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Italy, Politics

Communists on Italy’s growing protest movement against Monti government

Protests against the austerity and deregulation measures of Mario Monti’s government are growing. Here’s a different take on developments from the radical left:

“Police charges are not a response to the demands of fishermen because social problems are not a public order issue but instead require a political response.

The government, which is increasingly characterised as a government for the banks, instead guarantees the debts of the banks and does nothing to tackle the social question.

The protests by fishermen, truck drivers, farmers and taxi drivers, are the demonstration that the Monti government is not only against the workers but also the self-employed and small businesses, while at the same time it protects big business and finance.

The social emergency in Italy is becoming ever more dramatic. There needs to be urgent action to protect the productive fabric of the country.

A public bank must be established to finance the self-employed, small traders and small and medium size businesses that are being strangled by the lack of credit from banks, which prefer to speculate on [Italy’s] public debt.

There needs to be legislation that locks in the obligation of a 30 days payment period by business customers in respect of transport companies and contracts.

There needs to be a transport plan that links maritime, rail and road cargo, to replace the current anarchy in which all the costs are offloaded onto workers, small companies in the sector and on the environment.

In other words, we need the government to run the country, rather than just eliminating rules in favour of the most powerful in society.”

Paolo Ferrero, leader of the Communist Refoundation party.

Backstory: Truck drivers, taxis, fishermen, farmers – the protest movement spreads

At least two people were injured Wednesday when police in Rome baton-charged a group of demonstrators who had thrown firecrackers at Italian parliament buildings to protest against fuel price and tax increases introduced by the country’s technocratic government.

One of the injured, a member of a group of demonstrators representing fishermen, was taken to hospital to receive treatment, media reports said.

The fishermen say that the spike in the cost of diesel, on which many of their trawlers and boats run, is threatening to put them out of business.

The protest in Rome in front of the Palazzo Montecitorio building, which houses parliament’s lower houses Chamber of Deputies, was one of several demonstrations and strikes taking place around the country against Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government.

The hike in fuel taxes was decided upon by the government led by former EU commissioner Monti, as part of efforts to bring down the country’s deficit and debt levels.

In the southern city of Naples, many petrol stations were forced to close after supplies ran out. That shortage is due to a strike by truck drivers, which began in Sicily over the weekend, but has spread to many other parts of Italy.

In the northern city of Milan, an organization representing farmers, Coldiretti, began giving out vegetables, eggs and other products free of charge in protest against the truck driver’s strike, which the organization says is preventing many perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables from reaching markets.

Meanwhile, many truck drivers continued their work stoppages. There were reports of several scuffles between strikers and other drivers who were trying to drive their vehicles through barricades erected by the protesters to block roads highways.

Monti’s technocratic government plans to introduce a series of measures aimed at liberalizing Italy’s economy to spur growth and offset the effects of a recession forecast for this year.

Source: Deutsche-Press Agentur, 25.1.2012

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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