As a habit of this personal web space of mine, I use to accommodate my declaration of vote a few days before the elections in Italy, of which I am a citizen. The thing is extremely boring because my choice always falls on the same option: the non-vote.
Everytime I still ask myself the usual question, then fatally I answer myself "this time I will not vote". I do not believe in representative democracy, simply. I voted in the political elections in '94 and '96. Since then I stopped delegating and actually I still find it the only road.
I made an exception for the referendums and not always. In fact it is a direct decision, so my vote is not a delegation but a decision, although measured with the other expressed by other individuals who compose my State. It is this dimension of State, which I do not believe (I do not recognize it as something real), that sometimes has deterred me from go to the voting booth even for referendums.
The next December 4 Italy will vote for a constitutional referendum. A passage in the political life of my country that is important, as it could not be otherwise, whose influence however for the future of my country was not until now perhaps entirely reflected.
In my life I have experienced directly some dictatorships: Milosevic in Serbia (in 1999-2000), Bouteflika in Algeria (in 2001-02), Assad in Syria (in 2005), and I watched a dictatorship grow under my eyes, while living in Istanbul, and that is Erdogan in Turkey (in 2008-10 and then in 2013-14).
In addition to these, to be honest, I also experienced three military occupations: the IFOR in Bosnia (in 1996-97), KFOR in Kosovo (in 98-99) and the military aggression "Ancient Babylon" in Iraq (in 2004), which has not a code since undergone outside the UN mandate.
I guess I could get anwhat it means to live in a social space where the popular will is suspended. I even learned to recognize the smells of this state of civil death. The faces of the people, the everyday gestures that are never beyond the quota time, the hope is a prayer, is an act of blind faith, and no reasonable expectation follows any effort. The basic rights turn into privileges and one's achievements are just made on others' skin.
In September 2010, a constitutional referendum was held in Turkey. At that time I was living in Istanbul in fact. I remember that I released an interview to an Italian radio aftermath. I recall the EU position, which called for the YES victory , "because that would have brought Turkey closer to Europe, as the country would be provided with a more careful statute of human rights". This is just because with the YES victory also the general coup leaders (those who participated in the coup d'etat in 1980) could have been pursued. Beautiful, right. No one had realized that in this way simply Erdogan pointed at subjecting the military to the government, not as a democratic principle, as it would be, but simply because the military power (historically secular and Westerner in Turkey) was the only one able to stop his omnipotence. Erdogan never gave a shit to human rights.
No one had pointed out that with a YES or NO Turkish citizens would have amended their constitution in 26 different points on the most diverse issues; so, full package, give or take. Some points more than legitimate and reasonable, as the processability of the army generals guilty of crimes against humanity precisely, others more devious. I defined it a fraudulent referendum. Among other constitutional changes, for example, there was the reform of the Constitutional Court, which would have increased its members by allowing the government to elect their own. With a government firmly in the hands of Erdogan, since there was no more an independent Constitutional Court, but would become a body emptied of its impartial arbitrators to become the cabinet staff of the boss. Europe rejoiced after the victory of YES. "Turkey is closer to Europe", they said. Even then there were people in Brussels believe that a strong leader would ensure stability and therefore obedience to international guidelines.
Even the Kurdish party left freedom of vote, after all this constitutional reform would have reduced the excessive power of the army, their opponent in the thirty-year war that had been until then fought. And then this Erdogan promised a peace process that would have brought benefits and freedom to them. We can safely say that indeed the Kurds self-suicided in this case. With this error in predict the further steps on that occasion they signed their own death sentence. Today we know how that turned out. But nobody remembers who voted what in Turkey in September 2010.
I said it in this radio interview. But what democratic Islam? Erdogan played at being democratic because he had no alternative, because the turkish believers are credulous (as all masses religiously oriented) and because the international community has never understood anything. This I said. That paradise that Istanbul has been to me in those years would habe never been the same after this referendum.
After a few years spent in Naples I went back to live in Istanbul in 2013, just in time to add myself to the thousands of people that took to the streets to defend the Gezi Park. I was not surprised by the protest, the critical mass that developed in a few hours a contestation of that size. I had already got to know that Turkish opposition underground river. A river that sooner or later would have been gushed out from underground. But I was struck by the reaction of the power of the police, not so much in those weeks of protest, as in the following months when international cameras began to fade. I could not believe that the country had already so quickly slipped into a de facto dictatorship. While Europe played at being strict with what they thought to be their restless student, Erdogan. I edited a small video clip with some footage shot in those days. Nothing sensational, if not a judgment that maybe could seem like coming from a confused man who does not know which way to take: "Turkey is no longer a democracy". For me it was the evidence that would jump to the eyes. "A tram called Democracy" I titled this footage (WATCH HERE). I resumed a phrase attributed to Erdogan: "Democracy is like a tram, I take it to arrive at destination. When I am there, I can get out". He has studied the history well. Mussolini, Hitler, Milosevic, all people who were voted in accordance with democratic trappings. All people who came to the government with the tram called Democracy and then, at destination, they sent the tram to the depot and made by themselves alone.
Then there were Kobanî, the refugee emergency and the EU-Turkey agreement, the attempted military coup, purges and the arrest of thousands of people including opposition political leaders and many other things that the Western press didn't report. Everzbody became expert in Turkey simply by reading comics and 2-3 plagiarized books here and there. I have spoken and written little since then. Disenchantment is a big toad to take out from one's throat.
Now, a few days before the Italian constitutional referendum, I smell in the air the same stench of military boots that I breathed in Istanbul in September 2010. Even the sound of the European fanfare is the same. The band plays, it's a party, everyone is happy, they vote without thinking. When the party is over, the trouble will be served.
Yes, this is what I feel will happen.
They tell me that this package of constitutional reforms to be voted all together will enable Italy to overcome the equal bicameralism. That‘s fine, let's overcome the equal bicameralism then. Then they tell me that the new Senate will allow territories to count more in Parliament. Fantastic! Beautiful.
But then I start thinking. Since the basic principle of full-blown Italian democracy from Berlusconi on is the blackmail of politicians, is it not that Italian local administrators, the most corrupt in Europe, will compete to be the most obedient in order to deserve to be selected to the Senate that grants impunity so that, as a final result, the territories will be on the contrary more subjugated to the will of the Government, namely the Prime Minister, ie the boss?
Is it not that when they talk about reducing the number of parliamentarians and reduce Parliament's costs they refer to the costs of the party secretaries to keep their payroll "yes men"? Is it not that the impunity extended to the most "deserving" local administrators it will be a bargaining to buy the allegiance of territories and will be a way to extend the control of the boss on every square centimeter of Italy?
But this is what will be, is what already is, behind the smokescreen raised by Renzi's Cabinet and Europe.
A "keynote" was given a few weeks ago by the governor of Campania, Vincenzo De Luca, during a secret meeting with the administrators of Campania, secretly recorded and then uploaded. I omit the typical mode of exchange mafia vote with which imposes to bring people to the polls to vote YES. I omit all the other amenities on the beauty of clientelism (after all Renzi himself has made an apology of it) and his indications about who is consuming oxygen abusively or not. I report only a few memorable lines of what democracy would be for these gentlemen.
<<In the United States Trump won with 25% of those entitled to vote. (...) A democracy without the simplification mechanisms will not work. Democracy is the form of government of the strongest minority. The idea, totally ideological, that every citizen should have his representation, is imbecility, because in nature it does not exist>>.
This is Renzi‘s Italy, this is Italy that we will have if Yes will win.
It must be said clearly: there are terms in the lexicon of these months that should be replaced as soon as possible with other more appropriate words.
Simplification = Fascism.
Clientelism = Squad violence.
Italy, "Republic founded on labour", as the Article 1 of the Constitution says, is about to become or has already become a republic founded on permanent underemployment because we are no longer citizens, but we have become subjects. Twenty years ago the Italian Parliament was about to vote a law for the reduction of weekly working hours to 35 hours. The slogan was "work less so all can work", full salary of course. This is because technological development has reduced the hours of work necessary to maintain the society we live in. In the meantime they imposed on us a global economic crisis and a third world war in small pieces to convince us that these are the times we live, and so now we have to work less but at a reduced salary. This is what my generation and the following were expected to do. Except that this difference in wages, as shown by the economic indicators, has not vanished but has been drained by the big capital and the working class has simply impoverished. Money is like matter, it can never be destroyed: it changes hands.
So, no matter whether you call it "Casta" or Oligarchy, but since the time and the Italian passport in my pocket gives me the right to do it, then I go back to Italy for a few days to vote and shout to these gentlemen my NO to this anti-democratic path to which the whole of Europe is walking, and in particular to these authoritarian premises that my country is preparing to ratify.
I go back to Italy as a citizen of the world, after more than five years in the last 8 spent abroad, because the country of which I am citizen is only a small piece of a larger puzzle, but through this vote, as a citizen of the world, I can send a message to those who in the world think that Italy is only a prone and submissive society.
We have tried in many ways to tell these gentlemen that NO, we do not want social rights and common goods to be expropriated from the community, starting with the minimum right of representation that I still consider not enough: the vote. But what for us is a NO, for them it is only an opportunity to rephrase the question and try again.
This time, however, we are at the last stage of this theater show. After we will be no longer allowed to dissent. No one be tempted or misled by flattery, by promises, by illusions, by tricks, by bonuses that are not gifts, but our rights.
NO means NO, says one anti-sexist slogan. It seems appropriate to propose it again here, pointing to an activity of pounding, corrosive, subtle and suffocating conviction, as practiced by Matteo Renzi, illegitimate Italian Prime Minister, voted by a parliament elected with an anti-constitutional law and imposed by a semi-coup maker President of Republic.
NO means NO, then. NO to this premier who acys like a stalker and these teachers that explain that democracy has in fact always been an oligarchy (ah, sorry if we had not realized it before).
I repeat here. Our Italian people have already been abused beyond amy limit.
To say NO today is a question of dignity.
After, if they will not listen either to this NO, they will just have to throw the mask and show their true face.
But we have to keep us together now so that their violence will not have the chance in future to use our complicity as alibi.