“The only one on the left is Bergoglio, the Democratic Party no longer”, the thought of the ‘polemicist’ Luciano Canfora

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“A person who says and does sinister things without having to say that?” Pope francesco. The definitions leave the time they find, what matters is the vision that inspires concrete action ». «Do something left? Seize empty barracks to make schools out of them ». To support him, in this interview with The Reformist, is the professor Luciano Canfora, philologist, historian, essayist, a “critical conscience” of the left that has never had hair on the tongue or shop interests to cultivate. A free voice, something increasingly rare in today’s Italy. Professor emeritus of theUniversity of Bari, member of the Scientific Council of the Institute of the Italian Encyclopaedia and director of the journal Quaderni di Storia (Dedalo Edizioni), Among his books, we mention: Stop hatred (Laterza); The subversive. Marchesi concept and Italian communism (Laterza); The present as history. Because the past clarifies our ideas (Bur, Rizzoli).

Professor Canfora, in these years it is as if you were afraid to define yourself as a left, as if this marked a time that was, to be archived. But in the face of the epochal challenges of the Third Millennium, the left is a expendable idea and if so, which left?
We could say that since the right is the opposite of the left there is a very urgent need of the left, this goes without saying. We have the right in power before our eyes. And it frightens: from Brazil to the United States of America, not to mention other examples. So react urgently. The problem is that while fascism has never disarmed, it has changed clothes, not even skin, on the contrary the communist movement has gradually crumbled, but mostly because of internal, intimate repentance. This is a process that comes from afar. After which there are other forces that make a leftist policy, they do not proclaim themselves as such, but they certainly are.

For example?
The current Pope, Pope Bergoglio, fighting against a part of the top of the Catholic Church, does a left-wing job, a very effective job having those levers in hand of a spiritual and prestigious character. So even a grim xenophobic nationalist like Salvini, despite having tried to insult the Pope sometimes, however, does not dare a frontal confrontation. This means, in my opinion, that there is a space for the left, we hope that what remains of the labor, trade union and intellectual movement will notice it.

Massimo Cacciari, in Il Riformista, accused the left, and in it its majority force, the Democratic Party of being affected by the virus of “governmentism”. Is it a merciless diagnosis?
I would be very puzzled by this answer, for a variety of reasons. First of all, the Democratic Party is by no means said to be a left-wing political force, it does not declare it. It is a movement more or less in the center, with noble and less noble figures. They have removed the left word gradually from their company name, so strictly speaking it is a bit to force his hand, to say you are leftist. Days ago, I happened to listen to Minister Gualtieri interviewed by Gruber, who asked him, after a series of questions, but are you left? And he was a little perplexed, and then he said yes, yes. It means that the question took him by surprise, and that doesn’t surprise me. “Governmentism”, apart from being a somewhat summary term, because going to the government, that is, running the country, is the goal of any political force. I don’t see the mortal sin of being “governor”. If “government” means what? Want to stay in government at any cost? But the cost is soon said what it is: the electoral consent when there is, when there is not one, he may also have the desire to go to the moon but remains at his home. The question should be better settled. Above all there is this ambiguity that weighs, and not a little, on our political life, that is, since Occhetto dissolved the PCI, we have a people of honest people, at the time numerically very substantial, without a political leadership that speaks a language of left.

About Occhetto. What is needed, he remarked in an interview with this newspaper, is, I quote verbatim, “a left that is not born by putting together the pieces of the past, returning to the ballet, which we have witnessed in recent times, of mergers and divisions cold of apparatuses, which occurred both in the moderate left and in the alternative left, but it seems to me necessary a constituent of ideas … ».
Already Plato seems to me that he had some ideas in this regard. Occhetto doesn’t mind, but his doesn’t seem to me to be a brand new proposal. I don’t really know what this burst of words means: cold, not cold mergers, certainly they have been quite disappointing: just think of the birth of the Democratic Party, while still in the Romano Prodi government, they have marched its majority under the chair , while merging the PDS and Margherita, then the political framework changed, and after a while Prodi resigned. But it all happened between ten people on one side and fifteen on the other. While we rant about this type of problems, which are for the living room, that is, they concern restricted elites, essentially gravitating on some neighborhoods of Rome, there is another reality, which is the most disturbing one, namely the fact that these parties derived from political formations once left, they have decided, in solitude, that the gospel is Europe, and therefore the mortal sin is to criticize this shack. European. With which they gave the coup de grace to any possibility of having consensus among the masses, to whom Europe says nothing more than the loss of the real value of wages after the entry into force of the euro, which halved the net wages . No Confindustria, not even Bonomi, could hope to make such a bang, which was done in the space of a morning with the elegance of not referring any of those top decisions to a referendum. Now, how do you mobilize the masses for the only believe that you claim to have, that is to say a smoky, devoid of concrete content, Europeanism. It is obvious that in this way you grant a prairie to a so-called populist right, a stupid term, however. A right that speaks to the people, as did Mussolini and Hitler, who sought the consensus of the masses: the unemployed of Weimar etc., and therefore have an assured success ahead of them. People need answers that are within the perimeter of possible decisions, that is, of the country, of the nation, not of the chatter that is made in Brussels, by a European Parliament that has no decision-making power and an omnipotent, non-elective European Commission, who can dictate to us law without contradictory. How would you hope that those who once voted left will come after you. ”

Mario Tronti said in this newspaper: «Left-wing intellectuals, instead of signing appeals in support of the Conte government, begin to reflect and reason on this point: how could this happen, what happened in this poor country of ours to find us with a prime minister in the figure of any man named Giuseppe Conte … This is the problem ». Is it also for you?
It seems to me a noble question but free from reality. None of us are ready to stand for contismo-Leninism, which has not yet been invented. But in the hic et nunc situation, you have this man aside who holds a government standing with adhesive tape as an embankment to an executive led by Salvini-Meloni. After that the whole journalistic choir works for the king of Prussia. It’s fine, but it would be better to say it clearly. It is fair to criticize the inability of ministers. For example: the school problem. A little while ago I listened to the radio newspaper that said that the good but inexperienced minister Azzolina launched the idea of ​​going back to school, causing the principals to arise! The principals who were proclaimed managers with increased salaries, because they had to be able to solve concrete problems. Now they get down on their knees and want a solution to come from above! They don’t even dare to propose the double shift, because they know that there will be a corporate reaction. And the regions are further protesting. I would like to understand what the hell the Regions have to do with the opening of the school year. The only thing that is not said, which I have been arguing for some time, unfortunately to no avail, is that we have a country full of empty barracks, since there is no longer compulsory conscription, but military property is not touched. Instead of saying: let’s reflect on the root causes for which we arrived at the Conte government, which are not so deep but immediate, let’s roll up our sleeves and fight for some minimal concrete proposals. We are in a newspaper called Il Riformista. I have great sympathy for reformists when they make reforms, though. One of which is this: this intangible military property and the schools without space or dilapidated is a scandal. And this is because the military is a powerful caste. Let those empty barracks be transformed into schools: that’s something left-wing. It is also left to prevent the most fragile people from slipping towards exclusion from the right to care, losing the possibility of providing for their own health and being assisted. Another example of a leftist thing? Here it is: abolish that shame of security decrees, in particular that Bis. I said it when it was voted on and I repeat it now: that rubbish not only disgusts, it is also in contrast with the Constitution. So it’s illegal.

Everyone repeats that after the pandemic crisis, nothing will be the same as before. But isn’t there a risk that this “nothing” will turn into “worse”?
It is a meaningless phrase, which will probably no longer be repeated when you touch with your hand that everything is the same as before. These are the rhetorical formulas that our journalism overflows with. Sometimes I feel like regretting Ždanov’s harshness towards journalists.



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