In this article, Dario Salvetti, a supporter of the Italian Marxist journal, FalceMartello, who actively took part in the Genoa demonstrations analyses the limits of the movement and draws a balance sheet of what should have been done. We believe that the lessons drawn should be taken on board internationally and applied in the future.

It is simply impossible to estimate the real size of the demonstration which flooded the whole centre of Rome on Saturday March 23, but it is likely that the figure was close to three million people. There were six different sections marching from different points and converging on the centre of Rome, in the Circus Maximus. This day will not be easily forgotten.

The Italian general strike of April 16, the first in 20 years, was a milestone in the class struggle taking place. More than 10 million workers went on strike and over 2 million participated in demonstrations up and down the country. Prime Minister Berlusconi's ambition is to emulate Margaret Thatcher by inflicting a significant blow on the labour movement, and the CGIL trade union federation in particular. By doing so he wants to bring the other two federations, the CISL and UIL to heel, opening the way for the bosses to make an onslaught on workers' rights.

We are publishing this first immediate report on today's general strike in Italy. (A more detailed report will follow in the next few days.) 13 million workers came out on strike, which is more than the total trade union membership of CGIL, CISL and UIL combined. 2 million workers came out on demonstrations in 21 cities all over Italy. After many years of defeat and compromise the Italian working class is back on the offensive.

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