Last Monday two decrees, strongly desired by the Minister of the Interior Salvini (security and immigration), have merged into a single text that was unanimously approved by the Council of Ministers. Reading the 42 articles of the document, which only awaits the signing of Italian Republic’s President Sergio Mattarella to enter into force, what immediately strikes the eye is the clear will of the executive to undermine the right of asylum to applicants and make it even more difficult life for immigrants.
For the past twenty years, several governments have only changed the name of the detention facilities in which “non-EU citizens” lacking regular residence permits are imprisoned: in the beginning were the CPTs (Centers of Temporary Stay) established by the Turco-Napolitano immigration law, then called CIE (Centers of Identification and Expulsion) from the law 189 of 2002 – the infamous “Bossi-Fini” –, renamed finally CPR (Centers of Permanence for the Repatriation) from the last legislature’s Minniti-Orlando decree. Here in Italy there are only six repatriation centers, this is due to the fact that many regions have refused to host one, yet the decree doubles the limit of stay allowed from 90 to 180 days; if the hot spots and the CPRs for the purpose of expulsion cannot be sufficient, “suitable structures in the availability of public security” can also be used… which means prisons.
Confirmation of the elimination, already happened with Minniti and Orlando, of the second degree of judgment in the process to obtain the status of “refugee”, while also proceeding to the cut of free legal assistance for “aspiring” refugees. The new legislation limits the Sprar reception system (protection system for asylum seekers and refugees) to immigrants in whose countries of origin there are natural disasters and unaccompanied minors, who however will not have the right to enroll in the registry office of the municipality. In other words, the possibility of granting exceptional residence permits for immigrants who are not granted refugee status is abolished; an instrument – that of the “humanitarian permits” – that served as a barrier to the hateful laws on illegal immigration and whose elimination will force more and more people to live under the blackmail of illegality, then to fill the ranks of the hyper-exploited labor and criminality. This, of course, is to the benefit of the most reactionary sectors of the bourgeoisie – above all the owners of the agri-food chain with which the league has strong ties – and the mafia; in the face of the government’s rhetoric that the decree should serve to increase “security”. Perhaps, however, the goal of the interior minister is precisely to strengthen the “foreign” -delinquency link so as to continue to justify an increase in repression, as well as to create a diversion to hide the incapacity of the government, which cannot want to clash with the capitalist EU and the ruling class, to keep the electoral promises, or more generally to solve the huge “social question” opened by the crisis of capitalism.
As the latest report by the Antigone Association shows, in fact, there is no automatism between immigration and increasing delinquency; indeed, in the last ten years the percentage of foreign nationals detained has reduced: in 2008 there were 21,562 while today they fell to 19,868 despite the foreign population in Italy has doubled. Moreover, the numbers of what the Northern League define invasion are rather modest compared to the overall population of the country. The International Organization of Migration, an agency linked to the United Nations, notes that Italy has recorded the lowest entry point in the last five years (19.761), just above the Greek standards (18.529) and below the Spain (27.994), where landings proceed at four times the pace of growth in Italy.
In short, the Salvini decree strikes migrants to cover the interests of the bosses and hit the workers and the poor: in fact, we find attacks on housing occupations in the form of penalties of up to 4 years and fines from 206 to 2.064 euros for tenants. In continuity with the measures implemented by the former minister Minniti, the urban Daspo has been strengthened; remember that the law already allowed the mayors to prevent access to their town to anyone who had received a conviction for crimes that affect “the person or the property”, or had committed misconduct of various kinds.
In short, we are talking about thefts, assaults, drug dealing, exploitation of prostitution, or abusive phenomena (see: sale of counterfeit goods), but also writings on walls, or unauthorized occupations of public spaces (like camps) and begging. Well, the new DASPO has a wider range of action than the previous one, also involving health centers, areas of particular tourist interest and areas for fairs, public markets and shows.
While you can not find the framework for social safety nets (in the next few weeks the extraordinary layoff for over 140,000 workers will expire, due to the provisions of the Jobs Act), Salvini then plans to reinvest 1 billion euro a year in law enforcement forces; municipalities with over 100 thousand inhabitants can equip, as an “experiment”, two municipal policemen with Taser guns, the paralyzing electric gun already introduced experimentally by the PD minister Minniti. Presented as a non-lethal tool, in fact, Taser gun has already caused numerous deaths since 2001: in the United States Reuters has documented 1,042 cases of people killed by an electric pistol held by a policeman. A quarter of the victims suffered from psychotic crises or neurological disorders, in nine out of ten cases the victim was unarmed. The substantial impunity of the murderers of Cucchi, Aldrovandi, Bianzino etc., result of the scientific coverage made by the State apparatus for the benefit of the police, suggests that the Taser will only give cops the opportunity to perpetrate further abuse without consequences.
Always in terms of repression, last but not least, Salvini decree’s article 25 provides that the “road block” returns to be a criminal offense and not an administrative violation; translated in a nutshell: the union delegates who guide workers to occupy the streets during strikes and pickets, instead of risking a simple pecuniary sanction, may be condemned to years in prison.
The measure analyzed so far will now have to go to the scrutiny of the President of the Republic, and will face opposition in Parliament from PD and LeU (Liberi e Uguali, mostly ex-PD politicians and others left liberals) who have already launched appeals to President Mattarella in order to put a veto to the law. Yet Mattarella – who was so zealous to deny the nomination of the “eurosceptic” Paolo Savona to the Ministry of Economy and Finance in order to reassure “the markets” (big companies and banks) – he took no action to stop Salvini when, without respecting the administrative procedure and the institutional chain of command, blocked the ship “Eighteen” at the port of Catania. If in the end the immigrants managed to get off the ship – and to disappear with impunity – was in fact only thanks to the important solidarity reaction of the Sicilian antiracist movement and thousands of ordinary citizens.
To counter the immigration-security decree, the road to go therefore remains that of the construction of the mobilization, a terrain, even this one, which must however be clarified. As we have mentioned, the rationale of the law is to rely on the distorted perceptions of immigration and the “security” of the most backward sectors of society, so as to cover the anti-proletarian and anti-popular nature of this government on social issues. Clear is the will to make repression tools stronger in view of the loss of political consensus that will begin to show up when the effects of next State financial law (“Finanziaria”) – crushed by the EU capitalist ties – will be evident to the popular masses and workers; it is already clear the immediate objective of Article 25: to hit the most combative workers’ layers and in particular those of logistics sector for which the blocking of the entrances to warehouses and interports is a fundamental weapon of struggle.
It is therefore not enough to fight “racism and repression”, but it is necessary to link these issues to the opposition to the reactionary policies that the Lega-5Stelle executive will carry forward on the economic level. Otherwise, leaving “anti-racism” in the hands of those forces such as the PD who are responsible for almost a decade of austerity and have nothing to spare with the defense of immigrants’ rights, as Minniti-Orlando decree, introducing CIEs, has shown.
It is necessary, in other words, to explain to those workers who follow Salvini’s Lega propaganda, because of decades of passivity of the union bureaucracies and errors of left parties, that State racism deepened by the last decree is nothing but a way to divide them from their immigrant brothers and to continue undisturbed the attack against the conditions of life and work of all. It is necessary to explain to these workers that, in order to face the economic and social devastation caused by the crisis of capitalism, the only solution is to fight together, regardless of ethnic and religious differences, against the bosses and the government, on the basis of a program which clashes with “compatibility” of an economic and political system that has nothing more to offer to the vast majority of Italian and global population, particularly to those who live and flee from African and Asian countries torn apart by wars, huge debt imposed by big foreign capitalists and the International Monetary Fund, economic crises, famine, poorness-related illnesses. The same roots of this terrible situation in “poor counties” lead to cuts in welfare, anti-workers laws, repression, spreading of poverty in the “wealthy countries” such as Italy.
In light of such a situation and perspective – which is what will animate the strike and parade in Rome of the combative syndicalism and political left of October 26-7 – then, let’s fight against the last security-immigration decree means to claim the abolition of all the previous repressive and racist measures that, institutionalizing clandestinity and criminalizing immigrants, increasing the blackmail of an increasingly important sector of the working class (undermining its compactness), as well as creating a scapegoat – that of the “irregular foreigner” – very useful to bourgeois governments of each side to hide the effects and responsibilities of social massacre policies.