name = Carlo Rosselli
imagesize = 150px
birthdate = Birth date|1899|11|16|df=y
birthplace = Rome
deathdate = death date and age|1937|06|09|1899|11|16
deathplace = Bagnoles-de-l'Orne, France
occupation = political leader, journalist, historian and anti-fascist activist
nationality = Italian
notableworks = "Liberal Socialism"
Carlo Rosselli (
16 November 1899- 9 June 1937) was an Italian political leader, journalist, historian and anti-fascist activist, first in Italy then abroad. He developed a theory of reformist, non- Marxist Socialisminspired by the British Labour movement, that he described as "liberal Socialism".
Birth, war and studies
Rosselli was born in
Rometo a wealthy Tuscan Jewish family. His mother, Amelia Pincherle Rosselli, had been active in republican politics and thought and had participated in the unification of Italy. In 1903 he was taken to Florencewith his mother and siblings. During the First World Warhe joined the Italian armed forces and fought in the alpine campaign, rising to the rank of second lieutenant.
After the war, thanks to his brother Nello, he studied in Florence with
Gaetano Salvemini, who was to be from then a constant companion of both the Rosselli brothers. It was in this period that he became a socialist, sympathetic to the reformistideas of Filippo Turati, in contrast to that revolutionary thinking of Giacinto Menotti Serrati. In 1921 he graduated with a degree in political sciences from the University of Florence with a thesis titled: "sindacalismo" ( Syndicalism). Later he undertook a law degree that he would pursue in Turinand Milan, where he met Luigi Einaudiand Piero Gobetti.
He graduated in 1923 from the university of
Siena. For some weeks he visited Londonwhere he studied the workings of the British Labour Party: the English Labour movement would deeply influence him.
The rise of Fascism
An active supporter of the
Partito Socialista Unitarioof Turati, Matteotti and Treves; he began writing for " Critica Sociale", a review edited by Turati. After the murder of Matteotti, Rosselli pushed for a more active opposition to Fascism. With the help of Ernesto Rossiand Gaetano Salveminihe founded the clandestine publication "Non mollare". During the following months, fascist violence towards the left became increasingly severe. Ernesto Rossi left the country for France, followed by Salvemini. In February 1926 fellow activist Piero Gobettiwas assassinated in Paris by a Fascist hit squad. Still in Italy, Rosselli and Pietro Nennifounded the review " Quarto Stato", which was banned after a few months.
Later in 1926, he organized with
Sandro Pertiniand Ferruccio Parrithe escape of Turati to France. While Pertini followed Turati to France, Parri and Rosselli were captured and convicted for their roles in Turati's escape and sentenced to a period of confinement on the island of Lipari(1927). It is then that Rosselli began to write his most famous work, "Liberal Socialism". In July 1929 he escaped to Tunisia, from where he travelled to France, and the community of Italian antifascists including Emilio Lussuand Francesco Fausto Nitti. Nitti later portrayed Rosselli's adventurous escape in the book "Le nostre prigioni e la nostra evasione" ("Our Prisons and Our Escape") in an Italian edition in 1946 (the 1929 English first edition was titled "Escape").
Exile in Paris: Giustizia e Libertà
In 1929, with Lussu, Nitti, and a Parisian circle of refugees which had formed around Salvemini, Rosselli helped found the anti-fascist movement "
Giustizia e Libertà". GL various numbers of the review and the notebooks omonimi (with cadence weekly magazine and salary) and was active in the organization of various spectacular actions, notable among which was the flight over Milan di Bassanesi (1930). In 1930 he published, in French, "Socialisms liberal".
The book was at once a passionate critique of
Marxism, a creative synthesis of the democratic socialistrevisionism (Bernstein, Turati and Treves) and of classical Italian Liberalism(Francisco Saverio Merlino and Salvemini). But it contained also a shattering attack on the Stalinismof the Third International, which had, with the derisive formula of "socialfascism", lumped together social democracy, bourgeois liberalismand fascism. It was not surprising, therefore, when one of the most important Italian Communists, Togliatti, defined " liberal Socialism" "libellous anti-socialism" and Rosselli "a reactionary ideologue who has nothing to do with the working class".
Giustizia e Libertà joined the
Concentrazione Antifascista Italiana(The Italian Anti-Fascist Concentration), a union of all the non-communist anti-fascist forces (republican, socialist, nationalist) trying to promote and to coordinate expatriate actions to fight fascism in Italy. They also first published the "Giustizia e Libertà Journals".
After the advent of Nazism in Germany (1933), the paper began to call for insurgency, revolutionary action, and military action in order to stop the Italian and German regimes before they plunge Europe into a tragic war. Spain, they wrote, seems the destiny of all fascist states.
The Spanish civil war
In July 1936 the
Spanish Civil Warerupted as the fascist-monarchical led army attempted a coup d'état against the republican government of the Popular Front. Rosselli helped lead the Italian anti-fascist supporters of the republican forces, criticizing the neutrality policy of Franceand Britain, especially as Italy and Germany sent arms and troops in support of the rebels. In August, Rosselli and the GL organized its own brigades of volunteers to support the Spanish Republic.
Camillo Berneri, Rosselli headed the Matteotti Battalion, a mixed volunteer unit of anarchist, liberal, socialist and communist Italians. The unit was sent to the Aragon front, and participated in a victory against Francoistforces in the Battle of Monte Pelato. Speaking on Barcelona Radio in November, Rosselli made famous the slogan: "Oggi in Spagna, domani in Italia" ("Today in Spain, tomorrow in Italy").
After falling ill, Rosselli was sent back to Paris, from where he led support for the anti-fascist cause, and proposed an even broader '
popular front' while still remaining critical of the Communist Party of Spainand the Soviet government of Stalin. In 1937, Berneri was killed by Communist forces during a purge of anarchists in Barcelona. With the fall of the Spanish Republic in 1939, Giustizia e Libertàpartisans were forced to flee back to France.
In June 1937 Carlo Rosselli and his brother visited the French resort town of
Bagnoles-de-l'Orne. On 9 June the two were killed by a group of "cagoulards", militants of the "Cagoule", a French fascist group [ Stanislao G. Pugliese [http://www.jstor.org/pss/260963 Death in Exile: The Assassination of Carlo Rosselli] , " Journal of Contemporary History", 32 (1997), pp. 305-319] [M. Agronsky, " Foreign Affairs" 17 391 (1938)] , probably on the orders of Mussolini.
Carlo Rosselli only published a single book, "Liberal Socialism", in his life.This work marked Rosselli out as a heretic in the Italian left of his time (for which
Marx's Das Kapital, variously interpreted, was still the bible). Undoubtedly the influence of the British labour movement, which he knew well, is visible. As a result of the electoral successes of the Labour Party, Rosselli was convinced that the 'norms' of liberal democracy were essential, not only in building Socialism, but also for its concrete realization. This stands in contrast to Leninisttactics, in which these rules, once power is taken, must be set aside. This 'Rossellian' synthesis is that " [parliamentary] liberalism is the method, Socialism is the aim". The Marxist-Leninistidea of revolution founded on the dictatorship of the proletariat (which he felt, as in the Russian case, was synonymous with the dictatorship of a single party) he rejected in favour of a revolution that -- as famously put in the GL program -- is a coherent system of structural reforms aimed at the construction of a Socialism; that does not limit, but indeed exalts, freedom of personality and of association. Writing in his final years, Rosselli became more radical in his libertarian positions, defending the social organization of the CNT-FAI he had seen in Anarchist Cataloniaand Barcelona during the civil war, and informed by the rise of Nazi Germany.
*Italian Wikipedia article.
*cite journal|first=Stanislao G.|last=Pugliese|title=Death in Exile: The Assassination of Carlo Rosselli|journal=Journal of Contemporary History|volume=Vol. 32|issue=3|date=July 1997|pages= pp. 305–319|doi=10.1177/002200949703200302
*cite book|first=Nicola|last=Tranfaglia|title=Carlo Rosselli, dall'Interventismo a Giustizia e Libertà|location=Bari|publisher=Laterza|year=1968
*Pugliese, Stanislao G. (1999), " [http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/PUGCAR.html Carlo Rosselli: Socialist Heretic and Antifascist Exile] ", Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-00053-6
* [http://www.library.wisc.edu/libraries/dpf/Fascism/Opposition.html Italian Life Under Fascism: Opposition to Fascism]
*it icon [http://www.ossimoro.it/p20.htm "Carlo Rosselli e l'altro socialismo"] Links and Timeline
*it icon [http://www.romacivica.net/anpiroma/antifascismo/biografie%20antifascisti7.html Biography of Rosselli]
*it icon [http://www.geocities.com/spartaco552000/matteotti_aventino-Roselli.doc Carl Rosselli and the Aventino]
*it icon [http://web.tiscalinet.it/circologl/home.htm Biography, information and other links on
Giustizia e Libertàand Carlo Rosselli]
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Political activist and socialist thinker
DATE OF BIRTH=1899-11-16
PLACE OF BIRTH=Rome
DATE OF DEATH=1937-06-09
PLACE OF DEATH=Bagnoles-de-l'Orne, France
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