Italy: The Center Cannot Hold

For a generation, acceptance of the neoliberal doctrine that “there is no alternative” has paralyzed politics in the West. But what is the meaning of politics if there’s no alternative to the resulting Authoritarian Center, asks Diana Johnstone.

By Diana Johnstone
in Paris

The traditional governing parties, center “left” and center “right” all follow the same neoliberal policies and constitute the self-designated “center.” Mainstream media enforce center right claims to authority on the base of orthodox economic expertise, while the center left derives its authority from its “values,” centered on an identity politics version of human rights. “Center” sounds so reasonable, so safe from dangerous “extremes” and unpredictable populism. Against such threats, the Center presents itself as the champion and safeguard of “democracy.”

How true is this?

World Values Survey results indicate that in Europe and the United States, people who describe themselves as “centrist” on the average have less attachment to democracy (e.g. free and fair elections) that those on the left, and even those on the far right. This is not as surprising as it may seem at first, since “centrists” are by definition attached to the status quo. In European countries, the authoritarian neoliberal “center” is institutionalized in the European Union, which imposes economic policy over the heads of the parliaments of the member countries, dictating measures which conform to the choices of Germany and northern Europe, but are increasingly disastrous for the Southern EU members.

The Rise of the Outcasts

The Centrist fear of democracy was resoundingly confirmed by March 4 legislative elections in Italy. The Center was relegated to the margins and outsiders burst in. The winner, with 32 percent of the votes, was the Five Star Movement (M5S) whose campaign “against corruption” won popular support in the impoverished South. In second place, with 17 percent, was “the League”, formerly the Northern League – that is, a party of rich north Italy chauvinists ready to secede from the “lazy good-for-nothing” south. It took almost three months for this extremely odd couple to agree to a coalition government.

The mystique of the European Union is anti-nationalist, based on the theory that “nations” are bad because they caused the devastating wars of the twentieth century, while European unification is the sole guarantee of “peace.” Convinced of their mission, the Eurocentrists have had no qualms in throwing out the baby of democratic choice along with the nationalist bathwater.

The notion that “peace” depends on “Europe” persists despite the NATO bombing of Serbia and European participation in U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, not to mention EU participation in the current major military buildup in the Baltic States against “the Russian enemy.” Indeed, thanks to NATO, the EU is gearing for a war even worse than the previous ones.

Since the “nation-state” is blamed for evil in the world, the Eurocentrists react with horror at growing demands in Member States for a return to “national sovereignty.” This, however, is a natural reaction to the economic and social disasters resulting from policies dictated by EU institutions in Brussels. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty legally bound member countries to centralized neoliberal monetarist policies; not only “socialism” became illegal – even Keynesianism was ruled out. Promised endless peace and prosperity, citizens of European countries were cajoled into giving up their sovereignty to EU institutions, and many now want it back.

Disillusioned Italy

Signing of the Rome Treaty, 1957 (Photo; European Commission)

Italian disillusion is particularly significant. Italy was an exceptionally enthusiastic founding member of the unification begun with the 1957 Treaty of Rome. And yet, Italy’s own history illustrates what can go wrong with such unification, since the 19th century political creation of a unified Italy centered in Turin led to the enrichment of the industrial north at the expense of southern Italy, where the splendor of Naples declined into chronic poverty, crime and corruption. Now Italy itself is “the south” in the periphery of a European Union centered around Germany.

Antagonism between northern and southern Italy has given way to a much stronger antagonism between Italy and Germany – each blaming the other for the crisis.

It is only fair to recall that Germans were very attached to their Deutsche Mark and to their own austere financial policies. Germany could only be lured into the common currency by agreeing to let the euro follow German rules. France eagerly supported this concession based on the notion that the common currency would unify Europe. It is doing quite the opposite.

Germany is a major exporting nation. Its trade with the rest of the EU is secondary. It uses the EU as its hinterland as it competes and trades globally with China, the United States and the rest of the world. The proceeds of Germany’s favorable EU trade balance is less and less invested in those countries but in Germany itself or outside the EU. In the official German view, the main function of the Southern EU members is to pay back their debts to Germany.

Meanwhile, Italy’s once flourishing industrial network has lost its competitive edge due to the euro. It cannot save its exports by devaluation, as it was accustomed to doing. Italy’s debt is now 132 percent of its GNP, whereas the Maastricht Treaty governing the monetary union puts a ceiling of 60 percent on national debt. And to continue paying the debt, public services are cut back, the middle class is impoverished, the domestic market declines and the economy gets even weaker.

This is precisely the situation that has plunged Greece into ever deepening poverty.

But Italy is not Greece. Greece is a small peripheral country, which can be pounded to death by creditors as a warning of what can happen to others. Italy, on the contrary, is too big to fail. Its collapse could bring the whole EU crashing down.

Italy’s Potential Strength Through Weakness

The traditional Italian parties had no solution beyond those that have ruined Greece: cut back social spending, impoverish workers and pensioners, and pay back the foreign banks, with interest.

The odd coalition of the League and the M5S was obliged to try something different: basically, to invest in the economy rather than abandon it to its creditors. Their program combines lower taxes with Keynesian stimulation of investment. Since the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, and Luigi Di Maio of M5S do not like each other, they selected law professor Giuseppe Conte to be Prime Minister in their coalition cabinet. The interesting choice was that of Paolo Savona for the key post of Minister of Economy and Finance. Savona, whose long career has taken him across the summits of Italian and international finance, was certainly the most qualified choice imaginable. Savona knows everything there is to know about the Italian economy and international currency creation.

DiMaio and Salvini: Enemies trying to rule together. (Photo: Italian Insider)

And yet, it was the appointment of this 81-year-old expert that created outrage in the Eurocenter.

The uproar was spurred by the fact that in one of his books Savona had described the euro as “a German prison.” Savona had also said it was necessary to prepare a Plan B, to leave the euro if there is no other choice. “The alternative is to end up like Greece.”

This hint of disloyalty to the euro was totally unacceptable to the European establishment.

The Center struck back in the person of the largely figurehead President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, who used, or misused, his unique constitutional power by refusing to approve the government. On May 28, he designated as prime minister Carlo Cottarelli of the International Monetary Fund – a man who represented everything the Italians had just voted against. Known in Italy as “Mr. Scissors” for his advocacy of drastic government spending cuts, Cottarelli was supposed to run an apolitical “technical” government until new elections could be held in the fall.

This coup against the Italian voters caused momentary rejoicing in the Authoritarian Center. The European Budget Commissioner (a German of course), Günther Oettinger, was reported to be gloating over the prospect that “the markets” (meaning the financial markets) would soon teach Italians how to vote. Italy’s economy “could be so drastically impacted,” he said, as to send a signal to voters “not to vote for populists on the right and left.”

This simply intensified Italian indignation against “German arrogance.”

Meanwhile Savona wrote a letter to President Mattarella which introduced a bit of cold reason into an increasingly hysterical situation. He reminded the president that an important meeting of EU heads of state was to be held at the end of June; without a political government, Italy would be absent from negotiations which could seal the fate of the EU. Italy’s plea for economic change could expect French support. Savona denied having called for leaving the euro; in the spirit of game strategy, he had mentioned the need for Plan B in order to strengthen one’s position before negotiations. He made it clear that his strategy was not to leave the euro but to transform it into a genuine rival to the dollar.

Germany prevents the euro from becoming ‘an essential part of foreign policy’, as the dollar is for the United States”, wrote Savona. But change becomes necessary, as the dollar is less and less suitable for its role as world currency.

Savona: Plan B just a negotiating tactic.

Indeed, the Italian crisis merges with a mounting trans-Atlantic crisis, as the U.S. uses sanctions as a weapon in competition with its European “partners.” The paradox is that Italy could use its very weakness to oblige Germany to reconsider its monetary policy in a moment when the German economy is also facing problems due to U.S. sanctions on deals with Russia and Iran, as well as protectionist measures. Savona’s message was that clever diplomacy could work to Italy’s advantage. In its own interest, Germany may need to accept transformation of the euro into a more proactive currency, able to defend European economies from U.S. manipulation.

It was a matter of hours before Cottarella stepped back and a new M5S-League government was formed, with Savona himself back as Minister of Relations with the European Union.

Italy’s Double Jeopardy

The new Italian cabinet sworn in on June 1 is riven with contradictions. Despite all the released anti-EU sentiment, it is definitely not an “anti-EU” government. Conte is back as prime minister. The new foreign minister, Enzo Moavero Milnesi, is a staunch pro-European. As interior minister, the northern Italy chauvinist Salvini – who doesn’t particularly care for southern Italians – will get tough with migrants. As minister of economic development M5S’ Di Maio will try to find ways to improve conditions in the southern regions that elected him. Since Salvini is the more experienced of the two, the League is likely to profit from the experiment more than the M5S.

Some Italians warn that by leaving the “German prison” Italy would simply find itself even more dependent on the United States.

One should never forget that ever since the end of World War II, Italy is an occupied country, with dozens of U.S. military bases on its territory, including air bases with nuclear weapons poised to strike the Middle East, Africa or even Russia. The Italian Constitution outlaws participation in aggressive war, and yet Italian bases are freely used by the United States to bomb whichever country it pleases, regardless of how Italians feel about it.

Worst of all, the U.S. used its Italian “NATO bases” to destroy Libya, a disaster for Italy which thereby lost a valuable trade partner and found itself inundated with African refugees and migrants. While international financial experts exhort Italy to cut government expenses, the country is obliged by NATO to spend around 13 billion euros to buy 90 U.S. F-35 fighters and to increase its military spending to around 100 million euros per day.

U.S. airmen arriving at Aviano NATO base, northeast Italy in 2011. (Photo: Eucom.mil)

Italy’s economic prospects have also been badly hit by U.S.-enforced sanctions against trade with Russia and Iran, important potential energy sources.

U.S. economic aggression, in particular Trump’s rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal, is the issue with the potential to bring European leaders together at a time when they were drifting apart. But at present, the Europeans are unable to defy U.S. sanctions in punishment for trade with those countries because their international dealings are in dollars.

This has already led to the U.S. exacting billions of dollars in fines from the biggest French and German banks, the BNP and Deutsche Bank, for trading that was perfectly legal under their own laws. The French petroleum giant has been obliged to abandon contracts with Iran because 90% of its trade is in dollars, and thus vulnerable to U.S. sanctions. And that is why the idea is growing of building financial instruments around the euro that can protect European companies from U.S. retaliation.

The Disappearance of the Left

The disappearance of left political forces has been almost total in Italy. There are many reasons for this, but a curable part of the problem has been the inability of what remains of the left to face up to the two main current issues: Europe and immigration.

The left has so thoroughly transformed its traditional internationalism into Europism that it has been unable to recognize EU institutions and regulations as a major source of its problems. The stigmatization of “the nation” as aggressively nationalistic has held back the left’s ability to envisage and advocate progressive policies at the national level, instead putting its hopes forever in a future hypothetical “social Europe.” Such a transformation would require unanimity under EU rules – politically impossible with 28 widely differing Member States.

Without such inhibitions, the far right capitalizes on growing discontent.

Another related handicap of the left is its inability to recognize that mass immigration is indeed “a problem” – especially in a country like Italy, with a flagging economy and 20 percent official unemployment (although this figure is probably too high, considering undeclared labor). There is resentment that prosperous Germany issued a general invitation to refugees, which for geographic reasons pile in Mediterranean countries unable to cope. The mass influx of economic migrants from Africa is not even “taking jobs away from” Italians – the jobs are not there to take. These migrants fled war and misery to come to Europe in order to earn money to send back to their families, but how can they possibly meet these expectations?

It is all very well to extol the glorious hospitality of America entreating the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…”. Such generosity was suited to a new nation with huge empty spaces and rapidly growing industry in need of a work force. The situation of a “full” nation in a time of economic downturn is quite different. What is to become of the tens of thousands of vigorous young men arriving on Italian shores where there is nothing for them to do except sell African trinkets on the sidewalks of tourist centers? To make matters worse, the great contemporary thrust of technical innovation aims at replacing more and more workers with robots. Leftist denial of the problem leaves its exploitation and resolution to the extreme right.

Some leftist politicians in Italy, such as Stefano Fassina of the Sinistra Italiana are waking up to this need. A left that dogmatically ignores the real concerns of the people is doomed. A bold, honest, imaginative left is needed to champion Italians’ independence from both German-imposed austerity and the expensive military adventurism demanded by the United States. But the interlaced problems created by unregulated globalization do not lend themselves to easy solutions.

Diana Johnstone is a political writer, focusing primarily on European politics and Western foreign policy. She received a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and was active in the movement against the Vietnam War. Johnstone was European editor of the U.S. weekly In These Times from 1979 to 1990. She was press officer of the Green group in the European Parliament from 1990 to 1996. Her books include Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary ClintonCounterPunch Books (2016) and Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions, Pluto Press (2002).

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72 comments for “Italy: The Center Cannot Hold

  1. Mild -ly Facetious
    June 6, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    The staccato effect of US hegemony, incrementally engulfing sovereign nations and peoples into it’s stronghold of debt and dependence
    overburdens the entire world of humanity with it’s ‘The Last Great Empire’ dominance and superiority, which has been so well defined by Ms. Johnstone.
    The picture she has defined is of the capture of the sovereignty of entire nations, subject to the dictates of a military & economic dominating influence whose controlling power has become immutable, indestructible, fixed and unchangeable.

    (manifest destiny fulfilled)???

    To wit: – Worst of all, the U.S. used its Italian “NATO bases” to destroy Libya, a disaster for Italy which thereby lost a valuable trade partner and found itself inundated with African refugees and migrants. While international financial experts exhort Italy to cut government expenses, the country is obliged by NATO to spend around 13 billion euros to buy 90 U.S. F-35 fighters and to increase its military spending to around 100 million euros per day.

    Italy’s economic prospects have also been badly hit by U.S.-enforced sanctions against trade with Russia and Iran, important potential energy sources.

    U.S. economic aggression, in particular Trump’s rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal, is the issue with the potential to bring European leaders together at a time when they were drifting apart. But at present, the Europeans are unable to defy U.S. sanctions in punishment for trade with those countries because their international dealings are in dollars.

    This has already led to the U.S. exacting billions of dollars in fines from the biggest French and German banks, the BNP and Deutsche Bank, for trading that was perfectly legal under their own laws. The French petroleum giant has been obliged to abandon contracts with Iran because 90% of its trade is in dollars, and thus vulnerable to U.S. sanctions. And that is why the idea is growing of building financial instruments around the euro that can protect European companies from U.S. retaliation.

    The Disappearance of the Left

    The disappearance of left political forces has been almost total in Italy. There are many reasons for this, but a curable part of the problem has been the inability of what remains of the left to face up to the two main current issues: Europe and immigration.

    The left has so thoroughly transformed its traditional internationalism into Europism that it has been unable to recognize EU institutions and regulations as a major source of its problems. The stigmatization of “the nation” as aggressively nationalistic has held back the left’s ability to envisage and advocate progressive policies at the national level, instead putting its hopes forever in a future hypothetical “social Europe.” Such a transformation would require unanimity under EU rules – politically impossible with 28 widely differing Member States.

    Without such inhibitions, the far right capitalizes on growing discontent.

    Another related handicap of the left is its inability to recognize that mass immigration is indeed “a problem” – especially in a country like Italy, with a flagging economy and 20 percent official unemployment (although this figure is probably too high, considering undeclared labor). There is resentment that prosperous Germany issued a general invitation to refugees, which for geographic reasons pile in Mediterranean countries unable to cope. The mass influx of economic migrants from Africa is not even “taking jobs away from” Italians – the jobs are not there to take. These migrants fled war and misery to come to Europe in order to earn money to send back to their families, but how can they possibly meet these expectations?

    It is all very well to extol the glorious hospitality of America entreating the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…”. Such generosity was suited to a new nation with huge empty spaces and rapidly growing industry in need of a work force. The situation of a “full” nation in a time of economic downturn is quite different. What is to become of the tens of thousands of vigorous young men arriving on Italian shores where there is nothing for them to do except sell African trinkets on the sidewalks of tourist centers? To make matters worse, the great contemporary thrust of technical innovation aims at replacing more and more workers with robots. Leftist denial of the problem leaves its exploitation and resolution to the extreme right.

    Some leftist politicians in Italy, such as Stefano Fassina of the Sinistra Italiana are waking up to this need. A left that dogmatically ignores the real concerns of the people is doomed. A bold, honest, imaginative left is needed to champion Italians’ independence from both German-imposed austerity and the expensive military adventurism demanded by the United States. But the interlaced problems created by unregulated globalization do not lend themselves to easy solutions.

    http://www.atimes.com/article/how-singapore-astana-and-st-petersburg-preview-a-new-world-order/

    • Mild -ly Facetious
      June 6, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Please pay attention to the aforementioned affirmed US dictums and demands imposed upon European Nations as if upon Client States whom are Subject to US Government demands of obsequious and sycophantic servile kowtowing to a Master Authority.

      ( The United States welcomed fallen Nazi’s into our State Dept. and CIA after WW 2 —
      Then we (and the UK) financed the rebuilding of Western Europe according to The Marshall Plan.)

      Nazi Corporations merged into “Western Europe” and amalgamated, politically and economically with “The West” — and, after a time emerged into the Structure of “NATO” — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization — a fellowship of COLONIALISTS, autocratic, despotic, dictatorial,Fascistic, plutocratic, tyrannical WORLD RULERS not ever imagined within the confides of an america isolated and protected by Oceans to the North/South/East and West.

      The Nazi’s we protected into South America, and those that escaped into Eastern Europe, and those biological and mental scientists who were disappeared into the welcoming arms United States political ideology and Citizenship – now wear Red caps proclaiming

      “Make America Great Again”

      If you fail to see the subtle transition
      – you’re apt to be lost in translation
      of Paradise Lost in the Narcissism
      Attained by gratification of the self.

  2. David Hutchinson
    June 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Humans on Earth seem to need “a vision.” Getting to whichever one, they stumble. Raqqa to me is like a warning. At this point seems to me “bold, honest, imaginative” should point to something like: healing or reorientation or refashioning. Dealing with the fallout. MSF type efforts. Cuba’s medical emphasis. Surely little to do with the “paper economy.” It would be sort of like recognizing all our “visions” have taken us straight into science fiction, and we must consciously tone down our next big goal. The fiction has become real, and the science fiction “real” is so real that we actually have much less need of fiction itself (it was fine while it was relevant). I could go off in many directions on this, but tomorrow’s a working day. At the moment I’m sort of wondering if the writer at this site made his recommendations re Fukishima long ago and only this year copyrighted’em, or if s/he thinks they’re feasible in 2018 (good job for robots). http://www.economic-undertow.com/category/fukushima/

    • David Hutchinson
      June 6, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Apologies, got up real early. By the end of my write-up I’d forgotten the material at the link was copyrighted by a guy, Steve Ludlum.

  3. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks a lot for a very informative and thought-provoking article, and attractively eloquent, too!

    Making the point, I do think it is somewhat unfair to the EU project. European peace and avoidance of more catastrophes must have been major motivators when the Steel and Coal union was founded and later its more encompassing successors. The salient mechanism the creation of economic and social ties. I do think the gut response of people in this part of Europe, at least, would without a doubt be that the main raison d’être is peace. Personally, I agree. That said, there is undoubtedly a sense that the EU is experiencing a major crisis (not the first one, though). It has to do with the common currency, with very different economies, with neocon aggressiveness and lack of ability of the EU to defend its interests against the undermining policy of the US, where ia new member states are more loyal with the US than with the EU, with the EU supporting the wars in the Middle east, the refugee “crisis” and protectionism visavi Africa, with EU supporting the US coup in Ukraine and economic warfare against Russia – which of course should be included in the EU peace project, with politicians that become increasingly irrelevant since they do not discuss issues that really relate to people, one being national identity vs European or international identity, another the security of belonging to a nation or group, etc etc. In spite, however, of the present disorientation, the EU is crucial.

    • rosemerry
      June 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Peace is not really present when the USA (Nato is really the USA) involves so many parts of Europe in aggressive wars and also pretends Russia is a danger, so bases nukes in 5 NATO countries, which is anything entices violence.

      • Martin - Swedish citizen
        June 5, 2018 at 4:26 pm

        True, and that is a major aspect of the present disorientation, I would say.

  4. Rob
    June 5, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Thank you, Diana Johnstone, for providing much needed education about Italian and European politics.

  5. Butterfly effect
    June 4, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    D.J. > D.J.T.

    Finally, someone with a common sense way of looking at the immigration issue. We need a leader like Diana Johnstone in America. Immigration shouldn’t be made into a race issue. Trump missed the mark when he singled out Muslims and Mexicans. There is a reason why elevators have a carrying capacity. The “color” and politcal party of the extra weight is irrelevant. When the number of people in a given area exceeds the available resources, the quality of life for all (except the 1%) will decline.

    There are people already here in America living in tent cities, who don’t have enough food, a place to live, or even a hot shower.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7HozzSGakA

  6. ranney
    June 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Bravo, Diane! You have clearly pointed out that Italy’s problems foretell all of Europe’s – even Germany who might be the last to finally feel the pinch. It’s apparent that most of Europe will go the way of Greece, unless the banking triumvirate finally wakes up and allows some changes in how the euro works in various countries.
    I do have a major question though, and I hope someone can provide an answer as simply and clearly as Diane Johnstone does for the political situation in Italy and Europe.

    I simply don’t understand why Europe can’t use euros to buy Iranian oil, for example,. instead of dollars. If I were in Europe with my dollars and no one wanted my dollars I’d pay in euos. Iran apparently would be perfectly happy to get euros in exchange for their oil, so what weird law says that they can’t?
    In my business here in the US when a European pays with a credit card I get dollars, but they are charged in euros when the buyer gets back home. Same thing in reverse – when I’m in Europe and use my credit card I’m charged in dollars when I get back the the US. So what is this thing that says Germany can’t buy Iranian oil except with American dollars? If there is difference in amount between euros and dollars I’m pretty sure Germany and Iran can agree on what the discount should be thatt is fair.
    Among all you readers I hope there is one of you who can tell me the answer or direct me to an article that explains this without too much economic mumbo jumbo. Thanks in advance!!

  7. Marco
    June 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Dear lady, the League doesnt want to secede from the “lazy south”, this was the purpose of the “Lega Nord” and only in its first period.
    The Lega under Salvini, Claudio Borghi and then Alberto Bagnai carried out an impressive shift from its previous positions.
    Nor the League nor 5 Stars Movement are extreme right.
    Extreme right in Italy is Casapound that took less than 1% in march elections.

    • Diana Johnstone
      June 5, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      That’s what I said: “formerly the Northern League – that is, a party of rich North Italy chauvinists…” etc. Padania and all that. “Formerly.” I didn’t call the two parties extreme right, I said that the left by ignoring major issues was leaving them to the extreme right. This is true everywhere. In any case, today the attitude toward immigration pretty much defines what is usually meant by “extreme right”. The whole left right terminology is questionable in these circumstances.

  8. Rubicon
    June 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    “A left that dogmatically ignores the real concerns of the people is doomed. A bold, honest, imaginative left is needed to champion Italians’ independence from both German-imposed austerity and the expensive military adventurism demanded by the United States.”

    To put it more bluntly, informed, educated Europeans, especially in Italy, have been VERY aware that “The Left” sold itself out long ago, just as the Dems did in the US, to financial/banking/market powers. They are a total and complete lost cause – thusly the rise of the Northern Leaguers.

    Moreover, you seem to emphasize the Northern League “extreme” beliefs.

    The economic conditions in both Northern/Southern Italy are such that behind the curtains of the NL and a few 5Ss, is to circulate their “mini-bot” currency as a small, preliminary measure that could work with eventual EU departure that hundreds of thousands of Italians profess. And why not? Living in “the EU” means being beholding to the German/EU/US Financial Dictatorship.

  9. Unfettered Fire
    June 4, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    The “nation-state” has been tarnished these past 4-6 decades. But the Swiss are giving it a real shot in the arm with its upcoming referendum on June 10th, which will call for the end of private bank money creation in favor of sovereign government bank management. This is huge. Imagine, the end of financial bubbles, debt slavery and needless austerity that the private bankers who now run governments have created.

    “The people of Switzerland are called to vote on 10 June 2018 whether they want to stop the unlimited, unrestrained money-making by the Swiss private banking system, and to return to the “olden days”, when money was made and controlled only by the Central Bank; and this not just in Switzerland, but in most countries around the globe. Switzerland is one of the few sovereign countries within the OECD, and possibly worldwide, that has the Right of Referendum written into her Constitution. With 100,000 valid signatures anybody can raise a referendum to amend or abolish a law, or to create a new one. – This is a huge privilege to Right a Wrong.”

    https://thedailycoin.org/2018/05/15/switzerlands-referendum-for-sovereign-money/

    Why should the private banks endlessly create money ($30 trillion of QE!! in the US) that just gets injected straight into the finance sector where its spent on stock buybacks, speculation gambling and new financial products and services (like credit default swaps). NOTHING on the industrial economy. The government bank, fiscal policy, plays a major role in creating a robust public sector and healthy society. When families can function normally, violence and poverty decrease. We should also restore the old savings and loan institutions that were not based on predatory lending. It turns out that the nation-state is worth saving, with its departments that monitor and regulate corporate abuses, its labor, health, food safety and civil rights and environmental protections.

    The globalist voices of the past were simply wrong.

    “The “nation-state” as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.” ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970

    “The Trilateral Commission is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the United States. The Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power political, monetary, intellectual and ecclesiastical. What the Trilateral Commission intends is to create a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved. As managers and creators of the system, they will rule the future.” – U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater in his l964 book: With No Apologies.

    • Skip Scott
      June 5, 2018 at 8:00 am

      That’s the first I’ve heard of the Swiss referendum. How is it polling? Does it stand a chance of passing?

  10. John V. Walsh
    June 4, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Great article by D.J. – straightforward, informative and insightful.
    What a relief from the mealy mouthed accounts of the pressnt Italian moment in NYT, NPR, ETC, and the rambling hypertheoretical accounts of some once Left publications.
    Deserves wide circulation.

  11. Jon Dhoe
    June 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    After the destruction of Italy who’s next?

    Forget Russian roulette, this is European roulette for states. All part of the rigged game.

    https://therulingclassobserver.com/2018/06/01/the-rigged-game/

  12. j. D. D.
    June 4, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Whhile the msm focuses on the eccentricities of the new coaltion partners, it rarely mentions the root causes of their victory. It also neglects to report that both parties are pro-Trump and Pro-Putin and call for lifting sanctions on Russia. But the big freakout is primarily due to their domestic economic platform. As Five-Star Party leader Alessandro Di Battista, interviewed May 28 on prime-time national television by Lilli Gruber, said “They blocked this government because they are terrified of banking separation and a state investment bank.” It is the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial banking from investment banking, ironically barred by the Matrecht Treaty and that what freaked out the markets, not an ” Italexit,”but the fact that the Salvini-Di Maio government had two points in its program which are part of the program of the LaRouche movement—reinstating Glass-Steagall, and national banking in order to issue credit for the real economy. As the precarious situation of Germany’s Deutsche Bank illustrates, the present financial system is so fragile and so ready to explode, that it does not allow discussion of such issues, let alone their inclusion in the government program of an important country such as Italy, one of the founders of Europe. In order to keep this bankrupt system alive, previous Italian governments, from Monti to Gentiloni, have imposed draconian austerity measures. In Italy, the voters are saying “no more.”

    • Vivian O'Blivion
      June 4, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Decent article.
      You can add the various attempted colour coupes in Bangkok, Istanbul and Cairo where an urban, westernised, English speaking middle class with social media skills took to the street because they didn’t like the outcome of a democratic election. The western MSM invariably takes the side of the urban protesters. Apparently the votes of the rural poor don’t count.

  13. Sam F
    June 4, 2018 at 7:51 am

    The article cogently blames oligarchy for ignoring the problems of globalization, EU austerity, and US aggression, even as south Italy suffers from unemployment and migration from Africa. Italy should dump the EU and US until well treated.

    The right-center-left rhetoric doesn’t really describe politics nowadays; it is a waste of time

    NATO aggression is just the usual operation of tyrants on a scale larger than national: it has in fact made Europe peaceful because tyrants must invent enemies beyond NATO. A world government will force tyrants to invent internal enemies, to tyrannize the people for their “security.” So we will replace the risk of nuclear war with totalitarianism. The institutions of democracy must be protected from economic power before all else.

    • Jon Dhoe
      June 4, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      It’s the ruling class oligarchy that implements policies of “globalization, EU austerity, and US aggression, even as south Italy suffers from unemployment and migration from Africa.

      • Sam F
        June 4, 2018 at 3:53 pm

        Yes, we must protect the institutions of democracy from that economic power as the first step.

  14. Vivian O'Blivion
    June 4, 2018 at 5:08 am

    A good article. A lot of ifs and maybes but that isn’t a criticism, at this stage everything is up in the air. Worthwhile raising the response of Donald Tusk to the odious herr Oettinger.

    http://www.cityam.com/286568/donald-tusk-slaps-down-eu-commissioner-after-italy-comments

    Germany will take the role of playground bully as long as it can get away with it, but a strengthening united front against Brussels centralism and Euro fiscal policy geared solely to the benefit of the German corporations appears to have momentum. With the global pressures mentioned in the article, things could start to move very quickly indeed. Perhaps also worth mentioning; the rise of AFD in Germany itself, the collapse of the PP government in Madrid, tensions between Brussels and Hungary / Romania / Poland (and possibly Slovenia as of this morning).
    The chaos of Brexit gets a paragraph all to itself. The incompetence of the UK government is breathtaking. It would take too long to go into detail. The irony is that by the Brexit deadline (or at least the scheduled end of the transition period), the ridged structures of a highly centralised EU that the people of England and Wales rejected may not even exist.

  15. john wilson
    June 4, 2018 at 4:19 am

    I’m well into my 70s (in the UK) and all my life I have just about managed to get by. Able to afford a secondhand old car, pay my rent and keep myself out of the bankruptcy courts. Its made absolutely no difference to my situation regardless of which political party is in power. The only thing that I can be sure of is ever more laws to restrict and control my activities. They all promise the earth when they are seeking election and when they have won they deliver the earth in a bag at your front door and demand that you pay for it.

  16. deschutes
    June 4, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Wow this is a great article, especially how it explains how the Eurozone/Germany control and dominate the southern European states. The history of how the EU came into being is also appreciated. It’s great to have such a talented writer as Ms Johnstone here at Consortium News, thank you for your excellent submissions!

    • Rubicon
      June 4, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      It is strongly recommended that we bring in one of *the* best, most honest economists in the US:

      Dr. Michael Hudson.

      What he shares is the central rationale behind the “elite’s” commitment towards bleaching many millions of their money, their livelihoods, culture, and norms. His cool, rationale approach towards this thievery applies to both the US and EU elites.

      Key his name into DuckDuckGo and bypass that monster: Google.

      • rosemerry
        June 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm

        Michael Hudson is an excellent source of facts and ideas. He is now in China giving talks and advising against allowing US banks to be part of the Chinese system, as is being considered by President Xi. Hudson considers this suggestion unwise.
        He is often in counterpunch and also the Real News Network.

  17. Paolo
    June 4, 2018 at 3:43 am

    «“socialism” became illegal»

    I never found out that socialism became illegal in Italy and or Europe. What I did notice is that the socialist and even the communist and the leftists in general, all those who used to be for the poor working classes, slowly became socialites wasting away in trendy slow-food events, book events, wine tasting events, and similar chic events, and talking always more about things about which most don’t give a f*** because they can’t afford them.

    They made themselves irrelevant, nobody made them illegal

    • Piotr Berman
      June 4, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      EU rules prohibit direct support for domestic companies, I am not sure about nationalization and state role in banking — I guess “postal banks” still exist in many countries. It is not that the parties are outlawed, although being “pro-Russian” was effectively criminalized in, say, Poland, but the policies are prohibited.

      And hitherto leftist parties had a choice: being “reasonable”, distance themselves from “demagogy”, or remain leftist. And their choice was effectively a slow suicide.

      • TS
        June 6, 2018 at 3:32 am

        > I guess “postal banks” still exist in many countries.

        Yes, but in many (most?) cases, they — or usually the Post Office as a whole — have been privatized.

      • Paolo
        June 8, 2018 at 5:37 pm

        Funny, the way you put it it looks like being reasonable and being leftist are incompatible. I refuse to think that.
        From what I gather, Sanders looks perfectly reasonable, whereas Mrs Clinton looks more of the chic socialite crowd. The dems chose the chic socialite and lost.

    • rosemerry
      June 5, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      You need to dig deeper. All the communist Parties eg France and Italy had millions, who were the backbone of WW2 fighting fascism, but after the War the USA insisted that all were excluded from governments, and the Gladio and Stay-behind forces were secret for years but information is now available. Search for it! Socialists came next and weakened as they became neoliberal.

      • Paolo
        June 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        I can’t see what Gladio has to do with it…
        But of course, being Italian, I know the Gladio fixation

    • nello
      June 7, 2018 at 4:56 am

      In 2012 “parity of balance” was introduced into the constitution.
      Keynesian economics involving public investment and spending are therefore “anti-constitutional”.

  18. backwardsevolution
    June 3, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    The Euro is already dead. If Draghi wasn’t buying up every bond in existence and doing “whatever it takes”, it would have drowned a long time ago. Interest rates would have and “should” have gone sky high. The world is drowning in debt because of cheap credit, courtesy of the always benevolent bankers.

    We have been financialized and commodified. The bankers and the multinational corporations are controlling everything. Whole markets have been cornered, and supply and demand doesn’t matter any more. Factories have been shut down and moved to cheaper countries. They did it, they said, so that they could build up the poorer countries. Yeah, right, I’m sure that was the reason!

    Capitalism works, but only with heavy restrictions that can’t be messed with by bought-off politicians and lobbyists.

    Money is politics. These guys only get away with destroying countries and people’s lives because the politicians let them, and because we don’t stop our politicians.

    • Lois Gagnon
      June 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Exactly right. I just started reading the latest book by Nomi Prins, “Collu$ion” How Central Bankers Rigged the World. We are being destroyed by organized crime on steroids.

  19. Lois Gagnon
    June 3, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    It turns out that there was an economist named James Buchanan who was behind all this neoliberal austerity insanity. His whacky theories are the basis of the book “Democracy in Chains”. Here’s an article about how this little known economist became the neocons’ economic champion.

    https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/meet-the-economist-behind-the-one-percents-stealth-takeover-of-america

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 4, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Thanks Lois I learned something new today. Joe

  20. Joe Tedesky
    June 3, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    The success of the Euro was always going to be a tricky along with fragile combining of interest to make it work, but if you read Der Spegiel you will see to how at least the editors of this German paper see Trump and Putin as their being an intrusion into the EU for them to tear down a multilateral order, that took so many hard pressed years to assemble.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/the-crisis-in-italy-threatens-to-become-a-european-tragedy-a-1210699.html

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm
      • backwardsevolution
        June 4, 2018 at 12:47 am

        Joe Tedesky – From the article:

        “‘I do not know if Salvini was funded by Moscow, but the public has a right to know,’ said Soros.

        Soros translated: Any government who puts their citizens ahead of migrants is now a Putin puppet.”

        Soros has been funding the NGO’s who have been helping the economic migrants get from Libya to Italy. His NGO’s have been picking up the migrants just offshore of Libya and then transporting them across. Were the citizens ever consulted? No.

        And now he’s trying to pretend that Putin might be behind the Italian election outcome? Same playbook as Hillary? Time for that guy to step off. The world has seen enough of the likes of him.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 4, 2018 at 7:22 am

          Same play book as Hillary’s yes. Although isn’t it odd to how Soros seems to be pushing the voters to the Right, with his interpretation of his kind of liberalism? I swear Soros and his ilk are trying to ruin Europe. Are we sure the opposition are the Russians, and it’s not Soros?

          Btw backwardsevolution I like capitalism, with a hint of socialism. From a businessman point of view, imagine hiring employees who already have a single payer healthcare plan, or the employee received a college diploma through the Community College program? It could all work, but then it wouldn’t make privatized profits for some rich guy. Joe

          • Skip Scott
            June 4, 2018 at 8:09 am

            Soros’ concept of an “open society” is globalization on steroids, and it will inevitably lead to increased income and wealth inequality, with people like George living in guarded/gated communities, and the serfs living in squalor. He’s basically working through his NGO’s to make the entire planet “of, by, and for” the one percent.

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

            I know Skip, that the kind of liberalism that Soros represents is a liberalism filled with smoke in a crowded room full of mirrors, but now Soros with his borderless mantra is becoming easy to see through. If people find this hard to believe, then tell them to speak with a European. Joe

          • backwardsevolution
            June 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm

            Joe Tedesky – “I like capitalism, with a hint of socialism.” Me too, Joe. If it goes too capitalist, we end up with too much inequality, like right now; the criminals end up running the joint. They get themselves in trouble, and then come on their knees begging the people to socialize their losses. If they ended up bankrupt when they screwed up, that would be true justice and capitalism would work, but they don’t. They pay a fine (the price of doing business), and the executive bonuses keep flowing.

            If it goes too socialist, well, that doesn’t work either. But I certainly agree with single payer healthcare. That’s a complete must! The insurance, pharmaceutical and the rest of the health care providers are laughing all the way to the bank right now. That’s wrong.

            I stand for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. At the moment, though, it is the well-connected and the wealthy who have the “opportunity”. It’s not a level playing field. Too many monopolies. The people are getting crushed.

            Have a great day, Joe.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 3, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      I had always hoped that when the Western Governments would start to crumble that the Left would be ready to jump in there, and take over. Well, now after watching citizen discontent rally towards the Right, I’m not so sure the Left will even have a say. In fact, the blame is put on the Left, for the declining economy. This could have only happened due to how the Left has successfully been used as a convenient disguise to win votes, as candidates once in office turn rapidly Right, or Center Right if it suits you better, but not Left.

      The reality is, these so called whatever they are politicians have no political ideology, but instead their whole philosophy of life is based upon greed.

      Again, ‘one lie leads to another lie, until the truth jumps up and bites you in the ass’. Joe Tedesky’s Mum

      • KiwiAntz
        June 4, 2018 at 3:09 am

        You have a pretty wise Mum, Joe!

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 4, 2018 at 7:11 am

          Thank you she was, KiwiAntz. Joe

    • strgr-tgther
      June 4, 2018 at 12:28 am

      Thank you. Witch is why all of are past CIA and FBI leaders say Trump is unfit to be President. And the other thing, to blame all of this on the Left with Obama. Well he really had only 2 years in office to do any thing until the Sara Palin’s (I can see Russia from my back yard) showed up and took over Congress and blocked every thing Obama did. People need to think about that. If Obama had a true 8 years to run things the way the Left really invisions and Hillary had 8 more on top of that where would we be? The left never really got a a fair chance.

      • Ray Raven
        June 4, 2018 at 2:43 am

        If the corporate neo-liiberals were in power (what you laughingly refer to the left in the US), then the US (including its axis of the killing) would probably at war with Eye-ran, Nord-Korea (sic), China and Russia – at least via your takfiri Islamist terrorist proxies (a-la Syria).
        You are deluded if you think there is a ‘left’ in the US.
        The US Democrats are Corporate Democrats, ie. they are not democratic – just a Trade Marked title / handle (hence the capitalisation of their name).

        Killary is know thus because she embraces killing, not because she despises killing.

        In a two party political systems, all you get is two faces of the same coin.
        As one face travels ‘right’ the other face follows along.
        Is happening here in Australia (a two party political system, with minor involvement of other political parties); however in Oz the big “L” Liberals (who are the conservatives) are more left than the US Democrats. And the big “L” Labor (the leftists) are half a step behind the policies of the big “L” Liberals.
        A few years back there was an attempt for a third party (the Democrats (Oz) – nothing to do with the US Dem despicables) emerged ‘to keep the bastards’ honest’ (that was their motto), but within a short time disappeared into the ether.

        • backwardsevolution
          June 4, 2018 at 3:05 am

          Ray Raven – “Two faces of the same coin”. Exactly right. Good post.

      • June 4, 2018 at 10:57 pm

        Obama and Hillary as the “left?” That’s rich! The Republicans certainly didn’t block Obama’s or Hillary’s destruction of Libya, attack on Syria, overthrow of democracy in Ukraine, overthrow of democracy in Honduras, drone killings wherever and whenever he felt like it – international law be damned – bailout of Wall Street, etc. That HRC owned and operated the DNC last election cycle and used her power to sabotage the Sander’s campaign is what gave us Trump. Why did she and the DNC brass do it? Because even milk-toast Sanders was “too far to the left” for them. What is this mysterious “Democratic” left you speak of? Oh, maybe you’re yearning for the good old days when the Clinton/Albright team killed a half a million Iraqi children because they thought it was “worth it,” to accomplish their imperial foreign policy aims. But hey, if your comments were pure slapstick, pure satire, then by all means carry on!

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 5, 2018 at 9:59 am

        Nothing is what it should be.

      • rosemerry
        June 5, 2018 at 3:00 pm

        Surely you cabot consider Obama even slightly left?
        All his cabinet were picked for him by citigroup’s Michael Froman, according to the wikileaks DNC emails in 2008.
        He did what he was told-remember the pitchforks?

  21. mike k
    June 3, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Politics and economics are just other names for we’re f***ed.

  22. Jeff
    June 3, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Communism was a guaranteed to fail economic philosophy because it did not account for human behavior and fail it did. Neo-liberalism, a political philosophy, seems to have embraced pure capitalism which is also a guaranteed to fail economic philosophy because it fails to account for power relations between labor and capital. I am personally convinced that no “pure” philosophy can possibly work because none of them balance the competing interests present in the market place. We’d better figure something out soon because Europe after a decade of austerity is at wits end and the US is, if not ahead of them, at least right behind them. Warning, implosion coming.

    • Adam Halverson
      June 4, 2018 at 6:46 am

      The problem you’re describing here relates mainly to basing certain political and economic principles on dogmatic beliefs, that are not exactly steeped on scientific principles of economy and development. Systems do exist whereby everyone in a society can benefit simultaneously – the economy itself is not zero-sum, unless no actual development is taking place… which, because of the desire to instantly gratify bankers and shareholders, is oftentimes pretty common.

      In a nutshell, a functional economy does not follow the laws of conservation of matter and energy – actual value can be created or destroyed. However, the zero-sum vulture capitalists will try to have you believe differently.

      • Adam Halverson
        June 4, 2018 at 6:56 am

        My response did more to address the shortfalls of unbridled free-market capitalism than communism, but some of the same issues remain – lack of flexibility from dogmatic beliefs, as well as the inability to adequately address all the needs of the people

    • June 4, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Communism didn’t fail but the Soviet Union’s Empire did fail which was not a communist state but a state capitalist kind of empire that used communist jargon in the same way the USA used and uses democratic ideals to flim-flam the public into thinking the U.S. is a “democracy” which it isn’t and never was. The workers in communist states never owned the means of production–if you don’t own the means of production then the system is capitalism no matter what people call it.

      • Jeff
        June 4, 2018 at 2:11 pm

        I would argue that it did fail. Communism as practiced in Eastern (or, as my wife would have it, Central) Europe, the old SovU, and China utterly and completely failed to deliver goods and services to the population that were reasonable, feasible, and available in “the West”. That failure was almost entirely due to the state’s ownership of the means of production and “the state” is everywhere the surrogate for “the people”. Sometimes it’s a good surrogate and sometimes not. At the end of the day there’s only two countries that claim to practice communism – Vietnam and Cuba. China has an all pervasive communist party but that’s a political system (and Marx’s communism was an economic system, not a political system) and not how their economy works.

        • Tom Larsen
          June 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm

          re: Communism as practiced in …Europe, the old SovU, and China

          Bangers point stands. The “communism” of those states never met meet the basic definition of communism/socialism per Marx: workers did not control the means of production – period. The “West” wanted people to see those countries as communist/socialist so they could with some justification condemn the idea of socialism/communism in general. China, USSR, wanted their populations to see them as communist/socialist to elevate the perception of those governments due to the residual attraction to communism/socialism.

  23. Greg Schofield
    June 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Another great article.

    I believe I know what happened to the ‘left’ — it has suffered from a historical poison of the managerial middle class which has been festering there since the 1890s, but now when this class dominates social and economic life it has no more vision.

    It made a Utopian substitute for working class interests, and instead elevated the ‘progressive’ liberal outlook ultimately loyal to status quo despite all its rhetoric. The biggest day to day problem people suffer are the dictates of managers in work, in politics and in every aspect of social life; and nobody opposes them, no body stands up for the dignity of ordinary people whop are treated like cattle.

    Until some small victories are made against the daily indignities, why should people believe the ‘left’? And when we known that the banks are pulling the strings why does it rant against the effect and not the cause. Personally I do not now a single wrong that cannot be traced back to financial planners, yet you will not find on the ‘left’ a single coherent program about finances.

    Strange that nationalizing finance was once a central plank of workers socialism, and how that has slipped under the table. Fiances are powerful and will remain powerful until they are no longer needed. We need democratic control of finances, the public savings used for the public good instead on this vital question we get pure utopianism — why? Because that grantees the system of universal management — controlling the first gets rid of the second.

    • Skip Scott
      June 4, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Finance and interventionist wars are areas where the libertarians and real progressives agree, and they should join forces to demand a break-up of the forces of globalization. Nationalizing finance is the key to both these problems. Our only hope for survival lies in realizing that the only way to get a government “of, by, and for the People” is for the libertarians and the progressives to join forces against globalization. Globalization will only further income inequality, and will result in a global Neo-Feudalism. Democracy stands no chance at all on a global scale. I doubt very many of the readers here will wind up living on the comfortable side of the Country Club wall if current trends continue unabated. Italy’s problem is our problem too.

    • June 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Good comment. The essence of the left is human liberation from the power needs of the predators in society. This clearly has to start in the workplace. The left abandoned the workers in the 60s and 70s because some of us rejected the materialist philosophy of American society and were looking for a more meaningful and enjoyable life. The idea of “work” as a virtue in itself was abhorrent for most of us on the left back then–we were mainly from the comfortable middle and upper-middle classes. Some of us thought that LSD and the psychedelic revolution would change the framework or our culture into one promoting values of connection, love, and being mellow. The real American working-class wanted none of that–they knew that if they didn’t work “hard” or got distracted by drugs that their families would suffer–their philosophy of life was hardscrabble materialism. This culture clash focused us to concentrate on human liberation, feminism, gay rights, racial justice rather than worker power. This was an easy slide particularly in the face of the severe political repression that followed the 68 assassination of the only two national leaders who could have led a coherent left. With the murder of King and Kennedy all that was left was to mop up and mop us they did both through effective propaganda and COINTELPRO and other covert operations so by the end of the seventies thereno effective left remained and other than occasional splinter groups of peace and justice groups and the usual identity politics groups the latter of which were used by the Democratic Party to GOTV. Since then there has not been any left “movement” that mattered. Occupy is an example of the utter vacuousness of what remains of the left. Most people I know who are leftists still believe NPR and the NYT reflect their views and use their editorial positions to fuel their world-views and those world-views are pro-imperial, pro-corporate and anti-working class in almost every way imaginable. Since those of us in the student movement of way back when mainly became prosperous upper-middle class burghers who gain by the system and young people seem more interested in hedonism that this society is able to give us in spades, I don’t see that “the left” as we knew it way back when can possibly exist.

      Today the working class is, in the main, in the thrall of identity politics. The conflicts we have are entirely on the cultural level and not on the real power level. Without organizing the workplace there is no hope–I repeat, no hope or alternative to the movement towards some form of neo-feudalism and/or totalitarianism. Since the power of the bosses is so overwhelming within large scale industries the main thrust has to be towards cooperatives/worker-owned businesses. In 1968, I tried to convince friends that the only way to move forward was to build new institutions in parallel to the current ones including businesses, communities, communal celebrations and so on to establish solidarity. Some movement was achieved in the 70s but most of those experiments failed for one ultimate reason–the siren call of the culture of narcissism which included more drugs and more sex and more of the panoply of amusements we see today. Hedonism has taken over all classes of people and our form of hedonism is based on fragmentation of community and fragmentation of the self.

      Thus today only the right is truly dynamic and that movement could go almost anywhere good or bad. As it is the cultural left as displayed by the upper and upper-middle class oriented media and entertainment media must now be considered the actual right-wing. Political correctness as a concept is precisely te opposite of what we wanted in the old day and the more we adhere to it the more it feeds the old and new right.

      • Sam F
        June 4, 2018 at 11:05 am

        Interesting views. I’m less sure that workplace organization works although strikes in some sectors work.
        Truly “the essence of the left is human liberation from the power needs of the predators in society. ”
        We need to get money out of politics and mass media before public debate and community can work.
        Identity politics for the disadvantaged does cause organization, but should be blended into humanitarianism.
        Hedonism and affluenza suggest that organization to overturn oligarchy awaits a severe prolonged crisis.
        The Right is merely opportunism, greed, and the means of tyranny used everywhere throughout history.

      • Linda Wood
        June 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        Wow. I agree with so much of what you say, and I am very thankful you have said it all.

        The drug issue is part of U.S. abuse of Italy, along with our military bases, as organized crime in the south is part of our drug-related war on humanity.

      • June 4, 2018 at 11:01 pm

        Banger – great observations and comments. Thanks.

  24. June 3, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Italy is a member of the G7 that is meeting in Quebec, Canada, June 8-9, 2018.
    Much more info on this at link below:

    June 3, 2018
    Is “$600-million” of Canadian Taxpayers Dollars, Wining, Dining, and Protecting Some War Criminals, and is there a Globalist Agenda at G7 Meeting in Quebec?
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/06/is-600-million-of-canadian-taxpayers.html

  25. Dunderhead
    June 3, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Great article! It will be interesting to see how the story in Italy matures, I doubt they will ever be in economic powerhouse but they have always been a cultural one, on the other hand it would be a good time for the US to step back in a lot of regions, Southern Europe and the Middle East would probably be a good place to start but I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.

  26. F. G. Sanford
    June 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Nailed it.

Comments are closed.