→ See the Italian translation on the website of the Coalition for the Social Strike
We are the strikers: we are the precarious, the migrants, the industrial workers, the students that on November 14th 2014 went on strike together, challenging the divisions that produce our common condition of precarity. We are those who work on call paid with coupons per hour, we are the workers that are actually subordinated even though we are labeled as «self-employed» or «working associate» of a cooperative enterprise, we are the «interns», the «volunteers», the «apprentices», the students that work for free hoping to gain a salary in the future, we are the new generation of autonomous workers, impoverished, without welfare benefits and hit by unfair taxation. We have a residence permit in our pockets, to be renewed at the price of exploitation, we are the workers without rights, with low wages, lack of welfare and precarity, even when we have a permanent contract. The social strike is the challenge that has united us against those that make profits on our precarity: we did it once and we want to do it again.
We are the strikers: we don’t believe in those telling us that the crisis is over and that the economy is recovering. The European austerity policies are our new normality. In Italy, they call these policies Jobs Act, «Sblocca Italia», Youth Guarantee, «Buona scuola» and «Buona Università», but for us they mean only one thing: precarity. We do not accept that Europe and its States shut their doors to us when we are not «useful» anymore, calling us «welfare tourists» or undocumented migrants. We are not satisfied with the crumbs they leave us and we claim much more than these. We know that in order to unite our struggles and organize ourselves we need new tools up to the present situation. We know what we want: a basic income and welfare, minimum wage and residence permit without conditions. Not only in Italy but in all Europe, because if precarity crosses the borders, our struggles have to do the same.
We are the strikers, we are defined by the strike, not by precarity: a strike also for all those that cannot strike, for those that need to imagine new tools to get organized. For this reason, we want a basic income and a European welfare. Each cut in public expenditure in the name of budget balancing makes us poorer and produces new precarity, forcing us to offer services at lower and lower wages, set exclusively by the rule of the market. Each tax break for enterprises, each rise in the cost of welfare services, each new financing for large-scale construction is an attack against our rights and our lives. We produce wealth and we don’t want to be poor. Therefore we claim to have the right to welfare in each part of Europe and a minimum and unconditioned income. Unconditioned because we are not willing to accept whatever working condition and wage in order to get it. Unconditioned because released from citizenship: we are not willing to make the migrants pay for it. Its cost has to be paid by those who are making profits on our precarity.
We are the strikers: the strike is our weapon against the blackmail of wage. For this reason we want a European minimum wage. We are tired of seeing big or small bosses move the production to Poland or Rumania each time we rebel. We are tired to be substituted by contract workers, because a «working members» of a cooperative costs less than a permanent one. We want to unite the struggles of all the men and women that in each part of Europe are connected to the same chain of exploitation, even though they have different job contracts and different documents in their pockets.
We are the strikers: our strike has no borders. Therefore, we want an unconditioned European residence permit. We have a residence permit in our pocket and we have to accept whatever job and whatever wage in order to keep it, we suffer daily this blackmail and pay our «citizenship» at the price of exploitation. If we lose our job, we are expelled, yet we produce most of the European wealth. With the experience of struggles collected throughout Europe and in Italy, we migrants will keep struggling in order not to become the refugees of the European labor market.
We are the strikers: we know that we need the strike also outside the workplaces. This is the reason why we engage in the project of a new social strike. Our strike is social because it is not limited to the existing activism or syndicalism, because it is inside and outside the workplaces, because it thinks anew the forms of organization in order to hit the social and political conditions of exploitation. We think at the strike also as a process that redefines old and new subjectivities, as a tool able to affect production and social reproduction. This project guides our struggles: all the experiences of social syndicalism, solidarity and mutualism that we practice every day, all the battles against the residence permit, all the territorial campaigns for a basic income, all the disputes around wage are headed towards this direction. Our claims have to be weapons for all those men and women that every day experience precarity. We are the strikers: we know that the only thing we can lose is our own precarity. Therefore, in Italy and Europe, with all those that want to build the transnational social strike, we take on this challenge. We did it once, we will do it again.