Trieste, Italy: protest against the Green Pass intensifies
On the morning of Monday 18 October, after 4 days of blockades, demonstrations and permanent presidiums , the police evicted with the use of violence those demonstrating in front of the entrance to the port of Triste. Thousands of people then moved in demonstration through the streets of the city, up to Piazza Unità, while in the evening the protest intensified. In the area next to the harbor, protesters responded to the massive use of police force by setting up barricades in the streets.
Throughout Italy, in these hours hundreds of demonstrations in solidarity are occupying the main squares of the country.What happened in these hours has no historical precedent neither for the city of Trieste, where protests of this intensity had never taken place in living memory, nor for the movement against the Green Pass.In these lines we will therefore try to give a quick account of how we arrived at the current situation: for reasons of space it is therefore a partial, incomplete account, in which both the complexity of the political dynamics is necessarily reduced, and at the same time some major events are not reported.
First, what is the Green Pass? The Green Pass, also known as the “European Green Passport”, is a document gradually introduced from the summer of 2021 by the Italian government. It is obtained only when you have obtained the so-called "vaccination coverage", after having received two doses of the vaccine (or, in other and rarer cases, when you have recently recovered from Covid-19) .The document initially regulated access to public spaces, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas or festivals, hospitals… but its scope has gradually been extended to other aspects of social life. In particular, starting from 15 October, the Green Pass has become mandatory for all workers, both in the public and private sectors: under penalty of suspension from their jobs.In his absence, workers can only, and at their own expense, certify their condition of "negativity" using swabs.
Trieste in particular immediately presented itself as an anomalous city compared to the rest of the country, for the composition of the movement and for the strength it expressed.Unlike many other contexts, where the radical left and the anarchist area looked with suspicion at the squares opposed to the Green Pass, in Trieste a group of comrades founded the assembly known as "Coordinamento No Green Pass Trieste", which together with the port workers union CLPT therefore assumed the role of promoter of mobilizations and protests, distancing the fascists from their assemblies.During the first two weeks of September 3 huge demonstrations, with more than 15,000 demonstrators (in a city where the inhabitants are 200,000) occupy the public space, blocking the city.
In the same period, protests intensified throughout Italy, with particularly numerous demonstrations in Milan and Rome.Two more words must be spent on Rome: it is here in fact that during the demonstration on 9 October, starting from a demonstration of over 10,000 people, another demonstration starts, led by neo-fascist groups such as Forza Nuova and Casapound. While the police violently attack the main square, the group led by the neo-fascists meets no resistance and comes to occupy the headquarters of the CGIL, the main trade union in the country, historically linked to the PCI and now to the Democratic Party. In the meantime, another demostration also starts, animated instead by people close to the movements, social centers and the anarchist area.
While the political climate continues to polarize, with the regime media not sparing the opportunity to accuse the entire movement of being led by the fascists, and made up of individualists, deniers and conspiracy theorists, in Trieste a growing part, albeit a minority of comrades, tries to channel the anger against the Green Pass. Here too, in the fight against the green passport, very heterogeneous people are mixed together, both in terms of social class and in terms of the beliefs that lead them to express their dissent. Nevertheless, the Coordination, together with the dock workers, decides to stay within the movement, aware of its ambivalence.
The comrades decide to stay in the assemblies starting from the assumption that every mass movement always contains within itself positions that are often very different, in some cases apparently irreconcilable, without it being necessary to marry them all. It is in the assemblies that the most advanced currents can prevail, to oppose all forms of blackmail and discrimination in the workplace, as well as in social spaces, to oppose increasingly invasive forms of biopolitical control and the limitless expansion of the State of Emergency, to counter the capitalist management of vaccination programs, to avoid transforming science into a dogma, as when the usefulness of the third dose is criticized by a fairly large part of the scientific community. Furthermore, thanks to the Green Pass, the government masks, through an authoritarian and punitive mechanism for workers, the will to continue its policies as in the past: cuts to healthcare, absence of preventive and territorial medicine, absence of investments and stable hiring in the school, no enhancement of public transport…
What happened in the last few days?The first qualitative jump took place on 11 October, when all over Italy the base unions launched a general strike, while the main unions, namely CGIL, CISL and UIL decided to ignore the movement. However only a few of the base unions take a clear position against the Green Pass. In Trieste, on the other hand, the Coordination autonomously organizes a demonstration, which brings 15,000 strikers to the square. The dock workers, symbol of the city as much as the port, galvanized the Trieste protest. But the port of Trieste soon became a symbol for the movement against GreenPass throughout Italy, and starting from the 11th more and more people began to arrive to support the protest, from all over Northern Italy and perhaps even further away.
The government attempts mediation, offering the dock workers the opportunity to have their swabs for free, but the CLTP union representatives refuse the offer.Driven by the support shown by workers and citizens all around the country, they then proclaim the strike and the indefinite blockade starting from October 15, the day from which it will no longer be possible to work without the certificate. The fight, they say, will go on until the abolition of the Green Pass(port).
The strike and the blockade:
On the morning of the 15th, hundreds of people guard the gates from the first light of dawn.The event grows during the morning, thousands of people arrive and it becomes a kind of party. The workers decide not to stop the traffic of goods, but the participation in the strike is very high. Over 40% of dockers do not have a green pass, and solidarity between colleagues blocks activities.The protest continues on the 16th and 17th as well, with hundreds of people showing solidarity and an increasing number of demonstrators from all over Italy transforming the space in front of the Gate 4 of the harbour into a sort of permanent presidium.
On the 18th morning, as announced, the police attacks with tear gas, charges and use water cannons against those who were still keeping their position at the gates. The protesters decide to resort to passive resistance and for the moment there is no physical response to the police aggression. At least 2000 people soon arrive to support the protest, but the police aggression is too violent and the gates are forcibly released. A large unauthorized demonstration follows, moving from the port to the most important square of the city, Piazza Unità, where the demonstration lasts until late in the evening. Meanwhile, a smaller group of people dispersed in the area near the port, blocking traffic and erecting makeshift barricades. Among these protesters, to a large extent very young, an unspecified number of ultras and other elements close to the circles of the extreme right. During the evening, a greater number of people move peacefully from Piazza Unità towards the port, where the demonstration is again attacked by the police. The clashes continue until late in the evening.
While we write, the situation is constantly evolving.
The Italian government, led by Mario Draghi, is experimenting with this measure in Italy, but the Green Pass could soon be adopted in other European Union countries. What is happening in Italy is therefore a warning for all.
The protests of these days, unprecedented since the beginning of the pandemic, break with the absolute consensus built by governments in the name of the health emergency. If this were not enough to convince the most skeptical comrades to take a position, the attempt by the far right to infiltrate the movement can only be stopped when these elements are denied viability and political room for maneuver, and the only way to do this is to take part in the organization of the struggle.
We invite all comrades to reflect on the forms of their intervention against the emergency management of the health emergency.We ask everyone to express their solidarity against the military repression that is affecting the movement against the Green Pass.
Finally, we invite those who may be interested to discuss about the situation to see each other in person, in Piazza Exarchia, Friday 22 October, at 18 h.
A comrade from Trieste