Trieste. Italy. Translator’s note. Against the State. Well? For an anarchist these words are clear and simple, a prerequisite of anarchy you might say. But what if, rounded off with ‘and its massacres’, they are plastered on colossal city walls in posters and echoed forcefully in the shadow of a church by a stirring old man with a beard, microphone in hand? Who is this individual who dares bare his soul to the respectable citizens of Trieste?
Originally published by Elephant Editions.
He is an anarchist who has come together in affinity with others like him on this precise subject, united for a moment in their need to make themselves heard, say the truth to the winds in that city whose sea breezes have not yet swept away its lingering austerity, legacy of the old Austro-Hungarian empire of which it was a prominent part.
Flanked by an exhibition assembled by some of the comrades to put their words in context in these somber streets, the excessive presence of the forces of order completes the scene: police vans, armoured vehicles, numerous officers in uniform and the inevitable Digos snooping with their cameras. The ratio of the forces of the State to the civilian population is about two to one—or in plain terms, approximately 400 armed men and women of the State to 200 anarchists and citizens. And the comrades had much to say: rebelling prisoners massacred in the prisons, dozens of anarchists on trial and, last but not least, the general lowering of the conflict and the need for solidarity, action, at a time when the State could decide to pull some of its old tricks out of the bag given the hard times to come.
Encouraged by people’s reaction, the comrades appeared again, on December 18, in Piazza Saint Antonio, this time not one but two anarchists talked to compagni and people of Trieste, those who had stopped to listen undeterred by the ostentatious presence of the State. What they said is transcribed in the pages that follow, no need to elucidate here. Instead, a few words on the transmittance of the discourse, the comizio, an event which no self-respecting translator could dismiss as a ‘rally’, a ‘talk’, or a ‘meeting’.
In Italy, in times past, the anarchist comizio was a trenchant event with comrades of notable oratorical technique and passion such as Malatesta, Galleani, Alfonso Failla and many others. Not forgetting the now far off days when our comrade Alfredo himself traversed Italy in the sixties and seventies breathing fire into the piazzas, or, along with a resolute group of comrades, did the rounds of the villages surrounding Comiso in Sicily in the early 1980s in the struggle against the proposed American Cruise missile base. As Stecco, protagonist of the second round in Trieste, remarks, this is an unusual instrument for anarchists to use to make their ideas known today, very few take it into consideration, whereas people seemed to be interested in hearing what we have to say at least. Something quite different to the spectacle by political parties of all colours who, just before the elections, ply their vacuous wares and promises in the piazzas in the hope of syphoning off some consensus from the duped populace into the ballot boxes on their behalf. On the contrary, the culminating moment of the anarchist comizio is at the end when the people present, instead of fading into the distance remain and have aninmated discussions with all the comrades involved in the initiative. And, as they say in Italy, da cosa nasce cosa …one thing could lead to another. True. But that’s another story. JW
The two anarchist talks that took place in Trieste around the end of 2020 emanated from the idea of bringing out into the streets the reasons that have always pushed anarchists to act. Last autumn long trials against the Italian anarchist movement were drawing to a close, others were continuing their iter, more were about to begin. The initiatives included an exhibition depicting the reasons for the State’s various accusations against our comrades. In it were also included some of the forms of social injustice, the ongoing environmental devastation and the tools of State repression. Reference was also made to how the exploited are no longer opposing the harmful policies of the men and women of the State today with effective acts of resistance, why the struggle—at least in this country—is at an all-time low. Reactionary repressive processes have been in act in Italy for a long time now, decades, and show no signs of abating. The impoverishment of methods of struggle and gaining awareness, the continuous mental flattening due to media propaganda and lack of rebellion and self-perception has led to a lowering of the conflict in this country, as if the bosses and those in government are the only ones having their say. Only through solidarity and acting together will we the exploited be able to go beyond the present collapse. Only through struggle will it be possible to open up a rift to force back the policies of those governing and repressing us. We needed to talk about this, to tell, but above all communicate. As we said in the streets, anarchy is a concrete idea that does not wait for the future but faces the present head on, without putting things off, and it is only through action that the desired freedom will be realized.
The idea of doing talks in the streets emerged from discussions among various anarchist comrades who, finding themselves here in this city, met up to discuss what they wanted to say and how to say it concerning everything going on around us. A whole series of events, government and bosses’ economic, health and repressive policies crashing down on everyone’s life, not to mention all the crises and restructuring that has been in course for a long time, all intertwining in a vortex that is damaging people all over the planet at the present time. It is always the same ones, the excluded and the dispossessed, who pay for the mistakes and consequences of the decisions of the men and women of power, along with those who find themselves in the tentacles of repression for having fought against this society based on injustice and oppression. The State doesn’t forgive anyone who decides to confront it. Our reason for calling the talks “Against the State” was simple: the social structure in which we live is articulated and based on the State, it is the antithesis of any idea of freedom, of coexistence of human beings in solidarity and with respect for nature that cares for, nourishes us and defends us from diseases, if only we would listen to it.
We realized that the two initiatives, one in a historically poor neighbourhood, the other in the city centre, were received positively. The instrument of the comizio, no longer a common way for anarchists to make propaganda, succeeded in bringing what we have to say out into the streets. Too few comrades take this tool into consideration, whereas it seems that people are interested in hearing what we have to say at least.
The echoes of revolt reaching us from other parts of the world recently—from the United States to Chile, from Russia to Tunisia—show that all is not lost, that even if it is true that the conflict is at its lowest ebb in these latitudes here, our task is always the same. That is, to try to fight and fight again to stir the free spirits that still lurk everywhere; to find effective methods, not only to make our ideas known, but also to demolish once and for all this society that has nothing left to offer us other than disease, death, wars, and a life based on exploitation and isolation, unhappiness and injustice.
It is time to decide how we want to fight this battle, how to organize ourselves among comrades and those who want to fight today, in order to foresee and prevent future responses of the State against those who struggle or want to struggle. Not secondary is the aspect of the reactionary and fascist forces, State or otherwise, which will try—and are already trying—to bring hatred to the exploited. The so-called war between the poor. To explain our view on this and other problems, effectively, with determination, seriousness, and constancy. To indicate and attack the harmful structures that exist around us, bring out the deleterious processes that are ruining our lives, whether they be technological, health-related, or cultural. To point to those responsible for the ongoing disaster, the villains in suits, politicians and bosses, bureaucrats and scientists.
Our task is to move forward, to not be disheartened. We owe it to ourselves and our conscience not to keep silent in the face of difficulties, but we also owe it to those suffering inside and outside the prisons, and to our comrades.
To revitalise the struggle and awareness, solidarity is our task.
Alfredo’s talk in Piazza San Giacomo, Trieste, on November 14th, 2020
This is an anarchist comizio. What is an anarchist comizio? It is a comizio where it is an anarchist who is talking to the people present. I am assuming that there are not only anarchists among you but also people who have never heard anyone talk about anarchy before, what it is, or what it should be.
Well, anarchy is an ideal against the State, an image, a dream, a hypothesis, a utopia, something that doesn’t exist but is dreamed of, not by dreamers, mind you, but by men and women of action. So anarchy is a concrete thing because it is dreamed by dreamers who achieve something, who don’t just stop at dreaming and limit themselves to imagining a beautiful world. Why? What is it about the world we are living in today?
We are speaking under one of the most terrible symbols of repression and terror, a church! We are talking in the shadow of this church which for two thousand years went through the most frightening processes of repression, torture and death undaunted, without batting an eye. We are speaking here because this square was made available to us thanks to the magnanimity of the State.
But we are against the State. Why are we against the State?
Because the State does not represent us. The State is always a repressive force, even when it appears in the friendly permissive guise of democracy, even when everyone is asked to express their opinion through a vote. Make no mistake about it, the real, concrete, effective force that actually has the capacity to act is standing right there behind you. Exactly, it is the police.
This is the effective expression of the State, not the very real need to help people who are suffering and dying at this moment. Know that since March  more than 25 people have died in prison, killed by the police, and nothing has been said about it. 9 prisoners were killed by guards in the prison of Modena alone.
The State doesn’t function, the State is inefficiency personified, the State is that handful of swindlers, the handful of swindlers you see on television every night breaking our balls with chatter about the present situation, whereas nothing is said about what it will be like tomorrow when we have to pay the economic consequences of what is a danger to the health of all of us today. So there is not only the danger, the inefficiency, of the State, there is absolute, fearful, terrifying inefficiency concerning the future conditions we are heading towards—the economic crises, not the crisis, but crises, plural—and it is an economist, unfortunately, speaking here—which will develop over the coming months because of what the State will more or less have to contrive to deal with the consequences of the epidemic.
Take good heed, there is one area in which the State is perfectly capable of showing its efficacy: look when there is a clash in the streets between the police and a few bad boys throwing stones here and there or some little crackling molotov bottles. The cops are as good at running as the boys, perhaps even better, so on that occasion, take note, the State knows how to run, even run faster! But it is incapable of running when it has to provide for citizens’ health. Then it gets confused, the cogwheels of bureaucracy get in the way and they stumble, collapse, flounder, they waste time, lose opportunities, do what they have already done wrong all over again and try to put it right.
Precisely in this case we can see the State’s inefficiency.
Did someone mention anarchy at the start? For heaven’s sake, nobody can pull anarchy out of a hat. For me anarchy is a dream, a hypothesis, a hypothesis that we are called to bring about, and if we do achieve it, or those who come after us do, they will do so in pain and blood because the bosses will not be prepared to give up their power so easily.
So this is anarchy. A dream of pain and blood, little by little, to come to live better, to come to erase the abuse, miseries, the violence and oppression that characterize life today. That is what I mean by anarchy in plain words.
But there is something else I want to talk about, the State’s efficiency and inefficiency. This is why we are against the State, because it isn’t efficient when it should be, and is efficient when it shouldn’t be. Many could say, but then excuse me, the policeman, what should he do? Just let himself get his head cracked open by guys throwing stones? No. But look I am 83 years old, think how many clashes with the police I have faced in my life, dozens, perhaps hundreds, and I have seen both excess and prudence, containment, attempts to put a brake on things, to avoid what is causing the confrontation, and I have also seen the exacerbation of the confrontation, when it is the police themselves pushing things further.
So there are two kinds of intervention that the State cannot escape from. We anarchists do not agree with the one or the other, but we cannot close our eyes to excess, swindles, murder, because this is what has happened … When Pinelli, our comrade, was thrown out of the window of the central police station in Milan in 1969, that was murder! And it was the police, and it was Commissario Calabresi who pushed him out of the window. Some could say: but why does Bonanno always talk about the same things? Because they are there in front of my eyes, because the comrades who were with Pinelli are still alive today, because the same model of swindling still exists, the use that was made of a certain way of opposing the State, of accusing the anarchists of the Piazza Fontana massacre.
And so by insisting on this I don’t want to repeat the same things over and over again, I want to give a warning! Because these ghosts of the past can always come back, the ghosts of the bank in Piazza Fontana in Milan, the ghosts of the anarchists that were killed, the Calabrian comrades crushed to death by a truck on the motorway, coincidentally on the property of Prince Borghese.
There, these strange episodes could always happen again, when the State decides to chase you because it finds itself cornered. Cornered by what? By objective eventualities that arise in front of it, against which it can do nothing … Look, we are all experiencing these occurences, we are here in a particular situation, we have ghosts that each one of us must photograph in our mind to remember in the years to come, which for me will be few, for you many, it matters little. But the present situation, this extreme situation, could be solved by the State in an extreme way if it is unable to find normal solutions and health measures today. But look, for the State, the problem of health measures is a joke. What are a thousand, two thousand, five thousand, fifty thousand deaths for a State. These are trifles, a joke, one single bomb during the war caused thousands of deaths, not to mention special bombs that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, but let’s put that aside, that’s a separate matter.
If the State doesn’t face the economic consequences lying there in front of us, because it seems to me extremely strange, not to say ridiculous, that we hear on television continuously that two hundred billion euros are coming, every business will receive five thousand, five hundred euros, the numbers don’t interest me, but they will get support. But where will this support come from? It comes from the European Central Bank, to which the Italian State said: “I need billions and billions of euros, please print them”.
What does that mean? I’m, sorry, an economist, and what does that mean, what does printing money mean? The paper is procured, coloured, put through the printer, cut and distributed. And who pays for this distribution? The citizen. How? The citizen pays for it through taxes, which they should have paid, but these taxes are no longer perceivable because the citizen is not producing, and if I incur a debt, ask you for money but can’t pay it back, what is that? I am a swindler, because I promised to get money from another to repay you but I have already spent the other’s money. So as a guarantee for the money you are lending me, that you, the central bank are lending me, I just give you, not treasury bonds, which no longer exist, because they have all been sold, but bonds that I bought on the international market, which will probably turn out to be completely worthless. Sorry about these economic discussions, they annoy me and also upset me.
The State is going to come up against serious difficulties and when these difficulties fall upon the citizen, on all of us, again, as will happen automatically, the State could resort to its old methods, its old fantasies, and point to a culprit, a plague-spreader, to blame for everything. The State could resort to its old method of throwing someone out of a police station window, then spread some filth in the newspapers such as “it’s this one or that one’s fault.”.
And so we need to bear this in mind, which why the anarchists are coming out into the streets once again to speak about their utopias and their fantasies.
Stecco’s intervention of 18 December 2020
We need to think about many complex problems at this time, but today we are going to focus on one particular aspect of the oppression that is underway. We didn’t call this event “Against the State and its massacres” by chance. Because the massacres haven’t ended. And perhaps we have forgotten that there is a connection between those of the past and the present ones, as if the State had changed over time, as if its definition of “democracy” meant we are able to live freely. But this freedom does not exist for us now any more than it did before this nefarious period began.
We will look at a few questions: Why do we anarchists come out into the streets? Why, after 150 years and more, are anarchists still coming out with an idea that seems so far-off in time? An idea for which so many comrades have given their lives, that so many people have believed in, convinced that one can live without the State, without an authority telling us what to do and how to do it. Many say it is impossible to live any other way than the way we do now. They want to convince us that in situations such as the present one, at times like this life can only be organised one way, the way the State decides. In other words in a repressive, authoritarian way.
A whole host of issues, war, environmental destruction and so on, are brought up but are never fully gone into. Then the State swallows them up with a “we have a solution!”, but for us the State’s solutions are not real solutions, they are lies, atrocities, even massacres. So let’s try to understand what we mean by massacres and what we see as the essence of the State. For us the way this society is organized is unsound, it is a way of life that doesn’t convince us. Let’s give a few simple examples. They might seem far off in time, but perhaps they can still be understood, also here in this city.
Let’s take asbestos for example.
I reread an old booklet(1) recently that talks about the critique of asbestos. What were the men of the State saying in the 1970s? They said we couldn’t live without asbestos, that it was necessary for human life. But they never explained why at some point they kept quiet about it, even when they knew from their technicians and scientists that this material was harmful to human health. And by lying and by omission it meant that many everyday objects, from roofs of houses to electric toasters, continued to be made of this stuff. Millions of people came into contact with it. I know, as soon as asbestos is mentioned today your hair stands on end with “yes, asbestos is a bad story”. But many people older than me remember very well that this material was once in daily use, even though those producing asbestos at the time knew that it would lead to what we are still paying for today: all the people who died from working with it or coming into contact with it. So the men of the State know that a whole range of things are harmful to human life, but they carry on, they don’t put a stop to them. The men of the State knew perfectly well they were committing a massacre with asbestos and still don’t know what could happen in the future, or what else they will feed us on or what new tumours they will kill us with.
Let’s take a more recent example. At the 2017 motor show, Monsieur Tavares (CEO of Peugeot) spoke – anyone who reads the newspapers will know how important the present merger between Fiat and Peugeot is – what does this gentleman tell us? But not us! His data can be found but are not told to the people. This debate at the motor show was between those responsible for the automotive industry and those of the EU. So, what does he say? He says that simply producing electric batteries, or rather, electric cars, emits the same amount of CO2 as the production and average life of a diesel car, you see? So even if an electric car doesn’t produce CO2 while it is running, just making it produces more CO2 than the production and average life of a diesel car.
So we know that all the propaganda we have been getting non-stop in recent years, which is still continuing, that the production of so-called “green” cars will save us, is a lie. And governments, all the governments belonging to the EU, all these men and women that we Italian citizens vote for (not we anarchists, who don’t vote) already know that this won’t solve anything. And they are also telling us that they don’t even know what will happen with electric cars. They admit they have no idea, so this is a problem that will go on in time, and this kind of thing isn’t just happening now.
Looking back, they didn’t even know what the effects of a nuclear bomb would be, right? Yet they went ahead! Apart from technological questions that would take us far away, what we want to say here is that the State, our rulers in other words, our representatives, know very well that they are telling us lies. So, let’s be clear about this, we are not saying that there is no disease today, on the contrary, there is a disease going around, many of our friends, comrades and relatives have ended up in hospital, have become ill. Careful, that’s not what we are saying.
What we are saying is that we have no confidence in the State, quite the opposite, we are thinking beings, we have a brain, we know how to be autonomous with respect to what they are saying, which does not mean underestimating an illness in this case. But we are convinced that we no longer need them, because they already know—they already admit—that they have no solutions and keep proposing the same dynamics. So let’s get back to the question of the State: what does the State do? Its only solution is repression. Someone could say, “But no, it’s right to wear a mask, physical distancing”, and we also say that this kind of precaution is useful. But we also know that a whole series of recent questions have not been discussed by people, so we need to understand why we, who live in this city, on this earth, at this particular moment, are not taking responsibility for what is happening around us.
Perhaps we should look at the whole story, a story that began way before 2020. A whole load of things that led up to people being afraid to talk to each other, organise themselves, fight for the social questions that grip us every day. It might be useful to link certain events of the past to those of today. Let’s take the question of massacre for example. There is a banner behind us saying “The State is the murderer” and we are not saying it by accident, we are not saying it because we are anarchists, the usual thickheads who are against the State which assists us in some way.
Instead we are inviting you to think about a few things again. The massacre of Piazza Fontana on the 12th of December 1969, which many will remember or at least have an inkling of what things were like at that time in this country, was a State massacre, ordered by the State, carried out by the fascists who put the bomb inside that bank. Perhaps the important words, “This bomb is for us”, that the people who came out into the streets were saying at the time, have not yet been fully understood. Why was it “for us”? Because at that time people were fighting, they were fighting for things to change and they knew that the State and the bosses would never let go of their privileges, their power and the way they wanted us to live. Because they always want to get two things out of any of our activity: power (to strengthen their position, their status), but above all, profit.
But what is it that has just happened and has not been understood. What we define a massacre is a bomb such as that of Piazza Fontana. But it is also what is taking place every day inside the prisons. I am referring to a fact that is particularly close to my heart. The Italian press lied and continue to lie and cover up the massacre that took place inside the prison of Modena on the 8th of March, a prison that I myself was in up until a few weeks before. I ask for a moment’s attention and a little patience because I want to consider the fact that, as anarchists, we know that many people believe in the prison structure, they believe people should be locked up if they do something wrong. We know it is hard to understand that it is possible to do without prison.
What happened on the 8th of March inside the prison of Modena? If you remember, in the months before March, so around February, we were all still somewhat unaware of what was going on in the world, the question of the virus was something far away. In February, when I was inside, they were still talking about China. When I got out I left men and women inside that prison, people I had shared food with, with whom I ate and with whom I talked about what was happening. But these events are significant for me and I will explain why. Because here it is not just a question of destroying prison or not, but of understanding the signal the State sent us all by shooting those prisoners.
There had already been various problems inside that prison over the previous months. What happened? The virus enters the prison, they say a prisoner is infected. The DAP, therefore the State, represented here by these gentlemen in civilian clothes and in uniform [pointing to the heavy police presence in the square], what did they say to their men, the Penitentiary Police? “Don’t wear masks, don’t say there is the virus”. The men of State, who obey orders,—because that’s how it works—didn’t wear masks and didn’t say anything to the prisoners about the danger. But prisoners aren’t stupid and know very well that health is non-existent inside prisons, and they feel it on their skin,—the only therapies are psychotropic drugs and Tachipirina—so they found the only way to make a simple claim: revolt. In March the newspapers just said they are criminals and had no claims: “They are mad!” But no! The prisoners took control of the prison, they destroyed the structure, but they also shouted something very clear, just one word, that we are all demanding today and we are rightly trying to raise our voices for, and I still invite everyone to do so, this word is “health”. Expect what is ours. But imagine what the prisoners, for whom that right had already been denied, felt when a virus like this arrived inside a prison, inside a closed area.
Who brought the virus into the prison, the prisoner? Mha.. difficult. Other people who work in the prison probably. So what happened and was not said is only coming out now, hopefully more and more to get the truth about these events.
The prisoners destroyed the prison, and, as we said last Saturday outside Trieste prison, we are not denying that some of the prisoners had taken drugs, we are not saying that. But we know very well that the prison facility “invites” the men and women held inside to become “drug-addicts”, people who take drugs, which the State hands out three or four times a day with its trolleys, without any problem. But what happened next?
What always happens during these events. The State enters the prison with its representatives, men in uniform who shoot (and it’s not me saying this, you can see it in the video of the GEDI press agency). Because when the State is afraid, when it sees that its citizens are organizing themselves, in this case to demand “health”, the only solution it can find is to shoot, repress; and it will happen again. But what are the prisoners saying?
Not only did the men in uniform enter, but when they saw the people fleeing, they took the first one that fell into their hands, put him on the ground, beat him, killed him and said in front of the other prisoners “now we will do this to you”. This is what happened in Modena. But other things also happened in March: in other prisons such as Santa Maria Capua Vetere, the State was not satisfied with killing and massacring, but also decided to humiliate by shaving the heads of hundreds of half-naked prisoners. Because this is the State when it needs to show its effectiveness, because when it wants to be effective it has no qualms, it has the means.
As I was saying earlier, I’ll tell you something that happened recently, once again showing the essence of the State when it really wants to bare its teeth. Of the prisoners transferred from Modena prison to the prison (and other structures) in Ascoli in March, who had lived in terror because the police had systematically beaten them to a pulp, five of them filed a complaint to the Procurator of Ancona on November 20th.
Saying what? They say exactly what I have just said, which is that the State beat savagely and shot lead bullets. This is what happened at the beginning of March. And it is significant for us not only because of what the prisoners said, but also because of what the State did through the DAP the other week, putting these five prisoners back in Modena prison, precisely where they had been tortured and where 9 men had been killed. The reasoning is simple: you were bold enough to tell the truth and now we are going to make you pay for it. And we know that the State represses the same way in all other countries. When you tell the truth, it raises its “antennas” and says “now you’ll see what I’ll do to you”.
But now we come to what these bullets that were shot meant, in our opinion. We don’t know how the present situation will develop, it is certain that many people are going to have problems surviving, feeding our children, getting through everyday life. The difference between legality and illegality will blur increasingly. Perhaps not only for us, anarchists who are already for illegality to take back what is owed to everyone and what we need, our necessities, to satisfy our daily needs. In our opinion these bullets were fired at all the men and women of this country, in particular the exploited.
The State says, “We’re all in the same boat”, but it’s a lie, I believe many people know this is false. If you earn 1.000 euros how can you live if you have three children? It’s hard to imagine. If you lose your job at this time, you won’t find another. I don’t think it’s hard to understand that. And then if you, individually or along with others, take back what is owed you, so go and steal bread—and this is a banal example—or even organise to take back and collectivise what you need, what will the State do? It will shoot! Because, perhaps someone has forgotten what happened a year ago in Chile, for example.
When the people came out into the streets what did the State do? It didn’t just shoot with bullets, real or rubber, or with water canons etc. It wanted to give a signal, just as it wanted to give a signal in Modena, but in a different way. It did what our State does when it goes to other countries: it raped hundreds of women with its men, particularly the carabinieros. We were talking about Chile. But do we want to talk about the Italian carabinieri in Somalia in the nineties? We need to remember these steps, which give meaning to why we are here today, yet again, as anarchists, saying that we are against the State and believe that we can live quite happily without it. Which doesn’t mean not organising ourselves.
It is often said that “anarchists have no rules”, but this is false! We are for free agreement, mutual aid, human solidarity, something that is increasingly absent and missing in the streets and homes of every city. Instead what is the State doing with these massacres? Because I think that, concerning Modena, anyone wanting to listen understood the meaning of that lead. The State accuses us of carrying out massacres, we who as anarchists repudiate violence, but at the same time use it when we become aware that the laws are imposed. We didn’t decide to wage war all over the world, we didn’t decide the massacres in the history of this country and generally. So we, who can’t stand still, can’t remain silent, who don’t know how to put our conscience under the carpet in the face of injustice, organize ourselves and fight individually and collectively.
But what is certain is that when the State arrests us, because we represent ideas that still disturb in 2020, because we are still present in the streets to have our say, then, to discredit our ideas, it accuses us of massacre. And these are not accusations that come from nowhere but are arguments that the State constantly makes to discredit a whole series of events, things that have happened. Because anarchists are also concrete, not only do we have a different world in mind, some say utopias, but we are concrete. When there is injustice we try to put that injustice right. So, arresting and sentencing our comrades to decades of prison with accusations of massacre for having attacked the State and its leaders, as happened a few months ago, leads us to return the charges to the sender.
We also send back the accusation of instigation. It is quite offensive for any thinking person in my opinion. If we say that it is right to attack a bank, something that is even more sacrosanct these days, and that it is also right to expropriate it, we risk being accused of “instigation”! In other words, you, who hear my simple words, are considered to be of “diminished responsibility”, you don’t understand anything and need to be told to commit crimes. I think that would piss you off.
That is why we get convicted.They take us by the ears saying, you’re saying all this, that scares us because at times like this someone might organize themselves in some way, as has happened in the past.
Why are we inviting people to organize and think for themselves again? Let’s take a historical example. In the exhibition we wrote that it was possible to pay a rent with a salary in Italy in the 70s. But rent was a tenth of a salary at that at the time. How much rent can we afford to pay with our wages today? How much is the average rent today? About 500 euros. But why did rent cost a tenth of wages at that time, and today it is half, so we are only able to meet some of our needs? Because we have stopped fighting! And why did we stop fighting? Because one of the many things the State has done is exactly what I was saying earlier, it has led us to be afraid of fighting, of facing each other, of trying to understand who is responsible for the things that are being talked about today. We are faced with many problems every day (because the problems are not concealed), the question of electric cars I mentioned earlier for example, but we are no longer able to understand what is being said to us in any depth.
We are bombarded with a whole set of problematics, but the way they are put across should make us see that they are lying. They have their reasons, and us? Which way are we going? Why should we trust those who have always lied to us, as with the story of asbestos I mentioned earlier?
We are out in the streets today to say these simple things, because we are simple men and women who still have an idea. An idea that seems far off in time. An idea called anarchy. Many say it is an idea without rules, that it’s rubbish, but we are still able to base our lives on free agreement and confront each other on the fact that we are capable of organizing our lives ourselves. Of understanding what is right and what is wrong, what is necessary and what is not.
Not only did we come out today to bring our ideas into the streets, we are also here to express solidarity with our comrades who are in prison, accused of massacre. We send back this accusation, made by these men here filming and recording us, always trying to capture our words to incriminate us. They want to scare us with their presence and their bullets, we have already felt their guns pointed against our head. But we are back because we are convinced that injustices must be fought, for a different world and for anarchy. Thank you.
Comizio of Alfredo of 18.12.2020 at Saint Antonio
Can you hear me? Well, do not fear, I won’t be as long as my comrade before me, but I won’t be as brilliant as him in my choice of words and construction of metaphors. I am just going to say a few words to try to explain why we are against the State. But how? People think that the State is us, all of us! Just think about it, the Italian State defends us, we have an army, we have borders guarded by people who wear uniforms. But defend ourselves from what? From our close friends. Could these close friends of ours be a danger to us? No, what does that have to do with it, they can’t pose any danger to us.
So what the heck are all these men in uniform doing? To defend us from what? From some furious madman who comes from far-off lands of misery that our war industries have sent their armaments to so that massacres can take place in them. Daily massacres, of women and children, of people! Then they [the cops] come here and shoot some canister between our legs. And so we must defend ourselves naturally, this is the State.
The State is that inhuman force that is allowing me to get closer to you here through this instrument I have in my hand that helps me to say what I have in mind. Freely. Because we are in a free country. Careful! We are in a free country, up to a point! Why? If we make a list of the things that can be done and put a list of things that can’t be done next to it, the second are far greater in number and importance than the first! For example, I cannot enter a place where money is to be found, reach out, take some, which for me means survival, and take it away. Because right outside the door I’ll find a man in uniform who says: Stop! You have committed a crime, so come with me and I’ll take you to the police station.
This is the State! And this is the efficiency of the State, this is the State that protects us. Up to a point my friends! It protects us and keeps us in our condition as subjects! Don’t forget this word, ever! Subjects means people who are below; we must be submissive, people who can’t raise their head! Who cannot call themselves individuals! Men, women. No! Subjects! Woe if any of these subjects were to say something that shouldn’t be said! Or do something that shouldn’t be done. Because the State’s efficiency rises immediately like the head of the medusa and crashes down upon the poor wretch. But when urgent needs arise, radical needs such as those we are experiencing now, when the State should be doing things that are essential, then these things—let’s not beat about the bush, we are talking about health here—suddenly these things that the State is called upon to do, start wavering.
Every day press releases come out one after the other. Press releases issued by the media without a minimum of criteria, which make no sense! They have no meaning. Because they do not come from qualified samples. What is a qualified sample? It means that if I say that out of 100,000 who have done swabs, 20,000 were affected by the virus, who are those 100,000 composed of? What is a number? What does 100,000 mean? The sample should be selected, composed of all the social groups, all the social activities, all the age levels, all the social levels that have gradually formed, and this would be a method that would make sense. Then the 10,000 who are infected would mean something, 7-800 deaths would also mean something. So, let’s be clear, the State doesn’t do its job. It doesn’t do it for three reasons. First, because it doesn’t know how to do it, because in fact the State only knows how to do one thing: repress! Second, it doesn’t give us the data because it is afraid to, even if it were able to provide them. Third, because its indirect and not well concealed aim is to keep us in our cultural misery!
In our miserable [lack of] knowledge. We are losing the ability to understand! The ability to know! The ability to study! The ability to go into things. This is what we are losing! And this is what the State wants, to transform society into a collection of consenting ghosts. So that any message, any action, any gesture, any repression, any massacre carried out by the State would go unnoticed. This is what the anarchists are trying to say this evening, despite my rather shaky voice: be careful, always look with suspicion at all the actions that come from the State. All the facts, all the measures, everything that comes from the State. Subject them to criticism, strong, penetrating criticism, while we are still capable of it. Thank you.
1)Why this exhibition
When something ends up disrupting the daily lives of millions of people the structure of society emerges more clearly. This is exactly what has happened with the Covid-19 epidemic.
Leaving aside the structural causes of such epidemics—such as deforestation, the destruction of wildlife habitat, the cross-effects of intensive farming, industrial agriculture, wars, pollution and the immense concentration of human beings in cities, let’s just consider their management by the State and the bosses.
While millions of people were forced to stay at home by law, the factories were all open. Only after the wave of strikes and abstention/low turnout—stepping over the agreements between Confindustria and confederal unions—was the government forced to close some “non-essential” production: it was March 25, two weeks after we were all confined at home. And even in the following weeks, while the media lynching (and not only) of solitary walkers was unleashed, thousands of factories were still open “by derogation”, that is, through simple self-certification. The ruthless logic of profit increased the number of infections by at least a third. Let’s not forget it.
The case of prisons was even more striking. While full-blown dictatorships like Turkey and Iran sent tens of thousands of prisoners home under house arrest, the only measure taken by the Italian State was to ban visits. And in the face of the revolts in thirty prisons unleashed by those who did not want to risk dying like rats in a cage, the institutional response was a massacre: 15 dead. Let’s not forget it.
The structural violence of this authoritarian class society has been brazenly, impudently slammed in our face.
The panels put up in the square today speak of this violence, but also of the fact that some tried and are still trying to respond to it.
Because one thing is certain. There is no limit to the disasters—economic, social, ecological—that we will have to suffer; no limit other than struggle, solidarity, counterattack. Sink or fight. It’s time to choose.
2) When the bosses were afraid…
The planet’s top eight billionaires possess exactly the same amount of wealth as three and a half billion human beings. In Italy, the top seven own wealth corresponding to that of 30% of the population (Oxfam Report, 2016).
Never in history has social inequality reached such peaks. A very similar process has also taken place with respect to the social division of knowledge.
Only a handful of experts with top league salaries have access to the “intelligent machines” that grab and process data relative to the behaviour of billions of people, data that are the real engine of capitalism today.
If this centralisation of wealth and knowledge is something revolting, the reasons for it are anything but mysterious. They are the result of a bosses’ counter-offensive that has lasted for thirty years.
In the early seventies a house rent in Italy corresponded to a tenth of the worker’s wage. Up until the mid-eighties the contract in the workplace was collective, it was the same for the whole category. Not only indirect wages (health care, school, transport …), but even the canteen menu was the subject of social conflict.
The violence of the bosses and the State—lockouts, increased production rates, political dismissals, deaths due to and at work, police repression—was responded to with violence (wild demos, sabotage, reprisals against small bosses, big bosses and managers).
The defeat of that cycle of struggles led to a profound restructuring of work, neighbourhoods, society, a counter revolution that made isolation, lack of solidarity, the “save yourself if you can” become generalised. Today the bosses seem to be able to do anything they like. Rent is 60%, 70% of wages, contracts are a jungle of precariousness, competition between workers is ruthless, working hours have no limits, deaths and injuries are increasing, even breaks have been eliminated, there is a return to piecework, you need more and more money for treatment …
Some will say we are too naive, but hasn’t all this happened because the bosses are no longer afraid?
On the other hand, they do have historical memory. So, faced with the slightest conflict and practices of those who decide to go to the counterattack they immediately start screaming: violence! Illegality! Terrorism! The ethical and historical awareness that it is only through direct action that the exploited will be able to overturn their condition is the “crime” that contains all the others. For this reason, anarchists are always in the sights of power.
Leaguists, nationalists, neo-fascists…
The cycle of struggles of the Sixties and Seventies was defeated above all through the “information revolution”, which rendered the production chain global, the workforce flexible and blackmailable. In the global Just-in-Time (JIT) factory, the bargaining power of male and female workers has been increasingly shattered. In Italy, this process was imposed with violence: State bombs on trains and in public squares, systematic use of neo-fascist groups, mass arrests, special prisons, torture … only later did technological restructuring come along.
It is within the defeat of that cycle of struggles that the causes of the social outlet of the new populisms, sovereign ideologies, racism, must also be sought. Nationalism (of a Trump, an Orban, a Salvini) always appears in history as “protection of the people” from international finance capital. And prepares war. “Italians first” does not only refer to migrants, but also to French, German, Chinese capitalism …
Revolutionaries do not attack the League and neofascists (or Trump, or Putin, or Orban) in as “undemocratic forces” – the concentration camps for immigrants and the neo-colonial wars were introduced, voted and justified by the institutional left… – but as reactionary parodies of the class struggle. They do not attack them, that is, because they foment “hatred”, but because they hijack it in the service of the State and the bosses. When the exploited unite beyond the colour of their skin, the nationalist forces show themselves for what they are. The white supremacists who in the United States shoot into demos and against workers’ pickets – while Trump screams that the public enemy are the antifascists and the anarchists – are revealing the historical role that the fascists have always had: servants of the bosses, auxiliary troops of the police.
3) History of a concentration camp
CPR, Permanent Centre for Repatriations, is the most recent acronym attributed by the law to the identification and deportation centres for migrants in Italy, which have been established and constantly implemented by all the governments of the past twenty years. For the most part they are located in peripheral areas with respect to the cities, the presence of fences, iron bars and video surveillance tools is massive.
The creation of these structures dates back to 1998, when the forced detention of foreign persons to be identified or awaiting deportation was established through the Turco-Napolitano law, for a maximum of 30 days. From that moment on, the adaptation, enlargement and construction of new detention centres for migrants has been constant. There were already 13 operational centres in Italy by the beginning of 1999.
The original name was CPT, Temporary Stay Centres, which remained until 2011, when the Berlusconi government chose the name of CIE, Centres for Identification and Expulsion.
The period of stay was then doubled with the Bossi-Fini Law of 2002, which also introduced the crime of non-compliance with the expulsion order, which would be followed in 2009 by the crime of clandestinity. The name CPR dates back to the Minniti-Orlando law of 2017, which provided for the construction of a centre in every region of Italy excluding Valle d’Aosta and Molise.
There are 6 CPRs in operation in Italy today: one in Turin, one in Rome – Ponte Galeria (the only female one), two in Puglia (Bari-Palese, Brindisi-Restinco), one in Gradisca d’Isonzo and one in Macomer, in the province of Nuoro, which was opened in January 2020. In Italy the centres for migrants depend on the Ministry of the Interior, external surveillance is entrusted to the police and responsibility lies with the local Prefectures.
For a long time the Red Cross was the main organization in charge of managing the detention centres, but in recent years the government has decided to entrust their management to social cooperatives and churches, and more recently also to private companies. Contracts are awarded on the basis of calls for tender with private negotiation, the main selection criterion being saving money.
Keeping these centres open and managing them is quite a profitable business, a millionaire business in which investments are growing. The CPRs in Puglia are managed by the Catholic cooperative Auxilium founded by the Chiorazzo brothers, that of Gradisca d’Isonzo by the Paduan non-profit organization Edeco.
Through an agreement with the Agrigento Acuarinto association, the French company Gepsa (Gestion établissements pénitenciers services auxiliaires) quickly entered the Italian detention market, obtaining the management of the CPR of Rome – Ponte Galeria in 2012 and the CPR of Turin in Corso Brunelleschi in 2014. Historical partner of the French prison administration, Gepsa manages dozens of private prisons and operates in as many French administrative detention centres.
In 2018 Ors Italia s.r.l. appears on the scene, directed by Maurizio Reppucci, who this year was awarded management of the CPR of Macomer, in Sardinia, as well as the CAS of Monastir. It is a subsidiary of the Swiss company Ors which administers several centres for migrants in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and other countries of the European Union.
The CPR is a part, physically evident, of a control mechanism that begins with round-ups and raids in the neighbourhoods of the cities in the hunt for foreigners. Detention in these facilities, forced and very often arbitrary with respect to duration, keeps migrants under the constant blackmail of detention and expulsion. Also considering that the residence permit is intrinsically linked to work by the Bossi-Fini law, this system is structurally linked to labour exploitation.
In addition to the material ones inside the centres, the accumulation of these conditions has given rise to a strong temperament in many inmates that has led them, individually and collectively, to refuse to submit. The existence of administrative detention facilities in Italy is studded with various forms of resistance.
There are countless hunger and thirst strikes, acts of self-harm – such as cuts and wounds, ingestion of batteries or razor blades, sewing of the lips, broken bones, etc. -, opposition to repatriation procedures at airports, individual escapes or mass evasions from the structures themselves or from the hospitals they were taken to for treatment, resistance for hours or whole days on the roofs of the centres. Forms of opposition and anger that have restored dignity and often freedom to many.
But not only. If many of the structures that have served this function over the years are no longer active, it is because they have been rendered partially unusable, unusable and often completely destroyed in the riots that those locked up inside them carried out. The damage to the dormitories and internal areas, the burning of furnishings that spread throughout, have often meant that the capacity of the structures decreased significantly or that inmates were transferred and the damaged centre closed for good.
The determination with which the people locked up in these centres have always faced their imprisonment should be an example for us outside, especially at a time like this when living and working conditions are getting harsher and harsher and if we fail to raise our head the air will become more and more suffocating.
4) Revolts in the prisons in times of Covid
Revolts broke out in 23 prisons, starting on the evening of Sunday 8th March following the announcement that visits with family members had been suspended. The tension that was already hovering due to fear of contagion from Covid-19 was great, especially given the lack of hygiene and health measures that has always existed in the prisons. The prisoners were distressed by the decision to suspend all activities except free movement of the guards. Although the umpteenth restriction was the trigger for the riots, the prisoners’ requests were mostly summed up in two words: “free pardon” and (above all) FREEDOM.
SALERNO: 200 prisoners destroy the first floor of the prison building, opening up a way to the outside; the railings of the prison windows are literally ripped out by the prisoners, who manage to climb up on to the roofs. In the evening the situation returns to “normal”.
NAPOLI POGGIOREALE: the prisoners in the Livorno pavillion refuse to go back into their cells.
MODENA: in Sant’Anna di Modena prison the governor cuts off the prisoners’ water as soon as the protests begin. From here begins the total destruction of all the prison wings, to the extent that in the morning of Monday 9th the institution is declared unfit for use. Numerous police forces arrive to quell the revolt. The media confirm 5 deaths inside the prison and 4 deaths during transfers to other prisons (official cause: drug overdose, benzodiazepines, methadone and opiates). Shortly after the outbreak of the revolt, a gathering of relatives and people in solidarity forms outside, demanding that all the prisoners be freed. The police charge the gathering. All the prisoners are transferred and shunted to prisons all over the country.
MILAN: Some sections of Opera prison are set on fire. Police charge a gathering of those in solidarity and families outside the prison. In the evening you can see from outside that all the lights have been turned off. News leaks from inside that the guards entered the cells at that moment and violently put down the revolt. Some prisoners are left without shirts, underpants, food and water for several hours. In San Vittore prison some prisoners go up on to the roof; cells and entire sections are destroyed. Subsequently, the Milan prosecutor’s office open an investigation against unknown persons for devastation, looting and resistance.
PAVIA: Various parts of the prison are set on fire, some prisoners force open cells. They take two guards hostage, who are later released. Relatives gather outside the prison in protest shouting “AMNESTY”.
PADOVA: A revolt breaks out on the fourth floor of the Due Palazzi. Communal area furnishings and mattresses are completely burnt. Many areas are destroyed.
ALESSANDRIA: In San Michele a section is destroyed and put out of use, another is damaged by numerous fires. A prisoner who had been transferred from Modena dies: the local papers declare that he died from drug overdose after the raiding of the Sant’ Anna infirmary.
VERCELLI: news comes out of protests and banging pots on cell bars.
CREMONA: about a hundred prisoners set fire to furnishings in three sections. The situation is quelled in the evening after damage to the structure and a guard wounded.
BARI: late in the evening banging on bars and objects being thrown from the cells, some of them burning. Gathering of relatives outside the entrance.
MADONNA DEL FREDDO (CH): after a brief protest the prisoners send a letter to the prison administration in which they ask for: immediate alternative measures for those entitled to them; closure of behavioural overview; provision of adequate means for communication with family members as an alternative to suppressed visits; drinking water supply; suspension of screws and insiders for the duration of the suspension of visits, or access to family members under the same conditions as those with prison officers (with masks and medical checks); self-certification for calls for prisoners with no phone contract; no retaliation against protestors and workers participating in the strike. Until the demands are satisfied, the prisoners will abstain from all prison activities, with daily banging pots on cell bars from 20.00 to 21.00. There is no further news.
FROSINONE: about a hundred prisoners leave the sections, reach the exercise area and climb the walls, occupying a pavilion after the ban on visits with family members. They barricade themselves inside with a list of protests. In the end, half prison is devastated and 95 prisoners are transferred.
PALERMO PAGLIARELLI: the prisoners start banging cutlery and metal cups on the bars, then set fire to some of the cells. Meanwhile, their relatives find each other in the street outside, blocking traffic and demonstrating in front of the gates.
PESCARA: there is news of bar-banging until 11pm.
TERAMO: in the prison of Castrogno some prisoners have already been refusing to return to the cells since Friday. Again today, with banging on bars. In the women’s section, some cardboard boxes and a mattress are set on fire.
BRINDISI: the protest began around 11 pm with fires lit inside the cells, accompanied by prisoners shouting and a group of family members gathered in the neighbouring streets.
NAPLES POGGIOREALE: the prisoners go up on to the roof of the exercise area shouting in protest against the government’s decision to block prison visits with prisoners’ family members. Mattresses are also burned and furnishings damaged. Hundreds of people gather outside the Neapolitan penitentiary, many of whom are relatives of the prisoners. They are asking for pardons, amnesty or house arrest for their imprisoned relatives, while blocking the passage of trams. The protest re-enters late in the afternoon.
CALTANISSETTA: there is news of banging on bars.
TARANTO: broken armoured vehicles, broken tables and stools, sections put out of use. Also banging on the armoured doors in the isolation cells. 13 cells are destroyed.
ROME: In Rebibbia, Regina Coeli and Velletri fires are started in various wings from the early afternoon. Riots are quelled in the late afternoon with the intervention of law enforcement and firefighters. Clashes between police and prisoners. Outside a solidarity gathering and roadblocks by relatives and comrades.
BOLOGNA: In the Dozza institute, 400 prisoners of the judicial sections rioted, devastating a pavilion that housed 600, thus preventing the resumption of daily prison life. In the night mattresses and two prison cars are burned. Video shown outside. Despite negotiations on 10 March with the director and head of the guards, the revolt did not stop until 12 March. With one dead and 22 injured.
FERRARA and UDINE: a few hours’ protest with bar-banging and some furnishings burnt, appeased following mediation.
PRATO: fire in some cells in the medium security sector. No information on the progress of negotiations.
MARASSI, IMPERIA and SANREMO: there is news of bar-banging during the day.
LA SPEZIA VILLA ANDREINO: 5 prisoners climb the wall, shouts of protest can be heard outside. Disorder quelled with administration’s promise not to punish the prisoners involved.
ISERNIA: the prisoners come out of their cells, after setting fire to mattresses and furnishings. Smoke from the sections, prisoners are outside the cells, some up on the eaves. After mediation with the prosecutor, the revolt re-enters on 11th March.
MELFI (PZ): prisoners in the AS3 section take nine hostages (5 guards and 4 health workers) freed after 10 hours’ protest.
TRANI: a cloud of smoke surrounds the entire building and according to a first hypothesis it would seem that some prisoners have started a fire, some climbed on to the roof and some relatives gathered outside but were held back. At 6 pm the protest seems to have subsided.
TURIN: some prisoners of four sections barricade themselves inside block B using beds to obstruct the passage of guards. Gathering of people in solidarity and family members outside.
ARIANO IRPINO (AV): banging on bars and objects thrown from windows.
SANTA MARIA CAPUA VETERE (CE): 15 prisoners from the Tevere wing barricade themselves on roofs and in corridors. Lack of drinking water for 20 hours. About fifty prisoners of the Tamigi High Security department barricade themselves inside the section, destroying some furnishings. The protest reenters at 7 pm.
SIRACUSA CAVADONNA: Monday night 70 prisoners burn sheets and break down internal gates using beds. Video surveillance system destroyed and a kitchen damaged.
RIETI: flames on the roof. A day of protest by 50 prisoners who had succeeded in getting on to the roofs of some of the wings using sheets as banners to shouts of “freedom” but also protesting against the rules about visits. The revolt was quelled in the evening with an outcome of 3 dead and 6 wounded. The next day’s attempt is immediately put down and transfers to other prisons are arranged.
SOLLICCIANO (FI): banging on bars, fires and shouts of protest following the meeting between the director and the council of prisoners. Thursday 12 a guard is attacked.
PISA: in the Don Bosco and Volterra penitentiary short riots with furnishings and mattresses set on fire.
PALERMO UCCIARDONE: Some prisoners in protest attempt to break down the prison fence to try to escape. The attempt is blocked by the penitentiary police. The prisoners resume in the evening. They start banging metal cups against the cell bars and screaming.
PALERMO PAGLIARELLI: again protests by family members outside the gates, blocking the traffic.
MATERA: about a dozen prisoners refuse to return to their cells in protest against the restrictions on visits and against the suspension of permits due to the Coronavirus emergency. One prisoner even climbs on to the roof.
FOGGIA: some prisoners start the revolt by setting fire to sheets and mattresses and damaging furnishings inside cells, meantime, a substantial number of other prisoners, about 200, outside in the exercise yards, take the corridor near the exit of the sections. On the way they force the gates between the sections, letting other prisoners out. When they reach the inner carriage gate, they unhinge it and 72 of them go out. The last of those who escaped is arrested at the end of July. A fire is also started in front of the entrance during the revolt.
TERMINI IMERESE: about twenty prisoners take over a section and barricade themselves inside. Then everything returns to normal.
BARI: second day of protest with bars beaten, shouts from inside the cells and gathering of family members outside, with diffusion of Neapolitan music.
NAPOLI SECONDIGLIANO: protest of family members outside the prison with banners and traffic block.
ENNA: refusal to return to the cells and banging on bars.
MESSINA: gathering of family members outside the prison.
VENICE: in the penitentiary of Santa Maria Maggiore there is damage to the structure with some fires and banging on bars.
TRIESTE: banging on bars and shouts of protest.
MASSAMA (OR): 50 maximum security prisoners refuse to return to their cells after the exercise hour, but the guards get the upper hand before long.
CAMPOBASSO: the prisoners start fires and position themselves on the perimetre walls of the prison. It appears they are also protesting against the arrival of prisoners who had been transferred there from Modena.
LARINO: the prisoners refuse to re-enter their cells for a whole day. They also prepare a document in which, in addition to skype interviews, they ask the surveillance magistrate for alternative measures to prison, in particular house arrest.
TRAPANI: about forty prisoners climb to the roof of the structure, setting fire to various materials, including clothing. The black smoke is visible from far away. You can hear metal cups banging on the bars inside the cells. The prison police only managed to get all the prisoners participating in the protest back inside the cells at 9.30 pm. A section, the one called “Mediterranean”, was completely destroyed and the water pipes and the electricity system were completely put out of use. News of 15 March: the prisoners who devastated the “Mediterranean” section have been transferred to other prisons.
PALERMO PAGLIARELLI: a group of prisoners manage to block a guard and steal a set of keys from him, then they occupy an entire floor of the prison to start a new day of protest.
TARANTO: Protest of family members at the prison gate.
CATANIA: protest just before midnight inside the prison in Piazza Lanza in Catania: about a hundred prisoners yell, bang on cell bars and set sheets on fire. This lasts a few hours and they only re-enter after ‘mediation’ with the management and the chief of the prison police of the institute.
LET’S NOT FORGET THE PRISONERS KILLED DURING THE MARCH REVOLTS!
Salvatore Piscitelli Cuono (40 years), Hafedh Chouchane (36 years), Slim Agrebi (41 years), Alis Bakili (53 years), Ben Masmia Lofti (40 years), Erial Ahmadi (36 years), Arthur Isuzu (30 years), Abdellah Rouan (34 years), Hadidi Ghazi (36 years), Marco Boattini (35 years), Ante Culic (41 years), Carlos Samir Perez Alvarez (28 years),
Haitem Kedri (29 years).
ONLY ONE HORIZON: FREEDOM!
5) 41bis: the prison within the prison
41bis is the highest grade in the differentiated treatment scale that regulates the prison system. From here down further levels of penitentiary differentiation branch off, functional to the management of prisons.
WHO CAN BE SUBJECTED TO THE 41BIS REGIME?
According to the law, when there are serious questions of public order and security, or at the request of the Home Minister or the Minister of Justice, the 41bis regime can be applied to prisoners in the first band of article 4-bis or in any case for a crime committed making use of the conditions of or facilitating mafia-type association in relation to which there are elements suggesting links with a criminal, terrorist or subversive association.
WHAT IS 41BIS? Adopted thirty years ago as a temporary, emergency measure, this regime has gradually been established and has exacerbated. There are 747 prisoners (12 women and 735 men)under this prison condition at the present time, 390 of whom are doing their final sentence, including three revolutionary comrades, a woman and two men, who were transferred to these sections15 years ago. This regime is currently in force in 22 sections in various prisons in Italy.
– isolation 23 hours a day (it is only possible to meet other prisoners during the exercise hour, a maximum of three of those they are permitted to talk to);
– visits with close family members only (one hour a month) with no direct contact, behind glass, using cameras and intercoms;
– total exclusion from access to “benefits”;
– “trial by videoconference”: the accused follows the trial by video link alone in a prison cell equipped for the purpose, managed at the discretion of judges, prosecution, police, so is deprived of the possibility of being present in court;
– use of the GMO, Gruppi Operativi Mobili, special prison police at the centre of much controversy and complaints in the wake of beatings inside the prisons (since 2017 their functions have been extended, for example to surveillance of prisoners accused of Islamic terrorism);
– censorship and restriction of mail;
– a ban on receiving books, newspapers and magazines from outside.
The 41bis regime has a duration of 4 years, and can be extended for a further two, indefinitely. There are two main conditions in order for the regime to be revoked: proven impossibility of the prisoner’s capacity to maintain links with or collaborate with the criminal association outside; after indicating third parties as perpetrators or responsible for the crimes they have been convicted of.
HEALTH EMERGENCY AND MILITARIZATION
After the baying of the media baying following the granting of house arrest to 4 prisoners in 41bis due to their health condition and/or expiry of terms of imprisonment, a Law Decree was issued during the Covid-19 emergency and converted into law in June 2020, in which there is continuous monitoring of prisoners in 41bis and High Security (every 15 days to a month) by the Magistrate of Surveillance to verify if it is still necessary for them to stay at home: if any step in this complex assessment does not function, the prisoners will be transferred back to the section immediately.
On 30 July 2020, the Minister Buonafede signed a legislative decree according to which the GOMs are given more and more autonomy from the DAP (Department of Prison Administration) and greater control within the management of the 41bis regime both from an economic and operational point of view (in addition to managing the finances with all that derives from it, the director of the GOM can now move men and vehicles autonomously from one prison to another and only has to report to the DAP on the management and operational activities carried out once a year, whereas previously the obligation was to report every three months).
This first datum, (disconnect between GOM and DAP, in favour of the former’s autonomy) goes hand in hand with a further extension of the tasks of the prison police, whose investigative nucleus has become part of the National Anti-Mafia and Counter-terrorism Directorate since September 2020 : 7 units will support the Attorney General by analyzing and processing information from the penitentiary environment, in particular from the High Security circuit.
The segregative and punitive logic aimed at exerting constant pressure on the enemy to be subdued or annihilated has emerged from the original exceptional emergency character of 41bis which made it appear plausible in its time, first becoming permanent then, always having represented the eminently political instance that moves it, right from the definition of “hard prison” commonly adopted and heralded but also in reasons of deterrence towards the social referent of the Red Brigades militants and revolutionary prisoners, contained in their decrees of 41bis, it has since crept into the high security circuit and even the common law one, as demonstrated by recent protests and even riots due to the DAP order to shut down televisions at midnight, generalizing the provisions of the 2017 DAP regulation for 41bis.
41bis is the synthesis and experimentation of all the practices anrestrictions that serve to divide and weaken the entire society. Everything is studied so that the disgregration of social relations inside and outside prisons prevails, to underline distance from everything and everyone, making you available to any compromise in order to escape it. This daily torture is aimed at wresting “collaboration”, that is, to force those who undergo it to inform. Not an aim linked to security, therefore, but rather to the annihilation of identity and personality.
What the 41bis regime brings out is that there is in force the total discretionary power of the DAP, the guards, the prison director – anyone who can exercise a minimum of power – in the prison system. 41 bis demonstrates that every oppressive behaviour, every abuse can become the norm and standard practice.
Over time emergency laws and regulations are extended so that every restriction adopted in the sections 41 bis sooner or later, with different names and forms, penetrate the High Security and “common law” sections: the generalization of exceptional “treatment” norms demonstrates it, such as the massive use of punitive isolation provided for by art. 14bis o.p., which can also be extended for many consecutive months, or the (de facto) censorship of correspondence and the limitation of the number of books or articles of clothing that can be kept in the cell. But perhaps we have learned one thing in recent years: the 41bis is a prison regime that wants silence around it. A society that gives in to the blackmail of perennial emergency, of security and repressive paranoia is complicit in the harassment and torture of which 41bis is the ultimate demonstration.
In recent years, there have been and continue to be numerous protests and acts of individual and collective insubordination which prisoners and 41 bis prisoners have been protagonists of.
To protest against a 2011 DAP circular that prevented receiving books from outside, the Pagine campaign against torture was born in 2015. The Campaign set itself the aim of having this provision cancelled, as it has become the norm since 2017. In fact, this prohibition prevents you from studying and reading, and therefore from finding forms of escape from the daily 23 hours in the cell.
However, the Campaign decided to continue to fight against the prison system and differentiation, against the 41-bis regime as a repressive tool that dictates the parametres of application of increasingly vexing measures that are then extended to other prison circuits and regimes.
Statement at the start of Anna Beniamino and Silvia Ruggieri’s hunger strike, May 2019:
“We have been locked up in the AS2 women’s section of L’Aquila for almost two months, now the prison conditions are well known, here and outside, the result of a regulation in the odour of a softened 41bis.
We are convinced that no improvement can and will be requested, not only for objective and structural issues of the yellow section (ex-41bis): the entire prison is destined almost exclusively to the 41bis regime, so widening the meshes of the section regulation seems to us in bad taste and impracticable, given the even heavier conditions suffered a few steps from here, we cannot help but think about how many have been fighting for years, accumulating reports and criminal trials. Added to this is the clumsy attempt by the DAP to balance the books by establishing a mixed anarcho-Islamic section, which has resulted in a further ban on meeting in the section itself, with lasting isolation.
There are prison conditions, common or special, even worse than those of L’Aquila. This is not a good reason not to go against what they are imposing here. We will not eat this bread anymore: on May 29th we are starting a hunger strike asking to be transferred from this prison and the closure of this vile section. “
6) The history of power is one of massacres and terror
The meaning of these words is disseminated in the violence of States and capital, on which they base their very existence. Everything they touch, and they touch everything, is violated, impoverished, poisoned. With an overturning of common sense, these same words can be found in the paperwork of the courts, in the formulation of accusations against anarchist comrades, for actions that want to return some of the violence of the States to them.
December 1969, State massacre of Piazza Fontana: a bomb explodes in the Banca dell’Agricoltura, there are over 17 dead and dozens of wounded. It was a deliberate massacre, realised and organised by the State and its fascist servants to stop the self-organizing processes of the student and workers’ struggles of ’68 and the hot autumn of ’69. Responsibility for the massacre was immediately thrown on the anarchists. Giuseppe Pinelli was killed in the police station of Milan, chief inspector Calabresi is responsible. Pietro Valpreda endured years of prison..
Also the subsequent massacres of the years 70/80 (piazza della Loggia, Italicus, the Bologna massacre, etc…) confirmed without a shadow of doubt that the State was promoting or permitting massacres and ‘excellent crimes’, often managing them in first person and in any case covering them up.
Environmental crises are closely linked not only to productive strategies, to the ever-increasing production of goods, to the speeding up of transport, to the consumption of land and primary resources, but also to war, in the forms of economic warfare and actual warfare. Nature is not something external to the relations of production in the capitalist economy, “no one can live naturally in a world like this”.
Capital reabsorbs reformist pressures on the issues of ecology, developing green technologies to sophisticate methods of exploiting nature and man.
In the dominant discourse responsibility for environmental disaster and massacres are placed on a generic society, while the dividing line is that of class, between those who manage exploitation and those who suffer the worst consequences in the slums of the world.
The link between massacres and bombings is direct. So once again we want to underline how legal is not synonymous with just, and that those responsible for wars that may seem far away are also close to us. The bombs of democracy have caused and are causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.
Since 2015, the sale of Italian arms abroad has tripled and supplies to countries at war have increased. Financial intermediation of the main Italian banks has also grown: Intesa and Unicredit. RWM and Leonardo, two examples of companies based in Italy that produce weapons and technologies that fuel global conflicts
COLONIALISM, DEPORTATIONS AND MASSACRE
Already in the first phase of colonial conquest, the ferocity of the Italian army was merciless. When an Arab-Turkish counterattack surprised the Italian Bersaglieri and killed 500 of them, in retaliation over 2000 Arabs were shot or hanged and about another 5000 were deported to Italy to be confined to the islands of Ustica, Ponza, Favignana and Tremiti. A deportation that was a real massacre: transported to Italy in packed ships, with the dead thrown into the sea, the survivors arrived in places of imprisonment often already presenting symptoms of smallpox, typhus, cholera. In the penitentiary colonies then lack of food, the absence of adequate cover against the harsh climate and poor hygiene conditions contributed to the massacre.
From decolonization onwards, many Italian interests have remained in the field. For example, in Libya, ENI [electricity company]has been doing business since the late 1950s and successive governments, of whatever shade, have never ceased pursuing their economic, profit and immigration control aims. Thus the images of shipwrecked people, of dead at sea, of overcrowded boats, of drowned bodies washed up on the beaches by the waves have never ceased.
7) The pride of choosing which side one is on
Terrorism, massacre, damage and violence, criminal association or that aimed at subverting the constituted order … the lexicon of the State to criminalize struggles and condemn and lock up those who choose to fight, has been getting worse in recent years, but in essence it never really changes.
In a world of discrimination, repression, exploitation, those in command always make the same accusations against those who, anarchists or not, question in theory and deed the monopoly of violence of the oppressors.
The investigations, arrests and trials that have struck the anarchist movement in recent years aim to ban radical thinking and the legitimacy of direct action from society, to criminalize solidarity and mutual support between rebels and exploited.
In the sights of the guardians of order and the law are the debates and publications, relationships of affection and sharing of ideals, initiatives in the light of day and in the moonlight, actions of attack and resistance: a long never completely interrupted history of love of freedom, of anger against Power, of pen and gun, thought, petrol and explosive. Methods, the characteristics or effectiveness of which one can agree or disagree about, but which certainly belong to the practical and theoretical heritage from which those who struggle have always drawn, at all times, from one end of the planet to the other.
We are not much interested in knowing whether the women and men accused of these actions carried them out or not, we will always be ready to support those who are facing those hardly “just” structures, courts and prisons. However, we invite an exercise of free thought, far from the conditioning of the lexicon of strong Powers (media, uniforms, judges in the first place): between a System that oppresses, kills and devastates, with all the apparatuses and roles of responsibility it needs, and those who try, in a thousand different ways, to fight it … which side would you choose to be on?
The following acts have been attributed to dozens of comrades through various repressive operations: Scripta Manent, Panico, Scintilla, Renata, Prometeo, Ritrovo, Bialystok, Lince and other inquests from different prosecutors.
Explosive packages to the municipal police command of San Salvario (TO), to the President of the managing body of the Centro di Permanenza Temporanea of Modena and the then chief commissioner of Lecce (May 2005) Post in Turin (April 2016) the Northen League of Treviso (August 2018)
Explosive device opposite the headquarters of the RIS (Reparti Investigazioni Scientifiche dei Carabinieri) in the Parco Ducale of Parma (November 2005)
Explosive package to the then mayor of Bologna, Sergio Cofferati (November 2005)
Two devices opposite the carabinieri students school of Fossano (CN) (June 2006)
Explosive packages to the then mayor of Turin, Sergio Chiamparino, to the director of Torino Cronaca, Giuseppe Fossati and to the headquarters of the company “COEMA edilità” (involved in the restructuring of the CIE of Corso Brunelleschi) (July 2006)
Three explosive devices in the pedestrian area of the Crocetta district in Turin (March 2007)
Wounding of Roberto Adinolfi, CEO of Ansaldo Nucleare (May 2012)
Explosive package to “COEMA edilità” and “CAR.FER”, involved in the restructuring of the C.P.R. of Turin (May 2015)
Explosive package to the French embassy and the travel agency “P. Lorusso & C” (May 2015)
Explosive package addressed to “CERMA” and to “Agenzia di viaggi 747” (June 2015)
Bomb outside the Police College of Brescia (December 2015)
Blitz inside the bookshop “Il Bargello” (of the fascist organisation Casa Pound) in Florence (14 Januray 2016)
Explosion of a paper bomb outside the fascist bookshop “il Bargello” in Florence (February 2016)
Non-authorized initiative against the presence of the army in Florence (February 2016)
Explosive package addressed to travel agents “Asco s.r.l.” and shipping agency “Morfini & figli” and “Morello assicurazioni” (February 2016)
Explosive package addressed to “MANITAL IDEA” and “Igeam s.r.l.” (February 2016)
Explosive package addressed to “Igeam s.r.l.” (March 2016)
Incendiary device outside a post office atm in Turin (April 2016)
Resistence against a police control with three arrests at Rovezzano (Florence) and, a few hours later, four molotovs thrown against the area barracks (Aprile 2016)
Unauthorised demo in Santo Spirito a Firenze (aprile 2016)
Devastation and plunder, carrying dangerous objects, interruption of public service, seditious gathering and misrepresentation (May 2016)
Incendiary device outside an atm of a post office in Bologna (June 2016)
Incendiary device outside an atm of a post office in Genova (June 2016)
Incendiary device outside an atm of a post office in Turin (June 2016)
Explosive package addressed to “Assicurazioni viaggi 747” (September 2016)
Incendiary device outside an atm of a post office in Turin (November 2016)
A number of vehicles of the Poste Italiane in Trento and Rovereto are set on fire (November 2016)
Explosive package addressed to “Assicurazioni viaggi 747” and to“Cerma s.a.s.” (December 2016)
Incendiary device outside “Il Bargello” bookshop: in the attempt to defuse it a military explosives expert loses the use of one hand and an eye (January 2017)
Cryptolab laboratory inside the Mathematics and Physics Faculty in Povo (TN) which collaborates with the army (April 2017)
A repeater on mount Finonchio, above Rovereto, is set on fire (June2017)
Explosive packages to Turin magistrates Sparagna and Rinaudo particolarly engaged in investigations against anarchists (June 2017)
Explosive package to the then director of the DAP (Dipartimento Amministrazione Penitenziaria) of Rome, Consolo (June 2017)
Nine police cars of the Polizia Locale burnt with molotovs in Trento (December 2017)
Explosive attack on a carabinieri barracks in Rome (December 2017)
Military vehicles set on fire inside the training area of the shooting range Roverè della Luna (TN) (May 2018)
Unicredit Bank agency in Rovereto damaged (July 2018)
Double explosive device outside the Treviso Northern League head office. (August 2018)
Explosive device at the headquarters of the temporary employment agency Randstad in Rovereto (September 2018)
Explosive devices outside the headquarters of the Northern League of Ala (TN) (October 2018)
Repeaters on Monte S. Donato a Bologna burnt (December 2018)
Some cars of the car sharing company “Eni Enjoy” set on fire in Rome (February 2019)
Gathering outside la Vallette prison (Turin) with accidental fire in internal laboratory of a cake shop (February 2019)
Divulgation of informative material and anarchist publications (KnO3, Pagine in Rivolta, Crocenera Anarchica).
Publication of pamphlet “I cieli bruciano” (The skies are burning) divulgation of material critical of the world of reclusion and expulsion of migrants, iniziative in piazza, gatherings outside CPR.
Detention and manufacture of false documents. Demos, gatherings, leafletting and stalls against the League, Casa Pound, Sentinelle in solidarity to migrants, prisoners and workers.
Publication and distribution of papers and magazines of social critique.
Demonstrations against the military occupation of Sardinia, antimilitarist camping in sardinia, resistance to public officials, damage.
Solidarity towards anarchist prisoners in struggle.
Gatherings outside prisons, production of paper material, writings on walls and flyposting.
Unauthorized demonstrations, damage, defacement, solidarity with prisoners in Dozza prison (Bologna) in the period of closure due to Coronavirus.