“More than 100 survivors of a shipwreck in which hundreds of African immigrants died burst through the gates of a holding center on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Monday in a protest against the refusal of authorities to allow them to attend a funeral ceremony for the victims,” Reuters reported on October 21. At least 366 people, mainly Eritrean, died in the October 3 disaster. The survivors tried to catch a ferry to the Sicilian city of Agrigento, where an official ceremony was held.
Demonstrators clashed with police on October 19 as tens of thousands marched through Rome to protest against the government's intensifying austerity program. They chanted slogans against unemployment and government cuts to benefits and social housing programs. Many camped throughout the night in front of the Infrastructure Ministry.
October 3, 2013, will go down as one of the deadliest days at the European external borders in decades. It is now thought 363 people have died in one single, tragic incident. While the continuous, everyday deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean are met by silence, the magnitude of this "blood bath" spurred the Italian and international media to report it widely.
Luigi Preiti, a 49-year old unemployed man from the Calabria region of southern Italy, walked towards Palazzo Chigi on April 28, the seat of the Italian government in Rome, holding a gun. As the military police patrolling the palace tried to stop him, Preiti went on a shooting spree. He wounded two policemen before the he was restrained and arrested by the Carabinieri. Apparently, Preiti’s intended plan was “to kill a politician” and then commit suicide.
Italy faces a wave of devastating International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed austerity as European leaders struggle to contain the spreading debt crisis by disenfranchising their own citizens. On November 4, at the end of the G20 meeting in Cannes, the President of the EU Commission Jose Barroso announced that “Italy has asked on its initiative to the IMF to monitor its commitment to fiscal and economic reforms”.
The euro will survive for now — but only because working people in Greece and other European countries face greater suffering. That’s the not-so-hidden agenda behind the new US$227 billion bailout of Greece organised by the most powerful countries of the European Union, mainly France and Germany. The rescue comes little more than a year after a $155 billion rescue that was supposed to stop the debt crisis. See also: United States: the nonsense battle over debt
Rome’s Sapienza University is one of Italy’s most prestigious universities and Europe’s biggest with more than 140,000 enrolled students. But this northern autumn, despite the cold weather outside, Sapienza University — like many others in Italy — is at boiling point. The heat is in response to funding cuts to Italy’s public education system. Further cuts are in store if the university reform package proposed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right government is passed.
A million trade unionists marched past Rome’s Colosseum on October 16 in defence of rights that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government and Fiat bosses are trying to water down. The attacks are part of the government’s “deficit reduction” measures. Under red flags, and the banners of the metal workers’ union (FIOM-CGTI), workers from metal and other industries, students and opposition politicians shouted: “Strike, strike, strike!”
When I heard about the strike that was planned by Italian Football players in Serie A league on September 25 and 26 (but has been postponed), I wondered what familiar refrains would be used to attack it. The inevitable “millionaires complaining about their conditions” line was put by Yahoo Sports football blogger Brooks Peck in a September 12 piece. Peck’s article mocks the idea that the “rights” of “lavishly paid” players are being violated: “This is Cambodian sweatshop type stuff.”
On September 10, the players of the Serie A — Italy's top football league — declared they would strike on September 25 and 26. AC Milan defender Massimo Oddo, speaking on behalf of the Italian Players' Association (AIC) and the captains of all 20 Serie A clubs, made the declaration as a dispute over the renewal of the collective agreement for the game's top players intensifies. Serie A is trying to replace the old collective contract — which ran out on June 30 — with one that strips players’ rights in order to maximise profits for football clubs and their owners.
The global carbon market, which trades “pollution rights” to encourage industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions, grew in 2009. Far from signaling a success, this reflects a huge increase in fraud, the dumping of surplus emissions permits by industry, and a rise in financial speculation.
Italy reeled under the impact of a general strike on June 25 as trade unionists and their allies took to the streets to defend the welfare state against the Berlusconi government’s plans to slash public spending by about $36 billion. Transport workers led the action. Bus, tube and rail services were paralysed for four hours throughout the country. Airline employees, car workers and public-sector staff joined major demonstrations in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Naples.
Resistance is building in Europe against government attempts to force ordinary people to bailout the failed financial system of “casino” capitalism. After four general strikes in Greece this year, and two more planned, strike action is beginning in Spain against planned attacks on public services and welfare.
Farmer and civil society leaders carrying out a peaceful action on June 3 in Rome, at the UN Food and Agricultural Organization Summit on the Food Crisis were forcefully removed from the premises. During the action, the security guards seized a
On February 21, senators Franco Turigliatto from the Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC) and Ferdinando Rossi from the Party of Italian Communists (PDCI) disobeyed party instructions and abstained on a vote in support of the foreign policy of the government of prime minister Romano Prodi. Because of their action the vote was lost and, although not obliged to, Prodi chose to resign, throwing his nine-party Union coalition into crisis.