GENERAL STRIKE 2 DECEMBER – LOCAL DEMONSTRATIONS
3 DECEMBER – ROME – NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION
The national general strike of 2 December 2022 of all public and private sectors of basic and conflictual trade unionism (Usb, Si Cobas, Cub, Sgb, Unicobas, USI-ICL ) was well attended, especially in the public transport sector throughout the peninsula. Hundreds of thousands of men and women workers abstained from work and on the day of the strike they organised local demonstrations, garrisons and initiatives in many cities: Bologna, Modena, Parma, Trieste, Rome, Milan, Turin, Genoa, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Sassari, Ancona, Florence, Livorno, Pisa, Genoa, Piacenza and so on. From labourers to logistics, from public administration to schools, health, transport and services, they are calling for concrete action against war and the war economy, therefore against the staggering increase in military expenditure, against the high cost of living and the high cost of bills, to obtain indexed wages adjusted to the rising cost of living and the restoration of the escalator.
What is being contested is the absence in concrete terms of structural and long-term policies in favour of the working classes to redress the devastating impact of inflation on the lives of wage earners and pensioners that the current far-right Meloni government is pursuing in continuity with the failures of previous governments. Once again, the first to pay the consequences of the economic crisis are the citizens for the lack of major investments in schools, health, transport, and the environment.
The current government is also taking away a paltry citizenship income from the unemployed to give more resources to the bosses, showing its true face: taking from the poor to give to the rich, giving more freedom to corporations, first and foremost the oil companies and arms manufacturers and sellers who continue to make extra profits by speculating on the war economy.
Therefore, thousands of families are at risk of further impoverishment, thousands of companies are strangled by energy costs, and in Italy wages have not increased for years unlike in the rest of the OECD countries.
The protest went beyond the day of the strike and on 3 December, the day after, the grassroots unions promoted and self-organised in Rome, on the same platform of the united strike, a national demonstration joined by other social realities, student collectives, social centres, parties, etc. A delegation of European alternative trade unions participated. The demonstration was attended by thousands of participants from all over the country and in the pouring rain they marched through the streets of the city from Piazza della Repubblica to Piazza San Giovanni. Thousands of working men and women travelled by bus and train from all over the country since the night. On the eve of the strike there was, as usual, no shortage of controversy over the positioning in this national demonstration in Rome which, in our opinion, is nothing new in this city as it has happened on so many other occasions and evidently did not affect the quantitative and qualitative results of the strike and the two days of mobilisation. The two days proposed and covered by the grassroots and conflictual unions, starting from the unitary proclamation of the strike, to the local initiatives of 2 December and the national demonstration on Saturday 3 December are in fact the answer and the concrete demonstration that, in diversity, in struggles one can also cross the streets together. Another stage of concrete struggle therefore in the unitary path of the grassroots and conflictual unions, beyond the reach of the CGIL CISL UIL concerted unions, which followed the unitary general strike of 11 October 2021 and that of 20 May 2022 against war, the war economy and the government of war.
USI-ICL was present at the national demonstration on Saturday 3 December in Rome with its own banner ‘Masters of nothing Servants of no one’ with delegates and delegates from Rome, Bologna, Parma, Milan, Monza, Macerata and so on. We positioned ourselves following the opening banner ‘Lower the Arms Raise the Wages’, followed by the loudspeaker truck and the labourers’ banner. Screamed slogans from our megaphone including ‘Against the war of capital strike, general strike’, ‘Against the war wild strike and if that’s not enough, sabotage’, ‘Tout le monde deteste la police’, ‘Slaves! Never!”.
Rome. On the day of the general strike on 2 December, there were several garrisons in the city under the MIM (Ministry of Education and Merit), the MISE (Ministry of Economic Development), and the MEF (Ministry of Economy and Finance). At the same time, other social realities and citizen committees also participated in the protest. The Housing Struggle Movement occupied a building in Via Sicilia with 49 families to bring to the fore the problem of high rents and the housing emergency that needs concrete action and can be addressed as a right for all and not as a problem of public order. In the morning, a group of solidarity activists started a flash mob in Piazza della Repubblica in front of the Cultural Office of the Turkish embassy We see your crimes to denounce the bombing and use of chemical weapons by the Turkish and Iranian state in Rojava. The grassroots unions also attended a press conference under the Prefecture in p.za ss. Apostoli to denounce and inform public opinion of the ban on demonstrations in p.za Montecitorio, under the Chamber of Deputies or the seat of Parliament, and to call for the cancellation of this prefectural order issued following the covid 19 emergency.
Milan. That of 2 December was a necessary General Strike that involved the entire
arc of grassroots and conflictual unionism.
Necessary against an ongoing war in the heart of Europe, increasingly out of control, caused, after the disasters caused by the pandemic, by the cynicism of opposing interests between Russia and NATO in which we are involved.
Necessary for the defence of the living conditions that the working class and the poorer sections of the population as a consequence of the war economy that causes continuous increases in the cost of living, while wages, already low, remain stagnant.
A war that allows untouchable extra profits by oil companies and super-profits by arms dealers (see sending weapons to Ukraine and increased military expenditure).
Strike against the extreme right-wing government and its finance bill that has always applied the policy of taking from the poor to give to the rich and preparing laws to hit harder any form of social opposition.
During the General Strike, demonstrations were held throughout the country, with the continuation of the national one in Rome on 3 December.
In Milan, the strike was particularly felt in transport, Ferrovie Nord and some metro lines that came to a halt, and in the various sectors, starting with logistics.
The demonstration that formed numbered several thousand participants. The starting point was under Assolombarda from 10 a.m. where the various groupings were positioned, while from the truck unity followed appeals, speeches and protest songs. After an hour, the demonstration moved with the unitary banner ‘General strike against war, in defence of all rights’ and the truck from which, throughout the route, slogans and speeches were shouted about the contents of the strike. This was followed by the various sections of the grassroots unions that promoted the strike or adhered to it (CUB, USB, Cobas in its various forms, USI-ICL, SGB, ADL Varese). Many sectors of social opposition and the right to housing, the anarchist component and left-wing parties. Workers from industry were present, trade, logistics, health, school, social cooperatives. The section of the USI-ICL proved to be very substantial, workers from the health, trade and commerce and various other sectors were joined in very substantial numbers by workers from the logistics, from the USI-LSA sector, members of USI-ICL. In particular, workers from VEFER of Lissone, who have been on strike since the day before, stopping at very short notice which took the company by surprise, creating a stationary queue of 12 trucks. They continued the strike by participating in the one on 2 December and will continue again until the company will not accept the negotiation, re-hiring the dismissed workers and desist from recognising the agreement of 2019, when the contract workers who received EUR 3.50 per hour under the Multiservizi cleaning imposed with the struggle the much more remunerative Logistics contract.
Behind the USI section was the brass band with its fight music, which then joined our section.
The demonstration went through the entire city centre and ended in Piazza della Scala.
Trieste. For the national general strike called by all the grassroots and conflict unionism against the policies of war, three presences were held: Piazza della Borsa, in front of Hera in via dei Rettori and in front of the Cattinara hospital.
Denouncing the anti-grassroots policies of successive governments, fighting the bills and the high cost of living, focus on the increasingly disastrous situation of public services, primarily school and health. In addition to condemning of the policies of war and rearmament in our country and beyond and of solidarity with those defecting from wars (not least the one in Ukraine), there was also a moment of solidarity with Kurdistan once again under attack by the Turkish regime of Erdogan and that of Iran. Good adherence to the strike in particular in transport and schools.
Parma. In Parma, a garrison was held under the prefecture composed of about fifty workers from the various trade unions promoting the strike, plus a group of high school students.
The speeches were all addressed to the growing crisis, exacerbated also by the conflict in Ukraine. Cuts in public spending, precariousness, diminishing rights in the workplace have been carried on for several years by all successive governments of any political colour.
We then decided to march down the main street of the city to make our anger heard, all the way to the town hall square.
There were more speeches to close the day.
After today, there is the desire and the need to continue the united path by lowering it territorially to be more and more incisive.
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