A million march in Italy for jobs, welfare

One million people took to the streets of Rome Oct. 21 in protest of the existing legislative proposals on welfare and laws covering “precarious work” (temp work, underemployment, quasi-self employment and on-call work) that affect more than 60 percent of Italy’s workers.

The demonstration was called to support the movement within the center-left government of Romano Prodi for a positive change in the legislation now under consideration. Organizers of the demonstration included the two Communist parties (with ministers in the government) as well as the Green Party and Machinists Union. All are actively pursuing these changes, citing the election pledges made at election time that promised positive change in both these areas.

Flags bearing the largest labor confederation in Italy waved during the march. Oliviero Diliberto, national secretary of the Party of Italian Communists, said, “The material interests of the people come first and it is the political parties that must carry these needs in the institutions of government. And that we intend to do.”

Giovanni Russo Spena, leader of the Communist Refoundation Party’s parliamentary delegation, said, “It has been an extraordinary demonstration with young people, temp workers and immigrants, who represent the base of unity that today has given birth to a united and plural left.”

One demonstrator commented, “It is correct to be here to urge the government to disengage from a neoliberal push from the Business Association and to recuperate its original consensus.” The million marchers were double the number predicted by organizers of the march.