Action Party (Italy)

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Action Party
Partito d'Azione
PresidentCarlo Rosselli
Emilio Lussu
Ferruccio Parri
Ugo La Malfa
Ernesto Rossi
Founder(s)Carlo Rosselli
Gaetano Salvemini
Founded1 July 1929; 94 years ago (1929-07-01) (as Justice and Freedom)
14 June 1942; 81 years ago (1942-06-14) (as the Action Party)
Dissolved25 April 1947; 76 years ago (1947-04-25)
Merged intoItalian Socialist Party (majority)
Italian Republican Party (minority)
NewspaperL'Italia Libera
Armed wingGiustizia e Libertà
IdeologyLiberal socialism[1][2]
Social liberalism[3]
Political positionCentre-left[3][5]
National affiliationNational Liberation Committee
Colours  Green

The Action Party (Italian: Partito d'Azione, PdA) was a liberal-socialist political party in Italy.[1][6] The party was anti-fascist[7] and republican.[8] Its prominent leaders were Carlo Rosselli, Ferruccio Parri, Emilio Lussu and Ugo La Malfa. Other prominent members included Leone Ginzburg,[6] Ernesto de Martino, Norberto Bobbio, Riccardo Lombardi, Vittorio Foa and the Nobel-winning poet Eugenio Montale.[9][10]


Founded in July 1942 by former militants of Giustizia e Libertà (Justice and Freedom), liberal-socialists and democrats. Ideologically, they were heirs to the liberal socialism of Carlo Rosselli[11] and to Piero Gobetti's liberal revolution, whose writings rejected Marxist economic determinism and aimed at the overcoming of class struggle and for a new shape of socialism, respect for civil liberty and for radical change in both the social and the economic structure of Italy. From January 1943, it published a clandestine newspaper, L'Italia Libera (Free Italy), edited by Leone Ginzburg. In the same year, members of the party came into contact with Allied secret services stationed in neutral Switzerland. In particular, this activity was commissioned to Filippo Caracciolo, had a special relationship with British Special Operations Executive. Caracciolo tried to avoid Allied bombing on Italy, but most of all he tried to get British support for an Anti-Fascist Committee that was supposed to lead the new government after an anti-Mussolini coup.[12]

After the armistice of 8 September 1943, as a central member of the National Liberation Committee the Action Party actively participated in the Italian resistance movement with units of Giustizia e Libertà commanded by Ferruccio Parri. It maintained a clear anti-monarchical position and it was opposed to Palmiro Togliatti and the Italian Communist Party's Salerno Initiative for postwar governance.[13] The party adopted the symbol of a flaming sword and in the immediate post-war period joined the government securing the post of Prime Minister for Ferruccio Parri from June to November 1945. As a result of the internal conflict between the democratic-reformist line of Ugo La Malfa and the socialist line of Emilio Lussu, combined with the electoral defeat of 1946, the party folded. Unwillingness of the party members to work with reviving political parties "tainted by association with Fascism" also resulted in the decline of the Action Party. The main group of former members led by Riccardo Lombardi joined the Italian Socialist Party while the La Malfa group (as the Movement for Republican Democracy) entered the Italian Republican Party.[14] The last secretary general of the Action Party was Alberto Cianca.[15]

Prominent members[edit]

Italian Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year Votes % Seats +/– Leader
1946 334,748 (8th) 1.45
7 / 556

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Steve Bastow; James Martin (2003). Third Way Discourse: European Ideologies in the Twentieth Century. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: Edinburgh University Press, Ltd. p. 74.
  2. ^ Bernard A. Cook, ed. (2001). "Italy". Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 671. ISBN 978-1-135-17932-8.
  3. ^ a b Ercolessi, Giulio (2009), "Italy: The Contemporary Condition of Italian Laicità", Secularism, Women & the State: The Mediterranean World in the 21st Century, Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, p. 13
  4. ^ Lawson, Kay; Merkl, Peter H. (2014). "New Politics, Old Politics". When Parties Fail: Emerging Alternative Organizations. Princeton University Press. p. 112. ISBN 9781400859498.
  5. ^ Glenda Sluga (2001). The Problem of Trieste and the Italo-Yugoslav Border: Difference, Identity, and Sovereignty in Twentieth-Century Europe. SUNY Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-7914-4824-3.
  6. ^ a b David Ward (2000). "Natalia Ginzberg's early writings in L'Italia Libera". In Angela M. Jeannet; Giuliana Sanguinetti Katz; Giuliana Katz (eds.). Natalia Ginzburg. University of Toronto Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8020-4722-9.
  7. ^ Carlo Testa (2002). Italian Cinema and Modern European Literatures, 1945-2000. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-275-97522-7.
  8. ^ Susanna Mancini (2012). "From the struggle for suffrage to the construction of a fragile gender citizenship: Italy 1861–2009". In Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz; Ruth Rubio-Marín (eds.). The Struggle for Female Suffrage in Europe: Voting to Become Citizens. BRILL. p. 373. ISBN 978-90-04-22991-4.
  9. ^ Phil Edwards (2009). "More Work! Less Pay!": Rebellion and Repression in Italy, 1972-77. Oxford University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7190-7873-6.
  10. ^ Cambon, Glauco (2014). Eugenio Montale's Poetry: A Dream in Reason's Presence. Princeton University Press. p. 189.
  11. ^ Luca Barattoni (2012). Italian Post-Neorealist Cinema. Edinburgh University Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7486-5093-4.
  12. ^ Mireno Berrettini (2010). La Gran Bretagna e l'antifascismo italiano. Diplomazia clandestina, intelligence, Operazioni Speciali (1940-1943). Florence.
  13. ^ Mireno Berrettini (29013). La Resistenza italiana e lo Special Operations Executive britannico (1943-1945). Florence.
  14. ^ Mark Gilbert; Robert K. Nilsson, eds. (2010). The A to Z of Modern Italy. Scarecrow Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-4616-7202-9.
  15. ^ "Alberto Cianca" (in Italian). ANPI. Retrieved 23 January 2022.


  • Website of the Italian Resistance Historical Society ("Il Partito d'Azione"), including in-depth bios, recent remembrances and selections from party documents.
  • Historical dictionary entry from Paravia Mondadori Editori, an Italian educational publishing house ("Storia del Partito d'Azione").