Emilia-Romagna 6.6 7.6 8.3 5.0 5.8 5.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 3.0 3.1 2.8 1.9 4.1
Tuscany 10.1 11.1 12.5 7.4 6.7 6.9 9.1 8.2 8.2 4.5 5.1 5.3 2.7 5.1
Lazio 6.6 9.2 10.4 4.9 5.4 5.2 7.1 5.9 7.4 3.3 3.7 2.7 2.6 4.7
Campania 6.9 9.2 9.1 4.0 3.8 4.8 6.0 4.1 6.1 2.7 3.8 1.6 2.6 3.8
Apulia 7.0 8.1 7.5 3.3 3.6 4.7 6.0 5.1 5.7 3.0 3.3 3.3 2.4 4.3
Calabria 9.3 8.7 10.0 4.3 3.0 3.4 5.8 5.1 6.0 3.2 6.7 4.0 2.9 4.2
Sicily - 4.3 (1996) 7.0 2.2 2.4 (2001) 3.2 3.6 - (2006)[16] 3.2 2.6 2.2 4.9 (2008) 3.4 3.6
ITALY 6.1 - 8.6 4.3 - 5.0 6.1 - 5.8 3.1 3.4 - 2.2 4.0

Election results[edit]

Italian Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1992 2,202,574 5.6
35 / 630
Fausto Bertinotti
1994 2,334,029 6.0
39 / 630
Increase 4
Fausto Bertinotti
1996 3,215,960 8.5
35 / 630
Decrease 4
Fausto Bertinotti
2001 1,868,659 5.0
11 / 630
Decrease 24
Fausto Bertinotti
2006 2,229,604 5.8
41 / 630
Increase 30
Fausto Bertinotti
2008 1,124,298 3.1
0 / 630
Decrease 41
Fausto Bertinotti
2013 765,188 2.2
0 / 630
Paolo Ferrero
Senate of the Republic
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1992 2,163,317 6.5
20 / 315
Fausto Bertinotti
1994 with Progressives
18 / 315
Decrease 2
Fausto Bertinotti
1996 934,974 2.9
11 / 315
Decrease 7
Fausto Bertinotti
2001 1,708,707 5.0
5 / 315
Decrease 6
Fausto Bertinotti
2006 2,518,624 7.4
27 / 315
Increase 22
Fausto Bertinotti
2008 1,053,154 3.3
0 / 315
Decrease 27
Fausto Bertinotti
2013 549.995 1.8
0 / 315
Paolo Ferrero

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1994 1,991,977 6.1
5 / 87
Fausto Bertinotti
1999 1,330,341 4.3
4 / 87
Decrease 1
Fausto Bertinotti
2004 1,971,700 6.0
5 / 78
Increase 1
Fausto Bertinotti
2009 1,038,247 3.4
0 / 72
Decrease 5
Paolo Ferrero
2014 1,103,203° 4.0
1 / 73
Increase 1
Paolo Ferrero

°The PRC was part of The Other Europe list and obtained one of the three seats gained by the list.

Symbols[edit]

Leadership[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]