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(en) Italy: FdCA Council of Delegates statement on the Constitutional Referendum of 25-26 June [it]

Date Thu, 08 Jun 2006 18:13:11 +0300

For the second time in 5 years, and the third time in a decade, Italians are
being called to vote on changes to the Constitution: first, in 1997, the
D'Alema Bicameral Commission referendum (1); second, the October 2001
referendum on Title 5 of the Constitution (2); third, the forthcoming
referendum which concerns the entire structure of the Republic.
*A subversive strategy by both sides*
For over a decade now, the best part of Italy's political powers and
representatives of capital have been following two objectives:
* stability in the country's political system, and
* the introduction of the principle of subsidiarity.

Both of these objectives require profound changes to the Constitution, as the
stability of the system demands an increase in the powers of the executive,
while the principle of subsidiarity demands the introduction of federalism and
regional devolution with the consequent privatization of public services. The
changes to the Constitution are therefore an essential material and legislative
step towards a successful conclusion to this subversive strategy.

*The June 25-26 Referendum*

On 25-26 June, voting will take place to confirm the changes to the
Constitution which introcude two novelties:
* presidentialism, in the figure of a Prime Minister (3) who will enjoy almost
dictatorial powers, and
* federalism, with the principle of subsidiarity, itself already introduced in
the 2001 referendum on the changes proposed by the centre-left government of
the day.

Both changes will result in damage and restrictions to the freedom and equality
of all citizens.

On the one hand, the introduction of a super-premier will transfer and
concentrate in the executive a discretionary political power which will turn
Italy into a monocratic regime, with all the risks that history has pointed

On the other hand, the introduction of federalism (as in 2001) will give the
regions (4) greater powers with which to apply the principle of subsidiarity
and transform public services into universal services, in other words
privatized and no longer equal for all.

*The trap of State federalism*

Capital is using libertarian slogans such as federalism and subsidiarity, but
distorts their true meaning.

* State federalism, both in its 2001 variety and the current one, is not
governed by solidarity. Rather, it is based on the delegating of power to local
institutions who will have power over locally-produced resources, thus
increasing inequality among citizens and enabling a greater domination of
capital, destroying the solidarity of the exploited. Exclusive competence by
the Regions over such matters as healthcare and education is a threat to the
system of national wage negotiations and introduces elements of differentiation
between the various parts of the country.

* The principle of vertical subsidiarity, ie. between the various institutions,
benefits the diversification of standards in education, healthcare and
employment and creates differences in basic rights on the basis of the area of
the country one lives in.

* The principle of horizontal subsidiarity serves to dismantle and privatize
public services, farming them out to the private sector which can then profit
from the management of services such as schools, hospitals, care, cultural
activities and various social services. Universal services only guarantee a
minimum service to all, services which are offered by various sources on the
basis of particular interests often on an ethnic or denominational basis,
through schools and services financed by public funds.

*The libertarian vision*

Federalism and subsidiarity from a libertarian point of view, however, are
elements of freedom and equality:
* federalism means solidarity, enabling the redistribution of resources between
rich and poor areas;
* vertical subsidiarity, as theorized in libertarian circles since the days of
Proudhon, has as its basis a system of assemblies ensuring the participation of
all in political management, structures based on self-management and the
rejection of the electoral delegate and federated on an ever-growing
territorial level;
* the principle of horizontal subsidiarity, as demonstrated by the experiences
of self-management in Spain in 1936, the cooperativism of the peasant leagues,
of the mutual aid societies, is an instrument of self-government and
participation, of the initiative of everyone in the management of services on
the basis of solidarity in a harmonic vision of society, founded on the freedom
of education, on pluralism in religious matters, on the rejection of divisions
on the basis of ethnicity, race or wealth.

*What is at stake*

The result of the partisan, anti-fascist struggle for freedom and equality,
despite being reduced to the form of a written document aimed at balancing (or
evening out) the strength ratios that existed in 1946-47 (5), is now once more
under attack.

But what is at stake today for workers and for the exploited is not just the
defence of the Constitution in itself. It is countering the strategy that lies
behing the laws enforcing these changes and the consequences they might have.

A strategy which serves:
* the interests of greater capitalist profit
* to strengthen social control
* to concentrate political power into the hands of one person
* to increase inequality and reduce freedom

To defeat this subversive plan, voting NO is useful but it is not enough.
We must stop the privatization of public services, prevent the provision of
services on the basis of unequal subsidiarity, take back politics and society
into our own hands, without delegating!

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
Council of Delegates
Pesaro, 4th June 2006


Translator's notes:

1. The Bicameral Committee, presided over by Massimo D'Alema, was established
in 1997 to reform the Italian constitution. The Committee's recommendations
were subject to amendment by parliament and approval by referendum. The
Committee ended up recommending an essentially French-style semi-presidential
system, accompanied by an electoral law that offered a premium of an additional
20% of seats to the majority, with remaining seats being divided between a
majority system and a proportional one.

2. The October 2001 referendum shifted power from the central government to the
country's regions. 70% of voters (in a turnout of only 24%) backed the
proposals put forward by the previous centre-left government that gave the 20
regional authorities more say over taxation, education and environmental

3. The leader of the executive currently holds the title "Chairman of the
Council of Ministers" and enjoys no special powers.

4. Italy is divided into 20 regions (e.g. Lombardy, Sicily, Tuscany). The
regions are divided into 100 provinces based around cities, and the provinces
are divided into over 8,000 "communes", or local councils. The bigger
"communes" are also divided into municipalities.

5. The reference is to the creation of the Italian Republic following the fall
of the Kingdom of Italy after World War II.
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