A well-attended demonstration (between 10 and 20 thousand people) against the Green Pass was held in Rome on Saturday, 9 October. The instigators were a varied bunch: from the "sincere democrats" who brandished copies of the Constitution, and the rights enshrined therein, to the galaxy of the far right who were (in an irony of propaganda) "against the health dictatorship" and for "freedom!”.
They ranged from outright anti-vaxxers to those just opposed to the Green Pass.1 The Italian national flag, and the slogans "we are the people", were the main features of the event. At a certain point a section of the neo-fascist Forza Nuova militants and thugs broke away from the procession to head towards the CGIL national headquarters in Corso Italia, which they entered, smashing and destroying everything they found inside.
First of all, it is surprising that the “forces of law and order”, always so quick and efficient when it comes to cudgeling workers and pickets or zealously repressing the demonstrations of the rank and file unions, regularly preventing them from approaching the "citadels of power", have not intervened with the same sense of duty and the same speed to halt a fascist mob from carrying out its heroic deeds. At the same time they allowed the bulk of the demonstration to "besiege" Palazzo Chigi (the Presidential Palace) and Montecitorio (Parliament).
It is not up to us to defend the CGIL or any of the other unions, as we know the role they have played for decades, namely ensuring social peace, signing rubbish contracts, accepting and arranging job restructuring with layoffs, containing the workers' anger and will to struggle, and aligning the proletariat with the interests of the national capitalist economy.
But there is something more that needs to be emphasised here. The economic crisis of capital aggravated by the pandemic and its management by the bourgeois governments will soon lead to – indeed we can already predict the next recessionary wave – a formidable and very heavy attack against the living and working conditions of the working class. On the other hand, we are beginning to see workers reacting albeit timidly and badly organised in the first attempts at resistance and response, even if only on the ground of defence of immediate interests. Sections of the working class who, although operating today on an exclusively trade union terrain with a reformist political content, could one day raise the level of class conflict and begin to oppose the demand for more sacrifices and cuts in a truly anti-capitalist sense, that is, directing their sacrosanct defence struggles towards political confrontation with the root of all evil: capitalism.
We know that to achieve this there is a whole bumpy and very difficult path of reconstruction and work in the wider working class by revolutionaries who, as the direct expression of a communist party, know how to organise and direct the initiatives of the proletariat in the future, relaunching within it a programme and a strategy for the revolutionary overthrow of bourgeois society.
Today the fascist bogeyman cannot represent, as it did in the 1920s, with its assaults on the Chambers of Labour and workers' organisations, the first step for a regime change towards a dictatorship, which replaces the bosses’ democracy and the bourgeois parliament with a military and fascist regime, also because today's CGIL unlike the 1920s Chambers of Labour, is in effect a pillar of capitalist preservation, fully integrated into the system. Today bourgeois democracy is still the best form for capital “to manage its dominant interests" (Lenin). But the signal that is given is precisely that of using and letting the fascist gangs act, often with impunity, to use them as intimidation, to frighten and threaten the first resurgent workers' struggles in such a way as to bring them back into the quiet and democratic acceptance of the attacks that capital crisis targets them. On the other hand, the union did not miss the opportunity to claim its new-found innocence and present itself as a champion of the workers, after decades of putting signatures to anti-worker policies in support of capital. So now CGIL leader Landini has taken the opportunity to call for democratic mobilisation (never a strike!) in support of the union for next Saturday 16 October. The situation for the class is becoming difficult, the unions need to recover their credibility if they are to play a role in controlling, weakening and extinguishing the future upheavals that could come from the workers’ struggles.
Let’s overlook the hypocritical and false indignation of the democratic forces at these acts of violence and the references to anti-fascism, which the whole parliamentary uses in the theatre of mass media, whilst in reality giving free rein to the gangs of thugs and sit quite happily in government with forces such as the Lega and Fratelli d'Italia which contain fascists and thugs of the 70s in their ranks, as well as municipal councillors who are also members of openly neo-Nazi movements. As far as Communists are concerned we need to go back to revive and put forward the "old", but evergreen, class and revolutionary slogans. Democracy and fascism are just two faces of capitalism.
If, it goes without saying, we are always against the fascist mob, who are always anti-proletarian, this does not mean that we forget the anti-proletarian role of the union, which will never see us among its defenders whatever the situation.
The task of the working class and for revolutionaries within it, again and again, is to rebuild and direct the struggles for a revolutionary perspective both today and in the future, for socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat!
11 October 2021
Photo from: youtube.com
- 1Or European Digital Covid Visa. It can be issued to anyone either fully vaccinated, recently recovered from Covid or tested negative within the previous 72 hours. Originally designed to facilitate travel throughout the EU, it became necessary for all travel or to enter places of public entertainment. As of yesterday (15 October) all Italian workers have to have it to enter work or face suspension and/or dismissal. According to the latest official figures 81% of Italians over the age of 12 are now doubly vaccinated. According to opinion polls, two thirds of the population support the measures as health measures, but there have been protests like the one referred to here. They are mainly driven by the capitalist right and the petty bourgeoisie who have regarded all covid restrictions as a threat to their money-making activities, but now some workers, perhaps fearful of the Green Pass being used to lay them off, have been drawn in. Some port workers in Genoa, Trieste and Ancona have struck and demonstrated against the Green Pass. In Genoa this was no more than 300 (and the videos show a lot of very well dressed women making the most noise). However in Trieste (in Friuli-Venezia Giulia province), a stronghold of the political right, only 40% of port workers are vaccinated and at least 5,000 demonstrated (although it is not clear how many were actually workers as here too many came from “outside”). The organisers actually turned away contingents from the fascist Forza Nuova and Casapound in light of the events in Rome the article above refers to. Ironically one banner carried the slogan of “no to the fascistic Green Pass”. Elswhere in Italy there were a number of very small demonstrations (the one in Milan had only 80 participants). As the article above states today (16 October) the unions are calling an anti-fascist demonstration in Rome. (CWO)