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23 Ιουλ 2015

Italian National Liberation Committee (CLN),

International 25,Glass-Steagall in Italy,National Liberation Committee Formed
by Andrew Spannaus

May 13—The newly formed Italian National Liberation Committee (CLN), which brings together various movements and associations intent on defending Italy from the dictatorship of the financial markets, has launched its first organizing initiative: collecting signatures on a proposal for restoring the separation between commercial banks and investments banks, following the principle of the original 1933 Glass-Steagall Act in the United States.


The name “National Liberation Committee” is
taken from the body created during the resistance
against Fascism in World War II. Various groupings
with different backgrounds came together to defeat the
Mussolini regime and its Nazi backers, leading to the
creation of the modern Italian Republic at the end of the
war.

On May 10, ten representatives of the CLN went to
the Supreme Court in Rome (Corte di Cassazione) to
register what is called a “Popular Initiative Bill,” a
system which allows any group that collects 50,000 signatures
on a proposal to force the parliament to consider
it. The registration was published in the Official
Journal of the Italian Republic the next day, marking
the start of the six-month period for the collection of the
signatures. Now, the participating organizations—including
Movisol, the LaRouche movement in Italy—
will begin mobilizing the population for this essential
step towards the reorganization of the bankrupt financial
system.

As EIR readers may recall, numerous resolutions
and bills in favor of Glass-Steagall have been introduced
in the Italian Senate and Chamber of Deputies in
recent years. Indeed, thanks to Movisol’s campaign in
particular, the issue of protecting the real economy
from the catastrophic effects of the speculative global
financial system has been picked up by a number of political
figures, and found its way into the national debate
at many levels. Just since the beginning of 2012, bills
26 International EIR May 17, 2013 have been introduced by
Sen. Oskar Peterlini, former Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti,
and also by the Lega Nord political party, which included Glass-Steagall
among the points of its electoral program at the beginning
of this year.
.
Homage to ‘International Commitments’
What has not been seen, however, is a serious shift
within the Italian institutions. Although it is clear that
the policies of the Troika (European Central Bank,
IMF, European Commission) have been disastrous,
leading to economic and social destruction in countries
such as Greece, Spain, and Portugal, much of the Italian
political class continues to pay homage to the “international
commitments” represented by the EU
budget criteria, and demands for further deregulation
and privatization. This, despite the fact that two years
of harsh austerity have led to a sharp drop in Italy’s
GDP, and produced the beginnings of a seismic shift in
the political system.

In the national elections held in late February of
this year, a full 25% of the population voted for the
grouping founded by populist comedian Beppe Grillo,
the Five Star Movement (M5S). The M5S focused
mostly on superficial and misleading aspects of the
current crisis, such as political corruption and wasteful
spending. Yet the discontent in the population
caused by the economic collapse has led to an explosion
in the movement’s support, because it was seen
as being “new,” outside of the current political institutions.
For example, the M5S refuses to go on television,
and only organizes over the Internet and at street
rallies.

Despite this electoral earthquake, the other three
largest political parties (the center-left Democratic
Party, center-right People of Freedom, and centrist
Civic Choice) have formed a grand coalition government—
with essentially the same policy as that
of the technocratic Prime Minister Mario Monti
before them! They are playing politics as usual,
while planning a few superficial reforms that they
hope will placate some of the popular rage. In terms of
basic economic policy, nobody in the “mainstream”
has dared to question the free-market, pro-austerity
bent that has created this situation, or to state the
obvious: that the euro currency must be abandoned
if European nations hope to survive. At best, they
speak of loosening the budget criteria imposed by
the European Union for a year or two, to at least partially
stop the bleeding. A fundamental change it is
not.

A Return to Sovereignty, Sanity
The CLN’s mobilization for a Glass-Steagall law in
Italy aims to rapidly inject reality into this situation.
The awareness of the need for insulating the real economy
from the collapse of the global financial system is
spreading rapidly among protest groups across the political
spectrum. Within the M5S as well, there are
many inexperienced members who now find themselves
in the parliament, and need to be educated as to
the real issues to be tackled. A discussion process has
begun, with the goal of freeing the movement’s rankand-
file from the ideological control exercised by Grillo
and his partner Gianroberto Casaleggio, whose worldview
is closer to that of Prince Philip than Franklin
Roosevelt.

The CLN aims to drive a process that can influence
all of the political parties, involving citizens and groups
willing to defend Italy’s population, and demand a
return to sovereignty and sanity. As of this writing,
there are five other movements that belong to the CLN,
besides Movisol. They come from varied backgrounds,
and include, for example, an association for the defense
of children, a large consumers’ association, and a network
of small businesses.

The concept behind the CLN is to bring together diverse
organizations around four points: 1) national sovereignty,
and thus withdrawal from the Lisbon Treaty,
the EU document that overrides member states’ national
constitutions; 2) Glass-Steagall; 3) a National
Bank to provide productive credit to the economy; and
4) a change in the tax-collection system to avoid foreclosures
against homes and businesses.

The last point is particularly important for businesses, which have been
hard hit by the economic crisis. As turnover has gone
down and the banks have cut off credit, companies are
forced into bankruptcy, and end up losing everything;
this often extends to the personal assets of the business
owners, and has driven many to suicide. While many in
the media express their shock at the situation, very few
have had the courage to make proposals that would actually
improve the economy.

By working to gather over 50,000 signatures in the
coming months, the groups participating in the CLN
will be creating an organizing process that can put pressure
on the institutions, and force them to take responsibility
for the future.