In virus response, ‘invisible’ workers take back the scene in Italy
|Norma Rangeri 16/03/2020|
The “invisibles” of the world of smart capitalism are debunking the myth that everyone is supposed to be an entrepreneur with themselves as assets. Factory workers in the Year of the Pandemic have made themselves heard, threatened strikes and demanded the right to healthcare.
Companies that used to make bras are now making face masks. This is not the new development model we’ve been waiting for, but it is certainly a socially useful choice.
CGIL Secretary Landini delivered the news about face mask manufacturing instead of bras in an unprecedented press conference via Facebook on Saturday following the agreement reached between the government and a number of large business associations.
After 18 hours of negotiations, the union has obtained €4 billion to fund buffers against social shocks and all healthcare measures for those who have to work. Hundreds of delegates are now called upon to enforce the protocol, and everything will be more difficult wherever the union doesn’t have a presence.
The “invisibles” of the world of smart capitalism, debunking the myth that everyone is supposed to be an entrepreneur with themselves as assets, those workers in the factories and not only who have been left unprotected in 2020, the Year of the Pandemic, have made themselves heard, threatened strikes and demanded the right to healthcare. Workers in every productive, manufacturing and logistic sector have now returned to center stage, and the last thing they want is to be called “heroes.” Just like the doctors and nurses who are denouncing the collapse of our hospitals, the result of the €30 billion stolen away from public healthcare funding over the years.
However, they are being praised as heroes by none other than the same PD higher-ups who forced them into the straitjacket of the Jobs Act, faithful to the ideology of eliminating any trace of the conflict between those who own everything and those who have nothing except their lives to exchange for wages as employees. If we look closer, this accursed virus is at least tearing through the smokescreen, laying bare one of the many hotbeds of social inequality: namely, the downgrading of healthcare to a commodity available to be exploited by the profit chain—once again, what happened to ILVA is something we can all learn from.
In the storied age of the ‘70s of the last century, in the factories and local councils, healthcare represented a fundamental pillar in the struggles of the workers and trade unions, with the development of the new branch of occupational medicine, led by great personalities such as Dr. Giulio Maccacaro (born in Codogno in 1924), who founded the Medicina Democratica (“Democratic Medicine”) movement. These unions and movements were at the forefront of worker action, and at the same time schools of politics and participation, working to protect the workers and to protect everyone.
The necessary measures contained in this laboriously reached agreement are only useful patches to cover over some of the massive holes in a system of production and life that has been laid bare at the planetary level. The challenge now is to make sure this system is left behind as an artifact of a particular period of our modern prehistory.