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The Contradictions of Italian Politics

May 5, 2013
by Lawrence Gulotta

The Contradictions of the Democratic Party by Vittorio Emiliani in Pietro Nenni Foundation.

This article by Vittorio Emiliani should be of interest to observers of Italian political affairs.   Italy’s new Prime Minister Enrico Letta comes from the centrist ‘social” Catholic wing of the Italian Democratic Party. He served as the deputy national secretary of the Democratic Party. The Letta government’s ministers include more women and the first female Italian-African. The ministers represent a fusion of DP, Monti and Berlusconi supporters, breaking a 60 day hung parliament. The M5S did not vote in favor of forming the government and is the major opposition party.

Labor’s Italian anomaly:  in Europe there are the People’s Party (CDU-CSU in Germany) which, roughly speaking, expresses the conservative and moderate electorate, and social democratic, socialist or Labour parties who express, as a whole, the progressive electorate. In Italy, there is a center intimately linked to the person of Silvio Berlusconi, who is a populist / conservative (his first “patrimonii”) and there is a center that is part of the Democratic Party. Then a third pole, which has become very importantly, M5S, for me the most anti-parliamentary and extra-parliamentary (we’ll see). In addition to necrophilia, since Grillo speaks of “the death of the Parliament”, “death of 25 April”, “death of the 1st of May” … Urge amulets.

Now, the Democratic Party was born from the fusion of popular forces years ago, former [Christian] Democrats, former Communists and even former Socialists (though others have gone with Berlusconi), but, despite being grown-up, it is still of uncertain nature. At this point in Europe the Democratic Party is not part of the family of the Socialist Parties. Those who oppose such a membership (Bindi, but also Veltroni, at times Rutelli) argue that it would be improper because the Democratic Party is “later”, representing “an overcoming of social democracy.”

At one time the Italian Communists were thought to be “ahead of the social democracies” which, as the SPD and the PSOE repudiated, in a re-founding congress, of Marxism-Leninism. In practice, the Italian Communist Party – for example, in its Emilia version – acted as a force for social democracy, while maintaining democratic centralism and respecting currents (factions). In short,  its leaders would never agree to “die as Social Democrat” and therefore, and to the Communists left was the Manifesto current (faction), protesting not to want to “die Democrats.” From that you see, we got to the point that we have a neo-Democrat government (in its most noble form) and that, for not wanting to “die Social Democrats”, according to the surveys, we risk seriously, Berlusconi’s piece of history, that is, “to live (so to speak) Berlusconi.” A splendid result. But was it worth it to be (to try to be, for the first time after 1921), Social Democrats or Labour?*

* Editor’s Note: Ninety two years ago at the Livorno congress of the Italian Socialist Party a decisive split took place, which led to the foundation of the Italian Communist Party. The split came in the wake of the defeat of the Occupation of the Factories a few months earlier and marked a clear dividing line between Communists and reform Socialists.

 

Jacobin magazine carries Italian Lessons by Bhaskar Sunkara, a review of the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto and its charismatic founder Vittorio Emiliani, see Jacobin.

Italian Lessons is an interesting review article. The points I’d like to contribute are: The Manifesto group today remains tiny and factional: Manifesto’s allies in the Refondatione Communita (RCI) are an electoral disappointment, with no members in Parliament; RCI has a very thin base in the working class and the unions; Il Manifesto is top heavy with journalists and few notable intellectuals. Il Manifesto’s political line and the RCI have been decisively rejected by the Italian proletariat and the precariate. Il Manifesto and RCI have not been able to surpass the deeply damaged PSI.

The most dramatic and disturbing change in Italian politics recently has been the rise of the social media conscious M5S movement, with nearly 25% of the vote in the 2013 elections. M5S needs a mature analysis by sharp Jacobins. It is both “in parliament” and “against parliament.” Giuseppe “Beppe” Grillo is the actor you want to dissect.

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s sentiment on witnessing the Italian student movement, “Poliziotti figli di proletari meridionali picchiati da figli di papà in vena di bravate,” (Cops children of proletarians southern beaten by children of fathers in the mood of bravado) was not unique.

 A few points and observations:   The Manifesto group today remains small and factionalized; Manifesto’s allies in the Refondatione Communita (RCI) are an electoral disappointment, with no members in Parliament; RCI is involved in a bitter labor dispute over the termination of 40 of its administrative and professional staff;  RCI has a very thin base in the working class and the unions; Il Manifesto is top heavy with journalists and few notable intellectuals. Il Manifesto’s political line and the RCI have been decisively rejected by the Italian proletariat and the precariate.

It has been said that the Italian Socialists (PSI) consist of ‘four cats and a dog’ in Parliament. Il Manifesto and the RCI have not been able to surpass the deeply damaged PSI. The dog in this insult is Senator Ricardo Nencini, the PSI’s national secretary and the cats are the four PSI members of the Chamber of Deputies. Nencini and the PSI Executive Committee approved an alliance with Bersani’s Democratic Party.

PierLuigi Bersani has given his mea culpa amaro and the Democratic Party National Assembly in Nuona Fiera di Roma on May 11, 2013 crowns (incorona) Guglielmo Epifani as the new party leader until the Natioanl Convention in October 2013. He is known as “traghettatore” (ferryman”). Epifani meets Occupy PD at National Assembly for first time and accepts an Occupy T-shirt.

See La Republica.

The Politics of “Anti-Politics”

The most dramatic and disturbing change in Italian politics recently has been the rise of the social media conscious M5S movement, with nearly 25% of the vote in the 2013 elections. M5S needs a mature analysis by sharp Jacobins. It is both “in parliament” and “against parliament.” Giuseppe “Beppe” Grillo and his Movimento Cinque Stelle –M5S”– is the actor we want to dissect.

Jacobin carries Italian Lessons by Bhaskar Sunkara, a review of the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto and its charismatic founder Vittorio Emiliani, see Jacobin.

“On Italian communism and the path not taken between the horrors of state socialism and the bankruptcy of modern social democracy.”

JacobinPhoto

(Photo:Jacobin Magazine, May 11, 2013)

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s sentiment on witnessing the Italian student movement, “Poliziotti figli di proletari meridionali picchiati da figli di papà in vena di bravate,” was not unique.

 A few points and observations:   The Manifesto group today remains small and factionalized; Manifesto’s allies in the Refondatione Communita (RCI) are an electoral disappointment, with no members in Parliament; RCI is involved in a bitter labor dispute over the termination of 40 of its administrative and professional staff;  RCI has a very thin base in the working class and the unions; Il Manifesto is top heavy with journalists and few notable intellectuals. Il Manifesto’s political line and the RCI have been decisively rejected by the Italian proletariat and the precariate.

It has been said that the Italian Socialists (PSI) consist of ‘four cats and a dog’ in Parliament. Il Manifesto and the RCI have not been able to surpass the deeply damaged PSI. The dog in this insult is Senator Ricardo Nencini, the PSI’s national secretary and the cats are the four PSI members of the Chamber of Deputies. Nencini and the PSI Executive Committee approved an alliance with Bersani’s Democratic Party.

PierLuigi Bersani has given his mea culpa amaro and the Democratic Party National Assembly in Nuona Fiera di Roma on May 11, 2013 crowns (incorona) Guglielmo Epifani as the new party leader until the Natioanl Convention in October 2013. He is known as “traghettatore” (“ferryman”). Epifani meets Occupy PD at the National Assembly for first time and accepts an Occupy T-shirt. See La Republica.

The Politics of “Anti-Politics”

The most dramatic and disturbing change in Italian politics recently has been the rise of the social media conscious M5S movement, with nearly 25% of the vote in the 2013 elections. M5S needs a mature analysis by sharp Jacobins. It is both “in parliament” and “against parliament.” Giuseppe “Beppe” Grillo and his Movimento Cinque Stelle –M5S”– is the actor we want to dissect.

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