Everyone will remember the massive demonstrations that took place last year in July during the G8 summit in Genoa (Italy). Tragically a young Italian student was shot dead by the police. The police, backed by the government, were clearly out to smash the movement. Could measures have been taken beforehand to avoid this and to better defend the demonstrations? Clearly the "leadership" of the movement was unprepared for what happened. 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. The Swedish police fired on demonstrators in Gothenburg. The Italian police shot a demonstrator dead. The brutality of the police is increasing on an international scale. This reflects the growing class contradictions within society. Gone are the days of "peaceful dialogue". The capitalist system is preparing to take back all the reforms granted in the past. This will lead to major class conflicts. The bourgeoisie is preparing its instruments of repression. The labour movement and the youth must also prepare. (February 13, 2002)

On 3rd April 100,000 people marched in a demonstration in Rome against the NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia. A week later another demonstration of over 50,000 took place. There is a lot of opposition to the NATO bombing among the workers and youth in Italy in spite of the government's support.

The defeat of the Olive Tree coalition in the recent general election in Italy came as no surprise to anyone. In the past five years it had carried out a series of anti-working class measures that had led to the disillusionment of a significant layer of workers and youth. The Olive Tree was an alliance between the PDS (Party of the Democratic Left, now known as the Left Democrats, simply DS) and a a number of smaller, bourgeois parties. Its policies were in line with the needs of the capitalists rather than those of the workers.

The general strike in Italy on April 16 was much more than just a major work stoppage lasting eight hours involving more than 10 million workers. It was also a major milestone in a process that started a number of years ago and that has already gone through a number of qualitatively important stages: e.g. the metal workers' general strike on July 6 last year, the anti-G8 demonstrations last year in Genoa on the day following the murder of Carlo Giuliani by the police (and in spite of the government's threats) in which more than 300,000 people took part and finally the national demonstration in Rome organised by the CGIL trade union on March 23 this year in which more than 2.5 million workers, students and pensioners took part.

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