This paper investigates how workers' "economic struggle" determines the "democratic class struggle," and extends socialist electoral constituency. This paper argues that political outcomes, namely, electoral behavior, may not be understood independently of the labor process, especially its most militant manifestation, strikes. Rather than follow the customary conceptual dichotomy between the sphere of production and the political sphere, it is suggested that both strike activity and electoral participation are compatible political strategies that, under specific historical circumstances, may jointly determine the fate of the Socialist party. The leading question is how did the wave of strikes in post World War I Italy affect the electoral power of the Italian Socialist party, in comparison with another mass party, the Popular Catholic Party. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) is employed to analyze census, strike, and electoral data. It is found that strike activity and electoral democracy increased the electoral power of the Socialist party, whereas they had little effect on the power of the Catholic party. It is suggested that this was due to the Catholic non-revolutionary program which was ambivalent about the political role of strikes. It is concluded that the socialists' political success was determined by their dual political strategy in both spheres, electoral participation, and organizing strikes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science