On the 20th of April and 5th of May, our four italian comrades were brought to trial for their participation in the massive and confrontational no-expo demonstration that took place on Labor Day 2015, at Milan. A demonstration whose aim was to discredit the international exhibition “EXPO Milano”-an exhibition whose preparation has been an ongoing operation for the past seven years and whose opening fiesta was at the exact date of Labour Day- as well as to put an end to the exhibition’s expansive plans. This seven years project in the city of Milan resulted in massive evictions and expulsion of residents from their neighborhoods, in the gentrification of these areas so that they would become more and more commercial and attractive to possible investors, and in financial schemes which resulted in the accumulation of all this property in the hands of few investors, not to mention of course the increase of voluntary, unpaid labour.
Until this very day, there is an ongoing investigation which has resulted in prosecutions against the participants of the no-expo demonstration; and the list of those facing legal sanctions is expected to grow bigger. The trial of the four italian comrades, who are being held in custody for the past few months, is just the tip of the iceberg of the number of prosecutions that the Italian authorities plan to start. On the 12th of November 2015, they issued a European arrest warrant for five students who participated in the no-expo demonstration of 1st May and another arrest warrant for five Italians, one of whom is still evading arrest. Here, in Greece, the magnitude and determination of the solidarity movement for the five greek protesters halted their extradiction to Italy, whereas in Italy, those prosecuted are facing prison sentences from 8 to 15 years, since they’re being accused of destruction and pillaging of private property, a charge that is based on the article 419 of the “Rocco” penal code, which is named after the fascist minister that drafted it during Italy’s fascist period and which used to provide for the death penalty in certain cases. It is clear that the Italian democratic authorities aim to prosecute and punish with unjustifiably harsh sentences a whole movement which confronted the ruthless capitalistic expansion in the city of Milan and refused to sit back and watch the accelerating degradation of their lives, and which decided to organise and fight back their bosses and their plans.
We may be separated by a long distance from those fighting in Italy, but nowadays, more than ever, the austerity measures and the devaluation of our lives are uniting us all over Europe. In Greece, over the past few years, we’ve suffered degradation in every aspect of our lives due to a number of government policies implemented by a succession of administrations. At the present moment, it’s Syriza who imposes the 3rd memorandum and it’s the Syriza administration that drafted the new social (non)insurance bill, bound to pass in the following days. In Italy, it’s the Rentsi government that implements the same policy of destabilization of the workplace dynamics; some of these employment contracts, such as the notorious “project contracts” provide absolutely anything: neither medical care, nor maternity leave, not even a single mention about working stability· at the same time, the so called “apprenticeship salary”, which is lower than the minimum wage, can be expanded to cover employees up to the age of thirty. In France, the employment bill that has been drafted by the Hollande government, sees to faster dismissals, lower redundancy compensation pay, and aims to increase the total amount of working hours per week and reduce the payment for overtime. It is a common policy for bosses and governments all around Europe to make our working conditions deteriorate· what we’re facing is not just another aspect of the expansion of insecurity due to the global financial crisis, but the slow, gradual reshaping of permanent employment into a temporary, fickle,”pay as you go” working model.
A new status quo is being established all around Europe, consisting of more anti-terrorist acts, more cops roaming the streets, more army troops in the borders, more concentration camps, more immigrants’ deportations, more destabilisation of the workplace relations, more “robbing” of our basic needs, more fear for those being exploited.
The bosses and their governments who operate on a global scale, seek to put the burden of the effects of the global financial crisis on our shoulders. On the 5th of May, they will try to punish and set an example of those of us who fight them back and oppose their plans. We want to express our wholehearted solidarity to our Italian comrades who are being tried for the no-expo demonstration and we want to clarify that we will continue to support and participate in all these international struggles and movements, as we consider them a vital part of our class.
assembly of solidarity to all those prosecuted for the no-expo demonstration in Milan