Coronavirus: Working Class Solidarity in Italy

Amazing working-class solidarity going on in Italy. Here’s a compilation of scenes from the national cacelorazo on March 13. “We open the windows, go out on the balcony and make noise,” said the call that hoped to become “a giant free concert”. People are going to come out on their balconies again at midday on March 14 to give a huge round of applause to all the doctors and medics who are working so tirelessly.

Strikes in Milan, Mantua, Brescia, Terni, Marghera, Genoa, in large companies have continued in Electrolux, Iveco, Tenaris, Beretta and the Arcelor Mittal Group, among others, demanding that production is stopped and workers are kept safe. A growth in worker disobedience that forced President Conde to call a video conference with the unions and led the president of the Confindustria to say that the strikes are “irresponsible”.

They are not strikes for wages but for dignity, because the workers in the industry want to be treated like other workers. They demand to stop production to “sanitize, secure and reorganize workplaces,” as the metalworking unions demanded.

Metal workers at the Bitron Cormano factory near Milan told Radio Popolare that working under these conditions is very hard. “In February we asked for gloves, masks and antiseptics and they did nothing, so we went on strike.” They add: “It is very hard to work like this. We look at each other as if we were strangers. ”

The workers of the recovered factory Rimaflow in Milan (a similar factory to the movement of factories under workers control in Argentina), released a statement: “We believe that a real reduction in risks cannot fall on the most fragile and economically precarious sectors. To truly contain the epidemic, no one should be forced to go to work, everyone should have access to a quarantine income and the ability to receive basic services, treatments and needs at home. ”

They then say that in this very difficult situation, “we want to continue building ties of solidarity”, and offer their services to those who need it to care for children, buy food and take them to the homes of those who ask for it, providing their telephones and getting ready for any union and legal consultation.

What happens in neighborhoods, where there are more than a thousand social centers, deserves a separate mention. The players and fans of the local football club Borgata Gordiani, from the working class periphery of Rome, have made themselves available to “the elderly and anyone in difficulty”

Flyers were hung on the doors of buildings, offering, in solidarity, shopping and bringing them to families on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In that neighborhood where Passolini filmed some of his films, dozens of people were willing to work for others, as is also the case in the neighborhood’s social centre, and in many other Italian cities. Those old people who are being abandoned by the State and the businessmen are cared for by class solidarity.

Maybe in the midst of this crisis is emerging a vision of another world that could be possible?