THREE NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL VOTE
Since last Sunday’s election, there has been some news – I am referring primarily to the national figure.
The first is that Matteo Salvini is no longer the leader of the center-right: From Papeete onwards, nothing in those parts has turned the right way. The league has arrived almost everywhere behind the Brothers of Italy, which is not breaking through either. Also because some data, primarily in Genoa and in Spezia, provide a significant strength to another part of the center-right, the more central, expressed by Toti and by the personal lists of candidates for mayor of Liguria. All this will lead to the emergence of important political divisions in the center-right with a view to next year’s political elections, starting with the election on relations with the EU.
The second news is that the Democratic Party is holding its own – in Italy it is the first party – while its allies are collapsing. M5S has had a debacle, but perhaps it has more power than it is credited with: Those who give the grill line for death forget the big difference between the -negative- vote in the 2017 administration offices and the -positive- in the 2018 policies … to the left they do not shine, except for some realities, while the “middle pole” is phantom: Calenda intends results that he does not have, his few successful candidates would have done well with any list.
The third news item refers to the referendums on justice: their failure means that we may have got rid of the “Italian guarantors” for some years, those who confuse liberal theories with the defense of corrupt power, which demands impunity.
PERACCHINI’S ADVANTAGES AND DEMERITANTS OF CENTRO LEFT
We come to the result of the La Spezia election, which was essentially taken for granted. Generally, a mayor is reconfirmed after the first term, unless he has committed misdeeds. I have always said to those who asked me for an opinion: “Peracchini is not loved, but he is in no way discredited”. The fact that in the first round he was reconfirmed with 53% of the votes of 50% of the voters, ie only by a quarter of La Spezia, confirms that the mayor is not exactly loved, but still enjoys some respect. Especially people in La Spezia appreciated that the city is cleaner than it was five years ago. It is not even true that Peracchini did not create works with any trace: it is true that fortunately for the city and for Peracchini himself, the Superintendent prevented him from the crime of the bridge over Viale Italia, but it is equally true that Parco delle Mura is much appreciated. Everyone, including the opposition, forgot to mention that the work was designed in the late nineties, included in the Parco delle Colline project in the strategic plan of 2001 and then carried out by the subsequent administrations; but there is no doubt that it was the last administration, in continuity with the former, that carried it out. A fortune, but also a profit. Among other things, in a historical moment where the themes of overcoming the separation between city and country, and how to bring landscape, nature and green to the city due to the pandemic, are felt to a great extent. It should be added – in this study of the last five years – that the management of La Spezia health care has been a real crime. But the main responsibility lies with the region: Peracchini let it go, and Toti was able to remember “them from before”, which in fact were not lacking.
Having said that, it is clear that the result is the fruit of the advantages of Peracchini and center-right, but also of the disadvantages of center-left. The “sad story” of the election of the mayoral candidate after months of confrontation exclusively within “shattered and ‘upset’ political forces, reduced to a self-referential political class”, is the symbol of this (I refer to the article of this column “Piera Sommovigo and the possible beginning of a new course “, of 20 March 2022). In a little over two months, the “new course” could only take the form of a very distant possibility. It is true that the center-left in the last few days nurtured the hope of the vote: but this was, in addition to being the result of the patacca measurements, also the consequence of an optical illusion. It also seemed to me that the climate around the center-left and Piera Sommovigo had improved, and it certainly was: but compared to a dramatically low starting point, it reached precisely March, the culminating month of the “sad story” that Piera’s candidacy Sommovigo has put a stop, but with the omelette now finished.
ABSTENSIONISM, DEMOCRACY CRISIS, REPRESENTATION
However, the critical reflection must go much further back in time. The Provincial Secretary of the Democratic Party Jacopo Montefiori declared to the “Città della Spezia”:
“With his work, Piera has shown that he is a point of reference for the opposition and that he can remain so. But in addition to the leader, we must first and foremost work to recreate the representation with the daily work. The election campaign alone is not enough: we were silent for too long, and when we broke it, it was too late. “
The number of participants in the vote is emblematic. Historically in Spezia and Genoa it has always been among the highest in Italy, now it is the lowest: in Spezia over 4% less than the national figure (54.79%), in Genoa even 10% less. A sign of a dramatic democratic crisis that can not be removed. Only by returning to “represent,” as Montefiori says, can we overcome a fact that indicates disinterest and contempt, and primarily affects the center-left.
But “represent” who? First of all, the humblest and weakest classes. I have now learned not to fool myself by trying positive signs, the lights that sometimes come from the left of other countries. But let’s look at Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise. I do not know how today’s elections will go for the “subordinates”: but the minimum wage, lowering the retirement age, strengthening public administration are objectives that somehow bring some of the most offended voters closer together. France Insoumise does not always say things that can be shared: but it is the left that is left behind and that has also been able to unite the Social Democrats and the Greens. It is to the vast world of chronic abstinence – who have no representation and condemn a rift between good living rooms and suburbs – that the Democratic Party should look at, not the pirate ship Renzi and Calenda. Let us think, for example, of the many who suffer from the economic inaccessibility of housing, one of the fundamental causes of social inequality. But who talked about social housing during the election campaign? Those who call themselves Social Democrats visit Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna and study how the Austrian capital has always been and still is red (Social Democratic), because it is always true to the old motto of the Social Democracy that ruled it at . turn of the century: “Whoever builds palaces for children overthrows the walls of prisons”. Those who call themselves democratic Catholics remember Giorgio La Pira, the holy mayor of Florence, who requisitioned vacant houses to give the poor a roof over their heads.
The problem is getting the consent of the poorest back, not adding a certain number of acronyms or recruiting supposed leaders competing with each other within the same perimeter.
I dedicate today’s article to the dear friend Giuseppe Pericu, Mayor of Genoa in the same decade of syndication as mine (1997-2007), who died in recent days. He should not be defined as “the mayor of the G8”, but the mayor of Genoa’s rebirth. Its ability to combine values and strategic vision with concreteness is one of the main avenues for the future of the left if the left ever wants one. I’m writing about it next Sunday. The picture you see below is by Enrico Amici, and was taken in 2007 in the Dante room, on the occasion of the presentation of my book “The Pride of the City”.
La Spezia, Giuseppe Pericu at the presentation of Giorgio Pagano’s book “Pride of the city” (2007) (photo Enrico Amici)