A 50,000 strong demonstration took place in Rome on Sunday of last week to protest against the Bolkestein directive, a proposal by the European Commission to privatise public services and attack workers’ rights.
The demonstration was part of a European wide day of protest and was supported by over 150 organisations including Attac, the trade unions Cobas and CGIL, and political parties such as the radical left Rifondazione Comunista.
The climate in the Italian political arena is getting hot again after the results of the left coalition primaries. Romano Prodi, former head of the European Commission, won with 74 percent of the votes.
But Fausto Bertinotti, the secretary of Rifondazione Comunista, polled 14.7 percent, some 630,000 votes.
This confirms the size of the radical left in the coalition and will ignite a serious political debate over its strategy and programme.