Italy

Italy has been struck by a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to further lockdown measures. With the government doing little to support those faced with infection and unemployment, sections of the working class and middle class have demonstrated in frustration. This anger must be channelled in a positive direction by the workers' movement, whose leaders have so far refused to offer any way forward.

Fred Weston, editor for marxist.com, explains how the Italian left wrecked itself on the rocks of 'lesser-evilism', starting in the 1970s. With early voting for the US elections underway, and huge pressure on the left to vote for Joe Biden in order to kick out Donald Trump, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the Italian experience.

Since the beginning of the healthcare crisis, the decrees issued by the Conte government have, one after the other, increased the number of restrictions. This is on top of the ordinances from the different regions. A campaign has developed and has promoted social distancing through calls to stay at home, hashtags and appeals. But all this fervour did not affect the millions of workers forced to continue going to work in non-essential companies and services.

The comrades of the IMT in Italy, Sinistra Classe Rivoluzione launched a campaign, “Workers are not cannon fodder” for the closure of all non-essential production, with the workers to be sent home on full pay, and where work is deemed essential for full protective equipment to be provided and safety procedures strictly adhered to. Their campaign appeal saw over 200 trade union shop stewards and activists sign up immediately, and more workers are signing every day. Add your name to show your support!

This evening, at 7pm Italian time (6pm BST), an online meeting is taking place, with some key trade union activists taking part, to discuss the way forward in the important struggle of the Italian workers. A simultaneous translation into English will be provided for an international audience. We invite you to tune in and listen to the proceedings of this important meeting right here on marxist.com, or on our YouTube channel.

The social distancing measures necessary to fight against the spread of the coronavirus that we have been subjected to for several weeks have been promoted through media campaigns that highlight the advantages of staying at home. “Finally we can dedicate ourselves to all those things we don’t normally have time for in the hustle and bustle of daily life”: reading, yoga, watching a nice film, the more hobbies the better… But the reality is very different. 

The coronavirus crisis in Italy has brought out the real nature of the capitalist system that is now evident to millions of working people. Profit is being placed before lives, but the working class is reacting with militant strike action. What lessons can be drawn from this experience for the workers of other countries? Fred Weston explains.

Watch our second livestream with Claudio Bellotti, editor of the Italian Marxist newspaper Rivoluzione, right here on marxist.com! We will discuss the ongoing political crisis and strike wave in Italy, where the working-class are showing the world how to fight the bosses’ attempts to make them shoulder the burden of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with strike action by the working class and pressure from the bosses, the Italian government has flip-flopped on shutting down non-essential production to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Now the workers in Lombardy are preparing a general strike, with other parts of the country set to follow. A stormy new period is being prepared.

The following statement by trade union activists in Italy explains how neither the governments’ response, nor the passivity of the Italian mass organisations, have been equal to the task of fighting this public health emergency. The workers will not die on the altar of profit!

Join us TONIGHT (18 March) at 6pm GMT as we conduct a live interview with Claudio Bellotti, editor of the Italian Marxist newspaper Rivoluzione. We will be discussing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, as well as the ongoing strike wave in many parts of the country. You can watch a previous video of Claudio talking about the emergency here. Watch the video, posted below, right here on marxist.com!

Claudio Bellotti - editor of Rivoluzione - discusses the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, which has the second-most cases after China. Around 24,000 people have been confirmed to have the disease. This emergency has exposed the underlying rot in Italian capitalism. A public health crisis has been brewing for decades, due to massive cuts to the Italian health system over the course of 30 years. Meanwhile, the erratic reaction of the government reflects the weakness and divisions in the ruling class.

The following article, originally published on 26 February by Sinistra classe rivoluzione, criticises the Italian government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. Rather than inform the public and protect public health, the government has instead created needless panic, enacted inefficient measures, and suppressed the rights to strike and public assembly.