Italy: the assassination of Marco Biagi is a gift to reaction

We received this statement, from the Editorial Board of the Italian Marxist paper FalceMartello after the assassination of Marco Biagi, an Italian Labour Ministry advisor, in Bologna. Since the statement was written, the Red Brigades have apparently claimed responsibility for the assassination.

[Note: we received this statement, written by the Editorial Board of FalceMartello after the assassination of Marco Biagi in Bologna. Since the statement was written, the Red Brigades have apparently claimed responsibility for the assassination. Nonetheless the points made in the statement, we believe, remain valid.]

Only a few hours have passed since Marco Biagi, an Italian Labour Ministry advisor, was killed; not enough time to make an in-depth analysis of the reasons behind the killing, let alone to see clearly who was responsible. However that does not mean we cannot draw a balance sheet of the political effects of this killing. There has been a flood of rhetoric, an explosion of sheer reaction. We have no intention of indulging in cheap "conspiracy theories", however we do need to underline some important features:

  1. In July, a few weeks before the G8 summit was to be held in Genoa, there was a series of dynamite attacks (against police stations, Berlusconi-owned Mediaset offices, etc) which helped to build up the "right atmosphere" to justify preventive attacks against the movement, which in turn was to lead to severe repression and to the murder of Carlo Giuliani.
  2. After the Palavobis [a sports facility in Milan] demonstration [a 40,000-strong demonstration of generally left-wing people against the government], the Minister for Internal Affairs [Home Secretary], Scajola, was predicting "acts of violence". He was right, and a few days later a bomb exploded at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, causing only slight damage to the building.
  3. A few days ago, the weekly magazine Panorama (a publication belonging to Berlusconi) "intercepted" a report by the secret services for the Internal Affairs Ministry, which warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks closely related to the question of Article 18 [the Italian government wants to change this article which defends workers that are sacked "without a justified reason"). The report also revealed that government advisors could be among the potential targets.
  4. We have just learned from the newspapers that three months ago Biagi and other officials had their personal bodyguards removed.
  5. Last, but not least: no one has yet claimed responsibility for the assassination. In all previous assassinations of this kind someone claimed responsibility. This is a politically-motivated murder, of course, but up till now there has not been any lead which might point the finger at the Red Brigades or other similar terrorist organizations. Blaming the Red Brigades is just a hypothesis.

We have never agreed with the idea that the secret services are always behind every terrorist attack or that every such attack is an expression of the so-called "strategy of tension". But it remains a fact that this murder cannot be clearly explained within the logic of the Red Brigades or similar groups, whereas the murder of D'Antona could be explained in this way. [D'Antona was another Ministry of Labour advisor who was killed three years ago.]

In 1999, within the general framework of a lull in the movement and with the huge frustration and feelings of impotence among many layers of workers, caused by the class-collaborationist policies of the centre-left government, the Red Brigades could have had the illusion that such an assassination might attract some support.

Today, however, the mood of the workers is very different. A huge mass demonstration is being prepared for Saturday March 23, and the workers will clearly understand the real nature of this attack. It will be seen as an act of sabotage against the workers' struggle, an act of gratuitous violence, that only benefits our class enemies.

The President of the Confindustria [Italian bosses' association], Antonio D'Amato, has already denounced the "mood of hatred" which, he says, has been generated by the struggle against the repeal of Article 18, and Berlusconi is adding similar comments. Vito Napoli, a Forza Italia MP [Berlusconi's party], said: "This is what you get if political dialogue is based on hatred.". Alessandro Cé, a Northern League MP [a coalition partner in the Berlusconi government], declared: "We should wait before drawing conclusions, but it remains a fact that by constantly blaming the government for attacking workers' rights a very dark mood is being creating."

This terrorist attack is being used to criminalize the workers' movement. The government is exploiting the blood of Biagi to regain the face it has lost as a result of the events in Genoa and of its anti-working class policies. The only possible answer is not to give up the struggle and to keep on fighting to defend our rights, with the only methods that will lead us to the final victory; the methods of mass mobilisation, of the general strike, of the active participation of millions of men and women in the fight for a better world.