Chapter 5: What the world crisis is, and the different forms in which it manifests itself

Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,
And the great Hector's sword had lack’d a master (...)
The specialty of rule hath been neglected:
And, look, how many Grecian tents do stand
Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions (...)
When that the general is not like the hive (...)
The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask (...)
When the planets
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents! what mutiny!
What raging of the sea! shaking of earth!
Commotion in the winds! frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shaked,
Which is the ladder to all high designs,
Then enterprise is sick! (...)
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And last eat up himself (...)
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.

Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida[1]

When the present does not regret the past, and when the future does not appear compromised by the precariousness of a present like ours, men and women live their lives in all its richness. To give an evocative example: in the second half of the 18th century, Venetian society could offer itself the luxury of literally forgetting the masterpieces of Vivaldi and Albioni because of the new masterpieces of Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte that had come from Vienna.

But in an epoch in which the poverty of a present that is simultaneously anxious and stagnant announces the coming of a troubled and tragic future; in an epoch in which the rediscovery of the masterpieces of the past, quickly pillaged, hardly consoles us; in an epoch in which poverty, and especially cultural poverty, dominates our societies of lost abundance and assaults all of us – individuals and social classes, the leaders and the led, up to the State itself – everyone seems to fidget in a kind of “absolute anxiety of not being who he really is,” as Hegel would say. Thus we witness a strange, generalized and universal alienation, by virtue of which no one can any longer play the very role that defines him. The workers no longer want to be workers; the leaders fear to appear to be leaders; the conservatives hide or keep quiet; the bourgeoisie fears being bourgeois – we wish to repeat that, “when all the ranks are disguised, the most unworthy also cut beautiful figures in the masquerade,” and then “the unity and peaceful marriage of the classes” evaporate, because there is no longer a “fixed condition” for anyone.

And, in what concerns the Italian bourgeoisie, which was reminded (unsuccessfully) by Giorgio Bocca[2] that “it wasn’t born yesterday,” and that it was even the first bourgeoisie in history and the inventor of the bank, today we see it believe every word of its adversaries, accord credence to fashionable Marxism and its predictions (instead of having faith in its own history and culture, which have been forgotten or ignored), and fill its mouth with quibbling about the proletariat and the most adequate means by which the workers should conduct their own struggles to such an extent that, for a part of our bourgeoisie, in the great sunset of capitalism, of which it speaks, all cows are red.[3]

This general crisis of identity, in its turn, is only a particular aspect of the current global crisis, but it does not any less merit our attention for that, and while we are on the subject, we would like to argue a contrario, for the benefit of the Italian bourgeoisie, by quoting from (and not providing any commentary on) an eloquent passage from a private letter sent to us by a Russian diplomat, whose name we will not divulge, immediately after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

It is stupidity that causes you Italians to raise the question of the workers. I absolutely do not see what you would like to do with the European worker after you have turned him into a question. If you want slaves, you are crazy to grant to the workers that which makes them masters; but you have destroyed, down to their seeds, the instincts that make the workers possible as a class, that is, that which makes them admit this possibility to themselves. What would be astonishing if your worker finds that his existence today appears to him as a calamity, to speak the language of morality, as an injustice?[4]

We have reported this morsel, the italics in which were in the original, not out of a taste for anecdotes, but to show that, in the cold and brutal language that is proper to the Soviet bureaucracy, there can sometimes be more truth, sincerity and realism than in the Marxist dissertations of some more or less intellectual members of the Italian bourgeoisie. All the same, it would be the height of historical irony if our politics, forgetful of people like Machiavelli, must seek its science lessons from the dominant bureaucracy in Moscow! And yet, in Moscow, the power-holding class seems to forget its own identity less than we do ours, and, despite its immense deficiencies, it is aware of its interests, it knows how to defend them, and it knows against whom it must defend them. In Russia and elsewhere, the Communists in fact know better than others in the world today that no true revolution is possible if it is not really proletarian, that is to say, if it does not turn against all domination and all ruling classes, and thus against the ruling class that they themselves constitute in the country where they hold power, and it isn’t by chance that their political parties abroad have everywhere ceased to speak of a revolution that they cannot in fact accept, because in Russia in 1917 they knew one directly and, if they managed to seize power, it was only by ruining that revolution that the Communists were able to remain at the helm of the State and the economy.

But now, since we are broaching the most important question that we would like to deal with briefly in this chapter, we will say that it has only been since the autumn of 1973 – and here our reference point is the most recent Arab-Israeli war, which was so full of consequences – that the social crisis, which has in the last five years broken out in almost all the European countries, and not just in those countries, has become completely global and total.

This crisis is global because, extensively, all the regimes and all the countries of the world – in one fashion or another – have been struck by it simultaneously, even if the specific characteristics of the crisis had initially presented different predominant threats in accordance with the respective situations of those different countries.

On the other hand, this crisis is total because, intensively, it has been the basis of life – insofar as the crisis has unfolded in the interior of each of these countries – that has been subjected to the contagion.

Whether it is a question of political or economic crisis, the chemical pollution of the air that one breathes or the falsification of food, the cancer of social struggles or the urbanistic leprosy that proliferates where there used to be towns and countrysides, the growth of suicide and mental illnesses, what is called the demographic explosion or the threshold crossed by the noxiousness of noise, the public order that is disturbed by dissent and bandits – everywhere one bumps up against the additional impossibility of going much farther along the road of degradation of what had been the conquests of the bourgeoisie properly speaking.

We must admit it: not personally, but as the inheritors of these conquests, we have not known how to think strategically. Instead, here resembling the little people, rather than a property-owning class, we have thought and lived from day to day, systematically hypothesizing the continuation of the present while accumulating insolvable debts for the future, that is to say, every day renouncing a future worthy of our past so as to not renounce a few negligible advantages, which are the deceptive advantages of a fleeting present. As the poet from Vaucluse says,

Life passes quick, nor will a moment stay,
And death with hasty journeys still draws near;
And all the present joins my soul to tear,
With every past and every future day.[6]

Thus our ruling classes everywhere have today been reduced to discussing nothing other than the expiration of their mandate – a mandate that (we too often forget) we do not hold thanks to God or the people, but thanks only to our own abilities in the past –, and even this global discussion is more or less reduced to the sad examination of the palliatives that would best delay this expiration. And this because, in such a process of decadence in action, we have come to the point of total incompatibility insofar as the social, economic and political system that we manage appears to want to tie its fate to the incessant continuation of a growing and [already] intolerable deterioration of all the conditions of existence for everyone. One has said that the crisis caused by the oil embargo, and then by the increases in the price of crude oil made by the oil-producing Arab countries, has in turn caused the very serious economic crisis upon which the world debates, and there’s something true in this observation, but it is only a part of the truth and certainly the most contingent part, even if we cannot say that it is a passing phenomenon. With respect to the current global crisis, we must say what Thucydides said of the Peloponnesian War, “Thn men gar alhqestathn projasin, ajanestathn de logw,”[6] which is really “the truest cause, but the one least spoken about openly,” because the real crisis today – which no one speaks about – is not an economic crisis, like the one in 1929, for example, which we were capable of overcoming (and we know how). Above all, our crisis is a crisis of the economy, which means the economic phenomenon in its entirety, and it is within this general crisis that a particular, oil-related, economic crisis has subsequently appeared.

This is the most worrisome effect of a converging double process: on the one hand, the workers, who have escaped from the framework of the unions, are imposing on us working conditions and incessant salary demands that seriously disrupt our decisions and the forecasts of our economists; and, on the other hand, these same workers as consumers appear completely disgusted by the goods that they willingly purchased not so long ago, thus creating difficulties – if not obstacles – to the circulation of commodities. The result is that we find ourselves in an impasse [French in original]: we are not successful at selling the commodities that the workers refuse to produce or consume. At the root of this crisis, there is not – as some people think – the subjective attitude of the individuals involved, who, nevertheless, are brought into the process and subsequently increase the damages. The economy has entered into crisis on its own and, through its own movement, it is misled down the road of itsown self-destruction. It is certainly not quantitatively that the economy has discovered itself to be incapable of increasing production and developing its productive forces, but qualitatively.

The development of this economy, the crisis of which we are the shareholders, has been anarchic and irrational. We have followed archaic models that would be more suitable to an agrarian economy than to an evolved industrial economy, because – like all the ancient societies, which always struggled against actual shortages – we have pursued the maximum degree of purely and progressively quantitative productivity, “not discerning the overflow of what is sufficient.”[7] This identification with the agrarian mode of production was then transferred to the pseudo-cyclical model of the superabundant production of commodities[8] in which one has deliberately created “built-in obsolescence” to artificially maintain the seasonal character of consumption, which in turn is used to justify the incessant repetition of productive effort, thus preserving the proximity of shortages. And this is why the cumulative reality of such production, which is indifferent to both utility and wastefulness, today returns to haunt us in the forms of pollution and social struggle,[9] because, on the one hand, we have poisoned the world, and, on the other, we have thereby given to the people – for every instant of their everyday lives – a special reason to revolt against us, who are the ones who have poisoned life. In the last chapter of this work, we will present several remedies for this “economic sickness.”

We note here that our power, which from the first symptoms of the [new] social war has defended (not too well) the abundance attacked by subversion, must today defend lost abundance. In sum, we must manage the world’s misfortune. Hopefully our readers will be attentive to the following paradoxical coincidence, which is unprecedented in universal history. At the very moment in which the powers of the world are disposed to come to each other’s aid – despite their differences concerning details, which no longer truly set them against each other – each one of these powers has such great need of help that none of them are in a position to effectively help any of the others. The power of each State is very limited outside of its own borders, because each one is seriously compromised within them.

On the other hand, the so-called peaceful coexistence between the great powers is not at all the fruit of a commendable choice that was deliberately made in the sphere of global politics, nor was it the result of the successes of modern diplomacy, as the people of the world believe. We know that peaceful coexistence is not a virtue, but a necessity, and a much less joyful one than people would like to believe, because if global conflict has no place in these hypotheses, this is not because of the danger that thermonuclear weapons represent, but because of the new and (according to us) more serious social conflict that each nation must attempt to surmount on its own. We can say, in a few words, that global war is no longer possible because peace has abandoned this world and that the highest degree of military power ever attained corresponds to the highest degree of impotence.

Clausewitz said that “war is the continuation of policy by other means,” but even this definition, valuable until now, is no longer valuable (and it will not be in the future) because today’s alleged “peace” is in fact the continuation of war by other means, and it is the continuation of another type of war that the States have neither chosen nor declared. Their very weapons must be quickly and completely redesigned following the English example of the professional army, but trained to fight domestically against subversion, while the secret services will henceforth (from a military point of view) have to principally occupy themselves with domestic politics and not politics abroad (but hopefully not following the example of the Italian S.I.D.!). The next “great war” will be a generalized civil war, and it will thus welcome theoreticians capable of instructing professional units that will be engaged in combat “for hearth and home” [Latin in original].

Naturally, there will still be wars between the States, but they will be “local wars,” such as those fought in the Middle East,[10] and the great powers will have to intervene in them indirectly to limit the damages and counter-attacks on the global level, where these conflicts are liable to involve the advanced industrial countries, which are all in precarious positions. And here it is important to emphasize the failure of the policies of the great powers, and consequently the entire world, after the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. The Israeli victory, applauded by Europe, was obtained with the military and diplomatic support of the United States (as everyone knows), and it cost, and continues to cost, the United States and all of its allies much more than a defeat in the global theatre of operations would have. At that moment, even those who were the most reluctant to admit it were convinced of the vulnerability of our entire economic and monetary system, which had already been put into a very delicate situation by the social crisis.

David Ricardo defined wheat as “the only commodity that is necessary, as much for its own production as for the production of every other commodity,”[11] because, in the economy of that time, wheat assured the survival of the laboring forces themselves in a privileged manner. Times have changed, and today it is petroleum that can be defined as the product that is necessary and indispensible for the production and consumption of all the others. At the time of the Yom Kippur War, it was enough for Europe to foresee the possibility of spending the winter without heat for the Atlantic Alliance – created to resist the armed forces on the other side of the Iron Curtain – to melt like snow in sunlight. Only Caetano remained loyal to NATO, and today NATO can no longer count on him.[12]

Later on, the energy crisis, the successive increases in the price of crude oil and all the displacements of the economic and financial equilibriums produced – within the crisis of the economy – the current intensification of the economic crisis and, at the same time, we offered to the Arab countries the sword of Damocles that, for our comfort, they have quite willingly been tasked with holding, suspended, over our industries. In passing, we note the mental debility that can be seen in the economic-political calculations of those who have directed our affairs for the last generation. If we wanted to pursue this precise form of expansion, which is largely based on low petroleum prices, then we should have maintained the old form of colonialism, and should not have sacrificed it in favor of illusions of immediate profitability from “neo-colonialism.” Almost 30 years ago, the troops of the principal bourgeois States controlled almost the totality of the countries that produced our raw materials and sources of energy. Through the most simplistic calculations, we chose to abandon these colonies at the cheapest possible costs and we did this to develop our technology as if we still controlled those countries! A dozen permanent colonial wars would not have cost us a quarter of the costs of the current predicament.

Moreover, this hardly unforeseeable failure came at the moment when American power over the world had begun to decline, and this failure intensified the domestic political crisis, which soon after overthrew Nixon, who departed in ridicule, and it brought beyond the danger level the crisis that for years that had silently torn America’s internal social tissue. Thus, the first effects of all these errors were felt right away, but we have only just begun to see them, and we have not seen the end of them. And what can we say about the naïve casualness with which Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, proclaimed the following in his first speech as president? “Henceforth we know that a State strong enough to give you all that you want is also a State strong enough to take away all that you have.”[13] But what do we know? Today, just a few months after this bold declaration, we know that the federal deficit has grown vertiginously since then, and that Ford hopes that, in the budget for the year 1975-1976, the deficit will not exceed 900 percent of the one from the preceding year. If the poor thinkers of a power that grows poorer in the blink of an eye foresee good things, they see badly, and if they foresee bad things, they see quite well. For example, Henry Kissinger, although he is not a “man without qualities,” resembles Musil in his defects.[14] He constantly dissolves action in the vanity of action, and the useful in the useless. In other words, like the majority of those with whom he meets every day all over the world, Kissinger lacks a strategic vision of what must be done and what must be avoided – beyond contingent obligations – to save a world that controls itself with a growing difficulty, because it is useless to want to dominate that which has fallen into ruin, when, instead, it is a question of saving that which one wants to dominate. And, concerning the war that the Israelis won over the Arabs, it is enough for us to say to all the modern incarnations of Metternich[15] that they had better reacquaint themselves with a couple of old maxims. First, “it is never a wise course of action to reduce the enemy to despair” (Machiavelli); second, “those who know how to win are much larger in number than those who know how to make good use of their victories” (Polybius).

As for Europe, which seems to have forgotten that it produced all the masterpieces of human thought, and which for the last 30 years has placed more confidence in the thinkers from across the Atlantic Ocean than it has had in its own: today it is obvious that Europe has fallen apart even as a simple “economic community.” And, in Italy – if we consider the fact that the greatest efforts to deal with the crisis undertaken by certain centers of economic and political power have only resulted in laughable attempts to return to the old fascist “solution” at the very moment when the last ruins of fascism have reached their foreseeable ends in Portugal and Greece[16] – well, they can go without commentary.

The politicians can deny it as much as they want to, but today their currency of exchange – the lie – is gnawed away by inflation, even more so that the lira: one epoch is over and a new one has begun. We know that men, who are so often ready to interpret the past in new terms, are also frequently brought to interpret the new in old terms, and thus they do not understand what must be done, because changes in the times always and above all express the fact that the hour has come. The cohabitation of one epoch with the one that follows it never risks becoming institutionalized in marriage, no matter what is thought by Senator Amintore Fanfani,[17] who would indubitably be more highly esteemed as an interpreter of the Tuscan landscape than history.

But we can say everything that there is to say about the intellectual poverty that is durably installed in power in our country (and that devastates it) when we review the apparently innocent reflections about the expectation of some unknown panacea with which they [try to] amuse us and that abound in our newspapers (and not only in the worst ones). Here, for example, we are thinking of the candor with which our most important daily newspaper has repeatedly stated that it “envies the French for Giscard d’Estaing.” It is quite true that our political class, considered as a whole (and with all due exceptions noted), would bring shame to a tribe of Pygmies, but, all the same, this is not sufficient reason to mock our neighbor, unfortunate France, by pretending to envy it for politicians with whom no tribe of Watusis would be contented. Someone who has less urbanity than we do, but whom has had occasion to dine once or twice with the French neo-President, came to conclusions about this person that are not too different from what My Lord Niccolo said in his post mortem epigram about the Gonfalonier:

The night that Piero Soderini died,
His soul came to the gates of Hell.
Pluto cried out: ‘You, in Hell?
Foolish soul, go to Purgatory
With the other children!’

Pardon us for the literary device but, in the current generalization of bad morals, each instance of stupidity asserts the rights that are due it, and imbecility never goes without a patron. Here in Italy, we respect too many [unworthy] things to be worthy of being respected. At bottom, it is not even Giscard whom this journalistic triviality envies the French for having; she envies the enticing image of the president-manager, the efficient and hopeful technocrat who casually makes a few spectacular changes in protocol and promotes with juvenile fervor a hundred innovative details that momentarily distract his country from the coming subversion, which in fact still smolders under the ashes, seven years after May [1968].

The “Italian question” – or the French or the English questions, for that matter – certainly cannot be resolved by replacing Flaminio Piccoli[19] or [Mariano] Rumor with someone more “telegenic,” less implicated in the failures of the past or less compromised by association with the Mafia, as is Minister Gioia.[20] No one can deny that it is necessary and, at present, urgent to also change the majority of the men who must defend our interests, but to replace them with people like Giscard would be a remedy that would not fight the sickness at all. The sickness from which we suffer is spoken about, discussed and written about by the very people who, pretending to be doctors, suffer from it: their diagnoses are always diseased and their prescriptions are only additional symptoms of the collective disease. The opinion of Manzoni[21] was that, “we common men are generally made thus: we revolt with indignation and anger against mediocre evils and we are resigned to the extreme ones; we support – not with resignation, but stupidity – the heights of what we had at first declared to be unsupportable.”

We will not hide from our readers that speaking so coldly is a thankless task, but speaking otherwise seems impossible and silence would be shameful. And our very coldness in treating the things that touch us so personally is not the product of cynicism, which some malicious minds would like to attribute to us, but the necessity of keeping our cool in the face of the danger that our world might be at an end. By contrast, those who do not sense that danger will never be in a position to truly put an end to it.

Those in Italy and elsewhere who currently put forth risky forecasts concerning the economic “recovery,” feigning to believe that this crisis resembles unfavorable but fleeting circumstances in the past, do so with demagogical intentions, estimating that it is useful to make the people (to whom they can no longer promise mountains and miracles) believe that at least the leaders, unlike the workers, foresee a certain recovery in the next year, but, with each passing fiscal quarter, these same prophets are unavoidably obligated to delay or cancel such unfortunately chimerical changes. The illusion of change then only causes a change of illusions. Piero Ottone[22] recently wrote, and with good reason, that

the expectation of a misfortune is oppressing and unnerving. When the misfortune finally strikes, we almost sigh with relief and, paradoxically, we suffer less than before. Until yesterday, we feared that the country would collapse; the simple fact that it still hasn’t procures a curious sensation of victory for those who were the most pessimistic.

We, who are neither pessimistic nor optimistic, do not even envy those who possess this “curious sensation of victory,” but as we do not want to leave too much of its bad mood with the readers who have reached the end of this hardly cheerful chapter, we will provide a little pleasantry, the spirit of which is not foreign to its subject matter. The pleasantry, which is a very minor Italian art, but the only one that remains alive today, exists in an inverse proportion with the times: the happiest ones come from the most unfortunate days and hold out to them a kind of unique consolation. “It is a shame,” the president of one of our most famous national industries said to us, “that pleasantries are not quoted on the Stock Exchange!”

Here’s a little story, set in another time and place. The chief of a tribe of Sioux, after a year in which the harvest had been destroyed by catastrophic rainstorms, united his tribe at the beginning of winter to tell them the news. Not knowing how well his anxious audience would take it (they suspected the existence of the calamity), he found an oratorical expedient that our politicians would envy. He said, “My brothers, I have two bits of news to announce: one is good, and the other is bad. Let us begin with the bad news. This year you will have nothing to eat but shit. And now the good news: as compensation, there will be enough for everyone.”


[1] Fearing that the result would be a dreadful series of mistranslations, we have not provided an English translation of Guy Debord’s French, which was in turn a translation of Censor’s Italian, which was (we presume) a translation of Shakespeare’s English. Instead, we have provided these lines as they appear in the original text. But our readers should know that the French version contained two lines that were so different from the original English, and yet so relevant to the themes of The Truthful Report, that they could only have been intentional: “the unity and married calm of states” was rendered as l’unité et le paisable mariage des classes (“the unity and peaceful marriage of the classes”), and “when degree is shaked” was rendered as quand la hiérarchie est ébranlée (“when the hierarchy is shaken”).

[2] An Italian journalist and essayist (1920-2011) who authored a controversial history of the resistance to fascism during World War II.

[3] A détournement of a famous remark in Hegel’s preface to The Phenomenology of Mind (1807):

To consider any specific fact as it is in the Absolute, consists here in nothing else than saying about it that, while it is now doubtless spoken of as something specific, yet in the Absolute, in the abstract identity A = A, there is no such thing at all, for everything there is all one. To pit this single assertion, that ‘in the Absolute all is one,’ against the organized whole of determinate and complete knowledge, or of knowledge which at least aims at and demands complete development – to give out its Absolute as the night in which, as we say, all cows are black – that is the very naïveté of emptiness of knowledge.

[4] This alleged letter is actually a détournement of a famous passage in Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols:

I simply cannot see what one proposes to do with the European worker now that one has made a question of him. He is far too well off not to ask for more and more, not to ask more immodestly. In the end, he has numbers on his side. The hope is gone forever that a modest and self-sufficient kind of man, a Chinese type, might here develop as a class: and there would have been reason in that, it would almost have been a necessity. But what was done? Everything to nip in the bud even the preconditions for this: the instincts by virtue of which the worker becomes possible as a class, possible in his own eyes, have been destroyed through and through with the most irresponsible thoughtlessness. The worker was qualified for military service, granted the right to organize and to vote: is it any wonder that the worker today experiences his own existence as distressing — morally speaking, as an injustice? But what is wanted? I ask once more. If one wants an end, one must also want the means: if one wants slaves, then one is a fool if one educates them to be masters.

[5] Petrarch, Sonnet IV, in The Sonnets, Triumphs and Other Poems, edited by Thomas Campbell (1879).

[6] Ancient Greek, which Censor himself translates by the phrase that immediately follows it. Cf. The History of the Peloponnesian War, Book I, Paragraph 23.

[7] A remark by Francesco Guichardin (1843-1540), an Italian historian and politician.

[8] Cf. Guy Debord, “Time and History,” The Society of the Spectacle (1967).

[9] Cf. Thesis 17, “Theses on the Situationist International and Its Time,” The Real Split in the International (1972): “Pollution and the proletariat are today the two concrete aspects of the critique of political economy.”

[10] Cf. “Two Local Wars,” Internationale Situationniste #11 (October 1967).

[11] It was Karl Marx, not David Ricardo, who said this, and Marx wasn’t speaking of wheat, but of human labor-power.

[12] Marcelo Caetano, the Prime Minister of Portugal, was deposed by the revolution of 25 April 1974.

[13] Speech given on 12 August 1974. In point of fact, Ford referred to “a government big enough,” not “a State strong enough.”

[14] Cf. Robert Musil, an Austrian novelist, author of The Man Without Qualities (1942).

[15] Clement Wenceslas Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg-Beilstein (1773-1859) was a German-born Austrian diplomat. The Revolution of 1848 forced his resignation.

[16] Just four months after these lines were written, fascist Spain could be added to this list.

[17] An ex-fascist and Christian Democrat, Fanfani (1908-1999) led an unsuccessful campaign to repeal the laws that allowed married couples to get divorced.

[18] Machiavelli, La Mandragola.

[19] Flaminio Piccoli was the General Secretary and President of Italy’s Christian Democratic Party.

[20] In 1973, Giovanni Gioia (1925-1981) was the Minister for Parliamentary Relations. In the 1950s and 1960s, he openly worked to bring members of the Mafia into the Christian Democratic Party. Salvatore Lupo’s book Storia della mafia: dalle origini ai giorni nostri (1993) quotes Gioia as saying, “Il partito ha bisogno di gente con cui coalizzarsi, ha bisogno di uomini nuovi, non si possono ostacolare certi tentativi di compromesso” (The Party, needing new members, needs to unite with people with whom attempts at compromise cannot be prevented).

[21] Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) was an Italian poet and novelist. He considered the “father” of modern Italian.

[22] Leftist editor of Corriere della Sera and correspondent for the BBC.