Today is the Italian general election, and it’s being contested by a new leftist formation called Power to the People. The way the polls are looking, they won’t make much of an electoral impact, but it’s worth following their progress nevertheless. Here’s the introduction to their manifesto:
We are the young people employed on zero-hour contracts, or with no contract at all, working for 800 euros a month just to survive, or who are left with no alternative but to emigrate. We are workers, women and men, subjected to increasingly exploitative working conditions. We are the unemployed or the workers made redundant, too old to find work and too young to retire. We are the pensioners living on next to nothing, despite having sweated away our whole lives. We are the parents and grandparents who we see no future for our sons and daughters. We are the women who fight against patriarchy, gender violence and unequal pay for equal work. We are the LGBTI community, subjected to daily discrimination in the workplace and at the hands of our institutions. We are commuters and inhabitants of the peripheries, fighting for decent public transport and the destruction of our public services. We are the patients who wait months to get an appointment with a national health system stretched to breaking point, because we cannot afford private bills. We are the students who study in appalling conditions, starved of resources, and to whom a future has been denied. We are the workers who produce the wealth of this country.
That manifesto doesn’t read like something which was written by a PR agency. It’s clear, no buzzwords, and speaks directly to the issues they seek to campaign on.
I particularly like this passage, again from their manifesto:
Power to the people means the construction of real democracy through daily practice. It means experiences of self-government, the socialisation of knowledge and grassroots participation. For us, the elections are not an end in themselves but a means to break through the isolation and fragmentation that pervades our society; a way to give a platform to the voice of the excluded and to create a movement that puts the needs of the community, our needs, at its centre.
If the media speaks of “a united Left” in reference to a tired political class that continues to pedal neoliberal, anti-social politics, our understanding of the term is different. We are uniting a left that is invisible to the media, that lives in social and workplace struggles. It is a left that lives and thrives in the movement against racism, for democracy, social justice, solidarity and peace.
La forza del progresso in una sola direzione va,
marcia verso l’orizzonte rosso della libertà.
Ex-democristiani, biscioni e fascisti cacciamoli via,
la storia non è stata ancora scritta.
Adesso è l’ora, potere al popolo!