The Italian parties don't shine for consistency with their own programs. To understand our bad political situation is interesting to examine the strange metamorphosis through which the parties went through in the last few years. Forza Italia was born, at least on paper, as a center-right Liberal Party who wanted to modernize the Italian economy. In 1994, the official stance was to condem corruption of the old parties and even trying to bring former judge Di Pietro in their field.
All this was already just a facade, because in reality the party was filled with former politcians of the first republic and on it weighed the many conflicts of interests of Berlusconi. But the fact remains that his official positions have changed radically over the years. Forza Italia from liberalism has gone to support a heavy state intervention in the economy. From secularism, in 1994 was actually an ally of the Radicals, moved to enact laws inspired by a clerical agenda against assisted reproduction, living wills and civil unions. Berlusconi in 1997 cryied for the immigrants died in a sinking during the first Prodi government, now he support the rejections of refugees and the racial laws desired by the Northern League. A complete metamorphosis from a moderate liberal party to reactionary right attacking the judiciary and the opposition continuously. The common element is of course always him, the Chief, and his private interests. But one wonders how it is possible that the same people who had joined the party 15 years ago or voted it don't notice today that they are in a completely different place.
Even the National Alliance has changed a lot from the post-Fascist party of 1994 to moderate right now. The most significant transformation is that if before AN was at the right of Forza Italia, today the reverse is true. Particularly in recent months, given that until the election campaign of 2008, Fini and his party did propaganda against "illegals" and didn't speak at all of voting rights or citizenship for immigrants, as they do now.
The Northern League was founded in theory as a federalist party. In practice it was a parochial party motivated by hatred and racism towards anyone different, and this certainly has not changed. In 1994, however, the hatred was directed against the southern italians who had lived for years in northern Italy, although this didn't prevent an alliance with Forza Italia and National Alliance. After the fall of the first Berlusconi government, the League raised the tone of the controversy with former allies, Bossi accused explicitly Berlusconi of being a mobster and threatened the "fascists", saying that the North had expelled them in 1945. Today, however, the League has concentrated in the persecution of immigrants and some of its representatives, as Borghezio, boast openly of their fascist roots. The original neo-paganism has also given way to fundamentalist Catholicism. In short, here too a beautiful metamorphosis from neopagan Federalist party to ultra-Catholic and ultrareactionary right. But even here, the voters have not noticed anything.
What about the UDC? regarding the program is one of the most consistent Italian parties. Always been ultra-Catholic, hostile to the secular state and in favor of judicial "guarantees", if not conniving with the gray areas of politics undermined by corruption and the mafia. Perfect right DC style. But even they have gone from standing alone (in the People's Party) in the 1994 elections to an alliance with Berlusconi, then left him. Today they criticize the conflicts of interest of the premier and seek an alliance with the PD, yesterday they voted unflinchingly all Berlusconi's tailor-made laws.
The PD has suffered endless metamorphosis in name and composition, but certainly what is still the biggest party of the Italian center-left has maintained a consistency: never honour its manifesto and the desires of its voters. Who voted for the center-left since 1994 because they wanted a law against conflict of interests, wanted the abolition of the more controversial laws of the Berlusconi government, like that on artificial insemination, the Fini-Giovanardi on drugs and the Bossi-Fini law which criminalized immigrants. PD voters also wanted civil unions, and certainly did not want an increased military spending and widespread job precariousness that irreparably undermines the rights of workers. They wanted honesty and respect for the judiciary, not new, more serious attacks on its independence. But the PD and its antecedents always screwed the will of the voters. Promises in the periods of opposition were never fullfilled during the periods in the government. Lately, however, the PD has ceased to lie and now openly says it wants dialogue with Berlusconi and help him change the Constitution for his own use and consumption. So, the party no longer even pretend to be an opposition.
The Italy of Values was founded as a distinctively centrist Catholic party, in defense of justice and with a program that had very little attention to the problems of workers, supported very controversial public works as the High speed rail and the nuclear (the same position of Berlusconi, in other words), opposed any inquiry on the abuses of law enforcement, such as the G8 in Genoa in 2001, disregarded human rights of migrants and prisoners. But in the last two years, without any form of opposition, the IDV has taken its place, and then began to show concern for workers' rights, opposing nuclear power and the useless public works, criticizing abuses by the police, defending the rights of immigrants and prisoners, supporting the secular state. A basic defense of democracy and the contents of the Constitution which should be the heritage of all Italians and all the parties, but the reality is quite different. The only question is, if the IDV would go to the government, if its metamorphosis is genuine or the result of political expediency of the moment.
The parties of the Left and the Greens on paper have always remained faithful to their programs in defense of labor, civil rights and the environment. But when they entered the center-left governments have failed in practice to achieve any of this. In part it is not their fault, because they had to submit to the blackmail of allies who accused them continuously, with extensive media power, of being responsible for the instability of the coalition. But the result has been to disappoint their voters by approving military spending, public works devastating to the environment, the construction of incinerators and so on, without getting anything in regard to civil rights and restraint of precarious jobs. In addition to this after the election defeat of 2008 they managed to shatter into a myriad of pieces. Staying together without compromising their ideals would have paid in the medium and long term, if only they had tried to do so.
But the Italian parties are not capable of planning and consistency. Their actions follow the fashion of the moment, policy and programs vary depending on the occasion. In any other country where there is a free press, such behavior would never be forgiven. But here in Italy, where all media, apart from rare exceptions, are at the service of some political party, the propaganda always wins over the truth. And the voters continue to vote the flags and the single man, without demanding compliance to programs and promises. It's a populist politics, ruled by the media, completely devoid of coherence and content. Practically the opposite of democracy.
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