Independent thought versus party politics in Bread and Wine

The novel, Bread and Wine, by Ignazio Silone follows the political battle of fighting off fascism and keeping Communism the political party in Italy. The novel follows the life of Pietro Spina, a communist party leader, who returns to Italy after being “abroad” for many years. He returns to Italy to transform the Italians. The idea of independent thought versus party politics was a reoccurring theme in this section. Much of Italy was adapting and accepting the new political movement of fascism. Pietro was in the communist party and tried to spread the word. Pietro had very independent views from party politics. This is apparent in chapter 17, where Pietro and Battipaglia get into an argument. Battipaglia, the party boss is frustrated with Pietro when he accuses him of always being on the side of the majority and conforming to other people’s view and not having his own independent view. Battipaglia is an example of someone who is constantly following his party’s view and not his own independent view, whereas Pietro sets himself aside from the rest of his community. Pietro in the end is exiled from Italy, to stand against fascism and fight from a far.

Why did other members of the community not make their own view more apparent? Did the political movements at the time input fear into others if they didn’t conform? Why was conformity so important at a time in Italy where it was growing and finally becoming stronger?