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
At the end of 2010, there was widespread protest by students and university precarious workers against the reform of the university system in Italy. This reform took place during Silvio Berlusconi’s government, and was drafted by minister Mariastella Gelmini.
If two images were chosen to represent this struggle, they would be the occupation by students and workers of university roofs and monuments (including the Coliseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa), and the demonstration in Rome on 14 December 2010 which culminated in clashes in Piazza del Popolo. Throughout that day, the Italian capital’s streets were filled by students and workers as Parliament discussed whether to approve the reform. Over the previous few days the government had shown many signs of instability, and it was thought that the reform vote would bring it down. The demonstration aimed both to stop approval of the reform and to accelerate the fall of the government.
On 5 February 2014 Ancona’s centre-left city council evicted refugees and homeless people from the Casa de Nialtri housing occupation. The Casa was a former infant school (disused for three years) which had been occupied on 22 December by people from a large network of grassroots groups and associations, together with a number of Italian and migrant homeless people. The Casa – the first housing occupation in Ancona for more than two decades – provided a home to around 60 people.
Most of the migrants involved had been trying to get assistance from the social services over the past few months but nothing useful had been forthcoming. For North African migrants, the situation had become much worse after the end of the Emergenza Nordafrica Project (the controversial programme put together by Italian authorities to assist North African refugees). In Ancona, the end of this programme meant that a large number of refugees were abandoned in February 2013, with no income, no accommodation and only able to stay in the public dormitory (which has just 30 places) for a limited number of nights in the year. The Casa, by contrast, was supported by most of the neighbourhood’s residents, some of whom brought food and clothes to the occupiers.