Today the Italian Senate approved an swinging austerity and privatisation package that will pave the way for a “technical” government headed by Mario Monti – a former EU Commissioner who is very close to the global elite of bankers and chief executives of the largest corporations. The government is to replacement Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition with the Northern League. The main opposition Democratic Party abstained from voting today, a move of tacit support for a bill that was formally proposed by the government. Senators from Italy of Values, the second-largest party in the center-left coalition, voted explicitly against the bill. Italy of Values and the xenophobic Northern League are the only forces in parliament that oppose a technical government.
The Communists failed to renew any representation in parliament in the 2008 elections for the first time since the end of the second world war.
Since I wrote this post – di Pietro changed his mind and now supports a Monti ‘technocratic’ government, leaving the Italian communists as a lone, extraparliamentary, voice on the Left defending democracy against the banking lobby.
Here’s Paolo Ferrero, National Secretary, Communist Refoundation, writing in Liberazione newspaper this morning (11.11.2011)
“A few days ago we saw the crisis of the Berlusconi Government and the announcement of his resignation. It was a moment we had sought for a long time and we have celebrated it. An époque has ended not only by the resignation of Berlusconi but by the evident political crisis of the Berlusconi right.
The political pact that Berlusconi cemented together is in the process of breaking up. This process represents a decisive moment in Italian politics and for millions of Italian citizens who over the years have fought against the Government it is an element of great satisfaction.
The way out of this crisis is immediate elections. For two reasons.
First, because after the decay in democracy caused by the Berlusconi government, a regenerating bath of democracy is needed. Democracy functions in only one way. Letting people have their say.
Second, because we believe that a democratic front between the left and centre-left is the way we can definitely defeat the Right, as well as develop the most advanced policies within the given conditions.
We are not talking about an alternative – we have said this ad nauseum – but certainly a better policy framework for democracy and the popular classes.
Instead, the Italian President and a large part of the political class are responding to the crisis differently, by seeking a institutional government lead by Monti, an economically “liberal” technocrat.
We are against this for two reasons:
First it would create a government that responds to EU and business lobby dictat and certainly not to the needs of the Italian people. A government that would be a faithful executor of European instructions which would only bring us to a situation akin to Greece: recession, anti-social policies, full-on privatisations and no attempt to counter financial speculation.
Second because it would permit the populist right – starting with the Northern League – to start afresh after its disastrous years of government and to rebuild popular consensus. A real disaster.
All the forces that oppose this technocratic government should create a pact of permanent consultation as the most effective means of pursuing social and political opposition.”