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Italy

The crisis intensifies

Friday 1 June 2018, by Franco Turigliatto

The governmental crisis in Italy, which seemed to be resolving with an agreement between the Five Star movement and the League, has instead been reinforced and transformed into an institutional crisis. The President of the Republic, Mattarella, has rejected the proposal to appoint Savona as Minister of the Economy because of his critical positions on the EU and the euro, pushing the appointed Prime Minister, Conte, to give up his duties.

On 28 May, the President appealed to a personality from the economic and financial elite, Cottarelli, who was known support a reduction in public spending, to entrust him with the post, which constitutes a very heavy interference on the democratic and institutional level.

A reactionary project

The League and the Five-Star movement were preparing to govern on the basis of an uncertain deal, whose philosophy was based on some variation from classical neo-liberal approaches, and relied on elements of neo-protectionism and neo-conservatism tempered, so as to remain within the limits of the framework of European capitalism. The social components of this program were unclear, with regard to pensions and allowances for the unemployed, while the security content of the League dominated the themes of justice and the expulsion and repression of migrants, as well as the introduction of flat tax for the benefit of the upper classes. Moreover, all the measures taken by the previous governments, which led to rampant precariousness and the weakening of labor rights, were enormous gifts to the Italian employers. This "contract", beyond the great declarations about the changes expected by a large part of the population, cannot conceal its fundamentally reactionary and right-wing nature, and its intent to attack the workers’.movement.

Neoliberal pressures

Before the government could be constituted, however, there was already strong opposition on the part of the bourgeoisie in the press and the hushed corridors of the institutions. This opposition reflected the pressures of the European neoliberal front which, based on the example given by Macron in France - the reference most appreciated by the Italian ruling class - would like to build a political response to the crisis of the Democratic Party. Behind the usual calls for the defense of the democratic state, which denounce these newcomers as incompetent, is concealed the concerns of the financial markets and European economic institutions that Italy should not deviate in any way from dominant neoliberal policies and no additional controls are introduced in the EU.

Build a real opposition

The political and institutional situation is confused. Are we heading for early elections, as demanded by the League and the Five Star movement? Or will a mysterious "president’s government", which is supposedly, will be formed? With what majority?

Today the Italian left and the social movements are facing the challenge to build an opposition that must fight against, on the one hand, the neoliberal austerity of the Italian and European bourgeoisie supported by the PD and by Forza Italia and on the other, the sovereignty of the League and the Five Star movement and their reactionary measures. This opposition must be based on clear social priorities: support for struggles in workplaces and their unification on a few slogans consistent with people’s expressed needs: reduction of working hours without loss of pay, establishment of a social wage for the unemployed and the precarious, public intervention in the economy, unity of all the exploited, including migrants.

P.S.

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