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Francesco Maringiò, from the Foreign Department of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) was interviewed by Gustavo Carneiro for the Portuguese communist newspaper Avante!

This is a retranslation from the Italian translation by Mauro Gemma for the Italian website Marx21.it

A delegation from the PCI participated in the traditional Portuguese Communist Party, dedicated to its weekly magazine, Avante !. On this occasion, the editorial staff of the Communist newspaper addressed some questions to Francesco Maringiò, of the Foreign Department of the PCI.

How does the PCI judge the current situation in Italy?

During the so-called “financial crisis” there has been a deterioration of the economy on all fronts: unemployment and poverty have spread and statistics show that eating habits have changed with standards comparable to those of wartime. Furthermore, integration into the European Union (EU), which is a long-term process, has created the idea that there are no alternatives. That’s why most of the population does not fight the current situation and does not even vote to change it. The social struggle and the conscience of the masses have regressed.

What are the priorities of the PCI intervention?

The first is the continuation of the party building process. Then, we try to form alliances with other communist and leftist forces that allow the development of the political struggle. A third priority, which we underlined at our recent congress, is to widen the fight against the process of integration in the EU.

This sets you apart from the other forces of the left …

All the communist and leftist forces are, in principle, against “this” Europe, but few propose a real alternative. They want to grow, win more votes and from this change the EU “from within”. We do not share this vision and focus, rather, on the struggle against the integration process and for a real alternative outside this context. And it is not easy, because they often accuse us of “nationalism”. The PCI was part of the electoral coalition “Power to the People” and it was difficult to touch this point. On a general level, the polarization between populist and pro-EU forces is accentuated, putting positions like ours in the shade.

How do you evaluate the nature of the parties that make up the Italian government?

The League is a classic far-right party, and the Five Star Movement (M5S) is difficult to classify. It has groups from environmentalist and anti-globalization movements and other more conservative groups, represented by the current leader (Luigi Di Maio). Although it now governs with the League, the M5S is one of the parties that joined the left in defence of the Constitution, which was (after the war) written by the partisans, against the intention of the Social Democrats (Partito Democratico) to revise it. It is a complex mixture …

But with so many differences they managed to unite …

It was the only possible government within the Italian institutional framework. Furthermore, both propose to present themselves as novelties in relation to the “old system”. But at the same time there are great contradictions: the League has its main force in the capitalists of the North and the consensus around the M5S comes mainly from the South and from the people who have become impoverished. These are irreconcilable interests, which will eventually create governance problems.

But for now they have a broad consensus.

It is a radical change in Italian politics. How do you explain?

In Italy there is a very strong conflict between the sectors of capital. For years, the Social Democrats have represented banks and hedge funds, and the League and M5S have emerged to give voice to sectors more focused on production. In Italy, there is no left-wing party that, like the PCP in Portugal, has presented a proposal to safeguard national interests and a viable alternative to the current situation, and for this reason social support did not go left.

What are their positions on the EU and on NATO?

Some understand that they must be formally opposed to the EU to have more bargaining power and others believe that it is really necessary to prepare a way out. On NATO, the League has never said anything against, but on the contrary, it is faithful to it. In M5S, the theme is more controversial. In their political programme they indicated the exit of NATO and this was the majority tendency among its members, but nothing has been said about the subject since the start of the electoral campaign. Italy is under strict control of NATO, which has a strong influence on the country’s politics, often against the interests of Italian capitalism itself, as happened with the invasion of Libya.

How does the PCI see the refugee question?

We do not share the racist positions of the government. We, more than knowing how many (refugee) ships can or cannot dock in Italy, are worried about the reasons for this phenomenon. We insist on the responsibilities of Italian and EU governments in this situation and we know that the sectors of capital stimulate immigration as an industrial reserve army, to use the Marxist expression.

The PCI has arisen (or resurrected) recently, with symbols used in much of the 20th century. What does it mean?

We started a process a few years ago that we called for the reunification of the communists and the construction of the Party. We chose the name and historical symbol, something that for years had not been allowed for legal reasons. With this we wanted to clarify that, in this particularly difficult phase, we look at the best in the history of the communist movement in Italy to try to reverse the decline trend that has been manifesting itself for a long time.

What is the last word you would like to address to Avante readers !?

“Thank you”. First of all for what you are doing in your country, but also for the involvement of foreign parties in the Feast of Avante! It is an important contribution to unity and to the meeting between the different parties and a great help for organizations like ours. You can not imagine how much!

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