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"Italy is in the grip of a serious crisis, and the labor movement must do everything in its power to solve it," Georgio Napolitano, member of the secretariat of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), told an audience of 250 listeners last night.
Winding up a three-day visit to Harvard. Napolitano stressed the importance of constructive reforms to solve Italy's complex problems. "The goals of socialist democracy remain our ideal," he said, "but we must first deal with the current crisis to prevent a political and social slide backwards."
The PCI supports policies of economic austerity and industrial reorganization in order to stem inflation and unemployment, increase productive investment and reform inefficient public-owned industry. Napolitano said.
However, this does not mean the party seeks total state ownership of the means of production, he added. Instead, the PCI feels that a mixed economy--with coexisting elements of private-owned and state-owned industry--is compatible with democratic socialism. Napolitano said.
"The PCI is dedicated to the task of resolving the contradictions of capitalist industrial society," Napolitano said. The workers movement does not have to wait for the "collapse of capitalism" to realize its goals, he said.
In pursuit of its short-term objectives of shoring up the Italian economy, the PCI has joined the official parliamentary majority of democratic parties, Napolitano said. "We cannot afford the luxury of being in the opposition." he said.
Substantial political change is still needed in Italy, however. Napolitano said. The Christian Democratic Party, which has been the dominant force in government since 1947, has been largely responsible for current conditions of corruption and mismanagement, he said.
Peter Lange, assistant professor of Government, said he was "delighted" that Napolitano had finally come to Harvard. "We first invited him three years ago, but the State Department made it almost impossible for him to get a visa." he said.
Napolitano is an "authoritative representative of the PCI." Lange said. He joined the PCI in 1945, has been in parliament since 1953 and served on the party directorate since 1963. Lange added.
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