Italian capitalism and the current situation of the working class !
Capital-owned institutions report and are refelected in newspapers that “ Italy suffers from political instability, economical recession and lack of structural reforms. The situation was estimated to be good before the 2008 financial crisis, and between 2001 and 2007, it grew by an average of 1.2 precent. The global crisis had a worse impact on Italy´s fragil economy. In 2009, the economy contracted by 5.5 precent, the sharpest decline in GDP in decades. Since then, Italy hasn´t shown a clear trend towards recovery ”, and “ in 2012 and 2013, it recorded negative growth of 2.4 percent and 1.8 precent, respectively, another challenge is the difficult state of public finances. In 2013, it was the second largest debtor in the euro area and the fifth largest debtor in the world ”. The headlines depict that capitalism in Italy as a whole hasn´t grown and that some 40 million workers haven´t added surplus value in recent years, especially since the 2008 crisis ! and capital in Italy owes more and more to other capitalists and international financial institutions. The reality is so, and says that the realms of capital investment in Italy and industrial enterprises, including agriculture, manufacturing, automobiles, and tourism are losing ground in favor of strong competitors and are getting weaker in international competition. But there´s another fact that no institution of capital and no economic institute of this system mentions about it, and that is that the Italian workers have produced 20,000 billion dollars in surplus value in the same 10-year period ( an average of 2,000 billion dollars a year ), now if the whole of Italian capital loses part of this surplus value in favor of competitors, which doesn´t change the reality of the daily production of capital by the workers of this country. The difference is that the more capital they generate, the poorer they become. If in the distant past, like other European wage slaves, they were buried in union reformism and exchanged their anti-capitalist struggle for a few cents more in wages, right now they´ve been paying the price for decades and will pay more in the future. Let´s look at a model devised by two Swedish trade-union economists, with refering to Keynes´ theses in 1940 and approved by the union congress. Rudolf Meidner´s model, which influenced the whole of post-war Europe, was backed by the organic complicity and empathy of both the giant unions, the National Union of Workers and the National Union of Capitalists, as his executive support. Solving the problem of workers´ wages, increasing labor productivity and the companies´astronomical profits, and increasing their international competitiveness were the main lines of this model. The leaders of the trade unions, in their annual joint meetings with the employers´ union, took all necessary measures to ensure that the working class fully complied with the charter of capital growth of the capitalist class and the state. The trade union itself owned a fraction of the country´s total capital and played an important role in the structure of political power and capital planning affairs. This model was accepted with some minor manipulations and put on the agenda of trade unions and other European governments and the result is that situation we see today which has entangled the life of the working class in it. For decades, the level of health care and the entire livelihood of workers have been slaughtered, and the future of their next generations has already been completely plundered and deposited in the capital gains account.
Note the figure below :
Year GDP , in billion dollars
20.343 billion dollars
The institutes say :
“In the future, the Italian economy faces a number of important challenges, one of which is unemployment. Unemployment´s rate has risen continuously over the past seven years. In 2013 reached 12.5 percent, the highest level recorded. High unemployment rates highlight the weaknesses of the Italian labor market and growing global competition ”. Capital in Italy, and everywhere else in this capitalist hell, has no grief or concern about rising unemployment, and its message is that if the Italian worker works harder and increases production astronomically and endures even more difficult work conditions, it´s in the interest of the worker, and the result will be social welfare and a return to the paradise of the past. For this reason, it has promised workers a much worser livelihood and work conditions for a long ago.These messages are addressed to workers and pursues a dual purpose, one of them is that poverty and hunger, and deprivation of decent housing facilities on the way, and the other that to prepare themselves for a far more difficult conditions in the field of work for rise the rate of production, because this is the only way to save. “ In an effort to combat the economic recession, the government has approved two austerity packages. The first case under Berlusconi´s administration was implemented in May 2010 and it was a total of 24 billion euros. Later, in December 2011, the government led by Mario Monti announced a €30 billion austerity package. While the first austerity package focused on reducing government´s spending to reduce budget deficits and public debt, including raising the retirement age and reducing the cost of education, treatment, care for the elderly, and so on. The second austerity package among other measures, introduced a series of tax increases. The Italians are poorer now than they were in 20 years ago. In 2019, the real per capita income in italy, measured in terms of purchasing power parity, was exactly the same as in year 2000 (about 43000 dollars). In 2020, it was 13% less than 20 years ago, only 37900 dollars ”.
The institutes and newspapers report that “ In 2020, the Italian economy shrank by almost 11% , twice as long as the eurozone crisis. The unemployment rate is 10% , while youth unemployment is 31% . These numbers can even be deceptive, because the government took short-term measures to suspend the dismissals and because unemployment in general is a lagging indicator in any recession. With considering that the great recession in Italy was milder than the pandemic recession, but it led to a 43% youth unemployment rate and a sharp rise of poverty and there are serious concerns about the final economic and social consequences of the current crisis. The informal economy in Italy accounts for at least 12% of italy´s GDP, which lead to a continuous downward pressure on wages, which is only exacerbated by the large influx of migrant workers in Italy. Every developed economy with a large informal sector is a failed economy ”. What is called an informal economy means that its figures aren´t reflected in official reports and this sector is growing in all capitalist countries, especially in Europe. The most important aspects of hard work pressure are the excessive reduction of wages and the lack of social security such as health insurance and pensions, etc. , which generally affect the migrant workers. The formal economy, the capitalist state, is fully involved in the development and maintenance of this parallel system, and it doesn´t create any obstacles for its growth. Another aspect of the formal economy that is prevalent throughout Europe is that the labor-force seller under the age of 20 isn´t recorded in the statistical yearbook and unemployment is calculated from this age onwards. In addition, according to the rules of the International Labor Organization (ILO), a worker who has worked at least one hour will not be considered unemployed throughout the year. These are all called formal economy in capitalism. Migrant workers across Europe are somehow, more or less, excluded from this formal economy and this is one of the capitalists´ tactics to keep the living standards of all workers low and the level of wages and lack of social safety. It´s said that European capitalism needs labor, especially skilled labor force. There´s no doubt that capital needs labor power, someone who has no means of subsistence other than her or his own labor force to be forced to serve capital. But in Europe, despite unemployed, sometimes unemployed workforce, young people with no bright future are not able to gain expertise ! There´s no doubt that capitalism in general and Europe in particular provide the best conditions for value-increasing of capital. Let´s talk about this a little. Labor costs in Europe have long been a problem for capital, and this is directly linked to the continent´s declining share of global average profits. Capitalism in this part of the world and in its weakest circles, namely the capitalism of Italy, France, and even Britain and Germany has been working for some time to reduce these costs through the slaughter of education, health insurance, pensions and so on. Capital in these countries, despite the product of labor and surplus value produced by its massive millions of workers and also relying on the astronomical productivity of the workforce, it´s still able to absorb a large share of the average international profit, but it´s no longer possible to pay for labor force, as it did in the 1970s and 1980s and as it loses more and more of its competitive power against American and Chinese capital, it´s forced to retreat and take back the meager concessions that it once gave to a small part of the workers in this continent of the capitalist world. The system of wage slavery once before entering this stage, in the process of its historical national, continental and international self-expansion, at least under the pressure of the class struggle of the working masses of the world had to build schools and clinics and universities, hospitals and leisure centers and many other centers, but now it´s time to not only close the doors of these centers and also reduce the number of availiable schools and hospital beds, even without worrying about any strong street movement that is empty from any anti-capitalist content and approach. All behind the scenes of the current scenario with the lever of spreading poverty and prolonging the retirement age, increasing the migrant labor force and the hype about reducing profit generating and accumulation of capital is creating conditions and staging to justify workers to accept harder working conditions and lower wages. Italy´s average economic growth rate has been negative 0.15% since 2000, and reached negative 10.6% in 2020. Meanwhile, Italy´s capitalist government debt increased from 109% of GDP in 2000 to 162% in 2020. However, generating of profit of capital hasn´t inncreased so much, except as briefly stated above, however, the suffering of a significant portion of the working masses in Italy is the only clear price to be paid. The rest is about bargaining the share of capital in Italy in international competition over the surplus-values produced by workers.
Let´s go back to the continuation of the reports :
“ Poverty reached a level not seen since the start of the Italian Bureau of Statistics last year (2020). According to the Italian Statistics Office, 9.4% of Italians, or 7.7 of families are currently poor. In 2005, the proportion of poor people was only between 3% to 4% . 5.6 million of the 60 million Italians now live in absolute poverty. According to UNICEF, this means less than 1.9 dollar per person per day, but between 1.7 and 2 million Italians aren´t even able to pay for essential expenses such as food ”. The graphs show the spread of poverty in all age groups, especially the working age. Retirees also lose their purchasing ability, but these are the age groups of workers between the ages of 30 and 60 who have become poorer, at least over the last decade. Although trade unions in Europe and the United States don´t have that previous dominance and in European and American countries, the capitalism has derailed trade unions , after that the trade unions were finished with brainwashing workers and suppress them intellectually, from struggle against capitalism, and for a long time now, these unions have become useless and redundant institutions for capitalism. But there are many workers who, despite their lack of affiliation with trade unions and even in their absence (such like capitalism in Iran), continue to follow the same reformist path, ideas and practices. That capital is powerful omnipotent and our destiny used to be in the hands of capital, in any form, including private or state capitalism that such like an octopus, it dominates us and determines our destiny today and in future. On this basis, if the class struggle is silent, the presence of unions isn´t necessary but as soon as the unions are informed of the workers’ disobedience to capitalist laws, they descend like a monster on the protesting workers and they take control of the situation so that the ruling order isn´t disturbed. Examples such these can be seen in the protests and strikes of workers in Italy against poverty and wage cuts and the loss of jobs and the replacement of capital to else where. Throughout the hell of capitalism, everyone is talking about the crisis, from this or that capitalist and capitalist states to institutes of thought engineering and newspapers, a crisis that is as deadly as Achilles´heel for capitalism, nevertheless, as a strong sail to get out of the storm of crisis and prevent drowning in , at the same time, like the double-edged sword of Damocles, which both capital and workers can ( and possibly ) use it against each other, and inflict the most devastating blows on each other and impose the most severe pressures on each others too. Unfortunately, the miserable situation of the working class and the labor movement to this day has been such that it has never done so in any period and it has increasingly lost the opportunity for radical and class-conscious use of this weapon. Even now, in this part of Europe where there´s such workers´ activities against capital, there´s no trace of any council and spontaneous movement of the anti-capitalist struggle. Euronews reports on Monday, Nov. 20, 2021 that : (Street Lawyers) are the largest and at the same time the lowest paid law firm in Italy. The Legal Service Center was established in 2000 in the northern Italian city of Bologna to support the homelesses and those who sleeping ususally on the streets, who have been denied many citizenship rights due to lack of addresses. The activities of Street Lawyers are now being pursued throughout the country. By signing a partnership agreement with the City of Naples and in coordination with local associations, our institution is helping the homeless to have a virtual accommodation, says one of the lawyers. The address of this non-existent residence is like a normal address and enables our clients to access health services and identity cards. In Naples, street lawyers work with marginalized sections of the community , especially with a civic relief organization. The unemployed and homeless people who have become known as The Forgotten, the people who need help are mostly workers who have lost their jobs and have health problems. Medical centers don´t accept them because they don´t have a place to live and an address. As a result of all this, these people have fallen into the trap of absolute poverty. These homeless people bathe in a non-governmental social service center, they have no shelter and no relatives, and are practically such like invisible in society. The Street Lawyers accept about 3,000 free cases each year. The purpose of this group isn´t only to defend the outcasts, but also to bring this large crowd to be visible and be seen in society. This population hasn´t been formed in the last two years, as can be seen from the report that 21 years ago , with the spread of poverty and homelessness, its dimensions are increasing. The point to ponder in this report is that the capitalist government in Italy is more concerned about not having an identity card to vote in elections than any other tragedy that befalls this forgotten population !!, this is what remains of the bourgeois civil society that we see. The bourgeoisie no longer has any guarantee for employment of the workers, the payment of unemployment benefits to workers, acceptance of drug & medical insurance, the cost of living for retirees, and any kind of basic subsistence rights for the masses of wage slaves. Capital doesn´t give up any coercion pressure to challenge the declining trend of interest rates and to create a breathing room for itself to invade the living standards of the working masses, but in this stinking atmosphere of poverty, in this hell that has created for humanity, it´s worried about the identity card of the forgotten population to participate in the elections !!! This is only a part of all the suffering that the bourgeoisie has inflicted on the working masses.
Poverty in different age groups of Italian workers. According to a report from Italy in Sept. 2021 : About 6 million Italians are generally unable to obtain independent shelter due to economic reasons and lack of financial means, and stay in their parent´s hommes.
The growth of poverty in Italy has been going on for years and is constantly reaching a larger population of workers.
The activits of the wage-labor abolition movement