In 1989, communism died in East Europe. In 1991, communism died in Russia. This week, after an indecently long interval, communism expired in Italy.
Huge, perhaps historic, victory for Berlusconi’s “Popolo della liberta’ ” (which translates a bit awkwardly as “the people of liberty;” maybe it’s better to call it “the freedom folks”). It’s considerably worse than AP lets on. Berlusconi defeated Walter Veltroni’s “Democratic Party” by a full 9 points in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. And since the Italian electoral system gives a bonus to the winning side, the margins are very big and stable: 340 to 241 in the Chamber (with another 36 for a couple of small parties), and 167 to 137 in the Senate (with 5 to three little parties), which was expected to be a photo finish. Eighty percent voted, down about three percent from last time.
The big news is that the Communists are gone, for the first time since the end of the Second World War. Really gone. They didn’t win a single seat in either chamber. A lot of famous faces will vanish from Parliament, and it is even possible, although unlikely, that some of the comrades will be forced to join the working class. The Greens are also gone. In fact, there are only six parties in the new Parliament, suggesting that Italy’s well on the road to a two-party political system instead of the dreadful proportional electoral model that has destroyed virtually every country where it’s been applied. If that happens, a lot of the credit goes to Veltroni, who created a real center-left party and refused to admit the old Left.
I imagine this will be viewed as a good thing. Color me skeptical. Marxism is the ideological equivalent of those zombies in the movies, who keep getting killed but keep stumbling back up. After each death, Marxism looks more hideously unalive, but that doesn’t seem to matter to those who cling to the faith. It eats your brains, after all.