Clashes in Rome over high speed rail link

Clashes in Rome over high speed rail link

Hundreds of protesters opposed to the construction of a high speed rail link have clashed with police during a visit to Rome by the French President, Francios Hollande.

Protesters fought running battles with police as they tried to reach the French embassy where a meeting between Hollande and the Italian Prime Minster was due to take place. Opponents say that the $35 billion rail project between France & Italy will take over a decade to complete, will cause massive environmental damage, and will not serve any purpose.

Scuffles initially broke out at the Campo de' Fiori Square. The police had come dressed for a riot and forcibly pushed people away from the embassy, and down narrow streets. The protesters responded by throwing bottles and stones.

The high speed rail project has been at least ten years in the making and has led to countless protests and a rapidly growing resistance. Opponents are concerned about the environmental cost of construction of tunnels through the mountainous regions. A spokesperson for the campaign, Paulo Prieri, said that:

Quote:
“It’s a useless project that won’t serve any purpose except to spend public money”

The train will provide a link between Turin and Lyon and according to its backers will ‘improve transport links between the two countries’, and will ‘boost business’. As with the proposed high speed rail project in the UK, its real purpose will be to get chinless, pin striped businessmen, between bases quicker.

Leading up to the meeting the NoTav campaign had this to say:

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“Despite the opposition to the entire local population and TAV of a national movement, European governance continues to protect the interests of big powers and lobbies with decisions taken unlawfully, repression and military occupation of a territory. Under the blackmail of the debt, the sixth year of crisis economic and social has had devastating consequences for Italy in terms of general impoverishment, insecurity, mass unemployment and the dismantling of the welfare state. To this becomes the central theme of the allocation of public resources that should not be engaged in great works unnecessary and devastating for the territories. The 24 billion euro that will be allocated to the TAV in Val di Susa should be spent on a special plan on the house, to ensure the right to health, to invest in school and training, to ensure income to everybody.“

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working class s...
Nov 21 2013 16:22

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  • As with the proposed high speed rail project in the UK, its real purpose will be to get chinless, pin striped businessmen, between bases much quicker.

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Tart
Nov 21 2013 19:22

I do not know enough about this line but I would like to say it will not be just the chinless and pinstriped who will benefit from HS2. Capitalism does things horribly but it does not always follow that what it does is horrible. High speed electricaly powered transit is not such a bad thing.
We all know our water and sanitation superstructure was built to facilitate concentrations of population for wage slavery but those great pumping stations and miles of tunneling did a lot of good. HS2 is no bad trhing either.

working class s...
Nov 21 2013 22:05

Without going into all of the pro's and con's of HS2 - I am not really sure the benefits of (and need for) HS2 can be compared to the benefits of running water.

Ed
Nov 22 2013 00:19

Also, I don't know how relevant talking about HS2 is to the No Tav struggle.. I don't know much about HS2, but No Tav is basically about some north-western Italian communities being evicted from their homes to facilitate the building of high-speed trains mostly to benefit commercial transport (as Turin-Lyon is already served well-enough by the current train lines).. maybe HS2 isn't like that (I honestly have no idea), but it doesn't seem to matter that much with respects to this struggle..

S. Artesian
Nov 22 2013 16:25

Ed nails it. It doesn't matter what the benefits are, really. We-- that is to say revolutionists or whatever label you want to use--- don't support, or not oppose, capitalism or capitalist measures based on perceived benefits. It's the issue of who suffers.

The state, bourgeois or otherwise (by which I mean so-called socialist) can and does undertake any number of projects promising and even delivering "benefits"-- dams, irrigation channels, etc. etc. So what? That's their business literally.

HSR has benefits? No doubt, particularly if it can take planes out of the sky, but again, so what? The benefits of that are immaterial when and because construction of the network buttresses capital and the costs-- dispossession, displacement, and subsequent impoverishment-- are the burden of the working class.

This is why we, at least we should, oppose public works programs that the bourgeoisie toss around as "beneficial" "necessary"-- providing jobs after all, and "development."

Tart
Nov 22 2013 18:25

S Artesian- do you mean that as revolutionists we should oppose all public works?
I would support a community fighting against particular aspects of a rail construction project (or any other major work) or challenging the need for a particular project being built at all but some public works are of great benefit. They will be owned and used by capitalism for capitalism but it does not mean that a communist society would rip them up. I raised the point of HS2 because it was compared to this Tav line in the piece. I don't want to get bogged down on specifics of these railways but I want to know do you really mean we should be against any project that is run on a capitalist basis?

S. Artesian
Nov 23 2013 18:26
Tart wrote:
S Artesian- do you mean that as revolutionists we should oppose all public works?
I would support a community fighting against particular aspects of a rail construction project (or any other major work) or challenging the need for a particular project being built at all but some public works are of great benefit. They will be owned and used by capitalism for capitalism but it does not mean that a communist society would rip them up. I raised the point of HS2 because it was compared to this Tav line in the piece. I don't want to get bogged down on specifics of these railways but I want to know do you really mean we should be against any project that is run on a capitalist basis?

The position of Marx and Engels put it simply, IMO, and correctly: Not a farthing for this government.

So if the US wants authorization for funding something as "clearly" "humanitarian" aid to Haiti earthquake-- yes we oppose that as it will 1) be a vector for further military occupation 2) only reproduce the chronic conditions of poverty 3) probably make things worse-- like spreading cholera, things like that.

Brazil wants to build a damn to provide electric power and "bring light" to thousands? Bollocks-- they want to provide electricity to agribusinesses that need the dispossession of the local population.

I think we oppose all "public" works under capitalism, because they are not really public; they are designed-- as for example was the Interstate Highway system in the US-- to facilitate the military and economic power of the bourgeoisie.

Short version-- yeah, against every project done on a capitalist basis. We are not for "development." We're for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

I'm no "Luddite"-- although the Luddites got a bad rap-- I like technology-- but I am flat out against every and any measure that provides even the least, and any tangential support to capital. lt's not a technological issue; it's a class one.

Regarding the case in point, HSR-- what's the difference between the state building it as a public work and a private concern when it comes to "benefits"?-- and I ask that having spent 40 years in the rail industry.

The difference is the expense, the cost, the debt is the burden of the public-- that's the only public part of this. The economic benefits are benefits to the bourgeoisie. The environmental benefits are essentially a wash-- with the energy consumed in construction, and the pollutants released during the process wipe out, more or less, the gain from reduced motor vehicle traffic.

The environmental benefit comes if and when the airlines can be driven out of the market, but capitalist development is capitalist development, so any such "benefit" will be wiped out in short order by the "boost" such projects give to capitalism. .