Indignados - Document of the "Labour Commission" in Rome

We publish below a document drawn up by the Rome “Labor Commission”, as part of the movement calling itself "Italian revolution - real democracy now!". We have already published an article on the broader international movement of the "Indignados": The "indignados" on the streets, for now lacking real proletarian anger

As the Labour Commission of the Roman movement of the Italian Revolution we identify the crisis as the motor force of the movement of Spanish indignados and other European countries. This is demonstrated by the attacks on the living and working conditions of the working class carried out by governments of all shades, from Berlusconi to Zapatero. We therefore believe that the question of labour should be placed at the centre of the debate in the movement both in terms of analysis and action, because we think that without the expansion of the movement to all the exploited who pay for the crisis of the capitalist system of production the movement will have no real impact on society.

On How we Want to Work

The commission aims to carry out the following work:

  1. Organizing data collection on all major disputes pending in the workplace, redundancies, the numbers of unemployed and precarious workers.
  2. Analysing conditions of exploitation in all these sectors and the deterioration of living conditions.
  3. Developing forms of agitation which can extend our meetings in these sectors, as the Puerta del Sol assembly did.

In previous discussions we considered the causes of exploitation were linked to the conflict between capital and labour and the fact that the capitalist mode of production is now in crisis, obsolete and outdated, it is no longer able to offer anything progressive to the new generations. We also believe that crises are a fact of life under capitalism and that it is necessary to overcome the crisis of capitalism.

Data Collection

We want to collect data on pending legislation, on the laws that govern our working conditions which are more insecure, exhausting, a form of blackmail, and the numerical data that describe how many workers and their families there are and how they live today in Italy.

Conditions of Exploitation

We want to collect eye witness accounts and stories that describe the real conditions of exploitation experienced daily by workers, especially young people but not just them, starting with those who are reading this.

Forms of Agitation to Extend the Assembly Movement to the World of Labour

We believe it is necessary to extend our meetings to all workers, including temporary workers, the unemployed and all those sectors that are paying for the crisis of capitalism. In order to do this we have to start by denouncing the real conditions of exploitation experienced in the workplace.

We tried to reverse the logic through which the "issue of work" is addressed by trade unions, political parties and various politicians. Too often we have seen movements start from their policy proposals (and promptly split over them), from a citizen's income, to the European wage, from socially useful work to less work, work for all etc.. the policy proposed has always just been put to the workers taking no account of their conditions, almost as if the worker were only useful to support this or that proposal. We do not want to discuss this or that plan to solve the problems of this system (we will never get out of it!), We would like to address the question of exploitation and fragmentation of workers in order to invite them to unite and fight.

Agitation. We want to put the workers at the centre of our concerns inviting them to rise up against the conditions of misery and exploitation that they daily live through. For this the agitational slogans that we use are simple:

  • no to starvation wages;
  • no to the lack of security, accidents and deaths at work;
  • no to the speed-ups and exhausting workloads;
  • no to job insecurity, flexiblity, to being used and thrown away
  • no to layoffs and unemployment;
  • no to high prices;
  • yes to the collective struggle to defend our conditions;
  • yes to a real struggle for better living and working conditions.

In workplaces and neighborhoods. We agitate with the slogan that the real struggle is in our workplaces, and in our neighborhoods! Only then can we extend the fight across different sectors of society, from public and private, industrial and commercial etc..

Method of struggle. On the mode of struggle there is little to be invented, all-out strikes, pickets, solidarity and active support of various disputes are a necessity, up to occupation of firms that are shutting down as well as roadblocks. All these are part of the history of the workers’ struggles and they have much to teach us. In general we support all forms of mobilisation aimed at blocking production and the flow of goods and, therefore, profit. Finally, we believe that it is the workers themselves who know what the most effective forms of struggle in every situation are. In this sense all we have to do is encourage them, support them, and to defend of their interests and not the real interest of this or that trade union or political group.

Forms of organisation. We think that the only form of organisation that will allow workers to stand on their own two feet, stimulating their capacity to fight, is that of assemblies. Assemblies from below which:

  • overcome the divisions and differences of race, gender, class, levels and occupations, between workers;
  • unite employed and unemployed;
  • overcome the tendency to delegate the defence of our interests to trade unionists and politicians;
  • make decisions, or rather decide the forms, procedures, and the timing of mobilisation. They decide whether or not to accept the proposals of others.

Our viewpoint is about defending ourselves from the violent attack that the bosses are unleashing, about escaping isolation, about transforming the individual fight into a single, large, collective struggle. We have to escape inertia to begin to take our lives back into our own hands.

Only by transforming our hardship and everyone’s personal discomfort into a social problem, can we force the system to offer solutions which suit it (we can accept them or reject them) or, more likely, to declare that it cannot meet our demands, thus proving its failure.

The present work is a contribution, constantly updated, to the central assembly. The labour commission is open to anyone who wants to participate, we invite all to participate in online discussion by subscribing to the mailing list:

The e-mail address of the commission is:


Is it likely that many workers will fall for this? On a first read it seems to say many of the right things, although it left me feeling queasy. That was yesterday. Today it appears more striking for what it doesn't say. For instance, if the system proves it's failure by not meeting our demands - which is very likely it must - then what? Overthrow it! Make a revolution? Is this a new kind of polite and gentle leftism? Under the heading "forms of organization" radical sounding proposals are made for the Assemblies to consider. But the conclusion is : decide whether or not to accept the proposals of others. But who are the "others"? The Commission, the Government? Who ever it is you can be sure it's the bourgeoisie back again wearing a fancy new frock! It is truly amazing the extent which the ruling class is able to go, is able to stretch it's democracy notion, in it's effort to recoup potential working class organizations. They'll be calling for Soviets next! But why aren't we as clever as they seem to be? Are we too honest?

I think we should make the context of this clear. I am not fully clear myself but from what I have read these movements like "Real Democracy Now" are influenced by the ATTAC organisation which claims to be anti-capitalist but is actually only anti-big capital. They have managed to get their agenda on to these street movements (which are not working class but all class) and have set up various commissions which seem intended to break up the collective action/ discussion of the assmeblies on the streets. This "labour commission" in Rome seems to have rather broken ranks by insisting that the working class is only class capable of making real change (through its position as the collective exploited class). This might be reading more into it than is the case but in any event it is a step forward on the "democracy" movement as such. I don't know if this addresses King Lear's obviously sincere concern but hopefully other comrades can help to clarify this important issue (and we would be intotal agreement that the capacity of the ruling class to recuperate any movement should not be underestimated. They have not maintained themselves as such over nearly three centuries without having learned how to turn dangerous movements (e.g Social Democracy) into instruments preserving their own system, as we know to our cost as a class.)

I'm a bit more optimistic about the document from the Labour Commision than KingLear appears to be. The positive note is that it seems to reject any idea that reformism can offer solutions to the present economic crisis. In the early part of the document it argues that in the past struggle start from policy proposals which inevitably lead to either splits in the movement due to I assume sectional demands taking precedent or that such an approach views workers as passive objects onlt there to be manipulated by one side or the other. The document also argues that at the centre of our concerns should be work and it's explotative nature. All very positive.

The weakness is that it is vague on the way forward in the struggle. The document seems to rely on the spontatnity of workers in overcoming the economic crisis rather than seeing the need for an organisational solution in the shape of a revolutionary party imbued with an understanding of Marxism as a tool of struggle with a revolutionary programme. It's this reliance on spontaneity that blinds the document to the need of overthrowing the capitalist state. there is no reference to the role of the capitalist state in ensuring not only the ideological lead but also the physical dominance in the form of the police, army judicary prisons etc.

Still as a first stepp I think it needs to be considered as a worthwhile document. The question is will it be able to develop in a revolutionary direction given it's class makeup?

You shouldn't post things that are devoid of any context. It's confusing. Reading the document again I really dislike it's weird tone. On the one hand they (the Labour Commision - which makes them sound like a government set- up: would a revolutionary group, even newly born, choose a name like that?) make all the right noises if intending to sound proletarian. But they say nothing that indicates they want to definitively get rid of capitalism. The bourgeoisie are now such a collection of liars, cheats and murderers, that they are capable of doing anything to derail the struggle. What do the Italian comrades of the ICT have to say about this? Please ascertain. The bourgeoisie are practiced Machiavellians. Beware!

The bits about data collection and the conditions of exploitation reminds me of what the early Bolsheviks saw as being useful in agitational material for workers. It gave workers a common sense of class identity and helped to break down the sectionalism that is rife with trade unionism. Of course this isn't to say that the Labour Commision is in any way a Bolshevik style organisation rather what it may indicate is a groping for a marxist way of organising which rejects reformism.

Agree with KingLear when he points out the dangers of bourgeoise influence within the working class however I also think we need to recognise the confusion that exists in many organisations that are throwing of the ideas of the left intelligensia ie ATTAC and the petite bourgeosie. It would be important to hear from the Italian comrades of the ICT what their experience is of the labour commisions.

On the point of labour commisions what is the Italian name for them also isn't there a tradition within the Italian working class of labour commisions I'm thinking of the period of 1919-1920 the period of the factory councils in Turin.

The article from Aurora (two articles up) posted after this might things clearer.


I'm a roman internationalist and a member of the so called "Labour Commission". Firstly i want to underline the fact that the "commission" is very much independent and free from the rest of the movement: it targets to move the movement in to class positions, and wants to do this putting in the square class issues. We seem to normal workers like aliens, since class solidarity nowadays seems only history. I'm very impressed in seeing that anyhow our work is well seen by the resto of the Indignati of Rome.

Believe me it is fisiological that interclassist instances are in the air in any movement, what is new in this case is that a big part of the movement (at least at Rome) has class struggle in its agenda, and most importantly isn't composed by communist old militants but mostly by young proletarians at their first political experience.

I think that one of the most positive features of the Labour Commision as pointed out by Karim is the involvement of young proletarians and that they are coming to the movement outside of the traditional labour/union organisations. I agree with Karim in that any new movement has many trends within it and can be contradictory. It's to combat these confusions that requires the involvement of revolutionary communists. If they are missing then it's only a matter of time before the space is made up of reformists who will paralysise the independence of the struggle.

After Karim' elaboration, and Dave's remarks about 'young proletarians', re-reading the Labour Commissions article.....well it's seems very good now. Though I still wonder why they want to bother with the categories included in their Data Selection bit (why does it matter how many workers' families there are?) but that's up to them. The involvement of young proletarians' makes up for that. It's nice too to find out what Aurora is at last. I had been wondering whether to ask about it, but now I know. You can't assume that everybody knows what you know, so don't be so sparing with your information. And all power to the Labour Commission.


Aurora can be downloaded as a pdf from this site (I have not checked how many issues it covers but we are up to 21 now). We send it in printed version to all sympathisers and those who ask for it in the UK. Some distribute it further. It will be distributed in at least ten cities/towns in the Uk tomorrow (June 30).

Sorry -double clicked too quickly


You're right! The "data issue" is not much clear in our document. It's actually about collecting stories from workers situations, and giving them back with our corrispondations in a bollettin. We have just started this work, and have reached in this way workers also in other regions in Italy.


Hello Karim. I wondered if you knew about the Internationalist Workers Group in Georgia USA? The "Peach State". They are mainly university students but regard themselves, quite rightly, as workers. They are young proletarians. It is very likely that they have similar feelings and ideas about capitalism as do the young workers that you are in contact with. They have an excellent article - now in Italiano - on this very web site. But you probably knew that already. I hope you are going to keep us all in touch as your work proceeds in Rome. Workers unite!

Hi Kinglear!

Do send me their contacts, and I would be very pleased to know them. I'm recently collaborating with some of our internationalist young comrades in the States, for a small youth publictation, like our italian Amici di Spartaco. It's called Class Impulse, and if I'm not wrong there should be a young comrade in Georgia of the ITC. It would be nice if he meets them soon!


Great news Karim that there's a left communist publication in the USA. Had a quick look at it and it looks really encouraging. I think that as the various leftist organisations are seen to be failing in offering a revolutionary alternative to the reformists then this offers left communists a great opportunity to put forward not only our ideas but also an organisational alternative which can help to organise the working class in our struggle for political power.

I have only come into contact with the CWO in the UK and have become re-enthused about political activity which can fuse both Marxist theory and practice. Lets hope Class Impulse can do the same in the states.

Keep up the good work comrade.

Good day Karim.I can't send you their contacts, because I don't know them. But they are here on leftcom and have an article - now in Italian - on this very website called the Peach State (stato dell pesche, or something similar ). They are the ICG and are in Georgia! The 'young comrade' you refer to may be part of them. I dont know. Information about what's going on, specially with regard to newly fledged young proletarians, seems sparse and dispersed. This is bad. What can we do to improve it? It's the young who will have to form the Party of the future. So far I have failed to locate 'class impulse" but will try again. And as to what Dave says about leftists: it's not that they FAIL to offer a revolutionary alternative, they are the left wing of the bourgeoisie and a revolution is the last thing they want. Dont forget this. Don't fall for their radical sounding words.


Just to put things straight. The ICG is the ICT in the USA! The young comrade R is the same who is already working on Class Impulse!