Italy

The "sardines" took to the squares of Emilia in big numbers, and in the wake of their success, became a national movement in a matter of days. The first mobilisation was triggered in the capital of Bologna on 14 November, due to the presence of Salvini, who is doing a rally tour of the region with an eye on the 26 January elections.

Alan Woods is on tour in Italy for a series of public meetings titled “Revolution for the future: from the History of Bolshevism to the revolutions of tomorrow”, organised by Sinistra Classe Rivoluzione: the Italian section of the IMT. Here is a report of the first two meetings, in Milan and Bologna. Today, Alan is in Naples; and on Saturday, 9 November, he will be in Rome.

The Italian government crisis during the summer holidays has been settled with the birth of a new government, composed of the 5-Stars Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD). This represents a complete upending of the situation, sparked by the decision of former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, to break from the former coalition.

The Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu, which was docked at the port of Genoa to load military equipment to be used in the Yemen conflict, has left Italy without its intended cargo. This represents a great victory for the Genoese dockers, who refused to load the ship, which will now head to Alexandria, Egypt. At the Genoa port, a banner is still waving: "Stop arms trafficking, war on war."

8 March (International Working Women's Day) will be a day of struggle and mobilisation in Italy and beyond. Thousands will hit the streets to fight against continuous attacks to women's rights by alternating Italian governments. The economic crisis has worsened economic and social conditions, especially of working women; and social welfare cuts have pushed back the emancipation conquered over decades of struggle.

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.

A Marxist student comrade of the Progressive Youth Alliance, Rawal Asad, remains in jail on the charge of sedition, having had his bail hearing rejected. In addition to continued protest in Pakistan against this injustice, messages and photographs have been pouring in all week from all over the world demanding our comrade's release.

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

Just over 25 years after its foundation, the European Union looks like it could be falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Everywhere you look, the major parties are coming under increased pressure due to the heightening of the class struggle as a result of 10 years of crisis. This has meant that, in one country after another, the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way.

The conflict between the Italian government and the “Troika” (the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) is making news headlines around the world. To understand fully the meaning of this clash and its consequences, we need to go back to the political earthquake of the 4 March elections.

A crunch point is approaching in the ongoing saga surrounding the highly-indebted Italian economy. This could spark a revival of the dormant euro crisis.

Italy’s public debt stands at a staggering €2.3tn, or 132 percent of GDP: the third largest in the world after Japan and Greece. Furthermore, Italy’s banks hold the largest share of Europe's non-performing loans, totalling €224bn. Unlike Greece, which is a relatively small player in Europe, Italy has the third-largest economy in the Eurozone, contributing more than 15 percent of its overall GDP. Italy has now become a huge risk to the financial stability of the whole of the European Union.

Three months after the 4th March Italian elections, the new government of the Five Stars Movement and the League (formerly Northern league) has finally been sworn in by by the President of the Republic and a whole new situation opens up where these parties will be put to the test. This experience will prove to be a necessary experience in exposing in the eyes of the Italian working class the real nature, particularly of the Five Stars Movement and prepare the ground for a new wave of class struggle.