An interview with Stefano Santachiara, co-author with Ferruccio Pinotti, of the journalistic investigative book on the transformation of the major Italian political party.
“I admit it: we could and should have done more and better. We underestimated the
viscosity of the collusive customs that are dominant in our country, even in the
intellectual environment. The point is that a civil, ethical and political culture can’t be
established with articles, seminars and refined books. It must come from a common reason, a shared value”.
Salvatore Veca’s explanations can be found in the book “I panni sporchi della Sinistra – I segreti di Napolitano e gli affari sporchi del PD” (in English: “The dirty clothes of the left wing party – Napolitano’s secrets and the dirty affairs of the Democratic Party”) by Ferruccio Pinotti and Stefano Santachiara (Chiarelettere, 2013 pp 382), a book that maybe encompasses the most valuable synthesis of this transformation phenomenon. As the book goes on, it offers a low-key interpretation of the situation, especially targeting the electors of this political party whom, at every defeat or after every incomprehensible action, ask themselves: why?
Meanwhile Silvio Berlusconi, in the evening of November 27, was expelled from the Parliament after a long, lengthy agony, as a result of the application of the Severino law.
“Ousted” – “Voted out” – “Expelled”: International newspapers, especially the anglosaxon ones have reported the decision taken by the Italian Parliament using the most variegated terminology. The rupture, then, was not year 2011, when the “technicians” took office, but November 27, 2013.
Reading “I panni sporchi della Sinistra – I segreti di Napolitano e gli affari sporchi del PD” by Ferruccio Pinotti and Stefano Santachiara is like raising the semi-dark veil which still today covers those schemes and games that we never managed to unveil. The interview with one of the authors, Stefano Santachiara, an inquiry journalist and collaborator for the newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano”, aims at clarifying the scope of the book and most of all sheds a light on a story that is still mostly unknown: the inquiries of which very little is said, the collusions, and the endemic sin that brought to the anthropological transformation of a party that was founded to be something different.
In your book there is a full analysis of several happenings that concern the Democratic Party, starting from the time when it was symbolically represented by Berlinguer’s person, and then going through the lives and deeds of some of the key exponents. Why did you feel the necessity, the urgency, to reconstruct the framework of the center-left wing? Did you feel that the press was lacking in reporting the ambiguous, corruption affairs in which the party is involved?
I believe there was the necessity to reconstruct an organic picture of the party, that would be useful to understand the reasons of the involution of the Italian left wing, both in terms of political program and culture. The publishing industry, despite the frequent polemics inside and outside the PD, induces the reader in believing the contrary, and has treated in a superficial and sometimes neglectful way the various events that affect the nerve centers of the System. I am not just talking about the well-known cases, but also about the several judiciary and journalistic inquiries on opaque relationships, conflicts of interests, and the sophisticated means that also the democrats use to finalize businesses and grow their power.
In light of the new government majority, after the desertion of Forza Italia and the very recent expulsion of Silvio Berlusconi from the Parliament, can the figure of Giorgio Napolitano be interpreted differently from the way you described it in its various aspects (from “migliorista” [ belonging to a reformist subgroup of the former Communist Party] to “atlantista” [tied to Atlantic powers], and finally evidently in sync with Silvio Berlusconi)?
The relationship between Napolitano and Berlusconi has seen phases of explicit syntony alternated with tactic estrangements. We must take into account that the leader of the re-estabilished Forza Italia is not defeated: on one side a law (the former Cirielli law) protects him from all risks of being imprisoned; on the other side he will try to become Prime Minister again without going through the elections, which he will carry on anyway in an even more self-pitying fashion. Also, the hypothesis of an act of grace from the President of the Republic cannot be excluded, unless there really aren’t the prerequisites to grant grace, as the latter has stated. In every case, when the situation will evolve in a negative way for Berlusconi who, as every human phenomenon is destined to disappear, Napolitano will act as a barometer. “King George” is the supreme warrantor of the Atlantic power; he is well-liked by the Vatican and is double-linked to the Italian left wing of the Second Republic. Indeed, it must not be forgotten that the “Berlusconism”, the proprietorial and shoddy management of the institutions that has penetrated the country with its moral ruins, has created a far larger system. Just to stay on the topic of justice, in its 7 years of government, the left wing – as we have explained in our book – has not trashed any of the “laws of shame” but has ended up creating their owns. The governments of the “technicians” have put in place measures of “social butchery” by applying the austerity doctrine and by privatizing strategic sectors of the State. The modern left wing has tried to enter the parlor and has developed relationships with unscrupulous financial experts. Napolitano has observed these phases on a due distance, but has always played and will continue playing a primary role in the geopolitical arena.
In the detailed and would say new biography of the President of the Republic there are several historic happenings that have been eluded by the most, such as the one of the escape of the former representative of the P2 Licio Gelli, just when Napolitano Minister of Internal Affairs in 1998. Another event of those years (1997) is the audition of the justice collaborator Carmine Schiavone before the Parliament Commission of Inquiry on waste recycling, an inquiry that was advertised only after the removal of the State Secret. These essential information have been kept secret for almost 20 years. Is this still due to the need to guarantee an equilibrium in the country?
This is the emblem of a country that is content with pieces of truth, often convenient truth. It is evident that truth is hidden at many levels because the mass of powers that manage the destines of this country does not allow that the conditions to bring light to these obscure seasons are created, by applying also the strategy of tension commendably described by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Furthermore Italian media, addressed by impure publishers with different interests but connected to each other, have reduced inquiry journalism to the bones. Just to give an idea of the current “dispersion” and “repression” strategy, it is enough to notice that while the Kennedy family is still venerated, our own “JFK”, Aldo Moro, has been forgotten already from a long time.
You compare Aldo Moro to JFK in terms of changing potentiality, for the major change that the first tried to apply with the attention strategy that then culminated in the historical compromise. However, Moro put together that “strategy” just because – being him a great political strategist – he understood that it was not possible anymore to isolate a party that was gaining ever more popularity in the country. In reality, the strategy only aimed at a normalization, a control that the Italian Communist Party (PCI), after the initial due caution, accepted with significant consensus just to stay in the parlor of power. In my opinion, even here in Italy, Moro is not looked at under an objective light. What do you think about it?
I share your interpretation, also considering the role of bastion that the DC (Democrazia Cristiana – in English, Christian Democracy, Moro’s party) undertook in the International scenario and the natural pretension towards the Cold War politics. I believe that the person of Moro has become an icon, which has been however removed in many crucial aspects.
Another key figure of the “cold fusion” between left wing and former DC representatives, to quote Achille Occhetto whom you interviewed in your book, is Luciano Violante who has lived his political life after an admirable career as a magistrate with perfect balance. The apex of this balance seems to be the so called “negotiation” between State and Mafia (for which Napolitano was asked to give his testimony as a witness along the trial hearings), that sees him as a protagonist with late depositions on his role in those years (92-93). Violante, as you report in the book, had adopted a very cautious position on Berlusconi’s decadence from Parliament. What happened this time? Is this new balance being formed and how?
I believe that everybody is still waiting. Violante’s movements must be observed with great attention because we are talking of a chameleonic person that has lived the most delicate phases of the Italian contemporary history. After having investigated on the military coup by Edoardo Sogno, Violante was entitled as consultant of the Ministry of Justice in the Andreotti government of national solidarity. In the role of President of the Anti-Mafia Parliament Commission he has been depicted as the fist accuser of the “Divo Giulio” (Divine Giulio) at the time of the inquiry carried out by the Prosecutor of Palermo Giancarlo Caselli. In that phase, as you reminded me, Violante had a very ambiguous behavior when the audition of Vito Ciancimino before the Commission did not take place, and was also ambiguous about the conversations with the general officer Mario Mori, that Violante made public 16 years later only. I am pretty sure that the 2002 confession about an under-the-table agreement with Berlusconi for the intangibility of Mediaset can represent some sort of message to decode, typical of political groups who share secrets.
In the chapter Mafia nella roccaforte rossa [“Mafia in the red headquarters” in English] on the Serramazzoni case ( a town in Emilia Romagna involved in the judiciary inquiry opened in 2011 on a possible collusion between Mafia and politics), you state that this is the “first” verified case about relationships between Mafia and politics in which the PD is formally involved: what do you mean by first verified case?
Actually it’s the first case in Northern Italy about an administration led by the PD. Regardless of the outcome of the trial (the charges are: corruption and collusive tendering of some works in the Apennine region), the relationships between the PD major of Serramazzoni Luigi Ralenti and the former detainee Rocco Baglio from Gioia Tauro have already been verified. According to the prosecution, the Mafia boss won the contracts with one hand and with the other set arsons, and sent to other contractors animal heads, an unmistakable Mafia symbol. Even if collusion events are more numerous in the centre-right wing – starting from the founder of Forza Italia Marcello dell’Utri who was convicted for involvement in criminal association, the growing international enterprise of the “Mafia Ltd.” involves the left wing as well, and not only in the South.
Your description of the role of the PD women is particularly interesting and shows that despite various claims and a few recent representative designations (and of course apart from some great women of the past like Nilde Iotti and Tina Anselmi) they don’t seem to find a relevant role and power in the party. Left aside what you report in the book chapter “Women in PD”, can you explain us why this is so?
The reasons must be found in the cultural retardation of the patriarchal society influenced by the Vatican. The left wing, even if with its chauvinist unwritten dogma, has allowed women to conquer fundamental roles and rights throughout the ‘900. The fact that the driving force is now aground, and today the PD acts just as the other Italian political parties, could be connected to the entrance in the rooms of power and the conception of power which implies co-optation, in alignment with criteria which are not meritocratic. Nevertheless, there are examples of women who stand out for the courage and rigor they apply in their analysis and proposals; great administrators who challenge the Mafia, as we tell in our book.
(Simona Zecchi). English version by Marina Melchionda, translation collaborator: Giacomo Bracci, a scholar economist
Stefano Santachiara, investigative journalist, is a collaborator of “Il Fatto Quotidiano” since 2009.
Ferruccio Pinotti writes for “Corriere della Sera” and has authored many inquiry books on strong powers.