Italy’s public debt stands at a staggering €2.3tn, or 132 percent of GDP: the third largest in the world after Japan and Greece. Furthermore, Italy’s banks hold the largest share of Europe's non-performing loans, totalling €224bn. Unlike Greece, which is a relatively small player in Europe, Italy has the third-largest economy in the Eurozone, contributing more than 15 percent of its overall GDP. Italy has now become a huge risk to the financial stability of the whole of the European Union.

Three months after the 4th March Italian elections, the new government of the Five Stars Movement and the League (formerly Northern league) has finally been sworn in by by the President of the Republic and a whole new situation opens up where these parties will be put to the test. This experience will prove to be a necessary experience in exposing in the eyes of the Italian working class the real nature, particularly of the Five Stars Movement and prepare the ground for a new wave of class struggle.

There has been a series of new twists in the deepening Italian political crisis. Prime Minister Conte resigned after President Mattarella vetoed the appointment of Paolo Savona as minister of the economy. The president subsequently assigned the task of forming a government to [former IMF official] Carlo Cottarelli.

Mario Iavazzi, a supporter of Sinistra Classe e Rivoluzione [the IMT in Italy] intervened at the recent gathering of the National Committee of the CGIL (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro – General Confederation of Italian Labour – equivalent to the TUC in Britain, CGT in France or AFL-CIO in the USA). He openly criticised the leadership for its lack of a fighting programme and for its total lack of understanding of what happened in the recent Italian elections.

The Italian elections – a political earthquake in the true sense of the word – have produced what had long been predicted: a hung parliament, with no party, or coalition of parties, capable of expressing a majority government. Serious bourgeois commentators have lamented the fact that more than 50 percent of the electorate voted for ‘populist’ anti-establishment parties, while those parties that the system has rested on for the past 25 years have been seriously weakened.

Italy goes to the polls on 4 March in the context of economic crisis and a general impasse in the political situation. It seems likely that the elections will produce a hung parliament with no outright winner. The right wing will emerge strengthened, but also the Five Stars Movement will most likely be the strongest single party. And what remains of the left has all but collapsed. The most striking feature is the generalised disgust of the masses with all the old established parties. In these conditions the Italian comrades of the IMT decided to stand their own independent list.

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