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Potere al Popolo: a needed analysis

The outcome of the elections held on the 4th of March gives us a very realistic picture of the Italian society. The rate of participation has been higher than predictions; a countertrend, if compared to the increase of abstention rates observed in last decades.

Results emphasised the defeat of governmental parties (particularly Social-Democratic ones), and a strong shift of the political scene towards the Right Wing; this adjusts the Italian situation to the one emerging in the rest of Europe and in The United States.

The effect of the elections has been a real political earthquake. The material and ideological attack of the EU against the working class, the middle-class and the lower middle-class, as it was predictable, provoked a strong electoral reaction (in a context of substantial and general social deprivation) against those who forced and managed austerity measures. In the hope that “something changes”, there has been a strong increase in the vote share for the Five-Star Movement (M5S) and the League (formerly the Northern League).

The failure of the Democratic Party (PD) and of its allies - including the turbo neo-liberals of “+Europe” party and some Berlusconi “defectors” - and the result of “Forza Italia” (which become the second party in the centre-right coalition) create conditions of strong instability. In such a context of crisis of hegemony of the ruling class in Italy and in Europe, the EU might decide to intervene directly in order to secure a government. We will have to wait and see if the attempt of co-optation of the Five-Star Movement (which turned out to be the first party in the elections) by the powers of the Troika will succeed; after all the “Northern League”, despite the right-wing “anti-establishment” radicalisation of its discourse, has been serving as a responsible and very close coalition partner of pro-UE parties in governments at various (both local and national) levels.

Popular areas obviously gave a misplaced trust, even if totally understandable: too many years of governments led by PD, and too much hegemony of center–left produced lots of social and economic failures; nevertheless, this people’s confidence anyhow reveals some kind of opposition, no matter how ambiguous and contradictory, at least to the effects of EU’s politics, unless to EU as such. Indeed the popular vote has been steered in order to support all the political forces which, rightly or wrongly, have been perceived as eurosceptic or critical regarding Brussels’ impositions. Anything has been induced, beyond of weak outcomes reached by political parties openly neo–fascist, by the spread of racism and by a war amongst the poor, which establish the culture broth of a process of “fascistization” of a part of Italian society, that  we must not underestimate.

It is true that in the last few months, both the M5S and League have been turning their political agenda into something more acceptable to the continental establishment and tried to gain credit as suitable partners of a “responsible” government towards the needs of EU; however, still, these political forces have been popularly identified like a tool of opposition to a “left”  (PD and his power bloc) which has enthusiastically applied, in the recent past, every diktat coming from EU, creating a social massacre never seen before.

Sunday’s elections have incontrovertibly certified an ultimate sunset of “The Left”  as a political option with massive characteristics. In some ways, this had already been pointed out by the weak results of the latest voting rounds: the end of “The Left” as such, in all its forms, no matter how soft or radical. The widespread crisis of the leftist movement does not only concern our country, but has a continental character. After all, “The Left” has lost any character of social liberation; it assimilated itself in the systems of the capitalistic governance; it has assumed the ideological and material categories of the market, of the compatibilities, of the impossibility of the transformation of society. This has been the result of a long and permanent genetic mutation that provoked a break with the popular sectors of society.

The result of “Potere al Popolo” (PaP) cannot be considered in isolation; a global analysis must be done. The result of PaP cannot be considered positive, as it represents the lowest-ever result in the history of the radical left; however, it cannot be underestimated either. It establishes indeed a noteworthy human and political capital from which start again, on the basis of an honest and realistic analysis.

A much better result was not conceivable; PaP was an electoral list put together in a context in which the appeal of the “left” on the working class is completely worn out, except for some enclaves in the former “red” regions of Italy. Also, the very short time period in which this coalition was put together didn’t help.

PaP gave a new chance to political, social and trade union militants from different generations, providing new passion and generating considerable attention. This is an important outcome in a context of growing disillusion and indifference, mainly resulting from the disastrous mistakes accomplished by the leaderships of radical left parties in the past few years. The whole election campaign has been fought with a militant spirit and has been aimed at utilising elections as a mean of political intervention. No “electoral committee” was created and will be created.

Another element of progress, not to be underestimated: for the first time a political and social coalition on the radical left has stated its own complete independence and otherness not only from the Democratic Party, but from its historical centre-left or moderate left partners. This crucial point will need to be further developed and applied also to next local election rounds.

Based on these good premises, PaP has to turn into a cohesive and total political project grounded on independence, organization, conflict and, overall belonging to the social bloc of reference: the Working Class.

All of us, together, must give continuity and effectiveness to this project; to do that, we have to reflect on the experience of the last months and benefit from this tiring electoral campaign.

PaP, except from few notable examples, could not intercept areas of our social bloc which need to be a pillar of any political project. We need to focus on the needs and on the problems of the popular classes, instead of focusing on ideological superfluities or on internal disputes within the left-wing. The working class does not have any interest in these issues at the moment.

In our view, there have been also some wasted opportunities, such as: the decision not to examine in depth the nature of the European Union; the failure to include, in the elections’ manifesto, a clear perspective of breaking with EU and of withdrawal from NATO and from Eurozone. The debate about EU cannot be simply considered one of the many items on the political agenda; it has to be become a central element of our platform, which can outline a clear alternative. If we condemn the effects of austerity measures and cuts to the welfare state on the working class, we have to outline the reasons too. Then, after we identify those reasons, we have to be consistent and propose alternatives: we need to suggest to our activists and militants an enemy to fight against; we have to oppose an alternative to it. But, more importantly, we need to present this to the social bloc we aim to represent. Breaking away from the EU, from the Eurozone and from NATO is a necessary condition in order to restore public services, social spending, and to nationalize strategic industrial sectors.

The alternative cannot be nationalistic and autarchic. Instead, it coincides with an alternative Mediterranean aggregation of people and cultures characterized by relationships of equity, not by relationships of hierarchy as in the EU.

We are aware that inside PaP there are different opinions; however, postponing the debate can make us weaker; dismissing it would be even worse: it would make us less credible.


Roma, 08 marzo 2018

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