A wave of evictions and arrests of militants from radical and housing rights movements began just a few days after the notable victory of Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party in the European elections. The operation’s goal is clear: to evict and attack as quickly and effectively as possible during this honeymoon period between the electors and the Democratic Party (PD). Speed is of the essence as Italy will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from the beginning of July and protests have already been announced for July 11 when EU ministers meet in Turin to discuss youth unemployment.
On May 28, in Bologna, the university collective CUA (linked to the Autonomous movement) was evicted from the Studentato Taksim, a building which they occupied in October. The building had been abandoned and was occupied as a protest against the high rents and the lack of publicly funded accommodation for students from outside the city.
On May Day, as in many other places around the world, thousands of people gathered in squares and streets all over Italy to celebrate International Workers’ Day. The celebrations took different forms, from concerts to direct action such as disputes with shops which had stayed open.
May Day was particularly tense in Turin. There was a large demonstration in which both centre-left parties like the PD and radical social movements (which marched together in a distinct group, the so-called spezzone sociale ) took part. At one point, the presence of the PD deputy Stefano Esposito – a prominent supporter of the TAV project – led to challenges by social movement and NoTAV activists. Groups from the Spezzone Sociale chanting ‘fuori il PD dal corteo!’ (‘PD out of the march!’) were attacked and clashed with police forces.
Posted in Grassroots movements, Labour, Political parties, Politics, Unions, [en]
Tagged CGIL, CISL, Democratic Party, May Day, notav, police, Turin, UIL
Federico Aldrovandi’s parents and friends have become used to the noisy actions of the Coisp police union in defending the killers of the 18 year old boy, murdered in 2005 in Ferrara by four police officers. But on April 29 the ultimate provocation came from another union, SAP, during its conference in Rimini.
Union members applauded for five minutes and gave a standing ovation to the officers who were found guilty of culpable homicide in 2012. The guilty verdict came at the end of a trial which had to contend with the killers’ colleagues changing tack and altering evidence, and was only arrived at thanks to the struggle of Federico’s parents and friends. And the sentences were quite mild, three years and six months of prison, then reduced to barely six months.
In February 2014, the killers returned to work, in Federico’s town.
Atlantide is a social centre in the Santo Stefano neighbourhood in the heart of Bologna’s old town. More precisely, it is situated in the cassero, an historic building which forms part of the city’s medieval gates. Atlantide was occupied in 1997 and for over 15 years it has been home to a number of LGBT, feminist and punk music collectives. The collectives self-manage the space on a voluntary basis and without public funds.
For almost a year, the social centre has been under threat of eviction. The city council, which owns the building, used a formal public competition to allocate the space to two associations. Atlantide, however, decided not to respect this decision. Entries in these public competitions are evaluated by a commission of representatives from the political parties. Given the parties’ strong prejudices and overall conservatism (SEL aside), more radical groups are most unlikely to be successful. This systematic exclusion from access to meeting space of a significant component of Bologna’s population can affect groups’ very existence. Atlantide activists strongly contest the right of the city council to decide which groups are allowed to exist and which are not.
At first glance, Giuliano Poletti, Minister of Labour and Social Policy in the Renzi government, could look like an old-fashioned left-wing politician: born into a farming family in the “red” Emilia-Romagna region, raised in the Communist Party, president of Legacoop, the main national organisation of cooperatives. He could be someone to provide a contrast to the Prime Minister’s attitude towards jobs (modelled on the inspiring figures of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair). But appearances can be deceptive.
In Italy the cooperative system is one of the main forces – together with Confindustria representing employers – pushing for even more deregulation of jobs. Italy is one of the European countries where job regulation particularly favours employers, as the result of a process starting around 20 years ago and mostly carried out by the centre-left Democratic Party and its earlier incarnations – the Democratic Party of the Left and the Democrats of the Left – with the most recent important contribution coming from Elsa Fornero, Mario Monti’s “technical” Minister of Labour. But Poletti’s action goes further.
The CGIL is Italy’s largest confederation of trade unions (secretary: Susanna Camusso) and includes as a member FIOM, the metalworkers’ federation (general secretary: Maurizio Landini; former president: Giorgio Cremaschi). Tension has been growing between CGIL and FIOM for some time and although there have been reassurances that all is well, it is obvious that all is far from harmonious.
What are the areas of contention?
The Tirreno Power coal-burning power station in Vado Ligure, near Savona, has been shut down by police at the request of the Public Prosecutor. This comes as a result of a three-year investigation by the Public Prosecutor into the plant’s effects on the environment and public health. The results of the investigation are very clear: the deaths of at least 400 people between 2000 and 2007 were linked to air pollution caused by the power station’s activity; between 1,700 and 2,000 local people were hospitalised for respiratory and heart diseases; and 450 children received medical care for asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.
Posted in Activism, Commons, Environment, Health, [en]
Tagged Carlo De Benedetti, Coal, Democratic Party, Environment, Liguria, pollution, Vado Ligure