Since the second half of the 1990s, many Italian local authorities began to delve in financial derivatives to get additional funding[1]. The result was an absolute disaster. In terms of criminal law, the Italian courts are presently in the process of deciding who will pay for such practices. The social cost, however, will be paid by the workers through higher taxes and cuts in public services.

The Greek crisis is reaching a decisive turning point. In the run up to the recent elections many reassurances were made, but everyone knows that what is actually being prepared is a plan for an exit from the euro in an attempt to minimize the consequences and then to put the blame for this on the "irresponsible" Greeks.

As in Greece, Spain and France, in Italy every attempt by the ruling class to implement the draconian austerity measures demanded by the European Central Bank and the IMF has rapidly undermined any popular support for the ruling parties and any party which supports these measures. The recent Italian local elections fully exposed the desperate position of Italian capitalism.

On Saturday, March 31, about 15,000 people marched through the streets of Milan on the "Occupy Piazza Affari" demo. Piazza Affari is the Italian stock exchange and the demo was the first national protest against the national unity government headed by Mario Monti.

The national congress of the PRC, Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, is taking place this coming weekend, December 2-4. After moving left at the previous congress, the leadership have moved back to the idea of some kind of alliance involving the Democratic Party. The Marxists have opposed this and produced an opposition document for the congress, receiving a substantial amount of support within the ranks of the party. Here we provide a report on the intervention of the Marxists in the local congresses and a shortened version of their congress document in English.

Berlusconi has lost his majority in the lower house of the Italian parliament. Although he won a vote on the latest round of austerity measures included in the budget, he did so with less than half the votes of the MPs in parliament. The result of the vote was 308 in favour, 1 abstention, but with the majority of MPs not voting. This means the budget was approved but now Berlusconi stands naked having lost his parliamentary majority. His days are numbered and the pressure is mounting for him to go.

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