Italy’s principal problems are the EU hegemon Germany, international finance capital, and its own political class.
Alberto Bradanini is a former Italian diplomat. Among many positions, he was Ambassador of Italy to Tehran (2008-2012) and to Beijing (2013-2015). He is currently President of the Research Center on Contemporary China.
Versione originale italiana qui
Translated and edited by BRAVE NEW EUROPE
Italy is on the verge of bankruptcy. In the jungle of questions that besiege the minds of the citizens confronted with an empty horizon of its leaders supposedly leading the nation it is central to understand the relationship between monetary system and supranational finance. Because behind an apparent technical neutrality lies the eternal pathological need for domination and colonisation. The ‘endogenous narrative of the external constraint‘ (vincolo esterno), an incomprehensible ‘friendly fire‘ of our dominant class against work and the ingenuity of the Italians; the legend of a greater efficiency of the Italian economy within the euro zone (against the evidence of better data on purchasing power, stable work, public investment and so on at the times of the glorious lira); and, the myth of a Europe better equipped to build a freer and fairer society, while it is clear as crystal that the EU is an instrument of domination of the supranationalist financial elites, whose goal is the destruction of national statehood, the last bastion in defense of social goods and the weaker classes.
The form, said a great writer of the last century, is the visible substance of existence. The difference, once again, is awareness. If we cannot escape suffering, we would at least like to look it in the eye. Faced with a social-political transition that will leave deep scars, the consciousness of what flows in the veins is the starting point of redemption. A preliminary/fundamental aspect is what classical Chinese thought calls ‘rectification of names’, a path of emotional reason (forgive the oxymoron), so that the words used correspond to the reality described. An apparent banality, which would nevertheless provide a valuable aid, within the limits of its practicability, to combat the injustices of the world.
It would be a step in the right direction if, for example, the humiliating terminology ‘vincolo esterno’ – the psychopathological milestone of an otherwise incomprehensible conduct of the Italian political class – were to be replaced by ‘deliberate self-inflicted flagellation’, i.e. if instead of the mystique of the ‘relations that unite the member countries of the European Union’, we made use of its ‘rectified’ translation, i.e. the ‘destructive fissures of well-being that separate the member countries of the Technocratic Colonising Building of naive peoples’. Such a rectifying instrument of names, since word choices are never neutral, would make the political scene more decipherable. Instead of the European Union we would then use … ‘European Discord’, instead of the European Central Bank … ‘German Local Bank’, European Commission … ‘Nordic Finance Central Committee’, European Parliament … European Council of Regulatory Advice at the service of the Northern European elites.
George Orwell in his dystopia “1984”, describing the language imposed by Big Brother, writes that the adjective “free” was only usable in sentences such as “the field is free of weeds”; that adjective was not usable for other meanings. The watchwords of the regime were: war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. In modern societies colonised by single-minded thought, on a stage where actors act in disguise, the lexical saturation of the media, creators of (anti-)culture, acts as a barricade to the desire for knowledge of a people who end up loving even their executioners.
The Spanish poet Ramón Eder says that ‘the struggle for power can be terrible, but the struggle for the crumbs of power is always pathetic’. Italy has also and above all given up – together with monetary sovereignty, and therefore the supreme good of permanent solvency (no country that possesses a sovereign currency, and that contracts debts in its own currency, can ever be insolvent) – the freedom to elaborate autonomously its legitimate horizons, as if they had been carved in stone once and for all in 1992, with the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. The history of the Italian nation would have stopped then, a sinkhole would have swallowed it in the name of the triumph of the mercantile ideology, moreover centred on the interests of foreign nations – the German one and its surrounding satellites. Eradicating the principles of fairness and popular sovereignty, we have resorted to the blunder of a European construct, a salt statue that has deconstructed the democratic statehood of the Italian institutions, that now find themselves imprisoned in a misconstructed jail with no way out.
Few people notice the superb yet legitimate arrogance of a German Constitutional Court which, in order to protect Germany’s interests (yet another evidence that the European Union is rooted in the power relations between competing countries, without any definitive federalist path) humiliates the sacrosanct principle of equal dignity of all the member countries of the euro zone. The latter, dazzled by so much daring – legally the German Court is entirely right – find themselves defenceless and terrified, like the multitudes in the allegory of the Grand Inquisitor, terrified at the prospect of being abandoned to freedom. The Inquisitor presents himself as the ‘Enlightened’ who decides in place of the flock what is good and what is evil, what to accept and what to reject. In the name of an imaginary common interest, he convinces the lost multitude that to be truly free it is necessary to renounce freedom and accept submission once and for all. And yet, the final twist of Dostoevsky’s story lets hope live: the spirit of freedom still hovers among us, it is only necessary to grasp it.
Inexplicably, for the time being, the perverse taste for subjugation has spread among the other 18 euro-zone countries, which prefer to delegate fundamental questions to the German Judges, leaving to the undemocratic EU institutions the verification of the legitimacy of every act carried out by them, even when they go beyond the limits of the European rules themselves, thus cancelling the inalienable distance between controller and controlled. Faced with an historic opportunity to test the constitutional reasons for a common path – perhaps trying to re-establish at the roots a scaffolding today at the exclusive service of the colonial strategy of the North – the Italian rulers so passionate of this Europe avoid fighting for a shared and finally decipherable teleology, preferring a tangential escape to a comfortable silence. The question therefore arises: in the evening, as they leave their sumptuous offices, can they find their way home?
An Italy anxious to win the battle of the crumbs is thus captured in the fictional simulator of a non-existent sphere of power. The Italian government will therefore wait in a corner for the deciphering of the master’s speech from the corridors of power located in Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Berlin, where German is the most widespread language. Then it will bow down and thank the Inquisitor, because it could have been worse.
For 21 years, with marginal savings on interest rates, Italy has stopped growing, creating stable jobs for its children, supporting social services and emergencies, health, territory, the South and so on. Euro-addicts like ‘rigour and respect for the rules’ (coined by the Germans) what ‘rectified’ would be called ‘predatory German-centric sovereignty’.
Forced into a stifling straight jacket of restraint since 1 January 1999, Italy is now facing a crisis of dramatic proportions. It is likely that in a few months’ time, with 160% of public debt in GDP terms, GDP in free fall and stellar interest rates – in the absence of a normal Central Bank as buyer of debt of last resort – Italy will only have to invest on two horizons, if we exclude the unilateral declaration of insolvency.
The first, of Eurocentric genesis, presupposes a permanent attitude on the part of the ECB to intervene – nothing new indeed, because that is what the central banks of 175 countries out of 194 in the world (195 – 19 euro nations) do in similar cases, but revolutionary in the pathology of the euro zone – to supply the latter with the necessary liquidity, in the absence of that untraceable ghost that the pathogenic oligarchy of the North calls hyperinflation, light years away from the real world. In this case, the ECB would have to follow a narrow path, overcoming the following obstacles, with increasing difficulty: 1) to modify the Bank’s Statute, in theory an easily practicable operation, but one that is also political and therefore problematic; 2) to hope for the persuasive power of the German government on the Court in Karlsruhe (which, unlike Italy, has retained the right to examine the compatibility of the EU decisions with the German constitution), with the main argument that the apparent unorthodox conduct of the ECB actually protects Germany’s interests to the highest degree, since the euro is a key instrument of German economic success based on competitive distortion to the detriment of other European partners, primarily Italy. The Italian ministers to whom this scenario is not yet evident would do well to change their job; 3) finally, to overcome the force of gravity, which is not only political, but also historical-cultural-psychological-sociological-linguistic-sentimental, i.e. the definitive clarification of the teleological will, or not, to want to build the United States of Europe. It has long been clear to the inhabitants of the territories located south of the Alps that this horizon is abhorred by the vast majority of the peoples of the North, first of all the Germans, as we see daily in the nationalistic/sovereignist behaviour of the North European governments to squeeze the maximum out of the EU scaffolding, without any division of costs or feelings, not even of long horizons.
We now propose a team game. If the governments of the 19 euro-constrained nations wanted to put an end to any insidious conflict (within the Commission, Eurogroup, ESM (European Stability Mechanism) , EBRD (The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ), ECB, European Court of Justice, and similar, all of which should be called ‘bodies run by officials recruited to protect oligarchic German-centric interests in exchange for money and power’), it would be enough for the heads of state and government of the countries in question to agree that at a distant date (it is certainly necessary to prepare), for instance on January 1, 2050, the current European Union (or even the 19 euro zone members) will be replaced by a Federation of States with a single government, responsible before a Parliament, and a Central Bank that follows the directives of the political authorities of the said Federation. It is foreseeable that after such a hypothetical announcement, the monetary, financial and economic scenario in the eurozone countries would suddenly change; the infamous spread would vanish in a flash and tensions on the markets would be confined to the provincial news. The structural translation of this chimerical statement would in fact be that the rich regions – as is the case in nations that recognise themselves in the same history, culture and feelings – would agree to finance the less developed ones. It stands out, of course, that with the description of this hypothetical scenario we have entered the plot of a science fiction film.
The second horizon is plan B – putting aside at the moment Italexit , considered problematic by the technocracy-dependent system, when instead the management of the currency is an eminently political activity – that is, an in-depth reflection on the various instruments of formation of immediate liquidity that the Italian state already has at its disposal, which however, for mysterious reasons, it does not intend to use: creation/strengthening of public banks that would generously support citizens and businesses (as the Germans and the French have already been doing), the issuance of credit/tax compensation certificates and legal tender state notes (all actions permitted by the European Treaties). It is not easy to understand why, at a time of immense need for liquidity on the part of the economic system, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (and the Prime Minister’s office) remain inert, unless they share the Nordic aims of definitive economic and political colonisation of Italy.
The whole euro zone has entered the intensive care unit, but oxygen is beginning to become scarce particularly in the lungs of Italy. The markets are demanding high interest rates to lend the Italian government more money. A shortage that could be contained if Italy used the limited monetary sovereignty that is within its reach. More liquidity would even increase inflation, with benefits for the economy and debt reduction. Of course, we could never compete with Japan, Switzerland, the United States and 175 other countries in the world that are free to inject all the necessary liquidity into their systems (being sovereigns of their currency), paying attention exclusively to the highly hypothetical risk of inflation. And we will soon see the difference with the euro zone tundra, where the German oligarchs satisfy their addiction to wealth and power over the battered remains of the countries of the South, imprisoned in the cage of the common currency. Yet this would already make a big difference.
According to the strategy of Walther Funk, Nazi Minister for Economic Affairs (1938-1945), victorious Germany would be the cornerstone of European industry and finance. The other nations would act as a crown. Italy would be reserved for tourism and agriculture, becoming an amusement park for wealthy Germans. It is a scenario that is taking shape again in the 21st century, under the adulterated mantle of the EU institutions. An annoying fly distracts us from the real danger: the hungry pack of wolves approaching. Oscar Wilde’s fitting aphorism – according to which ‘we were told that all dreams can come true, but they forgot to tell us that nightmares are dreams too’ – deserves an addition: ‘the dreams of some are the nightmares of others’.
In this malicious trap of the common currency without a rebalancing government, Italy is now an ‘underdeveloping’ country, in free fall towards economic, social, cultural decline, and of course of total political irrelevance. What a humiliation! Work will continue to be lacking, social services and environment in decline; the state, once a bastion for the protection of the weakest, will be even more impoverished, defrauded, drained. An incomprehensible subjugation to the dominion of others, psychological before even political, prevents the start of a reflection on the reconstruction of the country that would put constitutional sovereignty and the need for work, justice, and freedom at its centre.
Lu Xun, the greatest Chinese writer of the 20th century, in “The Flight to the Moon, A Call to Arms” writes: “Imagine an iron house without windows, practically indestructible, with so many people asleep about to die asphyxiated. You know that death will catch them in their sleep and therefore they will not know the pain of agony. Now, if you, with your cries, wake those from the lightest sleep and force these unfortunates to suffer the torment of an inevitable death, do you think you are doing them a service? Yet if some wake up, you can no longer say that there is no hope of destroying the iron house.”
Another world is always possible, then. Let slavery not be our destiny before a chorus of only apparently dissonant political voices, while unanimous servility is imposed on the financial elites. Only, new thoughts are needed, and since these are generated by the human mind, new minds are needed, equal to the toil of the times, capable of riding their harshness, in the disruptive gesture, because the humiliation of thought leads to the misery of action.
Therefore, the financial sphere must respond to the political sphere. The markets be governed by the state and not vice versa. The collective interest of the country must prevail over the rules imposed by those who have interest in doing so. And if they fail to protect work and families, then they do not deserve to be respected. The paths to tear them up and make better ones are many and all accessible. And if those who govern do not have the knowledge, skills and ethics to bring the country out of this billows, then at least let it be known. Then we’ll see what we have to do.