Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Mr Hugo Chavez Betrays Socialism

(Photo: Venezuela, by Porsborg) Thursday, August 16th, Venezuela’s President, Mr Hugo Chavez, presented a reform to change the Constitution of his country. Changing the article 230, the President term of office will last 7 years instead of 6 and the President himself will be able to be re-elected indefinitely. Other changes concern the political control of the Central Bank of Venezuela, the reduction of both private property and working hours and the institution of a ‘popular militia’ (iht.com, lastampa.it and ilmanifesto.it).
Mr Chavez’s opponents stated that they will fight against this reform, which is going to give him unlimited power and end democracy in the country. At any rate, they are not likely to stop the President (
iht.com). The constitutional reform will be voted by the National Assembly, whose members are almost all Chavez loyalists. Then a referendum will give the reform a final approval.
Before Hugo Chavez announced his constitutional reform, in his editorial in Le Monde diplomatique (Août 2007, 54e année, n. 641), the director Mr
Ignacio Ramonet illustrated Chavez’s economical and social results, explaining that in Venezuela between 1999 and 2005 poverty went down from 42,8% to 37,9%, while people living on informal economy lowered from 53% to 40%. Mr Ramonet asked himself why there is so much hate against Hugo Chavez: “Il arrive aussi, ruine du socialisme, qu’une partie de la gauche social-démocrate ajoute sa voix a cette chorale de diffamateurs.” [It happens too – which is the fall of socialism – that a part of the Social Democrat Left adds her voice to this choir of slanderers] (monde-diplomatique.fr).
Actually, I think that Mr Hugo Chavez is trying to establish a socialist dictatorship in Venezuela. Every free man should oppose this aim and the Left worldwide has the indeclinable responsibility to report this attack on democracy. Italy must absolutely respect Venezuelan people’s freedom to choose their own Constitution. Nevertheless, the
Italian President, the Italian Government and the Italian Parliament should publicly express their disapproval about such kind of reform. The Italian Left parties belonging to L'Unione should make a common statement explaining that their idea of socialism and democracy is absolutely against the possibility of a life-long presidency. Indeed, neither economic nor social improvement can cross out freedom and civil rights.

Il socialismo non è né la socializzazione, né il proletariato al potere, e neppure la materiale eguaglianza. Il socialismo, certo nel suo aspetto essenziale, è l’attuazione progressiva dell’idea di libertà e di eguaglianza fra gli uomini: idea nuova, che giace più o meno sepolta dalle incrostazioni dei secoli, al fondo di ogni essere umano; sforzo progressivo di assicurare a tutti gli uomini una eguale possibilità di vivere la vita che sola è degna di questo nome, sottraendoli alla schiavitù della materia e dei materiali bisogni che oggi ancora dominano il maggior numero; possibilità di scegliere liberamente la loro personalità in una continua lotta di perfezionamento contro gli insulti primitivi e bestiali e contro le corruzioni di una civiltà troppo preda del demonio del successo e del denaro.” [Socialism is neither socialization, nor proletariat being in power, not even material equality. Socialism, of course in his essential quality, is the progressive realization of the idea of freedom and equality amongst mankind: a new idea, lying more or less buried under the deposits of the centuries, in the depht of every human being; progressive effort to grant every man the same possibility to live a life which is really worth this name, delivering them from the slavery of the material and from the material needs which today still rule the greater part; the possibility to choose freely their own personality in a continous struggle to become perfect against the primitive and beastly insults, against the corruptions of a civilization which is prey to the devil of success and money] (
Carlo Rosselli, Socialismo liberale, ch. V).

Monday, 6 August 2007

Working Side by Side with Death

(Photo: The ultimate group hug!, by Mnadi) Wednesday, August 1st, Inail (the National Insurance Institute Against Work Accidents) showed the annual report on safety at work. 1,302 persons died at work during 2006 in Italy, more or less 4 workers every day. Temporary workers’ accidents increased by 19% compared with 2005. Immigrant workers from outside the European Union had twice the amount of accidents Italian workers had. Most dangerous sectors are mining, transports and building (ilmanifesto.it).
As an example, we can tell the story of Mr Domenico Occhinegro, a 26-year-old worker who died Tuesday, July 31st, at the
Ilva siderurgical plant in Taranto. Two steel pipes crushed him to death just before the end of his working-shift. Domenico had been working there for three years: two other workers died in his same department during the last two years. Since 1993, about 40 workers died in the same plant (ilmanifesto.it).
Owing to a great lot of similar cases, the
Italian Parliament at last approved a law to enhance safety at work: public contracts will fix safety costs; companies will stop their activity if more than 20% of their employees are irregular; education programmes for workers will grant a tax allowance; 300 new work inspectors will soon be hired (corriere.it and repubblica.it).
Senato della Repubblica, Camera dei Deputati and Cnel decided to carry a new reaserch into the evolution of work: they carried out the last one in 1955 (ilmanifesto.it).

Whether or not the new law will achieve an effective reduction of deaths and accidents at work, the subject is usually neglected by Italian media and political debate. As a consequence, the public opinion doesn't really seem to care about it.

“Ma quando quest’uomo s’ammalerà, il medico, andando a suo comodo dopo la terza chiamata, lo troverà agonizzante; il prete, invitato per carità a spicciarsi, vorrà finire il suo desinare e lo troverà morto; il becchino, guardandogli i piedi scalzi e il camicione topposo, gli reciterà la breve orazione: ‘Accidenti a chi ti ci ha portato!’” {But when this man [the stone-braker] fall ill, the doctor, going there at leisure after the third call, will find him in agony; the priest, requested for goodness’ sake to hurry up, will finish his dinner and find him dead; the grave-digger, looking at his bare feet and patched shirt, will recite this brief oration: ‘Curse who brought you here!’”} (
Renato Fucini, Lo spaccapietre, 1844).