When Bread and Wine was written, Italy had been ruled by Mussolini's Fascists for over a decade. As one can imagine, by this time the Fascists had imposed themselves on virtually all aspects of society, either directly or indirectly. Though not as much of a totalitarian state as Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy was still a one-party state, from which party politics had been banished.
This is arguably the biggest problem that Pietro Spina, the protagonist of Bread and Wine, has to face in raising the revolutionary consciousness of the peasants living in the village of Pietrasecca. Because party politics has been outlawed, the vital process of fomenting revolutionary anti-Fascist activity has fallen to a handful of brave and committed individuals like Spina.
But this is a lot easier said than done. There's only so much that individuals can do in this regard, even if they can somehow gain the confidence and support of the common people.
A further obstacle that Spina has to overcome is the general apathy of the peasant folk towards any kind of political activity. Whether or not the peasants are supporters of Mussolini and the Fascists, they are certainly not the stuff from which revolutions are made.
Nearly a decade and a half of Fascist rule has dried up any enthusiasm there may once have been for radical change. As such, Pietro Spina is constantly thwarted in his attempts to radicalize the people of Pietrasecca.