chapter  11
8 Pages

The precariat for itself

Euro May Day and precarious workers' movements
ByAlex Foti

In 2001, the Milano May Day Parade for the precarious youth was born in direct opposition to mainstream unions who were doing nothing to defend their rights. In 2003, it had become the city's most important May Day demonstration, surpassing in participation the traditional morning march. Anyway the May Day movement went into decline after 2008 in Italy, due to the destructive effects of the Great Recession on social solidarity, and the unwillingness/inability by the now aged San Precario collective to adopt a clear local/national strategy to unionize the precariat. In Italy, there has been a movement to organize freelancers, who are considered The Fifth Estate, to quote the title of a recent essay by two Roman intellectuals directly involved in the precarious' movement. In order to describe the precariat, academic researchers should do well to rely on the self-description made by the movements of the precariat themselves, rather than their own theoretical tropes.