Protests and strikes all over Italy on Nov 14

Tens of thousands took part in demonstrations in about 100 Italian towns as part of the 14 November European general strike. Strikes affected many sectors including, amongst others, schools, railways, public transport and healthcare while students demonstrated around the country, leading to fighting with police.

The biggest protests were in Rome, where an estimated 50,000 people joined the demonstrations and which saw bitter fighting between police and protesters. Milan saw three different demonstrations with total attendance at around 10,000. One was from the CGIL (the largest of the mainstream unions), who had also called a four-hour strike for the day. The students held the largest demonstration in Milan, estimated at around 5,000, which also saw clashes with police. Sticks, eggs and flares were thrown at police, banks and an elite private university.

Union Sindacale Italiana: Interview with Italian anarcho-syndicalist

For part of the last year, South London Local of SolFed has had Cesare, from Unione Sindacale Italiana (USI), the Italian section of our International, as our comrade and guest. As he is returning to Italy, we took the opportunity to interview him about USI, and the situation for workers organising in Italy.

SLSF: What is the size of USI and how is it broken down by region and industry?

Cesare: We have about 1000 dues paying members and about 500 more who are in arrears. We are concentrated in the north of Italy, particularly Lombardy and Emilia. At our last Congress we had new sections join from Genoa, Fiat workers from Portense and health workers in Tuscany.

Italy: Fighting Neoliberal Reforms in Education

Since October last year, students from all over Italy have been involved in a wide number of protests against new laws which are aiming to introduce neoliberal reforms in both schools and universities. These new laws, law 133 and law 169, have been put forward by minister of education Mariastella Gelmini who is aiming to balance the government’s books through cutting public expenditure in education. The main thrust of the new laws are: