PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli expressed her solidarity with the Italian Trade Union movement, after its headquarters in Rome came under violent attack by far-right militants on Saturday.
Fascist agitators threw smoke bombs and occupied offices of the CGIL; part of a series of orchestrated attacks against unionists and public service workers, which left three nurses and two police officers injured.
In a letter to CGIL General Secretary Maurizio Landini, Pavanelli said:
"For too long, the worrying evidence of resurgent fascist and neo-Nazi organisations has been ignored - worse still these groups have been tolerated. Today, the damage of such underestimation is there for all to see. This situation requires strong, determined and definitive action to outlaw fascist organisations."
Politicians across Italy condemned the attack, with Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio saying "these are not protestors but criminals." The two leaders of Forza Nuova - a fascist party whose militants were involved - were arrested following the attack.
Across the world, neo-nazis have been responsible for a growing number of violent attacks. In the USA, the vast majority of terrorist plots are now organised by far-right militants and in Europe the rise of right-wing violence has coincided closely with the rise in popularity of right-wing populist parties.
A recent publication by the European Economic and Social Committee pointed to spiralling inequality as a key cause for fascist resurgence, describing how "redistribution mechanisms in these countries have been severely diminished by decades of neoliberal policies... tackling the roots means fighting inequality and poverty."
"Our unions and members have been raising the alarm over the threats posed by the toxic blend of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and fascist agitators who are exploiting the pandemic to undermine democracy. History shows the urgent need for our Governments to take swift and strong action against fascist organising. Our lives are on the line."
"On my own behalf and on behalf of the 30 million workers in public services affiliated to PSI, I want to express our solidarity with you for the cowardly attack on the headquarters of the national CGIL."
CGIL General Secretary Maurizio Landini said: "all those formations that identify with fascism must be dissolved. It is time to say it clearly."
Read the full letter to CGIL
I, along with the 30 million workers in public services affiliated to PSI, want to express our profound solidarity following the cowardly attack on the headquarters of the CGIL.
As you rightly point out, this was an episode of fascist militancy, orchestrated and organised, aimed at attacking the largest Italian trade union and the entire workers' movement.
On Saturday 16 October, the entire Italian trade union movement will be in the streets for a large anti-fascist demonstration.
For too long, the worrying evidence of resurgent fascist and neo-Nazi organisations has been ignored. Worse still these groups have been tolerated. Today, the damage of such underestimation is there for all to see. This situation requires strong, determined and definitive action to outlaw fascist organisations, in line with the Italian Constitution.
This is all the more necessary now that the international political climate is seeing a regression of nationalist, populist and fascist parties both in Europe and in other parts of the world.
Let me underline how the combination of the anti-vax movement and fascist extremism under the banner of “freedom” shows how their common denominator is in fact contempt for the freedom of others.
On Saturday 16 October, the entire Italian trade union movement will be in the streets for a large anti-fascist demonstration, once again demonstrating that organised workers are the true bulwark of democracy.
Exactly one hundred years ago, fascism began to assert itself by attacking the CGIL offices; democratic Italy cannot allow history to repeat itself.
PSI is at your side for this struggle: now and always RESISTANCE.
Our highest regards to you and your comrades,