Logistics workers, students and activists gathered in front of factories and warehouses on Wednesday, the 22nd of March, for a 24 hours general strike of the Logistics sector in Italy.
The strike was called at a time when the logistics workers have been protesting for several months against their own labour conditions and exploitation; in many cases, disputes between grassroots Si-Cobas Indipendent Union and employers were won by the workers and their union-organizers with radical pickets and blockades.
Now, the 24 hours strike raises the protest against the main italian unions and their agreements with the ruling class and re-introduces, on a national scale, the conflict between workers and employers - in a very radical way, able to spread its potential to other sectors of the Italian society.
On March 22nd parcels in many wareohouses stood unsold, and those to get in during all the day remained into the articulate lorries. At the same time, interports and the main logistics junctions in Northern Italy had been closed by pickets, provoking kilometers of queues in highways, beltways and urban arteries. The online stores which organized web sales of commodities worldwide announced that the service would be suspended for the whole weekend. For 24 hours the bosses really paid the crisis! No symbolic representation, no rethorics, no mediation. On the contrary, the movements' slogan "we won't pay for the crisis!" shaped up into that workers' strictness that for months on has been the keystone of logistics struggles and that on March 22nd expressed their new potential.
Those who were participating in the blockades and pickets knew very well that his/her political presence together with many others meant to put the 'minus' sign to the percentages of profit of the big logistics multinationals and, as the attendance increased, so did the loss for a whole sector that, starting from the capitalist production, immediately reaches the connections of social reproduction and the everyday life.
Also for this reason the logistics workers were not alone on the picket line, since many students and precarious workers joined them.
The participation on the picket line and to the struggles of the logistics workers by other areas of urban precarity reveals how a particular struggle against the exploitation and the crisis in a small sector can recompose different areas of workers.
Just few hours after the strike we were sure that a first step in this right direction was done. It is an advancement that we must defend and still improved avoiding, for example, the symbolic retreats that convert the “generalisation of struggles” into a depressing agenda of occurrences.
It is possible to generalize strike and conflict from the logistics struggles, and a political antagonist subjectivity must work in this direction, provided it doesn't end up in the promotion of political stratagems or promises that can hardly be mantained. Rash promises and tactics break down easily and are too weak when the social conflict pushes up, concretely, from below.
From the strike of the 22th of March the logistics area of struggle takes an important empowerment both in the destabilisation of the confederal union relations and on the dicotomic level of the opposed interests between bosses and workers. The determination to “willing to hurt the boss”, the rigour of the attack-oriented claim, and the political boost to the generalisation of the “NO” to the crisis were clearly expressed.
Is not casual that, on midday, the repression came. The extremely violent attacks by the Bolognese riot police in defence of the UniLog warehouse, against logistics workers and their supporters, clarly show how the counterpart is ready to manage conflicts that are no more symbolized nor represented.
The savage truncheons repelling the pickets in Anzola (Bologna) demonstrates how riot police has to defend and protect the interests of the ruling class, when these are really in danger. It seems an obvious truth but, perhaps for a too long time, it was not considered as such by the movements - accustomed to compromise themselves to a virtual “victory” and a concrete political defeat.
The attacks of the riot police on Wednesday afternoon wanted to reaffirm the disdain of the Capital for the exploited workers, and tried to expel and disband the picket of the exploited that not only rose their heads up, but also dared to stare at the boss with determination and dignity.
Those truncheons wanted to bring the heads down. But once again they didn't work. Barely an hour after the charges, the Centrale Adriatica of the Coop in Anzola, near Bologna, was once again blocked by workers on the picket line crying “Strike! Strike!”
In the aftermath of this important mobilization, we deem it positive and successful - but surely it is not going to satisfy us. On the contrary, it constitutes a motivation to see forward and immediately to other days of struggle to organise with (and not only) the logistics workers, undoubtedly more determined after a first strike that really started to work.