Monday, 26 November 2012

Turning the Other Cheek

Italy has divided itself in two in the Partito Democratico primaries.  For the former communists' and socialists' Tendency led by Pierluigi Bersani - the South.  A south ravaged by underdevelopment resulting from corruption and criminality deeply rooted in the last century since the Second World War, and even earlier.  A South the recipient of enormous transfers of wealth and resources from the economically and culturo-politically successful North.   For the young, centrist, 21st century politician Matteo Renzi - the North.  A North that has dug in its heels and refuses to accept any further transfer of its wealth and resources when dealing with a recession on the current scale, and regards its taxation levels as wholly unacceptable, never mind economically inefficient as well as morally deficient.

'You must support your fellow workers and disadvantaged southern citizens ' cry the Usual Suspects.

'Not for more than 60 years we won't, and not when we're feeling the pinch ourselves,' comes the northern reply.

Bersani has done so badly in the North that there is now an official, point blank refusal to publish the complete results of the voting in the North.  At a guess (and with the refusal to publish the results of more than half the polling stations in the North  that 's all we can do)  Bersani can claim only Emilia Romagna, his own back yard.  All the rest of Italy's Red Belt has voted Renzi  (in areas of Tuscany Renzi has touched 75-80%) as has further north - Piedmont, the Veneto, the Italian advanced manufacturing heartlands.   Which leaves a nastier problem than democratic centralist behaviour in the interests of perverting democratic expression.  How can the Bersani Tendency maintain any access to power in the general elections in March 2013?

The Monti government of the last year could be regarded as a grand coalition, with Monti maintaining his democratic legitimacy by consistently receiving majority votes in the Parliament for his policies.  To do this he has had to conform to much of the resistance to labour reforms expressed through the Bersani-led PD in the Parliament.  In 2013 a PD with Bersani as its leader cannot win any kind of majority, not least because the moderate centre, with whom he would have to ally, is receiving a disgraceful lesson in precisely what he and his henchmen are.  Bersani's faction would be leading a PD in opposition. The best he can hope for is another Monti administration which relied in part on accommodating his demands.

Renzi could unite the non-communist, non-socialist and non-trade union left  with the centre, and large sections of the soft centre right and the Northern leagues.  Everyone, that is, but Bersani's paymasters, diehard ex-Berlusconi rightwingers, and the Fascists (whatever they are calling themselves these days).   And Bersani's goose would be cooked.  A rump Left to match the Berlusconi Right, with a true Partito Democratico in power under prime minister Renzi. 

Renzi has turned the page on the cheek of vote suppression and misrepresentation in last Sunday's poll and is concentrating on the run-off next Sunday.  He is calling on Bersani voters to reconsider their position, on the runners-up voters to switch to a PD with a chance of actually winning the general election next March, and has told the leader of the CGIL union (the biggest, and fiercely demanding that Bersani be confirmed in the PD leadership by any means) that if she wants to play politics she should stand for election by everyone, not just the employed and entitled of her union.


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