Commentary. The positive election result in Emilia-Romagna shows that this is not a time for resignation, that the negative trend can be reversed.

The best traditions of the historical left and the new social fronts

Are we really sure that “left of the PD, everything is quiet,” as Antonio Floridia recently wrote in il manifesto, summarizing the editorials and other commentary and analysis from before and after the vote? In the end, the underlying issue remains that of building a form of political representation.

This representation must be built on two levels: a) the resumption of a “historical continuity” with the great organizations of the Italian workers’ movement, the socialist and communist ones and their union and cooperative counterparts; and b) an updating of the arguments, starting from the identification of the new social fractures as an indispensable basis, from the analytic and planning point of view, for reconstructing a subjectivity, and, together with it, the material and political basis of a political and social alternative.

Without claiming any kind of exclusivity, we are already working on this at a number of levels, through initiatives focused on comparison and integration, based on the principles that served as the basis for our project statement with the title “Gramsci – Matteotti: lines of succession.” The “Gramsci/Matteotti dialogue” starts with recalling the great capacity for foresight that both these two figures—one an exponent of Italian communism, the other of reformist socialism—were able to put to use during their time, most importantly in order to identify the danger of fascism (at this point, we can certainly talk about the flaws in their projections, whether these were too early or too late, but this is not the place for that).

Our research is based, first of all, on the identification of the new social contradictions that have modified the historical relational framework between the idea of equality, that of solidarity and that of freedom, developing a conception of a 21st century socialism that seems more urgently needed than ever before. The topic is, therefore, that of the connection between the best tradition of the historical Left (bearing in mind, however, all the difficulties that have marked its path in the previous century), the new social contradictions and the elaboration of a new type of project aimed at coming to terms with modernity in its various aspects, starting from the domination of technology and economics over politics. All this while not overlooking the international context, with the consequences brought by the disappearance of the traditional historical-ideological reference points of the USSR and the people’s democracies on the one hand, and the great European social democracies on the other.

In terms of immediate political dynamics, our intention remains that of focusing on the design of republican democracy contained in the Italian Constitution as a central point, whose aims of effective solidarity and substantial equality are incompatible with the individualistic massification of ordo-capitalism. The aspects that we are particularly committed to are the centrality of Parliament and the possibility of institutional expression for all the political sensibilities present in the country, with an appropriate magnitude for each, thus re-establishing the right to an equal, free and individual vote, which has been stolen in the name of “governability” by blocked lists, majoritarian redistributions, multiple candidatures and coalitions of power.

The rejection by the Constitutional Court of the referendum on majoritarianism proposed by eight regions on behalf of the Lega is encouraging, allowing us to envision the possibility of moving forward in our initiative, regarding which we are calling on all the political and cultural subjects in the broad area of the left to start a debate on its merits, leaving aside all the hegemonic pretensions of a priori perpetuation of certain power groups.

The positive election result in Emilia-Romagna shows that this is not a time for resignation, that the negative trend can be reversed—however, at the same time, one more region, Calabria, passed over to the right, together with the others that have had elections in 2018 and 2019, with the exception of Lazio. The factors of instability in our political system and in the institutions themselves are not contingent, but structural. The current government has to fear the repercussions from both electoral defeats—especially where it has put itself on the line directly, as in Umbria—and electoral successes, where the campaign has been run at the regional level, if the government coalition suffered losses, as it happened in Emilia-Romagna with the M5S.

There is no point to compare this result with 2014, when there was a dismal turnout of just 37.71%. However, we should look at 2010, when the PD was the number one party with 857,682 votes and 40.65% of the total. Now, ten years later, it got 749,027 votes, losing 108,586 in absolute terms, which are only apparently compensated by the 124,402 votes for the list that supported Bonaccini’s candidacy directly. This is because we are talking about a region where in 1970, in the first regional elections, with a 96.59% turnout, the PCI and the PSI got 52.05%, and together with the PSIUP went up to 55.88%, which translated to 1,459,005 votes.

Now, the center-left coalition got a total of 1,040,482 votes, and the candidate for regional president, the true winner of these elections, got 1,195,742. The great conflict on the issue of differentiated autonomy explains why Bonaccini is not popular on the left, but to run 3 separate lists to the left of the Democratic Party, collecting no more than 1.21% (26,165 votes), was a political error that has weakened the front against differentiated autonomy—one of the issues on which we need to rally the broad support of the pro-Constitution left.

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