Federazione dei comunisti anarchici
Cremona, 1-2 November 1986
Analysis of Italian society (political, economic and social) and direction until the next Congress
1. Just one year ago the state of the US economy seemed to be satisfying the rosiest expectations of supporters of monetarist theories. Production was growing at dizzying rates, the dollar had reached record heights and inflation had dropped to the lowest levels. This highly positive situation has now crashed with the trade deficit and not even a drastic, though tardy, adjustment to the value of the dollar has been able to furnish a consistent remedy to the problem. Today's international situation demonstrates only too well the worldwide shortcomings of monetarism as the theory of reference for capitalist development. The US economy is showing evident signs of latent crisis, and the prospects are only a long period of stagnation or a sharp fall; Thatcherism has left the UK with a steep bill to pay (which up to last year was covered by income from North Sea oil), so steep in fact that its role as an industrial power could even be threatened. Basically, monetarist recipes have lost the appeal that they exerted on the governments of industrialized countries until so recently.
2. From the point of view of economic theories, there do not seem to be any ways out of the current situation. With the crisis of monetarism, there will not be a return (or at least a full return) to Keynesian or neo-Keynesian theories. Econometric models only represent partial methods of calculation that constantly demonstrate the inefficiencies deriving from the inevitable reduction of the parameters taken into consideration compared to the real ones and from the simplification of the complex mechanisms of retroaction. Capital is therefore lacking a theory which can serve as a reference point, able to guide its path towards economic recovery. The use of monetarism was intended to provide a theory which could allow control over a complex system such as the international economy, operating on a small number of opportune parameters. The failure of this attempt does not entail the complete abandoning of the original aim. Future research will, in fact, concentrate on this.
3. The international economic situation has consequently stalled. The prospects of recession are looming over the US, with later waves hitting every other economy. In recent years, the United States has provided a privileged market for many countries who are now facing the real threat of export blockades with consequent overproduction.
4. The steep drop in the price of oil seems to have reached its limit. But even if it is possible to predict new, though obviously limited, increases in international prices, the producing countries' role as big buyers of non-perishable and consumer goods has come to an irreversible end. The new cost of oil is tending to make it once again the energy centre of gravity, but the development of other energy sources can no longer be stopped, so the newly-regained importanceof hydrocarbons cannot really be considered as absolute monarch any more, thus permitting the development of a system of articulated and differentiated consumption.
5. The economic state of oil-producing countries has unbalanced the Italian productive system, Italy being traditionally an exporter of infrastructure to these countries. The choking of the market has been momentarily relieved thanks to the growth in exports towards industrially advanced countries (the USA first and foremost), encouraged by a shrewd policy of raising technological standards of products, wisely employed by Italian capitalism over the last 10 years. This, together with the drop in oil prices, has led to significant improvements in Italy's trade balance.
6. The recession facing the international market puts into question the export model, to which Italy's productive system has, however, adapted itself. The only possible prospect is a revitalization of the home market which has been quiet for too long. It is not by chance that the average civil service pay demands are roughly double those of the private sector, in tune with a model of development that balances business accounts by raising the raising the consumer's spending power at the State's expense. Such a prospect contrasts with a Budget Bill which follows the worn-out path of previous years.
7. The failure of socialism to regroup the emerging middle classes has rendered a long-stagnant political scene more mobile. On the other hand, the absence of an alternative economic model between the old ways and the new international situation is preventing any change of political direction. This justifies the existence of the second Craxi government, which is enacting - as indicated above with regard to the Budget - economic and social policies more out of inertia than by reason of any definite political project (social insurance cuts, health cuts, etc.).
8. The opposition to the 5-party governing coalition has demonstrated its ineffectualness:
9. The anarchist movement is floundering in its decades-long incapacity to debate with others, to re-establish ties to the social struggles and to win back a pro-active role among the masses.
10. 1985 was the year with the lowest number of strikes in the history of the post-war Italian workers' movement. The various trade union conferences demonstrated the inability of the labour organizations to act as interpreter and vehicle for the growing worker dissatisfaction which, unable to find concrete channels, is retreating into individualism and corporativism which only benefits the strategy of capital.
11. Christian Democratic control of the Department for Public Education has enacted the terms of the new Concordat in a way which seeks to restore fundamentalist, intolerant cultural values, and has paved the way for an invasion of civil society by Woytilan clericalism. This is also an attempt to establish the dominant nature of Roman Catholics within Italian society, something which has not been true for quite some time.
12. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster has reactivated the popular anti-nuclear movement in this country on a wave of fear, which has led to several parties opportunistically shifting their policy on energy.