The war in Ukraine is causing more and more saber-rattling in the U.S. and Europe. As many countries massively ramp up their own military budgets, many more still are sending weapons to Ukraine. According to the Unione Sindacale di Base (USB), workers at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, Italy discovered boxes full of “weapons of all kinds, ammunition and explosives.” They had previously been informed that the delivery contained humanitarian goods such as food and medicine. The airport workers then refused to send the weapons to Ukraine via Poland.
USB reports that the chairman of Tuscany airports, Mario Carrai, has since assured that there will be no more arms shipments through Pisa airport. However, USB continues to call on workers to block all arms shipments. Next Saturday, USB is organizing a demonstration at Galileo Galilei Airport with the slogan “From Tuscany: Bridges of Peace instead of Flights of War.”
With their courageous actions, the workers not only prevented these weapons from being used to kill, but also provided an example for the entire working class on how we can fight the war with our own means. Unionized workers in the U.S. and beyond should take the action of their Italian colleagues as a model.
The incident is also an example of how “humanitarianism” can be abused. The USB statement says: “We strongly condemn this blatant deception, which cynically uses the guise of ‘humanitarian aid’ to further fuel the war in Ukraine.” Humanitarian measures, such as sending aid supplies and accepting refugees are not enough to end the war — and in this case they even served as a cover for militarism.
Without the action of the workers, the arms deliveries via Pisa would continue. It is therefore all the more important to stress that stopping the war requires active intervention and independent workers’ organizing against the war. Workers in Italy and the USB have led the way with their unprecedented action. They should serve as an example to workers internationally on how to fight the war with their own means, such as strikes or blockades of arms shipments.
Originally published in Klasse Gegen Klasse.