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Italian Federation of Anarchist Communists Announces General Strike, April 5, 2002

Italian Federation of Anarchist Communists Announces General Strike, April 5, 2002


(Federation of Anarchist Communists)

Union Committee

Viale Durazzo Pallavicini, 4 (cancello)

16155 Genoa


The Berlusconi government will not back down on Article 18 of the Workers' Statute (1) and is openly challenging the workers' movement, social opposition, and the unions, asserting in a disparaging manner that he is not afraid of popular protest.

The attack on Article 18 is an attack on all workers, fixed and precarious, on young people, on the unemployed, on millions of women and men in this country.

This right-wing government wishes to make us all definitively slaves to the interests of business, to the profit of the few, and in order to do so it intends to blow all the rules that govern labour to the four winds.

Article 18, in fact, is just the tip of the iceberg of governmental rulings on work and social security, a packet of changes designed to increase even further precariousness and social uncertainty.

In the light of this offensive, we must respond with the highest possible form of mobilization at the workplace and in society in general.

Following the numerous initiatives launched by the different base unions culminating in the huge demonstration of February 15th, the CGIL (2) has called two dates -- a national demonstration in Rome on this coming March 23rd and a GENERAL STRIKE for April 5th.

For us, the general strike of April 5th marks an important step in the organization of protest against the government's measures and we therefore hope that it will not be revoked or postponed to another date in order to facilitate the participation of the CISL and UIL (3). We believe, instead, that on April 5th, and on the basis of clearly-defined independent statements and positions, there should be full participation of all revolutionary and base unions, in order to emphasize the class nature of the struggle against the government and Confindustria (4).

The obvious aggressiveness of the present executive cannot hide the seriousness of the responsabilities accumulated by the Ulivo (5), the CGIL, the CISL and the UIL in the recent years of centre-left government. Berlusconi is simply finalizing things, accelerating the anti-popular policies conceived and introduced by the governments of Prodi, D'Alema and Amato. Welfare and social security reforms, the privatizations of telecommunications and the railways, attacks on the health service and state education, tax incentives to employers, the introduction on a massive scale of limited-period or temporary work contracts, the failure to bring pay into line with inflation -- these are only some of the measures which characterized those governments, in collaboration with the CGIL, CISL and UIL.

For this very reason it is necessary that we turn the General Strike of April 5th into an occasion to impose a social platform which will demand:

* the extension of Article 18 to companies with fewer than 15 employees;

* a reduction of work hours to 35 hours, with wage parity;

* greater inflexibility in contract laws in order to reduce reliance on precarious and flexible labour

* the defence and widening of the welfare state;

* the reversal of all privatizations;

* the raising of pay to meet real inflation and the re-introduction of index- linked pay

* a minimum European wage;

* the removal of the anti-immigration measures of the Bossi-Fini Law.

On the basis of this platform, it will be possible to reconstruct the
autonomy and unity of the labour movement.

On the basis of this platform, we believe that the revolutionary and base unions can participate visibly in the demonstration of March 23rd in Rome, even if separately from the CGIL march.

On the basis of this platform, we hope that the general strike of April 5th will go ahead.

Genoa, 15th March 2002

Web: http://www.pandora.it/fdca

Email: fdca@pandora.it

Translator's notes:

(1) Article 18 of the Workers' Statute protects the worker in cases of unfair dismissal. Its removal would in effect make it a simple matter to dismiss workers.

(2) Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, the biggest trade union in Italy, traditionally connected to the (defunct) Italian Communist Party (PCI).

(3) Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori, 2nd biggest union, traditionally linked to the Christian Democrats. Unione Italiana del Lavoro, split from CGIL supported by the old Socialist Party.

(4) Confederazione Generale dell'Industria Italiana, the industrial employers'
federation of Italy. 'Nuff said.

(5) The Olive Tree, the centre-left coalition. A recent tradition has new Italian parties choosing "natural" names, like this one, the Daisy, the Sunflower, and even the Donkey (I kid you not!)