Italy: The far-right for office?

In Italy, after the early resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, this Sunday September 25 more than 50 million people will be able to vote 200 senators and 400 representatives for five years. And since there the parliament votes the president, and the far-right is leading the polls, that force could reach the government. Here is a first analysis of the situation.

By Pablo Vasco

The Italian political regime is a bourgeois democracy of the parliamentary type: its main institution is the bicameral Congress, which has the power to appoint and remove the head of the government. Thus, the formation of the government depends on pacts and /or temporary parliamentary ruptures. This partly explains the frequent changes of government, no less than 67 cabinets in 77 years since the post-war period, whose structural background is the erosion of the traditional political forces that has been dragging on for several decades.

According to the polls, the most popular of the 34 candidates running this time is Giorgia Meloni, with 25% of voting intention, for Brothers of Italy: the heir force of the neo-fascist MSI party, founded in 1946 by sympathizers of former dictator Benito Mussolini. Its partners are the other far-right candidate, Matteo Salvini (The League, 12%), and the right-wing Silvio Berlusconi (Forza Italia, 8%). If such figures are maintained, this triple alliance would be in the majority and would achieve the government, with Meloni as head.

Although they have long since abandoned the fascist salute in their acts and lately seek to distance themselves from the most extreme positions, Meloni has a nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-ecological, anti-gender, militarist and pro-repressive discourse. With his populist proposals for lower taxes and less European bureaucracy, this pole finds an audience and votes in middle social sectors affected by the severe economic crisis.

The other political-electoral pole is the center-left, weakened, in an alliance that presents four lists: Democrats and Progressives (21%) headed by Enrico Letta, More Europe (3%), Civic Commitment (1%) and Green Left (4%). Outside both poles, in the center, are the ambiguous and declining 5 Star Movement (14%) and Action (5%).

The growth and rise to power of far-right sectors in several countries is worrying. However, it is necessary to clarify that they have important differences with the mass fascist organizations that emerged in the period prior to World War II. The current ones tend to update themselves in power, coexist with the other bourgeois forces within the framework of the bourgeois democratic regime and do not have the organized and social weight to try to change it. They do not have large paramilitary organizations nor do they apply methods of civil war against the social sectors they stigmatize.

The growth of the Italian far-right is explained by the enormous economic and social crisis, which has deepened since 2008, and by the hatred of the masses for the various center-left governments, which aggravated the crisis by applying the austerity plans dictated by the European Commission and the IMF.

Applying austerity measures after austerity measures from the government has led the center-left to its current setback and continues to lose strenght. A few months ago, from the political coalition that emerged Draghi withdrew 5 Stars (a party that in 2018 was the most voted party) and accelerated the crisis of his government. In turn, a possible pact of Democrats and Progressives with Green Left generates to the first new friction with More Europe and Civic Commitment, more moderate. And even worse: Daniel Franco, Draghi’s current Minister of Economy, would continue in the same key position with the new right-wing government. On top of that, the Democratic Party said that if a pact is reached in the new parliament, they could vote in favor of the same “anti-crisis” measures proposed by Draghi?

In Italy, then, we are witnessing a phenomenon that is expressed globally: the existence of increasingly strong tensions and a social polarization that will tend to increase. The powerful strikes in Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy itself confirm that the European working class is far from being defeated and that, just as it has been confronting one government after another, it will continue to do so against these far-right and neo-fascist sectors.

In the political arena there is also polarization. Due to the absence of a strong revolutionary socialist leadership, and the existence of a center-left so close to the right, social unrest today is channeled through options more to the right than the traditional ones. The political responsibility does not lie with the masses, who -wrongly, from now on- “punish” the government with the electoral option they find more at hand, but with that political and trade union center-left agent of the capitalist system.

But there is room for an extreme left political alternative. Surely, the rise of Meloni to the government will act as a revulsive in the masses. We revolutionary socialists have to propose a different way out of this vicious alternation between the center-left and the right/far-right, both defenders of capitalism, and work relentlessly to build among the working class and youth revolutionary political alternatives for a rupture with capitalism-imperialism and for socialism.