We work, we strike
by : Vittorio Longhi
Wednesday March 3, 2010 - 14:19
by Vittorio Longhi
The 1 March protests saw immigrant workers in Europe down tools to raise awareness of the discrimination they face
A peaceful and colourful spectre seems to be haunting Europe. It’s a grassroots movement of migrants and activists claiming for participation and protesting against discriminatory immigration laws in France and in Italy. Monday 1 March, the first "day without immigrants, 24 hours without us" cannot but be considered a milestone in foreign workers’ fight for social and political rights. The idea comes from the economic boycott in the United States in 2006, when hundred of thousands of Latino workers took to the streets asking for better conditions and against the criminalisation of "irregulars". They abstained from consumer spending and working in companies and family care, but also attending colleges, hospitals, buying and selling, while boasting slogans such as: "Today we march, tomorrow we vote."
In Europe, the movement was born in the ideal cradle of France. More than 200 years after the French revolution and the declaration of the rights of men and the citizen, a new social actor is demanding visibility: "We, immigrants, immigrants’ descendants, citizens, are aware of the contribution of immigration to our country, we all generate economic growth," reads the movement’s manifesto. The date of the strike was chosen after the French "code of foreigners’ entry and stay and right to asylum", which came into effect on 1 March 2005. This law, according to protesters, symbolises a mere utilitarian idea of immigration.
Organisers are ordinary workers such as African carpenters and Asian nurses, but also unionists, journalists and intellectuals, both natives and migrants who used Facebook to create the network in France and then spread it to Italy and, with less intensity, to Spain and Greece. Yellow is the colour of the movement, signifying the political neutrality and independence of the initiative, which was coordinated by local committees already active in fights against a rampant xenophobic propaganda.
It’s hard to assess the day’s concrete economic impact as many immigrants had to pass the strike for fear of losing their jobs or because they could not afford to lose even a single day’s wage. But the attention raised on the issue already meets organisers’ expectations. There were mass marches, concerts and meetings from Paris to Rome, despite the media blackout and lack of concrete help by the main leftist parties and trade unions, which just gave their moral support.
And yet European progressive forces and trade unions should listen carefully to this demand of representation. In Italy, where prime minister Silvio Berlusconi makes irresponsible statements such as "the left wants a multiethnic society, we don’t", there are 4.5m regular migrants who contribute 9% of the country’s gross national product. But recent immigration laws make it harder and harder to live and work legally in the country. The Italian government’s policy has been repeatedly criticised by UN agencies, NGOs and also the Vatican. From push-backs to Libya that sends potential refugees to violence and torture, to discrimination of migrants at work and criminalisation of illegal immigrants, among which there are many who have just lost their jobs after decades of work, due to the current economic crisis.
Such discriminatory and racist systems are raising the potential for social conflict in Europe. While the 1 March initiative is aimed at stimulating solidarity among the working class in Italy, in France and everywhere else, migrants are seen as a threat to natives’ jobs and wages, where there’s a claim for protection instead of rights.
letter of september to Obama
Monday 1 - 11:10by kakine
The Guardian Australia censors the Iraqi Genocide renewed by the US & Australia
Sunday 31 - 04:42by Dr Gideon Polya
Iran’s lost billions: Tejarat Aria Gostar Iranian Navid Co may have questions to
Thursday 28 - 15:13by kanopia
Christophe Mazurier lobbies for U.S. model for financing arts
Thursday 28 - 14:14by hyuem
A Nation of Monday Morning Quarterbacks
Monday 11 - 21:26by Richard John Stapleton
Nuclear Weapons Ban & BDS to save world from Nuclear, Poverty & Climate threats
Monday 11 - 09:20by Dr Gideon Polya
Top Australian columnist loses job for criticizing latest Israeli Gaza Massacre
Friday 8 - 07:52by Dr Gideon Polya
WW1, ongoing Palestinian Genocide, latest Israeli Gaza Massacre & Western lies
Tuesday 5 - 15:20by Dr Gideon Polya
Weapons System offered to Hamas and the People of Gaza
Monday 4 - 15:57by William Morgan
Israel’s Attempted Genocide Must Fail: Lessons from Genocide in ’Canada’
Monday 4 - 05:20by Denis Rancourt
BEYOND THE EURO: THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE
Saturday 2 - 15:34by Co-ordinating of the Left against the euro, Italy
letter of august to president Obama
Friday 1 - 09:36by kakine
55 anti-racist Australian MPs condemn Israel’s Gaza Massacre and war crimes
Thursday 31 - 08:31by Dr Gideon Polya
Hell, No—We won’t go! We won’t fight for Texaco!! - Rebellion in *west* Ukraine
Wednesday 30 - 21:47by Daniel Patrick Welch
Tejarat Aria Gostar Iranian Navid Co.: Why the end of sanctions against Iran may
Wednesday 30 - 17:59
"I got my eyes on your fatty"
Tuesday 29 - 04:28by BenAMarine
"If I forget about them, may God forget about me"
Monday 28 - 19:12by Daniel Patrick Welch
Refutation of false Zionist one-liners behind the latest Israeli Gaza Massacre
Saturday 26 - 00:21by Dr Gideon Polya
IS RELIGION HUMANITY’S DEADLIEST INVENTION?
Friday 25 - 12:46by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Israeli Gaza Massacre: Nobel Laureates & others call for arms embargo on Israel
Monday 21 - 02:44by Dr Gideon Polya
Escalation of Shelling in Eastern Ukraine by Kviv After Tragic Crash...
Sunday 20 - 20:11by Roger Annis
Malaysian Airlines MH17 atrocity & ongoing Apartheid Israeli Gaza Massacre
Saturday 19 - 03:56by Dr Gideon Polya
On How Reality Happens
Tuesday 15 - 15:50by Richard John Stapleton
The world must stop Apartheid Israel’s latest massacre of Palestinians in Gaza
Saturday 12 - 09:20by Dr Gideon Polya
REVOLT (peacefully): Open Letter to Young People over $220 trillion Carbon Debt
Friday 11 - 02:58by Dr Gideon Polya
$10 trillion per year increased Carbon Debt for young people & doomed (?) planet
Tuesday 8 - 02:52by Dr Gideon Polya
Truth Crushed to Earth: Why Ukraine, as part of a global struggle, won’t be solv
Monday 7 - 21:57by Daniel Patrick Welch
letter of july to president Obama
Friday 4 - 21:41by kakine
Horrendous global deaths means make Fourth of July Independence from America Day
Friday 4 - 09:09by Dr Gideon Polya
BOYCOTT HOBBY LOBBY
Thursday 3 - 04:30by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
A report on the Hindu nationalist circuit in the United States
Tuesday 1 - 11:51
THE SUPREME COURT OF THE CORPORATE INTERESTS
Tuesday 1 - 02:16by David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
Important book review: "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty
Tuesday 1 - 01:26by Dr Gideon Polya
4% pa Global Wealth Tax to stop the 17M pa Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust
Friday 27 - 09:30by Dr Gideon Polya
Was Invading Iraq the Worst Decision in US History?
Monday 23 - 21:43by Richard John Stapleton
IRAQ, ISIS, AND INTERVENTION: JUST WHAT IS GOING ON?
Saturday 21 - 15:37by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Iraqi hydrocarbon prize of U.S. invasion in danger
Friday 20 - 09:37by Nicola Nasser
Antagonizing Palestinians, Australia’s linguistic blunder snowballs
Tuesday 17 - 20:09by Nicola Nasser
THE WEST DECLARES on IRAQ
Monday 16 - 20:04by SON OF A BUSH
GENOCIDE, GREAT WARS, AND OTHER HUMAN DEPRAVITY
Monday 16 - 15:33by JOHN CHUCKMAN