Summary of Giulietto Chiesa's speech - April 17th, 2010
The consumer society we live in is like an airplane going at breakneck speed, but flown by a monkey. There will be no emergency landing unless the passengers, who are only now realizing they are precipitating, drive the usurper away from the control yoke and try to fly the plane themselves.
This foolish race is that of the present capitalist system, dominated by the illusion of an "unlimited growth" and based on the principle of maximum exploitation of human and natural resources.
Alternativa, as a political and cultural laboratory present all over the Italian territory, was born by marking some sharp differences between its approach and that of the now dispersed galaxy of the groups and movements that try to promote change and fight for justice and democracy.
The first difference concerns the interpretation of the world crisis. Let us be honest about it: the economic, social, environmental and cultural crisis we are in is not temporary or easy to solve. We are far beyond that. Keeping the metaphor of the airplane, we can say with reasonable certainty that only a prompt U-turn will be able to save us from the catastrophe. We know in fact that the limits of development have already been reached since the last few decades, and that the pretension to an exponential growth in production and consumption is destined to smash against the concrete limits of the ecosphere.
Energy, climate, water, food: every aspect of the balance which is vital for our species is in doubt.
The final judgment, on which most of the scientific community agrees, is that "an indefinite growth within a finite system of resources is not possible".
Believing it, despite all the data we can now dispose of (see Bibliography), means nourishing a tragic illusion.
Unfortunately, even the mass parties of the 20th century, even those calling themselves "communist" have believed in this illusion. This has happened because all, in one way or other, have guiltily remained within the idea of an unlimited growth.
Furthermore, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the belief that no possible alternative to the dominating system existed anymore (There Is No Alternative: TINA) found its way in the circles of the institutional left.
In Italy admitting the adversary's economic model as inevitable has led the zealous leaders of the former Communist Party - PCI (then PDS, DS, until the last metamorphosis: the Democratic Party - PD) to unreservedly embrace dominating neo-liberalism and its anti-popular policy of privatizations, uncontrolled liberalizations and deregulation of the labour market.
The results are now before everyone's eyes: mass job insecurity, impoverished families, simplified and trivialized politics, complete subordination to the "values" of the Right: individualism, unbridled competition, consumerism and the "sale" of the Common Good.
Further evidence of the inability of the whole Left to read the deep changes triggered by economic globalization lies in the contemptible silence on 9/11, a terrible event of huge emotional impact that - among half-truths and shameless lies - has redesigned the contours of the American influence on vast areas of the globe.
For these and many other reasons Alternativa offers a wider vision of the crisis than those circulating even outside the political caste governing us.
Our commitment today is to analyze the "great chasm" that opened between politics and the real country, with the aim of providing a clean handle to grab to the million Italians who feel they are not represented anymore.
In the light of what has so far been said, and aware of the bewilderment of the new generations, Alternativa can well claim it is not a communist, socialist or left-wing movement.
This does not mean being anti-communist or against the Left. It rather means developing a radically new position, beyond all the parties that are damaging our country while accumulating privileges and progressively widening the distance between them and the real needs of most Italians. Italians who, deprived of a democratic education and confused by the background noise of the media system, consequently fall - even when they have no advantage from it - in the net woven by Berlusconi's Right and the Northern League.
Nonetheless, despite firmly denouncing the leaders of the institutional Left, Alternativa does not give up looking for a fruitful dialogue with the electors who still follow and vote for the centre-left parties. The "chasm" is not in fact just composed of those who are not represented in Parliament anymore; it also includes the million Democratic Party voters who keep thinking, beyond all contrary evidence, that PD is a progressive, left-wing party.
In this sense it is worth repeating that Alternativa's potential allies are many, even more than imagined. But to reach and involve them in a program of profound social change we must proudly claim our diversity. Alternativa is and will remain different from all the political groups that have over the years alternated in the bleak administration of the existent, humiliating the remaining hopes of million Italians who are now understandably disgusted by the caste's self-referentiality.
The central pillar that lies at the foundations of our movement is the defence and full implementation of the Constitution. This is why we still give crucial importance to party-based politics; differently, where would a democratic decision-making process lie?
Nonetheless, we need another representation. Alternativa was born with the ambition of building the foundations for a future representation, finally close to the material and spiritual needs of the population.
But while we wait for this transformation to be fully realized, we can foretell that in the next few months we will be asked to vote not for one party or other, but to defend our Constitution as such. In the short run, then, Alternativa wants to serve the common cause, supporting the birth of a new National Liberation Committee (CLN) to fight - democratically and non-violently - to prevent Italy from turning into an authoritarian state where, in the absence of a correct division of powers, the law of the jungle would prevail.
We are guided in this by a peculiar compass: one reminding us that the dominant narration of Italian society is false. This narration in fact describes a country where most of the population is pro-berlusconi, subjected and hypnotized by the squalid performances of the cavaliere and his allies. In the last thirty years the unscrupulous use of television has strengthened this distorted perception of reality, deeply modifying people's lifestyles and almost totally erasing the opinions that contrasted the rising disjuncted single-party-rule (right and centre-left that are not distinguishable anymore).
We now know that we have been able to reach these levels of standardization only thanks to the blindness of all the left-wing parties, who haven't understood or studied the changes introduced by the society of the spectacle and have thus continued to repeat their lethargic rituals while Italian people were domesticated by the master's new language and by his system of entertainment.
For Alternativa, all these observations converge in one certainty: that it is on the battlefield of communication that we must fight.
Without in fact re-establishing a public form of communication it will not be possible to reach critical masses of citizens and consumers, and start with them a new and indispensable de-manipulation of consciences. Alternativa has very clear ideas about this, and differs from those who live in the illusion that the Internet can be the solution to all or most of the problems (see Beppe Grillo and his interesting Five Star Movement).
The first objective must thus be to gain wide approval in the country, in order to reach a political platform that offers a radical alternative to the present public and private broadcasting structure.
The battle on this very delicate front will take the form of concrete political initiatives aimed at: carrying out the legislative reform of the broadcasting structures, winning back public television, reducing and limiting the intensity of commercials on all TV channels (also private ones). This battle for civilization is intended to strike at the heart of the manipulators' interests and to improve the intellectual, cultural an ethical standard of our fellow-citizens.
But we cannot do it if we are alone; we will thus need the responsible cooperation of all receptive subjects in the democratic field, beginning with those who have recently realized the valuable, albeit episodic, experience of "Rai-for-one-night".
In conclusion, Alternativa looks out on a future project of democratic regeneration in our country, starting from a few key-words that represent the great priorities for a movement promoting an alternative to the present socio-economic system:
These "North Stars" that are contained in our Constitution - literally or at least in the spirit - will lay at the foundations of some concrete measures Alternativa will be the bearer of. Here are a few:
- taxation of the great profits coming from financial and real estate speculation;
- abolition of all forms of job insecurity;
- fierce fight against tax evasion;
- elimination of military missions abroad and wide reduction of military expenses;
- fight against corruption and intensification in the confiscation of Mafia properties, preventing these goods from being put up for auction;
- taxation and reduction of publicity;
- public funding of the communicative and informative production coming from citizens and representative institutions (in the wake of the recent Argentinean law on audio-visual communication services);
- repeal of water privatization: water is a Common Good and must remain such;
- cancellation of the devolution and rigorous implementation of the Constitution in the parts concerning the powers that are to be assigned to the Regions;
- drastic reduction of the number of MPs in both Houses;
- return to the proportional system at all levels of elections.
Alternativa, that was born to spread and assert these ideas, is now building its structure. Its regional groups are now being formed and they will be intensely engaged in a campaign to raise public awareness on the territory.
If you want to join Alternativa visit the website www.giuliettochiesa.it and sign in. You will receive all the necessary information to take part in its activities.
Essential bibliography on the state of the planet and the drift of the present socio-economic and political system
G. Chiesa, Cronache Marxziane - Fazi Editore, 2005 (????????? ?????. ????? ???????: ?????? - ?????. ?.: ?????, 2006)
G. Chiesa, G. Cosenza, L. Sertorio, La Menzogna Nucleare - Ponte Alle Grazie, 2010
P. Cacciari, Decrescita o Barbarie - Ed. Carta, 2010
COMetA (Trimestrale di critica della comunicazione), Verità nascoste - n.3, Edizioni l'Aurora, 2010
Worldwatch Institute, State of the world 2010 - Edizioni Ambiente, 2010