Home | Friday 19th December 2008 | Issue 660
EURO TRASHED 1: NEW ROME-ANTICS
SchNEWS PRESENTS: SMASH HITS FROM THE EURO-VISIONARIES
The radical student movement in Britain can take some lessons from what is happening in Italy at the moment, specifically from events at the Roman Sapienza University campus - a hotbed for radical political mobilisation in Italy. For months students have been occupying areas of their University in response to the racist, market-driven education reforms proposed by the Berlusconi government in law 133, also called the Gelmini law, named after the Minister of Education, Mariastella Gelmini.
On Friday 12 December students and workers from Italy’s most militant trade union COBAS marched in Rome. The movement, self-titled ‘the anomalous wave’, has not seen a repeat of the mass turn-out of October when over 2 million people marched in Rome. However students at la Sapienza, Europe’s biggest University, continue to occupy a number of departments in order to push their agenda called ‘autoriforma’ - educational reform led by students and workers from the bottom-up.
The movement is inspired by anarchist principles, and many slogans include fury about the recent death of Alexis Grigoropoulos at the hands of the Greek police. On Wednesday December 10th, after a vigil at the Greek embassy in Rome, a number of copper vans got burned but no large scale clashes occurred between protesters and police. On a critical note, it seems the students are merely pushing an educational agenda and fail to reach out to those who do not have the privilege to study - the Italian working class, the oppressed Roma gypsies and large numbers of African immigrants, all under threat in the face of an openly racist government and a growing number of fascists getting their grubby hands on power.
Some lessons may be learned from the French mobilisation against the CPE in 2006 (see SchNEWS 537), where students and workers organised together and defeated Sarkozy’s law. In any case, the fresh radicalism of this movement may inspire the by-and-large capitulated British student movement. Some Italian students are expected to come to the University of Sussex to talk about their experiences in February 2009. Watch this space.
* See http://anomalia.blogsome.com/category/1