Ditching The Fear tells the story of workers involved in a recent series of hard-won struggles for improved pay and conditions in the Italian logistics sector.
In a largely defensive arena of class struggle in Europe against cuts and 'austerity', warehouse workers in Italy have managed to turn the tables on the bosses and engage in more offensive struggles - in a new sector (logistics) whose emergence itself was closely connected to capital's attack on the old workers' strongholds through dispersion of production. In a situation where "for the rest of the workers in Italy, a pay increase of 7 Euro per month in the usual collective bargain contract is a great success", some groups of workers have seen increases of 400 Euro a month. Not to be sniffed at!
The workers involved are mostly (male) migrant workers, largely from North, East and sub-saharan Africa and India. Migrant workers are usually blamed for the downward trend in wages and as such, are easily scapegoated for the ills of capitalist crisis. But here, they are the main protagonists against bad and worsening pay and conditions - which they are trying to impose on all of us. The division between 'Italian' workers and migrants was put into question from below.
Workers are attacking two important elements of the current capitalist regime: a multinational network (e.g. IKEA, DHL, TNT) that makes as much use of modern technology (GPS logistic chains) and localisation strategies ('Walmart-isation') as of personal, coercive, semi-legal structures like labour pool cooperatives and informal day-labour markets. Currently many people experience this combination of 'electronic smart technology' and over-exploitation: behind customer-friendly Apps and online shopping there lies the world of casualised Uber cab drivers, Amazon pickers and call centre agents. Proletarian struggles can make this contradiction between technological potentials and miserable reality explode.
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