Italy, october 2002


Employers' strategy and struggle evolution

The present restructuring process , as result and necessary consequence of the crisis level reached by Italy today inside a specific European and international context, carries to struggles' proportioning and to an exacerbation of the capital/job clash, together with more or less clear implications , which have a great importance for proletarian independence.
Considering some basic elements regarding the current phase, relative to the economic and political measures the government is taking to come into the economic indicators fixed by the Stability Pact, it's clear the necessity for proletariat more then ever to be determinant, and not fatally determinate by those who want it taken up by pseudo conflict reasoning (which belongs to regime Trade Unions!) or alienated and deprived of its last rights to struggle and to self-organization.
The difficult increasing of Italian economy has to be seen into European dynamics, inside which even countries as France and Germany are not able to come into the numbers imposed by the Monetary Union regarding, for example, the ratio deficit/GDP or the highest inflation rate; the Berlusconi government (never very different by its centre-left predecessors) is trying to solve these problems with the 2003 Financial Act , macroeconomic manoeuvring at proletariat's own expenses. The aim to respect the convergence criteria doesn't bring anything new: cuttings to health board ( with a probable future institution of private mutual services); cuttings to social expenses; block of open-ended employment into public structures; cutting of the 20% of school contributors and the 40% of temporary staff; reduction of expenses and a strong control on municipalities, provincial and administrations; absolute dismissal of southern problems.
Then, we have to underline the increase of sources for armed forces and police ( 205 millions of Euro ). This shows us how they want to reinforce the war and repressive apparatus: on one side in perspective of the imperialist war against Iraq, on the other side in continuity with the restriction of the freedom to express conflicts.
These are the principal points of the Financial Act, together with the "optimisation" of new exploitation forms, started in 1993 by the centre-left government ("Treu Act"): temporary work, job on call, sharing job, and so on. There is also an attempt to have easier indiscriminate dismissals (amendments to the art. n18 of the Workers' Statute of Rights), and a great repression against whoever tries to struggle against temporary employment and exploitation, that we can see into statistics, because the so-called increasing of employment means only increasing of flexibility.
Italian capitalism crisis, which is clearly showed by the FIAT problem, is pushed by the general financial clash (some experts are talking about a new possible crash of Wall Street, as in 1929). They are trying to stop the crisis ( underlined by the incapacity for reaching the economic indicators of the Central European Bank), on the internal front through a different industrial economy at workers' expenses; while on the external front they are trying to stop it adapting to EU and USA dictates and taking part to the probable war against Iraq.
In short, this is the situation which is bringing to adequate changes in terms of social control, because conflicts are growing in front of unbearable life and work conditions; conditions which are going to become worse because they are going to be necessary more severe reforms, to balance the budget; we can read in the world economic report of the IMF:" Italy has got do more efforts to satisfy the engagement to balance its budget". The order is to make market reforms pushed by great efforts by proletariat, which today is more diversified because of the presence of many immigrants, which have been deluded to be regularized in the work and in their sojourn in Italy; instead they are facing another blackmail, because if they are unemployed they are obliged to pay false employers to obtain a new residence permit; and also because they are subject to booking through fingerprints.
For this reason, it is important to underline these last months' mobilization in support of immigrants, against the Bossi-Fini law (as continuation of the Turco-Napolitano law, made by the centre-left government); a mobilization which has been able to express the basic concept of class solidarity, and so the necessity for the whole proletariat to find again the awareness of the common exploitation; surely this is a terminology not used by the regime trade-union, the CGIL!
As mobilizations culminated in 18th October demonstrations, against the amendment to the art. 18 of the Workers Statute of Rights, and for its extension to any sector job sector; those demo have characterized most of strikes ; the statistic published in July, strikes have had an increasing of the 454% during the last year.
Anyway there is a clearer diversification among trade-unions.
The CGIL has got a widespread structure in the whole country, and the leadership on strikes; during last months it has carried out two subjects (the battle on the art.18 and refusing to sign the Pact for Italy) which have allowed it to win back credibility among many workers, and among someone who had left it before.
On the other side there are self-organized groups which sometimes are able to express more valid political contents, and they are nearer to needs of whom lives on his own skin flexibility and unemployment, and whom carries on the struggle using his own voice and not a good orator's voice.
Now, without deepening other important differences inside self-organization, the first step is to understand that today for proletariat there is the need to build an independent struggle, showing how it is impossible to come into regime trade unions compatibility, in spite of temporary illusions : recovering a total separation from an infra-institutional logic, which only sometimes seems to be interesting, but substantially it doesn't coincide with workers and proletarian interest.
For instance CGIL's proposals to solve the tragic problem of the FIAT, are directed towards a change by government and general Motors, to keep car industry, which "cannot be missing in an advanced capitalism country".
We can even have to consider this aspect in the conjuncture, because keeping the industry means keeping employment; but the demand have not to be based on Italian economic competitiveness, but on workers' exigencies. Sometimes they allow workers to disagree, but not to question the basic line, that is bargaining; so, it is clear that only recovering its collective awareness and having an autonomous acknowledge , the class can have instruments to be independent from the CGIL and to create a new kind of struggle, without copying the CGIL itself, and widening its structures.

Then, it is important to underline the repression which is developing in our country.
During last months, the example has been given by these facts:
two times police asked for the CGIL members list; this fact has been previously justified as an individual done by some policeman, and after it has been forgotten by press.
More recently some workers have been arrested after their registration to CGIL.
beyond these facts, which make a great sensation, there are many other threats towards all workers which organize themselves and struggle. The foresight pointed against the CGIL, does not mean its radicalisation, but it shows infra-institutional discrepancies, into which the class has not any interest because it is not absolute protagonist of its future.
The charge of the restriction to the freedom to struggle and the consequent repression, is the other side of the coin, for which the proletariat tries to be prominent, and not an object.