Interview. We spoke with Maurizio Acerbo, the new secretary of the Communist Refoundation Party, about creating a new alternative to the neoliberalism of the Democratic Party and Forza Italy. “We have to go beyond the fences for a left that wants to win and govern.”

Italy’s new communist party offers a political ‘yes’

Maurizio Acerbo, in your early communications as secretary of the PRC, you have quoted the remarks made by a warmly applauded speaker, the constitutionalist Gaetano Azzariti. Why?

Professor Azzariti said two things: that, even though he is not a member, he has worked with us on several occasions; and that we need to transform the social “no” issued by the country into a political “yes,” to move from the referendum on common assets to the Constitutional referendum. In every city, thousands of people got active and have found themselves in a common way of an alternative to neoliberalism, and therefore also to the Democratic Party. So, I do not see why all these people cannot share a popular movement with the left parties and the movements in defense of the environment, human rights and protection of employment, and democracy. Even with those who say they are not leftist because they feel nauseated by the abuse of the term in recent years. On Saturday, I will be in Barcelona for the constituent assembly of a single entity with the proposals we push forward in Italy.

You talked highly of Luigi De Magistris.

I think Naples’ experience is positive: to hold together really diverse groups that share a clear alternative position to the Democratic Party, to break with the ‘politician politics,’ with radical programs. The left cannot be compared with the caste: we gave this word to Grillo when he followed Marx in his writings on the Paris Commune, and Gramsci when he spoke of the governing caste in the service of a large industrial capital. We also need the Neapolitan experience for a left that wants to win and govern, just like we need the social forces that are opposing the “marchionnesche” policies. The FIOM is crucial. The path of CGIL is also positive, which has initiated a confrontation with the government. And the federal unionism, we have worked together for the “no Renzi day.”

Aren’t you biting more than you can chew? Paolo Ferrero pointed out that the left, either Communist or not, has lost much of its credibility for their sins.

We have made serious political and behavioral mistakes: my father trusted Nenni and Di Vittorio because he did not consider them part of the caste, but men who had risked their lives for the principles they fought for. Today we should not invent new marketing, this is the left, and those who want to represent it, must go back to doing their jobs.

Another delicate issue, given the caution, and the difficulties in building a united left alternative.

There is a wealth inside the country that deserves more than a mere last minute electoral roll. However, this is not just about institutional representation. If the left does not set up a position in the public debate when the Democratic Party slides to the right and drifts the social plan, just think of the Orlando-Minniti decree, this weakness is a problem of all. Fifteen years ago in Rome, there would have been 100 thousand people to contest the EU summit and its policies. Together, not with two valiant demonstrations but with low participation. We must go beyond the fences. When we do it, look at the referendum, there is a multiplier effect, overcoming the opposition of political and social, regaining visibility, and without splitting hairs. We must aspire to be the instrument with which the majority of the country defends their rights, the services, the quality of life.

Yet, at the congress, many did not like Nicola Fratoianni’s speech.

I liked it, although I think the party Sinistra Italiana should have the courage of taking a step further. So do the movements, like De Magistris. Like the many that have matured a common vision on labor, welfare, Europe and environmental issues. As an alternative to the current state of things. An alternative to the neoliberalism of the Democratic Party and Forza Italia, an alternative to the racist right. Even the M5S, because Paolo Berdini’s case is a litmus test. The experience of the Other Europe in 2014 was miraculous, and brought many to commit. Then it ran aground on Sel’s internal problems. But now we cannot lose another opportunity.

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