Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Rift Splitting the Regime

(Lutra, -)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - Last Thursday, at the National Directorate of the People of Freedom, the President of the Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini publicly attacked Silvio Berlusconi on grounds of annihilating the identity of the party by reducing its policy to the will of the xenophobic and secessionist Northern League.

"Is it heretic to say that I do not recognize the values of the European Popular Party, the respect of human dignity, when I hear that doctors have to sneak, that when a clandestine immigrant goes to the hospital he must be reported to the police? [...] In Northern Italy we have become a photocopy of the League" (1).

Gianfranco Fini, the former leader of the neo-fascist Social Movement, met Silvio Berlusconi on his way in 1993, when Berlusconi - on the point of starting his own political career - endorsed him at the elections for the mayor of Rome. Since then, Fini has served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, gradually shifting his position to be acknowledged as a genuine conservative leader. In 2008 he cofounded the People of Freedom with Silvio Berlusconi.

The National Directorate ended up with only 11 votes out of 170 for Gianfranco Fini. Nevertheless, given Silvio Berlusconi's approach to dissent this could be a threat to his declining power: "Berlusconi has a monolithic ethics," - as Nadia Urbinati explained - "and he knows no language but one: the command of the principal" (2).

Gianfranco Fini has begun a three-year-long war of attrition, his hope of success laying on the awareness that the sheep will sooner or later abandon the tyrant to his destiny. The Church and Confindustria, as a rule, will be decisive to say when.

Meanwhile, as Ezio Mauro wrote, "Adventurism will be the supreme phase, the last, of berlusconism in power" (3).


"È eretico dire che io non mi ci ritrovo nei valori del Ppe, del rispetto della dignità umana quando sento dire che i medici devono fare la spia, che quando un immigrato clandestino va in ospedale deve essere segnalato ai carabinieri? [...] Al Nord siamo diventati la fotocopia della Lega." Mr Fini's speach can be listened at

"Berlusconi ha un'etica monolitica, e conosce un linguaggio e uno solo: quello del comando padronale. E' così connaturato in lui questo stile che egli non sa nemmeno distinguere fra Istituzioni dello Stato e dipartimenti economici del suo impero" ( Nadia Urbinati is Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University.

"L'avventurismo sarà la fase suprema, l'ultima, del berlusconismo al potere." ( Ezio Mauro is editor-in-chief at la Repubblica.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Keep Your Hands Off Our Hero

(Palermo, 2010*)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - Last Friday, Silvio Berlusconi accused Italian writers and movie-makers of promoting the Mafia: "The Italian Mafia is the sixth in the world but happens to be the most famous, owing to a promotional support which brought it to be a very negative element for our country's reputation. We should remind the eight series of La Piovra programmed by 160 TVs worldwide and the whole literature on the subject, Gomorrah and the rest" (1).

Gomorrah, the breathtaking inner-view documentary novel by Roberto Saviano unveiling the economic and political connections of Camorra, the Mafia ruling the area of Naples, sold more than 2 million copies in Italy and was published in 43 different countries.

Mr Saviano, today 31 years old, was granted a permanent police escort because he was threatened by the Casalesi clan, attempts on his life being documented by several police reports. Repeated actions to remove or reduce his police escort have been stopped by the President of the Italian Republic, Mr Giorgio Napolitano.

Before the Regional Elections which took place in Italy in March, Mr Saviano asked the United Nations to send observers overlooking the voting procedures, a vote in Southern Italy being frequently sold for as much as 50 euros.

Roberto Saviano answered to Silvio Berlusconi in a letter published today by la Repubblica: "I, as many others, will keep on reporting. I will use my word to share ideas, to set the world right, to understand. I was born, dear Mr President [(2)], in a wonderful and unfortunately devastated land. Whose beauty, though, keeps on giving me hope to dream of a different Italy. [...] I swear, Mr President, in the name of the Italians who consider their dead all those who fell fighting against the criminal organizations, that we will never be silent. I promise this. I cry it aloud" (3).


* "They did not kill them: their ideas walk on our legs". A flag remembering Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, famous Italian magistrates killed by the Mafia in 1992, wraps up a tree planted in front Giovanni Falcone's house in Palermo, Sicily.

(1) "La mafia italiana risulterebbe essere la sesta al mondo, ma guarda caso è quella più conosciuta, perchè c'è stato un supporto promozionale che l'ha portata ad essere un elemento molto negativo di giudizio per il nostro paese. Ricordiamoci le otto serie della Piovra programmate dalle tv di 160 paesi nel mondo e tutta la letteratura in proposito, Gomorra e il resto" (

(2) In Italy the Prime Minister (Silvio Berlusconi) is called 'Presidente del Consiglio'. The 'Presidente della Repubbica' (Giorgio Napolitano), instead, is the head of state representing the unity of the nation.

(3) "Io, come molti altri, continueremo a raccontare. Userò la parola come un modo per condividere, per aggiustare il mondo, per capire. Sono nato, caro Presidente, in una terra meravigliosa e purtroppo devastata, la cui bellezza però continua a darmi forza per sognare la possibilità di una Italia diversa. Una Italia che può cambiare solo se il sud può cambiare. Lo giuro Presidente, anche a nome degli italiani che considerano i propri morti tutti coloro che sono caduti combattendo le organizzazioni criminali, che non ci sarà giorno in cui taceremo. Questo lo prometto. A voce alta" (

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Why Silvio Berlusconi Is Still in Charge

(Centrifuga, i giovani, i giovani 2) 

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - The Italian Left seems still unable to take advantage of a collapsing Democratic Party, which fell from 33.17% in 2008 to 26.10% in 2010. 

49 senators of the party recently wrote to their secretary setting straight the reason of the defeat: "We are constantly tempted by bourgeoisification, which comes to the point of making us wickedly transversal while pretending to look reformist. Our founding values are at risk of wobbling under mistrust and owing to a neo-relativism which intoxicates our conscience leading us to the most guilty sloth" (1). 

The Democratic party is old, traditional and not motivated to change. On the contrary, in December 2009 Italy saw a young, innovative and motivated movement - the Purple People - gathering supposedly about one million persons to celebrate a No Berlusconi Day. 

Nevertheless, still divided, the parties at the Left of the Democratic Party fail to fulfill the expectations of these citizens: Italy of Values got 7.27%, Left Ecology and Freedom got 3.03%; the Federation of the Left got 2.74%. A steady ignored winner, the Five Stars Movement inspired by Beppe Grillo got 6% in Emilia Romagna and 3.66% in Piedmont. 

The one who better understood the problem is probably the most fit to lead the Italian Left. Luigi De Magistris, a former magistrate and now a MEP with Italy of Values, sensibly said: "We need to build a political laboratory holding the forces of the Left, starting from those subjects who proved to be in touch with the people. We need to involve in this project, which will give birth to a new alliance between parties and movements [...], workers and trade unions, politicians of the different forces of the Left, journalists, writers, intellectuals, professionals. In these times of riconstruction the very best of the country is needed, nobody can turn his back." 


(1) "L’imborghesimento ci tenta in continuazione ed arriva persino a coinvolgerci in scellerate trasversalità ammantate di riformismo. I nostri valori fondanti rischiano di vacillare sotto i colpi della sfiducia e di un neo relativismo che intossica le nostre coscienze per condurci verso la più colpevole accidia." The text of this letter and the names of the 49 senators who wrote it can be read in Italian at 

(2) "Si deve, poi, aprire un laboratorio politico in cui mettere insieme le forze della sinistra a cominciare da quei soggetti che hanno dimostrato un forte radicamento popolare. Coinvolgere in questo cantiere che condurrà alla nascita di un'alleanza politica tra partiti e movimenti - con le forme che si riterranno più adeguate - il mondo del lavoro e dei sindacati, politici delle varie forze della sinistra, giornalisti, scrittori, intellettuali, professionisti. In questi momenti di ricostruzione c'è bisogno del contributo delle forze migliori del Paese, nessuno può girarsi dall'altra parte." (

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Abstension, the Real Winner

(Livorno, 2009*)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - Abstension won the Regional Elections which took place in Italy last weekend. 14.6 millions of people out of 40.8 millions potential voters decided not to express their opinion. If in 2005 72.01% of Italians entitled to vote took part in the local elections, five years later only  64.19% of potential voters went to the polls.

On the other hand, Mr Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party and Mr Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic Party, which at the
General Elections in 2008 were planning to get rid of all the other political parties, got respectively 26.78% and 26.10%. Today more than ever, Italy proves to be a complex society with peculiar regional differences.

In Northern Italy (Piedmont, Lombardy and Veneto, with the exception of Liguria), citizens gave a strong support to the racist and xenophobic Northern League, which actually rose to 12.28% on a national basis. Being the main ally of the People of Freedom, the Northern League allowed Mr Berlusconi to hide his unequivocal defeat.

The less populated and less influential Central Italy (Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche) confirmed its tradition of red stronghold, according power to the Center-Left.

Southern Italy (Campania and Calabria, where several candidates of both sides were alleged to represent the local mafias, Camorra and 'Ndrangheta) went back to the Center-Right.

Puglia and Lazio were significant exceptions. In Puglia, where the Left was able to impose its candidate Nichi Vendola over the candidate of the Democratic Party, the Center-Left gained a strong and passionate victory. In Lazio, the Rome region where the Democratic Party was unable to present a trustworthy candidate, Mrs Emma Bonino - a member of the anticlerical Radical Party - lost for a handful of votes against the Right trade unionist Renata Polverini.

In Italy abstension reflects the public disgust for politics. Change is coming, but it might be dreadful...
* "Vote yourself so that you understand and we better understand how stupid you are (ZEB)".