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.

Badoglio, having overthrown Mussolini in July 1943, then proceeded to impose military rule over the Italian masses. His role was to hold back the masses with the help of the Allied forces. Scandalously Stalin recognised the Badoglio government. Here we reproduce an article by Ted Grant on this turn of events written in 1944.