The following article was written before the recent referendum in Venice and Lombardy. It remains relevant as far as, everything happening in Europe those days is becoming, more a more, a manifestation of extreme social “egotism”, of generalized destruction of any form of solidarity and adherence to more general projects. This is especially true after the strategic defeat and capitulation of the European Left on the Greek question. “Everybody for himself” seems to dominate the continent. It is the historic triumph of the neoliberal Europe, but it reminds somehow the triumphs of the cancer on living organisms. Europe will hardly survive it.
On Sunday the 22th of October two Italian regions, Lombardy and Veneto, will vote to ‘express an opinion’ about their ‘autonomy’ from the central government.
This has nothing to do with the conflict between Catalonia and the central Spanish government in Madrid, because the two Italian referendums are compatible with the constitutional precepts, while Catalan independence clashes with the current Spanish Constitution. However, it is clear that – at least in terms of collective psychology – a “contagion effect” is growing, and probably the turnout in the two Italian regions will be higher than it would have been normally.
We will see the results when the polling stations will be closed on next Sunday evening (they will be open from 7 am to 11 pm). There are no political tensions because, as it has been said, everything is done according to the law. Obviously, there are different opinions about it, but the public debate seen in the press and on the local TV channels has remained within a civil exchange of ideas.
The Venetian Regional Law requires the poll will be valid if it is attended by the 50% plus one of those entitled. Yet in Lombardy, a valid quorum is not required. Nevertheless, in both cases, much importance will be given to the turnout. This will be the best criterion – among all the others – to show how much people living in those two regions are interested in an enlargement of autonomy.
It is quite sure that in both regions the people will choose “yes” for the autonomy, because the large majority of those who will go to vote represent those who really want it, while the dissenters – or those who are indifferent to the subject – will not waste their time going to the voting stations. This means, again, that the number of voters will determine the political outcome. This political outcome will be the starting point around which the next Italian government will have to negotiate with the two regions about the terms of the autonomy. And then, probably, we might have some tensions. We will see. The promoters of each election are those coming from the Northern League or emerging from the new separatist movement that is now over twenty years old. Veneto’s governor, Luca Zaia, has left behind the Northern League he came from and now he’s representing only himself and his followers. Yet, he is the real driving force behind this referendum and his undoubted popularity comes also from this political choice. He personally said that he expected “at least 80% of votes in favour”.
That means he wants a real plebiscite. If it goes this way, Rome will have much more problems to sort out in the coming years, then. Quite different is the case of Lombardy, where the main engine is Roberto Maroni, the governor in charge. He is still a member of the Northern League party, now more than ever. Yet Italy will vote for the new parliament next spring and the Northern League is supposed to be in a coalition with Berlusconi and several other right winged groups. In case of victory, they will all become part of the next government. Such a government will surely give much more attention to the needs of the whole country, so Lombard autonomy will be inevitably placed in the background. This, at the very least, will create rifts between the separatist and autonomist party members and the national party top officials.
The main reason for the two elections doesn’t really regard solidarity. It is rather one of the many expressions of public dissatisfaction towards the central government, perceived as a source of corruption and unfair distribution of national wealth. Many people in the north think that the wealth created locally must remain local rather than be “squandered” and shared with the regions that “contribute less”. They are mainly referring to the southern regions, but they are also referring to the slogan “Roma ladrona” (“Rome is a big thief”), which was popular when the Northern League movement started its way and that has been recently refreshed by the events of “Mafia Capitale”: a huge investigation that revealed a vast criminal network of corruptions and political-administrative misconduct.
It could be said that Northern Italy feels the same way as Northern Europe towards the Mediterranean Europe: a tendency that indicates a more or less marked lack of solidarity between all the European states, that are continuously facing the more and more frequent problems generated by the continent’s economic and political crisis. The European national egoisms are perfectly mirroring the regional ones.
There is an element of truth behind these ‘egoisms’, something that was vehemently emphasized during the election campaign. If you look, for example, at the central government spending on the infrastructures, you will see that from 2016 to 2020, ANAS will spend approximately 647 million euros for northern Italy out of the 23.4 billion euros of the national budget. In percentage, this is 3%, against 56% (13 billion) destined for the south. But if you look only at these percentages you will only open or reopen old polemics, never settled, between north, south, and center. It is well known that northern infrastructures are far better than those in the south and so rebalancing measures are really needed. These measures are also an integral part of the national solidarity politics of any state.
At the same time, there are ‘border issues’ coming from the privileges that historically have been granted to the Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, two special administrative areas. Their status and their tax exemptions have made the conditions of neighbouring municipalities very different. These differences have not been sorted out by the state funds given to the municipalities adjacent to the special administrative regions. It should be remembered, for example, that just ten years ago all the Venetian provinces asked to be annexed to South Tyrol. Yet ten years ago, the general situation was much better than today. But all these polemics about wealth distribution are nothing more than a symptom of a widespread discontent and will be sorted only through the concept of a ‘country’ based on solidarity, opposed to the current concept based on competition.
Originally published on 2017-11-24
About the author: Giulietto Chiesa is one of the best known Italian journalists. He was Moscow correspondent for twenty years for “L’Unità” and “La Stampa”. He worked with all major Italian television channels, from the TG1 to TG3 and TG5 and is currently political analyst for major Russian television channels. He is the only Italian journalist to be repeatedly mentioned in the autobiography of Mikhail Gorbachev, whom he has repeatedly interviewed. He writes a blog for “Il Fatto Quotidiano”. His own blog is http://www.megachip.info/ .
Source: Defend Democracy Press
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
French president Macron’s call for the creation of a “European Army” and the implicit end of NATO alliance reflects the changing global order, the credit for which must, in the first place, go to the US president Trump, who, through his series of actions, has unwittingly done enough damage to the alliance to force the EU to wean away from the so-called western alliance and project itself as an independent player in the international arena. On the one hand, the concept of a “European army” affirms the growing distance between the US and its allies in Europe, and on the ...
Italian police broke up an alleged jihadist cell in Venice who had celebrated last week’s terrorist attack in London and planned to blow up the city’s famous Rialto Bridge in the hope of killing hundreds of tourists. In a series of overnight raids, anti-terrorism police arrested three suspects, all of them Kosovars who were living in Italy.
Fisnik Bekaj, 24, Dake Haziraj, 25, and Arian Babaj, 27, were allegedly admirers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and were secretly recorded discussing how they were ready to die for the sake of jihad. A fourth person, an unnamed minor ...
Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, one of the most shameful and tragic chapters in the history of the foreign policies of Britain and France and one that constituted a pivotal factor in the outbreak of the second world war, the most destructive conflict in the history of mankind, in which the Holocaust occurred.
This is not to castigate the governments of Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier for wanting to avoid another world war.
The traumas of the Great War were ingrained in the minds of British and French statesmen and this should not be overlooked or downplayed.
Nor should the ...
IntroductionThe fundamental aim of the text below is to deal with the concept and models of global security as one of the crucial topics of global political studies. We have to keep in mind that a term and notion of security usually imply a kind of sense of protection and safety from different possible harms coming from „outside“. Therefore, it can be generally acceptable and understandable that the states want to protect their own territories by expanding great resources in making their territorial safe. Security topics are of very different kind, ranging from the causes of conflict between states to ...
PrefaceA geopolitical issue of South-East Europe became of very importance for the scholars, policymakers, and researchers with the question of the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire as one of the most crucial features of the beginning of the 20th century in European history. A graduate collapsing of the one-time great empire was accelerated and followed by competition and struggling by both, the European Great Powers and the Balkan national states, upon the territorial inheritance of it. While the European Great Powers have the aim to obtain the new spheres of political-economic influence in South-East Europe, followed by the task to ...
Preface At the beginning of the 20th century the Great European Powers,[i] divided into two totally antagonistic political-military alliances, were preparing themselves for the final settling of accounts among each other concerning the new division of political-economic spheres of influence and the redistributing the colonies around the world. Their different interests overlapped upon the territory of South-East Europe, much more look down at the other parts of the globe, for the reason of the exploitation of the regional natural wealth and to take advantage of the military-strategic importance of South-East Europe as the strategic hinterland of East Mediterranean and the most ...
Italy's geostrategic significanceItaly is in a position, looking from a geographical and geostrategic point of view, to play one of the most significant political roles in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea. Italy with Sicily is dividing the Mediterranean Sea into two parts: the eastern and the western. According to Sergio Romano, this geostrategic fact is giving to Italy a possibility to play the role of "the most important factor of naval balance of powers in the region". For the Italian geopolitical significance, it is important fact, as well as, that the southern NATO’s headquarters is located in Italy what ...
This Remembrance Day will doubtless see strenuous efforts by some to justify the fruitless bloodbath that was the First World War. Revisionist commentators have long attempted to rehabilitate the conflict as necessary and just, but the arguments do not stand up. It does no service to the memory of the dead to allow any illusions in the justice or necessity of war, particularly so when the precedents will be used to argue for the next ‘necessary’ conflict. From the causes of the war, to its prosecution and its results, here are the counter-arguments to ten common pro-war ploys.1. The war ...
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013
A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea
Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.
It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.
I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.
I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
Chemical weapons are an invention of the western war machine. Introduced into trench warfare by the French in 1915, over 190,000 tons of chemical weapons were produced during World War 1. There were an estimated 1.3 million casualties caused by chemicals during the war, with 90,000 fatalities.
Often referred to as the “Chemists War,” World War I saw the rise of chemical weapons being used on the battlefield. It all began with the French Army, who used tear gas in the form of small grenades.
These small grenades didn’t hold much gas, and were largely undetected by German forces. The French issued ...
War is not an anomaly, nor an exception to the rule, it has always been with us and it might always be. Militarism and its practice in war are subcategories of waste (the harmful things we produce such as pollution and bombs) and domains of accumulation themselves. They are also prerequisites for the expansion of capital and its market economy. Much is done to portray war as an inherent attribute of human fallibility or an unintended consequence. However, mainstream concepts associated with the promotion of the market economy are weapons of the ruling class. They are all laced with poison. ...
It was in 2015 hundred years anniversary of secret treaty signed between three Entente members of the U.K., France and the Russian Empire on the one hand, and Italy on the other, in London on April 26th, 1915 nine months after the break up the Great War of 1914−1918.
In a political-military effort to involve Italy into the war on their own side against the Central Powers members of Germany and Austria-Hungary within a month, these three Entente block members confirmed the Italian possession of the ex-Ottoman province of Libya (acquired by Italy in 1912) and the Dodecanese islands in the ...
Part IFrance’s Balkan policy of the status quo The fundamental interest of France in the region of South-East Europe was of the economic nature but not fundamentally of the political one. The region was perceived by the French politicians as primarily significant in the following three points:As a well-suited area for the investment of the French financial capital.As the region which was the most appropriate overland traffic bond with the Ottoman Empire.As a foothold for the French economic domination over the East Mediterranean.[i]In this respect, the French economic penetration into the region, followed by an investment of the French financial ...
TerminologyA meaning of the term Great Power(s) (GP) in global politics from the beginning of the 16th century onward refers to the most power and therefore top influential states within the system of the international relations (IR). In other words, the GP are those and only those states who are modelling global politics like Portugal, Spain, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, united Germany, the USA, the USSR, Russia or China. During the time of the Cold War (1949−1989) there were superpowers as the American and the Soviet administrations refered to their own countries and even a hyperpower state – the ...
Unlike America under Donald Trump, who is proudly psychopathic and went so far as to blurt out that his followers would accept his leadership even if he were to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, the European Union is so rabidly hypocritical (Trump would probably call it "politically correct") that its leaders routinely moralize about 'human rights and democracy' even while their governments indiscriminately rob and slaughter people in foreign lands (as will be documented here). EU leaders assist U.S.-led atrocities while using prettier language to describe their alleged motivation for these policies. Though the U.S. Government also occasionally employs such ...
Europe in 2050: Projected Population Change
On the Geo-politics of “European Army”
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
The Shame and Tragedy of the 1938 Munich Agreement
International Systems of States and Global Security Models
The Geopolitics of South-East Europe and the Importance of the Regional Geostrategic Position
South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (I)
Italy’s Mediterranean Policy
Ten Lies Told About World War I
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
These Horrible Chemical Weapons Were Created & Used During the First World War
A Liberal Democracy, a Market Capitalist Economy and the Permanent Wars
“Italia Irredenta” Territories and the London Treaty (April 26th, 1915)
South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (II)
The Great Powers and Global Politics
The Rabidly Hypocritical EU