150,000 in Rome protest austerity

‘We stand with the Europe that is rebelling. Let’s throw out the Monti government.’
Photo: Rifondazione

Rome — Some 150,000 people marched through the rainy streets of Rome on Oct. 27 for a national “No Monti Day” demonstration against Italian Premier Mario Monti and his right-wing, neoliberalist government. The marchers protested against social cuts, the cancellation of workers’ rights and the imposition of austerity sacrifices on the working class to implement European pro-big-business and banker diktats out of Brussels.

A broad coalition of leftist organizations organized the demonstration. Among them were the Communist Refoundation Party, the Federation of the Left, several small trade unions further left than the larger CGIL union, unemployed/temporary workers’ and students’ collectives, delegations of workers from factories in crisis around the country, the leftist-occupied social centers, housing rights activists, environmental groups, the national No Debt Committee and smaller left-wing groups like the Communist Workers Party.

Associations of people with disabilities opened the march in support of over 50 disabled activists who have been on a hunger strike for several days.

The afternoon march was led by the united banner: “We stand with the Europe that is rebelling; Let’s throw out the Monti government.” After the march crossed the historic center of Rome to Piazza San Giovanni for a final rally, more than a thousand students and leftist youths continued to march to expressway ramps, where they blocked traffic into and around Rome. The youths opened a banner that read: “If they block our future, we’ll block the city.”

The European Trade Union Confederation has called for a Europe-wide Day of Union Struggle on Nov. 14 against conservative anti-worker policies across Europe. So far, union federations have called general strikes that day in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta.

In Italy, only the small leftist unions have called for joining the strike so far. The 6-million-member leftist union CGIL, Italy’s largest union, is at the moment trying to convince the two smaller centrist unions, CISL and UIL, to call a united strike for Nov. 14. The CGIL has itself called a 4-hour general strike for Nov. 14.

Gilbert is secretary of the FLC-CGIL union at the University of Florence.

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