In Towards a history of the Fourth International, Livio Maitan relates his experience of being a revolutionary communist during the second half of the 20th Century. From his early commitment to communism in 1942 under fascism in Italy, Livio chose to be ‘against the current’ by rejecting both Stalinism and social democracy. Instead, he charted a course of democratic and revolutionary Marxism, which brought him to the ‘Trotskyist’ movement, participating on its international leadership. In 1947 he joined the Italian Trotskyist movement, of which he remained a leading member all his life. He was one of a small group of comrades who led the Fourth International during the difficult years of the 1950s and early 1960s. First elected in 1951, he remained a member of the International leadership until his death. From 1991, he was a leader of Rifondazione Comunista. Maitan died in Rome on 16 September 2004.
This book is an analysis of the major events of the second half of the 20th Century by a Marxist and a participant. In this book, Livio deals with the strategic and programmatic problems his generation faced as it sought to work towards a democratic socialist alternative.
Livio Maitan wrote a great many articles and several books, including Teoria e politica nel dopoguerra, Milan, 1959; Pci 1945-1969, Rome, 1969. Dinamica delle classi sociali in Italia, Rome, 1975, Destino di Trotsky, Milan, 1980, Il marxismo rivoluzionario di Antonio Gramsci, Milano, 1987; Il dilemma cinese, Rome, 1994; Dall’Urss alla Russia, Rome, 1996, Tempeste nell’economia mondiale, Rome, 1998, La strada percorsa, Bolsena, 2002.
Introduction to the English edition
Preface – History wrinkle-free
Chapter 1 – Dramatic battles of the 1930s and the early 1940s
Chapter 2 – A congress of redefinition and reconstruction and a contradictory phase (1948-1953)
Chapter 3 – From Stalin’s death to the rise of de Gaulle (1953-1958)
Chapter 4 – A tormented phase (1959-1961)
Chapter 5 – From reunification to the eve of 1968 (1962-1967)
Chapter 6 –Two crucial years: French May and the Czechoslovak crisis (1968-1969)
Chapter 7 – A further series of upheavals (1970-1973): Conflicts deepen and grow more acuteChapter 8 – The Tenth Congress (1974): An agitated preparatory phase
Chapter 9 – Taking stock of 30 years
Chapter 10 – From the revolution in Portugal to the end of the war in Vietnam (1974-1975)Chapter 11 – A new phase (1976-1978)
Chapter 12 – A crucial year: 1979
Chapter 13 – The Afghan civil war and the crisis of the bureaucratic regime in Poland (1980-1982)
Chapter 14 – Exacerbation of the conservative counter-offensive (1983-1984)
Chapter 15 – The Twelfth Congress (1985)
Chapter 16 – World upheavals and internal developments (1985-1991): Conservative counteroffensive, advent of Gorbachev, and Chinese Nep
Chapter 17 – ‘New World Order?’ (1991-1995), Dissolution of the USSR and capitalist restoration