Italy in the current socio-economic situation

Speech on behalf of la Città futura.

Italy in the current socio-economic situation

Two hundred years ago a man was born who changed the world. And he changed it because for the first time he placed humanity, its history and its struggles, on a scientific, material basis. Iconoclasta, very sarcastic, (“what is certain is that I myself am not a Marxist”) was a philosopher, but he was extremely dissatisfied with philosophy: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”; he was an economist, but he was rather dissatisfied with the bourgeois economy, despite his admiration for Adam Smith and David Ricardo; he was a great political organizer, but he was ready to throw everything away, when the organization was no longer functional to the goal: the international proletarian revolution! He did not know the great disease of the communists of our times: the patriotism of the mark! He therefore had no taste for the “politique politicienne”, rather he wanted to abolish politics, along with the state and the class-divided society.

This man - we are dealing with man with his physical, his limits and his blunders (he would not bet a penny on a socialist revolution in Russia) - would not have loved this eulogy: of himself he said that “I am a stranger to nothing of what is human” and in a commemorative eulogy there is always something false, of celestial. No, Marx would not be happy with eulogies and bicentennials. But we as “good Marxists” are not obedient even to his opinions.

This man, I said, since 1989 has been variously outraged, mocked, dismissed (Marx is dead), only to be recovered by his class opponents (and even by a high prelate of the German Catholic Church) because unable otherwise to understand the world crisis in which we are all reprecipitated from 2008 onwards. Crisis that apologists of capitalism have prudently termed "financial", but that is evidently what Marx had seen more than 150 years ago: that is a huge crisis of overproduction, and this, while millions of human beings in Africa, Latin America and Asia ( but also in the famous “First World” by now) they do not have anything to live: when in other words, in the name of the superior reasons of the market, they are denied health, work, culture. This is, on the reverse, the horrible “eulogy” that the bourgeoisie does to Karl Marx!

Now let's try to make it a real one. And let's do it by reminding that Marx has always had an international vision. For Marx capitalism lives an international life and therefore the communists must have this measure in their gaze: internationalism is the measure of the communist because if the socialist revolution begins on the national soil, it ends on the international one.

On the crisis of the country and its middle classes

Italy is within the institutional and economic framework of the European Union: an imperialist bloc that implements liberal economic policies according to the restructuring of the production chain and the value on the continent for the benefit of the strongest countries (see the surplus of German exports for more than 10 years now).

Given this absolutely relevant framework, one can portray the Italian situation essentially as that of a capitalist society, technologically advanced yet constrained by the contradictions (production relations / productive forces) to sacrifice resources and men on the altar of the valorization of capital. This is undoubted. According to Eurostat unemployment in Italy reached 9.7% in august (in Germany it was at 3.4, France is not far to 9.3, but worse than Italy are only Spain at 15.2 and Greece at 19%, the latter in July this year). But if we refer to youth unemployment here in Italy in June we were at 32.6%, almost twice the European average that was at 16.9 (in Germany at 6.2%).

I do not have at the moment, and I apologize for it, conclusive data on intellectual unemployment, however according to the data of the University Research Evaluation Agency (ANVUR) last year Italian graduates without work amounted to 33.8% of the total, about twenty points more than the average of the OECD countries, ie the most industrialized. The numbers referring to the phenomenon of youth and intellectual unemployment, for obvious reasons, seem to me the most suitable to shed light on the phenomenon of the growing crisis of the middle classes in Italy.

On the fascistization process

Against this background emerges the phenomenon of the fascistization process which then, in my opinion, is something wider than an exclusive cultural and political recovery of the reactionary forces of a markedly fascist form. It is, precisely, the crisis of the middle classes that induces a regurgitation of confused and confusing (and potentially reactionary) pushes that can be called as populist.

If one looks at the history of Germany, for example, the “volkisch” movement, which is a popular or populist one, was the breeding ground for Nazism. The disease, however, has different stages: I think, precisely, that we are immersed for now in the populist phase (and not in that openly fascist one). We should be very careful in the definitions and use of the adjective “fascist”, to avoid an inflationary, generic and distorted use.

The facts that demonstrate, in my opinion, that we are in the populist and not in the fascist phase are the following:

1) the first is the difficulty in defining fascism in contemporary terms (I would not use the classical third-internationalist formula which, moreover, I do not find convincing even if attributed to the era in which it was coined because it denied an evident capacity for autonomous organization of the petty bourgeoisie that provided political personnel, ideology and orientation to German and Italian regimes). Fascism in classical terms is a totalitarian regime (therefore a single-party), which promotes a corporate economic organization based on the bureaucratisation and nationalization of capital / labor relations (to curb the class struggle), with a strong ability to frame and organize militarily the life of the masses and an accentuated disposition to imperialist brigandage to unload their contradictions on other state formations. If what I'm going to say makes sense, it seems to me that nowadays the single-party and the ability to frame the masses militarily are missing. These are not little elements, even if they are potentially constructible, especially with the modern use of mass media;

2) the other element that makes me opt for the populist definition is the presence in the current government of Movimento 5 Stelle (5 Star Movement) which in itself does not seem to me at all fascist (but certainly permeable to reactionary demands and to the germs of fascism). The M5S seems, in effect, to be a declared anachronistic force. In the sense that its ideology does not correspond at all to the character of out times: we are in a phase of destruction of productive forces and latent economic crisis (from more than a decade) and the grillini are proposing technological optimism like children; we are in a capitalist society missing increasing rates of development and they are for the “happy decrease” (degrowth); we are in the middle of an ideological identity and tribal temperament and they preach the wonders of the Internet and the Net... Moreover, it seems clear to me that this latest clowning national politics has its roots in the 90s and early years of this millennium: in the bagging euphoria of, in the cult of the ecologism typical of opulent societies and with a strong propensity for consumerism, in the exaltation of democratic moralism (which makes me see them, above all, as disappointed supporters of the Democratic Party). Which shows, in reality, how for the recitation of the current dramas, historical actors are always forced to use the worn-out stage garments of the more or less recent past, also because ideologically they remain entangled with what has been in phases now concluded.

At the moment, for what I have described so far, “grillism” seems to me the least suitable force to survive in the current phase. But history has accustomed us to surprises.

So: I agree in defining the current phase as reactionary and populist and “potentially” fascist, but not “currently” fascist. Moreover, I would try to define well the social and economic support elements of populism (sovereignty, nationalism and all the other "isms" with which the petty bourgeoisie is masked). It seems to me that this stuff is composed of: economic crisis and identity and the consequent ferocious rage of the middle classes; dissatisfaction of the capitalist sectors more tied to the national market and subjected to international competition; suffering, delegation and passivity of the workers and the popular classes.

Disarticulation of the communist movement in Italy and current situation of the political Left

I immediately admit that I lean towards the thesis of continued betrayal. That is: a significant part of the humiliating situation in which the proletariat is found in this country is due to the fact that it has been subjected to an historical process over almost thirty years of burning disillusionment. We had the largest communist party in the West that melted in the aftermath of the collapse and progressively passed “bits and pieces” on the side of the class opponent; the union that even in some phases (late 60s) had been forced to play a combative role, is now turned into a corporate subject; the forces that alternated in the representation of popular interests during the mobilizations that go from the 90s to today have invariably betrayed the cause: Prodi's Ulivo; Cofferati’s CGIL; Bertinotti’s PRC.

These considerations lead us, in my opinion, to face the issue of the relationship between organization (political or trade union) and the class and the relationship between intellectuals (petty bourgeoisie) and working class. Summarily: we need to work in the intellectual valorization of the proletarians and not wait until the political staff is provided by the more or less good elements provided by the middle classes. The political organization of class must adhere to the class (and its life conditions) and must be direct and not only direct the class (dialectical relationship).

The current subdivision of the class left (and multiplication of their marks) is the result of the weakness of the class and its disarticulation even in the places of production. Reconnection can only start from a new political organization of the fight in the workplace with a network of small groups of militants, given the simultaneous presence of two factors: the reduction in concentration and the number of workers per unit of production and, at the same time, the reduced presence of comrades in the ranks of the workers.

Currently, the class Left in this country is very little and is in fact reduced to the formation of Potere al popolo (Power to the People) that in the last parliamentary elections of March 4 collected 1% of the votes and did not have access to Parliament. Moreover, this formation in the last months has recorded three splits, of which the last one by the PRC is that numerically and politically more harmful.

About us. The proposal of la Città futura regarding the councils

La Città futura (the future city) is a weekly online communist newspaper. It was born four years ago mainly on the motivation of PRC militants, the most important communist (so-called) formation of this country. During this period of time it underwent many transformations. Today la Città futura is, beyond the newspaper, a political collective that assumes a classically Leninist line (in Italy, Gramscian) for the reconstruction of a communist party worthy of the name, organized starting from the workplaces and aiming to establish a regime of transition to socialism based on council democracy. In the current phase we consider essential the theoretical training of our militants and the promotion of self-convocation of councils. This explains why we consider very important to stay in the unions against reformist and / or self-referential bureaucracies and for the direct leadership of the proletariat. There is therefore a double moment (dialectic within it) on which we work: theoretical formation and stimulation of the direct protagonism of the workers and even of their spontaneity in the fight against the existing condition of delegation and passivity.

In the political sphere, for the time being we have chosen to be critical militants in Potere al popolo, struggling to get it out of current sectarianism and to build a broad anti-capitalist front composed of associations, trade unions, political organizations, in which the communists will have to operate organized in a party or in a fraction.

Last but not least, we have a privileged collaboration and an intense theoretical dialogue with the comrades of the Fronte popolare (Popular front). To these companions, our thanks go out for organizing such a vast, interesting and necessary meeting!

28/04/2019 | Copyleft © Tutto il materiale è liberamente riproducibile ed è richiesta soltanto la menzione della fonte.



Stefano Paterna

La città futura

“Sono partigiano, vivo, sento nelle coscienze della mia parte già pulsare l’attività della città futura che la mia parte sta costruendo. E in essa la catena sociale non pesa su pochi, in essa ogni cosa che succede non è dovuta al caso, alla fatalità, ma è intelligente opera dei cittadini. Non c’è in essa nessuno che stia alla finestra a guardare mentre i pochi si sacrificano, si svenano. Vivo, sono partigiano. Perciò odio chi non parteggia, odio gli indifferenti.”

Antonio Gramsci


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