ALTHOUGH Italy's Communists have recently suffered some serious reverses which have led to a good deal of self-criticism within the party, they are currently counting their successes too.
Not least of these is the response they are getting from some Catholics to their call for an alliance with the left wing of the Christian Democratic Party.
OUR LADY OF THE HIGHWAY
New shrine on a main Lancashire road ANEW shrine of Ohr Lady,
Queen of the Highway, has been erected outside Loyola Hall, the Jesuit retreat house for the laity at Rainhill, Lancs.
Laymen put it up at the suggestion of the Superior, Fr. Peter Blake, S.J. They completed the work in a few days.
The shrine faces the busy Liverpool-Manchester road. and already it is attracting attention and devotion. Lorry drivers are seen raising their hats as they go past. Passengers in public vehicles are seen making the Sign of the Cross.
A special statue is to stand in the shrine. This tactic of the United Front between Communists and left-wing Catholics was behind their support for Signor Gronchi, the newly elected Christian Democrat President, who stands on the left of his party.
It probably explains, too, the unusual situation which arose last week-end when the Saragat Socialists—who will have nothing to do with the Communists —were threatening to bring the Christian Democratic Government down, whilst the Nenni Socialists—who have a long record as fellowtravellers of the Communists— were working for a Christian Democratic Government of the Centre.
In a long article in the current issue of the Cominform Journal, Palmiro Togliatti. general secretary of the Communist Party in Italy. notes with satisfaction that " in spite of everything " his party has been able to establish, on a broader scale than 'ever before, contact with " new people and new groups that are not affiliated to the forces traditionally linked with us and, what is more, are traditionally linked with the government camp."
He goes on to " We
have indications from all regions that a large body of cadres in Catholic organisations is no longer evading contact with us, desiring joint discussion ... that can hardly please the leading group of the Christian Democratic party.
" Hence, not only our organised force is gaining in strength, but our ideas too are extending and advancing along the path they ought to take."
Discussing what they hope to get out of present moves Togliatti says: " If this exchange of views is to take place it must prepare the ground for common action to effect the general unification of forces for concrete aims which at first can be limited."
The emphasis should be placed on the words at first." For he goes on to " call on all democratic forces to unite to do away with the monopoly of political power by the Christian Democratic Party. and doom to failure its leaders' reactionary schemes."
And. putting his cards right on the table for the benefit of the leading cadres of Communism who read the Cominform Journal. he declares: " We want the Capitalist system to come to an end as the result of a revolutionary victory of the working class and its allies. That is what we want! " D. H.