Analysis. It will be a strike for the climate and for labor – but one in which the carnage in Gaza will inevitably take center stage.

For earth, work and Gaza, Fridays For Future heads toward the April 19 strike

“Sometimes they ask us: you’re marching, again? But the truth is that over here, it’s one of the few student mobilization events that work. The community needs it,” Martina Comparelli tells us, an activist with Fridays For Future Milan and former national spokesperson for the movement. The global climate strike is returning on April 19. In Italy and all around the world, environmentalist demonstrations are again being planned, although in a very different environment than in 2019, when it all began.

Mobilizations now bring together fewer people, and climate movements are viewed less favorably by the media and are more repressed by the authorities. At the same time, the complexity of their political discourse has grown, as well as the degree of networking with other parts of society: the labor unions, transfeminist movements, the decolonial world.

In many Italian cities, the watchword will be “convergence”: namely, with the world of labor unions, and especially with the automotive metalworkers, as has been the case in recent years. In Florence, workers from the former GKN, the car axle shaft factory that has been occupied for two years, will march together with the students. Their company’s crisis has become a symbol of the possibility of using the transition as a tool to defend labor against deindustrialization and delocalization. In Bologna, as has happened since the last global strike, the protests will be joined by the employees of Marelli in Crevalcore, another of the companies in crisis in the Italian auto supply chain.

In Turin, the local FFF group has long been engaged in the events around Stellantis: “A few weeks ago, there was a climate and labor march in the city, outside the gates of the Mirafiori plant,” Andrea Paolucci of Fridays For Future Turin tells us. “It was an important moment. In recent months, we have organized joint initiatives with CGIL, we have protested together with workers from Lear and Mondo Convenienza, as well as, of course, the former FIAT workers. For April, we are trying to create convergence between our mobilization and that of the metalworkers’ unions.”

It will be a strike for the climate and for labor – but one in which the carnage in Gaza will inevitably take center stage. All over the world, Fridays For Future has rallied to the Palestinian cause, with founder Greta Thunberg bringing the slogan “No climate justice on occupied land” into the streets. “The Israeli occupation is also an appropriation of land and water, goods made increasingly scarce by the climate crisis. The eradication of olive trees has long been one of the forms of warfare used by Tel Aviv. And then, there is the issue of relations between ENI and Israel, still insufficiently denounced while the genocide continues,” Comparelli adds.

The promise, in short, is that of keeping the global climate strike alive, and even bringing in innovative elements, especially in small and medium-sized urban centers. “In Pavia, we’ll do a week of mobilizations: from the bicycle ride to the debate between mayoral candidates. We have been working for a long time on our proposals regarding cementification and sustainable mobility, and we’ll make our voices heard at the upcoming administrative elections,” Pietro Losio tells us.

“In Cagliari, the issue is drought. In Sardinia we’re already at critical levels, and it’s only spring,” says Luca Pirisi. Global struggles and local struggles are intersecting, for a movement which – despite the passing years and shrinking participation numbers – can still count on a significant territorial spread, especially in the center-north.

“We are appealing to every social organization, union, transfeminist group, radical group,” Comparelli concludes. “We are inviting them to unite, join up, converge with us.”

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