The Roma - Some Considerations on this Shame of the Italian Bourgeoisie

  1. The Right might change its clothes but it can’t change its habits. No sooner had it returned to power that the Berlusconi government launched an unbelievable campaign of repression against the Roma population in Naples, Milan, Florence and in many other places throughout Italy. The repression, the dismantling of the camps and arrest of Roma have stoked up a witch hunting climate (against gypsies), accompanied by an unprecedented legislative package on “security” just as unprecedented as this new political line up with a formation which still insists on calling itself the Left.
  2. Leaving aside the issue of new clothes covering old sins, the anti-Roma operation has an obvious purpose - to create a climate of fear and social insecurity as a way to prepare the next step, which is to move on to those issues which the class really ought to fear - job insecurity, unemployment, starvation wages, inflation and uncertainty about the future.
  3. The new government’s social policy is one of prevention. It is preparing a new period of blood and tears for the world of labour. The new President of Confindustria, the employers’ federation, has already admitted it and Berlusconi has already signed up to it. What better though than a diversion which takes the public gaze away from the planned attacks. It’s better to talk about the Roma and illegal immigrants who can be arrested and thrown out of the country than the more difficult task of looking for a job, and even when you find one it is badly paid and insecure.
  4. This piece of ethnic cleansing reminds us that like all the others it is one of capitalism’s offspring. The Roma are synonymous with marginalisation, hunger, with a poverty that society prefers to ignore. Instead, when it suits it, the capitalist class prefers to encourage criminalisation and repression rather than any concrete attempt to integrate them, for the simple reason that it would cost too much, and in difficult times like this capital has a lot more to think about.
  5. In return, the Roma like all immigrants, whether legal or not, are allowed to live in bestial conditions, in unauthorised camps without sanitation, a sort of concentration camp with the doors open just to let them out to sell their labour, for 3 or 4 euros an hour in the fields of the South, or the small plants of the North, for 12 hours a day.
  6. Racism and exploitation are the two sides of the same coin. To challenge the one means to fight the other. Both are the offspring of capitalism, that perverse social system which creates these divisions to exploit us when it suits it, criminalizing some of us when they need to. It uses the issue to create sacrificial lambs to keep in check other “emergencies” and to warn other workers, besides the Roma or other “illegal immigrants”, to keep quiet and accept that they are nothing but a labour force to be exploited.

From BCinforma May 31st 2008