The Political Significance of the Strikes at FIAT Pomigliano

Bologna Debate - In our last issue we produced an extensive dossier on the strike at the Fiat Pomigliano factory near Naples and on the intervention there of our comrades from the Napoli section of Battaglia Comunista. This short piece taken from the July-August edition of the paper Battaglia Comunista updates that report and indicates that something small but positive may yet come out of the events at Pomigliano.

On Saturday 21st June, at the “Iqbal Masih” Circle in Bologna, the Battaglia Comunista section in the city organised a meeting and debate on the theme of the recent workers’ struggle at Pomigliano Fiat.

“In mid-April”, the opening address said, “while the election was in full swing, 316 Fiat workers at Pomigliano d’Arco (Naples) were effectively moved from the plant and transferred to the new Nola establishment. But the 316 did not accept this, but, along-side their fellows at the plant, blockaded incoming and outgoing goods for two days.

“The bosses’ reaction was immediate and fierce”.

“There were repeated police charges to re-move the workers’ blockade, and helicopters were used to take out goods caught behind it. The unions, from those that had sold out to the base unions, were united in restraining the impetus and rage of the wor-kers, who demanded the blockade’s extension, refused to negotiate and wouldn’t swallow the nth ball of shit disguised as a special treat.

“Moving people outside the plant, and transferring them, is the step before redun-dancies. Everyone at Pomigliano knows this, but the unions pretend to look for an impossible agreement - which Fiat rejects to the sound of baton charges - and begin to quarrel amongst themselves and no-one calls more strikes. A group of workers continues to struggle alone while the transfers are not definitive.

“Met by the shameful silence of the TV and newspapers, who are busy making noise about the election’s winnerrs and losers, the Pomigliano workers fought alone against the Fiat giant, which used the State police for its own private interests. The battle was lost, but the crisis is biting and making the first signs of class war felt.

“Once more, like the Milan tram drivers at the end of 2003, like the Melfi Fiat workers in 2004 and like the operators of the Atesia call centre until 2007, some workers found the power to openly struggle against the bosses without the unions, now only a cumbersome brake on workers’ struggle.”

One of the Pomigliano workers who carried one struggling to the very end participated in the meeting, and, during the discussion, he stressed how the unions had once again demonstrated that they are on the other side of the barricade, intent on dividing the workers and spreading demoralisation.

He further shed light on how difficult it is to struggle on a class basis in isolation with-out organisational links to other sectors of the proletariat: cops, scabs, union officials, all on the bosses’ side, whilst the struggling workers are hardly able to find solidarity amongst their own working comrades.

Our comrades therefore insisted on the necessity for the creation of a workers’ network capable of linking all those workers who, dispersed across the country, intend to organise themselves outside and against the unions, and put the question of anti-capitalism: that means giving political value to the struggles that they conduct, starting from single disputes to pose the funda-mental question of this social system based on exploitation, class division and the absolute power of the bourgeoisie.

Also participating in the debate were two workers from Electrolux at Scandicci (Florence), a factory facing redundancies which we discussed in the April edition of Battaglia Comunista.

The interest of these and other workers in our proposal for a workers’ network is a positive sign: something, under the suffocating ashes of social peace, is still burning.


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