Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/491/2516
Anti-Bush day in Italy - A tale of two protests
GEORGE BUSH'S visit to Italy generated a huge protest by the anti-war and anti-globalisation movement. At least 150,000 people, mostly young, invaded the streets of Rome on Saturday 9 June to demonstrate their opposition to war and Bush's politics.
Christel Dicembre, CWI Italy
But they were also raging against the Prodi government and its neo-liberal, pro-US imperialist policies. With slogans like "stop financing the war but finance our pensions" and "it's not enough to have a left-wing goverment to justify the war" thousands of workers and youth clearly showed that they no longer share the illusion of having a 'friendly' government.
With the budget attacks, the refinancing of the Italian mission in Afghanistan, the decision to build the Dal Molin US military base in Vincenza, and the future attacks on pensions, the Prodi government has faced important opposition and internal crisis.
In the last month there have been many strikes and social movements but because of the failure of political representation these protests have remained isolated.
An important section of Italian workers and youth have lost all confidence in politicians.
The main anti-Bush demonstration was lively and combative, with important delegations from the social centres, Cobas, (a 'union of the base') and a big contingent from 'No Dal Molin' in Vincenza which headed the march. However, there was a big difference between this anti-war demonstration and previous ones.
In the past, those demonstrations were led by the radical left parties such as Rifondazione Comunista (Prc) and the main trade unions. But that is no longer the case.
On Saturday, Rifondazione Comunista did not support the main demonstration but organised a separate event away from the march in Piazza del Popolo.
This 'protest', organised by the 'left' parties which are participating in the government - Rifondazione Comunista, Greens, Pdci (Party of Italian communists) and Democratic left - was a complete failure.
Only a few hundred bothered to turn up. Many rank-and-file members of Rifondazione participated in the big demonstration chanting "the 'good' left is in government and the 'bad' one is on the streets".
Following on from their disastrous local election results, where their votes almost halved, this represented a symbolic turning point for Rifondazione, a clear public demonstration of the fracture between the party leaders and the movement - the people they are supposed to represent.
CWI members sold our paper 'Lotta' (struggle) on the main demonstration.
We called for the building of a mass fighting anti-capitalist party of workers and the movement which could begin to fill the political vacuum, uniting together those involved in the industrial, social and community struggles and appealing to those remaining honest, combative activists within Rifondazione and the other left parties in Italy.
In The Socialist 14 June 2007:
Unison national conference
What we think
Socialist Party NHS campaign
War and terrorism
G8 Summit protests
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis