Italy: Hunger, sweat and tears whilst waiting for the (supposed) recovery

If we were moralists, we’d say that there is something obscene in the daily drama bourgeois politicians of every stripe enact for us.

Watch the fight to the death between gangs in the same party, either to win control or, more simply, not to lose the cosy armchairs offered by the institutions of bourgeois democracy, from where they can orchestrate their plunder of the "common goods" (the various material forms of the surplus value extorted from the working class) in favour of their own "good". The bourgeoisie in general, from the most powerful sectors down, are parasites feeding on the body of so-called civil society.

Watch an "old goat"[1] who, having accumulated billions trampling on the laws he claims to protect, unleash his hordes of highly paid lackeys to postpone the enforcement of a prison sentence which some poor guy would have been already serving for some time. Watch a minister who, for humanitarian reasons of course, strives to free a woman from gaol, where her health and perhaps her life were in danger. Well done, only the lady in question belongs to one of the richest families of Italy, with whom the minister has close ties of friendship. Something which thousands who populate the hell of Italy’s prisons – for less serious offences and often just on remand – cannot boast of.

These are snapshots of bourgeois politicians who, while shamelessly fighting to defend their "caste" privileges, don’t hesitate to implement the decrees coming from “dictatorial Europe” and “the markets”: in short, from the bourgeoisie both at home and abroad. But it is always the proletariat who pay. This spectacle makes you sick to the stomach, but we are not moralists and we are not surprised, because we know that it all fits perfectly into the world the ruling class has built. Indeed, most of the (unavoidable) crises of the process of capitalist accumulation will bring greater poverty to the proletariat and the social strata close to it. These are the people called upon to pay a price, in hunger, sweat and tears, which gets ever larger. The usual communist exaggerations? Its not just us: there are public and private sector firms saying the same thing. The absolute number of the poor has doubled in a few years to four million and eight hundred thousand individuals, the so-called “area of ​​occupational hardship” (unemployed, discouraged, laid off workers, temporary workers, etc.) involves ten million or so people. Expenditure, except for electronic "gizmos" and little else, has fallen relentlessly, starting from cars (-50% since 2007), and going on to food. It has returned to the level of the Sixties. In fact, in 1971, more was being spent on food and more consumed: this is confirmed by a report of the Co-op (L. Fazio, Il Manifesto, 6 Sept 2013), which understands something about consumption.

The sweat, for those who have the "luck" to be squeezed by it, flows freely in the "marchionnised"[2] factories, in the delivery warehouses, in the workplace in general, where the bosses celebrate their victory over a workforce annihilated by blackmail of the "head down, and shut up or there is the door!” type. Disoriented, confused, betrayed a thousand times by compliant (to the bosses) unions and 'left' parties, committed to keeping the working class (in the widest sense) in check while it is weighed down with chains.

Tears (and anger), for those who despair of finding another job even though they may be sick, disabled, in need of special assistance. They have seen the funds they need cut inexorably to the bone, by one government after another, one stabilisation law after another.

Apart from their blatant arrogance, or the particular odiousness of this or that character in the parliamentary spectacle, governments of all types have carried out essentially the same policies. As we said it cannot be otherwise; it is Europe, the markets, or, in short, the capitalist system which demands that this be imposed. The politicians do its bidding, and with pleasure.

Everyone is talking about boosting consumption to overcome the crisis; leaving aside the validity of this economic theory (the usual Keynesian one ...) shared by "rightists" and "leftists", we wonder why then, those who have the power, instead of cutting wages, salaries and incomes of the many so-called “self-employed” workers, do not increase them. The large-scale distributors, including the Coop, don’t do it. Indeed they systematically sent in the police to bludgeon the delivery drivers in their struggle for higher wages and working conditions that were less like slavery. No “job creator”, not even the state, does it. Once again, the law of financial stability decrees that state workers will have wages frozen and increments for experience cancelled, as well as cuts in contractual holiday pay. Over one hundred thousand temporary workers have had the prospect of job security deferred, equivalent to a loss of two years of their final lump sum. According to some calculations, the extension of the current bargaining round until 2014 “imposes a sacrifice on public sector workers equal to 10.5% of the current wage which will rise to 14.6% of all contracts if the machinery does not come into play by 2017". For the least qualified it comes to about four thousand Euros (from 2010 to the present). From now on, the lack of such increases is beyond legal redress and, if we take into account that the numbers "of state and family workers involves about 6-7 million people" (for the two quotes, see G. Total, Il Sole 24 ORE, 16 Oct 2013), it is easy to see that consumption will, of course, continue to be affected.

And to think that the "old goat" mentioned above, when he reigned among Olgettina[3] and his stable boys clogged television commercials with the cretinous advert (one of many) of the guy who, turning to his full shopping bag, was overwhelmed by thanks from passers-by because recognised in him the engine of the economy in person ("Make the economy go round: spend and buy !"). Such is the poverty of bourgeois ideology. From professorial chairs to trash TV it shares the same inability to understand the disease that regularly affects its system, and to which it can only offer the same old medicine of ever more exploitation, ever more war. As long as it lasts ...


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

[1] No prizes for guessing that this is Berlusconi.

[2] Marchionne is boss of FIAT who has stepped up layoffs and the rhythm of work in the factories in the last few years. See the articles on Pomigliano on this site.

[3] This refers to “Rubygate” (she lived in Via Olgettina).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Battaglia Comunista

Mensile del Partito Comunista Internazionalista, fondato nel 1945.