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La Sinistra Italiana nell’era post keynesiana [EN]

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Un articolo di David Broeder parla dell’evoluzione delle politiche del Partito Comunista Italiano e analizza la storia e le debolezze della sinistra in Italia a partire dallo shock dei prezzi del petrolio del 1973 che mise in crisi le politiche keynesiane.

In 1977, Eric Hobsbawm published a book of interviews with Giorgio Napolitano, a leading figure in the Italian Communist Party (PCI)’s gradualist wing, the miglioristi. Hobsbawm proclaimed himself a “spiritual member” of the PCI and intended this book to depict the path it was beating in between Leninism and social democracy. Yet his efforts appeared rather frustrated by Napolitano’s vocabulary. Though calling for the “reconstruction and renewal” of Italian society and insisting on the PCI’s “democratic commitment,” Napolitano did little to convey any clear socialist worldview. As he extolled the “perspective of the continuous, organic, balanced development of the Italian economy” and the “retailoring of Italian production for the foreign market,” Hobsbawm interrupted him, as if to draw him back on topic[…]

Broeder ritiene che il desiderio del PCI molto evidente nell’era berlingueriana di dimostrare la lealtà alle istituzioni democratiche e l’impegno a servire il più ampio interesse nazionale, guadagnandosi così il diritto di detenere il potere esecutivo, abbia portato a rinunciare ad ogni prospettiva socialista,  fosse pure di lungo periodo.

This change was not simply an artifact of the historic compromise with the DC, but a theme on which Berlinguer expanded even after the turn back to opposition in 1979, including in a 1981 interview with Scalfari on the “moral question” in politics. The PCI now advanced policies to handle the immediate crises facing the economy, rather than simply pointing to its ills as malign effects of capitalism or supporting mobilizations to shield workers from their effects.

I’ve noted that even by 1945, PCI leaders had abandoned any notion of a 1917-style revolution and raised the banner of broad popular alliances, defense of republican institutions, and compromise with Catholic Italy. Yet if each had different conceptions of how this connected to the socialist “end goal,” Berlinguer’s turn relegated any such program of transformations to an intangible future.

La tendenza si acuisce sino ai leader degli anni ’90 come D’Alema, Veltroni e Bersani. Ma Broeder dopo avere dettagliatamente raccontato questa evoluzione rigetta la semplicistica tesi del tradimento dei leader ma del venire meno dell’equivalente sociale del “fronte popolare”.

But building on this observation, one could say the left’s weakness owes not to the alleged “disappearance” of the working class—in what is, after all, still the continent’s second most industrial power—but the fact that the islands of industrial organization that still exist no longer suffice to cohere wider “popular classes” politically. Schematically, if in the 1970s the 60,000-odd FIAT workers at Turin Mirafiori symbolically represented the labor behind industrial modernity, the muscle behind the anti-fascist revolt, and a visible expression of the power of numbers, one could hardly ascribe a similarly obvious “cohesive” role in 2020 to Italy’s 1.6 million mostly low-paid tourism employees. The PCI always represented more than just industrial workers; the problem, after the loss of the identity and cohesion the party itself offered, is how to federate different types of workers, unemployed, precarious, small-proprietor groups under any common set of demands.

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