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The once “Il Cavaliere” is dead, but not Berlusconism



The sheeple Italy got another opportunity not to deny itself. All the top leaders of the institutions paid tribute to their eminent dead, from the President of the Republic, that notorious very Catholic “guarantor" of the” ”most beautiful constitution in the world” and warmonger Mattarella, to Prime Minister Meloni, the new star of the “government of deeds”, from all the suits and government fiefdoms to businessmen of all levels, from all the recipients of the millions bestowed by Berlusconi to submit to his wishes, to the ubiquitous throng of football fans of the “great AC Milan who won everything” – and who could not help but vote for him - and to all the stooges of the political formations created by Berlusconi (from The People of Freedom to Forza Italia). Berlusconi is dead, but his heirs - the vast court of politicians of all shades – will continue to practise and tolerate Berlusconism, i.e. profiteering directly favoured by powerful political, economic and financial powers.

They all agreed on one thing, the entire constitutional band from right to left: Berlusconi has left a deep mark on Italian politics. For Mattarella “he was a great political leader who marked the history of our Republic, affecting paradigms, customs and habits of expression” (1). Everyone had something to do with him and his parties, everyone submitted to the power of his televisions and, when they were in government, they lent public television to the interests of “Il Cavaliere”.

In the last thirty years he has left his mark, that’s for sure, and what a mark! He brought to the political arena his great skills as a businessman and entrepreneur, his tenacity in pursuing the goals he had set from time to time, using the ruthlessness typical of a predatory businessman, the power of money and the connections of all those who could facilitate the path he intended to take, be they businessmen, intellectuals, politicians, managers of show business or sports, merchants, P2 lodge masons or mafiosi. He sensed that if one wanted to make money out of nothing in Italy, one had to throw oneself into the construction business (phew! where criminal organisations rule), and in order to build up a winning image, he needed to throw himself into the television media; coincidentally, these were the two pillars on which he built his success, thanks to which he was then able to make his famous “descent into the arena” by getting “into politics”. His greatest advisor? That Marcello Dell’Utri, who was the link with organized crime, who protected Berlusconi and ended up in prison without ever “betraying” him, and who prompted him to get into politics at that time when the corrupt “Tangentopoli” system was sweeping away the big parties – above all the Christian Democracy (DC) and the Socialist Party (PSI) –, because this predatory entrepreneur had no other choice to defend his companies, which were in trouble, and to develop his own business, but to build for himself a political party on the ruins of the DC and the PSI, naturally a party-company formed by reliable groups of servile petty bourgeoisie, careerists, and those ready to make “moderation” their public image.

His successes in the field of media earned him the epithet “His Emittenza” (a pun on the words emittente = broadcaster and eminenza = eminence) as a confirmation of the attack he waged through his television channels against the monopoly of the public broadcaster RAI, which he undermined to the point of equalling it. He was proud of his moral “high profile”, which ranged from bunga-bunga (wild sexual parties with young girls) to “elegant dinners”, “female companions” to parties in nightclubs, even with minors, such as the 17-year-old Ruby Rubacuori, who was passed off as the niece of the then Egyptian President Mubarak, thus risking provoking a diplomatic affair. And then what to say about his “high profile” in relation to institutions, which is also known to all: tax evasion, falsifying budgets, buying and selling MPs, financiers, judges, witnesses and, of course, “female companions” and minors. And his political and human “high profile”? Anything for his companies and his children, to whom he left a conspicuous inheritance, and in their defense an endless series of laws tailored specifically for its personal interests useful – among other things – for all those who have followed his example, and useful even today, given the Meloni government, in honor of Berlusconi, three days after his death, has launched at a cabinet meeting the “reform of the justice system” which he failed to push through despite his four governments in twenty years and which, as Nordio, the current Minister of Justice, said, would have pleased “him” (today still with a lowercase “h”, perhaps waiting to be changed to a capital letter, as it was during Mussolini’s twenty-year reign…); that is, a reform which, for example, protects even more than before the politicians of yesterday, today and tomorrow from the usual accusations of abuse of office and corruption.

There has been no one like Berlusconi, from the mid-1980s to the present, who has accumulated such an incredible number of lawsuits on various charges: tax fraud, false accounting, embezzlement, bribery, extortion, illegal party financing, perjury, child prostitution, judicial bribery, external complicity in mafia associations, money laundering, abuse of office, defamation, incitement to perjury, conspiracy to commit mass murder (for the 1992–1993 mass casualties, the trial is still ongoing), etc. The fact that Berlusconi was sentenced in only one case (the Mediaset trial, tax fraud) to four years, which (thanks to a pardon) was converted into 10 months of community service to be served in a clinic near Milan, says a lot about the extraordinary pressure exerted on the judiciary and the parliamentary parties, and the use of all the legal loopholes that a handful of super-paid lawyers were able to dig up in order to drag out trials to the point where the crimes committed were time-barred and dangerous testimonies were invalidated or calculated bribed testimonies were accepted. There has been no one like Berlusconi, who, with his loyal clan, has spent forty years in broad daylight trampling on, distorting, taking out of context and bending the laws of the state to suit the needs of a private capitalism whose aim was not only to favour the interests of its companies but to have the freest possible hand against the limits imposed by state law. And a free hand towards parliament, which by its formalities and deadlines risked slowing down many laws useful to its business (and the business of its allies and friends), and not least towards the wage workers, who had to be made to digest a series of backward steps passed off as necessary measures to open the door to the world of work to younger generations. The essence of Berlusconism was essentially all of this, tinged with a populist and therefore petty-bourgeois veneer, but orchestrated with a sure mastery by a billionaire capitalist.

Starting with advertising and football supporters, Berlusconi translated the simple and straightforward manners of the door-to-door salesman into political jargon, describing himself as the representative of that anti-politics that was born at the time of “Tangentopoli” – the revelation of widespread corruption – as a reaction to the corrupt and corrupting policies of the parties of the “First Republic” (the name of the political system in Italy between 1946 and 1994), as a reaction to the so-called ideological politics, and which was to become the characteristic of some political movements that called for “true democracy”, “democracy from below”, “popular democracy”, not least the 5 Star Movement of Beppe Grillo and today of Giuseppe Conte. An anti-politics that was nothing more than a version of politics wrapped in slogans with an easy and wide-ranging impact, slogans that could be quickly changed depending on the “response” of the market of consumers-voters they were aimed at, and depending on the audience they wanted to reach from time to time with that image, that gimmick. In a way, the anti-politics was nothing more than a confirmation that the myths of bourgeois ideology, especially the myth of democracy in which the individual is at the centre of everything, had been worn away by the political system of the traditional parties: the parties, with their programs valid for decades, with their bureaucratic and complicated structure, with their divisive ideologies, with their thousands of interest groups and thousands of “currents”, were to be buried and in their place were to be born "movements" that were leaner, more engaging, more popular and less bureaucratic, and that corresponded not to complex political programs but to people-prominent leaders.

Capitalist society, from an economic-production and social point of view, imposes a political development corresponding to its objective dynamics, its material determinations; and if its development tends towards concentration and centralization, towards a monopolistic system, as is the case everywhere in its imperialist phase, bourgeois politics is obliged to react on the same principle, without, however, losing its function of supporting the interests, albeit contradictory, of the various bourgeois factions, and above all without losing its function of deceiving the masses, and especially the proletariat, as to the role they have been given in society: the dull herd in every electoral cycle; the productive force to be exploited to the maximum in every productive cycle in which capital is to be valorized.

Whether it all takes place in peacetime or wartime, in peace or war zones, it has never depended on either the king or the prime minister, let alone on a fatal confluence of negative events. Bourgeois politics follows the objective events of the capitalist economy and its contradictions, and turns into a war politics to the extent that the contradictions between states cannot be resolved in any other way. In any case, in peace and in war, the bourgeoisie always profits; the one who loses, and loses a lot, is always the proletariat.

The ease with which Berlusconi and Berlusconism have gained ground in certain periods of Italian politics – even when Berlusconi was not in government – is due to a policy that bourgeois democracy inherited from fascism after the Second World War: the policy of class collaboration. The characteristic feature of this policy is precisely the linking of the objectives and interests of the working class with those of the capitalist class, passing this link off as the common good. If we take it as granted and irreversible that society is in the hands of the capitalists – who own everything – this “common good” is attainable and can endure on condition that the workers submit their specific interests to the general interests of the enterprises in which they work and the country in which they live. Enterprises and countries reciprocate: enterprises on the level of the individual career of each worker according to the “merits” shown to the bosses of the enterprise, countries on the level of social policy, such as taxes, concessions on buying a house, etc.; levels that have not improved the existential and working conditions of the proletariat, because in fact they have become more and more flexible and precarious over the last thirty years, while taxes have risen and wages have fallen.

Bourgeois politics cannot escape the dictates imposed by the power relations between economic and financial powers and between states, and the politics of the Italian bourgeoisie cannot escape the determining factors that arise from its dependence on a foreign policy line derived from the US-led NATO premises, which, on the wave of victory in the second world imperialist war, imposed on Italy an ever stronger subordinate position, all the more so in the face of social and political forces that tended to become, in part, a mouthpiece for the interests of the opposite imperialism, that of Russia; it is the so-called “moderate” right – especially in the last thirty years – and Berlusconi himself, who promoted the friendly relations with Moscow that were once the “exclusivity” of the PCI and its leaders. However, these friendly relations corresponded, as was logical, to very specific private interests, interests that were not only focused on Moscow, but on any other power and money capital with which it was possible to communicate.

Here, then, Berlusconism – the politics that mixes profiteering, opportunism, corruption, nepotism, constant shifting of positions, consumerism and, of course, male chauvinism – in a country like Italy, where systematic opportunism and hypocrisy are presented deftly as being in the role of a victim (“chiagni e fotti”), does not die with the first big rogue who is given the honours of a state funeral and a day of national mourning!

The Italian proletarians, intoxicated by football fandom, the pomp and extravagance with which the powerful live and die, are influenced to consider the existential conditions in which they are forced to live and the conditions of exploitation, to which they are subjected day after day, as permanent conditions whose improvement depends only on the good heart of the capitalists and politicians who defend their interests and for whom they delegate the Church, the trade unions, the parliamentary parties, the right and the left, to plead their cause. Too many years of frustration and demoralizing struggles, waged by collaborationists of all kinds, Berlusconian and anti-Berlusconian politicians, rest heavily on their shoulders; economic and material corruption, and political and ideological corruption, have caused a general rejection of politics in the sense of organizing the available material and immaterial means to meet the social needs of an entire community; in the sense of a struggle not between individuals, sects, factions, but between opposing and antagonistic classes, which no one invented, but which the history of economic and social development has produced itself. Politics, on the other hand, is identified with private interest, corruption, an easy way to rise above others by trampling on their rights and needs: this is the conception of politics that the bourgeoisie spreads through facts, while raising candid hymns of praise for freedom, equality, the right to live with dignity…

As in the past, so in the present, and above all in the future, proletarian politics has been, is, and will be of fundamental importance, not for the miserable world of the individual, but for the only struggle which will be able to bring the whole of society to an outcome completely opposite to that to which bourgeois politics has hitherto led and will inevitably lead it: the revolutionary proletarian struggle, in which the productive class par excellence, the class of wage-labourers, united under its distinctive political program, led by its authentic and single revolutionary Communist Party will have as its main objective the overthrow of the bourgeois state and its entire corrupt and corruptive system of administration of the productive and social resources; in its place will be erected the dictatorial power of the proletarian class, whose goal will be the transformation of the whole of society from top to bottom and of its economy, which will no longer be based on capital and wage labour, i.e. not even on commodities and the market, but on the production of use products exclusively to satisfy the needs of the human community. This is the perspective of communism as understood by Marx and Engels, and against which – from his point of view, of course – Berlusconi, like the whole of the big bourgeoisie to which he belonged, fought with all the means at his disposal, both his own, legal and illegal, and those put at his disposal by the state.



(1) Cfr.


June, 18th 2023



International Communist Party

Il comunista - le prolétaire - el proletario - proletarian - programme communiste - el programa comunista - Communist Program


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