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Longo, Luigi

Politician A founding member of the PCI as a leader of its youth movement, Luigi Longo was in the front line during the Spanish Civil War, where he gained military and political experience subsequently invaluable to him as party leader in northern Italy throughout the Resistance. He became party secretary in 1964 upon the death of Togliatti, with whom he had been a close collaborator in developing the ‘Italian road to socialism’. He continued Togliatti’s revisionist process and rejection of anti-clericalism. Unlike most of the PCI leadership, Longo took a positive view of the challenge to the social order launched in 1968 by the student movement and sought to promote dialogue between the party and the movement, although without particular success. Known for his organizational skill rather than strategic or political innovation, he was effectively a caretaker secretary, succeeded by Berlinguer in 1972.