On 1 March 2010 and again in 2011 in many Italian cities migrant and Italian workers went on strike together, against the institutionalized racism of the Bossi-Fini law. Many marches and demonstrations accompanied the strike. The workers struck autonomously, finding the support of many fellow workers and many shop stewards. Thousands of people demonstrated their solidarity for migrants and migrant struggle, showing that even in a time of crisis we can struggle for the rights of all. 1 March has become an important date: our intention is that this year it continues to be a day of mobilization and experimentation of new forms of struggle.
This date has become even more important since the anti-Roma pogroms of Turin and the murder of Samb Modou and Diop Mor in Florence. A racist murder that saw provoked an enormous reaction, led by thousands of migrants who invaded the streets of Florence. The time has come to be clear: racism is not simply cultural phenomenon, but is supported by specific laws and legal procedures that consider migrants only as labour to exploit or as an enemy to combat.
•This is evident in the blackmail of residency work contracts (contratto di soggiorno) as it is in migrant detention centres (CIE, ex-CPT).
•It was evident in the fraud amnesty of 2009.
•It was evident in the creation of a refugee emergency after the north African revolutions and the de facto non-recognition of asylum rights.
•It is evident in the daily lives of the children of migrants, who at 18 years old have to follow the impossible rules of a residency permit for study, or enter the workforce immediately with a work residency permit.
•It is all too evident in a “point based” residency permit and a special tax on it, with the objective of unloading on migrants and their salaries the cost of these policies. Migrants pay taxes and the costs of the crisis like all workers and the new permit tax will only add to that, and to those unexplainable 30 euros a migrant must pay the Post Office to renew their permit.
If we do not radically change this state of things that produces hierarchies and clandestinity, simply denouncing racism becomes a hypocritical gesture.
The migrant condition is not separated from that of everyone else, but in its specificity it shows tendencies and dynamic that involve us all, in particular with regards to the world of work and its exploitation. On the other hand the migrant condition is different from that of everyone else, because only for migrants does the crisis and precarity bring the real risk of loss ones residency and possibly imprisonment. Beyond all rhetoric of solidarity, therefore, we recognize that the political clandestinity of migrants and institutional racism have made everybody more insecure. For this reason we want to be in the streets once again this first of march, to widen the struggle against precarity.
The struggles carried out by migrants in these years have taught that there cannot be real improvements without direct protagonism. The march first strike demonstrated that it is possible to strike in non-traditional ways, that workplace struggle can unite where precarity and laws divide.
In the economic crisis and confronted with laws that produce racism and division, we want a movement that brings a radical change to the current state of things. For this reason we are calling for widespread mobilization, with diverse initiatives, that does not limit itself to the first of march, in the spirit of the Migrants declaration approved at Gore'e (Senegal), and based on several shared principles:
•For the end of the Bossi-Fini law, the abolition of the residency work contract (permesso di soggiorno per lavoro) and the closing of all migrant detention centres, in Italy and Europe.
•For the immediate granting of citizenship to all children born in Italy.
•No to a points based residency permit and new taxes on residency.
•For the general regularization for those currently without a residency permit, without frauds and without producing new hierarchies, for the unconditional recognition of the right to asylum.
•Against precarity, for a welfare that isn't based on the exploitation or exclusion of anybody.
•For the construction of a new kind of strike, capable of uniting, and of changing this state of things.
For Pictures visit: http://coordinamentomigranti.org/