Here is the proposal of the Central Office of Alternativa to the Territorial Assemblies, waiting for the Second National Conference. It’s a document written with a strong desire for synthesis, open to a real discussion from everyone, in order to reach the Second National Conference with a collective “step forward”. While we see the explosion of many convergent crises in society and in politics, the draft programme is already an orientating instrument about the main themes.
Our time is characterised by the amount of three big crises – all epical crises without precedents. All these crises, in many ways, are now reaching breaking point. This situation makes the transition towards different social, political and economic organisation indispensable.
The first crucial crisis that we have before us is the economic crisis: in 2007-2008 this became clear through the financial crisis. Today in Europe, the economic crisis is that of the sovereign debts. It’s not a cyclical crisis.
The second crisis has to do with the US hegemony, whose imperial power seems to be directed to a slow, but probably irreversible decline.
To these crises we must sum and add the ecological crisis. This signalizes that we have reached the “growth limits” and puts in doubt the same basis of the global economic and productive organisation, and the subordination of social relations – the relations that form our lives to the infinite valorisation of capital.
The oil peak has been reached, and the energy crisis is now open, making the control of the reserves of fossil fuels even more decisive.
The global population growth has reached 7 billion inhabitants. With these growth rates, and with the planet dominated by a capitalist system, which leads to wealth being centralised towards a handful of individuals, there will be dramatic problems of survival for hundreds of millions of people. The UN provides the migration of half a billion people if the interconnected collapses due to the water, food, energy and climate – a crisis won’t be avoided.
All these crises are indeed interconnected, and do not have a linear trend with which it would be possible to accurately foresee when and how the collapse will occur. The convergence of these crises is placed, with all the evidence, into the first half of the 21st century.
The way in which these crises occur today is the consequence of the way in which the capitalist system reacted to the end of a period of rapid growth after World War II, roughly between the late Sixties and early Seventies of the 20th century. At that moment, in the capitalist world, serious difficulties arose in trying to realise profit. Because of this, the system was pushed to occupy increasing ecological and social spaces and to move processes of valorisation gradually to finance.
The cross over of these three crises makes the transition towards a different society urgent, but it also makes it dangerous, very delicate, and difficult to manage.
The perspective that we have in front of us is one of a very serious crisis for civilisation, with a general worsening of the quality of life and the drastic loss of the rights won in the last two centuries by the middle and subordinate classes.
First, it’s obvious to everyone that the economic crisis brings unemployment, poverty and the destruction of the social services.
Secondly, the crisis of the US hegemony is fraught with serious risks of war. The military imbalance determined during the last 50 years, together with the overwhelming American supremacy, makes the temptation of war – as a means of solving one or more of these crises – irresistible.
Finally, the risks caused by the ecological crisis are evident, and this requires us to drastically change our methods of manufacturing, consumption and living.
To cope with this crisis, and to ensure the transition towards a more just, human, solid and happier society, we have find a great policy initiative, rooted in an ideal setting that has to measure up the problems that we are facing.
The main points of such a transition are the reduction of the sphere of commodity production (for example, through the utilisation of non-commercial exchanges of goods and services, locally managed by the various communities, public intervention, self-production where possible), and a hard reduction in energy requirement, thus gradually satisfying needs with renewable sources. We indicate all this with the term “degrowth”. Degrowth which means abandoning the obligation of growth, to which our economic system is bound, and relinquishing the obligation of an ever-increasing consumption of goods, energy and land.
The fundamental condition for degrowth is the decrease in the amount of work done in the market sphere (employed or self-employed).
In the “degrowth economy” it’s the State that creates the conditions so that everyone has a job and can work a lot less than now, helping the overall quality of life (common goods, leisure, culture, relational wellbeing, harmony between human being and natural environment).
Another fundamental concept to guide, in a political way, the transition towards a more human civilisation, is to overcome the opposition between right and left (political parties). This does not mean a confusion of values, nor changes the historical judgement about the significance of Nazism and fascism. It means realising that today the political opposition between the right and the left is completely internal and is heading towards an irreversible crisis. The political right and left classes offer slightly different versions of the same political and social “recipes”, focused on economic growth, and intended to be overwhelmed by the dynamics of the crisis mentioned at the beginning. The optics of degrowth is thus entirely outside the opposition of left and right.
We need to reiterate the most complete opposition to any imperialist war of aggression, which we have witnessed during the last few years. In a crisis phase like the current one, war is a real danger. In particular, the US today is in the unusual position of having lost the undisputed economic supremacy (while still being of course one of the major economic powers), but maintaining absolute military supremacy. The international politics of recent years can be easily understood in light of the attempt of the US to boost their declining hegemony with military power. The US imperial wars, besides creating destruction and mourning, are made to support the economic and social system that is leading us to disaster. Their purpose is never “humanitarian”. The opposition against them must be clear and uncompromising, whatever the manner in which these wars are offered to the world public opinion, and whatever the characteristics of the regimes governing the States under potential attack.
A political force that wants to address the inevitable transition towards a more just society has to put, at the centre of its action, the construction of a democratic, pluralistic and non-manipulative media system. Millions of people today, know almost nothing about what is really happening, and as a consequence cannot freely direct their choices. Without democratic communication and information there can be no democracy. Information, is a common good and must be protected and defended from any conditioning by the economic or political forces. Information and communication, given their role as cultural and forming factors in any transition, have to be exempt from the logic of the market and be protected and financed by public intervention, and controlled by the citizens.
In Italy, the lines of a political action of civilisation are prefigured and included in the principles and values of the Constitution, which must finally be applied.
Adhering to the Constitution, we have to combine the construction of a fully participatory democracy. Decision-making must be freed from commercial logic and opened to the direct involvement of all citizens.
From these basic concepts, Alternativa proposes the following points as the basis for a programme of a new political force.
A. COMMON GOODS, WEALTH OF ALL
Preserve the material basis of our existence
A1. Energy and natural resources
Strategic plan aimed at abandoning non-renewable energy sources, to be replaced entirely with renewable sources, accompanied by a plan for the reduction of the energy required, focused on policies for energy saving and energy efficiency. Commitment to the implementation of distributed generation systems (opposition to the private and semi-public monopoly in the energy sector).
A2. Environment and territory
A stop to significant works. A stop to the consumption of land. A stop to privatisation and subsequent commercial use of large public urban areas, which should be destined to relational and cultural activities for the leisure of the citizens. The development of a sustainable plan of retreat, recycling and disposal of municipal and industrial waste.
No to incinerators and thermal incinerators. Support for programmes aimed at the decreasing of production of waste and culls. Promotion, starting from primary school, of a new culture of recycling.
De-privatisation of water and its definition as a universal good, subtracted from the logic of profit.
Availability of drinking water in all public places. Maximum limit to the cost of bottled water. Diffusion of a culture to reduce water waste.
B. OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD
Re-distribution, no domination
B1. International relations
Immediate withdrawal of Italy from all foreign missions (with the current exception of Lebanon). Reduction of at least of 50% of military expenses. National and European political responses to the speculation of financial oligarchies and to the related attempts of plunder of national resources, both private and, above all, public. We must prevent and pose opposition to any interference in the internal affairs of sovereign Countries and must refuse without exception, to employ war instruments in international issues, in strict compliance with the terms of the article 11 of our Constitution.
B2. Fight against poverty and inequalities
Support for the international cooperation policies and projects to fight poverty and inequalities. The creation of monitoring bodies to verify proper use of public funds in the attempt to fight poverty.
B3. Europe. Saving the Europeans from this European Union!
Publicise the central national banks (and therefore of the ECB). Rejection of any proposal for further privatisation cuts in social spending, social security pejorative reforms.
Refusal of the Atlantic Alliance (out of NATO!) and development of a military European Alliance only defensive, under the guidance of a European Security Council.
Re-negotiation of the national and European law on immigration – to create a realistic, responsible and solid policy.
Proposal for a UN reform and for a new international architecture, aimed at ensuring peace, respect for territorial integrity, national sovereignty of States, self-determination of peoples.
C. ECONOMY, LEGALITY, EQUITY
Less time at work, more time for life
Abolition of the Law 30/03 and subsequent Legislative Decree 276/03. Reduction of working time, great limitation of the overtime, recruitment plan in the public sector aimed at the maintenance of territory and at the creation of a network of free social services, economic incentives for ecological conversion of economy (supported by a strong support to the research and innovation), fighting in this way unemployment and precariousness.
Political and financial support to the economy of solidarity and to the local best practices (buying groups, networks of “sustainable” producers, small business, etc.)
No to new mega malls, support to “km.0” and short chain.
The fight against profits made by mafia-type crime. The construction of an Agency for the confiscation of assets; obligation to report the crime of extortion for economic operators and in the procurement system. Full economic and social integration to the justice witnesses. The adjustment of the punishment for the crimes of criminal association of mafia-type, extortion and usury.
No vote of exchange, in a broader sense than is currently previewed by the code.
The introduction of self-laundering as a crime into our system. The reform of the Law for the collaborators of justice, which sets six months as the maximum period in which the collaborator can list the issues to be addressed during collaborative path. The reform of Art. 111 of the Constitution on the “right trial”. New rules to simplify trials: from the reduction of the three sets of proceedings, to the reorganisation of the courts, and the need to provide the Justice system with more tools and resources in order to increase the efficiency and ability to reach a final decision in time greatly reduced than the present. The introduction of absolute incompatibility between government positions at all levels, and public and/or private and/or professional activities.
The clear separation between commercial and investment banks. An increase of the fractional reserve to at least to 50% of the deposits. Rules preventing relationships between the banking systems that operates in Europe and “tax heavens”.
Emergency measures for the recovery of enormous tax evasion.
Decrease tax burden borne by all workers, employed and self-employed with middle and low income, through the recovery of a strong progressive taxation and the introduction of an additional tax on large estates. Increase of the taxation on financial transactions, with exemption for securities underwritten by privates within the threshold of 100 thousand Euros.
C5. Public debt
Create a public audit to determine who owns the public debt, debt restructuring; guarantee of full compensation only for the portion of debt held by households (private savings invested in Treasury bills or other State securities). The Refusal of any change in the Constitution
aimed at giving guarantees to the financial world, such as the obligation to balance the budget, which, if introduced, would be an obstacle to any long-term State investment.
D. FORMING OF CONSCIENCES
Less TV, less virtual world and more relationships and knowledge.
D1. Public education by the State
The adoption of legislative measures to correct the failures of the reforms by Berlinguer, Moratti and Gelmini, to give back quality to schools and universities. A return to an educational system that respects the spirit of the Constitution, aimed at training citizens and not an easily disposable workforce. The cancellation of funding to private schools and more funds for the mandatory introduction of courses in mass media education starting from primary school.
D2. Mass media
A reform of the systems of communication-information. More rules against trusts and conflicts of interest. Affirmation and defence of the public service. The
total removal of advertising from public television networks and drastic reduction on all the other public and private channels, through the introduction of limits set by law. Advertising bans in prime time slots for children.
D3. Scientific and technological research
Allocate funds to revitalize the basic scientific research, supporting the applied research for those lines that can contribute to an ecologic re-conversion of industry and to the decrease of waste/ consumption of energy and materials.
E. DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATION
All choose, choose consciously
E1. Participatory democracy
The adoption of the “participatory budget” in the Commons. The introduction of proactive referendum and abrogation referendum on a municipal, regional and national basis (with lowering the quorum to be valid). The Obligation for Parliament to discuss legislative proposals made by popular initiative within three months of their submission.
The regulation of the procedure of revocation of any position held in the work place by the relevant electorate.
E2. Moral issue and transparency
The solution of all conflicts of interest between public and private companies.
The transformation of subsidiaries and associated companies by local authorities into public agencies.
Computerisation and easy access to all data relating to contracts, assignments, consulting and contracts assigned by local authorities and the State. A drastic reduction of fees and abolition of privileges related to the elective office
E3. Control over the internal life of parties
Application of Art. 49 of the Constitution introducing a law on political parties which governs their internal life, indicating standards for budget transparency and guarantees for the observance of clear and democratic procedures to the membership, the selection of leaders and candidates at all levels.
E4. Electoral law
The introduction of a fully proportional electoral system for any type of election (local, national, European).
Free access to the network for the entire population. The protection of freedom of expression, opinion and information on the Internet.
Defence of the secularity of State as a guarantee for an ethic self-determination and for a peaceful coexistence of different philosophical and religious positions.
F. QUALITY OF LIFE
Be more with less
The design and promotion of new sustainable mobility, with the absorption of jobs losses in the auto industry. Privilege public transport and reduce the private sector. The launch of new pricing policies to encourage the use of trains rather than the car or aircraft. More tax incentives to promote rail freight. The diffusion of car sharing and the closure of historical centres to traffic with the provision of efficient public transport services.
A new concept of a city as a place of community life, for culture and solidarity. Put an end to the idea of the city area as a commercial good. More policies for the expansion of green areas. The re-thinking of urban spaces to foster encounters between people and cultural exchange. The abolition of billboards and advertising screens in public squares, stations and other places considered of public importance. The urban design has to enhance the architectural beauty and not the consumption of goods.
F3. Relationships of help and existential orientation
The adoption by the public bodies of free services and projects for citizen (counselling and psycho-social support) aimed at facilitating people in their psychological adjustment to new lifestyles as to overcome the actual consumer society.
F4. Health / Health system
Improved investment policies to empower the public health system. The presence of basic services and prevention accessible to all and widespread over the territory. The abolition of health companies, and recovery of local health units not guided by the logic of profit. Large dissemination, through constant communication campaigns, of a culture of relational wellness that takes into account the systemic relational interactions between the individual and the environment, and social factors of health (nutrition, air quality, green spaces, human relations, training and culture, job security, levels of equality among citizens, etc.)
Traduzione a cura di Elena Bellini e Sasha De Medici