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'No to the US base'
ON 16 January 5,000 people demonstrated and blocked the railway station at Vicenza in the northeast of Italy. They were protesting after the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said he was in favour of extending the American military base in the city and didn't think it was a "political problem".
Mara Armellin, Controcorrente, Conegliano, Italy
The crowds particularly appreciated the bonfire of 'election certificates' and party membership cards. Ezio Lovato, secretary of the Prc (Party of Communist Refoundation - part of the coalition government) in Vincenza said that 700 members were ready to send back their membership cards.
Youth from the social centres spent the night in a "war council" waiting for a later mobilisation of students. A large tent was set up as a permanent 'barracks'.
Thousands of high school students took part in a demonstration from the station square with protests outside the council and the offices of Confindustria (employers' organisation) who are in favour of the project. There were no party banners - a sign of the demonstrators' disillusion with the main political parties.
Protesters called on the Prc, Pdci (Party of Italian Communists) and Greens to leave this contradictory government.
The base is not there to solve local employment problems in Vicenza but the more general 'problems' of the Middle East - and we all know how they go about doing that! The militarisation of the city is not just a local question but one of foreign policy.
People are angry that the government is washing its hands of its responsibilities, especially since the local council has said it won't carry out a referendum.
"The politicians have betrayed us" commented Giancarlo Albera, coordinator of the 'committee for no base'. The struggle goes on.
In The Socialist 25 January 2007:
War and terrorism
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Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis