italian version


 April 25th


Giovanni De Sio Cesari


National holidays are conceived as moments when all citizens recognize themselves in national unity: think for example of July 4th for Americans or June 14th for the French. In Italy, April 25th instead seems to be a divisive day, a source of endless controversies, sometimes even with violent clashes (this year due to the events in Gaza).

It's emblematic that a distinguished writer seizes the opportunity to delegitimize a government freely elected by the people, effectively promoting a clash between one half of the country and the other: far from being a unity celebration!

In reality, until the '70s, April 25th united Italians in the celebration of the rediscovered and renewed democracy after the twenty-year parenthesis of fascism: even the small, albeit marginalized, party of fascist nostalgics, the MSI, indeed accepted democracy while reevaluating other aspects of the past regime.

 After '68, in the '70s, however, April 25th was taken over by the left, or at least by a part of the left, as a celebration of anti-fascism, broadening the concept of fascism from that of the historical movement of the Ventennio (twenty-year period ,a parenthesis in historical terms) to that of the so-called eternal fascism, i.e., a series of instances, ideals, concepts considered negative: in practice, therefore, Liberation is seen as a victory of the left over the right, accused in some way of being a hidden part of eternal fascism.

In this way, the national holiday has become a divisive celebration in which one part celebrates its victory over the other part.

 In reality, then, what do we celebrate on April 25th? The liberation from fascism as a premise for the rebirth of democracy.

Can we consider the defeat of fascism as the work of the partisans? No, it would be a gross historical falsification.

Even admitting the ideal, political, ethical value that the partisan movement had, the defeat of Nazifascism was the work of the vast armies that from the south, east, and west destroyed the German army, even, I would say, leveling the entire Germany: the military role of the partisans was entirely marginal.

 If on April 25th the partisans took control of the north, it's because the German army was already dissolving and the remnants were only trying to reach Germany. It's not the victory of the partisans but of the allies.

 Can we then say that the partisan movement was the premise of Italian democracy as it is ritually repeated by everyone? No, not even this is true.

In fact, the partisan movement was formed by very different components: monarchists, Catholics, center parties, communist and non-communist left, almost all former fascists: the older ones had been opponents of fascism (Pertini for example) but the young ones had grown up during the Ventennio

However, the most numerous and above all most organized and conscious component was formed by the communists who had their model in Soviet Russia and as undisputed leader Togliatti, Stalin's main collaborator. But the political regime that emerged was certainly not on the Soviet model (defined as people's democracy), absolutely not, but a political system of representative democracy in the Western sense defined by the communists as bourgeois, fake democracy. Here and there, there were some disjointed actions to establish a Soviet model, later reduced to criminal acts, but the Communist Party immediately stopped them by instead participating in the formation of a democratic constitution.

It had indeed happened that at Yalta, in practice, the world had been divided into spheres of influence and Italy had fallen to America and therefore for tactical reasons a communist revolution should not be sparked. In practice, we can say that Italian democracy was decided by the Yalta agreements.

 All this does not detract from the legitimacy of the constitution that had the general approval of the Italian people while the Communist Party lost all elections, remaining confined to eternal opposition. Only with the end of real communism in the '90s did the Communist Party definitively transform into a party of democratic socialism and was able to alternate in government with right-wing parties. In short, we cannot consider April 25th as a victory of the left over the alleged eternal communism: in democracy, historical fascism (dictatorial and illiberal) is not possible, but freedom also applies to eternal communism and if it wins elections it can legitimately govern as it actually happens.

 It would be undemocratic if a certain ideology, which someone could define as eternal fascism, could not win elections: what is alternative to democracy is historical fascism but if someone were to propose it today, it would fall into ridicule like a pope who called for a crusade.