In Italy, April 25th is the anniversary of the liberation from the Nazi invasion. It has always been a very meaningful day, because it signaled the end of fascism and the beginning of many hopes for a new freedom. Now at least two generations of Italians are deeply disappointed about what happened after the liberation, and an increasingly cynical attitude towards life is spreading all over Italy.
Do you want to say anything to the Italian people in a period when empty words and false hopes of politicians will be heard everywhere?
This is one of the most unfortunate things.
Man has been exploited in every possible way: even his hopes have been exploited, his aspirations have been exploited, his absolutely valid demands have been exploited. And in ten thousand years not a single revolution has succeeded, for the simple reason that the people who came into power immediately changed their faces.
They came into power because they inspired people and their hopes of a liberated life, of a better life, of more individuality, of more freedom, of more equality, of more richness. They were very articulate as far as influencing the people was concerned, but the moment they got the power – and it was the people who put them in power – the people suffered immensely. Thousands of people died in the hope that their children would live in freedom; it was worth dying.
But the people who came into power suddenly changed. They forgot all about revolution, they forgot all about liberation, they forgot all about their promises. They started behaving the same way as the people were behaving who were in power before.
In fact, these people proved to be more dangerous because they were afraid of revolution. They tried to make their power more solid, and they destroyed people’s freedom more totally, so there was no possibility of any revolution.
You cannot conceive of the possibility of a revolution in the Soviet Union for the simple reason that in 1917, when Soviet Russia was liberated from the old powers of the czars, the new people who came to power proved to be more inhuman. One million people were murdered by the revolutionaries after the revolution.
Those one million people were the people who had placed them in power, but they were afraid of those people because they were dangerous; they could put somebody else in power. They could not be allowed to live – and their only fault was that they had put the revolutionaries in power. One million people were simply destroyed.
And then there was a great power struggle amongst the leaders. Lenin was the first man in the revolution, Trotsky was the second, Kamenev was the third, Zinoviev was the fourth…and so on. Amongst the ten great leaders of the revolution, Joseph Stalin’s name was not there.
Stalin was just the secretary of the Communist Party; he was not an orator. He was not articulate enough to influence people, but he was very clever and cunning in organization. And he proved to be really dangerous, because all these leaders were influencing the people, and Stalin was capturing the Communist Party from inside – the organization which was going to be in power.