Italy

Italy: Bersani, Berlusconi discuss forming coalition government

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 12 April 2013

Seven weeks after the Italian election, the Democratic Party and the People of Freedom party are discussing a grand coalition to form a government.

Italian president pardons officer involved in CIA renditions in Italy

By Stefan Steinberg, 10 April 2013

At the end of last week the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, issued a pardon to US colonel Joseph Romano who was involved in a CIA rendition operation in Italy.

As government crisis drags on

Italian president appoints expert commissions

By Marianne Arens, 4 April 2013

The ruling class in Italy is desperately seeking to override the election result of February 25 and develop a political mechanism to continue the austerity policies that were decisively rejected by the electorate.

Attempts to form Italian government collapse

By Marianne Arens, 28 March 2013

A month after Italian elections produced a hung parliament, the latest attempts to form a government have collapsed amid mass opposition to austerity.

Italy: Bridgestone wants to close plant in Bari

By Marianne Arens, 19 March 2013

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone is responding to the declining European tyre market by cutting jobs in southern Italy.

The political significance of Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star Movement

By Marc Wells and Peter Schwarz, 9 March 2013

To understand the rise of Beppo Grillo one must take account the deep crisis of European capitalism and the bankruptcy of the traditional parties of the “left”.

Italian parties endeavor to form a government

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 6 March 2013

Italian parties are trying to form a government to continue the austerity measures of ex-premier Mario Monti.

The Italian election: A political watershed

By Peter Schwarz, 28 February 2013

The Italian general election last weekend is a watershed event in the political development of Europe.

Italian voters reject the European Union’s austerity measures

By Peter Schwarz, 27 February 2013

Italian voters have unambiguously rejected the policies of the Monti government and the European Union.

Initial results indicate stalemate in Italian election

By Peter Schwarz, 26 February 2013

The Italian election result presages fierce social conflicts and political upheavals.

In the Italian elections, Rifondazione Comunista emerges as a bourgeois party

By Marc Wells, 12 February 2013

Rifondazione is joining the Citizens’ Revolution alliance of prosecutor Antonio Ingroia, completing its transformation into a bourgeois party.

Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi praises Mussolini

By Marianne Arens, 8 February 2013

Italy’s former prime minister used the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day to praise the fascist “Duce” Benito Mussolini.

The human cost of Italian austerity

By Paul Bond, 29 January 2013

As the social catastrophe deepens, all parties in Italy’s general election have agreed to impose further austerity measures.

Italy plunges deeper into recession as general election approaches

By Paul Mitchell, 25 January 2013

Italy’s recession will be worse than previously expected this year, the Bank of Italy said last week as it cut its 2013 estimate for economic growth.

Italy: Beppe Grillo’s inexorable move to the right

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 24 January 2013

The Five-Star Movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo is regarded as the protest organisation with the best chance of success in the Italian elections.

Monti to lead coalition in Italian election

By Alex Lantier, 31 December 2012

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced plans to lead an electoral coalition based on a pro-austerity “Agenda Monti for Italy.”

Italian Prime Minister Monti resigns

By Peter Schwarz, 11 December 2012

Monti resigned for tactical reasons. He is attempting to secure a long-term and stable parliamentary majority for his increasingly unpopular austerity measures.

Italian steel workers fight for jobs

By Marianne Arens, 5 December 2012

Employees of the Ilva steel group carried out demonstrations throughout Italy last week to protest against the closure of the company’s main plant in Taranto.

Sicily elects new regional president

By Marianne Arens, 22 November 2012

Voters’ illusions about Sicily’s new regional president, Rosario Crocetto, are bound to explode as the economic crisis continues to create fertile ground for the Mafia and other reactionary organizations.

Mass demonstrations in Spain, Portugal, Italy against austerity and unemployment

By our reporters, 15 November 2012

Hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets Wednesday in a number of European countries to demonstrate against rising unemployment and the austerity measures dictated by the European Union and the IMF.

L’Aquila, Italy earthquake: Long sentences for seismologists

By Marianne Arens, 9 November 2012

Seven scientists convicted to long sentences by a court in L’Aquila, Italy are being scapegoated for the disastrous consequences of the 2009 earthquake.

Italy’s ex-premier Berlusconi convicted of tax fraud

By Marc Wells, 5 November 2012

Media tycoon and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was convicted October 26 of tax fraud in a Milan court and sentenced to four years’ jail time and five years’ ban from public office.

Alcoa workers travel to Rome to protest imminent plant closure

By Mike Jobson, 17 September 2012

On September 10 about 500 Alcoa workers from Sardinia travelled to Rome to protest the imminent closure of their plant located in Portovesme.

Sardinian miners occupy coal mine

By Marianne Arens, 31 August 2012

On Sunday evening over 100 miners began an occupation of the Carbosulcis coal mine, which is situated on the southwest coast of Sardinia.

Italian right wing honours fascist war criminal

By Marianne Arens, 22 August 2012

An Italian town has erected a monument to the notorious fascist, Rodolfo Graziani.

Italian prime minister to cut additional €26 billion

By Marianne Arens, 10 July 2012

The new austerity package of Italian premier Mario Monti agreed last week will cut an additional €26 billion at the expense of the working population.

Earthquakes shake northern Italy

By Marianne Arens, 2 June 2012

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna, killing 7 and injuring more than 50.

Italian local elections: high abstention and a protest against austerity

By Marianne Arens, 9 May 2012

Traditional parties and politicians lost heavily in Italian local elections held last weekend.

Italy: The Monti government and the crisis of the Northern League

By Marianne Arens, 16 April 2012

While the Monti government's austerity measures are fueling social opposition, the extreme right-wing Northern League is trying to channel popular anger and despair along racist lines.

Trade unions in Italy play crucial role in the abolition of workers’ rights

By Marianne Arens, 30 March 2012

Italian prime minister Mario Monti knows he has nothing to fear from the unions and Italy’s pseudo-leftist organisations as he introduces his new labour reform.

Hire-and-fire labor reform: A historic attack on the Italian working class

By Mike Jobson, 26 March 2012

On Friday the Italian cabinet approved a reform advanced by the unelected Monti government to scrap Article 18 of Italy’s labor code.

Italian truckers strike against austerity closes Fiat plants

By David Walsh, 17 March 2012

Ongoing protests by Italian truck drivers against the government’s austerity measures and the price of fuel have cut production at several of automaker Fiat’s plants.

Monti government deregulates Italian jobs market

By Marianne Arens, 7 March 2012

The Italian government and the employers’ federation are intent on abolishing the country’s employment protection laws and are relying on the support of the trade unions.

The uncertain future of Pompeii’s extraordinary ruins

By Mark Church, 6 March 2012

The ancient Roman town is in great danger due to years of under-funding and over-exploitation, producing widespread degradation and the collapse of ruins.

More than 60 dead as cold snap grips Italy

By Marianne Arens, 18 February 2012

More than 60 people have died as a result of cold weather and snowstorms in the east and northeast of Italy.

The Costa Concordia disaster and the profit drive of the cruise business

By Martin Nowak, 2 February 2012

Two weeks after the sinking of the Costa Concordia, the dirty side of the lucrative cruise business is increasingly coming to light.

Growing strikes against austerity policies in Italy

By Mike Jobson, 1 February 2012

Strikes and protests continue in Italy after strikes by truckers and fishermen against austerity policies paralysed the country early last week.

Striking truckers, fishermen clash with Italian government

By Mike Jobson, 27 January 2012

Yesterday the government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti moved to crush protests by truckers, fishermen, and other professions hit by Monti’s unpopular social attacks.

Aluminum giant Alcoa closes plant in Sardinia

By Mike Jobson, 26 January 2012

On January 9, the aluminum company Alcoa announced the closure of its primary aluminum plant in Portovesme, on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Italian truckers, taxi drivers mount national strike against social cuts

By Alex Lantier, 24 January 2012

Truckers and taxi drivers blocked roads and highways throughout Italy, as protests spread against the social cuts of Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Death toll likely to rise in Italian cruise ship tragedy

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 January 2012

Beyond the role played by the captain, an examination of the broader issues in the capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship suggests that it was an accident waiting to happen.

Eleven dead, 29 missing as cruise ship runs aground in Italy

By James Brewer, 17 January 2012

Rescuers are still searching for survivors in a capsized ocean liner off the coast of Tuscany.

New Italian government tilts foreign policy towards Washington

By Marianne Arens, 6 January 2012

The new head of the Italian government has made significant changes in the country’s foreign policy.

Italian government attacks labour protection laws

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 5 January 2012

Just before Christmas the Italian parliament adopted a package of austerity measures totalling €80 billion in cuts, hitting pensioners, workers and the socially disadvantaged.

Far-right fanatic guns down immigrants in Florence

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 December 2011

An Italian author with links to the extreme right shot down two immigrants and seriously wounded three others in Florence on Tuesday before taking his own life.

Italy: Technocrat Monti introduces new drastic austerity package

By Stefan Steinberg, 6 December 2011

In response to pressure from financial markets and European leaders, Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Monti, has moved quickly to introduce new austerity measures.

Italy’s Fiat terminates collective bargaining agreements

By Marc Wells, 2 December 2011

The decision by Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne to terminate collective bargaining agreements starting by January 2012 is an historic attack on basic rights won by workers over decades of bitter struggle.

Italy: The cabinet of Mario Monti—a government of the banks

By Marianne Arens, 18 November 2011

Italy’s new emergency government is a government of big business and the international banks.

Italian “left” supports new Prime Minister Mario Monti

By Marc Wells, 18 November 2011

The appointment of Mario Monti for the post of premiership and the support given by the “left” parties and trade union organizations pave the way to unprecedented attacks on the working class.

Berlusconi and the Italian “left”

By Peter Schwarz, 16 November 2011

The most important factor in Berlusconi’s rise to prominence was the impotence, cowardice and unending betrayals carried out by the country’s official “left” opposition.

Resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi clears way for “technocratic” government chosen by the banks

By Stefan Steinberg, 14 November 2011

The resignation of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi clears the way for the appointment of a “technocratic” government led by the economist Mario Monti, in accordance with the demands of the international banks.

European Union presses for change of government in Italy

By Peter Schwarz, 12 November 2011

Following the example of Greece, Italy is also likely to be governed soon by a technocratic government designated by the international banks.

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi announces his resignation

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 10 November 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced his resignation Tuesday evening. He plans to stay in office until the Italian parliament has adopted the austerity measures demanded by the European Union.

Italian government prepares historic attack on workers

By Marc Wells, 2 November 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi submitted last Wednesday a proposal for the so-called “structural reforms for growth.”

New wave of job cuts at Italian Fiat plants

By Marianne Arens, 20 October 2011

Italian unions refuse to organize cross-border solidarity to defend jobs and conditions and back lower wages and poorer working conditions in Italy on condition that job cuts are carried out elsewhere.

Italian government closes refugee camp on Lampedusa

By Marianne Arens, 10 October 2011

The recent closure of the refugee camp on the Italian island of Lampedusa will lead to more deaths added to the list of hundreds who have died trying to escape war-torn Libya.

Italy prepares “left” government of austerity

By Marc Wells, 30 September 2011

In order to continue the assault on workers, the Italian ruling class is looking to the formation of a more “left” government, not affected by Berlusconi’s sordid political and personal record.

Italy moves to secure its share of the booty in Libya

By Marianne Arens, 14 September 2011

Italian business and political circles take for granted their right to decide on the future of the oil and gas wealth of the country’s former colony, Libya.

One-day national strike in Italy against austerity measures

By Marc Wells, 7 September 2011

Hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike Tuesday and took to the streets to protest against the assault on their social rights.

Italian ex-leftists and the new austerity measures

By Marc Wells, 29 August 2011

The response of the Italian ex-leftists organized in Sinistra Critica to the government’s austerity measures reveals their essential approval for the social cuts, their class collaboration and nationalism.

Italy prepares new cuts after stock market panic

By Marc Wells, 8 August 2011

The Italian government is preparing further social austerity measures in response to the Thursday stock market crash and demands from investors for more anti-worker cuts.

Italy: Centre-left opposition supports austerity measures

By Marianne Arens, 27 July 2011

Significant sections of big business are now pushing for an early change of government.

Berlusconi doubles cuts in Italian austerity program

By Marianne Arens, 15 July 2011

Under intense pressure from the financial markets, the government of Silvio Berlusconi announced on Tuesday that new austerity measures were to be enforced more quickly and ruthlessly than previously planned.

Financial markets target Italy

By Ulrich Rippert, 12 July 2011

On Monday the finance ministers of the 17 Euro-zone countries met at a hastily convened emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the spread of the euro crisis to Italy.

Italian referendums inflict another defeat on Berlusconi

By Marianne Arens, 22 June 2011

The latest referendums in Italy in mid-June inflicted another political defeat on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Berlusconi suffers defeat in Italian elections

By Marianne Arens, 1 June 2011

The Italian government coalition of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suffered a bitter defeat in local elections, losing the mayor’s office in Milan.

Italy’s role in the war on Libya

By Marianne Arens, 14 May 2011

Italian fighter jets take off regularly from the Birgi Trapani air force base in Sicily and from the aircraft carrier Garibaldi, to drop their deadly cargo over the former Italian colony.

Italian unions deal another blow to Fiat autoworkers

By Marc Wells, 7 May 2011

In a May 2-3 vote, Fiat workers at the historic Bertone plant voted for a company plan supported by unions to invest €550 million and restructure labor relations along the lines of previous contracts at Pomigliano D’Arco and Mirafiori.

Italy plans to step up its participation in the war against Libya

By Marianne Arens, 20 April 2011

As the bombing of Libya enters its fourth week, Italy is looking for ways to participate more actively in the war.

France blocks train carrying Tunisian refugees from Italy

By Antoine Lerougetel, 20 April 2011

Last Sunday French border police blocked rail traffic between France and Italy to prevent Tunisian immigrants from entering France via Italy.

France re-establishes border controls with Italy amid dispute over African migrants

By Kumaran Ira, 11 April 2011

Last week, France took the unprecedented move of restoring border controls with Italy on April 7, after Rome granted temporary visas to thousands of African migrants.

Fiat deal being used to gut collective bargaining rights throughout Italy

By Marc Wells and Alex Lantier, 9 April 2011

After imposing massive concessions contracts at automaker Fiat’s plants in Pomigliano D’Arco and Mirafiori, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is emerging as the leader of a campaign to force cuts and attacks on collective bargaining throughout the Italian economy.

The Italian “left” and Libya

By Marc Wells, 29 March 2011

As European and US bombs fall on Libya, the so-called “left” in Italy is serving as nothing more than a fig leaf for Western imperialism as it seeks to keep full geopolitical and economic control of North Africa and the Middle East.

Italian youth unemployment reaches thirty percent

By Marianne Arens, 18 March 2011

Recently published statistics reveal the wide extent of social polarization in Italy.

The resurgence of Italy’s imperialist ambitions in Libya

By Marc Wells, 10 March 2011

The Italian warship Libra docked in Benghazi, Libya, as the Italian ruling class calculates how to defend its imperialist interests in Libya.

Italian municipalities crippled by financial speculation

By Marc Wells, 3 March 2011

A conflict between local municipalities and banks has sparked in Italian courts and in financial circles, revealing the precariousness of public finances and the collusion between Italy’s ruling elite and financial institutions.

Italy’s Berlusconi indicted on prostitution, abuse-of-power charges

By Marc Wells and Alex Lantier, 18 February 2011

Judge Cristina Di Censo has indicted Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office.

Italian politicians fear spread of “Egyptian fever”

By Marianne Arens, 9 February 2011

The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are causing anxiety among Italian government and opposition politicians who fear “Egyptian fever” could spread to their side of the Mediterranean.

Italian union calls eight-hour strike at Fiat

By Marianne Arens, 2 February 2011

In Italy, thousands of metal workers went on strike against the new contract with Fiat. The FIOM union called the walkout to let off steam and deflect attention from its own role in the betrayal.

Berlusconi’s scandals and the proposed “left”-right coalition in Italy

By Marc Wells, 26 January 2011

The scandals involving Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi are being used to divert attention from the crisis engulfing Italy, and also to resolve conflicts within the ruling elite over how to pursue further attacks against the working population.

The Fiat vote in Turin: Unions push through historic attack on Italian workers

By Marc Wells, 19 January 2011

The new agreement throws back conditions of Italian auto workers more than 60 years.

Fiat workers in Turin confront management blackmail

By Marianne Arens, 12 January 2011

Fiat workers at Turin’s main plant are being blackmailed by management, and the trade unions at the factory are doing nothing to defend the workforce.

Italy: The Cesare Battisti case and the attack on democratic rights

By Marc Wells, 12 January 2011

The Italian political establishment has set off a frenzied campaign against the “terrorist” Cesare Battisti, a former political left activist, now a writer, accused of murdering four people in the 1970s.

Italian students protest university austerity legislation

By Marianne Arens, 28 December 2010

Student demonstrations in Italy last Wednesday were aimed against austerity legislation recently passed by the senate.

Secret cables reveal Washington intervened in Italy to defend CIA kidnappers

By David Walsh, 23 December 2010

Secret diplomatic dispatches, released by WikiLeaks, reveal how US authorities put pressure on the Italian government to protect CIA agents responsible for kidnapping and torture.

Repression of Italian student protests: The specter of a police-state

By Marc Wells, 20 December 2010

Protests against education “reform” and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government last Tuesday in Rome were met with brutal force by Italian police and paramilitary units.

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi narrowly survives confidence vote

By Peter Schwarz, 15 December 2010

The passing of a confidence vote in Italy will not resolve the political crisis. With a limited and precarious majority, the government will be barely able to act.

Italian students continue protests against education cuts

By Marc Wells, 8 December 2010

Students have organized mass protests throughout Italy in the last two weeks. On the heels of a government crisis, a turn to the working class becomes a crucial question for the student movement.

The Italian “left” and Nichi Vendola

By Marc Wells, 2 December 2010

As the crisis of the Berulsconi government in Italy deepens, sections of the establishment are increasingly looking to pseudo-left figures such as Nichi Vendola to shore up their political rule.

Student protests in Italy against education cuts

By Marc Wells, 25 November 2010

Demonstrations by Italian students against the attack on public education came the same day as further mass demonstrations of students in Britain.

Italy: right-wing shift underlies latest Berlusconi scandal

By Marc Wells, 12 November 2010

Revelations of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s involvement in another prostitution and corruption signal a new stage of the political crisis engulfing Italy.

Unprecedented attacks on Fiat workers

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 10 November 2010

If Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has his way, wages at the Italian auto manufacturer will be equivalent to those in Poland with working conditions resembling those during the Great Depression.

Government crisis in Italy: Democrat leader supports the post-fascist Fini

By Marianne Arens, 18 August 2010

The leaders of the Italian Democratic Party and Refounded Communism have sworn their support for the post-fascist Gianfranco Fini in his dispute with the head of the Italian government, Silvio Berlusconi.

Italy’s Berlusconi government racked by scandals and growing tensions

By Marianne Arens, 30 July 2010

The current corruption scandals in Italy far exceed those involved in the so-called Tangentopoli swamp of 1991, and a succession of ministers and state secretaries has already resigned.

Demonstration in Rome protests austerity measures

By our correspondents, 17 June 2010

Thousands protested last Saturday in Rome against the recent austerity plans announced by the Italian government.

Italy on the eve of new class battles

By Marianne Arens, 7 June 2010

The right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to an austerity programme, which will be presented to the EU on June 7 in Brussels, preparing almost €25 billion in cuts by 2012.

Franco-Italian summit makes strategic deals, calls for bailout of Greece

By Alex Lantier, 12 April 2010

France and Italy signed strategic energy and military deals at the April 9 summit, amid rising uncertainty about financial stability and strategic rivalries in Europe.

“Left Alliance” defeated in Italian regional elections

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 April 2010

Italian regional elections held on Sunday and Monday resulted in unexpected gains for the centre-right alliance led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Mass protest by immigrants against Italian government’s racist policies

By Marianne Arens, 4 March 2010

Several tens of thousands of immigrants in 60 Italian cities engaged in strikes and demonstrations March 1 to protest against the racist policies of the Berlusconi government, and for equal rights for all.

Italian police incarcerate 1,300 migrant workers after Calabria protest

By Marianne Arens and Stefan Steinberg, 12 January 2010

Italian police responded to a protest of African workers in Calabria with the arrest of 1,300 immigrants and their transfer to detention centers