Italy - suffering and resistance in the heart of COVID-19
Time & Location
About the Event
Italy has been at the centre of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe. As early as March 25, Italy accounted for a third of the world’s Corona deaths, twice as many as China. About half the cases were concentrated in the relatively small region of Lombardy. Despite the relative historical success of Lombardy’s hospitals, cuts to available beds meant that the healthcare system just broke down.
Italian workers have suffered doubly. Many non-essential workers were forced into taking crowded transport into unsafe workplaces. Others lost paid work, which was devastating in an area already ravaged by economic crisis and austerity. The weakness of the Italian left has meant that successive right wing governments have been able to push through policies which endanger people’s health and working conditions. Poor people are now paying the price, many with their lives.
But Italy has not just experienced misery. It has been the heart of some great resistance. Factories with a strong trade union presence have been able to close workplaces with adequate compensation for laid off workers. Many of the successful struggles have been led not by trade union leaders, but from below. A strike at Electrolux was organised entirely through WhatsApp. And there have even been protests in 40 prisons, after 9 inmates died in a prison in Modena.
How is it possible to organise under conditions of COVID-19? What would a lifting of the lockdown mean now? What is the connection between the COVID-19 crisis of 2019 and the austerity crisis of 2008-9? To help answer these questions, the LINKE Berlin Internationals is organising an online meeting on June 8th with 2 Italian activists
- Marco Oberti currently lives in Berlin, but has close contact with his home region of Lombardy. He will be talking about healthcare and the economy in one of Europe’s worst-hit regions.
- Eliana Como is an active trade unionist, living in Bergamo, one of the epicentres of the Italian epidemic. She will speak about her participation in the resistance that has been organised under the most difficult of conditions.
For more information about the COVID-!9 crisis in Italy, see https://www.theleftberlin.com/articles-about-italy