In a period of crisis and decline of capitalism, to many people religion is the one certainty to cling on to. But if the Pope himself is no longer convinced he can keep his position until his death, this illusion of solidity begins to break down. The effect of the surprise announcement of his retirement by Pope Benedict XVI on the consciousness of over a billion Roman Catholics is going to be that of a spiritual earthquake, and it is surely going to have political consequences too.

A crisis of the system is what emerges from the Italian elections of February 24/25. The Wall Street Journal reveals the concerns of the international bourgeoisie when it says that, “So far as the market is concerned, the Italian elections have produced the worst possible outcome.” Rather alarmed is also the Financial Times which published an editorial statement on February 26 with the title, “Italy takes a step into the unknown.”

As a step in our ongoing campaign in support of the workers at the FIAT plant in Pomigliano, Italy, we here publish an interview with the Italian activist Alessio Sammartino who talks about the resistance of the workers of the car factory against the draconian attacks against their working conditions. Please read more about Pomigliano and our campaign here.