National Sections of the L5I:

Italy: a massive demo against the Prodi government and USA imperialism

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While a large proportion of the protest marched in the name of pacifism rather than of anti-imperialism, this is another blow against the Prodi government and the political interests it defends. The leaders of the radical left parties inside the government coalition tried to minimize the significance of this demo and pretend to be at home on the streets of Vicenza. Thus Oliviero Diliberto of PDCI (a split from Rifondazione Comunista) considered that this demo would be a “stimulus” for the government to correct its wrong decision.

Others were more critical, like Piero Bernocchi of Cobas who correctly stated that “the government is not composed of comrades making an error, it is even worse than the Berlusconi government” given that this is “the seventh USA base that they enlarge”, continuing that “on the questions of schools, of workers rights, of secularism, they are making us swallow what the [right-wing] would have never dared, because they know there is no opposition.”

Indeed, last year’s budget law showed that Prodi - with his 30 billion euros austerity package is no friends of the workers. He is once again “reforming” the pensions, reducing the number of teachers, increasing the number of precarious workers in the state sector etc. The question of the US bases and the military interventions of Italy in Afghanistan and in Lebanon are extremely sensitive issues, as the anti-war movement against the Berlusconi government and its participation to the Iraq war were really massive and rocked the country for the first part of this decade. The Prodi government had promised to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, only to continue with their presence once in power, i.e. the same pro-USA imperialist line.

How has the government responded to this crisis? As usual - with more state repression, arresting a dozen trade-unionists a few days before the demo accused of reconstructing Brigate Rosse, a left terrorist group, and preparing new bombings. Italian newspaper headlines are full of sensational titles on the “spectrum of new terrorism”, clearly a way to shock ordinary workers, intimidate them and push them once again into the arms of class collaborationist union and parties. Thus here too Prodi is following in the steps of Berlusconi, whose “strategy of tension” during and after Genoa 2001, provoked mass resistance from workers and youth.

The task for revolutionaries in Italy is to link the opposition to the war to the struggle against the cuts of the social budgets. As a banner in the last demo denounced “The true terrorism is to build bases for the war.” Demos and strikes should bring together a strong mass movement demanding the leaders of the unions and the reformist workers parties stop supporting the government, close the USA bases and force the immediate redraw of Italian troops from the Middle East. The answer is to mobilise the rank and file to act independently of these leaders, indeed against them when they continue to act in the interests of the imperialists and their governments.

• Down with the class collaborationist Prodi government!
• No to austerity budgets and welfare cuts!
• Close down all the US bases in Italy! Withdraw all Italian troops from Afghanistan, Lebanon now!
• Not a man, not a penny for imperialist interventions in the Middle East!