Preface by Daniel Bensaid
Translated by Gregor Benton
Edited with an introduction by Penelope Duggan
Llivio Maitan's Memoirs of a Critical Communist tells the life of revolutionary communist in the second half of the 20th century. From his early commitment to communism under fascism in Italy, Livio chose to be 'against the current' by rejecting both Stalinism and social democracy, and charted a course towards democratic and revolutionary Marxism.
Gregor Benton writes:
Livio Maitan helped inspire the growth of Italian Trotskyism. There was also a wave of Maoism in the 1960s and a debate ensued, to which Livio contributed his book on China, Party, Army, and Masses. I was deeply influenced by it, and I translated it for New Left Books. The book combined criticism of the Chinese Revolution with support. From it, I learned how to write engaged scholarship.
Livio could have shone at a leading university had he wanted, but instead he spent most of his life working on a shoestring. In 2002, he wrote this history of the Fourth International to go alongside his autobiography.
Translating this new book was a bittersweet experience. Through it, I was able to relive chapter by chapter my wild political youth and my middle age. Livio Maitan’s spirit lifts this story from a catalogue of false starts into a chronicle of heroism and optimism. He died before Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Corbynism, Gilets Jaunes, Extinction Rebellion and other new struggles, but he paved the way for them.
This book shows the road to socialism remains open.