Italian General Strike of April 16, 2002:
No to Berlusconi's Labour Free Market

Nipawin - Thursday, April 18, 2002 - by: Mario deSantis

"When I hear the word America, I take sides instinctively, thinking that America is always right."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, July 2001



by firing

Monday, April 16, Italy came to a standstill as some thirteen million people joined a general strike sponsored by the major Italian unions to protest Berlusconi's labour reform. Berlusconi wants to reduce the current Italian unemployment rate of 9% by allowing corporations to become more productive by dismissing employees for no just cause.



this is

Berlusconi is the richest man in Italy and a suspected criminal, and it is no wonder that he wants to implement the labour Free Market. My family had the first bitter taste of the Free Market when I was dismissed for no reason in May 1982 by the Saskatchewan Health-Care Association. Now you can only imagine my own pain and the pain of my family as I could not reconcile the fact that a pseudo-governmental organization could do such a despicable deed. In addition, as an Italian, I had the understanding that agencies would be allowed to fire employees only for just cause, and this understanding was reinforced as I knew that the Italian Constitution entrenches the right for any person to work. But my family and I never learnt about the Free Market and only in the last few years, as I wrote economic and political articles, I came to understand that the Free Market is a BIG LIE.



for the

This is how professor Noam Chomsky describes the Free Market:
"The free market is 'socialism' for the rich: the public pays the costs and the rich get the benefit - markets for the poor and plenty of state protection for the rich."




I congratulate the Italian labour unions--CGIL, CSIL and UIL-- for their social understanding to protect the people rather than the profits of corporations and for their staging this successful general strike against the revision of article 18 of the existing labour legislation. In Firenze, Sergio Cofferati, leader of CGIL, told a crowd of 400,000 people
"This is an extraordinary day. Government and business will realise that we won't stop until we have reached our objectives."


In Milano, Savino Pezzotta, leader of CSIL, told a crowd of 400,000 people
"the revision of article 18 is not a reform but a counter-reform."


In Bologna, Luigi Angeletti, leader of UIL, told a crowd of 350,000 people
"We know there wouldn't be many firings. Businesses are just interested in creating an environment of fear where workers, afraid of being fired, surrender their dignity and accept lower wages and benefits."

I don't
I am
on strike

In Rome, among a crowd in excess of 200,000 people, Robert Benigni, Oscar winner for the movie Life is Beautiful, was found struggling to reach the stage and saying:
"I was just passing by for an appointment with one or two people but I find so many. It is a profusion of joy. With all of those faces I could make a beautiful movie. Today I don't speak, I am on strike."
  Pertinent article published in Ensign
  Cofferati a Firenze: "Il governo deve cambiare linea" Di Raffaella Malaguti, 16 Aprile 2002
  Politicians Seen As Threat in Italy By Naomi Koppel, Associated Press writer, April 4, 2002
  Unsigned letter of dismissal dated May 21, 1982 Mario deSantis's firing from the Saskatchewan Health-Care Association
  Signed letter of dismissal dated May 25, 1982 Mario deSantis's firing from the Saskatchewan Health-Care Association
  How is free the Free Market? By Noam Chomky, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Cambridge, Massachussets, USA
  Millions Take to Streets in Italian General Strike By Crispian Balmer, April 16, 2002
  Sciopero generale, milioni di adesioni in tutta Italia Yahoo, April 16, 2002
  TUTTOBENIGNI.IT Benvenuti in la pi grande risorsa in Internet sull'attore Roberto Benigni.