Leaflet distributed by the PCInt during the “No Draghi Day” protests in Italy.
Since 1945, the Italian bourgeoisie has rarely (and only when it has had to) managed to temporarily put aside its internal rivalries, to create a government that includes almost all institutional parties. It did so immediately after the Second World War, then in the second half of the 1970s, and again now. In short, whenever the situation is very critical from various angles, starting with the economic problem of restarting a cycle of capitalist accumulation. In other words, to ensure social peace in order to continue and intensify the extortion of surplus value through the exploitation of the labour force, capital’s only source of oxygen.
The pandemic is a very heavy blow, which however hit an already weakened system. Every “national” capital was, and is, embroiled in a deep crisis, which has come from afar, but Italian capital has suffered more from the blow, due to its obvious past weakness. For this reason the Italian bourgeoisie has forced its quarrelling parliamentary factions, its feeble political staff to get in line, to form a government that is up to administering the emergency Recovery and Resilience Plan. This involves a mountain of money (debt, some of it significant) which must firstly swell the coffers of the employers, starting with the largest, via various support measures and “compensations”. The working class, the proletariat, will only get just enough (that is, very little) to dampen their social anger, to dampen any potential fuse for a possible explosion of class struggle. This is what the Draghi government is about, and to expect anything else is more than an illusion.
Some additional money is going to the Citizens’ Income1, but the demands on the recipients, that is their submission to the bosses’ command, are more stringent, encouraging, in fact, illegal work and low wages. An adjustment to the personal income tax rates, which gives a few pennies to the lower segments of wage/employee work (the vast majority) and more substantial benefits to the higher ones which, incidentally, are those where electoral abstention is less pronounced and which must be “loyal”. The same thing goes for the reduction of IRAP (the Regional Tax on Productive Activity) for professionals and the self-employed, a possible first step for a reduction or abolition of corporate gains tax. The Fornero law2 remains, in fact, in place, indeed for the umpteenth time it plays its part in cutting pensions and other substantial investments in sectors vital to society especially to workers – health, transport, school, housing, etc. It is the same for the fight against the impending climate catastrophe: any political action, already largely inadequate, is subordinated to the needs of capital, that is, it is done only if it ensures a profit for “green” investments.
Little or nothing changes in health and safety at work, and even less for precarious jobs and low wages, indeed, both must continue to be the backbone not only of this recovery (or rather, rebound), but of the process of asphyxiated/anaemic (take your pick) accumulation, and not only in Italy: it is the only way in which capital can move the economic collapse forward, together with the sleight of hand of financial speculation, which however only makes the problem worse.
The attack on the living conditions of the working class has been going on for decades, driven by the historical crisis of capital, but lack of response of our class only encourages this. For a long time without an authentically communist point of reference, it has become disheartened, disoriented, confused, so much so that some at times can fall into the toxic network of the extreme right often called “populist”, which shamelessly lies pointing the finger at the most oppressed sectors of the proletariat (immigrants, those on benefits, etc.) as the cause of declining working and social conditions.
If fascist populism foments the fratricidal struggle between the proletariat, radical reformism feeds on the illusion that it is possible to make significant improvements through trade union action beyond the traditional unions who connive with the bosses.
This does not mean that we should not fight to at least oppose the bosses’ attacks, but it does mean that only an open, mass class struggle can go beyond trade union practice and that the class itself must lead the struggles with its own fighting bodies, which must go beyond artificial sectional barriers and, last but not least, assume the perspective of overcoming not just the Draghi government (who would we replace it with?), but capitalist society as a whole.
But this perspective can only come from revolutionary political organisation, a communist party which, if it necessarily acts on the national level, is organised on an international level, because the dominion of capital extends over the whole world.
A class conscious struggle and a revolutionary party are the indispensable factors which, alone, can prevent the drive towards the catastrophe to which the capitalists are taking humanity, indeed, the planet. Only that can open the doors to a different and better world.
To work for this perspective we invite the most conscious sectors of our class to join us.
Internationalist Communist Party – Battaglia Communista, Italian affiliate of the ICT
30 November 2021
- 1. The Reddito di Cittadinanza (Citizen’s Income) was introduced by the Conte Government in January 2019 as part of the Five Star Movement’s promise to create a universal basic income for all but in fact it is a con. It is neither universal or automatic, nor is it without conditions – you don’t qualify if you have no job. It has been a good subsidy for bosses in lowering the wages in the black economy.
- 2. Instituted in 2011 as part of the global programme of making cuts in working class living standards to pay for the financial collapse of 2008, the Fornero law basically abolished old age pensions on the basis of 40 years of contributions. Instead you are now forced to work on until you have paid enough into the system to qualify for a pension. The effect is to make workers work longer and longer.