The latest tragedy off the coast of Lampedusa, both because of the scale of what happened and the way the disaster unfolded, has caused a general sense of outrage and indignation that goes well beyond the hypocritical words and shameful crocodile tears of Italy’s – and Europe’s – ruling classes and politicians, the real accomplices and instigators of such misfortunes.

The salvage operation of the Costa Concordia cruise ship caught the attention of the world media last week and the Italian ruling class immediately tried to cash in, with Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, stating, “If we succeeded with the Costa Concordia, we can do it with the Italian economy”! The recovery of the Italian economy, however, is a far more daunting and difficult operation and there are no signs that it is going to happen any time soon.

Roma, 18 maggio. La manifestazione convocata dalla Fiom è la prima occasione per scendere in piazza e protestare contro l’unità nazionale e il governo Letta-Alfano. Anche Falcemartello sarà naturalmente presente.

In this article Luiz Bicalho analyses the political implications of the Pope's resignation. Benedict XVI was not detached from today’s world. On the contrary he pursued throughout his pontificate a reactionary agenda aimed at preparing the Catholic Church for the crucial task – from the point of view of the ruling classes – of containing and fighting against a revolutionary outcome of the present crisis of world capitalism. Most interestingly Benedict identified the need for the Church to counter Marxism as the most developed revolutionary doctrine.

In a period of crisis and decline of capitalism, to many people religion is the one certainty to cling on to. But if the Pope himself is no longer convinced he can keep his position until his death, this illusion of solidity begins to break down. The effect of the surprise announcement of his retirement by Pope Benedict XVI on the consciousness of over a billion Roman Catholics is going to be that of a spiritual earthquake, and it is surely going to have political consequences too.

A crisis of the system is what emerges from the Italian elections of February 24/25. The Wall Street Journal reveals the concerns of the international bourgeoisie when it says that, “So far as the market is concerned, the Italian elections have produced the worst possible outcome.” Rather alarmed is also the Financial Times which published an editorial statement on February 26 with the title, “Italy takes a step into the unknown.”

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