Socialist Worker

Italy’s crisis shows how the EU and bosses rule

Issue No. 2606

Italian president Sergio Mattarella meets with EU rulers in 2015

Italian president Sergio Mattarella meets with EU rulers in 2015 (Pic: Flickr/European Parliament)


Italy in the last few days has shown the reality of capitalist power and its lack of concern for democracy.

When the bosses, bankers and European Union (EU) took on Greece, they were attacking a left wing government.

In Italy they are attacking the right—and it is the far right who are likely to benefit most.

Elections in March saw the populist Five Star movement and the hard right League gain enough seats to form a government.

They tried to form one government last week. But President Sergio Mattarella said he could not accept the proposed finance minister Paolo Savona, because his criticisms of the euro “could provoke Italy’s exit” from it.

Savona is no radical. He was a former official at the Bank of Italy, a former minister, and a former chief of the bosses’ General Confederation of Italian Industry.

Five Star and the League have sent mixed messages over Italy’s eurozone membership. They hope to gain from eurosceptic sentiment, while never clearly calling for a pull out.

What they have been clear about is hostility to migrants.

Opposition to EU-backed austerity has repeatedly created crises for the establishment. But racist scapegoating is enabling the right to capitalise.

The right grew after both social democrats and unelected technocrats pushed EU austerity to cut deficits and pay banks.

It is notable that the proposed government’s demands to expel 500,000 migrants did not bother the rich in Italy or the EU.

Replace 

To replace the Five Star/League coalition, President Mattarella picked Carlo Cottarelli to form a new technocrat government.

Cottarelli worked at the International Monetary Fund before he was hired in 2013 to slash Italy’s public spending. “Mr Scissors” pushed for £30 billion in cuts, but quit after complaining that people were resisting his austerity crusade.

What is now guaranteed is a rolling crisis through the summer, which can only end in fresh elections.

The vultures on the financial markets are pushing hard to asset strip the Italian economy— regardless of who is in office.

The League has gained eight points in the polls since the last election. Its bombastic leader Matteo Salvini claimed he was inundated with calls from supporters to stage mass protests. after the proposed government was blocked. Salvini has taken a leading role, pushing Five Star even further to the right. The anti-austerity rhetoric is down and the racist rhetoric is being ramped up.

Whether Salvini will maintain his alliance with Five Star or reunite with right wing crook Silvio Berlusconi is unclear.

But by pushing the pro-banker, pro-EU attacks, the Italian establishment looks set to embolden the fractious forces of Italy’s racist right.


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