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Slavery in Italy:

In ancient Italy and Rome, there were multiple slave rebellions spread out over many years, including one led by Spartacus in 73 BCE. These were an attempt to fight for the concept of freedom even though there was no hope for them to overthrow the system. These rebellions did not help to end slavery in Rome, but it was a beacon of inspiration for those who choose to fight against injustice.

In 1935, Italian General Emilio De Bono made a statement and proclaimed that slavery in the Ethiopian Empire should be abolished

In Rosarno, Italy there were riots that occurred on the topic of race and racism in Italy. Through these riots, it was discovered that many workers that were African farm labourers were working under slavery conditions. These workers were being paid just over a euro per hour for 12 hour shifts and through this, are forced into debt to the people who gave them work.

Labour Movements in Italy

From 1915 to 1918, before and during the war, middle class people were involved in the work force through war time production and their unions were restricted by war economy. From 1916-1917 if someone did not show up to work, it was considered desertion and the offending worker was punished severely. As well, the working conditions were not good due to the extended hours and increased workload. These conditions led to a unity of working class people and there was unrest and strikes that tried to obtain minimum wage and basic working rights. The length of the strikes varied from some being under 10 days to some being over 30. Women were also involved as they received even harsher treatment through their wages and hours. These women participated in the strikes held by the working class and were avid supporters of the cause.

Women’s Rights:

Italy involved later in the feminist movement and took up the fight in 1945. They gained suffrage on a national level in 1945, over 20 years after American women gained the right to vote.

Indian Independence Movement:

Although Italy was not truly involved in the Indian Independence movement, the two nations have held international relations for many years. Indian people began immigrating to Italy in the 1990’s and became integrated into the culture and the economy, many working on farms and in agriculture.

Civil Rights Movement:

Italy was involved in their own civil rights movement known as the Italian-American Civil Rights League. It was formed in New York city around the 1970’s and was founded by Joseph A. Colombo. The League held rallies regarding discrimination against Italian-Americans by the government and police. They worked to battle stereotypes and the automatic association with the mafia.

Sexual Revolutions: LGBT rights in Italy:

In Italy, same sex activity and relationships were legal from 1890. Although activity has been legal for over 100 years, there are many cases of discrimination. It is still illegal for a same-sex couple to adopt a child and same-sex marriages are not recognized. As well, there are still no laws against discrimination regarding jobs and housing for queer people.

Aboriginal Rights:

Regarding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Italy voted in favour of the document. The vote was for preservation of the culture and rights of aboriginal people. This is in contrast to nations like Canada or America who actually voted against the declaration.

Environmental Movements:

In Italy, there is an environmental protection group known as The Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA). It deals with environmental issues and preservation regarding energy, waste, oceans, sustainable resource use, etc. They bring light to environmental issues and offer alternatives as well as solutions to problems that can be faced. The Lombardi Foundation for the Environment is another group that takes a look at man’s relationship with nature and the environment. They promote research activities that take a look at human impact on the environment and pollution.

Democratic Movements

Prior to the democratic movements, Italy was under the influence of Benito Mussolini and the fascist regime. In in the initial stages of fascism, from 1919 to 1923, people opposed fascism and fought against it in many ways. These people were swiftly apprehended, jailed, and charged with treason. People began to settle under the rule of fascism until the time it fell in 1946. At the 1946 election, the Christian Democracy political party took control. This party stood against communism and promoted the collaboration of classes rather than the abolishment. The Christian Democracy party was in power for 48 years and benefited Italy. It was a large change in comparison to the fascist totalitarian government.