Tom Wetzel details the Italian Factory Occupations of 1920, which matured beyond conventional trade unionism and at its height involved about 600,000 workers. This article was originally presented as a talk at the Conference on Workers' Self-Organization in St. Louis in 1988.
This was written the day after the racist shootings in Florence, where a right-wing extremist shot dead two Senegalese men, Samb Modou and Diop Mor, and injured another three, Moustapha Dieng, Sougou Mor and Mbenghe Cheike (who are all out of danger now). Despite being focused on Italy and its history, I think it could be applied to any other country and to many other political issues. Real transformation can only come from a radical questioning of ourselves, our prejudices, and our ways of doing things.
After the shootings of 3 days ago in Florence at the hand of a right-wing extremist who killed two Senegalese street vendors and injured another three, Senegalese migrants joined by local residents and antiracist organisations improvised a march through the city centre, ending at the local Court.
As I wrote a few days ago, the NO TAV movement was planning a huge day of mobilisation on December 8, for the anniversary of what has become known as “The Battle of Venaus” in 2005, where activists managed to defeat police and security forces and take back parts of the valley that had been evicted and cleared up in the previous days.
Last Sunday, December 4, the town of Pisa in Tuscany saw a successful day of struggle and community involvement. More than 100 people responded to the call out by the Occupy Pisa folks and turned the day into a great opportunity for socialising and debate. During the last few weeks the Occupy Pisa group have already reappropriated 2 buildings in the historical city centre.
In Rome, activist women responded to the #occupypatriarchy call ut initiated by the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The group, composed of students, precarious workers and migrants, marched through the city centre’s high streets on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.