Sunday, April 25, 2010

Post 243. Unity or Disunity in Italy?

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 Unity  or  Disunity   in   Italy?
 The book entitled "Terroni" (Southeners) by Pino Aprile should be specified as a school setwork book. For the past 150 years they have been telling us the joke about the South being liberated by the Savoias in order to bring the southerners liberty, justice and progress. "Terroni" tells a different story, backed up by detailed documentation and careful research of the available sources. The story of an occupied Country, stripped of its enterprises, with hundreds of thousands of dead civilians. A Country "without fathers", where the people were obliged to resort to mass emigration (something that was almost unheard of) in order to survive after the arrival of the Savoias, who began by plundering the wealth of the area, starting with the Treasury of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. "Terroni" tells of the destruction of entire towns, the deportations, the birth of the Mafia groups allied to the new masters. The united Italy was also partly built on the blood of Italians.
Interview with Pino Aprile:
Blog: "Now, what has been done to ensure that the Southerners become southern Italians, what has been done in these past 150 years?
Pino Aprile:
"All sorts. They have made use of arms, politics and the economy in order to create inequality between two different parts of the Country, something that didn’t exist at the time of Unity. This has never been taken into consideration, notwithstanding the fact that the best academics have maintained that this was the case for a century and a half.
A million victims
Lately, and by lately I mean now, the National Research Council, more specifically the Naples section headed up by Prof. Malanima, has been studying the economy, the products and the production of the various Italian Regions from 1861 to beyond 2000. What has indisputably emerged from this research is that, at the time of Unity, there was no difference whatsoever between the north and the south of the Country, so the difference must have arisen after Unity rather than being a left over in spite of Unity. Indeed the contrary is true, namely that this difference was imposed using arms and murder. The actual death toll has never been established, but the official death toll ranges from just a few thousand or tens of thousands of victims through to a number of counts claiming 100/200-thousand, as well as a few estimates, which we have to accept as true, such as the claim made by “Civiltà Cattolica” at that time that one million people died. Now, irrespective of the extent of the damage or the pile of corpses, it nevertheless means that unification was opposed, but what was being opposed was the manner in which it was handled because, at the time, there was widespread discussion regarding how Italy should be unified, with different views on how it should be achieved.
It was eventually achieved in the worst possible way, by shedding the Southerners’ blood and using their own money. If the Southerners fought for years and were then branded as bandits - while entire sections of the Army and the Bourbon forces took to the bush to battle against what was, to all intents and purposes, an invader that was fighting an undeclared war – if they fought for years, at the very least this should reflect a desire to resist, and if someone resists, surely it’s because he/she believes that he/she would not be better off, but rather worse off! The truth was, and even the Unity guru Giustino Fortunato was eventually forced to admit that: we were far better off under the Bourbons.
Does the South really have an industrial culture?
"Industrial establishments, metallurgy, iron and steel, major textile hubs. Industry that the North did not yet have at the time of Unity but was flourishing in the South, so what happened then?"
Pino Aprile:
"In reality, both the north and the south of Italy were taking their first steps in this field, equally important steps in the north and the south, so much so that the available data reveals that the industrial workers in the north and the south were equal, perhaps a few more in the south although the data is slightly skewed by the fact that many of the textile workers actually worked from home, so let’s say that they were more or less equal even though this is continuously being denied, but why? Because the classic example given is that the south had very few roads and very few kilometres of railway track and that this was proof of the fact that the south was backward, ignoring the fact that the comparison is being made between Lombardy and Piedmont, which are inland Regions without any sea frontage, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which had thousands of kilometres of coastline, so the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had made an intelligent policy decision to rely on maritime transportation, so much so that, within little more than a decade, the Southern commercial shipping fleet of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had become the second largest in Europe and its navy fleet the third largest in Europe because they chose to rely on maritime transport, just as the European Union is doing today with its maritime highway project. As regards the iron and steel industry, Italy’s largest iron and steel establishment was situated in Calabria and alone had almost as many employees and technicians as the entire iron and steel industry in the north. The largest engineering factory in Italy, and perhaps even in Europe, was situated in the Naples area, namely Pietrarsa and was copied by foreign countries. The legendary factories of Kronstadt and Kalingrad were nothing other than brick by brick copies of Pietrarsa, and they were the largest ever built. The same goes for the naval shipyards. The largest naval shipyards were located in the south. With the arrival of the new “Masters”, or rather the new bosses, in essence the locals found themselves in the minority and all of these companies were downgraded or even shut down. The new masters demanded the keys to the iron and steel establishments of Mongiana, which employed 1500 people, and then proceeded to shut them down and sell them as scrap iron. The official reason given for the move was that the time had gone for iron and steel establishments located in the mountains and far from the sea, but having shut down at Mongiana, the began to rebuild at Terni, even higher up and even further from the sea!”
“When comparing the numbers, it is said that all the money invested is lost, but your book tells a different story, namely that there has always been more investment in the north than in the south.
Pino Aprile:
“It may seem petty, but consider the fact that the Treasury of the South spent up to 0.5% of the GDP, but on what? Actually, on extraordinary works, but what were these so-called extraordinary works? Well, I list these in my book, kilometre by kilometre of roads, school by school, etc, total numbers. But what is so extraordinary about a country using public funds to build roads, sewerage lines and schools? Why should this be classified as extraordinary works in the south? What funds were used to build the roads, the schools and the sewerage lines up in the north? Why is it that the 0.5% of GDP spent on extraordinary works in the south deemed to be a rip-off while nothing is said about the remaining 99.5%? Why is nothing said about the fact that the north has 30 to 60% more infrastructure than the south, without ever having had a Treasury of the North? Why is nothing said about the fact that one kilometre of the high-speed railway track between Turin and Milan, running between rice paddies and thus with no mountains to tunnel through, costs 52 million Euro? More than 100 billion Italian Lire, while 25 million Euro was spent on the far more complicated stretches of the Naples-Rome line, including tunnels, etc, and in France they spend 10 million Euro, and in Spain 9 million Euro per kilometre. So why the big difference?
I have no doubt whatsoever that Italy has a sense of being, but also I think that they didn’t have any at the time.
The sense of a united Italy
The question is not whether Italy should be united, because I believe that there are no doubts about this. We all feel like Italians and we are even proud of the stupendous and marvellous differences that enrich us as a people, different cultures, different languages, I say languages because a number of the dialects are not really dialects but individual languages with their own literature, etc, yet all of this has not weakened us, indeed it has strengthened the Italian-ness that makes us so different yet so much alike.
There is no argument about the fact that Italy exists, but the fact remains that it was not really wanted because, if the truth be told, Italy was never united, but was simply taken over from north to south, keeping the south downtrodden. For example, Italy was unified and a communal treasury created. A communal Treasury because the south was the most solvent state at the time and 2/3 of the money in circulation in Italy was in the south. Piedmont was the most indebted state at the time, so the treasuries were combined into one and the gold from the south was brought up to the north, as I am wont to joke.
"Using the Fas funds (Funds for Underdeveloped Areas) to fund the Milan Expo, but what does this mean? "
Pino Aprile:
"The Milan Expo, Parmesan Cheese, the shipping companies of Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda, what it means is that the south is Italy’s ATM machine, while the victim continues to be labelled as the robber. We have to face facts. I had an analysis done by a psycho-sociology researcher on the united Italy, and what emerged was the existence of this minority state in part of the Country, which indicates the duality of this Country, but this duality is what drives the economy of the north. They think they are scoring, but in reality they are scoring very little and then blaming the disability pensions with which they buy votes in the south. This is stupid, because if the Country were truly united, the north would do far better, the south would do far better and we could become the best Country in the world. The alternative, however, is we continue to have one part of the Country subjugated by another part, then the feeling that it is better to be alone than badly treated begins to gain ground and this feeling is indeed gaining ground in the south, to the point of boiling over, while the north chooses to ignore it! "
PS: On Saturday 24 April, starting at 21h00 at the PalaCep at No.14, via Benedicta, Genoa, (Circolo Arci Pianacci), the Genoa Province and Anpi will be holding the Liberation Day Festival. We will also be there, gathering signatures for a referendum against the privatisation of our water resources and collecting foodstuffs on behalf of the Music For Peace projects.

One need only read travelogues of foreigners travelling through Italy before unification, and the descriptions of the poverty of the south, to confirm that this work represents an attempt to assign blame for southern Italy's inability to progress on others.
Southern Italy's problems are caused by southern Italians, no one else. Notwithstanding the billions sent to the south through la Cassa del Mezzogiorno, southern Italy has not developed. Where this money has gone is open to speculation, however, it has not served to develop Southern Italy.
By the way, does this author believe that the treasury of the Gran Ducato di Toscana, for example, was not tranferred to the north. Please spare us.
Posted by: Alfredo Montelatici | April 25, 2010 02:27 PM



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