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Italy

Italy’s Black Christmas

FROM THE RADICAL PRESS – IL MANIFESTO (ITALY)

Valentino Parlato

24.12.2011

The analysis of the real state of our country tells us that “salvation” is becoming more distant. We are in recession and we will stay there, while purchasing power of salaried workers continues to fall.

The lower and upper chambers of parliament have approved the “save Italy” budget, but the analysis of the real state of our country tells us that “salvation” is becoming more distant. We are in recession and we will stay there, while purchasing power of salaried workers continues to fall. The latest figures figures from [the national statistics agency] ISTAT show that as wages increase (on an annual basis) by 1.5% (lowest rise since 1910) inflation has risen by 3.3%. This data tells us that there has been a reduction in workers’ purchasing power and thus that we are facing an overall fall in consumption and demand. Salaried workers are poorer but manufacturing and service industries will also see a fall in sales of their products. ISTAT tells us that the gap between wages and inflation is the widest since 1977. Wages at this level should make us fear for the future.

While purchasing power is falling, ISTAT figures also show that consumer confidence has fallen from 96.1 to 91.6, the lowest level since 1996. In essence, the recession is deepening and the prospects for workers and companies are worsening. A fall in demand halts the entire system. In these conditions it seems obvious that a commitment to cut the deficit is destined to fail and what’s more it will deepen the recession and the crisis in the country. The need for a complete change is clear. If we continue like this things will just get worse, above all for salaried workers. This is the reality that requires a radical change. We can’t destroy ourselves just in order cut the deficit. We need a change that this government, if it doesn’t want disaster, must address: a genuine “save italy” budget.

Precisely because we are facing this situation the current government must make efforts to remember that Roosevelt tackled the tremendous crisis of 1929 with the New Deal. The seriousness of the crisis requires a strong response. This needs to be said to the current government but also to the left forces. Above all the Democrats who ought to understand that a worsening of the situation, amid the silence of the Left, will have serious electoral consequences. Right-wing popularism is growing, as it has done so many times in the past. The Left – what remains of it – must make a move. It must demand a budget that promotes an increase in wages and thus demand, that drafts and implements a plan of investment in productive activities. Otherwise, if things remains as they are, only the worse is ahead of us.

Il Manifesto

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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