Communist Platform

The Italian situation and the alternative government

The continuous decline

Imperialist Italy is sinking into one of the most serious crises in the history of capitalism, it is seeing its difficulties worsen, it is going backwards and continually losing positions compared to its competitors.

Since the beginning of the crisis (the summer of 2007) until today the GDP has fallen by 8.6%. After a partial and weak recovery, which took place in 2009-10, there has been a new recession. The second quarter of 2013 has been the eighth quarter (two years) in a row in which GDP has declined. At the end of the year, a decrease of 2% of GDP is forecast. Such a profound, widespread and prolonged contraction of wealth had never happened in Italy’s history.

The causes of the current recession can be found:

* in the persistent over-production in key sectors of production;

* in the sharp fall in domestic consumption (purchases have fallen to the 1998 level);

* in the policies of austerity and cutbacks in social spending (the decline in products due to this policy has been calculated at 230 thousand million euros).

Currently there is no significant sign of a recovery, and everyone predicts that if it comes, it would be slow, weak and uncertain, without increasing employment.

At the same time, the “public” debt is growing rapidly, in May 2013 reaching its peak of 2,075 thousand million. In the last year and a half, the debt has increased by 170 billion to subsidize the big banks and corporations and to pay the interests. In 2014 interest will cost about 100 billion. Without an economic recovery, the situation will be unsustainable and there is a real risk of bankruptcy, despite the reassuring statements by the ministers in office. Also, one should not underestimate the fact that the big banks, both local ones and the Treasury, are full of “toxic assets.”

An increasingly worn-out imperialism

The deep economic crisis has revealed the structural flaws and fragility of Italian monopoly capitalism: a small number of monopolies able to compete internationally, the economic and financial weakness of the groups, with a predominantly family structure, industrial dwarfism, etc.

Italian imperialism is absent in strategic sectors: electronics, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and aerospace; it is at risk of disappearing in the automotive and steel sectors. Buying abroad continues in the sectors of transport, telecommunications, energy, steel and cutting-edge metallurgy, in particular market sectors (mass distribution, gas and oil distribution, tourism-hotel and brand acquisition).

Italian companies are increasingly lower in technological content, out of balance favoring traditional products, without Research and Development, with a scarcity of skilled labor power.

Another element of weakness is the fragmentation of the medium and small enterprises (which employ more than 70% of the workers); they are unable to make innovations or deal with international competition; they have enormous financial difficulties, which lead them into the hands of the mafia.

Productivity is low and stagnant, it is increasingly distant from the other, stronger imperialist countries, because the owners do not invest in fixed capital, in Research and Development (here in relation to GDP Italian business spends less than 50% of the European average), and they do not make innovations in the industrial and technological apparatus, preferring to evade taxes and contributions.

The Italian bourgeoisie realizes that it cannot catch up to the stronger imperialist powers such as France and Germany, that the distances cannot be reduced either, that it is increasingly irrelevant in the international arena. To avoid being marginalized it aims at increasing the exploitation of the workers, reducing wages and rights, outsourcing and relocating, in order to compete with the emerging capitalist powers that are surpassing it, and it is developing a more aggressive foreign policy.

Massive destruction of productive forces

Since the beginning of the crisis until today, 15% of the industrial productive base has been destroyed. Production has fallen by 25% (in some sectors such as automobile more than 40%). Over fifty thousand industrial enterprises have closed in the 2009-2012 four- year period.

In six years about 700,000 jobs were lost. Layoffs are on the agenda in many companies: Fiat, Fincantieri, Natuzzi, Alcoa, Indesit and Irisbus, in the construction industry, in the food industry, in commerce, etc. and thousands of layoffs for speculative reasons continue to be reported.

The official unemployment rate has hit 12% and will grow in the following year. Youth unemployment is 40%, the highest level recorded in twenty years. There has been a rapid increase in the emigration of skilled labor.

More than half a million workers have run out of unemployment. About a third of them will not return to the factory. 36% of workers have no contract. Salaries continue to lose purchasing power while inflation is rising again.

Nine million workers are in serious difficulty, including the unemployed, those laid off, workers without job security, etc. They have trouble making it to the end of the month, so they are forced to forgo health care, food, clothing, home heating, culture, entertainment, etc. Their savings are running out.

Misery is spreading. Relative poverty now affects 15.8% of the population (9,563,000 people) and absolute poverty affects 8% (4,814,000 people). Almost half of the absolute poor live in the south of the country, devastated for decades by neoliberal politicians and the mafia.

At the other pole of society, wealth is growing: in Italy 10% of the population owns more than 50% of the wealth. Capital is hidden in tax havens. Tax evasion has been estimated at 180 thousand million annually. The cost of corruption is about 60 thousand million a year. Parasitism thrives on the decay of the capitalist system.

The organic crisis of the bourgeoisie...

In recent years contradictions that are impossible to ameliorate have emerged that are inherent in the economic base, the nature of which must be found in the colossal failure of world capitalism, despite the fact that the political forces that defend this system strive to deny it or cover it up.

The crisis is affecting the whole of social life, without being reduced to any of its particular aspects. It is an economic and political crisis, and also an environmental, energy, moral, cultural and intellectual crisis. It is a crisis of authority and trust in the bourgeoisie. It is a crisis of the state and its international relations, in which the lack of economic weight and the political weakness leads it to a greater subordination to the U.S., the EU and the Vatican.

It is thus a prolonged and organic crisis of the ruling class, one of historical importance, which cannot be resolved by a simple substitution of the center-right or center-left parties. This is because the ruling class itself is responsible for the Italian bankruptcy and increasingly tends to reactionary entrenchment and involution. No bourgeois government can get Italy out of its decay, degradation and ruin, or overcome the existing contradictions.

... and breakdown of the political system

On these bases there is proceeding the breakdown of the institutions and political parties of the bourgeoisie, which are in a deep crisis of trust. Political instability accompanies the economic instability, the crisis of bourgeois democracy is advancing, which is gradually being liquidated along with the rights of the workers.

During the last two years, Italy has in fact been commissioned by the ECB, the EU and the International Monetary Fund, which dictate detailed instructions to the governments. National sovereignty in economic matters is almost non-existent. The governments no longer reflect the decisions of the voters. The parliament is an obedient rubber stamp, largely deprived of its prerogatives (see the most recent parliamentary bloc on the Mediaset proceedings and the case of the expenditure on the F-35 fighter jets).

After the fall of the Berlusconi government, it was the time of the Monti government, put in by the financial oligarchy with the help of Napolitano. A popular government without any popular legitimacy, which based its program on a letter from Draghi and Trichet.

The Monti government adopted dictated economic measures, cut social spending, leading to the collapse of public health and the school and university system. In a few months it undermined pensions, abolished Article 18 that prevented unjustified dismissal and it established a regime of austerity that has exacerbated the most severe economic crisis since the war.

A parliament of corrupt persons and people appointed by the oligarchy has approved the “fiscal compact,” which involves cuts to public spending of about 45 thousand million euros a year for 20 years, and includes the “balanced budget” in the Constitution, providing the framework within which all bourgeois governments must act.

The distance between the masses and the bourgeois parties is increasing

In the political elections of February 2013 all traditional bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties suffered a defeat. Eleven and a half million voters did not go to the polls. Abstention was the leading “party”. Over 50% of the population expressed rejection of the austerity policy, of the rampant corruption and of bourgeois privileges in various ways (abstention, null and blank votes, protest votes for the populist movement “5 Stars”).

In subsequent administrative elections, the abstention rate increased even more. The gap between the traditional parties and the social groups widened; the groups no longer recognize the political expression of their interests in the heads of these parties.

In this scenario of loss of trust and of the crisis of representation, the priority of the financial oligarchy and the fundamental institutions of the bourgeoisie has been to ensure at all costs the continuation of the policy of austerity and competitiveness, centralizing the leadership and making a bloc under the slogan of “emergency and social cohesion.” Napoli- tano’s re-election to the Presidency of the Republic and the formation of the Letta-Alfano government, betraying all the electoral promises, are an expression of this process and ensure the anti-people policy, albeit with internal conflicts.

 The Nth reactionary and anti-popular government

The illegitimate government of the “broad convergence” imposed by the financial oligarchy, the EU, the U.S. and the Vatican, and supported by the reformists, the center and the offender Berlusconi (who maneuvered to guide the birth of the government, to blackmail it and save its destiny), armored by Napolitano, is continuing the essence of the so-called “ Monti Agenda” and is trying to avoid any possibility of change.

Prime Minister Letta is a member of the Bilderberg group and has strong support from the U.S. The program of his government is the defense of bourgeois privileges, the continuation of the social looting to recapitalize the banks and companies (directly and with the sale of public property), the intensification of exploitation, the extension of flexible and insecure work, the increased repression and the criminalization of social protest. In foreign policy it continues the “commitment to the consolidation of the international order” or military aggression in the service of the U.S. and the EU in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc., in order to participate in the redivision of the looting of energy resources, of zones of influence, etc.

There is no government policy to defend labor rights, there is no plan for job development, no measures to make the rich minority pay, but a strong impulse to political and institutional counter-reforms, to prepare for the transition to the presidential and reactionary “Third Republic”.

The struggle of the masses to break the political bloc and to overthrow this anti-popular and undemocratic government, involved in scandals and dirty schemes, is on the proletarian agenda.


The role of the reformists, opportunists and trade-union leaders in recent years has been one of servile support to, if not of direct participation in, the governments of the financial oligarchy; of putting a brake on and dividing the struggles, of isolating the most combative workers’ sectors, of unbridled collaboration with the capitalists and calling for the repression of the struggles, of support to the missions of imperialist war, while they cut back spending for public health, schools, etc.

Divided internally, these shameless people unite in the name of “common responsibility” to make a common front with the banks, the Confederation of Industry, the illegitimate governments and the right-wing, preventing the mobilization and generalization of the struggles. They have played an active role in reversing the workers' fundamental rights (such as Article 18 of the Statute of the workers and the right to strike), in applying the “Fiat regime” in the factories and in society. They organize “witch hunts” and expulsions of the combative workers and communists from the trade unions. Meanwhile politically they rescue the criminal Berlusconi and his ministers.

In this way, they increasingly unmask themselves in the eyes of the workers as a tool of big capital while they bury efforts for popular change.

The shameful government of “broad convergence” is no exception, but the logical conclusion of a long process of rapprochement between two neoliberal Euro-parties, one liberal-reformist and one reactionary and mafiosi. The economic crisis has only accelerated the process of convergence between the bourgeois parties, which are presented today as a single party in defense of the status quo.

Limits of the workers’ and popular resistance

The prolongation and aggravation of the economic crisis and its serious social consequences, the capitalist offensive and the “inviolability “ of the privileges of the propertied classes are the objective basis of the development of the class struggle in our country.

Despite the difficulties, the struggles have never stopped.

From workers to students, from those with precarious jobs to those who are fighting for their homes, from the mobilization of women to the fight against the privatization of water, from the fight against the “mega-constructions” that devastate the environment to the democratic movements against corruption and the mafia, we are seeing many examples of strong workers' and popular resistance, which also demonstrate forceful forms of struggle and which are facing increasing repression (arrests, indictments, accusations, fines, etc.).

The working class resistance has been continuous, with many demonstrations, both national and local. However, one of their limitations has been the lack of unification with any anti-capitalist content and the absence of a political project, largely due to the influence of the reformists in the unions that has so far prevented the development of a class conflict adequate fir the ongoing offensive. Therefore, this has isolated many defensive struggles, led to feelings of powerlessness and to the passivity of broad sectors of society, which can not last forever.

An alternative of a revolutionary rupture

All subordinate social classes warn of the decline and decline of the country, they feel that things cannot continue in this way. They aspire to a profound change, which is rejected by the ruling class.

In this context the question of an alternative government to provide for the vital needs of the workers and the unemployed, to ensure a future worthy of the name to the new generations, to make those responsible pay for the crisis and the debt, is being put forward more forcefully in the political debate and within the workers’ and popular struggles.

The lack of this alternative of a rupture with bourgeois and reformist policies, as well as the lack of unity in the struggle of the proletariat, promotes distrust and passivity, it favors the supporters of a “low profile”, it gets by as solutions (or models of coexistence with the crisis) within the capitalist project, in a word it weakens our camp and strengthens the camp of the bourgeoisie.

At the same time, this limit leads to excluding key issues from the political debate, such as that of political power; it has a negative impact on the very organization of the exploited.

These are only some consequences of the “loss of the final objective,” one of the classic results of reformism, which ignores the fundamental and historical interests of the proletariat and subordinates everything to the supposed advantages of the moment.

The task of communists is to point out a political solution in order to develop a higher political activity of the proletarian masses and to overthrow the bourgeois and reformist coalitions. This solution is of fundamental importance in periods of deep economic and political instability, in which the issue of an alternative government has an immediate practical value.

“We demand a government of the workers and all the exploited!”

The formula that we Marxist-Leninists promote for the problem of the government in Italy is clear: a government of the workers and all the exploited, that arises from the revolutionary movement of the exploited and oppressed masses, that acts and lives in close union with this real movement.

A government that would represent the vital interests of the proletariat and the working people of the city and the countryside, of the poor and oppressed masses, that would not bow down before the “sacred” principles of capitalism and the “constitutional dogmas,” that would not beg for “permission” from the employers and their liberal vestal virgins, but one that is determined to destroy the financial oligarchy, the bourgeoisie, the internal and external reactionary forces and the fascists, placing them in a situation where they could do no harm.

A revolutionary government that would take energetic measures against the exploiters and parasites, would expropriate the capitalist monopolies, socialize the principal means of production and exchange, repudiate the debt, withdraw from the EU, the euro and NATO; a government that would abolish the privileges of the bourgeoisie and the clergy, favor and organize control by the working class, taking steps to demolish the machinery of bourgeois oppression and give the working people the rights and freedoms due them.

Such a government can only be the political result of a broad uprising of the workers and popular masses against the rule of the financial oligarchy and its parties, the conclusion of the united front of struggle of the proletariat and the starting point of decisive struggles to revolutionize the country.

What is its program? To carry through to the end the rupture with a system that only brings us misery and war, that sacrifices people and nature in the pursuit of maximum profit, that militarizes society. This means to steer the transition from capitalism to socialism, the new and superior social system that will revolutionize the country.

To put an end to the imperialist decay, to resolve the essential problems of social life and open the way to socialism, there must be a truly revolutionary government that by its nature is opposed to the old social-democratic illusions.

This type of government cannot be formed on the basis of parliamentary solutions and forms (it is not a “government of the left or center-left”), but must be based on the organizations of struggle and work that arise from below (factory and neighborhood councils, committees of struggle, control commissions, class trade-union structures, organizations of the unemployed, of the youth, of women, etc.), to unite the proletariat as a revolutionary force, around which to create a system of alliances with popular strata and sectors that are suffering from the offensive of finance capital.

The need for class alliances

The development of the capitalist crisis, the measures adopted by the predatory bourgeoisie, put on the agenda the need to form a broad Popular Front, a stable alliance among political, trade union and social forces and organizations, of the workers’ and popular movement (semi-proletarians, petty bourgeoisie of the city and the countryside, teachers, students, women of the popular strata, migrants, etc.). In recent years this political practice has been strengthened and has seen the first attempts to build a bloc of popular opposition to the policies of austerity and war, to liberalism and capitalism. These attempts have so far been held back and diverted by the social-democratic and opportunist forces.

The struggle to not waste energy, valuable potential and experiences, to seek and make concrete class alliances, to build a coalition of popular forces around the working class and under its leadership, which would strengthen the mobilization of all the discontented forces and social sectors, the victims of the bourgeois offensive in its various aspects (jobs, wages, health care, pensions, militarization, corruption, etc.), is a fundamental aspect of the work to open the way to more advanced political perspectives, in which the question of the government and power would be placed in a revolutionary way. In Italy this problem has a particular relevance, given the weight and the function that the intermediate groups have on social reality, their active presence in social and political life.

The premises of the alternative

The alternative government that we demand is an alternative power, in which the hegemony of the proletariat would be realized, since the petty and middle bourgeoisie, the middle class and their parties are not able to adopt the necessary measures to put an end to the power of the financial oligarchy and the maneuvers of the reactionary forces.

The proletariat is the only force capable of liquidating a past and a present of oppression, exploitation and crimes of the bourgeoisie, of ensuring a future of genuine freedom for all the working people.

The revolutionary perspective is developing and approaching by preparatory stages – for example, a situation can be created in which a Popular Front government of an antimonopoly, anti-imperialist, anti-fascist character would become necessary in the interest of the proletariat – which would accelerate the decomposition of the bourgeois power and create more favorable conditions for the energetic action of the proletarian masses. The alternative is developed on the basis of the intensification of the class struggle, of the trend towards realizing the unity of struggle through which the exploited and oppressed masses defend their economic and political interests, and their very existence, against the insatiable voracity of the capitalists who are leading Italy to ruin.

Within this process it is the task of the communist to ensure that the revolutionary alternative government becomes the most vital slogan of political life, closely linked to partial demands, and as a matter to be taken up and resolved.

Without this essential tool of the class struggle, without this revolutionary force formed by revolutionary cadres and with a mass political line, able to mobilize and lead the proletariat and its allies to the seizure of political power, no real alternative is possible.

Let us unite, organize and reinforce ourselves, to build the Party that will defeat the bourgeoisie!

Communist Platform
July 2013

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