Toby Abse

Toby Abse has a longstanding history with the left. He is a member of the Socialist Alliance National Executive, the Alliance for Green Socialism National Committee, the Socialist History Society committee and the Revolutionary History editorial board, to whom he also contributes articles.

He writes regularly for the Weekly Worker, mainly focusing on the present situation in Italy. He is also a contributor to What Next?, a Marxist discussion journal.

He currently works as a lecturer in Modern European History at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Latest articles by Toby Abse

Gaza and militarisation

Toby Abse reports on the links between Italian universities and Israel’s war machine. Inevitably anyone who dares protest is branded an anti-Semite by the rightwing media

Meloni’s antecedents

Toby Abse reviews David Broder Mussolini’s grandchildren: fascism in contemporary Italy Pluto Press 2023, pp240, £17.99

Opting for electoral suicide

Toby Abse surveys the mosaic of parliamentary centre-left and centre-right parties, factions and breakaways in the run-up to what looks likely to be a far-right landslide

Schism in Five Star

Toby Abse examines the murky, self-serving reasons behind the latest split in a party once touted as rebels against the hated political caste

Resistance to war fever

Amidst the suffocating establishment consensus, Toby Abse welcomes the relatively principled position taken by much of the Italian left

Heading far-right

In light of recent opinion polls, Toby Abse looks at the increasing danger of a neo-fascist government

A post-Covid-19 reckoning

Despite the presence of social democrats in his government, Mario Draghi is more than willing to preside over an anti-working class offensive, writes Toby Abse

Marking 50 years

Founded by expelled PCI members, Il Manifesto has successfully outlived its rivals. Toby Abse praises the consistent anti-capitalism and pans the Maoist absurdities

The Zingaretti aberration

Not surprisingly, the attempt to reinvent social democracy came to nothing. The rightward drift is now set to continue. Toby Abse looks at the dysfunctional parties, factions, fiefdoms and tokenistic gestures which dominate electoral politics

Mario Draghi? No, thanks!

The political establishment has put differences aside to support a government that is committed to making workers, pensioners and the petty bourgeoisie pay for the Covid-19 crisis, reports Toby Abse

Disputed heritage

The pathetically weak remnants have been marking the centenary of the Partito Comunista. Toby Abse reports from Livorno

Nationalism and COVID-19

Despite the rapid spread of coronavirus, notes Toby Abse, the response of the Italian government compares favourably to Boris Johnson’s.

Salvini, Israel and anti-Semitism

In Italy IHRA-style propaganda is linked to anti-migrant racism, writes Toby Abse.

Far right conquers ‘red Umbria’

Toby Abse explains the continuing decline of the Italian centre-left and the complete marginalization of the far left.

Good riddance to Renzi

The former leader of the PD has left to form a new party, writes Toby Abse. What a pity that the current leader is doing his best to placate the rightwingers who did not follow him.

Coming to the rescue

The Partito Democratico - an amalgam of Christian democrats and former ‘communists’ - have joined the ‘anti-establishment’ populists of the Five Star Movement in a new government. Toby Abse reports on what he calls the new ‘popular front’.

Recession and xenophobia

Toby Abse reports on the latest shenanigans of the right-populist government - and the stirrings of organised working class opposition

Little cause for optimism in Italy

The left is fragmented, directionless and in total disarray, writes Toby Abse

Italy's government provoking a clash with EU

Against the background of attempts to form a new rightwing coalition across Europe, Toby Abse looks at the manoeuvrings of the rival Italian populists

Bloodstained colours of Benetton

Toby Abse looks at the politics underlying the collapse of the Genoa bridge

Minister of the Underworld

Who is responsible for instigating the recent spate of racist attacks? Toby Abse points the finger at interior minister Matteo Salvini

Age of Aquarius

The Lega has celebrated its gains in local elections by stepping up its attacks on migrants and Roma, with the complicity of M5S, writes Toby Abse

Steve Bannon’s dream government

Whatever position it takes in relation to the EU, the new right-populist administration will be viciously anti-worker and anti-migrant, warns Toby Abse

Right-populist threat increases

As stock exchanges are rattled and EU politicians worry over the survival of the euro, Toby Abse warns the left against treating our enemy’s enemy as our friend

Danger of a right-populist coalition

While some insist that M5S is a ‘leftwing’ force, writes Toby Abse, it could well be heading for government in alliance with the Lega

Triumph of right populism

Election marks the worst ever performance of the post-World War II left, writes Toby Abse

Anti-fascists on the march

As the far right becomes more emboldened, Toby Abse reports on the disgraceful attempt of the PD leadership to ban leftwing protests

Italy: Democratic Party left up in arms

Matteo Renzi’s purge is unlikely to halt his party’s decline, argues Toby Abse

The price of neoliberalism

The continuing decline of the left will be confirmed by the results of the March 4 general election, predicts Toby Abse

Renzi vs Grasso

It looks as though a ‘centre-left’ coalition headed by Matteo Renzi will be opposed by a leftwing bloc in the 2018 general election, writes Toby Abse

Mafia politics sway vote

Toby Abse analyses the significance of the Sicilian election results earlier this month

Causing alarm in Rome and Brussels

Toby Abse reports on the bizarre behaviour of Matteo Renzi, which has played into the hands of the right-populist M5S

Pisapia’s soap opera

Thankfully the attempt by the former mayor of Milan to pull fragments to the left of the PD back into the fold has ended in failure, writes Toby Abse

Capitulating to xenophobia

The Renzi government is now competing with the far right when it comes to migrants, writes Toby Abse

Pisapia’s deadly embrace

How productive will Italy’s latest ‘left unity’ project turn out to be? Toby Abse investigates

Racists and Islamophobes

Following the triumph of the right in last month’s local elections, writes Toby Abse, the left appears more and more isolated

Grillo and M5S humiliated

Toby Abse examines the first round of the local elections and the return to the main parties

Playing into Grillo’s hands

Toby Abse reports on the balance of forces following Renzi’s re-election

Hit by corruption scandals

Beppe Grillo and the right-populist Movimento Cinque Stelle are making gains, writes Toby Abse

Reckless Renzi provokes split

With the splintering of the centre-left, the door has been opened wide for Grillo and the right, writes Toby Abse

In the hands of the courts

The judiciary is playing a significant role in shaping Italian politics, reports Toby Abse

Proof of US-inspired terror

Toby Abse reviews: Paolo Bolognesi (ed) Alto tradimento Castelvecchi, Rome, 2016, €18.50

Rasputin and Little Red Riding Hood

Claims that the Five Star Movement is some kind of leftwing formation have been well and truly exposed, writes Toby Abse

A vote on Renzi, not Europe

Toby Abse looks at the possibilities following the referendum defeat and subsequent resignation of the prime minister

Are Renzi’s days numbered?

The December 4 constitutional referendum could be one poll where the predictions turn out to be correct, writes Toby Abse

What sort of populism?

Toby Abse reviews: Filippo Tronconi (ed) 'Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement: organisation, communication and ideology', Ashgate Publishing, 2015, pp250, £67.99

An Open Letter

Tony Greenstein addresses Labour MP Joan Ryan

Brexit shock waves

The UK referendum vote has added to the uncertainty in Italy, notes Toby Abse

M5S takes Rome and Turin

With the help of elements of the left, Beppe Grillo’s crew has gained ground in former working class strongholds. Toby Abse reports

M5S is not a leftwing party

Why are elements within the left recommending a vote for Beppe Grillo’s party? Toby Abse points to its links with the far right

M5S on course to take Rome

Toby Abse reports on last weekend’s local elections

Divisions continue to multiply

Berlusconi shows all the signs of being a spent force, writes Toby Abse. But overall, politics still moves to the right

Scandal hits M5S

As Beppe Grillo prepares to step down, his populist party stands accused of corruption. Toby Abse reports

Struggle and postmodern

Toby Abse reviews: Andrea Hajek, 'Negotiating memories of protest in western Europe: the case of Italy', Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp220, £53

Populism, nationalism and racism

Fred Leplat (ed), 'The far right in Europe', Resistance Books and International Institute for Research and Education, London 2015, pp334, £12

Renzi in the firing line

Scandals reminiscent of the Berlusconi era have put the prime minister under sustained pressure, writes Toby Abse

Last hurrah of a psychopath

Toni Negri, 'Storia di un comunista', Milan, 2015, pp608, €18, reviewed by Toby Abse

Left splits from Renzi

Toby Abse reports on the formation of a new parliamentary bloc in Italy

Scandals in the capital

The manoeuvring which culminated in the fall of the mayor of Rome could result in the populist right taking control of the city, writes Toby Abse

Exploitation, despoliation, corruption

Toby Abse looks at the sorry story of the Riva family

Renzi’s support plummets

The rightwing offensive on immigration and gay partnerships, combined with the corruption of local administrations, has left the PD struggling, writes Toby Abse

Who will fill the vacuum?

There is no viable radical left alternative, writes Toby Abse

Lega Nord and neo-fascism

The economic crisis is leaving an opening for the neo-fascist right in Italy, reports Toby Abse

Renzi in command

There is no doubting who the main loser is following the election of the new president, reports Toby Abse

After old man Napolitano

As the Italian president prepares to step down, Toby Abse looks at the likely contenders

Resisting Renzi’s attacks

Workers booed members of the centre-left PD off the platform during the rallies that followed last week’s 24-hour strike. Toby Abse reports

Strikes, smoke bombs and tear gas

Toby Abse reports on the latest union action and the autonomists’ social strike

Class struggle intensifies

Toby Abse reports on both verbal and physical clashes, as workers resist the latest attacks from ‘Italy’s Tony Blair’

Marching in defence of article 18

Last weekend’s mass mobilisation in Rome was inspiring, writes Toby Abse. But will trade union militancy be enough?

Italy: New attack on workers’ rights

The former ‘official communists’ are being dragged further and further to the right, observes Toby Abse

Berlusconi acquittal boosts reactionary drive

Plans for constitutional ‘reform’ represent a return to the notorious ‘Plan for National Rebirth’, argues Toby Abse

M5S takes ex-communist stronghold

Despite the views of some who ought to know better, there is nothing progressive about Beppe Grillo, argues Toby Abse

Renzi's rightward march

Last week’s elections have confirmed the trajectory of ‘Italy’s Tony Blair’, writes Toby Abse

Italy: Courtrooms and backhanders

The corruption that afflicts the highest echelons of Italian society is reminiscent of the series of scandals that led to the downfall of the First Republic, writes Toby Abse

Electoral reform and Greek gifts

While the new premier seems destined to disappoint, sections of the left have joined forces in a lash-up that looks set to leave workers cold. Toby Abse reports

Italy: New beginning signals further attacks

Renzi’s administration intends to further erode workers’ rights, writes Toby Abse

Italy: The new Tony Blair

The premiership of Matteo Renzi will make the previous government look positively progressive, writes Toby Abse

Italy: Back into the centre of politics

Haggling over the new electoral law has given the former premier some breathing space, writes Toby Abse

Running the show from outside

The absence of any serious leftwing political force leaves the working class in the unenviable position of choosing the butcher, writes Toby Abse

Italy: M5S racism exposed

Confused left populism should not blind us to the natsure of Beppe Grillo’s party, writes Toby Abse

Berlusconi: Houdini’s last escape

Surely last week’s volte face signals the end of the road for Silvio Berlusconi. Toby Abse reports

Italy: Threat to bring down government

Toby Abse reports on Silvio Berlusconi’s latest antics

Italy: Heading for jail?

Can it really be true that ‘the law is equal for all’? Silvio Berlusconi may yet have more tricks up his sleeve, writes Toby Abse

Berlusconi: Judgement day looms

Toby Abse reports on an unexpected setback for Silvio Berlusconi

Vatican: Rotten to the core

The money-laundering scandal has confirmed that Vatican corruption cannot be put down to isolated individuals, writes Toby Abse

Italy: Berlusconi will never serve time

Toby Abse reports on the ‘Ruby case’ verdict

Italy: Populists in disarray

Why do some on the British left see Beppe Grillo’s party as a kind of model? Toby Abse reports on the fallout following Italy’s local elections

Italian elections: Grillo’s populism exposed

The Five Star Movement has suffered a sharp drop in support. Toby Abse reports on the first round of the local elections

Giulio Andreotti: Corruption, murder and the thirst for power

Toby Abse reviews the life of the Italian prime minister with close Mafia connections: Giulio Andreotti, January 14 1919 - May 6 2013

Italian government: Grand coalition for austerity

Toby Abse reports on the formation of yet another anti-working class administration in Italy

Italian election: Ex-‘official communists’ in disarray

Toby Abse reports on the fallout following the re-election of president Napolitano

Italian political paralysis: Another papal conclave

Toby Abse reports on the backstabbing and intrigue, as Italian politics remains in paralysis

Italian political crisis: Anti-working class stalemate

The contending parties cannot agree on how to make workers pay for the crisis. Toby Abse reports

Italy election: Nothing left about Five Star

Contrary to the view expressed by the Socialist Workers Party, Toby Abse shows that the Italian general election result is a disaster

Italy: More of the same

There will be another round of cuts and austerity, whoever wins the general election, writes Toby Abse

Italy: The end of Mario Monti?

Toby Abse reports on the latest manoeuvres in Rome

Berlusconi: Another guilty verdict

If past form is anything to go by, Silvio Berlusconi will not serve a day of his latest jail sentence, writes Toby Abse

Rifondazione Comunista: Failed refoundation

Toby Abse reviews: Salvatore Cannavo, 'La Rifondazione mancata, 1991-2008: una storia del PRC Edizioni Alegre', Rome 2009, pp223, €14

Sardinian workers force concessions

The big union battalions are once more talking of general strike action, writes Toby Abse

Inferno for the proletariat

Toby Abse reviews: Bill Emmott 'Good Italy, bad Italy: why Italy must conquer its demons to face the future', Yale University Press, 2012, pp299, £18.99

Economic woes and new scandals

The labour 'reforms' have finally been pushed through parliament, but president Napolitano could be brought down over alleged Mafia contacts. Toby Abse reports

Turmoil threatens

While Italy teeters on the brink of a new crisis, the left is nowhere. Toby Abse reports on the machinations of the main parties

Last man standing

The Partito Democratico, dominated by ex-'official communists', is now Italy's leading party, writes Toby Abse

Scandals, austerity and comic diversion

While rightwing parties were the big losers, there is no sign of a move to the left, writes Toby Abse

Lega reaches end of road

Toby Abse reports on the scandal that has engulfed the main Italian far-right regionalist party

Memoirs of a loyal oppositionist

Rossana Rossanda (translated by Romy Clark Giuliani) The comrade from Milan Verso 2010, pp384,

Monti forces through right to sack

With most union leaders caving in, the Italian premier has got broad agreement for the proposed eradication of the workers statute. Toby Abse reports

Strike boosts resistance

As an Italian engineers strike widens to include political issues, Toby Abse looks at how this will affect the battle to save Article 18

Rifondazione opposes rail link

Workers' discontent has found an unexpected outlet, notes Toby Abse

Berlusconi still in the dock

The former premier may have been 'cleared' on a technicality, writes Toby Abse, but the repercussions of the whole affair persist in both the Italian and British establishments

Monti prepares for fresh attacks

The nature of the Italian resistance to austerity has so far been contradictory, writes Toby Abse

No surrender on article 18

Toby Abse reports on the intransigent defence of Italy's Workers' Statute coming from an unexpected source

Three-hour general strike forces concessions

Italian workers are determined to defend their pensions, writes Toby Abse

Budget assault ups the ante

Almost all Italian parties have fallen in behind the attacks fronted by the new government of technocrats, reports Toby Abse

Technocrats and bankers take over

As the entire establishment falls in behind the new cabinet of bureaucrats, writes Toby Abse, Italian workers must prepare for the attacks that lie ahead

Bye bye, euro too?

While the departure of Silvio Berlusconi will be a cause for celebration amongst workers, it will open the way for a more effective government of vicious austerity, warns Toby Abse

Black Bloc allowed to wreck protest

The spontaneism of the 'horizontalists' was completely exposed in Rome, writes Toby Abse

Mired in sleaze, Berlusconi reaches end of the road

Italy's crisis is not purely economic, writes Toby Abse. The corruption of the political elite has contributed to its credit downgrading

Market logic challenged by eight-hour general strike

This week the increasingly moribund government of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has faced simultaneous attacks on two fronts: from the speculators and the European Central Bank, on the one hand; and from a general strike by the most militant section of Italy's organised working class, on the other. Toby Abse reports

Facing a hot autumn

Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi remains in office, writes Toby Abse, but his Bonapartist regime has come to an end

Euro zone crisis spreads from periphery to core

Toby Abse looks at the interplay between economics and politics after 'Black Friday'

Silvio Berlusconi trounced again

Toby Abse looks at the situation in Italy after the prime minster's humiliating defeat in last weekend's referenda

Malevolent conspirator

Toby Abse condemns the architect of the 'strategy of tension'

Corruption and crime

The breathtaking hypocrisy surrounding the Mills case must be exposed, argues Toby Abse

PRC - origins, problems and prospects

The combativity of the working class in Italy is in part connected to the leadership offered by Rifondazione Comunista, argues Toby Abse, a supporter of Resistance. This monthly publication groups together the International Socialist Group - affiliated to the so-called 'Fourth International' - and an eclectic range of independents who in general inhabit the right wing of the Socialist Alliance

A reply to comrade Abse

For a new party

“A totally open and public document for discussion amongst members and sympathisers of the London Socialist Alliance and all the London borough Socialist Alliances”, written by Toby Abse of Lewisham SA