Tue Jul 23, 2024
July 23, 2024

Italy’s new anti-worker government: Build the class opposition!

The elections for the bourgeois parliament did not reserve many surprises, substantially confirming the pre-electoral polls, albeit with some differences on which we will then try to say something.

Statement by the Central Committee of the Partito di Alternativa Comunista – Italy

The right-wing coalition, driven by the result of the Fratelli d’Italia [Brothers of Italy], gains a solid majority of seats, so Giorgia Meloni will be charged with forming a government which, barring surprises that appear very unlikely, will follow the composition of the coalition.1

The analysis we made on the eve of the elections is confirmed: Meloni’s party has gathered, from an electoral point of view, a consensus derived above all from the discontent of broad layers of the petty bourgeoisie with the aggressive policies of the Draghi government. Unfortunately, it has also gathered consensus in large sectors of the working class: this is the responsibility, above all, of the reformist left (political and trade union), which supported (directly or indirectly) the anti-worker policies of the Draghi and Conte governments, facilitating the presentation of Fratelli of Italy as the only opposition force (actually completely imaginary), which thus collected a protest vote against Draghi’s anti-popular policies.

The “most far-right government since Mussolini”

With these words, CNN commented on the first exit polls less than an hour after the closing of the polling stations.2 This reading corresponds to that carried out also by the reformist left and, in part, by the Democratic Party and the “Terzo Polo”: with Giorgia Meloni a semi-fascist formation would go to the government.

Obviously, the origins of a series of exponents of Fratelli d’Italia are well known, who come from the National Alliance, heir to Almirante’s MSI (some of Meloni’s collaborators, such as La Russa, trained in the extra-parliamentary far right of the 1970s), as well as the unspeakable positions on topics such as the right to abortion, immigration, and civil rights in general. At the same time, it should be noted that some of these positions are traditionally common to the entire Italian centre-right and, on some issues, also to some sectors of the Catholic “left.” The Democratic Party and the Third Pole then insisted on Meloni’s and Salvini’s ties with Putin, Orban, Le Pen, etc. All real ties, but they must not hide another aspect:

Not surprisingly, Giorgia Meloni’s first statements were marked by responsibility: “This is the time of responsibility, the one in which, if you want to be part of history, you have to understand the responsibility you have towards tens of millions of people.” That could be rendered to responsibility towards the European Union, the position of Italy in NATO and, ultimately, the current affairs of the great Italian bourgeoisie. Not a fascist government, therefore, and not even the most right-wing one in republican history.3 Certainly, however, a right-wing bourgeois government that, no doubt, is preparing to attack the workers and respond with repression to any legitimate struggle for wage increases and runaway inflation.

To date, Fratelli d’Italia is a party that does not have para-fascist gangs such as, for example, those that support Bolsonaro in Brazil.4 This does not mean, of course, that it could not have it in the future when the attacks of the next right-wing government should encounter stiff resistance from the workers. However, to date the alarms “to fascism!” are justified only by the desire to propose electoral “democratic” alliances “to stop the right,” appeals to “unity” (read: class collaboration), which in any case would not serve to bring down the government of Giorgia Meloni but only to prepare the alternation in favour of the centre-left — perhaps this time with the Cinquestelle [Five-Star Movement, M5S] — in five years.

Even if the parliamentary majority is numerically stable, in the context of a difficult social and economic situation (and moreover aggravated by international tensions), the government will not have an easy time carrying out the cuts and attacks desired by the big bourgeoisie, also because the relationship between government and union bureaucracies could be less idyllic than with a government supported by the Democratic Party. The political situation of the next few years will, more than ever in the last decade, be determined by the class struggle.

Electoral data show an open rift in the country

Starting with the data of the rightist parties, Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) stands at 26%, while the Lega Nord collapses to 8.8% (in the previous polls it was 17%, while in the 2019 European election it had risen to 34%), and Forza Italia remained with 8.1%, while Noi Moderati does not exceed the threshold. It can be seen that Giorgia Meloni’s party has imposed itself by engulfing the votes of the Lega in particular, which has been surpassed in all its traditional “strongholds” in the north. From a sociological point of view, although it is difficult to reason only from the first data without an in-depth study, it seems that the petty bourgeoisie and small entrepreneurs of the north (but also a large part of workers) have decided to vote for FdI after voting for the Lega in 2018 and 2019, no doubt because of Giorgia Meloni’s opposition, albeit superficial, to all the governments of the past legislature, including Draghi’s government supported by the Lega.

The centre-left sees the collapse of the Democratic Party (PD) to 19.1%, practically a new all-time low, a result that led Enrico Letta to declare that he will not re-nominate himself as party secretary. Behind it stands + Europe and the Green Left Alliance, with respectively 2.8% and 3.6%, while Di Maio didn’t get a seat in parliament.

The Democratic Party pays, as does the Lega in the coalition of the right, for support to the Draghi government and the fact that it has based the entire electoral campaign on the support of “Draghi’s agenda,” as if this were a boast. The Tercer Polo (Third Pole), which expressed the feeling of a part of the bourgeoisie that had no faith in Meloni, was counting on a modest result for the FdI and M5s so that there would be no alternative to the formation of a new national unity government with Forza Italia and PD, nevertheless took home a 7.8% that will force Italians to still have to listen to Renzi and Calenda for the next five years.

The Five-star Movement reaches 15% nationally but is the first party in many southern regions where it has maintained a presence in the working class, despite the experiences with Conte’s government and its support for Draghi. Evidently, this is due, despite everything, to the fact that a part of the masses impoverished by the crisis perceive the meagre Citizenship Income (M5s’ main social policy), today attacked from the right and from the left, as essential for survival. The brawl between Conte and Letta over who wrecked the PD-M5S alliance (and therefore responsible for the right-wing parties’ victory) is probably an electoral pantomime, a prelude to future government agreements between the two forces.

In the field of the “radical” left, the lists of Popular Union (PRC-PAP with De Magistris) got 1.4%, and Sovereign and Popular Italy (Rizzo’s CP with Ingroia and other sovereign and red-brown formations) didn’t surpass 1.2%. Both “alliances” do not even reach the percentage of [Gianluigi] Paragone’s Italexit (1.9%), further demonstrating that the electoral alliances, moreover imposed from above, do not lead to parliament (the only real objective of these lists) but to the demoralization of activists. This confirms the inexorable decline of the reformist left, which pays the price for decades of subordination to centre-left and bourgeois governments.

On a general level, it should be noted that abstention has reached its all-time high in Italy; while it does not in itself indicate an increase in awareness that the “democratic game” is a fixed match and that an alternative system is necessary, it certainly indicates a growing distrust in the bourgeois state and its parties.

Opposition to the new government can only arise outside the parliament

If this is the picture, opposition to the new government can only arise outside parliament, in factories and workplaces, in schools, in popular neighbourhoods, and wherever there is a fight for the rights of women, LGBT people, immigrants, etc. Exploited and oppressed people can’t place any trust in bourgeois parties or in the reformist left; these parties have been betraying the struggles for centuries. We appeal to all activists and left-wing militants to abandon the electoral perspective and join our revolutionary project, which starts in the struggles in which we are all engaged and tries to give them a general political and class perspective, and not to exploit them to enter in parliament or to support a bourgeois government deemed “progressive.”

The Partito di Alternativa Comunista is the International Workers League-FI’s section in Italy.

Notes

1) As we write, only the percentages are known and not the actual allocation of proportional seats, but, given the numbers of single-member constituencies assigned to the right in both the House and the Senate, the parliamentary majority should be amply assured and such as to discourage the hypothesis of a coalition government with other forces on the model of the Draghi government.

2) https://www.la7.it/la7retweet/primo-premier-italiano-di-estrema-destra-dai-tempi-di-mussolini-il-tweet-di-cnn-sulle-elezioni-26-09- 2022-453125

3) We remember, for example, the Tambroni government in 1960, a Christian Democrat government, elected with the votes of DC and MSI, expelled from popular mobilizations after four months. Those were years in which, in “democratic” Italy, the police fired on demonstrators.

4) We remember the killing of Marielle Franco, the PSOL city councillor of Rio de Janeiro, murdered by a paramilitary militia, apparently linked to the son of President Bolsonaro, in March 2018.

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