Berlusconi has lost his majority in the lower house of the Italian parliament. Although he won a vote on the latest round of austerity measures included in the budget, he did so with less than half the votes of the MPs in parliament. The result of the vote was 308 in favour, 1 abstention, but with the majority of MPs not voting. This means the budget was approved but now Berlusconi stands naked having lost his parliamentary majority. His days are numbered and the pressure is mounting for him to go.

On October 15 Rome saw one of the biggest demonstrations of the last few years in Italy. Up to half a million people flooded the streets of the capital. Not only was this a huge demonstration in terms of the numbers taking part, but even more significantly you could hear the most radical slogans of the last decade. The masses, inspired by Athens, Madrid and New York, chanted “we don’t want to pay the debt”, “No to austerity”, “No to the dictatorship of the ECB and the banks”, etc.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the demonstrations against the G8 in Genoa. Those demonstrations are still remembered today because of the brutal repression by the police and the forces of the state, which led to the murder of Carlo Giuliani.

Berlusconi and the rightwing lost this round of local elections. Berlusconi had put everything at stake in this election, and particularly in the results in Milan, on the grounds that a victory for the PDL (the party of Freedom, his own creation) there, would have strengthened his shaky national government.

Although we have seen massive general strikes and huge protest demonstrations in Italy in recent years, the overall level of strikes dropped significantly, in some years hitting all time lows. But now we are witnessing a reawakening of working class militancy, starting with the metalworkers and in particular the FIAT car workers.

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