1960 Genoa revolt drove fascists out; the resistance continues with today’s trade unions

30 Jun 2022

Led by trade unionists, 62 years ago, today, the people of Genoa, Italy drove the neo-fascist Italian party out of the city on 30 June 1960. Today, ETF, in partnership with other unions across Europe, continues the fight of our ancestors.

In the summer of 1960, MSI, an Italian neo-fascist political party, tried and failed to organise its Congress in Genoa.

The news of their Congress was met with outrage in the city decorated with a gold medal for the Resistance against Nazis. The general outcry led to the Chamber of Labour calling for a general strike in Genoa.

Led by Italian union CGIL-affiliated dockers and metalworkers; the young, the old, university students, teachers and the city’s workers found themselves side by side, united to drive out the neo-fascist party.

Ultimately this not only led the party to pack their bags and leave but also for the right-wing conservative-leaning Tambroni government in place at the time to resign.

What happened that fateful day ignited a spark that still burns bright today.

In 2022, the rise of right-wing extremism is the single biggest threat we face in Europe, and defeating it is still just as relevant as before.

All over Europe, we bear witness to attacks on labour, civil and human rights.

Back in October 2021 violent attacks were carried out on the CGIL trade union office by far-right groups. In France, Presidential elections saw Macron face off, once again, with Marine Le Pen’s Front National (FN).

At its Congress, pointedly held as a symbol of resistance in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, where far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party was recently re-elected, the ETF committed itself to defeating the far-right.

A round table on right-wing extremism at ETF Congress reconfirmed the need to trade unions and all democratic forces in Europe to unite together to bring down extremism across the continent. The ETF will campaign for the 8th of May to become a public holiday in Europe not only to commemorate the end of World War II but also for it to serve as a reminder of the importance of resistance.

Several of ETF’s transport unions also put forward requests to deepen efforts in countering the far-right – illustrating that trade unions across Europe are committed to presenting a united front.

The ETF is active on various fronts:

  • Educating and training trade unionists and grass-root activists, by debunking myths and promoting solidarity
  • Working closely with the ETUC to achieve their Roadmap on combatting the far-right
  • Formulating strategies on how to combat the far-right in the European Parliament

Together, with our transport trade unions, we will maximise efforts to challenge the far-right and drive them out. It’s been done once; it can be done again – but ETF is committed to making this time the last time.