Ten years after it was born, the Italian Democratic Party (PD) has proven to be not so much an unsuccessful amalgam as a failed experiment.
What is left of it is a hybrid entity, dangerous because of its wild remnants unleashed.
If one compares the image of its founders with that of its current leaders, one gets the impression of old pictures of the great protagonists of the October Revolution, whose faces suddenly began to disappear from the official iconography of the regime.
The more radical social Catholicism, with hues of red (Rosy Bindi), has long ago run off from the embrace of Rignano and its circle. The “grown-up Catholics” (Prodi, Parisi, Monaco) have already decided to set up camp further away from the grounds of a party without character. The Catholics from the technocratic-moderate wing (Letta) are beholden to the dark arts that the populism of the government is making a wholesale business of.
Among the conservative Catholics, Guerini and Fioroni are still on the team, followers of Andreotti, then the ultra-moderate Lotti, then Boschi, follower of Fanfani, who, trying to subdue natural inclinations regarding finance by an egalitarian impulse, is proposing that male and female soccer players should be payed the same, and Rosato, manipulator of democratic voting rules. Franceschini, the eternal traveler, still wavers among the wreckage, not preoccupying himself with ideas but rather offering his services to any leader, for no other reason than preserving the margin of power.
Among those who come from the Left, the only ones still holding the fort are the Piemontese, playing cards with Marchionne and controlling the local institutions and the banking foundations (Fassino, Chiamparino), the old head of the co-ops, once red but now on the side of the Confindustria, Mrs. Finnochiaro, entrusted with the thankless task of asking for a vote of trust for an election law that even La Repubblica called nothing less than “a coup,” and the “minister of the cops” (as he calls himself), who helpfully offers migrants holding camps in Libya.
Then, Veltroni enacts his scripts on the party’s stage, who used to belong to the world of cinema, and therefore, when talking about politics, is lost on the fantastic paths of filmic plausibility.
Without the old communist wing (Reichlin ordered the retreat by voting ‘no’ at the December referendum), with the enormous distance from the CGIL, with the breaking away of Bersani, D’Alema, Rossi, Bassolino, and Errani, who are trying to reorganize an autonomous Left, the PD shows itself as a non-party beholden to its leader, merely managing nominations and weaving connections with the economic-financial powers-that-be.
In this mess, the moderate Cuperlo still holds on, engaged in a frantic search for an elevated cultural mediation, showing a will of steel in forcing himself to believe that there is still a possibility for influence in Nazareno’s hell.
And sooner or later, even Orlando will reconcile himself with the reality principle and give up tilting at the windmills of a mythical relocation of the PD in a left-wing cultural zone. From such an uninhabitable house, a new exodus will take place.
With Renzi, the germs that had already infected the body of the new party from the very start were led to develop and cause extreme symptoms. After all, Veltroni had already celebrated the hegemonic role played by enterprise, and condemned any idea of a social struggle for the rights of labor.
Showing off his computer emblazoned with the bitten apple, Renzi took this social uprooting of the party to new levels, transforming it into a vehicle of the financial powers-that-be. Insecurity was transformed into a way of life with the Jobs Act. And with the tax cuts, the forgiving of debts and the bank bailouts, the public resources, very limited as they are, were directed towards private for-profit entities.
Veltroni was the one who formulated the theory of a malleable party, centered on the leader, operating with a non-Congress and cultivating the indiscernible identity of the “but also.” The non-party of the gazebos put him in command, and, having just received his scepter, instead of shoring up the weak executive of the Union, made a deal with Berlusconi for a new election law, little thought through, and with irregular practices led Prodi to abandon the government.
Renzi went even beyond that. From the “party of the leader,” living in harmony with an oligarchy, it now became a personal party, replacing the ruling groups and organizing structures like robots on an assembly line, cutting off its social roots and ideological traits.
Abandoned by the world of labor, rejected by academia, wounded by the desertion of red regions, by the disappointment of youths, by the people of the left feeling unwelcome, the PD is wracked by a malaise that is paralyzing its present and destroying its future.
It’s not only that the PD is not recoverable after Renzi, but rather that its social and institutional choices are nothing less than a danger to the Italian Republic. In the history of the Republic, the political and social Left has been the bulwark against democracy’s drift.
The architect of a referendum aimed at the public acclaim of the leader now refuses to accept the lesson of December, and relaunches the attack on the core principles of parliamentarianism, ordering a vote of trust in order to impose an electoral law made in agreement with Salvini in order to penalize the M5S and the Left. The PD has little to celebrate after its ten years of existence. And for democracy there is much to be on guard about from Nazareno’s reckless acts.
Sadly, these attempts to force the constitutional order seem to augur an imminent return of the Right.
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