Party of Communist Refounding
by Francesco Ferrara
Permit me, first of all, to convey to you greetings from
the Party of Communist Refounding of Italy and our best
wishes for a useful and constructive conference.
These proceedings are being carried out within an
international context that is becoming more and more clear,
and for this reason, ever more alarming. We are faced with
an increasingly insecure world. Wars, oppression, violated
rights, a new arms race (US President Bush has proposed a
"space shield") and these facts prove that a system is
being consolidated on the basis of injustice and the free
market, which cannot in any way build peace or offer hope
to the men and women of the world.
From this viewpoint, NATO increasingly sees itself as the
watchman of globalisation, and in reality it intervenes
wherever Western interests are being disputed. For these
reasons, we need to break this pattern, starting with every
country separately and in the European Union as a whole.
There can be no future for a democratic Europe in the world
unless there are changes in social and economic policies
and therefore in foreign policy.
I am putting forward this argument, because the way the
general situation is evolving obliges us to think and act
in a broader environment.
The dimension of political action can no longer be confined
within national frontiers. The globalisation process has
brought about a crisis in the nation-state. This has
happened because the functions of the nation-state are
being constricted and limited by the supreme powers and
functions of supranational bodies, and by the centres of
economic and financial power that are not accountable to
the will of the citizens; and apart from this, every state
separately is subject to local and regional pressures
representing an idea that is essentially in agreement with
globalisation: the simple idea of uniting strong regions
against weaker ones.
Within this framework, national policies are stripped of
their strength, economic policies in particular.
Let us take a look at Italy. The effects of neo-liberal
inspired policies on the economic and social fabric have
been disastrous. Above all, contrary to the general
propaganda, it is not true that dependent labour is
diminishing, that there are no more blue-collar jobs, and
that almost everybody is wearing a white collar. This is a
lie. Nor is it true that the number of jobs is increasing.
One has only to glance at the official data about the
reality in Italy to confirm this fact. Independent labour
is decreasing, while dependent labour is on the rise. In
Italy, unemployment remains high and inequitably
distributed: the north shows cases of virtually full
employment but in the south unemployment is close to 25%,
and half the young people cannot find a job. This means
that a stagnant situation and generalised poverty still
exist. Underlying the reality is increased insecurity, a
factor that now pervades a large number of jobs. The result
of all this is that the working people have lost control of
the time and ways of working They have lost rights and
protection. In essence, we can say that:
� the actual dependent labour is increasing,
� at the same time, the imbalance is growing, while
� the number of workplaces protected by the law and by
contracts is diminishing.
Within this context, the parties of the right headed by
Berlusconi won the election. This happened, among other
things, because the centre-left that had ruled Italy for
the past five years, surpassed the parties of the right on
their own ground: privatisation policy and the elimination
of job security.
In the same way, the trade unions, by means of consensus
policies, refused to fight, replacing struggle with
statutory recognition. Consensus has been incorporated into
labour agreements, which is not at all encouraging for the
working people, their wages or their rights. But today
something is being done. The mineworkers are waging a hard
struggle for the General Confederation, against management.
A vote for the Communist Refounding, even when facing a
victory by the forces of the right, is a vote that proves
how well rooted we are. We are the only party to have
ensured 4% of the vote without taking part in any majority
Also, unemployment remains a dramatic problem, despite the
recent improvements in the international economic
conjuncture. Today, levels of employment are constantly
below European averages and unemployment, particularly
among women, is high. The increased number of jobs in
recent years is almost totally due to the growing number of
jobs without social security and contracts of limited
duration, lasting for as little as a few days. We are,
therefore, facing a massive loss of job security and
changes in the labour market. For these reasons, we in the
Communist Refounding are proposing an employment policy
structured on many parameters:
� Reduction of the workweek to 35 hours by law, without any
reduction in wages, through the redistribution of existing
� A policy of public investments, within a framework of
economic-financial planning, to create new jobs and new
projects in revitalised sectors of social welfare, such as
the protection of the environment, soil management,
alternate forms of energy production, and the protection
and exploitation of cultural assets.
� Institution of a redistribution or social wage for
unemployed young people and the long-term unemployed, and
appropriate measures to provide an outlet for their labour
� Determining a new set of rights, which will be in force
for all working men and women, irrespective of the type of
their labour contract, from the level of the minimum wage
to the workweek.
These proposals, and others as well which we are putting
forward and on which we are spending all our energy in
Parliament and in the country, also provide an opportunity
to open up a relationship with other forces of the left,
both moderate and militant.
The time has come for us to learn from the 1990s. The
distance between the slogans of neo-liberal rhetoric and
the results of the policies inspired by it are now obvious.
The decisions made during the past decade have confirmed
another alarming sign of the times: the retreat of policy
from the ambition of guiding socio-economic events, to the
point that it is constrained by them and merely follows
them. Having been ordered to follow market dynamics and the
fickle inclinations of vested interests, governments have
ended up assisting injustice and the irrationality of
aggressive capitalism to take root at the end of the
To have some idea of the dramatic changes that have taken
place, one has only to remember that in Europe during the
past 20 years, the number of poor people has continued to
grow, increasing from about 35 million to more than
57,000,000 people and this data includes Italy, Spain,
Greece, Portugal and Ireland. For all these reasons, the
Party of Communist Refounding is convinced of the need to
break the continuity of the governance models that have, so
far, monopolised the evolution of European unification.
Even the question of drawing up the European Charter of
rights, in terms of full recognition by European society,
has been strongly restricted by the limits set by the
European Council and the Euro-bureaucracy.
Thus there is a need for a radical reform of the present
palimpsest of European monetary union. The aim of such a
reform is to put an end to the insistence on
anti-inflationary measures through the policy of high
interest rates, and through absolute deficit management at
the level of employment. In other words, to put an end to
the neo-liberal paradigm and the vested interests that
support it, and to open a new chapter in European policy,
with the primary aim of full employment thus liberating new
public funds to be channelled into development, the social
state, and protection of the environment.
Dear comrades, capitalist globalisation may prevail, but it
does not convince. The large number of movements against
globalisation, from Seattle and Nice to Naples and Genoa,
have proved that it is possible to oppose this social model
that produces only injustice and wars. It is up to us
communists to invest in these movements against
globalisation, giving them goals that will go beyond
protest, to a point where they will join together with the
labour movement into a giant opposition force, so as to
establish social justice, the self-determination of the
peoples and peace.