The demonstration in Ghedi on 21 October,
and the political work that remains to be done
– Internationalist Revolutionary Tendency / SI Cobas
SI Cobas and the Revolutionary Internationalist Tendency (TIR) have worked hard for weeks, in the closest coordination, to organise the Ghedi demonstration in the best possible way: dozens and dozens of assemblies in the logistics warehouses, and not only that, many city initiatives from Turin to Milan, from Genoa to Marghera and Verona, from Bologna to Naples, an active presence at demonstrations in support of the Palestinian resistance. And after this commitment, there is no reason to hide our satisfaction at its success.
We won’t quibble about the numbers: 4,000 according to the newspapers that reported on it (a figure circulated by the police, who were present with an impressive line-up along with carabinieri, financial police, local police and even a helicopter flying over the marchers along the fence of the base), 5,000 according to SI Cobas and Brescia anticapitalista. Let’s stick to these numbers, which still make it the largest demonstration among those called last Saturday against the war also in Palermo, Pisa, Vicenza, Naples, Taranto. This figure has its weight, of course, but the essential thing is something else.
First of all, the internationalist, class-based clarity of its approach and of the agitation against the war, the war economy and the Meloni government that prepared it, and which was carried out throughout the march and in the final rally. Initially (in the assembly of 11 June in Milan, when it was launched) we had thought of it as a demonstration to denounce the war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine as an inter-imperialist war directed first of all against the Ukrainian and Russian proletarians, and then against those all over the world. The dramatic developments in Palestine in recent times have also made it a demonstration against the endless, bloody colonialist war that the state of Israel has been waging for almost a century to expel the Palestinian people from their land. And so on Saturday, a cry of rebellion was raised from Ghedi too, among the many that have risen around the world, against the massacre that Israel’s government and army are carrying out against the people of Gaza with the unanimous support of their gangster protectors in Washington, Brussels and Rome.
The other distinctive datum of the Ghedi procession was its very large working-class and proletarian composition, which was prepared by the day of national strike called by a large part of grassroots unionism against the war, the war economy, the high cost of living, for substantial wage increases. But this is not just a quantitative fact, visible to the naked eye. There was also the active participation of many, really many, proletarians of the SI Cobas in chanting and relaying the political watchwords that characterised the procession: Meloni government, bosses’ government; against the wars of capital, strike, general strike; free Palestine / Free, free Palestine; disband NATO. One has to go back to the October 2018 demonstration in Rome against the Salvini decrees for a similar level of active political involvement. In this case, however [the demonstration in Ghedi, 21 October], the issues were far more general, and the targets far bigger and more impersonal than one individual servant of the bosses. The Palestine theme was also strongly present throughout the march (many workers, many boys and girls, sons and daughters of immigrants, just so many, had carried Palestine flags); and when comrade Zadra raised the slogan ‘Free Palestine, Red Palestine’, not exactly the Hamas perspective, the slogan was echoed well beyond the head of the procession.
The third relevant aspect was the adhesion to it, and the participation, of a plurality of organisations from the Brescia area, trade union and political groups, and sectors of the movement that adhered to the unequivocally internationalist, working-class, and at the same time unitary message of the march: ‘Let’s unite our forces against their wars’. It was opened by a small group of citizens of Ghedi with a clearly pacifist orientation with their rainbow flags, although the march was not a pacifist one – we explained it clearly: against the wars of capital, but certainly not against the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist war of liberation of the oppressed Palestinians. A march that evoked the prospect of class war against capitalism to get to the bottom of the apocalyptic, systemic crisis and the monstrous barbarism that is advancing. Particularly significant, among the others (Young Palestinians in Italy, Sgb, Fgc, Slai Cobas p.s.c., etc.), was the presence of a delegation from the 7 November Movement for Work from Naples, constantly present in all the anti-militarist initiatives, exemplary in its agitation about the link between war spending and cuts in social spending, and that of a large anarchist section active in propagating the boycott of war operations where they are concretely carried out.
We called for this demonstration in front of the Ghedi base because this base is the historic attack base of the Italian Air Force, and coincidentally, just a few days ago, the base was put on atomic alert due to the unpredictable developments in Israel’s war against the Palestinian people. This political choice was and is consistent with the fact that, unlike the entire campist archipelago, in our view Italy is not a US colony to be taken away from the clutches of Uncle Sam to make it the peace factor envisaged, in hollow words, by the ‘world’s most beautiful constitution’ [the Italian Constitution of 1948]; it is, on the contrary, an imperialist country in every respect, a founder and pivot of NATO, the predator of natural resources in the four corners of the earth and the universal exploiter of the world’s wage labourers and poor peasants. And so our first and main enemy is here, in Italy, namely the Italian state and government, operational machines at the service of Italian capitalism; the Meloni government today, as the Draghi government and the centre-left governments were yesterday, entirely involved in the preparation of the war in Ukraine and the war on the Palestinians. Not to mention the dozens of military missions in the five continents, which were repeatedly recalled and denounced during the procession – ‘withdrawal of all Italian military missions abroad’! -, just as NATO state terrorism was recalled and denounced.
Last Saturday, in other marches, exponents of that ‘institutional left’ or para-institutional ‘left’, ready for any kind of agreement with the most Atlanticist, warmongering and pro-Zionist centre-left in post-war history, were free to roam; in Ghedi it could not happen. And we are proud of that. Without this having, in any way, meant winking at campist positions. As we have always said, and we will not tire of repeating: the only real prospect of liberation is that of anti-capitalist social revolution on an international scale – there is no capitalism to be saved, whether in Russian, Chinese or Iranian sauce, no multipolar capitalist world to be preferred to the horrible US- and Western-led one. It is no coincidence that the banner signed unitedly by the TIR and the Iskra Political Laboratory read: “contro le guerre del capitale, lotta di classe internazionale” [against the wars of capital, international class struggle]. That the war in Ukraine is also being fought by Russia and its open and covert allies for domination and exploitation purposes, can only be denied by the rabble of social-nationalist charlatans and rascals that make up the ‘red’-brown world. Even the distracted journalists of the press and local TV stations had to record (with surprising fidelity) that the demonstration in Ghedi was ‘internationalist, anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist’, expressed in the sense of ‘declaring war on wars’, siding against the war in Ukraine and against all the wars of capital, for the closure of the atomic base in Ghedi, for the dissolution of NATO, against the Meloni government…i (listen and read to believe).
The essential features of the Ghedi demonstration were also well understood outside Italy. Messages of full support and solidarity reached us from the Partido Obrero and Polo Obrero from Argentina, the International United Front against Imperialism and Fascism with its centre in Germany, Marxist Tutum from Turkey, from California, the British Angry Workers, Japan, South Africa, while – due to last-minute logistical difficulties – a comrade from the Workers’ Front of Ukraine, a small militant anti-war organisation in Ukraine, could not be present. Present with their own flag, and enthused by the demonstration, were some comrades from the Zurich anti-war movement belonging to Icor.
That said, we are certainly not satisfied with the thematic and organisational fragmentation of the day on 21 October. We tried until the very end to give this day at least a unitary political framework, but we did not succeed due to the rejection by other components who went so far, in their anti-unity attitude, as to delete the Ghedi demonstration from their social networks (the reality, however, is somewhat more solid than the messages on the web). In retrospect, we note that the demonstration in Palermo was closest to our sensibility and our orientations, because it was most strongly marked in an anti-militarist, anti-war perspective (no one can claim that ‘war on war’ is the same thing as ‘no to escalation’ or ‘Italy out of the war’); and also because – as was done in Ghedi and neighbouring towns, in particular by the comrades of Brescia anticapitalista – its organisers were able to prepare the ground with propaganda in the working-class neighbourhoods of the city, confident that they would be heard by the ‘common people’, and at least in part, both in the Brescia area and in Palermo, this happened. However, we do not feel as alien any of the many instances present in Pisa – except for their strong localist aftertaste. That’s why as soon as possible we are going to re-launch new mobilisation proposals to all those who mobilised on 21 October – excluding, however, the electoralist and campist options, both of which we feel are extraneous, if not opposed, to the interests of the working class.
As stated by the TIR comrade who opened the concluding rally in Ghedi and comrade Roberto Luzzi, international responsible of SI Cobas, our ambition goes far beyond the marchers of 21 October and the Italian framework, within which all those remain captive, whose reference is the impossible search for a different role for Italy, i.e. capitalist Italy.
Our ambition – strengthened by the political growth of a vanguard of immigrant proletarians organised in the SI Cobas – is to reach the broad mass of Italian proletarians, explaining to them that wars that seem far away are in reality closer and closer. And that the attitude of passivity, silence, of wait and see does them great harm, both in the short term (inflation, cutting social spending, military discipline in workplaces that increases deaths at work, etc.) and in the long term. We need to mobilise against the ongoing wars, and against the trend towards rearmament and the precipitation towards a new world conflict, before it is too late.
Our ambition is to reach out to the young people who have taken action against the devastation of the environment in recent years, calling them to realise that it is time for them to take a step forward and fight against the primary cause of the devastation of the natural environment and human life, that is the wars of capital. The figurehead of many of them, Greta Thunberg, did this by siding with the Palestinians: when is there going to be a healthy shake-up among the Italian Fridays for Future, or Next Generation?
Our ambition is to reach out to all the unprivileged women who in the past few years have taken up the rallying cry against violence against women and capitalist patriarchalism from South America, “ni una de menos”, so that they may embrace the explicit and fundamental commitment of the fight against the wars of capital, which have a particularly hard impact on women’s lives, and together with the comrades of the 23 September Committee, present in Ghedi, oppose the Dr. Strangelove of the West and the East who are planning those wars: “no more children for your wars! “.
Our ambition – we are working hard on it – is to promote the coordination on an international scale of all the political, trade union and social forces with whom we share, at least in its essential lines, our firm class, internationalist approach, where the working class of all countries is the only force, the only social power capable of standing in the way of the slope towards a new apocalyptic world war for the redivision of the world market. The massive solidarity that the oppressed in Palestine are receiving from the oppressed in so many countries of the world encourages us to consider this very ambitious goal as feasible. Ghedi was a step forward on this path, and we will certainly not stop halfway.
Today more than ever: proletarians men and women, oppressed people of the world, let us unite our forces in one irresistible anti-capitalist alignment. We have nothing to lose. We have a world to conquer, without exploitation of labour, without colonial, racial or gender oppression, without wars for profit and domination!