Turin, Italian territory: For some time now, May 1 has been transformed into an institutional catwalk, an empty stage on which workers’ conflicts, now devoid of a sense of class and in some disarray, can be paraded.
Originally published by Libcom.
In Turin the repression began in the early morning, with the charges of the first No Tav (1) demonstrators present. Standing firm but with reduced ranks, it ended with two of the injured being sent to the hospital. Many No Tav demonstrators, for the occasion, also wore a T-shirt depicting Aldrovandi (2), probably not appreciated by those who have embarked on a career in bourgeois state security.
There was a fairly large presence of demonstrators in Turin this year. At the assembly point there were about 35,000 in the crowd that occupied the entire Via Po, part of Piazza Vittorio, and the other side of Piazza Castello. As in previous years, there was the “Antagonisti” section, the No Tav, PaP flags (Potere al Popolo)(3) and immediately behind them a group of anarchists. These demonstrators find themselves side by side with the main body formed by PD (4) and the three union federations (5), and they were not slow to strike the first sparks with shouts of “Sellout!” and “Traitors!” from the loudhailers of the Antagonists.
The Antagonists and the No Tav movement immediately declared their intention was to reach Piazza San Carlo, which had always been blocked off in previous years. Their openly declared aim was to challenge the state institutions, the trade union confederations and, first of all, the Five Star Mayor (6) of the city.
The rapid “preventive” reaction was therefore an obvious sign that the different sections of the bourgeois class, and its different political factions, can clash among themselves for economic and political power, but then find themselves as one when it comes to forming alliances to delimit the spaces for political action.
For some time now, May 1 has been transformed into an institutional catwalk, an empty stage on which workers’ conflicts, now devoid of a sense of class and in some disarray, can be paraded.
The streets were not “conquered”, not even this year as some of the protestors found to their cost, including a middle-aged lady, a girl, and a boy covered in blood and perhaps others who fortunately did not have to resort to ambulances to be transported to hospital.
After a series of unsuccessful attempts against a “wall of policemen” the only ones who did manage to gain access to the square where the speeches were to be made, were riders of the home delivery companies. Of course, they could not hear anything more than the loud but vague institutional rhetoric, self-satisfied and deceitful, of trade unions and other representatives of the state. On the other hand, what else could we expect? The delivery drivers took their chance to offer some direct curses to the authorities on the platform, and at least a fine rendering of “Sellout, Sellout!” should not be denied to these crooks!
GK, May 4, 2019
- TAV is the acronym for Treno ad Alta Velocitá (High Speed Train) and the NO TAV movement was born in Piedmont (Turin’s region) in the 1990s in protest at the work to build the Turin-Lyon railway. NO TAV is now the name taken across Europe by anyone opposed to high speed train projects. Many NO TAV protestors have been gaoled or been persecuted by the Italian secret services.
- Eighteen year old Federico Aldrovandi was beaten to death by four policemen in Ferrara on September 25 2012. They were convicted but subsequently released after only a few months. Three of the four of them received a standing ovation at a police union conference. A film was made of the affair called “E stato morto un giovane” which is a pun in Italian as it can be translated “A boy has been killed” or “And the state killed a boy”.
- The Antagonisti are anti-fascists similar to black blocs on demos whilst Power to the People is an electoral alliance of leftist groups.
- PD is the Democratic Party which was formed mainly by the Italian Communist Party after the collapse of the USSR. Like social democrats in much of Europe, PD faces an electoral decline after years of cosying up to big capital.
- Italian unions are dominated by three big union confederations (CISL, CIGL and UIL) each with different political allegiances but all linked to bourgeois parties.
- Chiara Appendino has been Mayor of Turin since 2016. The Five Star Movement (M5S) is part of the government coalition with the racist Lega of Salvini where it has increasingly appeared as a party of the bourgeois right and is now losing support across the country.
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