By Lukas Vergara, Correspondent
17 November 2021. October has been tumultuous for the Italian social and political scene. The weapon of mass distraction, i.e. the sivax-novax (anti-vaccine) opposition used by the liberal press, to hide the real problems affecting the increasingly difficult situation of the working class, had a significant reflection in the storming of the national headquarters of the largest Italian trade union (the central CGIL), on the sidelines of a protest demonstration of the novax movement.
What do the participants in the demonstration on Saturday 6 October, the various souls of the anti-vaccine movement, a melting pot of anti-scientific theses and the radical right, have in common? Well, simply the proposal and the direction of the assault. Roberto Fiore, Massimo Castellino and Salvatore Aronica are three prominent leaders of the Forza Nuova organisation, an openly fascist party, heir to Terza Posizione during the leaden years of the 1970s. The Italian government immediately gave its solidarity to the Italian General Confederation of Workers (CGIL), as well as the entire Italian parliamentary arc, formally in constitutional code to prepare the repressive pressure towards the opposed forms of struggle, which will inevitably develop, following the unblocking of layoffs, the increased cost of living and other latent problems that the pandemic has simply sped up as in other parts of the world. The bourgeois press has every interest in maintaining a high level of propaganda on the holy war for or against vaccines and in reducing the story of the assault on the biggest Italian trade union to a mere law and order problem. All this is in response to the increasingly clear tolerant openings of neo-fascist positions, to reduce the opposing terms, communism and fascism, to the same violent matrix to be repressed. If they can dismiss the assault on the CGIL as a simple episode of public order management, there would still be nothing to be reassured about. Enquiries are underway to understand whether there were negotiations between the state police and the fascists, to organise an unauthorised march, threatening from the stage and then carrying out the squad attack. The state police always do their duty by using the truncheon and repressing student demonstrations or workers’ marches and pickets.
The attack on the CGIL, however, has fortunately moved a wave of repudiation of fascism, certainly not in a revolutionary key given the objective needs and above all the average consciousness of the Italian working class, but at least in a democratic key. There was a big demonstration in Rome on 13 October, and over 200,000 people took part in it. Faced with a square that responded in numbers and also thanks to the economic situation, which was certainly difficult, it was legitimate to expect the trade union centres to start a mobilisation that would lead to a general strike. Instead, there was only the speech of Maurizio Landini, secretary-general of the CGIL, who through a romantic and inconclusive anti-fascist façade, sometimes instrumental for the electoral demands of the Democratic Party (PD), said nothing. Nothing to coordinate struggles and big disputes, nothing on the reduction of working hours for the same wage, nothing on the unblocking of dismissals and the rising cost of living. The CGIL, therefore, takes on the institutional role of social mediator, does not break with the collaborationist unions of CISL and UIL and is responsible, or at least co-responsible, for the future deterioration of the living conditions of the workers.
Confindustria (the employers’ centre) is happy, it does not need neo-fascist thugs; to manage the interests of the bosses there is a great chess player like Mario Draghi, former director of Goldman Sachs and now president of the European Central Bank and, indirectly, the trade union bureaucracy which is the firefighter of social unrest, one could say the banker and the bureaucrat. This renouncing position of the CGIL gave visibility to the strike of the militant trade unionism of 11 October, which despite some objectively refutable slogans, (“No sanitary pass” – “Fascist is the CGIL that does not call the general strike”) was an important moment for the dynamics of the class, because it showed once again that the generosity of the comrades of autonomous trade unionism is not directly proportional to the propulsive drive to mobilisation: in short, the mass dynamics in Italy is determined, at this historic moment, if the biggest mass organisation in the country, the CGIL, moves.
The workers, in particular those of GKN  and Alitalia, the social movements for the environment and the formations of the radical left, in particular, the Communist Workers’ Party and Communist Refoundation, did not give up their action and took to the streets on 30 October against the G20 meeting in Rome. A march of 10,000 people demanded the necessity of a political subject to defend the interests of the workers and the environment and nationalisations under the control of the workers’ assemblies.
While the imperialists of the world reasoned about how to stop the damage to the economic interests of their capitalists, delivering on the climate problem a narrative of compromise that does not fit the real grievances, or rather did not take positions on global warming.
Finally, the icing on the cake was found in Padua, a city where Brazilian president Bolsonaro, visiting after the G20 meeting to pay tribute to the Brazilian military fallen in World War II. He received honorary citizenship, unleashing understandable anger from citizens and partisan associations, which resulted in clashes with the police. The municipality of Padua recognises citizenship, it is not known with what links to the War of Liberation against Nazi fascism, to a politician who is distinguishing his mandate by measures against civil rights, against the environment, against taking measures to fight the pandemic and by his strong reactionary characterisation. Salvini paid tribute to him on behalf of the Northern League. The conditions for heated autumn of class struggle, also given the budget law under discussion in parliament, are there.
If the weather will be icy, the onus will once again be on the trade union bureaucracies to abandon the struggles of the workers, who will be forced to coordinate independently.
 GKN Driveline is a multinational company involved in the production of drive shafts for motor vehicles. In Italy, its primary customer is the FCA-Stellantis group. Despite its profits, the company has closed the Campi Bisenzio-Florence plant. In response, the collective of workers of the factory, members of the CGIL in the ranks of the Opposition current, occupied the factory, to remain in permanent assembly, to propose a law against relocations, to organise a series of demonstrations and initiatives, to promote the slogan of nationalisation under the control of the workers’ assembly.
To date, through a judgement of the labour judge, they have suspended the collective dismissal procedure, started by e-mail by the board of directors of The Melrose Fund, the factory owner.