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(en) Italy Resistance#19 AF (Ireland)

From Al S <klasbatalemo@yahoo.ie>
Date Sun, 12 Jan 2003 13:49:17 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


Fiat, the Italian car giant, has always played a
central role in the political and economic struggles
of Italian workers. Its recent plans to restructure,
which involve laying off about eight thousand workers
have emphasised this. 

The traditionally rebellious Fiat plant workers have
done their predecessors proud by meeting the proposals
with fierce resistance. 
The main centres of struggle have been at the
company?s huge industrial complexes at Turin and
Termini Imerese in Sicliy. 
The Sicilian workers have been particularly
aggressive, with the dispute smashing some of the
artificial boundaries which all to often isolate
workers? struggles.

Firstly, the struggle has involved many non workers.
There is a highly militant Wives and Families support
group as well as actions by students, No Global
protesters and workers in other industries.

Secondly, the participants in the struggle have not
restricted themselves to picketing the factory gates
but have shown that they are more than willing to
attack any other part of the economy, using direct
action as their tool. 

On 12 November, after vowing that ?not a single bolt
would leave the factory? the workers and their
supporters completely isolated Palermo?s airport by
blocking all the underground and overhead railway
links and all the motorway links to it.

A couple of days later, with the railway lines still
blockaded, the workers moved in on the naval port at
Termini Imerese in order to stop the shipment of a
consignment of 3,700 Punto cars. 

The workers positioned themselves so as to stop all
movement of people and cargo in and out of the port
and so it was made impossible for the ship to leave. 

By the 15th, the blockade of the Straits of Messina
became total. 

Over 1,000 workers positioned themselves at various
strategic points around another of the island?s major
ports - Messina - to impede the arrival and departure
of trains and motorised transport.

As well as this, there has been a huge 50,000 strong
demonstration at Termini Imerese and a 6,000 strong
demonstration of Palermitan students in solidarity
with the workers and the arrested ?No Global?

After Fiat/government/union talks broke down on 6/12,
workers in Turin poured out of the factory blocking
roads and railway lines, bringing much of the city
grinding to a halt. About 5000 workers were involved
in angry and dramatic scenes. Workers from the Fiat
plant in Cassino near Naples reacted by blocking
Italy?s main North-South motorway for a number of
9/12 was the first day of unemployment for the workers
and those that turned up at the Mirafiori plant in
Turin were greeted by a sign forbidding laid-off
workers from entering. Turin-based workers who still
had jobs downed tools for four hours, blocking
Mirafiori?s car assembly line. 
In Sicily, where all 1,800 workers at the Termini
Imerese plant have been laid off, a group of about 200
blocked the road between the island?s two main cities,
Palermo and Catania.

Wives of workers from the Termini Imerese plant
organized a sit-in in front of the Rome offices of the
prime minister, and when results of the talks were
made known they began chanting, ?Clown, swindler, it?s
a disgrace.? 

Around 700 people who used to work at the Arese plant
near Milan blocked a major motorway north of Italy?s
financial capital for an hour. These were the same
workers who days earlier occupied Milano Centrale
railway station. A regional General Strike was held in
the Piedmont area on 13/12 and was coupled with a
major demonstration in the regions capital,Turin.

Students blocked the cities roads in solidarity.
Mirafiore workers held another strike on the 16th,
sadly the Union limited it to two hours, reducing it
to a token gesture.

In Sicily about a hundred Fiat employees at Termini
Imerese and industries linked to car manufacturing
blockaded the two entrances to the Palermo branch of
the Rinascente department store, which is part of the
empire of the Agnelli family who own most of Fiat. The
workers? intention is to cause the famous clothes shop
to make a loss. ?We want to make the Agnellis pay some
of the very high costs resulting from their
disgraceful industrial plan?, said a spokesperson.

The Fiat workers? best hope though has to lie not just
with industry wide action, but with action by the
wider working class. The last year has seen a huge
level of industrial militancy in Italy with 28 million
working hours being lost to strikes in the first 10
months of 2002.

Links made across different industry sectors now will
not only help win this battle, but be a step closer to
the type of organisation needed to win the class war
once and for all.


>From the pages of Resistance#19, regular monthly
bulletin of the Anarchist Federation, now available in
text and PDF format at:


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