Occupy Rome 15 October 2011

A summary of yesterday’s events would be useless, as I’m pretty sure by now you’ve all read the big headlines about riots and clashes with the police at the “Occupy Rome” demonstration. If you haven’t, a good starting point is this video (in Italian). For some info in English, check Al Jazeera’s reports. (Neither reports are completely unbiased, don’t ask too much…).

Just like on December 14 2010, the protests got “violent”. The huge issue on which the Italian movements seem to be particularly stuck on, especially since the G8 in Genoa, is the eternal debate “Violence vs Non-violence”. I’m not going to go deep into this here cos it’s not the right place.

Workerism and Politics - Mario Tronti

This is the text of Mario Tronti’s lecture at the 2006 Historical Materialism conference. It provides a brief, evocative synopsis of Tronti’s understanding of the historical experience and contemporary relevance of operaismo, a theoretical and practical attempt, embodied in journals such as Quaderni Rossi and Classe Operaia, to renew Marxist thought and politics in the Italy of the 1960s through a renewed attention to class-antagonism and the changing composition of labour.

First, what is ‘workerism’? It is an experience that tried to unite the thinking and practice of politics, in a determinate domain, that of the modern factory. It looked for a strong subject, the orking class, capable of contesting and putting into crisis the mechanism of capitalist production.

La « Garde rouge » raconte

Cover of the book - published by Les nuits rouges

The centre of gravity of the workers’ committee movement in Italy in the late '60s to late '70s was the Milan area, and it was the committee of Magneti Marelli in the Crescenzago factory which was the most advanced expression of the committees in this region, and thus in the whole country. This book by the Italian historian Emilio Mentasti examines the whole history of the committee from its birth during the economic crisis of 1973 to its dissolution under the blows of judicial repression and industrial restructuring.

Unfortunately, there is no English edition available as yet...

Preface to the French edition

Take over the city - community struggles in Italy - Rising Free (1974)

Placard outside squatted housing in Milan, 1971

This pamphlet was produced by some people around the Rising Free bookshop in north London in 1974(?), and is concerned with community-based class struggle in Italy in 1969-73. It is largely a reprint of the article of the same name produced by Lotta Continua (also available on libcom). However, it also contains information about Italian immigrants in Germany in the early '70s, and lots of nice photos and cartoons from the same period.

In defence of Jim Boni

Extract from a Sports Illustrated article about ice hockey player Jim Boni, who was accused of manslaught on the rink and the subsequent support actions by other players in face of his suspension.

The case, it's believed, is without precedent. It was the first instance anywhere in the world of a hockey player being charged with manslaughter in connection with a fatal injury that occurred during a game. The incident, captured on videotape by Italian television, was relatively innocent-looking as hockey violence goes.

Italy: NO TAV and other news updates

An update on the last few weeks in Italy - NO TAV protests (against a high-speed rail link being built through communities in northern Italy), Genoa 10 years after the G8, and more.


Italy: NO TAV press conference – “This is the people’s resistance”

In the midst of the riot porn that can be found on the internet about the NO TAV protests of Sunday 3 July – and that I’m not going to post here because a) you can find it anywhere and b) you can have too much of it – I’ve found a story that I think is much more important.

[b]On the Monday after the protests, the NO TAV network held a press conference in Chiomonte. So what?, you might ask. Well, it could’ve been a disaster.

Italy: An introduction to the NO TAV movement

A short summary of the NO TAV (No to the High Speed Train) movement, which is based in the Susa Valley in Piedmont and which opposes the creation of the new high speed railway line between Turin and Lyon in France. This line is part of a EU project which plans to connect Lyon to Budapest and then onto Ukraine.

Similar protest movements were active in the early 90s in Florence, Bologna and Rome, but their militancy and the brutal repression that this triggered in the Susa Valley has made the Piedmontese movement the most talked about.

Italy: civil war in Valsusa – Repression against NO TAV movement

After a crowded torchlight march on the night between June 26th and 27th, the Free Republic of the Maddalena in Piedmont was brutally assaulted by a full-scale military operation performed by around 2000 forces that turned the place into a battle site: teargas thrown at eye level, bulldozers and heavy vehicles used to evict the camp, water jets against protesters, beatings, tents and equipment smashed up. In the nearby town of Venaria, a riot police vehicle on its way to the site ran over and killed “by mistake” an elderly woman.

Demonstrations, pickets and several other initiatives were organised all over Italy to show solidarity with the NO TAV movement that for years has been fighting against the construction of a high speed train line between Turin and Lyon in France. A national demo was called out for today 3rd July, and it’s still going on as I’m writing this.

Casa Pound and the new radical right in Italy

Blocco Studentesco during scuffles in Piazza Navona, Rome, 2008.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that a group of zine-publishing techie squatters into rock music, baiting the state and defending the working class were part of the anarchist left. But, writes the Moyote Project, Italy's Casa Pound movement is symptomatic of the radical right's growing ability to assimilate progressive agendas into a toxic and populist political brew.

In 1973 the Italian neo-fascist group Nuova Destra (New Right) started publishing the DIY fanzine The Voice from the Sewer, as an ironic response to the left-wing slogan that incited (neo)fascists to return to the only place that they possibly could have emerged from.