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.