Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Italy marks 40th death anniversary of Eurocommunist leader Enrico Berlinguer

It was 7 June 1984, when the leader of the infamous "historic compromise", Enrico Berlinguer, who had recently turned 62, suddenly left the podium of a rally in the city of Padua, in the northern region of Veneto, after suffering a brain hemorrhage, and died four days later. 

The 11th June marked the 40th death anniversary of the Eurocommunist leader and Italy's bourgeois leadership praised his merits. Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Republic, pointed out that Berlinguer, who served as General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from 1972 until his death in 1984, “was an esteemed and popular political personality, capable of taking brave decisions".

In a message released by the official website of the Presidency, Mattarella highlighted that Berlinguer “was a leader of the Italian communist movement in a particularly difficult decade” and his decisions “strengthened the foundations of the Republic and consolidated the democratic growth of the country". 

More than a million people attended his funeral, in one of the largest demonstrations in the history of the Italian communist movement, while a few days later, the PCI won the European elections by obtaining 33.3 percent of the votes.

One of the most controversial figures of the 20th century communist movement in Europe, Berlinguer is broadly regarded as the "father" of the opportunist stategy of Eurocommunism, initiating the anti-Marxist "historic compromise" between communists, social democrats and christian democrats.