State repression. Leftwing violence. The dialectic is familiar, worse, discomfiting. There is something decidedly crude about it all, as though such scenarios ought to be a thing of the past, replaced, as it were, by less harmful modes of conflict. What happened to culture jamming? Isn’t alternative consumption enough?
Reading anarchist flyers in today’s Europe, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic. Not just for the days when class warfare was submerged in debates about appropriating x number of bars from pop songs, but when the state, and the economy did not quite undermine our lives the same way. Denouncing police violence, advocating radical responses to it (read counter-violence) the Italian flyer translation below is an excellent barometer of the zeitgeist.
This said, it’s also important to remember that in Italy, political violence has its own history, separate from the current economic crisis. Particularly in industrial centers like Turin, where this flyer was photographed. Still, there is something unique to our era about it, that speaks to the despondency with which so many Europeans have come to view their lives. The radicalization of this flyer’s author, though imbricated in a distinct leftist political tradition, is equally nourished by present circumstances, as refracted through their national context.
This is one of the reasons Souciant commissions the translations of leftwing flyers. They are like monographs of a particular community’s political anxieties, at a specific point in time. Just because they are of a controversial ideological character, or indulge clichéd language, does not make them any less meaningful. You just have to approach them metaphorically, as social texts, which demand a certain degree of thoughtfulness about the context from which they emerge.
A GREAT FLAME FOLLOWS A TINY SPARK
In the summer (of) 2012, as many as 5 police operations have struck the anarchist movement, in Italy and abroad:
On the 13th of June, the operation “Ardire” by ROS [Special Operations Group] and Perugia Public Prosecutor’s office, with 8 people arrested and 21 suspected in Italy, Germany and Switzerland
On the 8th of August, the operation “Mangiafuoco” by ROS and Bologna Public Prosecutor’s office – 21 suspects.
On the 27th of August, the operation “Ixodidae”, carried on by DIGOS [Anti-terrorism division] and Trento and Rovereto Public Prosecutor’s office – 2 people arrested and 43 suspects
On the 1st of September the operation “Thor”, 6 suspects in the surroundings of Ravenna.
On the 14th of September in Turin, 2 anarchist comrades have been arrested and another comrade has been put under suspicion with regards to the wounding of the Ansaldo Nucleare managing director, Gabriele Adinolfi.
Police and judges, politicians and journalists tell us the same story again: it’s civil society defending established order, peace and its wealth from a very small minority of dangerous terrorists.
Actually, in these dark days, there are really few still believing in this tale.
Everyone has clearly realized that we are not living in the “best world possible,” that the “established order” that they declare to be right and legitimate is none other than the imposition of the the rules of profit through sticks and teargas, that “wealth,” in the name of which every day we are exploited and expropriated, is just a miserable survival, that the only “peace” that they can grant is the social captivity in which we are compelled to live in daily, fragmented, isolated from each other, alienated from ourselves, that the real terrorists, the real destroyers and robbers of our lives and of our land, are the state and the capitalists.
Keeping locked up all the rebels supporting a total and drastic plan to transform the existing (order), and criminalizing every form of social opposition not subdued (by) its laws, the democratic state does nothing but implement a precise repressive strategy, a deterrent tactic structured on two levels: on one side it provides, through the massive use of mass media, a spectacular image of the social conflict, representing it as an exclusive prerogative of the “revolution professionals,” of the “bombers,” of the “urban guerrilla experts,” of “small groups for armed struggle;” on the other side, through intimidation and remand in custody, trying to frighten, to isolate the “extremists” from the “others,” so to prevent that, to all the multitude of the “angry,” exploited, oppressed, may occur to follow the “bad example,” to fraternize with the subversive, to practice direct action.
If there is something that scares more than anything else those who hold the power, it’s that the rebellion takes hold , that the attack spreads and that the real enemy is (recognized) by an increasing number of people, that the plan of radical transformation takes root, thus starting an uncontrollable and irreversible process.
And this is scaring them especially today, while we are living (through) one of the most critical phases that the process of capitalistic-speculative-financial accumulation has ever undergone in the last decades.
As never before, in these days of “global economic crisis,” the arrogance of power is fueling a widespread desire for revolt.
Using exploitation and blackmail, making life insecure, worsening living conditions, tightening control and repression: all this is plain for everyone to see; a more tangible anger is spreading in the streets and it’s making way inside the bodies and minds of an increasing number of people.
Many are realizing that, against the armed presumption of the oppressors, the protest (of the) indigant(s) is not helping much.
An increasing number of people have experienced that any struggle, when not characterized by forms of self-organization and self-management, which places it outside the influence of all politic representation structures, when censoring itself and presenting just as a partial request without expressing the seed of a overall and radical critic to the existing, without ultimately considering the possibility of strife and conflict, ends, (by) inevitably becoming a part of the usual dirty game (losing game– let that be clear!) of those petty politicians responsible for the intolerable situation before our eyes.
IF THE MEASURE IS FULL TO THE BRIM, IT’S TIME FOR IT TO BRIM OVER!
That is why, today more than ever, it’s necessary to claim the urgency of destroying the state violence monopoly, to react to the violence inflicted everyday by the state on our lives with the only means that the oppressed have ever had: revolt!
And so? So, we need to widen the social conflict and radicalize the fight, to spread to all organizational levels autonomy, equality, self-management and solidarity.
Because only when anger will break, once for all, the “magic circle” of the blind and isolated desperation, to become a conscious conflict and general uprising, we will, for real, see the possible change.
BECAUSE NO ONE WILL EVER BE FREE, UNTIL WE ALL WILL NOT BE FREE!
SOLIDARITY AND UNDERSTANDING TO ALL THE COMRADES AND REBELS STRUCK BY REPRESSION!
TO COPS, POLITICIANS, JUDGES AND JOURNALISTS, ALL OUR RAGE AND OUR CONTEMPT!
FOR THE SOCIAL REVOLT, ALWAYS!
Translated from the Italian, by Giulia Pace. Introduction and photograph courtesy of Joel Schalit.