Another Italian Blow-Up

|

The political situation has returned to normal in Italy, with the country again mired in crisis. The left-wing government of Romano Prodi was dissolved last week after losing a confidence vote in parliament, spelling the end of the country's 61st (!) government since the end of World War II. According to one politician involved in the negotiations, the formation of an interim government is all but "impossible," considering the splintered political landscape full of nutty little fascist and communist factions.

But even more troubling to veteran Italy watchers is the looming strike amongst the nation's nude models (the classy, art school ones, not the Cicciolina ones). The Guardian reports that the disaffected models are organized and tired of being treated like "teaching tools," which, I always assumed, is exactly what they are:

Currently, only 50 of about 300 artists' models at Italian art schools have fixed annual contracts. The remainder are hired part-time and usually earn roughly €25 (£19) an hour.

Rossella Lamina, a spokeswoman for the trades union backing the protest, said that more than 60 art teachers in Rome, Florence, Venice, Carrara, Turin and Reggio Calabria had signed the models' appeal.

Antonella Migliorini, 42, told Italy's La Stampa newspaper: "Our work is not recognised. We pose for eight hours a day and still the colleges treat us like teaching tools.

As further proof that Italy is a strange little country with depressingly retrograde politics, I submit the following three photos, taken during a visit to Rome in 2006. It is, of course, not surprising that one can purchase Benito Mussolini gewgaws from street vendors, like this snazzy Il Duce apron:

One can also still cast a ballot in support of the Mussolini legacy, natch:

And don't forget PCI, one of the country's many communist parties (a terrific archive of PCI posters here):

NEXT: The Mouse That Would Not Die

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Anyone who advocates a Parliamentary-style, multi-party system for the United States needs to be reminded of Italy. Again and again.

  2. Mussolini appears a bit uncomfortable by having a leopard-clad wang behind him.

    Too bad Mussolini allied with Hitler, because now he’ll always be remembered as super-evil rather than just light evil a la Franco and Pinochet.

  3. A Cicciolina shout out! Awesome. The greatest socio political influences of our time. You got to love a politician that promotes separation of church and state by wearing a topless nun’s habit.

  4. Mussolini’s visage also available on boxer shorts, and from the looks of it, done by the same artist. With a scary Eagle on it too.

  5. So, the problem is that Italy has relevant third parties? Boy, we American libertarians sure are better off than those fools.

    Or is the problem that they have enough freedom of speech that it is in practical fact legal to vend fascist trinkets? Because Germany, for example, is not so libertarian.

  6. I don’t adovcate that system–

    However, its unlikely that we would end up with an Italy style style system. There aren’t many communists or fascists here. Its likely that with an implementation similar to the German system (SMDs w/ a party vote) that we would have a small enough number of parties to have stable governments.

  7. While I like the idea of, say, the Greens and Libertarians banning together to change the drug laws, I get nervous when I think of the Greens and Buchannanites banning together to change our trade laws.

  8. And there’s a certain irony in putting Mussolini on an apron, don’t you think? I mean, it’s hardly a masculine symbol in line with his fascist goals, eh? Maybe it’s not an act of reverence…

    You know, a few years back I read a news story about a KKK (or maybe it was neo-Nazi) march through a black neighborhood. The marchers received police escort to protect them from potential violence. I felt a rare glow of national pride with this story.

    Countries have hatred, weirdos, and people stuck admiring heroes of abandoned ages. Italy is not alone here. Italy does, however, have chronic strikes that few countries can match (and I’ll let you imagine what that means for city sanitation when garbage collectors strike frequently), as well as constant government change-ups. But again, wouldn’t we libertarians be happier with constant government change-ups, since that would keep special interest entrenchment at bay? Often our

  9. I wonder if any state would ever try the Parliamentary system, maybe at least for one house of state government.

    That way one house could have Proportional Representation and the other have single member districts, which would justify having bicameralism in states. Unlike now, where 2 houses is kind of overkill in most states.

  10. … “best-case scenario” involves government deadlock, eh?

  11. Anyone who advocates a Parliamentary-style, multi-party system for the United States needs to be reminded of Italy. Again and again.

    Maybe, but wouldn’t CSPAN be a lot more fun?

  12. Maybe, but wouldn’t CSPAN be a lot more fun?

    You know, I talked to someone who lived in France before during a Presidential election and he said the best part is the week before the election when every single Party’s candidate–including the Fascists and Communists–get two hours of national tv time.

  13. I wonder if any state would ever try the Parliamentary system, maybe at least for one house of state government.

    Parliamentary means that there is no executive branch. It doesn’t inherently have anything to do with Proportional Representation. The Westminster System, for example, is a parliamentary system with no proportional representation.

    The question you mean to ask is: Why don’t any state houses use proportional representation?

  14. The advantages of the parliamentary system – greater representation, a wider range of voices, a wider range of choices, the ability for the public to send more precise messages to the government – can be accomplished without the damage to political stability by retaining our elected President, while using PR to assign seats and letting the coalition-building to be used to pick the legislative leadership.

  15. After I saw the third picture for a brief moment I thought that Walter Mondale must now a politician in Italy.

    “Well, that explains a lot,” I said to myself.

  16. Yeah, I guess I mixed apples and oranges. Either one would be interesting for a state to try though.

  17. Yeah, I guess I mixed apples and oranges. Either one would be interesting for a state to try though.

    That it would.

  18. I don’t see what the fuss is. If Washington ground to a halt like this we’d probably give a small cheer and then commence badgering our newly empowered State governments.

  19. If Washington ground to a halt like this we’d probably give a small cheer and then commence badgering our newly empowered State governments.

    Depends on the system.

    With Italy’s System — if the political situation was divisive enough, the National Government would do nothing.

    With the UK’s system — the National Government would probably be much stronger than it is.

  20. Anyone who advocates a Parliamentary-style, multi-party system for the United States needs to be reminded of Italy. Again and again.

    It would be nice if Italy moved to one.

  21. So is Berlusconi running for PM the equivalent of if Ted Turner ran for President here? That would be fun

  22. Libertarians–

    You should love a system with proportional representation. It would be much easier to draw votes from the libertarians and economic conservatives that now vote republican or that don’t vote. They wouldn’t feel like their vote was being wasted.

  23. One can also still cast a ballot in support of the Mussolini legacy…

    It’s been said before, but Alessandra Mussolini (SFW) is the best looking fascist I’ve ever seen.

  24. How much do nude art models make here? $35-40 an hour to stand naked seems pretty good to me, but I’d get an erection so it might be hard for me.

    And as a follow-up:
    Is getting an erection when naked in front of people a natural reaction, or am I weird that way?

  25. Baked Penguin,

    Pinochet was quite the looker back in the day, lest you’ve forgot.

  26. Even nothing in Italy works particularly well, I still dream of retiring there to admire the beautiful scenery, gorgeous women and relaxed pace of life. Not a wonk’s idea of paradise, I guess.

    Italy as a unified state is still a relatively recent phenomenon, and the various regions and factions have less in common that in the USA–a fractious parliamentary system is probably the only way to keep that country together.

  27. I’d vote for the “Riding on Scooters and saying ‘Ciao!'” party.

  28. “But again, wouldn’t we libertarians be happier with constant government change-ups, since that would keep special interest entrenchment at bay?”

    Actually, no. Besides the possibility of violence and insecurity, unstable political systems are typically prime opportunities for aspiring dictators.

  29. I say restore the Republic. It worked for a long time. S.P.Q.R.

    And bring back the toga.

  30. wait….

    left-wing government of Romano Prodi was dissolved last week after losing a confidence vote in parliament, spelling the end of the country’s 61st (!) government since the end of World War II. According to one politician involved in the negotiations, the formation of an interim government is all but “impossible,”

    so there is no federal gov’t right now??? are all of there bureaus (or whatever they are called in italy) operating??

  31. apparently I am html retarded. last part not italicized.

  32. A Cicciolina shout out! Awesome. The greatest socio political influences of our time. You got to love a politician that promotes separation of church and state by wearing a topless nun’s habit.

    Despite repeated e-mails to various DVD labels, I’ve yet to get favorable feedback for a release of the Skinemax classic “Inhibition,” starring Cicciolina (a.k.a. Ilona Staller) and Claudine Beccarie.

  33. the end of the country’s 61st (!) government since the end of World War II.

    Well, everyone still insists on measuring Italy’s apparent incapability of creating a stable government since the Great War (the second one) but if you judge the Dagos’ ineptitude since the Carter Administration, they’re only on their 30th attempt or so.* That’s not so bad, is it?

    *I’m guessing.

  34. … “best-case scenario” involves government deadlock, eh?

    That all depends on the status quo. In Italy, it’s pretty bad.

  35. so there is no federal gov’t right now??? are all of there bureaus (or whatever they are called in italy) operating??

    Probably operating at the same efficiency they always do.

  36. “Antonella Migliorini, 42, told Italy’s La Stampa newspaper: ‘Our work is not recognised. We pose for eight hours a day and still the colleges treat us like teaching tools.'”

    A full-time 42 year old nude model? Do they have a seniority system?

  37. but if you judge the Dagos’ ineptitude since the Carter Administration

    That’s really hip how you casually squeezed ‘Dago’ in there. Tarantino better watch his back with competition like that on his ass and only fourteen years after Pulp Fiction at that.

  38. Besides the possibility of violence and insecurity, unstable political systems are typically prime opportunities for aspiring dictators.

    Gun owning nation…we’ll take the chance.

  39. It looks like Il Duce is elbowing Leopard Boy in the nads … which I guess is appropriate for a fascist.

  40. It’s been said before, but Alessandra Mussolini (SFW) is the best looking fascist I’ve ever seen.

    She makes my train run on time.

    (SFW, it’s only a face shot.) (No, not that kind of face shot.)

  41. Now, this is just silly.

    Here’s a writer from a marginal libertarian outfit. Although libertarianism is great in theory, it is still dead as a political movement in real life. Yet, it doesn’t prevent you guys from pretending to know everything better than the rest.

    The writer lives in the US, a country governed by Bushes and Clintons for the last 20 years — poor Americans. These big government administrations turned your great country into an increasing militaristic, corporatistic society.

    Clearly, that’s all good — no biggie there.

    Yet, the writer makes fun of Italy, of all countries. A country famous for its great culture, arts, friendly people, history, food and whatnot. Italy is probably one of the most beautiful places to live in. If it wasn’t for the high costs of living and political chaos, it would be one of the best countries in the world.

    “strange little country with depressingly retrograde politics”

    Now, that’s nice. Real nice. If I were you, I would take a deep — and I mean deep — look in the mirror.

  42. Well, I am wondering about the same for a long long time, im from Czech Republic, middleeuropian post-communist country and i was always accepting US as a something that is pure freedom and so on, well, that was when i was young and dumb 🙂
    Now, if i have to compare US and CZ, and im not trying to somehow make our country better, i would say they are same in the level of freedom one single person can enjoy, it of course differs in some special cases, but generally its comparable.
    And now, the interesting question comes to my mind, is it because our country is so full of freedom ( which i really doubt ) or is something really fucked up in US in the last few decades?
    The only thing that many of us fear here in Europe, is the growing power of United Socialistic States of Europe ( aka Europian Union ), because they are trying to apply the same thing i can read here on reason, cutting all the national identity and suverenity, stealing rights so that in the end we may be one Big Happy Europe.

  43. @meeko

    Well to be slightly off-topic here.

    Most of the people on these Reason forums can’t think beyond ideology and “here-now-me” hedonism, it’s mind boggling. What I at times love and hate about Reason is their pop-culture attitude towards everything: nothing matters, all is good. Everything’s always unserious and comical. F#@k that.

    Some stuff is serious, some things aren’t comical. Some could describe that as “cool”. Right.. I describe it as juvenile, pathetic even.

    Even though most of them live in the richest, freest, most powerful and most admirable country in the world (mostly thanks to their hardworking ancestors), they don’t seem to care much to preserve it.

    Most libertarians for example spit on Ron Paul for some stuff (not even done by him), done years, if not decades, ago and promoting a non-anarchistic enough type of libertarianism — or for being not anti-racist enough, whatever..

    Freedom for Reason is basicly getting high. In Europe, whatever anyone may think of it and how bad it at times may be, most of us seem to know that freedom is bigger (and better) than that. I’m pretty sure those strange weird Italians know it too. We weren’t free for a long time, but thanks to the US we are now. I admire the Americans for that.

    I wish they would admire it more themselves.

  44. I would actually support the addition of a third, PR house to Congress, but still give the Senate and House of Reps. legislative vetoes on the actions of other houses. This would work to reduce govt. action rather than increase it. I would also allow any house of Congress to invividually repeal a law, as long as they repealed the ENTIRE THING as it was originally passed. Sort of like the all-or-nothing presidential veto. I would also say that laws passed by Congress have to be approved by annual referendum, unless the law is passed by a two-thirds majority of all three houses of Congress (this includes the new PR house).

  45. Well, I’m Italian, and I have a couple of remarks…

    There is no such thing as a “Fascist Party” here, simply because it would be unconstitutional. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you couldn’t create a party inspired by Fascism and call it whatever you like… Such parties represent no more of a 5-6% of the population and no more of four or five deputies/senators. The former “Movimento Sociale” (the biggest Post-Fascist party) is now a centrist party, whose leader defined Fascism “pure evil” and is inspired by Sarkozy and De Gaulle. The Mussolini poster in the picture refers to Alessandra Mussolini, former singer, former actress, now politician, who is just as Fascist as her aunt, Sophia Loren…

    Communist parties are much more strong. There are two of them (maybe three, they’re growing like mushrooms), representing about 8-10% of the population, but the “original” “Partito Comunista” is now called “Partito Democratico” (exacly, Democratic Party) and their leader defined John Kennedy as his model.

    In other words, the problem here is not Fascism or Communism, but Social Democracy, and the cancer are Trade Unions (you Americans can’t even imagine how badly they affect our political life).

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.