April 7, 2005 (EIRNS)—In an historic action, the Italian Chamber of Deputies (the lower House of Parliament), has approved acalling on the government to promote "an international conference at the level of Heads of State and Government, to globally define a new and more just monetary and financial system."
The motion, adopted on April 6, had been drafted by Paolo Raimondi, representative of the LaRouche movement in Italy, together with Rep. Mario Lettieri, who introduced it originally together with fifty colleagues of almost all political parties. It is a faithful representation of both the analyses and proposals put forward by American economist and political leader Lyndon LaRouche, to whom legislators supporting the motion repeatedly referred as the initiator of the campaign "for a new Bretton Woods," during the Parliamentary debate.
The vote on the Lettieri motion came after a fierce battle, during which a government attempt to emasculate the motion was successfully rejected. At the beginning of the resumption of debate, after a two-week recess, the government representative, Undersecretary for Parliament Affairs Cosimo Ventucci, intervened by proposing to take five lines out of the text, which would have fully eliminated the part which calls on the government to take action to convoke an international conference to reform the international monetary and financial system.
Ventucci's attempt was rejected by a broad array of legislators, including the opposition, but also from the government coalition. In particular, representative Alfonso Gianni, from the opposition party Rifondazione Comunista (PRC), and Luigi D'Agrò, from the government party Christian Democratic Union (UDC), led the pro-LaRouche and anti-globalization forces to defeat the government attempt. Remarkably, both Rep. Lettieri and others who intervened in the discussion, referred to the recently-deceased Pope as the moral leadership on issues of economic justice.
After Ventucci presented the government proposal to change the motion, Rep. Gianni took the floor, rejecting the proposed changes with the argument that the substance of the motion would completely change. "The kernel of this motion is in the fact that we must 'remake Bretton Woods,' that is, remaking an international conference, at the level of Heads of State and Government, to reach an agreement on the financial and monetary system," Gianni said. "This is the 'heart' of the motion: If we erase, as the government cunningly does, this part of the motion, there is absolutely nothing left!"
"The date that all historians of world economic history indicate as the beginning of modern globalization, the era we live in, is exactly the era referring to the end of the Bretton Woods agreements and of the dollar convertibility in gold." Therefore, Gianni continued, "the heart of this motion, which I know well — and I know the source where it comes from — that is American leftwing Democratic circles — is exactly this. Either we build the international conference reproducing those rules ... or we have achieved nothing!" Gianni then announced he would withdraw his support if the text was changed according to the government suggestions; his forceful intervention turned the situation around.
In the face of this steadfast support of the call for an international conference, the government withdrew its objection. Rep. Marco Zacchera, a foreign policy spokesman for Alleanza Nazionale (AN), a government party, welcomed the government's decision and the bipartisan consensus which had been achieved. "We have honored the Pope today," Zacchera said. "How often did the Pope say that world government leaders must meet and discuss these issues!"
When the motion was put to a vote, it was approved with 187 yes, 5 no, and 159 abstentions. Now, the government, according to the constitutional rules governing Italy's Parliamentary democracy, is bound to obey the Parliament's resolution. Although this is never automatic, but is subject to political dynamics, the April 6 vote is just the "first step," as several legislators stressed, in a process of discussion and deliberations on the international financial and economic system, which will continue in Parliamentary committees in the coming weeks.