Commentary. A weekend of protests in Italy and signs of life on the left. A strong, popular, pro-Constitution response to the heavy atmosphere in the country.

The first steps of a long march

Many things set progressives apart from conservatives and reactionaries: democracy, justice, freedom, solidarity, humanity, anti-fascism. And just in the last few days, with the tragedy in Crotone, with the fascist-like assault on young Democrats in Florence, we have seen confirmation of how wide the chasm is between the front that, in one way or another, stands in opposition and the one that gave birth to the Meloni government.

And on Sunday, the people in the streets showed the way forward. Promoted by the CGIL, CISL and UIL unions, the demonstration against the fascist gang violence that is trying to rear its ugly head once again filled the sunny streets of Florence with tens of thousands of people, and managed to bring together under the anti-fascist banner almost all progressive and leftist forces – which is no small achievement. A strong, popular, pro-Constitution response to the heavy atmosphere in the country.

It was heartening to see the ill-qualified Minister of Education Valditara get the equivalent of a slap in the face, who showed the highest level of hypocrisy in welcoming the protesters – after he himself, in the aftermath of the beating in front of the Michelangelo High School and after Principal Savino’s letter defending anti-fascist principles, had threatened disciplinary measures, invoking the motto “No politics in schools.” Very much in the vein of the shameful banner reading “Schools are not anti-fascist, they are free” that showed up on Sunday in front of a highly reputable Padua high school, the doing of a small group of right-wing youths.

There could have been no better medicine than a great mobilization of young women, young men, associations, unions and political forces to heal the wound of the beating suffered by the students. An unmistakable message to the fascists who are feeling protected by the new tenants of the Palazzo Chigi.

Milan also struck a blow against decrees that make it increasingly difficult to rescue and welcome migrants. A sit-in was held, promoted by NGOs and supported by dozens of associations, denouncing the horrible, heartbreaking deaths of dozens of migrants on the Calabrian coast – and the prime minister staying far away from that beach of death.

Furthermore, on Sunday in Florence, a small light of hope was kindled as a direct consequence of the new leadership of the Democratic Party: the newfound camaraderie between the PD and M5S, symbolically shown by the embrace between Schlein and Conte at the demonstration. After what happened on September 25, progressive and leftist parties must gear up for a long march: we are only at the first steps.

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