Friday, April 14, 2006

Center-Left Victory in Italy

Romano Prodi, Presidential candidate of the Center-Left Coalition, saw the margin widen between himself and right-wing incumbent Silvio Berlusconi as the votes continued to be counted today. Prodi's leads the Center-Left Coalition and represents the LEft Democrats, the Socialist Party, and a myriad of Italian Communist parties.

During Berlusconi's reign as the tyrannical proto-fascist President, Italian workers experienced a tsunami of oppression not seen since the blackshirt's March On Rome in 1922. In the past five years, corporate profits in Italy shot up nearly 50%. At the same time, the average wages in Italy fell 10% and unemployment rose 10%. Berlusconi also used his presidential power to manipulate media regulation laws, allowing his media empire Finivest to expand. As a result, in 2005 he jump 23 places on Forbes' list of the worlds richest people to number 25.

Besides pillaging the public trust, Berlusconi and his Northern League Party have stoked the flames of xenophobia in Italy during his tenure in office. He has pushed severe anti-immigration legislation not unlike America's own HR4437 and recently told the press that Italians don't want a "multicultural or multiracial society".

While this may be a victory for the Center-Left Coalition, there is a risk that the alliance of socialist, communists, and moderates could water down the beliefs of the more radical parties. As we've seen in the U.S. over the past few decades, revolutionaries who conglomerate into a broader liberal effort tend to become centrists and forget their roots. Italy has a strong socialist history, and Berlusconi's defeat is no doubt a victory for the working class, but they can't forget their radical roots.