In Portugal, Spain and Greece, people are out on the streets to protest against austerity measures. Only the Italians were still lacking.
This is no coincidence. Italy is not the kind of country where people go protesting with the idea that it can really change anything. They go protesting – or striking – to have the day off. Afterwards they return home and they do what they do best. They adapt. To the system, to their family, to the local clan, or to any other of the powers that be. They know that some people command, and that others obey. They know it has always been that way – at least in Italy - and that there is no hope that things are ever going to change.
Yesterday, however, high school students all over the country took the streets to protest against cuts in education. They are still too young to know. They haven’t yet learned the way things work in Italy. Once they get to university, they will.
But at least for now, they made themselves heard. In Rome, Turin and Milan, the demonstrations were charged by police. So next day in the papers, nobody spoke about the students and their demands, only about the violence. ‘Da copione’, the Italians would say: suffocation by the book.
Please forgive my cynicism. I’ve lived in Italy for ten years. I can tell you, it’s a cynical place.
In Madrid today there was a demonstration against the privatisation of public services. It wasn’t well publicised at all, so it was no wonder that only a thousand people or so participated. Many of them were carrying red and black anarchist flags.
The demo went from Neptuno over Cibeles to Sol. They were received with revolutionary songs by the Solfonica, the 15M symphonic orchestra.