Italy

200,000 in Rome against fascism

On 9 October thousands of right-wing anti-vaccine demonstrators protested in Rome, and fascists from the Forza Nuova party smashed their way into the offices of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest union federation. On 16 October, trade unionists and left-wingers responded by demonstrating in Rome to say “Mai più fascismi” (“Never again fascisms”). The organisers, Italy’s three biggest union federations, claimed 200,000, while the media said 50,000. Many report that demonstrators carried pro-vaccination slogans as well as anti-fascist and pro-union ones. The Italian labour movement’s fight against the...

Italy: complete the anti-fascist revolution

Of the three aggressor nations that made up the Axis during the Second World War, only one saw its population rise up and topple a dictatorship. While the populations of Germany and Japan remained largely supportive of the regimes right up to the surrender, the Italians ousted Mussolini in 1943, bringing an end to the fascist era. And in 1945, the former dictator was captured and killed by Italian partisans. Italians are rightly proud of this fact, but there’s another side to the story — one which we saw in action this last weekend, 9-10 October — and that’s the continuing presence of openly...

Fascists smash union office in Rome

Fascists stormed and wrecked the Rome headquarters of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest trade union federation, at an anti-vaccination demonstration on 9 October. The far right mobilised protests in multiple Italian cities to oppose the introduction of a health certificate or “green pass” to enter workplaces from 15 October (any worker who fails to produce the certificate can be suspended without pay, but not sacked). There were at least ten thousand on the streets in Rome. The attack on the CGIL building was led by activists from the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party, who used metal bars to smash their...

Italian GKN workers’ resistance shows the way

Forty thousand or so workers and others marched in Florence on Saturday 18 September behind the banner, reading “Insorgiamo” (“We are in revolt”), of the 400 GKN workers sacked via email two months ago. The hastily-convened decision the day after of the local industrial tribunal to uphold their claim of unlawful dismissal by the British-based multinational confirmed the effectiveness of the workers’ resistance. This was a crucial first success for their struggle, their determination, and their ability to galvanise and sweep up a growing army of workers and others in an inspiring triumph for...

Angelo Del Boca, the honest historian of Italian colonialism

On 6 July, Angelo Del Boca, the most honest and fearless historian of Italian colonialism and its crimes, died aged 96. He was a lifelong socialist, a former partisan fighter and journalist. As a historian, his work was concentrated on the demolition of the presumed “humane and generous” character of Italy”s imperialist adventures. He was rewarded by the open and fierce hostility not just of the country”s reactionary Right but also of the intellectual and historiographical currents of social-democrats and Stalinists for ever in the search for a “progressive” patrimony. The myth of the Italians...

Truck kills picket in Italy

Adil Belakhdim, coordinator of the SI Cobas union in Novara, Lombardy, Italy, and a member of the union’s national coordinating body, has been killed. He was hit by a truck driven into a picket line during the national logistics strike on 18 June. SI Cobas says: “It was not an accident — Adil was killed in the name of profit.” It says that the “murder is in fact the culmination of an escalation of organized violence against SI Cobas, which has been ongoing for months and is now without limits”. It cites many other incidents in recent months, arguing that they are “part of a single design under...

Italian FedEx striker beaten by bosses' thugs

A courier for FedEx in Northern Italy, Abdelhamid Elazab, has been in a coma in hospital after being beaten around the head with a broken pallet by thugs brought in to attack protesting workers on 11 June. Nine other FedEx workers from Piacenza were injured less seriously. The report from the workers’ trade union SI Cobas says they were attacked by men from Zampieri Holdings, the shipping company at whose warehouses in Lodi, thirty miles from Piacenza, the protest took place. The union calls Zampieri a “mafia organisation” and the “armed hand” of FedEx. It says the police stood by and allowed...

Life-saving branded a crime

Dozens of activists from NGOs including Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières are facing up to 20 years in prison in Italy on “human trafficking” charges after they saved thousands in the Mediterranean. Italian prosecutors claim that rescue ships arranged direct transfer of refugees from smugglers before returning the boats for further use. “Saving lives is never a crime…,” Francesca Cancellaro, lawyer for the crew of the Iuventa (a former fishing vessel, operated by a German NGO), told the Guardian. “While the EU turned away from the Mediterranean, transforming it into a mass grave...

Inequality kills

This virus threatens the worse-off much more than the rich. Neither the scientists nor we know exactly how to combat the virus in general terms, but we do know what can and must be done to shield the worse-off. In some countries, the first cases of Covid-19 were among better-off people who’d travelled as tourists to early-affected countries. But everywhere, as the pandemic proceeds, the worst-off are hit hardest. The virus hits elderly people, or those with other health problems, much more than the young and otherwise healthy, and men somewhat more than women. But rich elderly men are doing ok...

Italy: the bankruptcy of our rulers and the necessity of a new order

For the last 30 years or so we have heard little from those in power but the virtues and the inevitability of capitalism. Today we are witnessing in the face of the ever-spreading coronavirus epidemic a failure so total that literally it manifests itself in the lives of everyone on this earth. The scale of the virus"s effects where no country is immune liquidates distance or lines of combat, metaphorical or otherwise. Emblematic is the idea of Security! Bandied about by every political rogue and racist charlatan against immigrants, poisoning the mind and sowing division among workers, with the...

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