The Italian working class is now facing a crossroads. Since the year 2001 Italy has witnessed an uninterrupted series of mass mobilisations, probably the biggest ever in Italian history. But no mass movement can continue indefinitely forever if it does not achieve at least some results. This is the problem which is now facing the Italian working class and in particular its vanguard.
After two years of uninterrupted mass mobilisations, the political landscape in Italy is now changing. Since 2001 we have witnessed a whole series of struggles, including two 24hour general strikes and two multi-million demonstrations in Rome. The main point on the agenda now is not the next demonstration, but the necessary evaluation of the recent events, of the experience the masses have been through.
The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, does not know the meaning of shame. In an interview last week he said that Mussolini, "never murdered anyone, he sent people on holiday into internal exile". We can, of course, but laugh at all these "statements": the fact remains that, in spite of his seemingly "crazy" outbursts, Berlusconi does represent an important wing of the Italian bourgeoisie.
On Friday October 24, about ten million workers took part in a 4-hour
general strike called by the trade unions against Berlusconi’s proposed
counter-reform of the pension system. 1.5 million people workers
participated in over 100 demonstrations throughout the whole of Italy.
The strike was particularly successful in the public sector, in
education, public transport, and the railways. It indicates that within
a short space of time we will be facing a new and maybe decisive
turning point in the class struggle in Italy.
Italy has been rocked by a number of strikes during the last six weeks. The municipal transport workers have been in the forefront, together with those at Alitalia. A new mood of militancy is developing among the Italian working class.
At the end of last year, the Italian multinational company Parmalat collapsed like a house of cards after its management had admitted to falsifying the accounts for a period of at least 14 years. We cannot understand what happened if we see it merely in terms of personal greed. It is not simply a question of greed. The crisis of Parmalat flows from the deep crisis of the Italian economy.