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A year and a half of right-wing rule

Thursday 18 April 2024, by Franco Turigliatto

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The political line of Meloni and her allies advocates total continuity with the neo-liberal economic policies of Brussels and supports the new European Stability Pact, which announces, as early as the autumn, a financial law that will be highly punitive for the working classes.

Another crucial element is the centrality of business, which must not be subjected to any constraints (leaving capitalists a free hand!) and which, on the contrary, must be supported by further tax cuts. The twelve tax amnesties in one year for the petty and middle classes, the government’s main electoral base, were a blatant invitation to tax evasion.

Repression, arms race and reactionary ideological offensive

Added to this is the severe penalization of all the weakest sections of society (the poor, migrants and people with disabilities), both economically and in terms of standards. These measures are being implemented through the introduction of 22 new criminal offences ranging from the repression of rave parties to the criminalization of collective action by young environmental activists, while more “serious” measures are being prepared to crush the solidarity movement with the Palestinian people in universities.

Internationally, Meloni fully supports the imperialist NATO coalition, the arms race and the dispatch of the Italian fleet to the Persian Gulf.

Her action is also accompanied by a continuation of the process of privatizing schools, accentuating class divisions within them and an ideological offensive aimed at rewriting the country’s history in a reactionary and revisionist sense. Representatives of the armed forces are increasingly present in the life and education of many schools and we are witnessing the activation of all the reactionary impulses in society, including racism, nationalist patriotism and the old colonialism.

There is a systematic occupation at all levels of institutions and power, with total control of public television and media and attempts to muzzle and even criminalize critical journalists.

The cult of the so-called democracy of the leader elected by the people is expressed in an institutional counter-reform which will give enormous powers to the Prime Minister, completely altering the balance of power in the State, combined with the counter-reform of the so-called differentiated autonomy, which will make the rich regions even richer and which will further destroy public health care in favour of the private sector.

Death at work and destruction of the gains of the Resistance

They want to put an end to the “civil reformist religion” (which promotes rights, freedom and the pursuit of social justice) that characterized the country for years after the victory of the Resistance, expressed by the workers’ movement and the social, trade union and political forces of the left. The defeats of the working class, its fragmentation and the austerity policies pursued by the centre-right and centre-left governments have opened up a motorway for the far right to attempt to establish what Gramsci called a reactionary “passive revolution” of the ruling classes.

A never-ending and unacceptable chain of workplace deaths, a veritable massacre of workers, now marks the condition of the working class, and it is clear that this government, which does not want to put any obstacle in the way of the free exploitation of companies and precariousness, is even less able and willing to put in place effective legislation and adequate controls to combat these murders.

Towards a new season of struggles?

The government is well aware that if it is to consolidate its power, it must confront the labour movement (and it is preparing to do so). The labour movement retains its trade union and organizational strength, albeit weakened. So far, this direct confrontation has been postponed because of the passivity of the trade union leaderships, including the total subordination of the CISL (Italy’s second largest trade union), and the government’s hope that trade union inaction will further accentuate the demoralization and divisions of the working class, but the tensions over wages and employment are very real and (with the arrival of the austerity budget law) could precipitate the confrontation. The rank-and-file unions, but also the leaderships of the other two big unions, CGIL and UIL, are trying to react in one way or another, starting with the renewal of employment contracts for many categories in the public and private sectors, whose wages have been massacred by inflation. On 11 April, strikes and mobilizations took place across the country against deaths at work. On 12 April, 10,000 workers from Stellantis and the car industry took to the streets of Turin to defend their jobs.

Moreover, two symbolic dates of struggle for the workers’ movement, 25 April, the anniversary of the defeat of fascism, and 1 May, are very close together. The perspective must be that of a new season of struggle, of a revival of the workers’ movement, capable of withstanding the harsh social confrontation against the fascist government that manages the interests of the capitalist class.

17 April 2024

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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