Italy: Renzi in power

Submitted by AWL on 25 February, 2014 - 6:50
Matteo Renzi

The final paragraph of the manifesto of Matteo Renzi, read by him to a packed jubilant crowd of supporters in his native city of Florence, summed up the accuracy of the label pinned on the new Prime Minister as Italy's Tony Blair.

"The left today is called upon to recognise and embrace the continuous flux of the new social dynamics, against those who vainly wish to appeal to and rely upon no longer existing social blocs.

"In Italy, more than anywhere else, the political capacity to identify such dynamics that involve those at the bottom and the marginalised, and to create for them and everyone else a better country, lies with the Democratic Party and the historic mission of the left."

A document bereft of theory or ideas of any kind, let alone substance, dripped pious platitudes and vacuous abstractions, with name-checks for the odious Blair, Clinton,F D Roosvelt, Pope Francis, and a line filched conveniently from Italy's own celebrated utopian Social Democrat Norberto Bobbio.

One would never have gathered from it that its author had, just a few days earlier, effected a cold-blooded coup that turfed out of office his fellow Democratic Party member and then prime minister, Enrico Letta.

Nor that when, in December 2013, Renzi became leader of the Democratic Party, he swore undying loyalty to the coalition government, then of Letta and Berlusconi, later of Letta and Alfano.

The truth is that this little eversmiling ruthless Arturo Ui has had one big thing favouring his bottomless ambitions for power: the state of the country and the political class governig it.

Despite the success of the Monti goverment's assault on public expenditure , courtesy of the trade-union bosses,neither it nor the ensuing coalitions - united in extremis to hold the ring against Grillo's 5 Star threat - could find a united line of march among the disparate fractions of their respective parties on fiscal, economic, and structural reform.

The eventual loss of faith by the major employers' confederation, followed by the march on Rome of the whole spectrum of forces of the small-business world that constitutes 95% of Italy's productive base, and added to Europe's and the markets' thumbs-down on the prostration of the government, opened the door to Renzi.

He has been backed by one platoon after another of what still has the effrontery to describe itself as the left - Vendola's S E L, the metalworkers' leader Landini, plus the washed-up remnants of the latest opportunist disaster Communist Refoundation, cynically prepared to pass off the little mayor's rhetorical guff as proof of political progress and social change for the working and suffering masses.

The proof of what he stands for and the interests behind him were already well known, as Renzi's deal with Berlusconi on a new electoral law eloquently confirmed.

Just before he was confirmed in office by Napolitano, president of the country and "greasy eminence" of the strategic interests of the European bourgeoisie as a whole, Renzi had it spelt out to him almost as an ultimatum - no let up in any way from the programme of the Troika, the stability pact, the already earmarked 32 billion public spending cuts, the guarantees to the international creditors that their intersts are secure and profitable, etc , etc.

On this platform Renzi has sworn to address "structural reforms" in the economy and public life, promising behind the rhetoric to massively privatise large swathes of the Italian economy.

No wonder the markets applauds and the country's Treasury bond interest rates fell to their lowest since the crisis began.

Once more the Italian masses face an offensive - alas, more confused and defenceless than ever.

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