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Round-Up of Repression Against Social Spaces in Italy

Italy is the third largest AirBNB market behind the US and France, and Firenze (Florence) is one of the cities most affected by this new restructuring. Repression against social centers is growing.

Submitted to Enough 14. Originally published by The Transmetropolitan Review.

Note: Enough 14 is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

I:

Shortly after the Aztec Empire began its rise to power in the 1370s, an entirely different struggle was unfolding on the opposite side of the world. In the city of Firenze on the Italian peninsula, exploited laborers began to organize against the local oligarchy in an uprising now known as the Ciompi Revolt. Most of these laborers had been economically forced out of their rural Tuscan villages, worked in the city for very low pay, paid very high taxes, were excluded from guild representation, possessed almost no savings, and constituted nearly a quarter of Firenze’s population.


In June of 1378, these workers staged an armed uprising that took control of the city and established new guilds for the unorganized workers, a modest reform that riled up the established guilds and local oligarchs, leading to a brutal street battle on the Piazza della Signoria that marked the end of the uprising. As the infamous Niccolò Machiavelli put itsuch opposing views occasioned [Firenze], during a year, to be disturbed by many riots. Sometimes the nobles of the people took arms; sometimes the major and sometimes the minor trades and the lowest of the people; and it often happened that, though in different parts, all were at once in insurrection.

While the canals of Tenochtitlan began to fill with floating gardens and the base of the Templo Mayor pyramid was first being laid, the effects of the Ciompi Revolt were still being felt in far-away Firenze. Once the new guilds were dissolved after 1382, the local oligarchs spread horror stories of these vicious laborers and their dark conspiracies against the established order. While the rulers of Firenze lessened the tax-burden on these poor workers, the upper classes never forgot the uprising that almost stripped them of their power, an affront these lowest of the people would pay for over the following centuries.

During the construction of Firenze’s famous Duomo of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower in the 1420s, the main architect (and his city financiers) refused their worker’s demands for higher wages and triggered a labor strike that temporarily halted construction. Rather than pay them a bit more, the Duomo architect hired scabs from Lombardy to work for less until the local masons relented in their strike. Once these masons returned to work, they found their wages were now less than the Lombardians, a situation they had no choice but to endure. While these exploited stone-masons raised their padrone’s Duomo towards the heavens, the Aztec Empire was rapidly expanding out of Tenochtitlan and raising its own temples to invisible gods, never suspecting that a Duomo in Firenze would soon facilitate their destruction.

In 1475, a mathematician named Paolo Toscanelli installed a bronze plate at the top of Duomo (the tallest structure in Europe at the time) that allowed him to accurately observe and record the movements of the sun across a marble slab on the cathedral floor. With this data, Toscanelli replaced the outdated wind-rose (or compass rose) charts with the first reliable system of determining longitude and latitude across the globe.

One of the first people he contacted was a sailor named Christopher Columbus, insisting that the quickest way to India was westward across the Atlantic. Now that the Islamic empire had closed the Silk Road to westerners, another trade route was needed to keep commerce flowing, and Columbus used these new astrological discoveries to chart his course across the Atlantic ocean. After he landed in the Bahamas in 1492, it took less than thirty years for the Aztec Empire to be destroyed by the invading Europeans. When the great stone city of Tenochtitlan was finally conquered in 1521, the poor workers of Firenze were still toiling away for the padrone, never suspecting just how small the world truly was or how much of the future lay in their callused hands.

II:

Two thousand miles north of old Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City, or the Distrito Federal), lies the city of San Francisco. It was here that a twenty-six year old art student founded AirBNB, a company that would come to restructure the housing market in cities across the planet. It all began in 2007 when this art student rented out a spare air-mattress in his apartment, an event that has now become part of the masturbatory Silicon Valley mythos. The AirBNB website officially launched shortly after this fateful event in the middle of 2008 and began receiving its first major seed funding by the spring of 2009.

The largest of this initial funding for AirBNB came from Greylock Partners in 2010, an investment firm with open connections to the CIA. One of Greylock’s advisory partners is a man named Howard Cox, a former employee of the Department of Defense who also serves on the board of trustees for In-Q-Tel, the shady investment firm of the CIA, a position he shares with former CIA chief George Tenet. After they awarded AirBNB over seven million dollars in seed funding, use of the website began to mushroom, allowing real-estate investors to take their rental units off the market and convert them into short-term AirBNB rentals.

During this period of rapid growth, the art-student CEO of AirBNB went to George Tenet for advice running his company, finding some sort of parallel between his company and the CIA. According to a Fortune expose, the art-student CEO reached out to Tenet not for tips on global security, but for corporate culture: How do you create an open and transparent atmosphere when you’re in the business of secrets? From their conversation, he took away the importance of “walking the park,” Walt Disney’s theory of being a visible manager. By 2016, some people referred to the effect AirBNB was having on San Francisco as Disneyfication, with over 7,000 short-term rental listings corresponding to nearly 5,000 evictions since 2011.

From 2013 to 2015, a wave of militant anarchist actions against the tech-industry swept the San Francisco Bay Area which, although popular, wasn’t forceful enough to stop the new economic restructuring. By the time the first laws were put in place to stop the AirBNB eviction wave, San Francisco had been utterly transformed into a city for the super-rich. While some groups loudly agitated for this modest reform of housing laws, it’s safe to say their efforts weren’t enough to stop the Disneyfication of San Francisco.

While residents of AirBNB’s birthplace struggled against this wave of evictions, AirBNB’s model of economic restructuring spread across the planet to the Italian city of Firenze. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, home of the Duomo, and residence of Dante, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci, the city has long been a global tourist destination, although much of the original population still resided in the city center until recently. This changed in 2011 when AirBNB arrived with its new economic model and by 2015 there were almost 6,000 short-term rental units. In 2017, nearly 20% of Firenze’s housing units had been converted to AirBNB rentals and one local resident told the media that “the centre of [Firenze] is now ‘Disneyfied.’ It’s basically a theme park for tourists. This was happening before Airbnb came along, however, Airbnb is definitely accelerating that and we believe it is depriving the market of properties that could be used by permanent residents.” As of 2019, there are now 11,000 AirBNB units in Firenze. This is the exact same process that occurred in San Francisco, just as its end-results are practically identical.

Italy is now the third largest AirBNB market behind the US and France, and Firenze is one of the cities most affected by this new restructuring. Six hundred years ago, the Florentine oligarchs drove people out of their rural villages so they could work for low-pay in city. This process is now being reversed, with modern Florentine oligarchs buying up entire buildings and converting them to AirBNBs, thus driving away the working-class residents who Machiavelli once called the lowest of the people.

III:

In our current moment in time, the anarchists of Firenze are certainly part of the lowest of the people. Like their predecessors of the past century, these anarchists are fighting for the simple right to live without being exploited by the ruling oligarchs. Along with their comrades in dozens of other European cities, the Florentine anarchists maintain a series of autonomous social spaces, squats, and centers throughout the city, although this network is under constant attack, especially in the last three years.

On the 1st of January, 2017, a bomb exploded outside the Il Bargello bookstore in Firenze, a meeting place linked with the CasaPound fascist group. While causing little damage to the store, the bomb detonated in front of a policeman, depriving him of an eye and a hand. Within days, the media stoked enough local anger to allow the local police to brazenly raid the houses of several known anarchists, all the while ignoring the return of Italian fascism. While this first raid yielded nothing for the authorities, it helped to demonize the local anarchists and made them appear more violent than their fascist nemesis.

By the end of January, the local police initiated what they called Operazione Panico and raided a dozen more anarchist houses in Firenze, arresting several. In total, 35 anarchists were charged with involvement in attacks against fascists and police, including the firebombing of a police barracks, and several were put on house-arrest, forced to report daily to the police station, and given harsh bail-terms. As part of this operation, the police moved in on the Villa Panico, a long-standing squat in Firenze occupied for a decade. After a widely publicized rooftop stand-off, the squat was evicted and the occupants publicly associated with those lowest of the people who’d blasted off a cop’s hand and eye. All the while, the resurgence of Italian fascism continued throughout 2017.

Having lost another of their spaces in the city, the Florentine anarchists were now bracing for the next police assault, an event that arrived in August 2017. Anarchists in Firenze were arrested in a counter-terrorism operation and charged with attempted homicide for the New Year’s Eve bombing of the Il Bargello bookstore. In the end of it all, two anarchists were sitting in prison and the local movement was rendered into a convenient boogeyman, although this reputation didn’t last for long, especially with the recent direction of Italian society.

In between the raids of this Operazione Panico, a local autonomous space called La Polveriera held its second Festival of Social Literature, an event that brought together dozens of radical artists and writers from across Italy and provided a public counter-example to the media fear-mongering. Housed within the former cloister of Saint Apollonia on Via Santa Reperata, the autonomous La Polveriera is the main social center in Firenze and a hub for anti-gentrification organizing. In addition to hosting the Festival of Social Literature every year, the center describes itself as a laboratory where people and projects meet and support each other to produce a wealth that is common, removed from speculation and private interest.

Openly associated with Radio Wombat, the squatted Occupazione ViadelLeone, the squatted Occupazione Viale Corsica, and several other autonomous spaces, La Polveriera is part of a network that is gathering its forces against the Disneyfied city of FirenzeA recent conference in March 2019 was held at La Polveriera called Re.Set, an event that gathered representatives from Bergamo, Bologna, Genova, Napoli, Rimini, Roma, Venezia, and Firenze to discuss the Disneyification of the new economic order.

At the end of this conference, the local anarchists and autonomists of Firenze held a Carnevale Autogestito to counter the tourist Carnevale spectacles and remind the city of their continued presence. Escorted by police on either end, this march wove through the dense city center with a variety of floats, flares, and banners, one of which read Smaschera il Padrone. During the course of the march, hundred of windows were opened, a thousand smiles were lit, and the center of Firenze was reminded that the recently demonized anarchists were in fact decent human beings who enjoyed life. This march came to an end in the Piazza dei Ciompi, named after the workers of Firenze who staged an insurrection in 1378.

In the public statement explaining this Self-Organized Carnevale, the authors wrote that every autonomous space in Firenze was undergoing a serious attack by the Municipality of Florence which, in perfect harmony with what was declared by the Minister of the Interior, declared that it wanted to vacate every occupied building. After listing all the spaces that are under attack and the local oligarchs behind it, the authors wrote, our city is increasingly the victim of the commodification of every corner, of every street...if you don’t have 800 euros a month for rent, if you don’t have money to be thrown away on a Saturday night, if you don’t have a residence permit or you simply don’t agree with the fascism of this government, you are not admitted among the attendants of the theater. As was stated earlier, the anarchists of Firenze are still very much the lowest of the people fighting against the local oligarchs, only now they are fighting with alongside dozens of other cities across the world.

IV:

In the southern city of Napoli, now famous for hosting Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, a random person can glimpse the cryptic phrase TUTTO FIRENZE spray-painted across a dozen city walls. Without context, WE ARE ALL FIRENZE can mean many things, although the most obvious meaning doesn’t refer to persecuted anarchists in Firenze. Instead, the most obvious meaning of the phrase has to do with the invasion of AirBNB and the Disneyification of every city colonized by the new economic order.

As the Neapolitan delegates to the Re.Set conference wrote, renting a house to tourists on Airbnb can now make three times as much as renting it to a resident. All of this is almost always in total tax avoidance. Many [houses] are already under eviction or will not see their lease contract renewed. Between 2016 and 2018 the number of accommodations on Airbnb in Naples has increased more than in all other Italian cities, with an average growth rate of 65%. In 2017, there were an average of 4,500 accommodations on AirBNB. In 2018, it is almost 7,000,concentrated almost entirely within the historic centerWith this in mind, it’s easy to see how TUTTO FIRENZE has a more obvious meaning to a random Neapolitan. Along with Venice, the city of Firenze is Italy’s second great victim to the new economic order, with the lowest of the people now being pushed outside the city borders, a fate Napoli wishes to be spared.

Another city being hit by this wave of economic restructuring is Torino, the northern metropolis below the Alps and major center of anarchist resistance. In the year 1995, a group of squatters took over an old asylum, built metal barricades, and withstood three months of eviction attempts, eventually claiming what they named the Asilo Occupato. The late 1990s were a turbulent period in Torino that culminated in the infamous Marini Trials and the arrests of Massimo Passamani, Edo Massari and Maria Soledad Rosas in 1998. These three anarchist squatters who frequented the Asilo Occupato were accused of sabotaging construction of the high-speed TAV train line between Lyon and Torino at a location in the Val di Susa, an event that would have long-lasting repercussions for Italian anarchists.

In March 1998, Edo Massari was found dead in prison, most likely killed by the guards, and the response from the Torino anarchist squatters was immediate. As the late journal Tiqqun described it in 1999, Massari belonged to the little community of Torino social centers, and their reaction wasn’t exactly as expected in domination’s simulation models. Thus, the next day, the citizen-consumers were presented with quite the motive for complaint: a silent and hostile procession of many hundreds of anarchists-with-knives-clenched-in-their-teeth and autonomists-with-iron-rods, who showed up to upset the colorful frolicking of a laughter-filled Saturday afternoon festival of consumerism, insisting all too seriously on striding through the downtown area carrying a banner saying “murderers,” and getting upon the roofs of some public buses to read out a communiqué seeming to insinuate that every [one] within earshot was an accomplice to that murder, and even promising that“within one hour (from then), life in this city of death isn’t going to be the same anymore, and it’s their fault.” These riots continued into April 1998 and erupted again in July when Maria Soledad Rosaswas found dead while under house-arrest for the TAV sabotage. From this point onward, Torino became a fierce center of resistance against the high-speed train project, just as it continued to be a target of state repression.

Maria Soledad Rosas

Between 1998 and 2012, what became known as the NO TAV movement began to gather strength among a wide spectrum of antagonists, all committed to stopping the Turino-Lyon high speed train line. In 2005, the first serious clashes erupted between the NO TAV movement and the police, escalating throughout the years until the pitched battles of 2011 and 2012. Less than thirty miles from a main TAV construction site in Val di Susa, Torino served as a base for organizing against this mega-project, with most of the urban autonomous spaces and squats supporting the movement, among them the Asilo Occupato, an occupation that constantly harassed since its creation in 1995. With most of the Italian state supporting the TAV train line, intense repression fell on anyone who opposed this high-speed connection between France and Italy, especially the Torino anarchists.

As the Invisible Committee explained in 2014, four [Italian] comrades were jailed for “terrorism” on the grounds that an attack on the work site of the TAV, the high-speed train line, seriously damaged the country’s “image” by burning a compressor. Useless to multiply the examples, the fact is universal: everything that resists the schemes of governments risks being treated as “terrorist.” The TAV project is extremely important for the EU technocrats and their vision of connected ‘smart-cities’ woven together with high-speed train lines, a vision the Torino autonomists, anarchists, and squatters have consistently opposed. As punishment for their years of resistance, the state took its revenge just as Italian fascism began its contemporary resurgence.

Shortly after the demonstrations of May 1st, 2017, the police raided several anarchist spaces in Torino, among them the Asilio Occupato. The mayor of Torino (a member of the Five Star Party) immediately congratulated the police on this raid and praised the inspector who envisioned the operation. In the media and state’s portrayal, the inhabitants of these squats and anarchist houses were all criminals, fit only to be demonized, arrested, and imprisoned, if not worse. All the while, the fascist menace was rising across Italy, the right-wing was invading the parliament, and the AirBNB invasion was hitting Torino. At the beginning of 2017, there were just over 3,000 short-term AirBNB rental units listed in Torino and by the middle of the year that number had already reached 3,600. It is likely much higher at the present moment.

This economic restructuring of the housing market continued throughout 2018, although the squats and autonomous spaces of Torino continued to be a thorn in the side of power. It was only when the fascists were rising that local authorities acted against their urban nemesis, the Asilo Occupato, a squat that hosted a community kindergarten.

On February 7, 2019, hundreds of police initiated Operazione Scintilla, surrounded the squat, and began a long siege that lasted over 30 hours with several anarchists holding out on the roof until being forcibly removed. While this was occurring, the authorities also arrested six anarchists and charged them with forming a subversive association to attack Italian state infrastructure and its functionaries who deport immigrants. In one blow, the state hoped to further demonize the Torino anarchists, link them with immigrants, and demolish another autonomous space in a restructured Italian metropolis. To make his position clear, Matteo Salvini, the right-wing Deputy Prime Minister, made the following statement shortly after the raid: we have reduced the landings of migrants by boat back to almost zero, now we will close the social centers visited by criminals!

While the Asilo Occupato was being evicted, the local Radio Blackout began calling people to defend the squat and surround the police. Just a day after the eviction, over 1,000 people rioted through the center of Torino behind a banner that read: They make war on the poor and call it requalification. We resist against the masters of the city. Once these anarchists-with-knives-clenched-in-their-teeth and autonomists-with-iron-rods had trashed the AirBNB infested center of town, Matteo Salvini went on to publicly state: Turin is held hostage by a few hundred criminals from the social centers. All my support to the Turinese and the forces of law and order. Although it occurred nearly a year later, this strategy of repression is nearly identical to what was enacted in Firenze after the bombing of the fascist library.

Seeing a parallel between their two struggles, La Polveriera in Firenze released the following statements shortly after the eviction of the Occupied Asylum: For years we have been defending the neighborhoods against gentrification and against the “democratic” imposition, years in which solidarity has increasingly developed for migrants and the institutions have been trying for years to diminish the importance of this type of struggle…these are facts we know very well in Firenze. The Aurora district in Turin, like San Frediano and many other districts of Firenze, find themselves involved in the process of gentrification. The eviction and blocking of an entire neighborhood closely resemble the evictions of Via Toselli and Riottosa [in Firenze]. These are facts that increase awareness that resisting is the only way. We and all the Florentine resistance give full solidarity to the comrades of the occupied asylum and those arrested in the following days. The one who fights is never alone, and the anger of the many will fill all the cities!

Shortly before these statement were written, an anti-fascist demonstration was organized in Torino against a Casa Pound fascist march. At the end of this demonstration, the anti-fascists walked to the prison where those captured by Operazione Scintilla were being held. While they gathered outside the prison, a shed behind the gates caught fire and burned to the ground, purely by coincidence.

V:

In the vision of the EU technocrats, Torino is meant to be one of several nodes in their neo-liberal metropolitan empire, all connected by high-speed train lines. The far-right Matteo Salvini is currently defending the TAV train line between Torino and Lyon, while his coalition partners in the Five Star Movement are openly against its construction and have supported the NO TAV movement in the past. While the anti-immigrant Deputy Prime Minister defends this neo-liberal high-speed train network, members of the Five Star Movement tried to express their sympathy and solidarity with the anarchists of Asilo Occupato, who were hardly impressed. All of this is occurring within the ruling coalition, with the region outside Torino as its epicenter, and the controversy is now threatening to destabilize the government.

In the midst of this schism, the ruling coalition’s president signed onto China’s economic Silk Road agreement, a clear signal that the government is looking away from the United States. Despite the current US hysteria over Huawei technology being used as a Chinese spying tool, Firenze and Torino currently have Huawei smartphones sold in dozens of shops across the city, just as thousands of Chinese tourists arrive every year to spend their money. The Five Star Movement is a champion of this trade agreement with China, while Matteo Salvini claimed to be skeptical about it. In a major ceremony in Rome, President Xi Jinping was escorted through the streets with the red flag of China draped from the crowd barriers, heavily protected while on his way to sign the opening of this new Silk Road.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive at Fiumicino airport ahead of a visit to Rome and the Sicilian capital Palermo, in Rome, Italy March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

While this ancient trade route between China and Italy was being revived, the political conflict over Huawei and 5G technology was escalating in North America. In the city of Vancouver BC, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei was recently arrested by the Canadian authorities and is now under house arrest in a neighborhood close to the University of British Columbia, a campus that’s partnered with Huawei to implement new 5G technology. Meng Wanzhou is currently awaiting extradition hearings on her deportation to the US where she is charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions by doing business with companies in Iran. Shortly after her detention, the US government charged Huawei with sending operatives into a T-Mobile facility outside of Seattle and attempting to steal pieces of a phone-testing robot. All of this occurred in a small region on the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Seattle, a geo-political conflict that extends into the heart of each effected city.

A few weeks after the detention of Meng Wanzhou, it was revealed that a respected professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) who compared any critics of Chinese investment to national socialists also made millions selling his house to Chinese investors while advocating for the construction of more luxury apartments across Vancouver. In his university, where the administration is openly partnered with Huawei, there is little incentive to be against the economic restructuring of Vancouver or the constant flow of Chinese capital that’s fueling it. UBC exists apart from the city of Vancouver on the University Endowment Lands where it falls under direct administration of the provincial government, allowing it be constantly patrolled by RCMP officers. In this fortress of luxury apartments and expensive student housing, a vision of another high-speed train network came into being, one that is meant to connect Vancouver BC, Seattle, and Portland.

In late 2016, an agreement was signed between Washington State and British Columbia to build the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, a high-speed train network connecting the three ‘smart-cities’ together. Several months later, UBC and the University of Washington in Seattle joined with Microsoft to study the feasibility of this vision. As the current president of UBC declaredour two universities are poised to help transform the Cascadia region into a technological hub comparable to Silicon Valley. In late 2017, the second Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference was held in Vancouver where the various leaders and corporate figures discussed their train that would connect Vancouver and Seattle within an hour.

In the words of conference participant and current Washington State governor Jay Inslee, their organization began a feasibility study for a new ultra-high-speed rail line from Portland to B.C. that could promote economic integration, enable affordable housing and reduce trafficAs he wrote these words, the number of short-term AirBNB rentals in Seattle had doubled from 3,200 units in 2015 to 6,400 in 2017. At the time of this writing, that number is now 8,700. Unlike the city of Firenze, every autonomous anarchist space in Seattle has been crushed, there are no more squats, and affordable housing has vanished. It’s the exact same story in Vancouver, although it only has 5,000 AirBNB units.

Shortly after the 2017 Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference, the inaugural trip of the newly quickened Amtrak Cascades rail-line derailed just north of Olympia, killing three people, two of whom were train enthusiasts. With the reduction of ten minutes off the commute time between Seattle and Portland, the advocates of the Cascadia Innovation Corridor hoped to demonstrate they were on the path to high-speed rail connection, although their rush to save time resulted in the death of their own loyal supporters. Despite this disaster, the Washington State government created a high-speed rail authority that would begin the long process of fulfilling their neo-liberal vision of connected ‘smart-cities’ along the Salish Sea. Unlike the TAV between Torino and Lyon, there is no opposition to this project or much awareness of the forces involved.

Edo Massari and Maria Soledad Rosas were both killed in 1998 by the Italian state for allegedly sabotaging a TAV work site outside Torino, a crime that harmed no one. Similarly, several people in central France were tried as terrorists for an alleged sabotage of another high-speed train line, all for a crime that harmed no one. When the sabotage comes from technocratic arrogance and results in three deaths, there is no howling for blood or accusations of terrorism. Under the laws of capitalism, only the padrone decides who is a criminal and who is not. According to this system, such disasters are simply normal, just a part of doing business.

VI:

On a random day in 2019, hundreds of Chinese tourists can be seen in Firenze lining up outside the Duomo, waiting their turn to climb to the top with the other tourists. While racism is on the rise in Italy, it doesn’t seem to effect Matteo Salvini’s relationship to Chinese investment or the capitalists who receive this influx of tourism revenue.

On the streets of Firenze, dozens of Italians can be seen lining up outside a Huawei store and committing an act of aggression against the US: buying Chinese surveillance technology instead of western surveillance technology. In the midst of this, the anarchist and autonomous movement in Firenze is struggling to prevent their city from meeting the same fate as Vancouver BC, Seattle, or San Francisco. On the opposite end of the world from AirBNB’s birthplace, Firenze might possibly have a chance.

Chinese capital is flooding into both Vancouver and Firenze, just as AirBNB is still invading from its base in the US. Both forces are restructuring these urban environments, although for different goals and conflicting purposes. Just as the EU technocrats are desperate to extend their high-speed train networks, the Communist Party of China is frantically connecting its cities in nearly 30,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines, most of which are already running thanks to the help of Bombarider, a Canadian company based in Montreal. The western countries can’t keep up with China’s furious rail construction, and the US is the furthest behind in this latest technology race between global powers. In their desperation, certain westerners in Canada and the US have begun treating the Chinese state with an almost religious reverence, most notably at the University of British Columbia where Huawei is planning to roll out its 5G technology. This is exceptional for many reasons, but for the purposes of this article, one reason stands out above all the others: what was once called the west is now beginning its final disintegration.

It’s in the middle of this geopolitical ebbing and waning that anarchists and autonomists must find their way amid new terrain. The creation of AirBNB in San Francisco now effects Firenze, just as methods of resistance in Firenze can eventually flow back to San Francisco. Regardless of whether they’re connected by high-speed train lines or not, the lowest of the people in each global metropolis are now facing the same struggle, just as they’re catching the first glimmers of a global insurrection. What our future looks like depends on what happens in Firenze, just as it depends on the struggle you wage in your city, town, or village. As the Neapolitan graffiti says, TUTTO FIRENZE!


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