Interview. ‘On April 25, we will be at the protests across Italy conducting a campaign to collect signatures to convene four referendums, with the aims of: repealing the Jobs Act, enhancing protections for all against groundless dismissals, banning the indiscriminate use of fixed-term contracts and making work safer in the subcontractor system.’

CGIL general secretary: For peace, rights, and work, it’s time to mobilize on April 25

We spoke with Maurizio Landini, General Secretary of the CGIL union, about il manifesto’s call to mobilize in Milan on April 25 for liberation.

“I support il manifesto‘s call because I believe that it is necessary, at a time when war is once again becoming an instrument for regulating relations between states, to put the values of the Liberation at the center of the mobilization of the whole country. CGIL will take part in all the marches, starting with the one in Milan. We will be there to reiterate that the foundations of our state are built on that day, and that workers, women and men, have played a fundamental role in the reconquest of democracy and the defeat of Nazi-Fascism.”

If we read the news from 30 years ago, when our newspaper published Pintor’s call and there was a memorable march in Milan, there were many similarities with the present day; at the same time, society has changed.

The situation is not comparable to 1994: one must reckon with the effects of globalization that has increased inequality and devalued labor. All over the world, not only in Italy, there is a risk of a retreat toward authoritarian forms of government, fueled by an economic model based on the exploitation of people. This is why we believe that today, the struggle for rights, freedom in work and the questioning of this model of business are the point from which we must start in order to affirm a democracy that would be truly fulfilled and anti-Fascist; in other words, one which would really be centered on the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. And I am convinced it is also time to take to the streets to demand real social justice, because the choices of this government don’t represent the needs and way of thinking of the majority of our country.

By political tradition, those in the majority are not fond of the Liberation. They have expressed this in many ways, including through the RAI public television.

I think censoring a message about Fascism and post-Fascism a few days before April 25 is an extremely serious matter. RAI is funded by all citizens to be a public service, and therefore independent and plural. I would like to express my solidarity, support and sympathy for Antonio Scurati. The personal and defamatory attack against him by the Prime Minister is an unacceptable and dangerous form of violence that makes it clear why we’re not going to hear the word “antifascism” from that pulpit. The response to this dangerous logic of censorship needed to come from the world of culture, which deserves our thanks. Antifascist democracy is not just a hope that was harbored by the partisans and the people who defeated the regime, but a permanent commitment.

The government does not seem to like dissent, and not only in the media. In recent months, a number of demonstrations have been suppressed with police batons.

The questioning of the right to demonstrate is one of the signs of the attempt to downsize the freedoms of our country: from the attack on the right to strike, with the authorities being able to limit or cancel strikes, to the questioning of the autonomy of the judiciary, as well as the occupation of the media. We are faced with a government that does not seek mediation and does not recognize any role for social representation, because it wants to give orders and expresses profound annoyance with those who protest.

The Prime Minister is unwilling to say she is “antifascist”; same with the president of the Senate.

Behind all this difficulty the right is having with using that word, there are dangerous authoritarian ideas and hard facts. Consider, for instance, the law empowering the government to reform taxation, contracts and wages, the tax amnesties, the cuts in the revaluation of pensions and in anti-poverty measures. The government is deciding on matters that affect the lives of millions of people without entering into dialogue with labor organizations and bypassing the role of Parliament altogether.

These issues include the right to abortion. The premier had guaranteed that she wouldn’t touch it, but she is now trying to grant pro-life organizations access to pregnancy centers.

The NRRP was supposed to improve the condition of young people and women by increasing employment, public services to support parenting, daycare centers and counseling centers. None of this has been done; instead, we get this new regulation added, which is nothing but yet another attack on women’s free choice, their right to self-determination and to decide regarding their own bodies. One more piece of the right-wing logic of control that we must fight. Today, CGIL, together with UIL, will be protesting at the Senate.

According to many indicators, poverty is increasing while welfare options are decreasing. And the issue is affecting not only the unemployed, but also those who have jobs.

The policies implemented over the past 25 years have fostered an unprecedented precarization of work and life, to the point that people remain poor while working. It is necessary now to use all the democratic tools that the Constitution makes available to us, including repealing laws by referendum, to strike down those laws that have brought about a model of business based on the reduction of rights, the exploitation of people, the outsourcing of production and precariousness, thus amounting to low wages. With the renewal of the national labor contracts, we demand increased wages, reduced working hours and a fight against precariousness. Together with UIL, we are demanding a law on representation. On April 25, we will be at the protests across Italy conducting a campaign to collect signatures to convene four referendums, with the aims of: repealing the Jobs Act, enhancing protections for all against groundless dismissals, banning the indiscriminate use of fixed-term contracts and making work safer in the subcontractor system.

Precariousness has a negative effect on safety.

This is also confirmed by INAIL data showing that the majority of work-related deaths and injuries involve precarious workers and companies operating in a contracting, subcontracting and fictitious cooperative regime. We demand industrial policies, another model of business, and that work should become a common good for the country.

It’s not just that the Constitution is not being implemented; there is the risk of it becoming distorted by the reforms on the prime minister’s role and regional autonomy.

As far as we are concerned, we are in radical opposition to these reforms. On May 25, we will be in Naples with the entire NGO world, with whom we started the La Via Maestra initiative to affirm a vision of the country based on the implementation of our Constitution, starting with the right to decent work, health and education. For this as well, we need a mobilization that involves everyone.

Meanwhile, there are two ongoing wars that are threatening to lead us into a large-scale conflict.

For this reason, it is necessary that the April 25 march should also take on the goal of securing ceasefires. It would do us good to recall that it is no accident that those who fought the Liberation War wrote in the Constitution that “Italy rejects war.” Those who lived through the dictatorship and the war into which Italy was dragged by Fascism fought to reconquer and build a democracy that could manage conflicts without getting to the point of using weapons.

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