Friday, December 28, 2012

Vendola Replies

With considerably less fanfare than Monti's original salvo, Vendola has responded to the outgoing premier's "agenda Monti" and blunt criticisms with his own "agenda Vendola":

“Per me – ha concluso il Presidente – l’agenda Vendola è questa: è l’idea che difendere il lavoro dalla violenza della precarietà e difenderlo dalla sua subordinazione a un comando autoritario, non è conservatorismo, ma è innovazione, è la qualità del lavoro che fa crescere l’economia. Investire sulla formazione permanente dei lavoratori significa investire sul futuro. Questo abbiamo fatto in Puglia e i dati economici dicono che abbiamo fatto bene.

Is the defense of labor "conservative," as Monti charged in his end-of-session address, or progressive, as Vendola insists? This is a theme we will be hearing more about in the campaign: but which side will Bersani take?


At December 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM , Blogger Richard Mounts said...

I'm prepared to like Nicchi Vendola, if for no other reason than he leads a party named Sinistra, Ecologia, Libertà." And his defense of workers sounds right: "difendere il lavoro dalla violenza della precarietà e difenderlo dalla sua subordinazione a un comando autoritario" But as he defends work and workers, what about the situation at Taranto with the Ilva steel works? As near as I can tell Vendola and his Puglia government have been absent during the controversy over the plant during the last six months. Here is the largest steel mill in Europe pumping out toxins and giving Taranto workers and residents higher than normal rates of cancer and respiratory diseases. What other place in Puglia brings together more dramatically issues of labor and environmental health? And as near as I can tell, while the prosecuting magistrates and the Monti government have squared off over authority to act in this situtation, Vendola has had nothing to say. I think if I were an enviromentalist in Taranto, or just a father of young children who I had to keep away from the plant as best I could, I wouldn't take Vendola seriously. Sorry for the rant, but I've been following this issue off an on for a few months and I can't believe that virtually nothing has been done.

At December 29, 2012 at 1:40 AM , Blogger brent said...

I haven't clsely researched this, but on his campaign website

Vendola offers a chronology of his involvement with Ilva, starting immediately after his first election as governor in 2005. By his account the first measurements of dioxins and other carcinogens were taken by his government, ignored by the federal government, and eventually investigated by the courts. I would like to hear from someone better informed than me whether a regional government could have done more, but check out the site: Vendola's government seems to have been deeply involved from an early point, and he has been quite vocal in supporting the courts against the attempts of Monti's government to reopen the plant and whitewash the dangers.

At December 29, 2012 at 11:53 AM , Blogger Richard Mounts said...

Thanks for the link. I'll take a look.

At December 30, 2012 at 1:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by your question about the protection of labor. Monti is so anti-labor that he's using the word "conservative" to mean the conservation of protections for the workers. The elimination of such protections has been at the heart of his year in office and it remains at the heart of his agenda now. Monti is anti-government (his agenda specifically says that government spending isn't the answer to the crisis). He's anti-worker. He's pro-business, virtually to the exclusion of all other approaches. This discussion of semantics can be easily applied everywhere; the Tea Party in the US is "radical" in that they want to radically reduce the role of government in the economic life of a country.

Bersani has to this point insisted on being respectful of Monti, but he does so at his peril. We who yearn for a left response to the worldwide depression have had our hopes dashed by Papandreou in Greece, by Zapatero in Spain, and are watching Hollande be mealy-mouthed in France (though he has shown some strength of character with his tax the rich program). Bersani is likely to make the same mistake (emphasizing the center-right side of his theoretical center-left position), but we must hope for more.

I'm also disappointed by the kid gloves respect that everyone shows Monti, as though his status as a professor trumps his status as a former consultant to Goldman Sachs and as the current lapdog of Angela Merkel. Monti's ego matches Berlusconi's. We've saved Italy indeed! Not from depression. Not from unemployment. We've saved it from the ridicule of Angela Merkel?

We need Bersani to save us from Mario Monti.


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