Italy

Libya: imperial rivalry and corruption

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

At the end of July, when France and Italy were about to sign a deal sealing the grip of Italy’s largest and most profitable company, Fincantiere, on France’s massive shipbuilding industry, Macron upset the applecart by announcing the suspension of the business agreement. Macron claimed it was to protect French jobs: but it was clearly a move to reassert French control over one of the country’s most strategically important companies.

The nightmare and bottomless horrors faced by Africa’s migrants deepens by the day, and now the fruits of imperial and domestic reaction have summoned the spectre of a former Gaddafi butcher with a recipe for totalitarian mass murder.

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“Saving lives is a luxury we cannot afford”

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

In the last issue we carried a piece on ever-growing xenophobia and racism across Italy, highlighting the launch of a ship by a gang of neo-fascists dedicated to “Defend Europe” by physically confronting the humanitarian NGO ships involved in rescuing refugees off the coast of Libya. On both sides of that ship were emblazoned the words — “No way, you will not make Europe home, no way”.

On 2 August, the Italian parliament ratified the goverment’s decision to send troops and ships to Tripoli, while simultaneously imposing a repressive “code of conduct” upon NGOs in the Mediterranean, restricting their space of operation in regard to rescue.

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Anti-migrant racism and Italy’s “morbid symptoms”

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

Soon after the racist, lying campaign initiated by a magistrate in Catania aiming to discredit the humanitarian work of the network of NGOs who have been rescuing refugees, a crowdfunding appeal has been launched in Italy to raise money to buy a boat to, it is said, “defend Europe from the plot to substitute the Italian population with the masses from Africa.”

There is no imminent threat to Italy's bourgeois social order, or to its working-class movement, but the decade-long economic and financial crisis, now capped by the political discrediting of the ruling order, signals something like Gramsci's “morbid symptoms”.

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Socialists and digital liberties

Author: 

Adrian Noble

Digital liberties and free use of the internet are facing new threats in Britain, while there are increasing efforts by campaigners to establish a framework of rights that can safeguard online civil liberties.

The libertarian-right tends to dominate the debate on internet freedom, pushing the singular narrative that only state control, and not private ownership over technology, is the central threat to our digital liberties.

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Five Star play the race card

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

After last November’s referendum rejection of Renzi’s constitutional amendment, the populist Five Star Movement has come to lead Italy’s opinion polls.

Italy's populist Five Star Movement now leads opinion polls there.

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Italy: a shift in the political centre

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

At its recent conference Italy’s governing party, il Partito Democratico (PD), split. This follows a massive defeat in the December 2016 referendum for party leader and head of government Matteo Renzi.

There are now a number of groups and figures in Italy pointing to the need for a more social democratic orientation, even the notion of an explicitly working-class party.

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Will Italy shift right in an election?

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

The world’s leading financial media has recently sharply turned their attention to the critical consequences of Italy’s constitutional referendum on 4 December. What stirs these experts is the significance of the vote for the country’s notoriously precarious banking system and the effect of a rejection — the no vote is 5-7 points ahead in the polls — for political stability in Europe.

The growing and palpable fear among the Italian bourgeoisie is mounting instability and the possibility of an election if Renzi fails.

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Resist Trump surge and Brexit

Author: 

Martin Thomas

It is conceivable that within a year or so there will be no European Union, or not much of an EU, for Britain to quit.

The 23 June EU Referendum vote represents no fixed-forever “decision of the British public” which obliges Labour to give away the rights of migrant workers (and British workers and young people who want to work, study, or live in Europe) by abandoning freedom of movement.

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Refugee deaths hit record

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

According to the latest UNHCR report, 2016 has seen the largest number of refugee deaths in the Mediterranean — almost 3,800 so far. Last year, the figure was 3,771 for the whole year.

While the walls and barbed wire fences of Europe and the cynical deal with Turkey to “house” refugees have resulted in a significant fall in the numbers attempting the Mediterranean crossing, the numbers of deaths has risen! It was one death among every 269 people crossing last year. It is now one death for every 88 people. For those heading to Italy, one person dies for every 47 arrivals.

The Italian labour movement has so far done precious little to seriously confront racist views within the refugee crisis.

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The end of Renzi?

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

As Italy’s premier Matteo Renzi and a clutch of his cronies were admitted by Obama to his final White House “do”, the substance behind the faux-carnival jollity was obvious — concern for the survival of Renzi’s government, and fears about how its fall could hit European and global financial and economic stability.

Italy is sliding further into decline and retreat, offering a vista of increasing demoraliation and collapse. That reality should be the leitmotif of a campaign led by the trade unions. Instead, the unions have split.

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