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Newspaper Page Text
FRIDAY, SEPT. 17. 19-JO
The Italian "Lock-in"
By Emil Lyon.
Workers "loekod-in" the factories, with
rifles, machine guns, tanks and aeroplanes ready
for use in protecting themselves from attack!
this is a new development in the labor struggle.
The present situation in Italy developed out
of a contest between the metal workers and the
hossos in that industry. To starve the workers
into .submission the bosses declared a
lockout. They expected that by driving tin
workers out on the streets for a period, as the
American Woolen Co. did at Lawrence and
other New England points recently, they could
quickly starve them into submission.
But the Italian metal workers didn't intend
to be starved through a lock-out. They have
come to believe that the industries have a-dif-ferent
purpose than to serve merely as profit
making machinery for the capitalists. They
declared that if the capitalists wouldn't keep
the metal works running and give them the op
portunity to work, produce goods the country
needed, and earn a livlihood for themselves,
Running Industry without Bosses.
They answered the lock-out with a look-in
and the bosses in the metal industry haven't
yet recovered from their astonishment. To
think that these downtrodden wage-slaves, who
have always been more or less content to eat
out the hands of the bosses, should have the
nerve to take control of the factories, just as if
they belonged to them and go abend manu
facturing goods without regard to the man of
"superior brains' whose property they were!
Such a think has been unheard of before!
The Italian workers are proving themselves
equal to the job. They are keeping the in
dustries running. When those industries which
supplied raw material to the metal works be
gan to cut off the supply, they quickly found
that that method of jetting at the metal work
ers wouldn't work. The workers in other in
dustries 'showed their solidarity with the
metal workers by taking over the raw materials
net ded and sending them to the metal works.
In order to fully grasp what has hapi tied in
I tally one must imagine the steel workers lock
ing themselves in the steel trust plants and
going ahead with the production of steel after
the steel trust had shut down the plants. Add
to the picture that the coal miners and railway
men con'tinue to deliver coal, in spite of the
orders of the bosses, that men an the iron
ranges send down the ore and the steel trust
ships continue to deliver it, all under com
pulsion of the workers, and one gets an idea of
this astounding new development in the labor
movement in Italy.
Where is the Government?
Naturally the question arises, what has be
come of the government, that is always so
quick to step in to protect the private property
interests of the bosses and to beat the workers
into submission? Why has not the Italian Gov
ernment used its armed forces to dislodge the
The reason why the government has not
acted is not difficult of explanation, Italy has
for many months now been on the brink of re
volution. The work of organizing Soviets has
been underway for some time. The Italian
workers are ready for the struggle for control
of the state power. The Italian government
hesitates au'd seeks to bring about a .com
promise because it fears that an attack upon
the metal workers will precipitate the revolu
tionary struggle for control of the state. It
fears the result of such a struggle would be
the overthrow of the existing government and
the establishment of a Soviet Government.
The Italian workers are not under any illu
sions as to the situation. They know that they
cannot permanently hold the industries which
they have seized, without having to deal with
the government, which is the representative of
the bosses. They know that the workers' revo
lution cannot be won without first overthrow
ing the government of the bosses and setting
up the Soviets and the Dictatorship of the Pro
letariat! The arms in their hands means that
they are ready for that straggle.