Last month, former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi formed a new government whose top ministries were handed to unelected technocrats. Now his “government of experts” has outsourced its economic plan to private management consultants McKinsey — without voters having ever had any say in the matter.
David Broder is Jacobin’s Europe editor and a historian of French and Italian communism.
Mario Draghi’s new Italian government has been hailed for uniting all political forces from the center-left to the hard-right Lega. Yet the adulation of the former European Central Bank chief as a “national savior” continues a trend elevating technocratic economic decisions above democratic choice — and it’s working-class Italians who’ll suffer.
In postwar decades, Italy boasted the West’s largest communist party, yet by the mid-1970s, its promise of social transformation had been all but abandoned. Swallowing the basics of neoliberal economics, the Left became increasingly distant from workers’ material interests — with disastrous results.
Founded 100 years ago today, the Italian Communist Party immediately faced a violent wave of repression, killing hundreds of militants. As policemen, business elites, and even liberal politicians swung behind Benito Mussolini, no party resisted the Fascist threat more than the Communists.
Matteo Renzi’s move to split Italy’s center-left government is a distraction from its COVID-19 response — and could even force Italians back to the polls. But what’s really at stake is the shape of its post-crisis recovery, as neoliberal technocrats again threaten to return to office.
As far-right rioters rampaged through Congress, Britain’s centrist commentariat absurdly insisted that Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are equally dangerous. Such allegations of left-wing extremism evoke the crudest Red Scare tactics — and whitewash the conservatives who have been enabling Trump for years.
Today, Jeremy Corbyn is launching a global Project for Peace and Justice to take forward the causes he championed as Labour leader. He told Jacobin about his hopes for the initiative — and why he refuses to be cowed by the attacks he has endured.
In the working-class districts of Naples, Diego Maradona was more than their local team’s star player. He was a son of the slums who wanted to “put six goals past the boss” — and stood up for the dignity of their city.
Friedrich Engels was born 200 years ago today. We should thank him for helping out his friend Karl Marx — but also for the critique of capitalism he produced in his own right.
In 1952, West Germany paid reparations to Israel — not as compensation to Holocaust survivors, but in the form of supplies to the Israeli state. Coming at the same time as denazification reached its end, the move had little to do with moral atonement, and everything to do with whitewashing West Germany’s international image.
In recent days, Poland has seen its biggest protests in decades, with strikes and demonstrations against the harshened abortion ban. As MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk tells Jacobin, the movement is a lightning rod for frustrations at the country’s hard-right government — and can finally put women’s hardships at the center of the political agenda.
Faced with soaring case numbers, the Italian government has imposed tougher restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. Yet as millions face a miserable dilemma between personal safety and financial ruin, protesters have begun to defy the curfew — a sign of the fraying social consensus behind shutdown measures.
Rossana Rossanda died last month after decades of commitment to first the Italian Communist Party and then the dissident manifesto group. She insisted that a left party should be shaped by the demands of workers’ everyday struggles.
Lenin’s famous denunciation of Karl Kautsky as a “renegade” has long discouraged Marxists from actually engaging with the German-Austrian socialist’s writings. But if the Bolshevik leader sharply criticized Kautsky’s retreats, this was also because of his great admiration for his earlier work — a revolutionary Marxism that lay decisive stress on the battle for democracy.
Thirty years since reunification, the former East Germany is routinely presented as a “second German dictatorship” where human rights were all but nonexistent. Yet when that state took sides with Third World causes and antifascists in the West, it frequently used the language of human rights — an expression of solidarity that often clashed with realities in East Germany itself.
When Jacobin was founded in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Left was dominated by academic jargon, sectarian organizations, and samba bands. Ten years later, we have a long way to go, but it’s become a lot easier to talk about socialism as a real political force.
The new series in the Deutschland trilogy starts in the hours before the fall of the Berlin Wall. But there’s little time for either joy or commiseration — everyone’s too busy trying to lay their hands on East Germany’s assets.
Rossana Rossanda, who died on Sunday at age 96, was an anti-fascist partisan and cofounder of Italy’s il manifesto newspaper. A communist till the last, she insisted that the Left must defend its own identity — and unflinchingly take sides with the exploited and oppressed.
Before he became Vietnam’s foremost communist, Ho Chi Minh traveled across Europe and the Americas as a ship’s cook. In Rio de Janeiro, he encountered a world of inequality, but also of defiant class solidarity — an experience that helped forge one of the twentieth century’s greatest revolutionaries.
Founder of the Communist Party of Italy in 1921, Amadeo Bordiga is little known today, even among scholars of that country’s Marxist traditions. Fifty years after his death, the first English-language collection of his writings shows why Bordiga shouldn’t be overlooked.