Sunday, 9 January 2011

Waiting for the Democratic Drunkard

(Lorenzo [il Barone] Caleca, Legazzo #87)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - As Italy is going through a difficult time in its 150 years history as a united state (1), the Italian Democratic Party sways and staggers as a drunkard in the street.

In his speech for the New Year, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano appealed to the political system to grant a better future to the young people (2), whose unemployement rate reached 28.9% in November (3).

So far, the Democratic Party was not able to explain how to support students against cuts to University funds, crack down on tax evasion and invest to create new jobs in knowledge-based fields.

Besides, the Democratic Party is facing the struggle on worker rights between FIOM and FIAT lacking of any real political commitment to regulate social conflict, as politics is supposed to do in every democratic system (4).

In Turin, once FIAT's one-company town, the Democratic Party is approaching local elections amidst harsh internal fights and deep political turmoil (5), with both the outgoing mayor Sergio Chiamparino (6) and the most likely candidate to his succession Piero Fassino (7) siding with FIAT against FIOM.

Fearing the judgement of citizens and in spite of celebrating primary elections as the distinctive element of its character, the Democratic Party is now considering to escape them for the choice of its candidate as Prime Minister (8).

In a country where 45% of national income is held by 10% of the population (9) and where tax evasion reaches € 120 bn a year (10), the leader of the main opposition party should not limit himself to make a diagnosis of the problem (11).

While wating for Silvio Berlusconi's fall, Mr Bersani and his brothers in arms should clearly explain which project they have for the future of the country and whom they really want as their allies to come back to power.


(1) Eugenio Scalfari, "E la bandiera dei tre colori è sempre stata la più bella",, January 9th 2011.

(2) Massimo Giannini, "L'appello del Colle per la generazione tradita",, January 2nd 2011.

(3) "Giovani, disoccupazione record. In Italia uno su tre è senza lavoro",, January 8th 2011.

(4) Lucia Annunziata, "A Mirafiori Sinistra impreparata",, January 4th 2011.

(5) Giole Urso, "La strategia del PD per consegnare Torino al centrodestra",, November 29th 2010.

(6) Luca Telese, "'L'aut-aut sul referendum? Un atto di coraggio'",, January 7th 2011.

(7) "Fassino: se lavorassi alla FIAT voterei sì al referendum su Mirafiori",, December 29th 2011.

(8) Ilvo Diamanti, "Il Pd e il grande equivoco delle primarie. La scelta che cambia il futuro del partito",, January 3rd 2010.

(9) Massimo Salvadori, "Generazioni tradite",, January 6th 2011.

(10) Vincenzo Visco, "Manovra economica ed evasione fiscale",, May 28th 2010.

(11) Pier Luigi Bersani, "Bersani: lanciamo la sfida per la riscossa italiana", Il Messaggero (, January 7th 2010.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Do Unions Still Represent Workers?

(bitchcakesny, Working Class Hero)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - The debate over rights of workers at FIAT burnt up this week.

Following separate deals with FIM-CISL and UILM - two of the main unions of Italian metalworkers - both in Mirafiori (Turin) and Pomigliano (Naples) workers will not choose their own representatives: unions refusing to sign a deal with the employer will indeed not be able to represent workers (1).

FIOM-CGIL - the most representative union of Italian metalworkers - refused to come to a pact with FIAT, claiming that rights are not available for negotiatons (2).

Admittedly, to grant jobs in Italy FIAT is in desperate need of increasing the productivity of work. In 2009, 6,100 workers in Tichy (Poland) were able to make 610,000 cars. Over the same period, in Mirafiori 5,800 workers made 178,000 cars (3).

But is it the price worthwhile for workers?

On the one hand, Tito Boeri explains, labour contracts must be binding and effective both for workers and employers; on the other hand, however, the right to choose the representatives of workers does not belong to the employer (4).

Moreover, as noticed by Stefano Rodotà, FIAT is a company and cannot behave as if it were a legislator (5): CISL and UIL actually look like mismatching democracy with a dictatoriship of the majority.

The truth, in our opinion, is that FIAT has chosen the American capital-centered paradigm once and for all: FIAT came to the rescue of Chrysler, but it looks as if Chrysler bought FIAT (6).

Government and politics were absent (7), while they might have helped FIAT to opt for the German human-centered paradigm.

Is the game lost?

As noticed by Luciano Gallino, FIOM-CGIL is still the main trade union of Italian metalworkers: in the future, its leading presence amongst FIAT suppliers may be decisive (8).


(1) Roberto Mania, "Con le newco del Lingotto arriva il Big Bang sindacale",, December 30th 2010.

(2) G. Pog., "La Fiom proclama uno sciopero di 8 ore",, December 30th 2010.

(3) In Pomigliano, the proportion came to a staggering 5,200 workers for 36,000 cars produced. Read Stefano Feltri, "FIAT, l'ultima spallata di Marchionne",, December 28th 2010.

(4) Tito Boeri, "Le regole dimenticate",, December 29th 2010.

(5) Stefano Rodotà, "Quando il fango cancella la politica",, December 29th 2010.

(6) Massimo Giannini, "Sistema Marchionne",, December 30th 2010.

(7) Salvatore Tropea, "Il lavoro può attendere",, November 6th 2010.

(8) Luciano Gallino, "L'America a Torino",, December 24th 2010.

Related posts in this blog:


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Italian Students Revive Giuseppe Garibaldi

(Giuseppe Garibaldi - Leghorn)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - While Italian Government found it hard to pass the Reform of University at the Senate (1), Italian students protesting against it were able to puzzle the media, proving to be politically intelligent (2).

Maurizio Gasparri, President of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party at the Senate, had previously declared that the most frantic students should be pre-emptively arrested (3), actually tracing out the law issued by the Fascist Regime of Benito Mussolini in 1926 (4).

According to the proposal, an Italian citizen determined to take part in a protest march might indeed be sentenced up to three years of imprisonment and would pay a fine up to € 40,000 (5).

In spite of any provocation, on Wednesday a peaceful, cheerful and imaginative protest took place all over the country, even if fights with the police flare up in Palermo (6).

In Rome, students avoided the 'red zone' in the inner city, marched through the suburbs with citizens cheering them from the balconies and moved on the highway towards L'Aquila, the city struck by an earthquake on 2009 and still inaccessible (7).

In Turin they dressed up like Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero who unified the country in 1860, entered the Carignano Palace which was supposed to host the Italian Parliament before the capital moved to Rome and simbolically proclaimed their own counter-reform of University (8).

In Milan they blocked the traffic to read the Constitution, while in Naples they blocked the main railway station (9). At the end of the day, the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano granted audience to a delegation of students, explaining that the country has the duty to listen to their opinions (10).

Even though the Italian Senate approved the reform on Thursday (11), the movement of Italian students now looks stronger than ever.


(1) "Bagarre al Senato: la leghista Rosi Mauro perde il controllo, Schifani fa rivotare gli emendamenti approvati",, December 22nd 2010.

(2) Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "La normalità e la patologia",, December 23rd 2010.
(3) James Mackenzie, "Italian minister appeals for calm before protest",, December 20th 2010.

(4) Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "Diritto di polizia",, December 20th 2010.
(5) Luigi Ferrarella, "Poteri dello Stato. Il cortocircuito",, December 20th 2010.

(6) Guy Dinmore, "Berlusconi's woes mount as protests gather pace",, December 22rd 2010.

(7) Paolo Gallori, "Roma invasa dai cortei. Protesta pacifica, con ironia",, December 22nd 2010.

(8) Ottavia Giustetti and Alessandro Contaldo, "Studenti in corteo come Garibaldini",, December 22nd 2010.

(9) "Milano, gli studenti bloccano il traffico e leggono la Costituzione nelle strade",, December 22nd 2010 and "Corteo degli studenti a Napoli. Occupati i binari della Stazione centrale",, December 22nd 2010.

(10) Mario Calabresi, "Napolitano: 'Diamo risposte a una generazione inascoltata'",, December 24th 2010.

(11) Eugenio Bruno, "In porto la riforma degli atenei",, December 24th 2010.

{paulginz, "'Democracy' in Italy: 17 motions on university reform in 3 min",, December 22nd 2010: 


The Italian Senate is voting on amendments to the controversial reform of universities. This reform is causing huge student protests. Rosi Mauro [Vice-Presidentess of the Senate, pictured, from the secessionist party "Lega Padana"] is chairing the vote.


I'm putting to a vote the amendment 6.21. Who's in favour? Who's opposed? Who abstains? It's approved. 6.303. Who's in favour? Who's opposed? It's approved. 6.23. Who's in favour? Who's opposed? It's approved.

Please, colleagues. The presidency [of the senate] has expressed itself, and expressed itself very clearly. I'll continue with the voting. I'll continue. I'll continue with the voting. No, I'll continue with the voting. The presidency has expressed itself; I said that president Schifani [of the Senate] has been informed. Let's continue, let's continue with the voting.

6.304 is inadmissible. 6.305 is inadmissible. 6.306 No [inaudible] 6.306 is inadmissible. 6.307, motion to oppose. Who's in favour? Who's opposed? Who abstains? It's not approved. 6.24 Who's in favour? Who's opposed? Who abstains? It's not approved. 6.308 Who's in favour? Who's opposed? Who abstains? It's not approved.

Please, the presidency has expressed itself. I'll go on with the voting. I'll go on. [You] also [need to have] respect for the Presidency. I gave you an answer. (x2). You should be ashamed of yourselves.
6.26 motion to oppose. Who's in favour? Who's opposed? Who abstains? It's approved. [She got confused and aproved an amendment she didn't want to]. 6.309 Who's in favour? Who's opposed? It's not approved. 6.27 Who's in favour? Who's opposed? Who abstains? It's not approved. [... same thing for 6.28, 6.29, 6.30 and 6.31]. Bravo, bravo, bravo! [/sarcastic] The Presidency has expressed itself.
6.310 who's in favour? Who's opposed? It's not approved.

Colleagues, good, at this point I call 10min recess. [rings bell] We're in recess.}


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Committee of National Liberation Wanted

(modenaroid, Videocracy 2)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - On Tuesday, December 14th, Silvio Berlusconi survived a dramatic 314 to 311 no confidence vote at the Lower House of Italian Parliament (1).

Tensions rose between opponent fields, the opposition accusing Silvio Berlusconi of having allegedly bought the support of several lawmakers by paying their debts or granting them consistent future incomes (2).

While lawmakers broiled at the Parliament, violence spread in the streets of Rome, where the peaceful protest of Italian students was upset by small groups of masked protesters: 40 people were hurt and 41 were pulled in by the police, which reported 57 officers injured (3).

Gianfranco Fini lost his parliamentary battle: the Lower House speaker, one of Silvio Berlusconi's closest ally for sixteen years, had recently left the ruling coalition along with 30 lawmakers, accusing the Italian Prime Minister to hold power for the sole purpose to defend himself from Justice (4).

His defeat, however, has not made Silvio Berlusconi stronger.

While the Prime Minister is now looking for more invidual lawmakers willing to strengthen his thin majority (5), his main Center-Right opponents - Gianfranco Fini, Pier Ferdinando Casini and Francesco Rutelli - presented a new alliance aimed at replacing his leadership (6).

The battle is over, but war begins.

First: you cannot rule over a € 1,800 bn public debt with a majority of three lawmakers in the Parliament (7).

Second: Silvio Berlusconi walks on the crutches of the Northern League, the xenophobic party led by Umberto Bossi which might benefit most from early elections (8).

Third: even if it is far from finding a common ground to challenge Silvio Berlusconi (9), the Italian Left might soon be forced to close ranks by the prospect of early elections.

How to turn a despotic oligarchy, where lawmakers represent nothing but themselves (10), in a modern democracy?


(1) Gian Antonio Stella, "Nell'arena di Montecitorio",, December 15th 2010.

(2) Massimo Giannini, "Scandalo in Parlamento",, December 11th 2010.

(3) Rachel Donadio, "Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote",, December 15th 2010.

(4) Guy Dinmore, "Berlusconi under attack before confidence vote",, December 13th 2010.

(5) Maurizio Belpietro, "'Gli sfilerò un deputato alla volta'", interview with Silvio Berlusconi, Libero, December 16th 2010.

(6) Massimo Giannini, "La Bastiglia del Cavaliere",, December 16th 2010.

(7) Guy Dinmore, "Roman showdown",, December 13th 2010.

(8) Alessandra Galloni, "An Italian Fringe Firebrand Gains Votes, Power in Crisis",, December 14th 2010.

(9) Federico Geremicca, "A Sinistra la resa dei conti",, December 15th 2010.

(10) Ilvo Diamanti, "La democrazia dell'irresponsabilità",, December 13th 2010.


Related articles in English:
  • Guy Dinmore, "Italy faces prolonged political uncertainty",, December 14th 2010
  • Guy Dinmore, "Berlusconi appeals to moderates to save him",, December 14th 2010
  • Stacy Meichtry, "Italy's Berlusconi faces major test",, December 14th 2010
  • Francesca Angelini, "Italy's students fight change",, December 14th 2010
  • Michael Stothard, "Italy rallies after Berlusconi survives vote",, December 14th 2010
  • Guy Dinmore, "Berlusconi clings on to power after vote",, December 15th 2010
  • Guy Dinmore, "Italy's bruised politicians set for new battle",, December 14th 2010
  • Guy Dinmore, "'Third pole' to challange Berlusconi",, December 16th 2010

Related articles in Italian:
  • Curzio Maltese, "Il presepe del Cavaliere",, December 14th 2010
  • Barbara Spinelli, "Il profeta delle illusioni",, December 15th 2010
  • Ezio Mauro, "La partita comincia ora",, December 15th 2010
  • Francesco Verderami, "Sulle elezioni anticipate si rovesciano i ruoli",, December 15th 2010
  • Marcello Sorgi, "A destra vento di elezioni",, December 15th 2010
  • Mario Calabresi, "Il muro tra politica e Paese",, December 15th 2010
  • Marzio Breda, "Il pressing di Napolitano per l'impegno del governo",, December 16th 2010
  • Gian Guido Vecchi, "Cei soddisfatta per la fiducia: 'C'è voglia di governabilità'",, December 16th 2010