A Study in Gray

The Affaire Moro and Notes for a Reinterpretation of the Cold War and the Nature of Terrorism

The Dual State: Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt, and the National Security Complex
The Dual State: Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt, and the National Security Complex

ABSTRACT: The abduction and assassination in March 1978 of Christian-Democrat statesman Aldo Moro—Italy’s “JFK mystery”—is treated by the managing establishment of collective memory in two different ways. One, the so-called “reductionist” (i.e. anti-conspiratorial) approach takes the whole affaire at face value. In other words, it regurgitates the episode through  black-and-white narrative. In this narrative, we behold a crisis-stricken government untiringly sieged by popular grievance.  Such collective revulsion, which roughly lasted a decade (the 1970s), became so intense as to degenerate, pathologically, into terrorism. Of these terrorist acts, the elimination of Moro came to represent the epitomic and symbolic climax.

Whereas the other—a conspiracy theory of the Left —imputes the elimination of the statesman to highly sophisticated scheming. A plot ultimately directed by foreign powers (the United States and/or Britain according to a few variants), which were bent on denying Italy any kind of political autonomy. In particular, this other narrative maintains that Anglo-American circles conspired to foil a proto-nationalist alliance, led by Aldo Moro from the Catholic center and by Enrico Berlinguer from the Communist Left, whose common vision would have animated a far-sighted policy of international independence in the Mediterranean basin.

Being “reductionism” not worth the critical effort, it is here argued that the second script, instead, is a myth. That this proto-nationalist alliance was never contemplated.

Rather, what seemed to have occurred from 1969 until the early 1980s was an unrelenting attack of different factions (with foreign ramifications) against Italy’s Catholic tenure. One such onslaught appears to have been launched by way of Italian Communism in the late 1970s. And it was in one of the defining episodes of this ruthless fight that Moro came to be “sacrificed”…


In Eric Wilson (Ed.), The Dual State: Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt, and the National Security Complex (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2012): 213-272


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