Some American and European comrades have asked me, Why didn’t you have an Occupy movement in Italy? Why is the NO TAV movement the only expression of social struggle? The NO TAV, despite their strong success, despite their original expression of post-modernity class war, lack the characteristics of the Occupy movements: an extension of social change, the power to remove old hierarchies, and, above all, a shared and “common” political dynamic open to radical political upheavals.
The Italian High Court confirmed on Friday 13th July the sentences for the 10 activists on trial for crimes of “devastation and looting” during the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001. While some of the sentences have been slightly reduced, all 10 activists have been declared guilty of devastation and looting crimes against private property (for a little historical insight on this charge have a look at my previous article).
After being left derelict and neglected for 6 years, during which the only intervention by the local authorities has been the building of a wall around the old changing rooms which turned them into a dangerous sewer, Pisa’s sports centre Polisportiva della Fontina has come back to life, and being put to use by hundreds of people of all ages who want a space to hang out and practice sports freely.
I’m not usually one for signing petitions, but a recent initiative has started up which I feel very strongly about. While the top table directly involved in organising and carrying out the butchery of the G8 in Genoa 11 years ago have happily got away with it, 10 activists are risking a total of about 100 years in jail for crimes of “devastation and looting”.
Squatting is on the rise again in these times of austerity (see for example the recent occupations of flats in Southern Spain, mostly carried out by housewives and families). An Italian project that’s caught my attention since its beginning is in Pisa, where last year’s Occupy protests evolved into the reappropriation and transformation of abandoned buildings for the benefit of the local community.