Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 26 aprile 2012 alle ore 05:59.
L'ultima modifica è del 26 aprile 2012 alle ore 03:34.
Is the Monti administration a parenthesis, or is it a point of no return in the history of Italian democracy? Even more than the rupture between the center-right and the center-left, the answer to the question delineates the preliminary division of Italian politics. It is the division, within the political class, between those who would like to leave things as they are and those who sense the need for change. Let’s take a closer look.
For a good portion of the current political class, and for the diverse system of functional micro-interests tied to it, the Monti administration constitutes an experience only justifiable by the condition of exceptional financial crisis in which the country found itself last fall—an experience from which one must move on after the conditions that brought it about are normalized. To the point that, being apparently unaware of the structural reasons that brought about the formation of the Monti administration, the political parties have gone back to maneuvering on the electoral field as if nothing happened. Their reaction to voters’ lack of confidence in the current parties (according to the data reported in April 21’s Il Sole 24 Ore by Roberto Alimonti, 6 out 10 voters do not know who to vote for) seems to follow this line of reasoning: if things didn’t work before and they keep on getting worse, then we need to come up with a new name for each party, find some new faces that can attract voters and identify the catchphrase for a successful marketing of our party/product. This type of reaction confirms the impoverishment of Italian politics due to the influence of the media: when politics is based only on communication, the outcome is a republic of image, a republic void of substance. Obviously communication is important in politics, but its real importance is in its mission to make a political design—and the people who want to enact it—available and understandable to a wide audience.
According to this interpretation of the Italian crisis, basically the period following the Monti administration should not be much different from the period that preceded it. The old parties will have to dust themselves off; some new or nearly new faces will have to be put on political posters; a little bit of internal reshuffling will have to be done within the old-new parties. But nothing more. And if this is the case, then Italy’s economic and political decline will worsen. There is, however, a small minority of the Italian political class who realize that the Monti administration constitutes, or should constitute, a point of no return for the political history of our country. An opinion that, though it may only apply to a minority of the political class, surely applies to a majority of the public as a whole.
There is a common awareness that things cannot go on as before, that a new coat of paint for the old party system will not reactivate the virtuous cycle of economic growth, that the politics of image can (perhaps) be useful for attracting a few votes, but (surely) do not help to solve the problems of Italian decline. To solve these problems, one must adopt a new way of thinking. One must counter the paradigm of introversion with the one of Europeanization. What does that mean? At least three things.
First, Italian politics must abandon, once and for all, its provincialism. It needs to recognize that Italy is a member of the European Union and no longer an independent national state; that the country’s ability to resolve internal problems depends heavily on its external influence; and that the interdependence and complexities of the public policies of the member states have substantially modified the nature and role of political action within each one of them. These are the structural reasons that brought about the formation of the Monti administration. Much more than a parenthesis, the indirect formation of that administration is testimony to the failure of the entire political party system that was born in the ’90s. None of the parties would have been able to guarantee a governance of Italy during the crisis conditions that would have been acceptable to the European political system. The citizens’ detachment from the parties is like bringing charges against a political class that was unable to confront and resolve the country’s problems.
Second, Italian politics must abandon, once and for all, its eccentricity. The organization of our political parties must become coherent with the logic that informs the functioning of European politics. The institutional regulations and cultural bearings must bring Italy to adopt a European party system. It’s not about finding new names or new marketing formulas or following the latest marketing trend. Instead, we should favor the formation of two parties based on majority rule--one on the center-right, the other on the center-left--able to fully integrate into the two main party types present in European politics. The Italian anomaly constituted by a populist right, an oligarchic left and an undefined center cost us dear price in terms of external influence in Europe, especially within the institutions where decisions are made. One just has to think about the confusion in our delegation to the European Parliament, with representatives of the center-right who are divided at the national level but in the same party at the European level and representatives of the center-left who are united at the national level but have long been divided at the European level. If it is true that the European Parliament has a growing influence on the procedures of the European community—especially within the realm of policies relative to the common market--it is easy to understand why the influence of Italian representatives within that institution has been, and continues to be, irrelevant.
Third, Italian politics must abandon, once and for all, the primacy of politics. Italy keeps on having political leaders who are generalists, specialists in representing specific interests but lacking a wider perspective and, most importantly, incompetent when it comes to problem solving. A political class astute in traditional politics but completely ignorant when it comes to policy problems. Moreover, exactly because it was unable to divide itself along the lines of the various solutions to public policy problems, that political class was forced to radicalize the differences among its principles, to accentuate the differences in its alignment, if not to personalize the conflict. The result was a policy of shouting, which left all of the country’s major problems unresolved. So when those problems dramatically imposed themselves on the national agenda, that political class had to be replaced by the so-called technicians: people who do not know how to collect votes but have the tools to solve problems. To get back to growing, both economically and from the perspective of civility, our country would need new political elites with the ability to develop a consensus and the knowledge of the intricacies of public policy. The knowledge of policy is imposed by the necessity to act efficiently within the Union’s institutions, beginning with the European Council of Heads of Government and State, where many solutions to national problems are designed and implemented. How can we have an influence in these institutions if, with our future political administrations, we go back to having heads of government and ministers who are not in charge of the major policy decisions, who do not speak the language used during the European decision-making procedures, who do not understand the long-term effects of the decisions being made and who are instead obsessively concerned with what happens in their little political world?
In short, Italy cannot afford to return, in the wake of the Monti administration, to introverted politics, to eccentric political parties and to the policy-illiterate leaders of the past. If there is a governing class in the country, it needs to make the political class understand that we cannot turn back. Before splitting into a center-right and a center-left, the Italian governing class should ask, as a whole, for new institutional regulations, a new party system and a renewed political elite. If there is a governing class in the country, it needs to explicitly state that in a country divided between provincialism and Europeanization, it not only sides with the latter but is actively involved in contrasting the former.
HONG KONG – The California summit between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 7-8 comes at a time of heightened tension between the world’s two preeminent powers. ...
SINGAPORE – The tangled web of international organizations that constitutes global governance has become so remote and ineffective that few count on it to deliver results anymore. Now, after ...