Italian Referendum

Cartoon about the results of the recent Italian referendum. Shakespeare's opening quote, "Small choice in rotten apples"“Small choice in rotten apples”

(Taming of the Screw 1.1)

The Italians said “no” in the recent referendum. Its main objective was to reform the Italian Constitution, strengthen the authority of the government and reduce the power of the electorate at large to influence political outcomes.

“ …and wonder greatly that man’s face can fold
In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.”

Unskilled in political autopsies, I will not discuss details amply elucidated elsewhere, in the mainstream and alternative media.

But ever prone to scour the useless in search for the irrelevant, I will talk about the 3 regions that voted ‘yes’ in the Referendum.

an illustration of Italy and the 3 regions that voted yes in the referendumThe most unusual of the three is Alto Adige (South Tyrol). It is a land that Austria was forced to cede to Italy at the end of WWI. The cost was 600,000 Italians dead and probably as many Austrians. South Tyrol is and was inhabited for centuries by German speaking people of German (Austrian) roots and culture.

Mussolini first destroyed the old Tyrolean structure of the capital (Bozen – Bolzano) and replaced it with fascist-style architecture. Then he changed all toponyms of South Tyrol with Italian names, banning from use the historical originals.

It’s a case where the old assumption that “… a rose by any other name would smell a sweet” (2) does not apply, because the obliteration of names was to signify indirectly the obliteration (or at least the inferior status) of the natives.

This and other issues caused continual friction between the established Germans and the newly established Italians. In recent decades the situation improved and the friction, by and large, subsided.

But before the referendum, the Italian government apparently promised that, in case of a yes, the original German names would be fully restored.

The other two regions that voted ‘yes’ are Emilia and Tuscany. Here, rather than dealing with the finer details of the reform, I will suggest a wider historical view.

For we can still travel upstream in time towards the origins that led to today’s events, before these origins fade into a shadowy past and sink into darkness. Or turn into arguments treated by bespectacled and respectable historians, writing histories read by the chosen few and ignored by the other many.

At the end of WWII, as we know, Italy and most of Europe lay in ruin (both winners and losers). And as per the Yalta Allied Agreement, Europe was divided into two spheres of influence, East and West.

Western Europe was ripe for social reforms, which – it is fair to say – would never have been possible without the fear of popular revolutions. Revolutions that America was determined to block with any possible means.

The social reforms of Western Europe (as well as the current Italian Constitution) were born in the period 1946-1950.

Even so, the Italian Communist Party was the most powerful in Europe – its leader, Togliatti, had even been secretary to Stalin. The Communist threat enabled America to convert Italy into an American military base – there are currently 114 military offices and massive land, naval and air bases throughout the peninsula and the islands. All this to defend a land that has no enemies.

Then in the 1960s the situation somewhat changed. The USSR continued to subsidize the Italian Communist party, but it was the proverbial chicken feed, compared to the dollars freely printed by the Federal Reserve for use by the CIA everywhere, including Italy.

Partly through a softening of the Vatican position towards the political infidels, (after the Second Vatican Council), partly through the irresistible appeal of power, and of access to the government trough, the Communist intelligentsia (at least some of them) began talking with the their opposition.

Given that,

“Thus much of this (gold) will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.”

the Italians were first softened and treated to “words more sweet, and yet more dangerous.” (4)

New expressions came into circulation, for example:

** “Parallel convergences” (read, we, Communists and Christian Democrats can feed at the trough together while keeping our nominally separate aims), and,
** “Historic compromise” (read, Communists in government).

This (Communists in government), was anathema to the colonial master, who needed then (as now), an enemy, so as to keep feeding the trillions to the military & associates. The issue cost the Italian Prime Minister of the time, Aldo Moro, his life.

Eventually, the “parallel convergences” and the “historic compromise” came about in an unusual and unpredictable way. The third or fourth “republic” was declared ended, to be replaced by a new “republic”, not much different in substance from the one just ended, except for the fanfare and the “hunt for the corrupt.”

This resulted in the substitution of a corrupt legislature, (but with some lingering restraints due to the historical ideological differences), with a much more corrupt legislature, uncontrolled, uncontrollable and unrestrained, given that the Communist party had blended with its enemy and, together with them, became known for what it is now, the PD (Partito Democratico).

Something similar occurred elsewhere in Europe. For example, to call the French party currently in power “socialist” equates to choosing “House of Virginity” as a title-name for a brothel.

Back in Italy, now everything was possible, starting from the gradual removal of the social structures installed after the war, followed by the entry into the European Union. A wonderful device, for now the national government could claim no responsibility in the dismantling of the social system, for “it is the will of Europe.” In the meantime, gone was too the old structure of production, caused by globalization.

With everyone (in government and in the opposition) at the trough, all restraint was (is) eliminated. Easiest way to riches was (is) through pharaonic never ending projects, producing a cornucopia of friendly subcontractors and marvels of financial engineering (read fraud).

Just the cost of the study for a potential and very questionable bridge between the mainland and to Sicily is in the billion $. Old olympic villages costing other billions now lay in ruins. No one but the profiteers want the high-speed train line that is defacing the beautiful Alpine Susa Valley. There are already two tunnels, road and railway.

One of the latest venture was last year’s Milan Exhibition, whose mega-losses were only modestly mentioned by the government media.

Even so, given that the Communists were historically strongest in Emilia and Tuscany, there is some logic in believing that remembrance of things past may have driven some older Emilian and Tuscan citizens to vote accordingly. The majority of the ‘yes’ came from the older generation. Emilia, in particular, was ever the hot bed of Italian hot heads, Mussolini included.

In Tuscany, the wide net of nepotistic alliances fostered by the Florentine prime minister and his associates, may have played a role.

Talking of nepotism, the word “nepotismo” comes from the Latin “nepos”, “nephew”, or “nipote” in Italian. But why not relative (“parente”), for example, or familiare (“family member”) – what has a “nipote” to do with it?

Being a “snapper up of unconsidered trifles” (5) here is a brief excursion in the world of the not-usually-talked-about.

Back in 1154 AD, there occurred the schism that divided the Catholic from the Orthodox Church. Some of the points of difference were abstruse and theological. In practice, one of the items of contention was the celibacy of the priests, or lack thereof. Priests can marry, said the Orthodox – no they should not, said the Catholic. The two parties ended up following their own separate ways.

Unable to marry, Catholics priests, including the Popes, chose alternative options. For example, Alexander VI Borgia had 4 children from his favorite lover Vannozza Cattanei, and 5 from other “unknown Roman women” – at least this is in the official records.

Popes were generous with their offspring, but they could not claim them as sons or daughters (remember the schism). So they were all nieces and nephews (nipoti), hence “nepotism.”

Back to the referendum. The prime minister resigned from the government but not from the party – hence his political death was greatly exaggerated. Do not consign, as yet, the Florentine Renzi boy to the archives of Italian politics. One Italian newspaper defines him as a “baboon taught by J.P. Morgan to perform in the Italian political circus.” And training a baboon is still an investment not to be disposed off too easily.

The statistics on Italian unemployment are a joke. To understand them would dizzy the arithmetic of memory (6). Or rather, to quote Churchill in one of his rare moments of sincerity, “The only reliable statistics are those that we falsified.”

If you work for an hour a week at a MacDonald you count as employed. Most young people struggle to find employment. The job un-protection measures recently imposed in Italy and France have just about written off the last remnants of the post WW2 social reforms.

Chronicles frequently report of middle-age men killing themselves after their employer closed down or moved operations to the Orient – and they cannot find other employment. Many young people still live with their parents. Unable to find a job, let alone a steady one – their majority voted “no”.

The Italian Internet exudes happiness at the defeat of the referendum, as if it signaled a new era of hope and resurgence. I think the hopes are unwarranted.

Something similar has occurred in the US with the recent elections. Given the Clintons’ stench-machine and their porno-pedo-homo-maso-transgender entourage, even a skunk would have felt as a breath of fresh air. But as for meaningful changes, (other than, hopefully, avoiding WW3), we can already smell disappointment in the air.

** (1), (4) Titus Andronicus
** (2) Romeo and Juliet
** (3) Timon of Athens
** (5) Winter’s Tale
** (6) Hamlet

In the play (opening quote). Hortensio likes Bianca but cannot go any further because a husband must be found first for her older and intractable sister Katharina, to whom the rotten apple reference applies.

Cartoon. Courtesy of Vincenzo Apicella

This entry was posted in Amusing Shakespeare, Best Shakespeare Quotes, Philosophical, Psychological & Historical Considerations, Psychological Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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