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Tuesday 22 June 2021

Recommended Don't change, just make-up: interview with Claudio Velardi

Don't change, just make-up: interview with Claudio Velardi

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The socialists overcome Marxism with the "Gospel" signed by Bettino Craxi. The reaction of the PCI is very harsh: the accusation is treason. Was it ideological fury or link with the USSR?

Certainly there was, in the reaction, that presumption of "moral superiority" that the PCI carried within, animated by an original, blind ideological fury. And, perhaps, a residual bond with the USSR that was hard to break, even if it was quite loose in the 80s. But I believe, more prosaically, that the determining factor in all the controversies between Berlinguer's PCI and Craxi's PSI, from the beginning of its secretariat, was the fact that the PCI understood that the new Craxian course could have taken away space, would have was able to oppose openly the cultural and organizational hegemony that the PCI had built in previous decades, and which operated at all levels of society: in mass organizations, in the media, in academia, among intellectuals. This was the Great Fear that pushed the PCI, from the end of national solidarity, to entrench itself rather than to open up, and to conceive the relationship with the PSI in terms of resistance to modernity, explained by the use of an ancient category - betrayal. - which has always had a lot of space on the left.

Berlinguer's PCI: party of struggle and government. He invokes the workers' occupation of Fiat while making an agreement with Moro and Andreotti for a government of historic compromise. Today like the League or like the 5 Stars?

With Moro's death, the strategy of historical compromise took a decisive blow. From then on, the PCI of the last Berlinguer moved back to extremist and sectarian positions (also due to the competition of the PSI, which was beginning to have its hold in a society that was strongly changing). Progressively, the "government" PCI fell apart, while maintaining strong positions in local administrations. The 80s were the years of a long decline, up to the collapse of the Wall and the confused and ambiguous birth of the PDS. In that last phase, perhaps Craxi could have done more to favor an alliance between PCI and PSI. This is a page that has yet to be filled. Why did Craxi give up proposing to the PCI a path of convergence if not of unification? Did you think that the PCI crisis was of such magnitude that it could receive its voters as a “naturaliter” dowry? Then things took other paths, as we know, but the question remains. Finally, on the parallel with the Lega or the M5S: certain that the PCI, throughout its history, has been a great container capable of protecting within its envelope pushes that have then become sovereign or populist. Already in the Bossi era someone spoke of the League as "a rib of the left". And today there are those on the left who are thinking of creating a strategic, structural alliance with the Cinquestelle. The truth is that a part of that old electorate, subjugated by an ideology that later died, is always looking for new palingenetic visions. He does not resign himself to dealing with the fluid and modern society in which we are all immersed.

Faced with the digital revolution in which everyone "manufactures" their information there is the risk of losing fundamental freedoms, is there a danger for the democratic state?

The digital revolution is absolute and irreversible. And, in my opinion, exciting. Faced with it, the democratic state, with its procedures, its traditional representation, its rules of coexistence, must be rebuilt from its foundations, drying up and devolving powers upwards and downwards. Upwards because today the major issues (democracy, freedom, security, environment) are addressed only on a global level. And downwards, because the daily life of citizens must be made more and more of self-determination, of close contacts with decision-makers at the local level. Said this way it may seem like a strong statement, but I think that the future will not be of the nation state, an intermediate station in the reorganization of power that is inevitably losing strength and centrality.

Could the pause imposed by Draghi's republican government be a time of refoundation for the left? Is the reformist social democratic culture still useful for this purpose?

Honestly, I'm not sure what value to attribute to the word left today. When it comes to defending the weakest, first of all we need to establish where the weak are. Am I in the traditional settlement of the left? Are the weak today pensioners, public employees, teachers? Certainly not, because these large categories were protected by the left, they achieved important achievements in the twentieth century, and today they tend to preserve and preserve themselves, not to fight for change. The left, if it wants to continue to be - and to be perceived - as a force for change, should measure itself against other subjects, indeed they are the "weak ones" of this historical moment. They are the riders or computer slaves forced to work for a few euros a day, or the areas of cultural marginalization of the suburbs. However, these subjects - and rightly so - refuse to be organized in traditional ways, within trade unions for example. In recent days, the news has come that Amazon workers in the United States have refused union entry into the company. I certainly do not think that workers should not be protected, God forbid, but historical organizations such as trade unions no longer respond to the needs of contemporary society. From this point of view, the reformist culture is a method that is always and constantly useful for dealing with the management problems of any society. I think the social democratic tradition belongs to a glorious history, but it is no longer relevant. Unless it is deeply revised. 

Enrico Letta, an ancient Christian Democrat, very loyal to a tenaciously anti-communist Andreatta, is he the most suitable person for the remodeling of a party that has its historical and electoral roots in the PCI?

The PD is a strange party: a cold fusion, an "unsuccessful amalgamation" as some have said. Its historical roots are stretched and uncertain: very different figures coexist in his Pantheon, from Togliatti to La Pira, from Berlinguer to Moro, and so on. As for its electoral base, it is evident that it still has a residual hold in the old red regions, but they are settlements that are getting lost, losing strength, even for age reasons. I would say that today the concrete of the PD is found elsewhere, in reality: that is, in its habit of being in power. Despite the so-called second republic being mainly labeled as "Berlusconi", and despite the fact that the center-right is constantly the majority in the electorate, the PD (first the PDS-Ds) governed roughly, directly or through technical governments, for at least 18 last thirty years. And it is clear to anyone that the PD is the party to which the high state bureaucracies, the local apparatuses, the intermediate bodies, the world of associations refer. In short, Italy is the party of power (which I do not consider a bad word at all, because I consider it consubstantial with politics). But power is by definition conservative: those who have it do not want to lose it, which is why they are resistant to any innovation. The real current nature of the PD is this: it is a conservative party, which does not want to change the existing economic, social and cultural balances, if not for small adjustments. From this point Enrico Letta is perhaps the right person to lead the party in this phase. He is certainly not a revolutionary, he is a moderate. The party base, of whatever origin he is, is asking him to win the next elections, and he will try to do so. Anything could bear the PD, except a structural location in the opposition. There, yes, it would end up falling apart.

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