Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Banks, Bribes and Berlusconi's Banana Republic

by gilgamesh Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 01:54:05 PM EST

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Friday morning I looked at the front-page of the left-leaning Italian newspaper L'Unità and realized that there were indeed some interesting and comically bizzare developments on the Italian political scene which most people in the world don't seem to know about and that, if nothing else, might provide some insight perhaps into the extraordinary entertainment value that politics holds for people, as compared to, say, molecular biology. But I also realized that most of the "news" what not really new and that I had written about the details before in comments and so forth. So I just gathered some of these comments into one place and found that the story is easier to explain that way then trying to start from scratch. So here you are:

There is a group of very wealthy and influential financial speculators (what they call "raiders" or "vulture capitalists" in the US) who have built up a huge fortune by simply by and selling real estate. There are allegations of collusion between the various members of this new group or class according to which one of them will buy up a controlling stake in a certain real estate development after having borrowed the money from an off-shore bank which is partly owned by an offshore company in which a controlling stake is owned by another of the real estate moguls.

Read more... (13 comments, 1922 words in story)

Prodi : Will change Italian immigration trend

by gilgamesh Mon Sep 12th, 2005 at 12:24:10 PM EST

I'm really hoping Prodi is Italy's next Premier, and this is real interesting news, from the diaries (with edits for emphasis) ~ whataboutbob

Romano Prodi, leader of the Italian center-left coalition, and major candidate to replace Silvio Berlusoni as Premier in the Administrative elections to be held next April,   has decided to courageously defy the conventional wisdom and the prevailing European attitude of cracking down on Muslim and other forms of immigration (legal and illegal), and has stated he will liberlize current immigration laws, in the wake of the horrible terrorist attacks which have taken place throughout the Western world.

Prodi, who has also recently come out in favor of a complete withdrawal of all Italian troops from Iraq if elected in April, has also declared that, under his leadership, a majority center-left  government would also revoke the Bossi-Fini laws which were introduced three years ago by Gianfranco Fini (head of the ex-fascist National Alliance) and Umberto Bossi (head of the separatist, neo-Nazi Northen League) and passed overwhelmingly by the right-wing dominated Parliament.

The Bossi-Fini laws, which originally provoked tremendous controversy in the rest of Europe for being extraordinarily harsh and racist, have since come to be considered fairly tame by post-London bombing standards.

Read more... (11 comments, 979 words in story)

Italian Administrative Elections Poll

by gilgamesh Mon Sep 5th, 2005 at 10:55:44 AM EST

After reflecting on the extremely depressing political situation in the US, I thought it might be appropriate to change the subject to the somewhat more sunny picture that is taking shape for the Italian center-left coaltion (aka "L'Unione") . According to a poll published this week exclusively in L'Espresso magazine, although it is still too far early to make definitive forecasts, the center-left remains substantially ahead of any center-right coalition with Silvio Berlusconi as its leader despite the intensive propaganda campiagn that "Il Cavaliere" waged all summer long against "l'euro di Prodi" (Prodi's euro) and his other legendary EU- scapegoating demagoguery and "Red scare" mongering.

Read more... (16 comments, 777 words in story)

What Is Partitocrazia (Partitocracy)??

by gilgamesh Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 11:49:41 AM EST

[promoted by BooMan]

In discussions about the fundamental political structures and customs of Italy, I have often been constrained to hint at a dirty little secret that most of the world doesn't seem to know all that much about, or, when and to the extent that it does, has no idea of how this strange process works in an allegedly democratic advanced modern and highly industrialized society. It's the system that Italians call "partitocrazia".

What is partitocrazia? It can be very simply defined as any socio-cultural and/or economic system in which the fundamental decisions of day-to-day public and  private life are made not by individuals or corporations (as in market capitalist and mixed economies) nor by the government (as in communism and fascism) nor by religious leaders (as in theocracies), but by multiple and competitive political parties. This is not simple patronage, corruption and nepotism. These parties quite literally own the major industries, government ministries, television stations, unions
and anything else you can imagine.

Read more... (8 comments, 1339 words in story)

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