Right-wing premier Berlusconi has announced his plans to modify
article 18 of the workers' statute (law protecting workers' rights) so
that it does not cover
workplaces with less than 15 workers. CGIL leader Sergio Cofferati
declared that his union would
reject all modifications and would do all in its power to stop such
being implemented. Strikes have already taken place, and it is clear
that the Italian working class will be in an even more combative mood
by the autumn. Berlusconi's anti-working class measures combined with
the effects of the current economic downturn are an explosive mixture.
After the government had reached an agreement with the other two trade union
federations (CISL and UIL), the main federation, the CGIL, under the
pressure of millions of workers, is preparing to organise another general
strike for October 18. This time Cofferati is forced to go it alone. This
will be the first time since 1968 that Italy will experience a "non-unitary"
This month marks 80 years since the rise of Fascism in Italy. The
were able to rise to power because the workers had faced a terrible
during the struggles of 1920. This article explains why that movement
to defeat and draws the lessons for today. In the autumn of 1920 all
the conditions for socialist revolution existed. At the crucial moment
when the workers could have taken power their "leaders" blocked the
road to revolution.