Craxism (ita: Craxismo) was and is according to some extant, an Italian political ideology based on the thought of socialist leader Bettino Craxi, who was also Prime Minister in the 1980s. It was informal ideology of the Italian Socialist Party from 1976 to 1994, the year of the end of the "first Republic" and of PSI, because of strong corruption scandals.
Origins and features
The Craxism, although the term derogatory today was based on a synthesis of social democracy, socialism and liberal conservatism. In fact, if on one side the PSI under Craxi is required with a strong third-worldism, Pro-Arabianism, environmentalism and a modern welfare state system (typical of the modern left), on the other hand was strongly pro-Atlanticist and pro-europeanist and supported privatisations, liberalisations and placed on a strong defense of territorial sovereignty (e.g. "Sigonella crisis" American armed forces) and on conservative policies on issues such as abortion and war on drugs.
Under Craxi, PSI moved from left-wing (close to PCI) to centre-left, almost centrist, much to ally with the Christian Democracy and other moderate parties that formed a coalition called Pentapartito, which ensured a stable majority to govern.
Today, the Craxism is often used in derogatory form to define a corrupt politician, although some welcome him in a favourable manner: this is the case of those who, following the dissolution of the PSI, joined the newly formed Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi (centre-right), but also a part of those who formed the Italian Socialists, small party adhering to the Alliance of progressives of Achille Occhetto (centre-left).
Finally, the Craxism has led to the change of the entire European socialism, together with Felipe González (PSOE), François Mitterrand (PS) and Helmut Schmidt (SPD), during all the years 80; In addition, along with these other figures, inspired the overhaul and the policies of Tony Blair's Labour Party, the José Zapatero's PSOE and the Andreas Papandreou's PASOK.
In Italy, the main critics of the Craxism (as well as the figure of Craxi), are the former Communists (including most members of the Democratic Party) and some media left-wing press (Il Fatto Quotidiano, il manifesto, L'Espresso, La Repubblica, etc.), while the biggest supporters are the PSI of Riccardo Nencini and various politicians of The People of Freedom and the centre-right, as Silvio Berlusconi (also ex-Socialist), Renato Brunetta, Maurizio Sacconi, Stefano Caldoro and Stefania Craxi, Bettino's daughter.
Abroad, Bettino Craxi has received praise especially by Mário Soares, Ricardo Lagos, Felipe González, Lech Walesa, Ronald Reagan, Sergio Romano (Italian Ambassador in the USA), Renato Ruggiero (Socialist diplomat and former Director of the WTO), Boris Biancheri.