(Part I: History; Session 1)
Chair: Spencer Di Scala,
Introductions from John Stewart, Director of Education, John F. Kennedy Library; President of the Boston City Council and future Mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino; Consul General of Italy Roberto Falaschi; and Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Sherry Penney.
Giorgio Spini: Memories of the Resistance and the course of Italian Socialism after the fall of international communism.
Description of the Symposium:
The International Symposium “One Hundred Years of Italian Democratic Socialism, 1892-1992” was held at the Stephen Smith Center at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston on March 18, 19, and 20, 1993. The symposium brought together major American and Italian scholars and officials who studied the history of the movement and who participated in the negotiations that produced the “Opening to the Left” that revolutionized Italian politics during the early 1960s. The videos are primary historical documents. They contain the direct testimony of Kennedy Administration and State Department officials who changed American policy vetoing Socialist participation in Italian governments, including Presidential Advisor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and George Lister, later known as “Mr. Human Rights” but at the time of the “opening” First Secretary at the Rome Embassy of the United States. The videos are essential documents because, in addition to Schlesinger’s testimony, they contain papers by Italian Socialist intellectuals when the party was undergoing what turned out to be its death spiral. The dialogue that occurred between the audience, leaders who were trying to save the party, and the Americans are particularly significant and include the views of Gino Giugni, President of the Italian Socialist Party, and State Department officials present in the audience who had brought the “Opening to the Left” to life. These observers struggled to make sense of the dramatic events and the scandals that, ironically, killed the centenarian Socialist Party whose birth the symposium was commemorating. This give and take is not (and could not be) included in the published acts of the conference, which came out in my book, Italian Socialism: Between Politics and History (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996).
In 2015, Di Scala donated the symposium’s VHS video recordings to the Historical Archives of the Chamber of Deputies (see photos below). Read Di Scala’s comments in English and Italian regarding the donation. Also read the Historical Archives’s statement accepting Di Scala’s donation.