Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/206/8508

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2001

Italian general election: Mr Big buys his way to power

RIGHT-WING BILLIONAIRE Silvio Berlusconi, has won the Italian general election.

Berlusconi's coalition secured an absolute majority over Francesco Rutelli's "olive tree" coalition in both the Senate and the lower house Chamber of Deputies.

Inital results suggest the Left-reformist Communist Refoundation achieved around 6% - similar to its 1994 result.

One of Berlusconi's coalition partners - the racist Northern League - saw its vote bomb to 4.3% from its previous 10.1%. However, the far right National Alliance gained 14%.

Trade union leader Claudio Sabattini of the country's largest union, CGIL, has predicted a "hot summer" of strikes over wages and job security if Berlusconi is elected. Unrest over these issues and attacks on pensions "could easily develop into a general strike", said Sabattini.

There are, however, only slight policy differences between the right-wing "House of Freedoms" (coalition of Berlusconi's Forza Italia, Umberto Bossi's separatist Northern League and the National Alliance - ex-Mussolini fascists - led by Gianfranco Fini) and the 'centre Left' "Olive Tree" coalition of ex-communist Left Democrats, and former Socialists and Christian Democrats. (The Communist Refoundation withdrew in 1998).

Berlusconi wants to slash taxes especially for the rich by abolishing gift and inheritance taxes and exempting reinvested profits.

Rutelli too promises lower taxes for businesses. Like the Right, Rutelli also wants to speed up the introduction of neo-liberal capitalist policies such as labour deregulation and more privatisation.

But neither leader wants to tackle the funding of pensions which account for 30% of state spending and which the bosses are demanding is cut. To do so would risk bringing hundreds of thousands of trade unionists back onto the streets.

Immigrant workers are being scapegoated, especially by the Northern League, for crime. Significantly, the vote for the League crashed compared with its 1994 result.

Both coalitions said they would tighten restrictions on immigrant workers. Yet, the bosses, especially in northern Italy, depend on these people to provide cheap, casual labour. Zanussi has specifically targeted such workers, setting up factories that employ these migrants.

Berlusconi - Unfit to govern

ACCORDING TO Forbes magazine Silvio Berlusconi is the world's 14th richest person. His wealth is estimated to be $12.8 billion.

Through his Finivest holding company, he controls three TV networks, Italy's biggest publishing house (Mondadori), a major newspaper (Il Giornale) and football team AC Milan. Berlusconi sees no conflict of interests between his financial empire and as a politician acting 'in the public interest'.

Berlusconi was prime minister of a short-lived, right-wing governing coalition in 1994. But corruption scandals, splits with the Northern League and mass pressure from the organised working class brought his seven-month old government crashing down.

On 14 October 1994, a massive movement of three million workers took to the streets against Berlusconi's proposed budget.

Berlusconi portrays himself as a self-made businessman set apart from the political establishment. To perpetuate this myth he circulated to households millions of a 128-page glossy 'history' album entitled: An Italian Story. (Thoughtfully, the Greens provided paper-recycling bins!)

In fact, Berlusconi has been found guilty of illegally financing his Forza Italia party, four counts of corruption including bribing the financial police, false accounting and tax fraud.

He escaped jail only on legal technicalities but more investigative cases of bribery and corruption involving his multibillion dollar media, property and financial empire are continuing.

The Economist has declared him 'unfit to govern'. Not that political corruption is of any great surprise to Italians - a country where 20% of businesses are part of the Mafia empire with an annual turnover of about $133 billion, the equivalent of 15% of GNP!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 18 May 2001:

Vote For A Socialist Alternative

Tuition fees no way! Fight Threats To Non-Payers

Taxing our patience

Major parties leave students in debt

Nellist launches Socialist Alliance manifesto

Women fed up of 'hard' Labour

Italian general election: Mr Big buys his way to power

Council workers back anti-cuts candidate

New Labour's 'ten year' plans


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 May 2001   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Italy:

triangleGlobal finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

Election:

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

triangleUsdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

Berlusconi:

triangleItaly: Prime Minister Renzi's party routed

Taxes:

triangleTrump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

trianglePFI privateers dodge tax

Democrats:

triangleTrump v NHS

International

International

21/2/18

Russia

Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail

21/2/18

South Africa

South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism

14/2/18

France

France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people

14/2/18

Unemployed

Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed

14/2/18

Brazil

Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed

14/2/18

South Africa

Cape Town drought

7/2/18

China

May's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

7/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Protesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime

7/2/18

Sudan

Sudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!

31/1/18

Kurds

Stop the war on the Kurds

31/1/18

Austria

Vienna: 50,000 march against racism and austerity

31/1/18

Kurds

Stop the war on the Kurds

24/1/18

Palestine

Punishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity

17/1/18

Hong Kong

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China

17/1/18

Tunisia

Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999