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Temporary workers march against the G8

Mariella Parmendola


The "rebel South" is waking up, and has hit its first target along the road that runs to Genoa. Occupied centres, young communists, student collectives and the organised unemployed are leading the way in visible initiatives against the symbolic locations of globalisation. The first step was yesterday morning, with the occupation of the temping agencies of Adecco, chosen as symbols of the insecure work which the powerful are selling as the new and coming thing.

The assault is starting from Naples, the honorary capital of the network after the dress rehearsal of the March 17th demonstration [against the Global Forum on electronic communications], but is simultaneously happening at Benevento, Messina, Catania, Cosenza, Bari and Taranto. The temping agencies of Genoa have received an "official" fax in which "occupations, invasions, wallings-up" are announced if they don't decide to close from the 15th to the 22nd of July. The Confiterim [confederation of temp agencies] has contacted the Naples Ska [an occupied centre] to ask if it is possible "to have a meeting".

This is the first examples of how much the southern rebels are planning in the run-up to Genoa. An organisation which in Naples has become the richer for a new protagonist: marching alongside the occupied centres and Communist Refondation there is also the movement of the organised unemployed. For the avantgarde of the left-wing unemployed, this is a participation born of conviction. "What are unemployed people like us if not victims of globalisation and the rule of the powerful?" is the message which the best-informed parts of the movement are trying to spread in the complex and difficult realities of the Neapolitan subproletariat.

"To the graveyard, or to work"

Divided into groups of four or five around each table, the unemployed participants of the movement fighting for work in Acerra, a townland of the Neapolitan hinterland, kill time playing cards. They benefit from the small drop in temperature created by the plants at the entrance to the agency for professional training at the Arenella, where they have been living since June 25th.

The declaration of war, signed by all the unemployed movements of Naples against the Regional administration of Campania, is two weeks old. Yesterday morning, two hundred people peacefully invaded the offices of the data processing section of the Naples City Council at Soccavo, while at the Arenella a hundred or so people are taking turns for the last two weeks, sleeping on the benches, eating together, ten for each watch checking that the police do not arrive to evict them.

Going into one of the rooms of the agency, the leaders of the movement of Acerra are meeting with the representatives of the coordination of the movement for work, which includes all the active movements of the left in the city of Naples. They give updates on the progress of the protest against the criteria chosen by the regional government of Antonio Bassolino for participation in professional training courses (only 3015 unemployed will be able to participate). "If the Region of Campania has held onto the 49 billion [lire] intended for these courses it is only due to our battles, but for us what is left?" asks Consiglia, one of the women at the head of the movement of Acerra, the closest to the occupied centres Ska and Workshop 99, the radical wing of the archipelago of the organised unemployed. "Political recognition isn't enough, we want preferential treatment. The billions are few and the need is great. I'll only leave this place to go to the graveyard, to prison or to work. We have to find out if struggle pays", finishes Consiglia. For the Bassolino administration there isn't space for compromise: the criteria have to be the same for all the unemployed. "A policy which wants to make people believe that going into the streets doesn't help", rebuffs Raffaele from the Ska.

Anti-G8 and for a guaranteed wage

Occupied centres, Communist Refoundation and the organised unemployed of the left will arrive together at Genoa to let the voice of the South be heard. Within the anti-G8 movement they raise the issues of temporary work and wages under the heading of the "rebel South".

"For us, Genoa is a stage in the preparation for an autumn campaign for a guaranteed wage", are the first words of Cuono, the words of a political leader, but he immediately adds: "We are not linked to any party, our autonomy is important to us and we are fighting for the rights of all temporary workers."

Every so often the discussion is interrupted by a phone call; they are phoning from the other locations to check that everything is going well. "At Ponti Rossi are our people from the coordination group, the unemployed from Euro are at Ponticellie", explains Giosue, a worker on the naval shipyards up to '85, ten years doing nothing and then "socially useful work" from '95. Blocking three training centres of the five present in Naples, the goal is to slow down the distribution of the forms for participation in the courses. "They keep on repeating to us that everything has to happen legally and transparently. But the announcement of the courses [in the Official Gazette] happened without saying a word to anyone", replies Consiglia.

"They search our houses frequently. They're hoping to find something, but they can come whenever they like, because we're honest people", continues Cuono, who had found work. As a worker at Alfa Romeo in Pomigliano d'Arco, he was fired because of conflicts with the management, who were bothered by his trade unition activities. The organised unemployed have invented many "revolts", in these last few years, and some people have also paid for them with arrests. From the classic occupation of the railtracks to the idea of targetting the Lotto offices to prevent the draw, via the hardest ideas like burning skips and buses, up to the occupation of the Cathedral.

The gates of heaven

On the 26th and 27th of June, the groups of the right and the left got together for the invasion of the church which is a symbol for Neapolitans, but also for the struggle of the unemployed. "Are we violent? It's the result of exasperation. But when the institutions close the door in our face, the clergy managed to reopen it" says Gino, explaining why the Cathedral is a compulsory step. "But the unity between the movements of the left and the right is simply an organisational one".

The "coordination" broke up around the elections in May. A long stream of accusations breaks out in several voices: "Between March and April serious things happened, some of the heads of the lists of the unemployed of the right were going around with candidates for parliament, and there were also people who promised jobs and had people give them 5 million [lire]", Cuono accuses.

"Most of the unemployed are not politicised, but there is a lot of instrumentalisation. The best thing is when someone nevertheless manages to sort things out", Gino replies. Politics, business, and we are coming to the Camorra [Neapolitan mafia], a mixture which has brought the Naples judiciary to investigate possible infiltration of the movement by the clans. "Sometimes at Ponticelli someone phones me to come down because there's the usual Camorra guy who wants to lay down the law, but we know how to isolate them. What bothers me is the battles we lose", says Salvatore, who has been part of the movement for 26 years.

"At the No Global [demo] I was beaten with truncheons, but I'll be there in Genoa". This is a participation which for Salvatore won't involve many unemployed people: "Our organisations represent the subproletariat above all, people who just want a job, a long way from politics and from the Seattle people", the people that Salvatore will be with at Genoa, "as a communist", he adds.


Insert: With the metal workers

Francesca Pilla

The Neapolitan movement against globalisation doesn't stop. After the protests of the No Global Network and the unemployed, it's time for the trade unions (the official ones and the bottom-up ones) and of the employees.

Today at Naples, in the cultural circle "Intramoenia", trade unionists, workers, intellectuals, the No Global Networks and members of Attac will meet to discuss participation in the general strike called by the metal workers' union for July 6th and to ask the trade unionists for a strong initiative around the demonstrations at Genoa against the G8.

The organisers are convinced that only unity between the workers and the anti-G8 movement can move the struggle against the main powers of global capitalism forward.

"We can see the need to go beyond a debate which is focussed on problems of 'public order' ", say the organisers, "instead we have to look at those sectors of society which are not yet active participants but are watching the whole movement carefully. We want to be in solidarity with the metal workers who are striking on July 6th".


Aus: Il manifesto vom 3. Juli 2001 in englischer Übersetzung

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