//
you're reading...
Europe, Italy

Politics displaced, economy offshore

Nothing is where it should be. Without a government at Palazzo Chigi, Italian politics is displaced. And as the “Offshore Leaks” scandal has revealed, the economy has meanwhile moved to tax havens, says Mario Pianta

Nothing is where it should be. A Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister’s office in Rome, there’s no government resulting from the recent elections. Instead a group of “technicians” – called in during an ’emergency’ a year and a half ago – that, under the banner of Mario Monti, accounted in the February poll for just 11% of the votes. Possible governments are not discussed in Parliament, but rather on the blog of Beppe Grillo (the comedian turned leader of Italy’s number one party), at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (official residence of would be new Democrat Party leader, mayor Matteo Renzi) or the homes of Silvio Berlusconi (the right-wing PDL party leader and media magnate). The man directing the formation of the government is not at Palazzo Chigi, but the Quirinal, the Presidential Palace in the Italian capital. And from there, Giorgio Napolitano consults with Frankfurt, on the phone with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

Yesterday Draghi announced that Europe will be in recession for the first six months of this year, the crisis now also biting the “center” of the Continent, and that the ECB’s policy will not change: (relatively) easy money – especially for unsafe banks – austerity and relentless cuts to public spending, liberalization to lower wages. Today Frankfurt – not Brussels, not Rome – is the centre of politics as well as economics: yesterday Draghi warned speculators not to underestimate the “political capital” invested in Europe, the euro.

If in Rome you have the feeling that politics has evaporated, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has officially informed us that the economy has moved. It is no longer in Milan, the financial capital, in the small and medium sized firms of the north east, in the Roman palaces of large ( former state-owned) companies. It has moved far from the workers and the taxman, to those ‘paradises’ of capitalism.

It is in these tax havens that you will find a hundred thousand people, the richest of 170 countries, and 120,000 companies, that you find the heart of the world economy. For the poor mortals of the EU, this means one trillion euros of lower tax revenues and many millions of fewer jobs. For the super-rich it means being able to clean up illegal funds through front companies, having tax-free profits, managing their firms’ Chinese boxes, escaping all the rules, through today’s unregulated world of finance.

Among this capitalist elite are 200 Italian names (and nominees) of which we will read about soon – but we know most of them already, without having to wait for the revelations of “Offshore Leaks.” Just as we already know that this elite owns most of the country: the ten richest Italians – according to the Bank of Italy – possess wealth equal to that of the three million poorest Italians.

A geography turned upside down, a displaced politics, a power impervious to democracy, an aristocracy that concentrates wealth, the rich above the law: our country’s “Third Republic” is ending up as the Ancien Régime.

To fill this vacuum, this cancellation of democracy, it is time to unite and show the Italy that wants to take an alternative path to this feudal drift.

sbilanciamoci

Translation/Edit Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

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

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DATA

Anti-social Europe in numbers

WAGES SLIDE

Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures

RADICAL VOICES

A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.

550 days, 29 Workers, Zero Job Losses

How a few determined Italian women stopped their factory closing and protected their livelihoods

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list

SANTA DRAGHI’S COMING

Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB

POPULAR FIGHTBACK

Workers and citizens stand up for themselves

FLORENCE’S BUS LUMACA

Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Popular resistance delivers results

Lessons from the victory against Madrid privatisation plan

FRENCH FACTORY OCCUPATION

Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be

LABOUR RIGHTS

Follow Revolting Europe on WordPress.com

Subjects

EUROPE NEEDS A CITIZENS’ REVOLUTION

Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

The Troika in Portugal – Three Years On

A success story?

THE EURO

The Dossier

FRANCE

GERMANY

GREECE

ITALY

PORTUGAL

SPAIN