Italy: Welcome Back, Wildcat Strike!

[Genoa, Italy, December 15, 2003]

WHICH STRUGGLE FOR WHICH LIFE?

On Monday, December 1, we enthusiastically greeted the return of a practice that many considered to be part of a past that was already exorcised and distant, a struggle that has nonetheless been brought back to life with force by the Milanese rail transit workers: the wildcat strike.

A strike that has been able to damage and put in check not only the enterprise responsible for the wretched material conditions of its workers, but also the economy of exploitation and the alienated life of the entire metropolis. In its realization, this strike has also and above all managed to leap over all the bureaucratic and political forces appointed to the containment of the rage of the exploited: unions, the "left" and parties that cannot tolerate anyone who escaped from the ranks.

The chorus of condemnations that are predictably raised from the palaces of power have been amplified by the infamous complicity of the mass media that has tried to transform the self-organization of a struggle against ruling class arrogance and exploitation into an indiscriminate attack against the citizens.

Expressing our solidarity with all those who have taken back direct control of their problems and of the methods for resolving them, we want to oppose ourselves to every attempt to repress them - in the first place through the mobilization - criminalize them and isolate them.

Today, December 15, with the legal general strike, the lowest level from which the recuperation of the struggle can start, the union leadership claims its historical role as those who bridle conflicts in order to lead them into channels useful to the perpetuation of the current order of exploitation.

In fact it is clear that the infinite constraints to which governments and unions have bound strikes over time have the sole aim of rendering them harmless for capital.

The spontaneous struggle overcomes these dangers, but finds itself facing other problems of a repressive nature (look at the preventive mobilization suggested by the infamy of Furio Truzzi - Assoutenti president - and immediately carried out by the provincial governor) against which the self-organization of the struggle itself would have to develop adequate instruments of self-defense.

The exploited have shown that they have a vast force at their disposal, but at this point some important questions arise. If the wage increase is granted, how much would the bosses spend to annul it through the increase in prices of goods for consumption? And then, above all, is the misery of our existence limited exclusively to economic misery?

We believe that misery is not determined by the one hundred and six euros denied to the rail transit workers (or by other unsatisfied demands) but above all by the forms of life imposed on every one by capital, and that this very risky struggle is not linked merely to a wage increase, but rather to the conquest of a life no longer subordinated to the compulsory cycle: work, wage, consumption. We desire to put an end to this life characterized by constriction, harmfulness and false needs.

We hope for the downfall of the market system, and we appeal to all those who feel the unbearableness of this survival to continue and extend the wildcat struggles into the totality of everyday life, embracing the destructive and creative fullness of the social war.

FRIENDS OF THE WILD CAT

perpetually inspired by the spread of disorder

[Flyer distributed in Turin, in some streetcar depots as well, on December 16, 2003]

WELCOME BACK, WILDCAT STRIKE

Irresponsible: this is how the Turinese streetcar workers have been described since the strike on Monday that leapt with one bound over the union rackets, the threats of the provincial governor and the insults of the mayor.

Irresponsible, because they not only declared that they wanted to manage the strike directly, but because they actually succeeded in doing so. For once, the unions – true guarantors of order within the companies – have had to stand back and watch. Accustomed to speaking with impunity in the name of all, on Monday the unionists proved to speak in nobody's name: their eagerness in the face of the company and the provincial governor to keep the strike within the narrow limits established by law vanished thanks to the determination of the streetcar workers in struggle.

Irresponsible, because they forced the provincial governor to mobilization. And when it is the police making the streetcars run it all becomes more clear: in social conflict everyone gets what they manage to conquer with force. On the one side there is the force of the exploited which they organize autonomously; on the other side that of the state, the masters and their organs of propaganda. The thousands of discussions over the right to strike and over guarantees are nothing more than paralyzing chatter.

Irresponsible, because they responded with action to the insults against the Milanese streetcar workers, accused after the wildcat strike two weeks ago of being urban terrorists. In the disgraceful lexicon of propaganda, a terrorist is anyone who opposes, even faintly, exploitation and the war, and not those who terrorize everyone with the blackmail of precariousness and misery, with the bogeyman of criminality and the war between religions and civilizations. These last are what feed the spreading of terror, the bombing of entire countries, the ordering of police charges, the building of concentration camps for those who run away from poverty and war without the correct documents for doing so.

Irresponsible, because they blocked the city, preventing us from going to school or work, causing us to rediscover that every day outside of school and work is on more day in freedom.

Irresponsible, because they brought back the virus of the wildcat strike and the blockade of the city, a virus the one of these days may yet spread to the other exploited as well. What then will become of the peaceful sleep of the masters, politicians and unionists?

Irresponsible, because the only responsibility permitted in these dark times is that of submission to every tyranny, silence before a life that is more and more wretched, precarious and dispossessed: the rulers would like us to be scabs, in strikes and in life.

And us? To all those who would like to isolate the irresponsible streetcar workers; to all those who depict them as "enemies of the poor people who still have to go to work"; to all those who, frightened by the rediscovery of old and wise forms of struggle, attempt to incite us against each other in order to avert the spreading of the awareness that the exploited have common enemies and interests; to all those who would like to prevent the spread of practices that escape from the hands of the unions, historical guarantors of order and exploitation - we respond that becoming irresponsible like the streetcar workers is truly the least that one can do.

Solidarity with the streetcar workers in struggle!

For generalized wildcat strike!

Blockade the masters' cities!

In solidarity on foot

c/o Centro di documentazione "Porfido" Via Tarino 12/C. 10124 Torino, Italy