Struggling for legal documents or fighting to improve work conditions? Comparison between two movements struggling for the rights of migrant workers in Southern Italy

Authors: Romain Filhol*, Université Paris Est
Topics: Political Geography, Human Rights, Social Geography
Keywords: migrant politics ; migrant workers ; southern italy ; political geography ; social movements
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8201, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


My intervention focuses on two political movements addressed toward the migrant workers of Southern Italy – one based in Caserta (Campania); the other one around Foggia (Apulia) and Rosarno (Calabria). Based in a social center, MMRC’s principal objective is the obtaining of legal documents for undocumented migrants. Since 1998, the movement has become a representative actor for migrants, using the interstices of the law to put pressure on the institutions and obtaining thousands of legal documents for migrants. “Campagne in lotta” is a “nomade” movement, based around the main places of intensive farming where thousands of migrants are working in miserable conditions. Born in 2011 after the Nardo (Apulia) strike, the movement starts as a try to unify migrant farmworkers put into competition one with each other for an extremely low wage. But in front of the difficulties to unify migrants about a sole work‐related struggle, CiL has evolved toward a fight for an improvement of the migrant’s legal conditions. The two movements seemed first antagonistic. CiL criticized the MMRC because of its negotiating with the public institutions for legal documents, while the MMRC responded that “we will take everything we can so the next time we will ask for the double” and tackled the incapacity of CiL to reach concrete results. But in front of the rise of a post‐fascist government eager to use every conflict to maintain elevated the mediatic attention on itself, what future for the strategy and the functionning of these two movements?

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