Eurocommunism: The rise and fall of a hopeful project

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2024 Number 86

Eurocommunism: The rise and fall of a hopeful project
Andrea Donofrio pages 49-70
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.86.03.2024


Recent renewed interest in Eurocommunism is part of a wider reflection on the crisis of communism in all its variants since the last part of the twentieth century. Its aim - to forge a new strategy of democratic and peaceful conquest of political power, in keeping with the complexities of contemporary Western European societies - at first seemed full of promise, but by the mid-1980s its momentum had dissipated. In spite of its aim of renewal, it was followed by the crisis and decline of the main communist parties with which it was associated, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Spanish Communist Party (PCE). The actions, decisions and strategies adopted by these parties can only be understood if they are framed within the historical and geographical context of the 1970s - a period of general crisis in both the capitalist and communist worlds, which ultimately consolidated a historical break between two different eras. The article discusses some of the key characteristics of the project, and the hopes and disappointments it provoked, drawing widely on the published literature. It concludes with a brief engagement with some of the reflections and assessments that have been made on the subject. Broadly speaking, in the end Eurocommunism failed to find a way of combining a reformist strategy with a revolutionary identity. It abandoned core aspects of its former strategy without finding a convincing replacement. 

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To cite this article
Andrea Donofrio (2024) Eurocommunism: The rise and fall of a hopeful project, Soundings, 2024(86), 49-70.

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