Elections in Sicily

A typhoon that has not only swept away Monti’s coalition
Temporary National Secretariat of MPL (Popular Liberation Movement)
It was clear that the election in Sicily deal a decisive blow against the entire political system. The blow became stronger than foreseen and has assumed two forms: on the one side a mass abstention, on the other side a strong support for the M5S (Movimento Cinque Stelle – Five Stars Movement).

For the first time since the birth of the Italian Republic, less than half of the electorate has cast their ballots. The feelings and sentiments of the citizens have become alien from those pretending to represent them. We are faced with a divorce, which we think irreversible, between the civil society and the entire political and institutional system – a system that after this proof has been severely wounded and deprived of every semblance of democratic legitimacy.

It’s not difficult to imagine how the political system will react to this strong blow: not doing a step backwards on the road they started some time ago and that has reduced democracy to a farce, but doing a step forward towards an oligarchic regime.

Sicily will be the field where they will put the basis for a “dictatorship of the minority”. The Democratic Party (PD) and its alliance are celebrating their victory because they got more votes than the rightist parties. And they will go on with their plans even knowing that they represent less than a sixth of the Sicilians (they obtained only 617 thousands votes out of four million electors). Their arrogance equals their weakness. Sicily enters a phase of even more acute political instability than before. It’s therefore easy to foresee that the center-left coalition, in order to build a government, will ask the rightist parties for help. In Palermo we will see the continuation of a Monti-Napolitano government, even if without the veil provided by a “technical” government.

Napolitano and Monti come out from these elections with broken bones. The parties supporting the “technical government” got all together little more than one third of the votes of the electors – one million and 450 thousand votes. This fact confirms that the coalition supporting Monti’s government is a minority in our country.

The blow also assumed the form of a large consensus for the M5S. In a region where they had no roots (only some months ago, by the communal elections in Palermo, Grillo’s movement did not obtain more than 5%), Grillo’s candidate [for regional presidency] obtained the third place and the list M5S obtained more votes than the Democratic Party and the People of Freedom (PDL – Popolo della Libertà). [The electoral system foresees the possibility to vote differently for the presidency and for the list supporting the candidate for presidency.] There is no doubt that the social indignation chose Grillo’s movement as its most important voice. It represents a phenomenon that we can’t ignore but that doesn’t have to be exaggerated. The candidate of the M5S obtained 368 thousand votes, one tenth of the Sicilian people and less than one fifth of those who did not vote.

Grillo’s ability in manipulating the instruments of the show business explains partly the success of its movement, success which depends above all on their determination to intersect and represent the rage against all parties of the “second republic” and particularly against Monti’s government, his decided Europeanism, his neoliberal austerity politics.

If the elections in Sicily can be considered as the rehearsal of the coming national political election in spring, they are telling us that a political earthquake is approaching, an earthquake that will bury Monti’s government and will put a heavy mortgage on the attempt of the ruling classes to continue Monti’s experiment in disguise. The majority of the Italian people will give another and even stronger blow to this decaying regime. A strike that does not only demand a political change, but a radical inversion of direction, away from the political measures of social butchery imposed in name of the European Union and the salvation of the Euro.

We will see if this government of crooks, subdued to the global predatory finance, will resist till the election in spring. It is sure that the fragile balance on which it is standing since one year has been broken. Perhaps it is in this contest that we can understand Berlusconi’s threat to withdraw his support to Monti. Anyway, Monti is a walking dead and the ruling classes have to find a solution. As Antonio Polito said: “The meaning of the coming elections is decided: it will be a competition between those thinking that Europe is the cause and those thinking that it is the solution to our problems”. [Corriere della sera, 29 October 2012)

The typhoon “Grillo” has not only swept away the governmental coalition, but also the other opposition forces. The coalition Italia dei Valori, SEL and Federazione della Sinistra flopped heavily. Their candidate could hardly go over the threshold. But their general result is even worse: the coalition parties of this unfaithful copy of Syriza obtained all together only 3% of votes.

Considering this situation, the result of 1,6 % obtained by Mariano Ferro’s list Forconi (pitchfork) could be considered comforting. Of course that’s not the case. Even the Forconi have been swept away by the typhoon Grillo. But is it enough to explain their failure? The Forconi were the most sincere representatives of the popular uprising that last January put all Sicily on fire and their leaders had the illusion that this fact alone would be enough to obtain an electoral consent. We warned them that the ability to succeed in an electoral competition is quite different to the capacity of heading a street uprising. To break through the wall of the elections implies succeeding in intercepting a huge amount of opinion voters, an amount much bigger than the thousands protagonists of the uprising in January. In a society based on the show biz, where politics have become a shouted comedy, either you play the same play or you are out. It is even truer if all exhibitions are played on TV or on the big media.

Also the pure political aspect was not of secondary importance. While the electoral campaign became more and more aggressive, the Forconi’s political profile evaporated. It lost its power to impact. Whereas Grillo, even if only with his funny and daring risky remarks, dealt with all the big and decisive themes related to the systemic crises, the Forconi did not go farther than a cautious social trade unionism. The appeal to the “Sicilian statute”, to “sicilianity”, was unfruitful mostly because all these are now clichés. And it did not help just to avoid decisive political issues like those about the European Union, the Euro, which alternative to Monti’s government and with whom it could it be possible. Finally, as it was clear that there will have been a media blackout around them, a successful campaign had to be based on a strong organization, a powerful electoral machine that the Forconi did obviously not have.

Now Mariano Ferro and the Forconi are facing a dilemma: how will they go forward? Will they take refuge in a movementist position, waiting an uprising to come? Or will they decide to take a decisive step contributing to the birth of a real political force? To accomplish this task they will have to overcome their state of programmatic and strategic vagueness.

According to us it would be a suicide not to do so and to fly the flag of a Sicilian independence movement. Their condition of minority would be crystallized, a fleeting consolation. The Forconi could and should look with more attention to the Italian and European situation, decide with whom they want to go forward and unite with those forces that not only resist the offensive of the neoliberal globalization, but also have a clear idea of an alternative government and society.