Police raid on USB union headquarters in Italy sparks outrage

The union has been at the forefront of the working class struggles against the anti-people policies of the Mario Draghi government in Italy. Progressive groups have extended solidarity with the USB and denounced the raid as a ploy to discredit and villainize the union.

April 06, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Italian Carabinieri raided the headquarters of the USB union and claimed to find a weapon in their toilet. Photo: USB

On April 6, Wednesday, soldiers from the national gendarmerie of Italy, the Carabinieri, raided the national headquarters of Unione Sindacale di Base (USB Italia), allegedly to carry out a raid in search of weapons. They claimed that they received a tip by an anonymous telephone call.

According to reports, Carabinieri “found” a gun wrapped in cellophane and immersed in water from the flush tank of a toilet in the office. The USB as well as other trade unions and left groups have denounced the raid and ‘uncovering’ of the gun as a staged event by the authorities to villainize and discredit the radical trade union which has been in the forefront of struggles against the neoliberal, anti-people policies of the Mario Draghi led government in Italy.

Last month, USB led major protests in the port of Genoa and at the Pisa airport against the use of Italian airstrips and seaports for the transit of arms destined to imperialist wars. The union has also resolved for a greater participation in national mobilization of Italian workers on April 22 in Rome against the anti-worker policies of the Mario Draghi government.

An attack on one is an attack on all

Following the raid on Wednesday, USB Italia released a statement in which they denounced the raid as a staged one to discredit the organization and the multitudes of workers, unemployed, precarious, homeless who support it. “The premises of Via dell’Aeroporto are daily open to the public, like all USB offices. Certainly the last place to hide something, let alone weapons. The only weapons that USB uses are strikes, demands, demonstrations, struggles. We leave the guns to those who love them, starting with the compact majority that fuels the war in Ukraine”, said the USB Union.

Potere al Popolo has stated that the raid on USB headquarters is an unprecedented provocation in the history of the republic, which takes into account the intimidating climate created by the Draghi Government to  repress today’s social struggles.

The Communist Youth Front (FGC) has expressed solidarity with the USB union and stated that “the climate in which this provocation occurs is that of an Italy in which unionists are killed during strikes and in work places, anti-union violence increases, the exploitation of workers and the repression of those who raise their heads. In this context, the law enforcement in the headquarters of a union is not a formality but an intimidation of a State that has chosen whom to join.”

In his statement on Wednesday, Maurizio Acerbo, national secretary of the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) denounced the raid and asked “Have we reached the intimidation of social opposition while the parliament is almost unanimous in supporting the Draghi government and war? While the government and parliament are increasing military expenses and trade of weapons, the Carabinieri are looking for weapons in the headquarters of a union that has opposed this.”

Last year in October, far-right fringes also unleashed an attack on the headquarters of the office of the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL) in Rome.