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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 March 2020

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

Testing for Coronavirus in Bologna, photo Dipartimento Protezione Civile/CC

Testing for Coronavirus in Bologna, photo Dipartimento Protezione Civile/CC   (Click to enlarge)

With confirmed coronavirus cases in the thousands, the government of Italy has placed the entire country on lockdown.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte first quarantined 16 million of the country's 60 million population in infected 'red zones', then announced that "the whole of Italy will become a protected zone."
Jo, a teacher from Bologna, spoke to the Socialist. "The children have already been at home for two weeks because the schools have been closed and they're saying they won't open again until 3 April. I'm self-employed so if I don't work I don't get paid.

"That's six weeks without any money. How am I supposed to feed my kids? The government is doing nothing to help us. And the health service is on the verge of collapse."

The mayor of one small village with over 1,000 Covid-19 cases, Castiglione d'Adda, has said "we feel truly alone. People are ill and are not receiving the necessary assistance. Help us please."

As we go to press, all schools and universities are closed, and all public events banned, until 3 April. There are police and military checkpoints to block non-emergency travel. Prisons have suffered riots after suspending visiting rights. Major airlines have cancelled all flights to the country during March.

Thousands flooded roads and train stations to try to escape when the decree was leaked. The panic is understandable - no pay, no public services, and a crumbling healthcare system.

The state has promised 10 billion to support businesses and households and pledged to suspend mortgage payments. Calming the panic and stopping the spread will need a still greater influx of resources - and democratic oversight of the response by local workers and residents, rather than shock diktats from Rome.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 11 March 2020:


Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now

Coronavirus infects the world economy

Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn

Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition

Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits

For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets

Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief


News

Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services

News in brief


Workplace news

Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot

Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay

Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse

Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining

Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management

Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"

Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network

East London uni and bin worker strikes


US election

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?


Campaigns and party news

Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises

Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts

Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?

Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests

Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson

Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story

Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Student occupation in support of striking workers

Selling the Socialist

Socialist Party executive committee positions


International news

Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis


Women's and trans rights

Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement


Readers' opinion

Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom

Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Italy:

triangle'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

triangleSelf-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it

triangleItaly: Governing coalition fractures as Salvini looks to capitalise on crisis

triangleFrance: striking workers confront Macron

triangleThe ongoing capitalist crisis and the struggle for a socialist world

Democracy:

trianglePCS executive majority cancels union democracy

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Capitalist democracy versus socialist democracy

triangleRecord dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

trianglePCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

US:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleA day in the life of a salon worker

triangleNews in brief

Schools:

triangleSussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

triangleDispatches from the front - chaotic schools are not safe!

Government:

triangleThailand: Youth rising against hated junta

Coronavirus:

triangleNorth East lockdown: simmering anger at Tory incompetence

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