The Liberal Socialism of Carlo Rosselli: Introduction

The Liberal Socialism of Carlo Rosselli: Introduction

Carlo Rosselli was a socialist before becoming a liberal socialist. He was a sui generis socialist, because from the beginning socialism for him was a moral ideal totally free of Marxist orthodoxy. Rosselli’s first explicit adherence to socialist ideas goes back to 1921, when he attended the Congress of the Italian Socialist party in Livorno (where the communist wing led by Antonio Gramsci and Amedeo Bordiga seceded). In a postcard to his mother he wrote that he “felt a new being vibrating within [him]self.” From that point on, Rosselli devoted his intellectual and political efforts to providing the socialist movement with a new perspective, one that would replace the deterministic vision of Marxism, largely adopted by the continental socialist leaders at the end of the nineteenth century. His efforts bore fruit during the opposition to fascism, but their roots have to be sought elsewhere, in his family, in the cultural life of Florence in the 1910s and 1920s, and in the experience of the First World War.

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