Glass-Steagall Campaign in Italy

By Liliana Gorini

In the last weeks, the debate over banking separation has increased in Italy, as a result of the campaign by the Italian movement Movisol to gather 50,000 signatures for Glass-Steagall legislation, and also as a result of the worsening economic and social crisis in Italy.

More than 1500 small and medium sized entrepreneurs have committed suicide in Italy in the last year, because their respective firms, mostly family enterprises, went bankrupt as a result of the lack of credit from banks. At the same time, the Monti and Letta governments gave banks who have been speculating in derivatives, such as Monte dei Paschi di Siena, almost 6 billion Euro, while cutting the social expense (pensions, health, education) as demanded by the European Union. And now the discussion about bail-ins, and a 15% forced levy on bank accounts, as in Cyprus, is making the population very angry.

As Nicola Oliva, city councilman of the Democratic Party in Prato and one of the four Italian signers of the Arzviller statement for Glass-Steagall, wrote in the daily Il Tirreno on Oct. 26th, “the one for Glass-Steagall is a battle for credit and civilization” [since the] “lack of jobs and industrial desertification are due to the lack of credit and the collapse of the market, due to globalization”… “We need a banking system which invests where it is needed.” Oliva continues “and in order to do that we have to separate banks, remove the speculative side and support the ordinary one, as in the Glass-Steagall Act”. “The Italian Parliament should discuss and approve this law as soon as possible” is the conclusion of Oliva’s statement in Il Tirreno. Due to the Movisol mobilization all over Italy, there are presently three proposed pieces of legislation for Glass-Steagall at the Italian Parliament, one introduced at the Senate by former Economic Minister Giulio Tremonti, who spoke with Lyndon LaRouche at a conference on the New Bretton Woods in Rome in 2007, endorsing his fight for a new credit system, another one introduced by Sen. Giuseppe Vacciano of the Movimento Cinque Stelle at the Senate, and the last one introduced by The Hon. Davide Caparini of the Lega Nord at the Chamber of Deputies, after a conference in Brescia last February on Glass-Steagall where he was a co-speaker together with this author, Liliana Gorini, chairwoman of Movisol.

Citizens Organize

Since then, Movisol has inspired and co-authored a number of resolutions demanding Glass-Steagall in many municipalities in Northern Italy, many of them introduced by the Lega Nord, including one which has been introduced on Oct. 28th at the Regione Lombardia, the government of the Region Lombardy, which is the most important region economically in Italy. The resolution has been introduced by 12 regional councilmen of the Gruppo Maroni, belonging to the governor of the Lombardy Region.

This reflects pressures from the rank and file of the Lega Nord among entrepreneurs and workers who regularly listen to Gorini and Massimo Lodi Rizzini of Movisol on the radio show of Radio Padania hosted by Roberto Ortelli. Many listeners of his radio show sent the Movisol petition for Glass-Steagall to their local politicians, and as a result of this, resolutions for Glass-Steagall were introduced in many municipalities. Also Valentina Iorio Tomasetti, city councilwoman in Galliate Lombardo, who won the municipal elections on a Glass-Steagall platform, introduced such a resolution in her city council, and organized five book tables to collect signatures for Glass-Steagall in her town, Galliate Lombardo, and also in Varese. A local newspaper, Il Gazzettino della Martesana, covered the signatures collection on Nov. 28th mentioning LaRouche and Movisol.

The campaign to collect signatures all over Italy started last may, when a legislation proposal for Glass-Steagall was registered at the Italian Constitutional Court in Rome, through a committee of various movements called Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale (CLN) led by Movisol. According to the Italian law, the CLN had six months to gather 50.000 signatures in order to bring this legislation proposal to the Italian Parliament. The deadline was beginning of November, and Movisol is presently gathering all forms from 50 cities all over Italy to see how many Italian citizens signed the petition.

Upcoming Conferences

Two conferences on Glass-Steagall are planned by Movisol in November, one in Sanremo, on Nov, 9th, organized by the famous opera singer Antonella Banaudi, and the second one in Montevarchi (Arezzo, Tuscany) on Nov. 23rd.

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