The elections in Italy

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By ANSELM PESSOA NETO*

The victory of the center-left in the recent administrative elections

Here is a quick commentary on the Italian administrative elections that took place in the first round on 03/04 and in the second round on 17/18 October 2021. Just as it is true that Italians are great conversationalists, it is also true that saying anything , on any Italian question, demands great conversations (to recall the classic conversation in Sicily, by Elio Vittorini, a silent book, which turned into a beautiful silent film as well).

An irrefutable fact was the large abstention: only 54,6% of eligible voters went to the polls. As a matter of fact, voter turnout has been falling in Italy for a long time and it seems that it has not yet reached rock bottom. A first quick parenthesis: before reaching the bottom of the well, they will invent a deeper well. Another fact – but this one subject to interpretations – was the victory of the so-called Italian center-left united in the PD (Democratic Party).

The story of the PD is a story of its own, but brushing it up here is fundamental. The PD is the last metamorphosis of the former PCI (Italian Communist Party) which, from involution to involution, reached its current format, something like a basket of cats, given the variety of colors of felines that survive from that manger. Two steps back: in the old Italian party organization (exploded by their Lava Jato, the “mani pulite“, not by chance guided by a right-wing judge who, also not by chance, became a politician and who, also not by chance, today is a banshee) in which the so-called “Pentapartite” ruled, the big dispute was between the PCI and the DC (Christian Democracy).

Going fast: the magic, or rather the magic (I won't mention the color), of the upheavals of Italian politics came to a party in which the old adversaries are together, yes, the PD is the common home of the majority of communists and “Christian Democrats”. Another parenthesis: the Aldo Moro project, murdered by the Red Brigades, which went down in history as an attempt to “historical commitment”, was more honest and transparent, I naively believe. Well then, that party, the PD, one of the heirs of the former PCI, is the de facto heir to the material assets of the Italian Communist Party. Another parenthesis: maybe for some communist material goods it still makes sense and explains something, but, I don't know… maybe what really matters is skin color and gender, right, new left?

Even faster: the PD, also called the center-left, won the elections with a program that would be more like the program of the old DC, this, of course, if it were possible to know that the old DC would also “modernize”, as well as the PD (that last sentence is meaningless: if the PD is PCI plus DC, it was these two parties that “modernized”). And more: practically all the leaders of the PD come from or come from an ideological matrix in the former DC, starting with the young Enrico Letta, its current president. The logical conclusion, but without any logic at all, is that the Christian Democracy, which dominated Italy practically during the entire period of the second post-World War II, continues to dominate it, but now with the clothes of its former great adversary: ​​the communists.

Hard to understand, isn't it? For the old Italians too, and maybe that explains, but only a little, the low turnout to the polls, that initial safe haven of ours. It is not possible to summarize here, but, curious reader, research who you are, what you defend, which coalition you participated in and who were the opponents of the re-elected mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala; the elected mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri; the elected mayor of Naples, Gaetano Manfredi; the elected mayor of Turin, Stefano Lo Russo and the elected mayor of Bologna, Matteo Lepore. One more parenthesis: algorithms are not going to help you with your search.

First attempt to end: was there a way to be different? Hard to say, except that from that ancient tree, the tree of the communists, nothing has avenged, at least until now, from all the attempts to the left that have fled from the main trunk, that is, from the PD. Roughly speaking, I would say that what predominates in Europe is a defeated program, Tony Blair's program and the metamorphosis of English labor into a party of order, of the order of the financial system! What is opposed to this? Fascism.

I was letting it go unnoticed: these elections also seal a major defeat for the last major Italian party, which doesn't even have a party name, the M5S. The 5 Star Movement was a major party for only one election, the 2018 political elections, which determined the forces that are in the current Italian parliament. I spoke of a bag of cats for the PD, well, so as not to repeat myself, I'm going to call the M5S a bag of cats. A bag shaken by internal fights and in an advanced process of debugging. As is common in organizations where the first principle is pure indignation and resentment, from anti-system, M5S is adapting itself to the system with an enviable speed. The defenders of the system thank you.

and has the Alloy (League), former Lega North, ex-separatist, for whom the poor Italian south was not even Italy and Rome was the Roma Ladrona. It currently presents itself only as Lega and has as one of its mottos “Italians first” in a clear allusion to the immigration movements that disturb the sleep of racists, who are always on duty. A Alloy it inspires many of the xenophobic movements around the world, its current leader, Matteo Salvini, inspires and admires our Bolsonaro. Well, the Lega, which was the great extreme right threat, was defeated, but its ideals still prevail in Italy and Europe. Reality is multiple everywhere, but I always have the impression that in Italy it is even more so. Here we only saw a crack of it. What to do?

* Anselmo Pessoa Neto is professor of Italian literature at UFG. Author, among other books, of Italo Calvino: the must-see passages (UFG).

 

 

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