Nationwide general strike in Italy leads to violent clashes

Violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and riot police in Italy as the Prime Minster pledged to push forward with labour reform set to make it easier for workers to be laid off.

As a nationwide strike in protest disrupted the country, pictures show police officers in riot gear charge protesters who threw firecrackers and other objects in some cities, including Milan and Turin.

Thousands of protesters clashed with police in Milan, where students dressed as Santa Claus jumped the fence at a regional government office building…

Note: The government wants the same conditions we have always had in the Anglo world: you might get fired, and in particular, you might get laid off, simply because the employer cannot afford to keep you on. The continental system is much beloved by workers — what’s not to like about a system that makes it very difficult to even lay people off?

But the net effect is that employers are exceedingly careful about hiring, since it so hard to reverse. On the continent, the system we know so well is referred to as “brutal Anglo-Saxon capitalism.” It is one of the reasons that the UK is popular for immigrants because it is so much easier to get a job.

To reform the system, the government wants to phase it out: the older workers are protected as before, the new one are not. It seems grotesquely unfair to the new workers, who are protesting.  Yet the economy is not competitive as it is.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    This speaks to how corrupt major parties are nowadays and why people are not considering parties that offer direct democracy or some program to write off much of the debts and return to building up societies not through neoliberal policies but through the basics, industrialization, bringing back manufacturing, tourism and many other policies used to help the average worker. Such policies would include ending corporate subsidies and a move towards state capitalism because we have seen over 25 years that concentration of wealth at the top does not work. This isn’t an anti-capitalist stance because capital can still function within state capitalism and what else will you choose besides the neoliberal experiment used since the 80’s. Protectionism is also part of that equation and yes Europe is geared for a lost generation because of the mainstream parties and this goes for all over the Western world. Even Canada will feel the impacts and the biggest culprit is free trade, concentration of wealth and neoliberal economics which many are disenchanted with.

    • Billy Bob Thornton

      Also these protests will continue and major parties will continue acting as if their policies need to continue getting implemented. Yes neoliberalism has failed aka Reaganism!

    • Minicapt

      A Russian is informing the KGB. “I think my neighbors have suspicious contact with the West.”

      KGB agent: “How can you tell?”

      Russian: “I hear them eating every night!”


      • DavidinNorthBurnaby

        I love the classics too. 🙂

    • Frau Katze

      Entire libraries are written about the best way to manage the economy. I’m no expert, I freely confess, but the free trade model did–at least in the past–provide overall higher standards of living. The classic example is Argentina. They refused free trade, they’re not doing well, despite the many advantages they possess (same level of wealth late 19th, early 20th century).

      But OTOH, free trade has now turned into a race for the lowest wages in the world. I admit: I don’t have an answer.

  • DavidinNorthBurnaby

    One wonders what part of ‘we are stony-ass broke’ some people don’t understand.

    • Frau Katze

      I could never figure that out either. The workers seem to expect the govt to subsidize failing companies.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    I think that Italians would be wise to choose Beppe Grillo’s party!

  • Freedom

    I give the new Italian Premier Matteo Renzi a lot of credit, he is trying to reform the
    Italian Government, he is standing up to the unions and he stands up to the
    Mafia in his country.

    I think the guy is doing a good job, and I am not one to usually support a liberal