The voting in the regional elections in Italy is not yet over: the ballottaggio, the stand-off between any two leading candidates without a sufficient vote for a majority at the first round, takes place this week. However, in broad terms, the assault upon Matteo Renzi's leadership of the Partito Democratico by an entrenched, furious faction of junked senior Party members (located upon various parts of the PD political spectrum but mostly former communists and trade unionists) has failed. The man who junked them, the rottamatore Renzi, increased the number of regions held by the PD (though losing Liguria to the centre right.) Unfortunately lost too was 50% of the electorate.
Italy usually votes, but not this time. So bitter is the resentment of the Bersani-led faction within the PD (the prime- minister-who-never-was after the 2013 elections because he dared not face down the then president Napolitano) it is clear that they have gone much too far. The working-classes are not voting, not least because their party has within it a gelid, old-style authoritarian Left that will do whatever it takes to 'get their party back', ie., back to the economics and politics of the last century. Their central tactic this time was to use their chairmanship of the Anti-Mafia Commission to publish a list of those under investigation for Mafia activities. This list included the names of a number of PD candidates in the regional elections. Not unnaturally, the Chairman - woman actually - who blurted out that restricted list at a press conference only hours before pre-electoral silence fell on the media, thus denying those listed any chance of reply before the vote, is being sued by a number of candidates (successful and unsuccessful) for the obvious - damaged constitutional rights, public reputation.....
Even the current President of Italy has spoken of the damage to the conduct of politics, to electoral involvement, to civic commitment that this overspill of over the top factional fighting has caused. The Prime Minister has been remarkably contained in his expressions of contempt for the destructive behaviours of old men and women, but unforgiving in his condemnation of the instrumentalisation of state and parliamentary bodies for party, factional ends.
The trouble is that, as in the UK, there are the younger Deluded, and the bag-carriers for these old politics; what might be called the 'new' politics of Milibandistas. Fascism is never far away in Italy. Nor is its threat under 'socialist' ideals; it never was the first time round either.