Italy

Berlusconi recasts Italian state television in his own image

By Chris Sverige, 3 June 2002

Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi has used his majority in parliament to push through the reorganization of Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), the state-owned network of public television, radio and satellite stations. The changes effectively put an end to the RAI as an institution that, to a limited extent, provided a political forum for different social interests—not only those of big business.

Eight-hour general strike in Italy

By Peter Schwarz in Florence, 17 April 2002

Large parts of Italy came to a standstill yesterday, when 13 million workers followed a call by the three main union federations for an eight-hour general strike. It was the first such national stoppage in Italy for twenty years. The entire transport sector, most public services and large parts of the private sector were on strike.

A portrait of Italy’s Berlusconi government: "All for One, and One for Himself"

Berlusconi’s Forza Italia: Part 2

By Peter Schwarz, 16 April 2002

In June 2001, for the second time since 1994, a right-wing government led by the media mogul Silvio Berlusconi came to power in Rome. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the neo-fascist Alleanza Nazionale and the separatist Lega Nord formed a coalition that violates the political norms of what was considered normal and acceptable in post-war Europe. Below is the first part of a two-part article analyzing the ideological and political roots of Forza Italia. Further articles, dealing with the other parties in the coalition and the reasons for its accession to power, will follow later. The first part of this article was posted on Monday, April 15.

A portrait of Italy’s Berlusconi government: "All for One, and One for Himself"

Berlusconi’s Forza Italia: Part 1

By Peter Schwarz, 15 April 2002

In June 2001, for the second time since 1994, a right-wing government led by the media mogul Silvio Berlusconi came to power in Rome. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the neo-fascist Alleanza Nazionale and the separatist Lega Nord formed a coalition that violates the political norms of what was considered normal and acceptable in post-war Europe. Below is the first part of a two-part article analyzing the ideological and political roots of Forza Italia. Further articles, dealing with the other parties in the coalition and the reasons for its accession to power, will follow later. The second part of this article will be posted on Tuesday, April 16.

Millions demonstrate in Rome against Berlusconi

By Peter Schwarz, 26 March 2002

Between two and three million people converged on Rome March 23 to protest the policies of the Berlusconi government in the biggest demonstration in the history of post-war Italy.

Hundreds of thousands demonstrate in Rome against Berlusconi government

By Andy Niklaus and Peter Schwarz, 7 March 2002

On Saturday, March 2, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Rome for a mass demonstration against the government of Silvio Berlusconi. The rally was called by the centre-left parliamentary opposition, headed by the Left Democrats.

Italian foreign minister resigns

By Patrick Richter, 19 January 2002

On New Year’s Eve, while other European capitals were celebrating the introduction of the new single currency, the euro, in Italy there was only an accentuated silence. No ceremonies were held in Rome, and in contrast to his European Union (EU) colleagues, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi did not consider it necessary to do anything at all to honour the new currency.

Muslims, anti-globalization movements labeled enemies of the "West"

Racist vomit from Italy’s PM Berlusconi

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 September 2001

In a brief visit to Berlin last Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi identified Islam and opponents of global capitalism as the targets of a “Western crusade” for “civilised values,” in the wake of the terror attacks in New York and Washington.

Italy’s right-wing government unveils new attacks on workers

By Christopher Sverige, 22 September 2001

Since the coming to power last May of the right-wing coalition headed by billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, party leaders and business interests have been chomping at the bit to extend and deepen the attacks on the working class that have been under way throughout the last five years of “center-left” government.

Growing international condemnation of police violence in Genoa

By Julie Hyland, 15 August 2001

Mounting evidence of police provocations and brutality against protesters during the G-8 summit held July 20-22 in Genoa has provoked growing international condemnation.

Italy: Berlusconi forms ultra-right cabinet

By Peter Schwarz, 15 June 2001

Authoritarian and racist views, disrespect for the most elementary democratic rights, an ultra-free market economic policy combined with unrestrained self-interest, and a clear shift in foreign policy from Brussels to Washington—these are the defining elements of the new Italian government which was sworn into office in Rome on June 11. The government is the most right-wing to have taken power in Europe since the fall of the fascist dictators.

Italy: Berlusconi to name "post-fascist" Fini as deputy prime minister

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 May 2001

Final results in the Italian election make clear that House of Freedoms , the coalition of right-wing parties headed by Silvio Berlusconi, has comfortable majorities in both houses of the Italian parliament. Casa delle Liberta has won 386 seats of the 630 seats in Italy's lower house (Chamber of Deputies) and 177 seats out of 315 in the Senate.

Berlusconi wins parliamentary vote

Right-wing media mogul set to head new Italian government

By Ulrich Rippert, 15 May 2001

Tensely awaited parliamentary elections in Italy have ended with a victory for media boss Silvio Berlusconi and his alliance of right-wing parties assembled under the banner “House of Freedoms”. Even as the initial, still indecisive results were being reported Sunday evening, Berlusconi declared himself the winner. His election manager warned, “If they do not declare us the winners, we will take to the streets in our millions.”

Italy's Berlusconi and his "House of Freedoms"—a new dimension in the development of the right wing in Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 7 May 2001

The rise to prominence of Silvio Berlusconi's “House of Freedoms” represents a new dimension in the development of the right wing in Europe. Should Berlusconi's political formation win the elections in Italy due on May 13, as is currently expected, its victory would fundamentally change the face of Europe as a whole.

Italy: Berlusconi fans an atmosphere of intimidation

By Peter Schwarz, 7 April 2001

At the centre of the forthcoming Italian elections is the issue of freedom of the press and who controls the media. The reaction of media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, the leading candidate of the right-wing alliance “House of Freedom”, to critical reports by those sections of the media not under his influence has been to lash out indiscriminately and create an atmosphere of intimidation.

Italian elections: Berlusconi presents himself as the employers' man

By Peter Schwarz, 26 March 2001

Following the dissolution of the Italian parliament and the fixing of the general election for May 13, the campaign is now proceeding at full pace. The first confrontation between the two leading candidates—Silvio Berlusconi of the right-wing “Pole of Liberty” and Francesco Rutelli of the centre-left “Olive Tree” coalition—took place the weekend of March 17-18 at the conference of Confindustria, the main Italian employers' association. Berlusconi and Rutelli delivered speeches on separate days.

Italian elections set for May 13

By Peter Schwarz, 21 March 2001

Italian voters will be subjected to intensive electioneering over the next eight weeks. On March 8, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi dissolved the Italian parliament. New elections are to be held on May 13. On the same day, local authorities will be voted into office in 1,300 municipalities, including the major cities of Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin.

Six Kurdish immigrants suffocate in back of Italian truck

By Christopher Sverige, 3 November 2000

The bodies of six Kurdish immigrants were found beside a coastal highway in Puglia, southern Italy, on October 17. Police are presuming that the men, aged 20 to 40, were being smuggled into the country and that they had been thrown from a moving truck after dying of asphyxiation.

The "beautiful" vs. the "rich"

Italy's centre-left coalition chooses Francesco Rutelli as its leading candidate

By Peter Schwarz, 26 October 2000

Italy's governing “Olive Tree” alliance has nominated Francesco Rutelli as its leading candidate for the next parliamentary elections. Rutelli, who is mayor of Rome, was chosen at a convention held along American lines to contest the poll that will presumably take place in the coming spring.

The Adriatic: a "Sea of Tears"

Increasing death toll of refugees trying to reach Italian coast

By Andy Niklaus, 13 September 2000

Practically every day, refugees are found dead at Europe's borders: stranded Africans on Spain's southern coast, drowned Romanians in the river Oder, suffocated Tamils and Chinese in buses at the borders of the Czech Republic and Britain. This devastating situation can also be found at the borders of Italy, particularly along the southern Adriatic coastline of Apulia. Reports on the arrival of overcrowded ships transporting Kurds, Albanians, Iranians, Iraqis and Chinese are featured in the press nearly every day.

Italy: work-related accidents and deaths on the rise

By Rosa Ieropoli, 18 July 2000

On-the-job accidents and deaths in Italy increased last year, according to a report recently released by the National Board of Insurance against Accidents in Industrial Work (Instituto Nazionale per l'Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro—INAIL). The report contained data on workplace accidents in Italy during the first 11 months of 1999. There were 967,000 reported accidents, a 2.2 percent increase over 1998, and 1,113 deaths.

The failure of the Italian referenda

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 8 June 2000

An important vote on six referenda took place in Italy on May 22. All of the initiatives failed to pass because the required quorum of over 50 percent of eligible voters was not met. Though only 32 percent of the electorate voted, this event could mark a significant moment in the evolution of Italian politics, and provides an occasion for a discussion of its ongoing crisis.

Resignation of Italian Prime Minister D'Alema threatens to topple government

By Chris Marsden, 21 April 2000

Following resignation of Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema on Wednesday, April 19, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi has initiated talks to see if a new centre-left government can be formed, or if a general election must be rapidly organised.

Italian officials ignored tenants' complaints in apartment building collapse

By Rosa Ieropoli, 15 December 1999

For two years before the collapse of an Italian apartment building, which killed 67 people, tenants complained to local officials that they feared the building was unsafe. Only days before the disaster a group of engineers sent by authorities told the nervous residents that the building was safe and that they could sleep peacefully.

Demonstrations to protest Italian government plan to end free access to universities

By Rosa Ieropoli, 12 November 1999

Demonstrations are planned for November 17 in all the principal cities throughout Italy to protest a government plan that would deny university education to hundreds of thousands of students. The Union of University Students has called the demonstrations.

Italy to create a professional army

By Carola Kleinert and Andy Niklaus, 24 September 1999

On September 3, during the first meeting of the cabinet following the summer break, the Italian government passed a new law which will, by the year 2005, abolish compulsory military service in favour of the creation of a professional army.

The United States of Italy

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 9 August 1999

The following comment was submitted to the WSWS by a reader living in Rome.

Poverty and unemployment in Italy

Conditions for workers deteriorate under the centre-left D'Alema government

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 30 July 1999

Statistics on poverty in Italy for the year 1998 were recently released. According to the report there were 2,558,000 poor families in Italy last year. This figure translates to 7,432,000 poor people, or 13 percent of the population. ISTAT, the organisation releasing the data, defines the poverty line as a monthly combined income of slightly less than 1,500,000 lire (about $800) for two people.

After the European elections: the view from Italy

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 1 July 1999

The following article was sent by a reader in Italy. The WSWS editorial board encourages readers and supporters around the world to submit articles of analysis and commentary on political and cultural events and historical questions. The WSWS will publish serious contributions for the benefit of our readers.

Attempted reform of Italian electoral laws collapses

By Peter Schwarz, 22 April 1999

The attempt to introduce a first-past-the-post electoral system in Italy through the mechanism of a popular referendum has failed due to insufficient voter participation. At least half of the potential electorate of 49 million had to vote in order to ensure a valid result. In the event, after voting, 150,000 votes or 0.4 percent were lacking. From those who voted, 91 percent were in favour of the reform.

Sunday referendum in Italy to decide on voting system

By Christopher Sverige, 16 April 1999

Sunday April 18 will witness the latest in a series of moves toward a more business-friendly political system in Italy. A referendum will be held on the question of replacing the current mixed electoral system with one that features only single-member districts.

US pilot who killed twenty on ski gondola acquitted

By David Walsh, 6 March 1999

Relatives of the victims and ordinary Italians reacted with outrage to the acquittal of an American marine pilot whose plane, flying too low and faster than rules permitted, cut through a cable car line at an Italian ski resort last February and caused the deaths of 20 people. A US military jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina found Capt. Richard Ashby, 31, not guilty of involuntary homicide and manslaughter Thursday after a 17-day court martial.

Italian workers protest threats by government

By Rosa Ieropoli and Christopher Sverige, 25 February 1999

Workers in Italy have mounted a nine-day series of work stoppages in protest of the government's plan to attack any future strikes by workers in the occupations designated as "public services."

Italian PDS founds new party

By Wolfgang Weber, 27 February 1998

A three-day meeting in mid-February saw the founding of a new party, the Democratici di Sinistra (DS–Left Democrats). The ceremony was presided over by the ex-Stalinists of the PDS (Partito Democratico della Sinistra–Democratic Party of the Left) together with the remains of the former Christian Democrats and the Socialist Party, and a few other left-wing groups. Two-thirds of the 1,800 delegates gathered in Florence were from the PDS and its leader, Massimo D'Alema, was elected as the new party's first chairman.