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Cannavò’s farewell

"The PRC is finished and other comrades will come with me"

Saturday 16 June 2007, by Fabrizio Roncone

Rome. On Saturday afternoon the honourable deputy Salvatore Cannavò, at the head of the demonstration protesting against George W. Bush, said something like: “I have a letter in my pocket but I still want to wait a few hours…”

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“And now the few hours have passed, indeed”. Precisely. “And yes, in sum I spoke of my relationship with Rifondazione Comunista. A relationship that, unhappily, is broken” Broken? It’s a rather vague term, Mr Deputy. “I mean that so far as I am concerned, I consider that the experience of Rifondazione has come to its end, that it is over. Naturally, I should in any case discuss that with the comrades of my current… “. The “Critical Left”. “In September we will hold our first national conference”.

These words and projects could be a harsh blow for his party.

“Look, to be sincere, my relationship with the party has already profoundly changed following the expulsion of senator Turigliatto.” It was indeed known… “I no longer participated, in reality, in the life of the party. I did not take part in its leadership and I was outside of the everyday life of the parliamentary group.”

And then on Saturday he found himself at the head of a demonstration.

“What I saw, and what I felt, it confirmed what I had experienced… “ He tries to explain. “While me and other comrades of Rifondazione were in this magnificent demonstration of the movement, which had nothing to do with these fifty hooligans, this gang... the leadership of the party was on the contrary isolated, terribly isolated, at the Piazza del Popolo” The scene was eloquent, he says. “I know it. I sent one of my comrades to see. Giordano [secretary of the PRC] was surrounded by a few dozen people. The truth is that, this Saturday, under a photographic, plastic, mode we have been confronted with the bankruptcy of the political line of Rifondazione.”

In what does it consist? “To be both in the struggle and in the government. You see, it is an unwritten rule of Italian politics…” Which? “You cannot be at the same time in the government and in the movement. In Italy such an operation cannot succeed. And Rifondazione, not by chance, has for several months no longer succeeded in speaking with the movements in struggle, with the workers… “

You are thinking of the chilly welcome that the workers at Mirafiori [Fiat] gave a few days ago to Franco Giordano and to the minister Paolo Ferrero. “Completely. It was a terrible day. If your comrades, your electorate no longer recognises you, that means that you have failed.”

Who is responsible for this policy? “All of the leading group”. Can you be more precise? “Fausto Bertinotti “ What are the errors he has committed? “Two. Above all he has underestimated the real relationship of forces in this country. He was convinced on the eve of the elections that the centre-left was going to sweep all before it whereas we said that we would see a substantial equilibrium.” Then? “He believed that mass mobilisations would condition the activity of the government. But on the contrary, he did not want to know what we had succeeded in building in the north east, against the US base in Vicenza “.

Some in the party begin to think that proposing Bertinotti for the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies was a strategic error. “This was an error. Sensational. Inane. I said so immediately. But I remember that a number of comrades smiled, looked at me with an air of self-importance, as if something obvious had eluded me, as if I didn’t understand “.

And you say that now between Rifondazione and the movement there is a fracture. “Think about it, if the leaders of Rifondazione had the slightest perception of reality, they would immediately call a special congress.” The professor Massimo Cacciari argues that Rifondazione has now become a weight for the Olive Tree. “You’ve noticed it? Cacciari notices that Rifondazione is in difficulties and he attacks it. But them, no. They are trying to resolve the problem of their weakness by allying with other weak forces. With the Greens, with the PdCI [1], with the Mussiani [2]? Do you know where that will end up?” No, where? “They will become an external current of the Democratic Party.”

And you, on the other hand? “What about us?” What do you expect to bring from Rifondazione? And to do what? “We will see in September, at our national conference.”

On Saturday, on the demonstration, there were at least fifty thousand people. “Stop there! What you are saying is a trap… We didn’t organise this demonstration to found a party”.

And what will you do now in the Chamber? “You want to know how I’m going to vote?” At least. “ I will decide case by case. And to be better understood: I will fight so that the proposed Bersani legislation, on liberalisation, cannot pass if it is not changed.” You are truly a fighter. “I am coherent. There was a time, you know, when coherence was a value inside Rifondazione.”

And today, how do you prefer to define yourself? “Write that I was and I remain a Communist.”

Read the Corriere della Sera original

APPENDIX - Article by the Italian press agency ANSA

According to Cannavò, the left’s break with the movements is irreversible

Rome, June 11.

“The governmental left has broken in an irreversible manner its relationship with the movements. What happened on June 9 is only the consequence of a situation which has developed for several years, even before the government inside of which they have made so many errors”. Thus Salvatore Cannavò, spokesperson of the Critical Left, drew the balance sheet of the situation of the parties of the radical left after the flop of their initiative at the Piazza del Popolo.

“The fundamental project of the PRC has failed. The problem relates as much to the political line as to the inadequate leading group”. For Cannavò “the archipelago of the governmental left was crushed by the strategic pact made with the Democratic Party”.

The spokesperson of the Critical Left also said that he had sent a letter to the leadership of the party to announce “the suspension of the financing of the party”. “Some days ago they let me know verbally that they had suspended the financing of the tendency because it was now external to the party and because it participated in the No War demonstration, against the war. Flavia D’Angeli asked for explanations inside the leadership of the PRC but obtained no response. so I decided to suspend my financing of the party. I will henceforth pay my share into a special account, separate from mine, awaiting clarification.”

When asked if his link with the PRC was now definitively broken, the PRC deputy responded: “If there was only me, Salvatore Cannavò, the relation would already be broken, but I cannot take such a responsibility without the decision of the whole of the Critical Left. In autumn we will hold a national conference at which we will decide what to do “.

ANSA is the main Italian press agency.


[1] 1. The Party of Italian Communists (PdCI) emerged from a right split from the PRC, in 1998, when the majority of the PRC decided to withdraw its support from the first government of Romano Prodi. Then Armando Cossutta, one of the historic leaders of Rifondazione, split to support the government of D’Alema

[2] 2. The term Mussiani — from the name of Fabio Mussa — refers to the small minority of Left Democrats which did not accept the foundation of the Democratic Party with the other components of the Olive Tree. In relation to the reorganisation of the Italian left, see. IV no 388, April 2007