English translation of Livio Maitan’s Towards a history of the Fourth International

15th May 2017

English translation of Livio Maitan’s Towards a history of the Fourth International


The IIRE is raising funds for the English translation of Livio Maitans _Per una storia della IV internazionale: la testimonianza di un comunista controcorrente._ In this book Livio Maitan (1923-2004) relates his experience of being a revolutionary communist during the second half of the 20th Century. Written by a leading member of the Fourth International and lifelong marxist, the book is testimony and an analysis of a 50-year period of great turmoil in Italian and international politics.

From his early commitment to communism in 1942 under fascism in Italy, Livio chose to be “against the current” by rejecting both Stalinism and social democracy. Instead, he charted a course of democratic and revolutionary Marxism, which brought him to be a protagonist in the Trotskyist movement, including participating in its international leadership.

The tumultuous period described in this book covers events such as the break of Tito with Stalin, the Chinese revolution, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the war of liberation in Algeria and Vietnam, and the Cuban revolution. The book also covers the period opened by May 1968 which saw massive mobilisations of students and workers in Europe and elsewhere, as well as the following years of neoliberal reaction and the fight to defend the gains of the workers movement.

The book is not just a political history, as Maitan looks for answers to the strategic and programmatic problems his generation faced as it sought to work towards a socialist alternative. A translation will be of interest to activists today seeking alternatives to a world of economic crisis and political turmoil.

The IIRE is publishing the book together with Resistance Books. Part of the work needed to publish the book is done voluntarily but we need to pay for translation. We are raising money together with Resistance Books. To help pay for part for the translation cost, we want to raise 2000 euros. 

We ask you to help us publish the testimony of a communist against the current.

If you donate 40 euros or more, we will send you a copy of the book.

Please send us your contact information to [1] you want to receive a copy of the book.

Donations can be made out to:


Address: Postbus 1962, 1000 BZ, Amsterdam

IBAN : NL55INGB0001039161


Bank:ING (Postbus 1800, 1102 BW, Amsterdam)

Please mention Livio in your transfer.

You can also donate using PayPal, paying to [2]

or via the IIRE website: [3].


About Livio Maitan:

Livio Maitan was born in Venice on 1 of April 1923, and developed a passion for politics from his youth. In 1942, when studying classical literature (Greek and Latin) at the University of Padua, he became active in the anti-fascist resistance. In 1944 he was sentenced by a fascist court, escaped to Switzerland and had to spend several months in internment camps there before he could return to Italy in May 1945.

In 1947 he joined the Italian Trotskyist movement of which he remained a leading member all his life. He was one of a small group of comrades who led the Fourth International during the difficult years of the 1950s and early 1960s. First elected in 1951, he remained a member of the International leadership until his death. From 1991, he was a leader of Rifondazione Comunista. Maitan died in Rome on 16 September 2004.

Livio Maitan wrote a great many articles and several books, including Teoria e politica nel dopoguerra Milan, 1959;Pci 1945-1969, Rome,1969;Dinamica delle classi sociali in Italia, Rome, 1975;Destino di Trotsky, Milan, 1980;Il marxismo rivoluzionario di Antonio Gramsci, Milano, 1987;Il dilemma cinese, Rome, 1994;Dall’Urss alla Russia, Rome, 1996;Tempeste nell’economia mondiale, Rome, 1998;La strada percorsa, Bolsena, 2002.