Italian union leader Sergio Cofferati puts people before profits:
Democracy in action as millions of protesters gather in Rome

Nipawin - Sunday, March 24, 2002 - by: Mario deSantis

It is mind boggling that in a Free Market, which requires less and less workers to support overproduction for goods and services, the free marketeers are demanding easier laws to fire employees in order to be more competitive. It is astonishing! We have shown that the American growth of the 90s was partially the result of the American stealing from other countries (re: foreign trade deficits), yet Europe is positioning to legislate more flexible labour laws on behalf of corporations.
In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wants to change the Statuto dei lavoratori (the Statute of the workers) so that corporations can fire employees without just cause. The elitist neo-conservative leaders are telling people that privatization along with easier laws to fire employees is conducive to a better economic performance and lower unemployment. To show this absurd neo-conservative rational conclusion, we have economists performing statistical correlation studies which scientifically prove that the US experienced a lower unemployment rate than Europe's since they have easier laws to fire employees. We have shown in our previous articles in Ensign and Saskatchewan News that most correlation statistical studies are flawed, but most importantly, these correlation studies are used to support the status quo along with the neo-conservative agenda to put profits before the rights of people.
Yesterday, some forty thousand people gathered in Vancouver to protest the budgetary cuts announced few weeks ago by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, and yesterday as well, we had some million people in Rome protesting the political directions of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Last week, professor Marco Biagi, labour adviser to Berlusconi, was gunned down in Bologna and Silvio Berlusconi, prompt to capitalize on this murder, blamed the trade unions for creating social violence in the country. The trade unions were quick to respond to this fascist opportunistic Berlusconi, and millions of people have poured onto the streets of Rome to protest Berlusconi's government. People converged on Rome from every corner of Italy, they travelled to Rome chartering some 10,000 buses, some 60 trains, and a number of ships and planes.



Union leader Sergio Cofferati told the crowd Biagi's killing was carried out just when
"workers and citizens were mobilizing to claim their legitimate rights."
Cofferati went on to say that
"we are against the current compassionate capitalism... we will fight for the fundamental rights of fathers and mothers and their sons and daughters... We think of a universal system of rights for all the people who were born either in Italy or abroad."

Passionate old time activist Pietro Ingrao, who participated in 1943 in Milano at the first and only workers strike under Europe's Nazism, was deeply moved by the peaceful demonstration and said that this was the greatest demonstration he had ever experienced in all his life. But the meaning of the protest was properly explained by participant Maria Cristina:
"I'm here not so much for myself, but for my 13-month-old daughter. I want to fight for the rights she should have when she starts to work."
Pertinent article published in Ensign
Protesters rally against B.C. government, CBC Canada, March 23, 2002
Millions rally in Rome against labour law reform, ABC Australia, March 24, 2002
Italians Rally Against Berlusconi, by Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press Writer, March 23, 2002
Padri e figli, operai e disoccupati, garantiti e senza diritti: insieme fanno 3 milioni, L'Unita, Redazione On Line, March 23, 2002
La pi grande manifestazione mai svolta. Che parla alla destra e alla sinistra, di Piero Sansonetti, L'Unita, March 23, 2002
Two Million Union Protesters Descend on Rome, by Luke Baker, March 23, 2002