Elephant / Detritus series 2017.
The Unwanted Children of Capital
Detritus: an accumulation of disintegrated material, the passion for freedom captured in moments already lived, now thrown back into the wilderness of life untamed.
Not quite random testimonies of great and small events in the turmoil of projects, dreams and illusions, struggles for freedom and the retaliation of the enemy faced with coherence and solidarity, illuminated and inspired by the indomitable spirit of the anarchists.
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What is a CPT (the Italian for immigration detention centre)? It is a place where the Italian State locks up all immigrants (children, women and men) who do not have stay permits. It is a modern concentration camp where undesirables are confined before being deported.
Immigration detention centres exist all over fortress Europe, as the bosses establish that only certain immigrants are allowed to stay; the others, those whose face doesn’t fit and cannot be exploited as cheap labour, are locked up in prisons especially created for them and held until they are deported. They are ‘guilty’ of coming from lands where mere surviving is impossible, owing to famine and war, desertification and ecological disasters, industrial reorganisation and mass dismissal.
To imprison people escaping from devastated countries is an infamy, regardless of the treatment the prisoners are given. The latter, however, is far from being respectful of so-called ‘human rights’; hence the many protests organised by associations and even leftist political party members, which started showing their dissent only when the infamy became too obvious. After all, the CPTs were introduced in Italy by a leftwing government and were initially supported by many of those who now express their pacific indignation towards them.
On the contrary, angry protesters, disgusted by the fact that human beings are imprisoned simply because they are foreigners, poor and without the right documents, have been struggling fiercely against the CPTs since their introduction in 1998.
This struggle led to the arrest of five anarchists in Lecce, southern Italy, in May 2005. They had chosen not to delegate their protest to any expert or politician, on the contrary they had gone outside the local immigration concentration camp (the Regina Pacis in San Foca) thousands of times and shouted their solidarity to the imprisoned immigrants, openly denounced those responsible for the detention centre, where the prisoners were inflicted all kinds of abuse and violence, and had declared their hatred towards racism and confinement, exploitation and the exclusion of the poor. The detention centre in San Foca was closed down after the director was charged with private violence and embezzlement, but two of our comrades are still in jail and another two are under house arrest.
This pamphlet presents a few contributions concerning the struggle against the CPTs in Italy and actions carried out in other countries in solidarity with imprisoned immigrants and with the anarchists arrested in Lecce.
‘To the Immigrants’, which introduces the discussion, offers an insight into the question of immigration, the concept of ‘illegal immigrant’ (or ‘clandestine’, as they say in Italy), the creation of the immigration detention centres and the possible way of arriving at the destruction of both these hideous prisons and the machinery of expulsion.
If on the one hand immigration detention centres are the products of this society-prison where social control has penetrated all aspects of our life and where entire masses of poor have become useless to the bosses, on the other hand the responsibilities for the immigration centres are quite concrete and specific and we do not intend to turn a blind eye to them. We do not want these centres to be more human and respectful of rights and laws. We want them to be razed to the ground, and that’s that.
FREE SALVATORE, SAVERIO, CRISTIAN, MARINA
FREE ALL IMMIGRANTS
NO BORDERS, NO PRISONS
TO THE IMMIGRANTS
We asked for labour power, men came.
No one emigrates from their country for pleasure – this is a simple truth that many want to hide. If someone leaves their land and loved ones peacefully, we don’t define them migrants, but simply travellers or tourists. Migration is a coercive form of moving, a roaming in search of better living conditions.
At the moment there are 150 million ‘foreigners’ around the world due to wars, ecological disasters, famine, or simply the management of industrial production (the destruction of countryside and forests, mass lay-offs, and so on). All these aspects form a mosaic of oppression and misery in which the effects of exploitation become more or less direct causes of suffering and uprooting in a never ending spiral that makes any distinction between ‘displaced’, ‘migrants’, asylum seekers, refugees, survivors, hypocritical. Just think how social so-called ecological emergencies (lack of water, growing desertification, field sterility) are: the explosion of an oil refinery, together with the destruction of every local autonomy on which it rested, can sometimes change the fate of an entire population.
Contrary to what racist propaganda would have us believe, only 17% of immigration concerns the rich North, it involves all continents (the African and Asian ones in particular); that means that for every poor country there is one that immigrants are running away from. The total mobilization imposed by the economy and States is a planetary symptom, an undeclared civil war that crosses every national border: millions of exploited people roam through the hell of the commercial heaven, jolted from border to border, forced into refugee camps, surrounded by police and army, handled by so-called charity organisations – partners in tragedies whose causes they don’t denounce for the mere purpose of exploiting the consequences – piled up in ‘waiting zones’ in airports or stadiums (macabre circenses for those who don’t even have bread), locked up in concentration camps called ‘detention centres’ and, finally, packaged and expelled in the most total indifference. For many reasons we could say that the face of these unwelcome people is the face of our time – and that’s also why we’re so afraid of them. Immigrants scare us because in their misery we can see the reflection of our own, because in their wanderings we recognise our daily condition: the condition of persons who feel more and more like strangers both to this world and to themselves.
Uprooting is the most widespread condition in our present society – we might call it its centre – not a threat coming from a terrifying and mysterious elsewhere. Only by directing our gaze at our daily lives can we understand what gets all of us into the condition of immigrants. First though we must define a fundamental concept: that of clandestinity.
The creation of the clandestine, the creation of the enemy
castle, you are not of this village, you are
nothing. But you are something too,
unfortunately, you are a foreigner, someone
that is always inopportune and in the way,
one that brings a lot of troubles, [...] whose
intentions no one knows.
An alien is simply someone who doesn’t have regular papers. And this is certainly not due to the pure pleasure of risk or illegality, but rather because in the majority of cases, in order to own such papers he or she would have to give certain guarantees the possession of which wouldn’t have made them aliens in the first place, but simply tourists or foreign students. If the same standards were forced on everybody, millions would have been thrown overboard. Which unemployed Italian, for instance, could give the guarantee of a legal wage? What about all the precarious people here who work for temporary job agencies, whose contracts are not even worth a visa for immigrants? And by the way, are there as many Italians living in a 60 squares metres flat with no more than two other people? If we read all these decrees (from both the left and the right wing) about immigration, it will be clear that clandestinization is a precise project of States. Why?
An illegal immigrant is easier to blackmail, to make accept, under the threat of expulsion, even more hateful conditions of work and existence (precariousness, endless wandering, makeshift accommodation, and so on). With the threat of the police, bosses obtain tame wage slaves, or rather real forced labour workers. Even the most reactionary and xenophobic right wing parties are perfectly aware that hermetically closed borders are not only technically impossible, but are also not profitable. According to the United Nations, in order to keep the present ‘balance between active and inactive population’, from here to 2025, Italy should ‘take’ inside its borders a quantity of immigrants five times the present yearly fixed amount. The bosses, in fact, continuously suggests doubling the quantity fixed so far.
The granting or rejection of year-long or season-long permits contributes to creating a specific social hierarchy among the poor. The same distinction between immediate forced repatriation and expulsion (or the obligation, for an irregular immigrant, who shows up at the borders to be sent back home) allows them to choose who to make clandestine or to expel right away – a choice based on ethnic principles, economical-political agreement with the governments of the countries the immigrant comes from and the needs of the labour market. In fact, the authorities are perfectly aware that no one will ever spontaneously show up at the border to be expelled; surely not people who have spent all that they owned – sometimes even more – to pay for their trip here. Businessmen define the features of the goods they buy (immigrants are goods, like everything else after all), the State records data, police carry out orders.
Warnings of politicians and mass media, anti-immigration claims build up imaginary enemies to drive the local exploited to lay the growing social tension on an easy scapegoat and reassure them, letting them admire the show of poor and even more precarious and blackmailed people than themselves, and allow them to feel part of a ghost called Nation. Making ‘irregularity’ – the very irregularity that they create – synonymous with crime and danger, States justify police control and the criminalisation of a class conflict that is getting more and more seditious. In this context, for instance, should be seen the manipulation of consensus after September 11, summed up in the despicable slogan ‘clandes-tine=terrorist’ which combines, if read in both senses, racist paranoia with the demand for repression against the enemy within (rebels, subversives).
They shout out, from the right as well as the left, against the Mafia that organises the journeys for clandestine people (described by the media as an invasion, a scourge, the advance of an army), when it’s their very laws that promoted them. They shout out against ‘organised crime’ exploiting so many immigrants (which is true but only partially), when it’s they who supply it with desperate and ready-for-anything resources. In their historical symbiosis, State and Mafia stand united by the same liberal principle: business is business.
Racism, a means for economic and political necessity, finds room to spread in a context of generalised standardisation and isolation, when insecurity creates fears that can be opportunely manipulated. A moral or cultural condemnation of racism is of little use, since it is not an opinion or an argument, but psychological misery, an ‘emotional plague’. It’s in the present social conditions that the reason of its spreading ought to be sought and also, at the same time, the power to fight it.
The welcome of a Lager
To call the detention camps for immigrants waiting for expulsion Lagers – centres introduced in Italy in 1998 by the left wing government by mean of the Turco-Napolitano law – is not rhetorical emphasis, as most of those who use this formula think. It is a strict definition. Nazi Lagers were concentration camps where people thought by the police to be dangerous for State security were locked up, even in the absence of criminally indictable behaviour. This precautionary measure – defined as ‘protective detention’ – consisted in taking all civil and political rights away from certain citizens. Whether they were refugees, Jewish, gypsy, homosexuals or subversives, it was up to the police, after months or years, to decide what to do about them. So Lagers were not jails in which to expiate some crime, nor an extension of criminal law. They were camps where the Rule set its exception; in short terms, a legal suspension of legality. Therefore a Lager is not a consequence of the number of internees or of the number of murders (between 1935 and 1937, before the start of Jewish deportations, in Germany internees numbered 7500), but rather of its political and juridical nature.
Immigrants nowadays end up in the Centres irrespective of possible crimes, without any criminal trial whatsoever: their internment, ordered by the police superintendents, are a simple police measure. Just as happened in 1940 under the Vichy government, when prefects could lock up all the individuals considered a ‘danger for national defence and public security’ or (mind this) ‘foreigners in respect to the national economy’. We can refer to administrative detention in French Algeria, to the South Africa of apartheid or to the present ghettos for Palestinians created by the State of Israel.
It is not a coincidence that, with regard to the infamous conditions of detention centres, the good democrats don’t appeal to the respect for any law at all, but to respect for human rights – the last mask in the face of women and men to whom nothing remains but belonging to the human species. It’s not possible to integrate them as citizens, so they are falsely integrated as Human Beings. The abstract equality of principles hides real inequalities everywhere.
A new uprooting
Immigrants that landed on Battery Park for the first time soon realized that what they had been told about the marvelous America wasn’t true at all:
Maybe the land belonged to everybody, but the first come had largely served themselves already, and to them there was nothing left but to crowd together in dozens in windowless hovels of the Lower East Side and work fifteen hours a day. Turkeys didn’t fall roasted straight into the dishes and the streets of New York weren’t paved with gold. Most of the times, they weren’t paved at all. And then they realised that it was precisely to get them to pave these streets that they had been allowed to come. And to dig tunnels and canals, to build roads, bridges, big embankments, railroads, to clear forests, to exploit mines and caves, to make cars and cigars, carabines and clothes, shoes, chewing gum, corned-beef and soap, and to build skyscrapers higher than the ones they discovered when they first arrived.
If we take a few steps back, it will become clear that uprooting is a crucial moment in the expansion of the State and capitalist domination. At its dawn, industrial production drew the exploited away from the country and villages to round them up in the city. The ancient skills of farm workers and artisans were thereby substituted with the forced and repetitive activity of the factory – an activity that was impossible, in its means and its finalities, for the new proletarians to control. So the first children of industrialization lost both their ancient spaces of life and their ancient knowledge, that which had allowed them to autonomously provide for the most part of their means of subsistence. On the other hand, forcing millions of men and women to similar living conditions (same places, same problems, same knowledge), capitalism unified their struggles, got them to find new brothers and sisters to fight against that same unbearable life. The 20th century marked the apex of this productive and State gathering, whose symbols had been the factory-neighbourhood and the Lager, and at the same time the apex of the more radical social struggles for its destruction. In the last twenty years, due to technological innovation, capital has substituted the old factory with new productive cores ever smaller and more widely distributed throughout the territory, also breaking up the fabric of the society within which those fights had grown, thereby creating a new uprooting.
There’s more. Technological reorganisation has made trade faster and easier, opening the whole world to the most ferocious competition, overthrowing the economies and ways of life of entire Countries. So, in Africa, Asia, South America, there has been the closure of many factories and mass lay offs. Within a social context that has been destroyed by colonisation, by the deportation of inhabitants from their villages to the shantytowns, from their fields to the assembly lines, all this has produced a crowd of poor people who have become useless to their masters: the unwanted children of capitalism. Add to this the fall of the self-styled communist Countries and the debt racket initiated by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and we will get quite a faithful cartography of migration and ethnical and religious wars.
What we now call ‘flexibility’ and ‘precariousness’ is the consequence of all this: further progress in the submission to machines, fiercer competition, a worsening of material conditions (trade, health, etcetera). We’ve seen the reason why: capitalism has dismantled the community that it created. Anyway it would be partial to see precariousness in an economic sense alone, as the lack of a steady work place and the old pride for professionalism. It is isolation inside standardisation, or a fanatical conformity with a lack of common spaces. In the distressing void of meaning and perspectives, the unfulfilled need of community returns, mystified, giving birth to new nationalistic, ethnical or religious counter-positions, a tragic re-proposition of collective identities exactly where any real communality among individuals has diminished. And it’s exactly within this void that the fundamentalist argument finds its place, a false promise of a redeemed community.
All this leads to a scenario that is more and more that of an ongoing civil war, with no distinction between ‘time of peace’ and ‘time of war’. Conflicts are no longer declared – as the military intervention in the Balkans has shown –, but simply administrated to grant the establishment of the World Order. This endless fight goes through the entire society and the very individuals. Common spaces for dialogue and struggles are substituted by adherence to similar commercial models. The poor go to war against each other for a fashionable sweater or a hat, since the possession or not of particular goods creates the illusion of a social or clan-like hierarchy. Individuals feel more and more irrelevant, so ready to sacrifice themselves to the first nationalist blunderbuss or for whatever flag. Abused daily by the State, here they come zealously defending any piece of land (desolated and polluted, with factories and malls everywhere – is this the ‘land of the forefathers’?). Tied to that mirage of property that is left to them, they are scared to face themselves for what they really are: interchangeable gears of the Megamachine, in need of psychotropic drugs to get to the end of the day, always more envious towards anyone who even just looks happier than themselves. To an always colder, more abstract and more calculating rationality, correspond increasingly brutal and untold drives. So, what better than someone different by the colour of the skin or religion to throw their grudge upon? As a man from Mozambique said, ‘people have taken war inside them’. A few external conditions can be enough for all this to explode, just like in Bosnia. And these conditions are being carefully prepared. Ethnic particularism opposes itself to capital-ist Universalism in a tragic game of mirrors. Under institutional order, with increasingly anonymous and controlled places, the implosion of human relationships lies concealed. It all looks like the same quicksand from whence totalitarian man arose in the 30’s.
Two possible ways out
Why have we talked so much about immigration and racism, as we are not directly touched by problems of wandering and expulsion? Dictated by some of its peculiarities such as precariousness and the impossibility to decide for the present, this same capitalism is joining our lives more and more: that’s why we feel like brothers, in deed, with all the exploited who land on the shores of this Country.
In the face of the despoliation of millions of individuals towards a commercial imperialism that is forcing everybody to dream the same lifeless dream, there can be no appeal to dialogue or to democratic integration. Whatever the legalistic anti-racists might say, it’s too late for hypocritical civic education classes. When the fields in which misery is confined – from the shantytowns of Caracas to the suburbs of Paris, from the Palestinian territories to centres and stadia where aliens are locked up – are growing everywhere; when the state of exception – or the juridical suspension of every right – becomes the rule; when millions of human beings are literally left rotting in the reserves of the capitalist heaven; when entire neighbourhoods are getting militarised and armed (Genova doesn’t tell you anything?), to merely talk about immigration becomes a despicable joke. There are only two ways out from these conditions of desperation and fear, from this planetary civil war: the fraticidal clash (religious and clannish in all its manifestations), or the social tempest of class war.
Racism is the grave of every exploited individual’s fight against the exploiters, it’s the last trick – the dirtiest – played by those who would like to see ourselves killing one another. It can only evaporate in moments of common revolt, when we recognise our real enemies – the exploiters and their servants – and we recognise ourselves as exploited individuals that no longer want to be so. The social fight that took place in Italy during the 60’s and 70’s – when young workers immigrated from the South met those in the North in the field of sabotage, wild strikes and absolute disloyalty to the firm – has shown. The disappearance of the revolutionary struggles after the 70’s (from Nicaragua to Italy, from Portugal to Germany, from Poland to Iran) has crumbled the foundation of concrete solidarity among the dis-possessed of the World. This solidarity will only be conquered again in the revolt, and not in the powerless words of the new Thirdworlders or the democratic anti-racists.
So, either religious and clannish massacre, or class war. And at the end of this we can only catch a glimpse of a world free from State and money in which there’ll be no need for money to live and no visa required to travel.
A machine that can be broken
A slogan in the 80’s said: ‘It’s not the noise of the boot that should scare us today, but the silence of the slipper’. Now they’re both coming back. With a holy war speech (the police as ‘army of good’ protecting citizens from the ‘army of evil’, as the Prime Minister said recently), day after day the State conceals its essence at the expense of immigrants. Their homes are devastated, aliens are rounded up in the streets, locked up in Lagers and expelled in total indifference. New detention camps are already under construction in many cities. The State wants to limit the number of visas according to the exact length of work contracts, blacklist all immigrants, make being clandestine a crime and re-inforce deportation. The democratic mechanism of rights and citizenship, wide as that might be, will always presuppose the existence of excluded people. To criticise and try to prevent expulsions signifies realising a critique of racism and nationalism in act; it means creating a common space for revolt against the capitalist uprooting that affects us all; it means obstructing a hateful and essential re-pressive mechanism; it means breaking the silence and indifference of the civilized ones who stand looking on; lastly, it means confronting the very concept of law with the principle ‘we are all aliens’. Finally, it signifies an attack on one of the pillars of the State and class society: competition between the poor and the in-creasingly seditious substitution of social war with ethnic or religious wars.
In order to function the expulsion framework requires the collaboration of many public and private structures (from the Red Cross which cooperates in the manage-ment of Lagers, to companies which supply services, to airline companies which deport aliens, to the airports that put up waiting zones, to self-styled charity asso-ciations that operate in collaboration with the police). All those responsible can easily be seen and attacked. From actions against detention camps (as happened a couple of years ago in Belgium and a few months ago in Australia, when demonstrations ended up with the liberation of some clandestine immigrants) to those against ‘waiting zones’ (as in France, against the Ibis hotels chain that supplies the police with rooms) or obstructing the flights of infamy (in Frankfurt, the sabotage of optic fibre cables some years ago put all the computers of an airport out of order for a couple of days), there are thousands of activities that a movement against expulsion can carry out.
Today like never before it’s in the street that it’s possible to rebuild class solidarity. Only in the complicity against police raids, in the struggle against the military occupation of neighbourhoods, in the firm rejection of every division that the masters of society want to impose on us (nationals and foreigners, legal immigrants and aliens), aware that every outrage suffered by any dispossessed on Earth is an outrage to everyone, will the exploited from a thousand countries be able to recognise themselves.
The borders of democracy: immigrants murdered, rebels in jail
5 anarchists were arrested in Lecce on the 12th May  following the usual investigations for ‘conspiracy’. ‘Capolinea Occupato’, the anarchist squat in Lecce, has been raided and closed down.
These comrades, well known for their continuous, strong and uncompromising struggle against the detention camp for immigrants, were becoming a real pain in the neck. Detention camps are true concentration camps, even if the language of the State calls them ‘temporary stay centres’, and the brutality of the local ‘Regina Pacis’ towards immigrants emerged so clearly that its director, priest Cesare Lodeserto, has ended up in jail. Added to this, a great number of imprisoned immigrants have started to revolt bravely and firmly, so the voice of those who have been denouncing the crimes of the whole system of immigration had to be silenced.
The comrades have been accused of attacking ‘Regina Pacis’ property and its financial supporters, of sabotaging a few Esso petrol stations and carrying out direct action against a number of Benetton shops.
We do not care if they are innocent or guilty, for us what is right cannot be found in the penal code. If they are innocent they can count on our solidarity. If they are guilty they can count on it even more. To struggle against people who lock up men and women whose only ‘crime’ is that they are poor and without the right papers; to present a small bill to those who get rich thanks to the genocide in Iraq (Esso) or by deporting Mapuche people (Benetton): these are practises we totally agree with. The attack on the exploited is always the same: bombardment, detention camps, banks, multinationals, etc. etc.
The same day as our comrades in Lecce were arrested, police in Turin raided and evicted a gypsy camp, killed a man from Senegal at a road block, caused another immigrant to die while he was attempting to escape. You think that’s enough? Well, it’s not.
Immigrants in via Corelli camp (Milan) have been on hunger strike for weeks, protesting on the roof and shouting out their desire for freedom. Meantime, hundreds of the refugees arriving in Italy are imprisoned in ‘welcome centres’ from which they soon try to escape at any cost
These are the cries from the remains of a rotten world in ruins. We can pretend not to hear them. We can hypocritically celebrate the struggle against nazi-fascism without realizing that concentration camps are part of the present, not the past. We can find shelter in respect for the law, the same law that is waved at millions of ‘undesirables’.
Alternatively, we can decide to stand up and find the sense of what is right in ourselves, using hands and hearts.
We can either hide or fight.
The best way to solidarise with the Lecce anarchists is to carry on the struggle to close the detention camps and stop the machinery of expulsion.
For a world without borders.
For those who didn’t run for cover during the tempest
On the trial of the Lecce anarchists and their struggle against the Cpt
The trial against 13 anarchists began on January 19. As well as a series of actions against some of the multinationals that get rich on war and genocide they are accused of the crime of having carried out a constant and determined struggle against the concentration camps for immigrants in San Foca. Two of them have been in prison since May 12 2005, another two are under house arrest, a fourth is on bail. Once again this trial is based on article 270bis or ‘conspiracy with terrorist aims’, with which dozens of revolutionaries, rebels or simply left-wing militants have been arrested over recent years without a trace of proof. Nowadays a slogan on the wall is enough to be accused of ‘subversive association’ (conspiracy).
But that is not what we really want to say here. We know that the laws of the State are spiders’ webs for the rich and steel chains for the poor, just as we have never looked for any sense of justice in the articles of the law books. We want to point out what makes these anarchists dangerous and what there is that is universal in their struggle. There has been a lot of talk about CPT [Centri di Permanenza Temporanea , i.e. Detention Centres] over the past months. Since some investigative journalism has reported on the inhuman conditions that women and men are surviving under in these structures, the various political forces have come to blows over who is responsible for such ‘management’. But the point is not how the CPT are being managed, so much as the very nature of these institutions. Introduced in Italy in 1998 by the centre-left government with the Turco-Napolitano law (approved also with votes from the Greens and Rifondazione Comunista), the CPT are to all effects concentration camps. Exactly like the fascist and nazi concentration camps (and before them the colonial ones, in Cuba and South Africa), these are places where people are locked up and held at the total discretion of the police, without having committed any crime. Conditions inside are desperate. The disgusting food and ill treatment are terrible consequences, but they are not the main problem. It doesn’t take much to realise that.
What for an Italian is a simple ‘administrative misdemeanor’ (not having documents), has become a crime worthy of internment for foreigners. As history teaches us – it is enough to think of the racist laws of all the States between the two world wars – in order for such concentration camps to exist it is necessary to establish the equation foreigner = delinquent. That is how the legislation on immigration – by both right and left – should be understood in Italy (but we could say in Europe and the world). If the same criteria were applied to so-called citizens as that which immigrants require in order to be conceded a stay permit, millions of us would be locked up or forced to live in clandestinity. How many Italians can demonstrate that they have work ‘according to the rules’? How many live more than three to a flat of 60 square metres? Knowing that temporary contracts are not valid for obtaining a stay permit, how many of us would turn out to be ‘regular’? It is not rhetoric to define all that State racism, it is a necessary observation.
Now, the CPT (but more generally all forms of administrative detention, including the identification centres or ‘waiting areas’ in which refugees or those seeking political asylum are held) are the realisation of this racism. Barbed wire has been the symbol of concentration camps and totalitarian oppression for sixty years, and power has surrounded these new camps with the same in its involuntary coherence. Just as it is no coincidence that administrative detention, a device typical of colonial dominion, is spreading all over the world today (from the Palestinian ghettos to Guantanamo, from the secret British ones where immigrants ‘suspected of terrorism’ are locked up, to the Italian CPT). At a time when bombing and massacring is being carried out in the name of ‘human rights’, millions of undesirables are being brutally deprived of any ‘rights’ and are detained in camps surrounded by police and entrusted to the ‘care’ of some ‘humanitarian organisation’.
If the CPT are concentration camps – as many now agree – it is quite logical to try to destroy them and to help the women and men interned in them to escape. And it is quite logical to strike the collaborators who build or manage them. This is what the Lecce anarchists thought. Amidst widespread indifference, they publicly denounced the responsibility of the direction of the CPT of San Foca – that is the Lecce catholic church, through the foundation ‘Regina Pacis’ – and the infamous conditions the prisoners were subjected to. They gathered first hand accounts, data, and they organised themselves. They have become a thorn in the side of the church and local power. Already in the summer of 2004 one of them was arrested for trying to help some immigrants escape during a revolt that broke out inside ‘Regina Pacis’. Then they went to the village markets and made known the names and surnames of the agents responsible for the beatings inside the CPT, the doctors who covered them up, as well as the director who beat them, kidnapped and forced muslims to eat pork. Without ever losing sight of their objective: to close these concentration camps for ever, not to make them ‘more humane’.
While all this was happening, some anonymous actions struck the banks that financed the CPT, as well as church property and that of the director of ‘Regina Pacis’, Don Cesare Lodeserto. And the anarchists were quick to praise them publicly. The authorities could no longer hide the problem. So what did they do? First they arrested Lodeserto on charges of kidnapping, embezzlement, private violence and spreading tendentious and false news (the prelate sent himself threatening messages which he then attributed to ‘Albanese criminal elements’), then they had the San Foca CPT shut down. Lodeserto was put under house arrest, then released. They then arrested the anarchists with the aim of getting them out of the way for years. Important people strongly defended the priest. For the most part, those who defended the anarchists were simply honest previous offenders.
Justice has been done... But something doesn’t tally. The tower of accusations against the rebels is clumsy and tottering, but above all, struggles against the CPT are gaining ground all over Italy.. In April the internees of the concentration camps in via Corelli in Milan climb on to the roof, they cut themselves and shout the most universal of all demands: freedom! After them, the immigrants interned in the CPT of Corso Brunelleschi in Turin, then the protest spreads to Bologna, Rome, Crotone. Dozens manage to escape, while outside practical support for the struggle begins to self-organise. Along with posters and initiatives denouncing the responsibilities of those who get rich on the deportation of immigrants (from Alitalia to the Red Cross, from the transport companies to the private firms implicated in the management of the camps), small acts of sabotage start to spread. With that spontaneous convergence that is the secret of all struggles, the crimes that the Lecce anarchists are accused of begin to multiply.
It is this movement – still weak, but it is growing – that has publicly exposed the problem of the CPT, making left wing politicians run for cover in their pathetic attempt to attribute full responsibility for the concentration camps to the right wing government. That all this annoys them is demonstrated in the declarations of home minister Pisanu concerning anarchists and antagonists who ‘incite’ the immigrants (as if the inhuman conditions they are living in was not a constant incitement) and on the need of the CPT to contrast ‘terrorism’ (it’s a well known fact that anyone wanting to pass police controls in order to carry out an attack goes around without papers).
The CPT lay bare the fact that exclusion and violence are the foundation of democracy. They also expose the profound links between a permanent state of war, racism and the militarisation of society. It is no coincidence that the Red Cross is present alongside the army in war and is at the same time implicated in the numerous concentration camps in Italy. Just as it is no coincidence that it participates in the ‘antiterrorist’ exercises with which the government wants to accustom us to war and catastrophe.
The criminalisation of the foreigner – scapegoat of the collective malaise – has always been a distinctive feature of dying societies and at the same time a precise project of exploitation. If they did not live in terror of being locked up and sent back home – where war, hunger, desperation often await them – immigrants without papers certainly wouldn’t work for two euros an hour on the building sites of some Great Work, or die and have some cement poured over them when they fall from the scaffolding. Progress needs them: that is why they are made clandestine but not all are expelled. They are ‘welcomed’ in the concentration camps, they are sorted, selected on the basis of agreements with their various countries of origin and according to the amount of docility they show the boss. What awaits them is the reflection of a society at war (against economic and political rivals, against populations, against one’s own natural limitations).
One of the first victims of this whole mobilisation is language. The current use of expressions such as ‘humanitarian war’ – or for a concentration camp to be called a ‘welcome centre’ – says a lot about the deviation between the horror that surrounds us and the words they use to describe it. And at the same time this deviation anaesthetises the conscience. We call the CPTs ‘concentration camps’ then we go and vote for those who built them, we talk about ‘massacre’ but we are content to march peacefully against war, so long as nothing happens. While the oceanic demonstration was taking place on the 25th April in Milan, the rebels of via Corelli were on the rooftops shouting that the resistance isn’t over, but the rhetoric of ‘liberation’ did not budge an inch, it carried on celebrating.
Perhaps something is changing. While State propaganda is equalizing the enemy within — the rebel, the ‘terrorist’, the Stranger, the fanatic, the kamikaze -, the resistance is arming itself and the ‘suburbs’ two steps from here, where the poor are burning the last illusions of integration in this society, are exploding. Generous young people mean concentration camps when they say it, and they organise as a result, like foreigners in a foreign world. They are disposed to conquer freedom along with the others, even at the risk of losing their own. They hate prisons, to the point that they do not even wish them on the worst swine (the many, too many, Lodesertos). These forms of active discontent are spreading at a distance, but they already bear a trace of something in common. False words are mutinying, and new behaviour is unleashing new words into the reality of daily life..
We will not abandon to the revenge of the judges those who did not stay in safety when others were overcome by the tempest. In these sad and servile times, one choice contains all the others: which side are you on?
COLLUSION BETWEEN THE CHURCH, THE STATE AND THE MAFIA
EXPEDIENTS TO KEEP THE ‘CRIMINALS’ WHO STRUGGLE AGAINST IMMIGRATION DETENTION CAMPS AND THE WORLD THAT PRODUCES THEM BEHIND BARS
One year ago, on May 12 2005, five anarchists are arrested and 13 more are under investigation in Lecce, southern Italy, in the course of the operation ‘Nottetempo’. The accusation for all of them is ‘subversive association aimed at subverting the democratic order’ (article 270bis of the Italian penal code), which is always used to repress any attempt to react against the ruthless system based on exploitation. The specific charges they are accused of, that is to say the methods of this non-existent subversive project, are some damage to a number of cash machines of Banca Intesa (where the catholic foundation Regina Pacis, which ran the immigration detention camp in San Foca, had their account) some writing on walls, a few ‘threatening’ telephone calls, the side door of the Duomo in Lecce damaged by fire, and the severing of two Esso petrol pipes (which have been the targets of acts of sabotage all over Italy owing to Esso’s responsibility in the genocide in Iraq).
Anyone who considers himself/herself antiracist couldn’t fail to agree with the above-mentioned actions, we don’t care if our comrades carried them out or not.
This operation, which is part of wider repression sparked off by Home secretary Pisanu against anarchists at a national level, finds itself in a particular local context where the powerful, involved in a turbid mixture of political, clerical and mafioso power, are longing to silence the individuals who, armed with tenacious determination, have disturbed their sleep.
The anarchists on trial had for years been passionately engaged in an unreserved struggle against the immigration detention camp (CPT) in San Foca run by the Church and managed by a priest, father Cesare Lodeserto, the archbishop’s right hand man. Solidarity towards persecuted, locked up and deported migrants, and radical opposition to all CPTs, which they denounced for what they are (modern concentration camps for immigrants without stay permits), and to the violence perpetrated in the one in Lecce in particular, have disturbed the managers and collaborators of the latter to such a point that it was soon clear that the local mafia would threaten the anarchists.
Obviously, the jailer priest was in a great hurry to see that his misdeeds didn’t come to light and he was scared. But the mafia didn’t intervene directly; the priest waited and his patience was awarded. Shortly before the arrests, the CPT had to close down owing to continuous uprisings and protests that broke out inside, and to public indignation (only temporary) aroused by the news of the violence inflicted by the priest-boss-manager who was accused and arrested (only for a few days of course) following a number of charges such as private violence, kidnapping, embezzlement, and extortion. Revenge soon followed: one month later the anarchists were arrested and a media campaign, with its following of political jackals, was launched against them. The double attack of the State – against father Cesare on the one hand and the anarchists on the other – has given some an impression of a ‘democratic attitude’ in the intervention of the judiciary; as if it was a matter of enemies of equal dignity fighting on opposite sides (see historical revisionism).
Father Cesare Lodeserto is now running a number of centres in Moldovia, an area of crucial importance in Europe for weapons, drugs and organ trafficking and where his foundation is the only foreign organisation that the local government allows. He can still be seen walking in the streets of Lecce escorted by police and a swarm of priests. He is cheered by all the institutional parties.
One year has also passed for the arrested anarchists, who are being held in jail or under house arrest waiting for the end of the trial (preventive arrest). Two of them are continuously moved to and from Voghera and Sulmona prisons respectively to the one in Lecce in order to attend the hearings of the trial, three others are under house arrest (a female comrade who had been released on bail in August is to be put under house arrest again as the Cassation accepted an appeal presented by the public prosecutor).
The trial, which not by chance started precisely when the time limit for preventive arrest was coming to an end, has been going on since January 19 2006.
The hearings follow one another with the debating of bureaucratic questions, formalities and postponements: cynical and cunning expedients to keep the comrades in prison. It is sufficient to attend any one of these hearings to realise that it is a farce performed with the complicity of the various powers involved.
Against the State, the Church and the Mafia.
Enemies of all racism
The sixth hearing of the trial against the Lecce anarchists took place on May 19.
First of all the judge claimed that a number of comrades who had worn T-shirts that all together composed the words ‘EVERYBODY FREE’ at the end of the previous hearing, were banned from attending future hearings in court.
Then the first witness, chief of the Digos (political police) in Lecce, was questioned by the public prosecutor. The latter, who wanted to demonstrate at all costs that the defendants were dangerous to society, tried to make the Digos chief say things that he was unable to articulate, with the result that the officer gave a very poor performance, like a student who hadn’t studied the lesson.
The Digos chief went on to claim that anarchy was initially a pacific doctrine, which became subversive and dangerous following the introduction of the concept of ‘affinity groups’. The defendants at the trial, maintained the Digos chief, are representatives of the subversive aspect of anarchy, as proved by 24 booklets written by Alfredo Bonanno that had been found in the houses of the arrested anarchists. Alfredo Bonanno, an anarchist comrade who was once accused of being the ‘leader’ of a non-existent organisation, is, the chief of the Digos stressed to underline, a pluri-graduated philosopher ....also graduated in philosophy...
When asked by the judge if those 24 booklets were copies of the same text or 24 different texts, the chief of the Digos was unable to answer.
For his part, the public prosecutor revised the illustrative case of the Marini trial, claiming that the latter had unveiled and dismantled a dangerous subversive organ-isation. It must be pointed out, as the defense will certainly do at the next hearing, that the Marini trial, in spite of Marini’s intentions, did not prove the existence of any organisation because the aforesaid organisation was a pure invention of the prosecution.
Finally, the jury accepted the appeal of the defence concerning Annalisa, who had once again been put under house arrest. Annalisa was therefore released on bail again, but uniquely for reasons concerning her health and extraneous to the trial. On the contrary, the jury refused the request for Cristian to get permission to work and for Marina to get permission to attend university classes (Marina and Cristian are under house arrest).
As for Salvatore and Saverio, they are supposed to have been moved to the prisons in Sulmona and Voghera respectively after the trial.
The next hearing will be held on June 16.
THE STRUGGLE AGAINST REGINA PACIS
31/08/02. A Town Council in Melendugno (Lecce) is disrupted to the sound of football supporters’ trumpets in protest against the mayor who had forbidden a demo and an exhibition against Regina Pacis in San Foca.
21/09/02. Four immigrants attempt to escape from Regina Pacis and put up a fight with the carabinieri who are always in the camp. Unfortunately two are arrested.
03/11/02. Demonstration in front of the church in Monteroni (Lecce) where Archbishop Ruppi is celebrating a religious event. Exposition of banner, exhibition on immigration and distribution of leaflets. Ruppi doesn’t show up to greet the crowd who were waiting for his blessing, but runs away through the back door. A few inhabitants of Monteroni show solidarity to the demonstrators.
12/11/02. Group of demonstrators gather outside the Prefecture in Lecce where 11 members of parliament of the Adriatic-Ionic area are about to have a gala dinner. The next day the same ministers are supposed to have a summit to strengthen measures and a plan of ‘alert and rapid reaction’ against illegal immigration. The demonstrators show their anger with whistles, trumpets megaphones. Thousands of leaflets are handed out and road blocks are carried out.
13/11/02. During the demo of the Social Forum against the summit of the 11 ministers, the anarchists throw some rotten fruit and eggs against the cops, the journalists and the security service of the Social Forum.
20/11/02. In Casarano (Lecce) a conference on immigration organised by Alleanza Nazionale (the Italian fascist party) in which Lodeserto is participating is interrupted by 15 demonstrators who show a banner against the deportation of immigrants.
22/11/02. 40 immigrants escape from Regina Pacis after a fight with the carabinieri. In the following days most of them are re-captured, only 7 succeed in gaining freedom. The re-captured immigrants are violently beaten in reprisal.
26/04/03. Four Romenians attempt to escape from Regina Pacis and beat two carabinieri who try to stop them.
3/05/03. A group of North African immigrants destroy the canteen of Regina Pacis in protest against their deportation order. Eight carabinieri are injured.
10/05/03. Just before the start of ‘Giro d’Italia’, the most important cycling event in Italy, some writing appears on the roads of the trajectory in the Lecce area: ‘Free all immigrants, Ruppi is a killer’.
11/07/03. The side door of the ancient baroque cathedral in Lecce, the headquarters of Archbishop Ruppi, is set on fire. On the walls these words appear: ‘Free the immigrants from the concentration camps’, ‘Ruppi and Lodeserto are criminal bastards’.
September/October 2003. Local newspapers comment on the many writings on the churches and palaces of Lecce against Regina Pacis and its management.
12/10/03. Outside the CPT Regina Pacis about a dozen people show their solidarity to the prisoners. From inside the latter reply by throwing objects and rubbish at the carabinieri. At the end of the demonstration a thick shower of eggs full of red paint leaves its mark on the walls of the CPT.
October 2003. Four attempted suicides in Regina Pacis.
8/11/03. In Lecce and Lequile two cash machines of ‘Banca Intesa’ are set on fire and destroyed. The bank is involved in Regina Pacis management. In Lequile a few banknotes also burn and the inside walls of the bank are damaged. A few leaflets about Regina Pacis are left on the spot
9/11/03. Another Banca Intesa cash machine is damaged in Lecce.
24/11/03. An Algerian prisoner in Regina Pacis attacks Lodeserto with a stick and injures him.
3/12/2003. A lot of posters and writings against Catia Cazzato appear on the walls of Calimera (Lecce). The woman is employed in Regina Pacis and is responsible for writing false reports about the beatings of immigrants, maintaining that the prisoners’ injuries were self-inflicted in order to try to escape.
Beginning of February 04. A North African immigrant detained in Regina Pacis swallows two batteries and is taken to hospital, from where he later manages to escape.
16/3/04. Failed attack on a Banca Intesa branch in Lecce.
01/04/04. About fifteen people gather outside the chapel where Monsignor Ruppi is celebrating Easter mass.
11/04/04. Easter day, a banner against the CPT appears on the scaffolding near the cathedral.
18/04/04. ‘Progetto Marta’ takes place in Sant’Oronzo Square in Lecce. It is an initiative in which the Regina Pacis foundation tries to clean up its image by collecting goods and redistributing them among poor people, immigrants and homeless. Some comrades contest the initiative in a leaflet. On their refusal to show their identity cards the police react pushing and shoving but don’t manage to take them to the police station.
27/06/04. Twenty prisoners attempt to escape from Regina Pacis. Only five gain freedom.
11/11/04. While there is a demo going on outside the CPT, the internees rebel, destroying everything they can. One of them manages to climb the wall, and is immediately chased by the carabinieri. The demonstrators put themselves in the midst of this and the military charge. One girl comrade has a broken leg and another is beaten and arrested. A few days later he is sent home under house arrest.
12/11/04. Writings appear on walls and churches in the centre of the town (Lecce) against deportations and CPTs, and for the freedom of the arrested comrade.
17/07/04. Demonstration is held in Piazza Duomo in Lecce against the CPT and for the freedom of the arrested comrade.
21/07/04. About twenty immigrants attempt to escape from the CPT, but only two succeed in gaining freedom.
09/08/04. A Tunisinian attempts to escape from Regina Pacis but is blocked by a carabiniere. A fight follows and the cop is then taken to hospital.
10/08/04. Nine immigrants attempt to escape. Six of them are successful, but a Moldovan man falls from the wall and is paralysed for the rest of his life.
12/08/04. Another fifteen prisoners attempt to escape but only one Romanian succeeds.
17/08/04. After what happened over the preceding weeks dozens of immigrants tried to escape, some succeeded. Blocked by the carabinieri they are then beaten up: the director father Cesare Lodeserto also participates. That night a window of his house is struck by an incendiary bottle. A leaflet claiming the action says: ‘Against don Cesare and against CPTs’.
29/08/04. While a demo is taking place outside the CPT, some prisoners make it known that they are on hunger strike.
08/09/04. Fifteen immigrants attempt to escape but are blocked by the carabinieri. A fight follows and two prisoners gain freedom.
26/09/04. During a fair in Calimera, leaflets denouncing Catia Cazzato are distributed. The carabinieri order four comrades to hand over their ID. As the four refuse, they are taken to the carabinieri station and identified. One of them is sued for libel.
03/10/04. A mass escape attempt from the CPT is blocked by the carabinieri. Only five immigrants manage to escape.
31/10/04. The cash machine and the window of Banco Ambrosiano Veneto (a bank that belongs to Banca Intesa) are stained with red paint in Sannicola (Lecce).
15/12/04. Demo outside the Paisiello theatre in Lecce, where Monsignor Ruppi is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of his priesthood.
08/01/05. Four North Africans attempt to escape from the CPT by jumping from a window on the first floor, but they are blocked by some carabinieri and the director. A fight follows, one carabiniere and father Cesare are injured. One of the immigrants is arrested and accused of ‘violence and resisting a public official’, another is taken to hospital with a broken leg.
13/01/05. Another attempt to escape from the CPT: three manage to flee jumping from the first floor, whereas one is recaptured.
23/01/05. A lot of writings against Catia Cazzato appear on the walls of Calimera.
Actions and events in solidarity with the anarchists arrested in Lecce (and in other parts of Italy) and against immigration detention centres
13/05/05. LECCE. The day after operation Nottetempo culminated in the arrest of five comrades, anarchists block the traffic, distribute leaflets and hang a banner: ‘The Struggle never stops’.
14/05/05. LECCE. Demo in solidarity with the arrested anarchists, against prisons and immigration detention centres.
TURIN. Demo against the CPTs and in solidarity with the arrested comrades.
21/05/05. LECCE. 400 anarchists from all over Italy demonstrate in solidarity with the arrested comrades.
22/05/05. LECCE. Meeting to discuss prison and repression, detention camps and deportations. Demo outside the prison.
A mail explosive device is sent to the chief police inspector Manara.
Explosive devices are also sent to Turin metropolitan police and to the director of the detention camp for immigrants in Modena.
05/06/05. LECCE. Solidarity gig outside the prison.
09/06/05. LONDON. Benefit gig.
15/06/05. ATHENS. The Italian Institute of Culture is occupied in solidarity to the arrested anarchists.
18/06/05. ATHENS. Solidarity demo at Propilea in the city centre.
19/06/05. LECCE. Demo outside the prison.
24/06/05. BARI. Demo in solidarity to prisoners and against detention camps.
24/06/05. SALONIKI. Anarchists occupy offices of Italian consulate.
25/06/05. BARCELONA. During a demo in solidarity with Italian anarchists, police attack and arrest 7 people.
27/06/05. ATHENS. A Benetton shop is attacked in solidarity with Italian and Spanish anarchists.
29/06/05. ATHENS. Explosive devices are put on a few FIAT cars in solidarity with Italian anarchists.
05/07/05. BARCELONA. Demo in solidarity with Italian and Spanish prisoners and against FIES regime.
SAINTS (Spain). A Fiat car shop is attacked in solidarity withItalian anarchists.
07/07/05. ATHENS. Demo outside the Spanish embassy.
BARI. Demo against the CPTs.
LECCE. Meeting to discuss immigration and CPTs.
12/07/05. MONTBRISON (France). Benefit dinner and gig for Italian anarchists.
ATHENS. About 100 anarchists occupy Cervantes institute in solidarity with Italian anarchists.
15/07/05. EL PRAT (Spain). A Fiat car shop is attacked with an explosive device.
16/07/05. MILAN. Demo in Piazza Cadorna against the air company Alitalia, responsible for the deportation of immigrants.
19/07/05. SALONIKI. Solidarity demo in the city centre.
27/07/05. MONTEVIDEO (Uruguay). During the night 3 explosive devices are thrown against the Italian-Uruguayan chamber of commerce, the Italian cultural institute, and the Italian consulate. Posters were put up on the walls and doors written in Italian and Spanish with the phrase, ‘Repression of the anarchist movement in Italy won’t stop the struggle’. Leaflets were also left denouncing operation Cervantes, Marini trial, operation Fraria, etc...
July-October 05. A great number of solidarity initiatives (benefit events, demos, meetings, etc) are organised all over Italy.
09/11/05. LECCE. On the occasion of the preliminary trial against the Lecce anarchists a demo is organised in the streets of the town.
19/0106. LECCE. A roadblock by fits and starts with distribution of leaflets is organised outside the court as the first hearing concerning the operation Nottetempo finishes. Some of the participants in the roadblock are later fined 3,000 euros for blocking the traffic.
A demo is also organised in the evening.
20/1/06. LECCE. Meeting to discuss strategies of struggle against the CPTs.
21/01/06. LECCE. A group of anarchists disrupt a conference where the president of the region also participates. They show a banner, distribute leaflets and explain the reason for the interruption with a megaphone.
02/03/06. LECCE. On the occasion of the second hearing against the Lecce anarchists, a protest march is organised in the streets of the town.
03/03/06. LECCE. Meeting to discuss strategies of struggle against the CPTs.
Puppet show in Piazza Apollo (Pulcinella against the cops) organised by a few comrades from Naples. Distribution of leaflets and exposition of banners.
05/03/06. LECCE. In the night a group of noisy friends greets the prisoners in Borgo San Nicola, where Salvatore and Saverio are also being held temporarily.
11/03/06. SALONIKI. A meeting about judicial operations carried out against anarchists in Italy and a solidarity gig are organised by the comrades of the squat Terra Incognita.
April 2006. Counter-information initiatives are organised in Lecce and other Italian towns on the occasion of the third and fourth hearings concerning the operation Nottetempo (April 11 and April 21).
03/05/06. LECCE. The morning after the fifth hearing concerning operation Nottetempo, a group of anarchists occupy the building of the Red Cross, responsible for the management of a number of CPTs in Italy. Leaflets are handed out to employees inside the building and to passers-by outside.
In the evening anarchists disrupt a conference held by a famous leftwing journalist in Casarano, the town where Marina is under house arrest and from where Salvatore was taken to prison a year before. Leaflets are distributed and a banner is shown as one of the comrades explains the reason for the interruption through a megaphone. Most participants to the conference applaud the intervention.
04/05/06. LECCE. The prisoners in Borgo San Nicola prison are greeted in the night by a by noisy group of friends.
05/05/06. LECCE. At the end of the hearing concerning the operation Nottetempo a number of comrades take their jackets off and display their T-shirts that all together spell out LIBERI SUBITO (freedom now) on the front and NO CPTs on the back. Salvatore and Saverio enjoy the show, which on the contrary is not at all appreciated by the judge. In fact, the comrades wearing the T-shirts are banned from attending future hearings.
In the evening a solidarity march is organised in the streets of the town.
06/05/06. LECCE. Anarchists disrupt a religious event organised in Piazza Duomo, where Cesare Lodeserto’s boss archbishop Ruppi and cardinal Sodano, the right hand of the pope, also participate. Thousands of fliers denouncing the responsibility of the church in the management of Regina Pacis are thrown all over the place while a comrade shouts out our anger towards Ruppi and Lodeserto through a megaphone.
26/05/06. LECCE. A comrade spits on father Cesare Lodeserto as he walks along the street. He has since been charged with ‘insulting religion’.
A number of comrades writing to those in jail have been charged with subversive association under article 270bis of the Italian penal code on the basis of their correspondence.
REVOLTS IN TURIN, MILAN AND BOLOGNA
In May 2005, five anarchists are arrested in Lecce following the struggle against the local detention camp and three immigrants are killed by the police in Turin. During the same period, uprisings and protests break out in the immigration detention camp of Corso Brunelleschi (Turin) and in that of Via Corelli (Milan), both run by the Red Cross.
April 14. Writings appear and banners are hung in Turin in solidarity with immigrants and against detention camps.
April 15. Itinerant intervention at Porta Palazzo market (Turin) to inform the inhabitants about the hunger strike undertaken by immigrants imprisoned in Via Corelli camp in Milan.
April 18. A huge banner in solidarity to the struggles in Via Corelli camp (Milan) is unfurled during the marathon in Turin.
April 22. A few passengers on a bus distribute leaflets denouncing Gtt, the public transport society, and its collaboration with police concerning the deportation of immigrants. When two ticket inspectors appear, a ‘loud voice’ protest takes place: protesters noisily alert the passengers that they have arrived. Some immigrants without tickets succeed in escaping, and the ticket collectors get furious. In this way the campaign ‘Trip ticket collectors up!’ starts. Disruptions against ticket collectors carry on for a few weeks all over the town.
May 1. The prisoners in Corso Brunelleschi camp start a hunger strike, but no one outside knows about this. As they are not supported, the prisoners interrupt the protest the following day. In spite of the continuous raids against immigrants in Turin, the camp is never filled to full capacity (70 people) because the prisoners of the camp are quickly deported.
May 7. Aosta. Digos officers (Italian political police) stop and identify two anarchists and accuse them of having put up posters against the Italian Red Cross. In the following days the inspector of Red Cross in the area sue the two anarchists for ‘libel through written material’.
May 20. At dawn, police storm a gypsy camp in the northern suburb of the town. On the grounds that they have to take a census of the inhabitants, they gather about 20 people and move them to the police station. 14 of them are deported.
In the evening, a boy from Senegal who had just arrived in Italy without papers is chased along the banks of the river Po by the cops during a raid in Valentino Park. The boy hides on the shore, but he slips into the water and drowns.
May 11. In the evening police stop a car with four young men from Senegal on board. One of them runs away, another two jump out of the car. The fourth hesitates and when a policeman gets close to him, a gunshot is fired. The young man dies shortly afterwards.
May 12. The houses of five comrades are raided in Valle d’Aosta and the Piemonte area, in connection with operation ‘Nottetempo’ in course in Lecce.
May 14. A great number of meetings are quickly held at Porta Palazzo market to inform people of the death of Mamadou and Cheik, the two boys from Senegal killed by the police, and to invite everyone to take part in a gathering organised for the afternoon against police terror, deportations, the arrests in Lecce and the Gtt transport company.
As Italians and people from Senegal intervene in great numbers, the gathering quickly turns into a spontaneous march through the streets of Turin. The banner leading the demo says: ‘Carabinieri and police: killers’. There is no sign of parties and organisations during the march, just a lot of rage shared by everybody. Newspapers, when they do not keep silent, describe the march as a peaceful demo organised by the community from Senegal, disturbed by the ‘usual insurrectionist-anarchists’ who try to start fights. From that moment on, all the dailies in Turin, with very few exceptions, will sing the same song ad nauseam and border on the ridiculous: they claim that immigrants have nothing to complain about, it is subversive anarchists that are creating tension.
May 16. In the afternoon, a street meeting opens a debate on how to defend oneself from the abuse and violence of the police in various areas of the town.
May 18. Writings and posters against deportations and police terror appear in San Salvario area. Some of the posters also incite to self-defence against the police.
May 19. During the night, the prisoners in the detention camp revolt, setting to fire mattresses and destroying everything they find in the building. There are many self-inflicted wounds. Police intervene and a hunger strike is begun. When a prisoner learns of his imminent deportation, he breaks a window and swallows pieces of glass. He spends the morning in hospital and misses the plane destined to deport him. When he returns to the camp he is beaten and put in isolation.
At the end of the morning, Radio Black Out (a radio of the movement) spreads the news. A friend of some of the radio reporters, in fact, Tareq has been held in the camp for a few days. He listens to the radio inside the camp, making his inmates listen to it too.
Around 6pm, about 150 people gather outside the camp. Inside, the prisoners start beating on the bars, whereas outside supporters answer by beating stones on pylons and road signs. Someone climbs up the fence and hangs a large banner, the prisoners start shouting. Meantime Matilde Provera, MP of Rifondazione Comunista, goes into the camp, inviting everybody to keep quiet when she leaves. As prisoners ignore her, demonstrators shout through a megaphone that the woman doesn’t represent anyone and that there is no reason to keep quiet.
A few demonstrators manage to open a small hole in the wall with the help of sticks. After a few moments’ hesitation, anti-riot cops attack. It seems that during the fight a Digos officer is hit in the face with shit. Demonstrators split after a while, and a big group of them march towards the nearest bus garage to make drivers aware of the responsibilities of Gtt society concerning the deportation of immigrants. As the gathering ends, a few comrades are stopped by Digos police and one of them, Giovanni, is arrested and accused of causing ‘serious violence’ and ‘injuries’.
May 20. In the detention camp the hunger strike, undertaken by 68 out 70 prisoners, continues. Most immigrants are also on thirst strike. A few immigrants who had inflicted wounds on themselves the day before and ended up in hospital are taken back to the camp.
May 21. At dawn, inmates in Corso Brunnelleschi detention camp revolt again in protest against the deportation of one of them; many threaten they will commit suicide, some swallow batteries and pieces of glass. An immigrant cut his abdomen so badly that he must be stitched urgently on the spot. Police and Red Cross decide to release him in order to avoid more serious consequences.
In the afternoon, a gathering in solidarity with the immigrants’ struggle and for Giovanni’s release is organised in front of the detention camp. The gathering lasts for a few hours; a group of immigrants manage to reach the roof and communicate with the protesters. From inside the detention centre, someone throws out a shoe containing a case file belonging to a prisoners affected with tuberculosis. Many other stories of prisoners who should be released but are kept prisoner by the Red Cross come to light. Meanwhile, Giovanni is released.
May 23. The detention camp is strictly watched by police, and anti-riot cops constantly patrol the entrance. In the afternoon, Matilde Provera pays another visit to the prisoners who talk about her as ‘the one who defends the cops’. When she comes out, she denounces the terrible hygiene conditions in the camp, ignoring the one and only thing the immigrants in struggle are asking for: ‘freedom!’.
In the evening, a meeting is held in San Salvario square market in memory of the two boys from Senegal killed by police, and to carry on the discussion about self-defence against police terror. Many people, Italians and foreigners, take part in the debate, in spite of the huge presence of cops surrounding the area.
May 24. Eight Romanian men held in the camp are deported.
May 25. At dawn, seven Moroccan men are woken up by police and informed that the plane for their deportation is ready. In a few minutes the news reaches the houses of a few comrades, immediately followed by Digos cops. Ten houses are searched as well as ‘Porfido’ documentation centre. Among the deported immigrants there is Tareq, who manages to contact his friends in Turin once again. He lets them know that he was taken to prison and that all his money was stolen when he was deported to his country. During the searches, police seize 1500 copies of a leaflet denouncing Gtt. The search, however, is officially the beginning of an investigation concerning an explosive device sent to the metropolitan police in San Salvario area the morning before, an action that is subsequently claimed by the Fai (Informal anarchist federation).
In the afternoon, a demo in the centre of the town reaches the ‘Olympic Store’. Here demonstrators inform people about the relation between the effective management of the Olympic games and police terror brought about against immigrants in the town.
Meantime in the northern suburb of Turin, police surround a building inhabited by immigrants and storm the flats. Eddy, a Nigerian boy without papers who had just arrived in Turin to see his girlfriend, takes refuge on the eaves in order to flee from the cops. He falls down and dies. He is the fourth immigrant to die in fifteen days. Two girls, the only witnesses of the accident, are taken to Corso Brunelleschi camp. Determined and furious, Nigerian people in the area fight police in the square.
May 26. In the afternoon, various Turin leftist organi-sations gather outside the Prefecture in protest against police violence. Nigerian people are very angry, but in the end a delegation goes into the building to talk to the Prefect.
In the evening a debate, ‘Towns and concentration camps’ is held to discuss the struggle against deportations in Turin, Lecce and Milan.
May 27. In the morning, a demo is held in front of the Moroccan embassy, which is responsible for deportation of Moroccan immigrants along with the Italian State. After a few hours, demonstrators move to the place where, on November 2004, Latifa Saidi, a Moroccan girl, died after falling from a roof in the San Salvario area while attempting to escape from a control by metropolitan police.
In the afternoon, a ceremony is held in memory of Eddy, attended also by comrades. The tension is high, the nearby road is blocked and there is the real risk of a battle with police.
Leaflets calling for a demo the following day against police violence are distributed in various parts of the town.
May 28. 3pm: the first demonstrators gather at Porta Palazzo. Apart from the flags of an anti-racist association, there are no other flags of parties or organisation to be found. There is a massive deployment of cops, but they do not let themselves be seen. As the march is about to start, there are already 1000 people. Eddy’s friends open the march, his brother speaks with the megaphone. At a certain point, a few metropolitan policemen are seen and the tension rises. No one can stand the sight of uniforms this afternoon. The march joins a demo of the COBAS (independent unions) for a while, then the demonstrators go off on their own. A few messages arrive from the detention centre: the prisoners would like the march to reach the camp, as an incentive to the struggle. Eddy’s friends, on the contrary, want to take their rage to the police station. In the surrounding area anti-riot police block the road and try to prevent the march from carrying on. The immigrants are furious, especially the women, most of them want to attack the cops with their bare hands. So the cops go back, leaving free access to the nearby railway station in order to block the way to the police headquarters. Tension is high. The militants of the anti-racist organisation are worried and call for non-violence. As no one listens to them, they go away taking their banner and flags with them, and publicly dissociate themselves from the demo.
After a few moments’ hesitation, the march goes towards Porta Susa station, where the rail tracks are blocked. Black and white people together explain the reason for the rail block to the passengers: ‘No one should travel in a town where people are being killed!’. There is some damage to the inside of the station, in particular against a cash machine of the San Paolo bank. Half an hour later, the march reaches Porta Palazzo and ends without incident.
June 1. Prisoners in Corso Brunelleschi camp claim they are on hunger strike once again. During the week the camp is almost empty as only twenty immigrants are left inside. As deportations continue, in fact, raids in the town are suspended.
June 2. A group of Italian people bring their support to the immigrants in the camp. They shout, make a noise and greeting the immigrants.
June 5. Raids and imprisonment of immigrants start again. Police also storm the buses and capture immigrants with the help of ticket collectors.
June 8. A group of comrades enters the town hall where the mayor and a few councillors are trying to convince the inhabitants of a Turin western suburb of the utility of a few projects concerning the area. A banner and leaflets remind people about the immigrants killed by police, while protesters shout out how some of the councillors there are also responsible for the murders. Then the comrades quickly leave the place shouting ‘Killers and slave traders!’. Shortly before, it had been a group of sacked workers who had railed at the mayor; shortly after, a group of furious inhabitants protest against the proposals of councillor Viano.
A ‘difficult evening for the administrators of the town’ is the comment of the local press.
June 9. At the market of Vanchiglia area, a group of comrades protest at the stall of ‘Torino Cronaca’ (a local paper). With the help of a megaphone, demonstrators expose the paper’s responsibility in spreading racism and the expulsion of immigrants in Turin over the past few months. A banner is shown and leaflets are distributed.
In the afternoon, a few comrades take part in a gathering outside the detention camp. Prisoners are greeted with megaphones, but they are soon locked up in cages so that they can’t answer. Anti-riot police and carabinieri are lined up in front of the camp, whereas the surrounding streets had already been cleared of parked cars. In the evening, a large number of threatening carabinieri vans patrol San Salvario area.
June 16. Unknown people glue up the parking metres of the Gtt and spread a false note announcing that the company has decided to grant a day of free parking for everybody.
In the evening of April 18, a prisoner in one of the dormitories of Via Corelli detention camp (Milan), ‘hurts himself’: we do not know whether he swallowed toxic drugs, batteries, pieces of iron or inflicted wounds on himself. We just know that, following this nth case of self-injury, the other prisoners in the camp ask for an ambulance to be called. As the latter does not arrive, the inmates of the dormitory decide that the only solution is to start a protest, which soon develops into an uprising. As usual, the Red Cross, which is responsible for the management of the camp, call the police: searches are carried out, personal belongings and books (especially copies of the Koran) are destroyed, and beatings are inflicted. The immigrants begin a hunger strike on April 9, which lasts at least ten days, and is carried on in fits and starts over the following weeks.
On Sunday April 10 a demo is organised outside San Vittore prison, where two of the immigrants, Gisela, a Brazilian, and Mohammed, a Moroccan, who took part in the revolt have been moved: both are accused of ‘damage and arson’ and arrested thanks to the reports of Red Cross operators Inverinizzi and Sei.
Meanwhile, immigrants are being deported, especially the ones who had been in touch with supporters. At the same time, however, a great number of prisoners are freed in order to get rid of possible rioters.
The main thing the authorities want, in fact, is to put an end to any attempt to provoke an uprising, but it must be pointed out that they do not always attain their goal. The ‘most exploited of the exploited’ are strongly determined to resist; so much so that, when released because they are considered ‘rioters’, they carry on protesting outside the camp. Furthermore, those who were recently imprisoned to fill the empty places in the camp (it must be remembered that the Red Cross are given 75 euros a day for every prisoner) were the first to get up on the roof during the protests of 15th and 16th April. This happens to be a number of Romanian women who had been rounded up from the ghettos created by Prefect Bruno Ferrante. The protest, therefore, has extended to the female sector of the camp, which had been more hesitant in the struggle until now.
On April 25, official anniversary of the liberation of Italy from the Nazi troops (25th April 1945), at the end of the annual march held by victims and persecutors together, a gathering outside the detention camp is organised in support of the struggles of the immigrants and to remind people that concentration camps still exist. Police soon prevent the advance of the comrades towards the detention camp by lining up cops and vans along the street. Some demonstrators decide to give up; others remain in the area as they think that the existence of the camp is a problem that concerns everybody, including those who live next to it; other comrades reach the nearby road from where the camp can be seen and hang a banner that the prisoners inside the camp can see.
The immigrants get on the roof again because their requests ‘closure of the detention camps and an end to deportations and arrests’, have been ignored. Police chief Aversa, who had intervened during the last uprising promising he would put a temporary halt to all deportations, also breaks his word. In the following month other protests are carried out, some are supported outside and some others are unfortunately left isolated.
In the night between 23 and 24 May, after breaking one of the cameras that constantly spy on them, the immigrants go on the roof once again and shout ‘Free everybody, we don’t want to be prisoners any more!’. They stay there until police drag them down: some immigrants end up in the infirmary, some in the hospital, some in San Vittore prison.
In the morning of May 24, without the lawyers of the arrested immigrants knowing, all 21 arrests are ratified: 9 people are sent to prison, the other 12 are taken to the Via Corelli camp or to the detention camp in Bologna. That day, the accused who choose to be judged immediately, are sentenced to 6 and 8 months’ jail, more than the public prosecutor had asked, by judge Fabiana Mastrominico. The sentence for the others will be decided June 23, in the presence of their accusers: Romano Pili, chief inspector of Lambrate police headquarters, and Alberto Bruno, representing the Red Cross. Once again the Red Cross reveal what they are and for whom they work.
Now in the detention camp a new section for the cops is being built along with an identification point for asylum seekers. Paradoxically, it is exactly by jumping from this structure of bricks and concrete that two immigrants managed to escape. They have gained the freedom they craved with one simple gesture.
Along the banks of the Rhine stood a shantytown where the undesirables live, as usual, on the fringes of the society, clandestine immigrants who provide the workforce that bosses and little bosses need in order to multiply their profits.
On the night of 10 April, as the river swelled fearfully, risking sweeping away the fragile little houses made out of cardboard and corrugated iron, the shanty-dwellers called the fire brigade. The firemen arrived along with the cops, who dismantled the houses and took nine Romanian immigrants without papers to the concentration camp in Via Corelli (Bologna) so that they could eventually be deported. The morning after, the judges on duty wasted no time in ratifying the ‘arrests’ of the previous day, apart from that of a boy whom they released owing to some legal flaw. In the meantime, an uprising broke out inside the detention camp: the prisoners went on hunger strike and, after holding a meeting, they drew up an open letter to the citizens of Bologna and Europe in which they exposed the reasons for their struggle, following the example set by the immigrants imprisoned in the Via Corelli detention camp in Milan. The jailers’ response soon arrived: cops and staff of Misericordia (the religious association that runs the camp), armed with truncheons, raided the camp, just to remind everybody what can happen to those who dare to protest. Despite the actions carried out in the town and outside the camp to support the protest and denounce the situation inside the camp, the prisoners’ sensation that they were isolated must have prevailed and the protest was over in a couple of days.
On Saturday 14th May, an information point and exhibition in the centre of the town reminded the inhabitants of Bologna what detention camps are like and why the horrors that happen inside such places cannot be ignored. Moreover, struggles inside and outside the other detention camps in Italy were mentioned, including those concerning Regina Pacis in Lecce, where a few comrades had been arrested two days before owing to their struggle against the camps. Demonstrators distributed leaflets, spoke with a megaphone and played music for a couple of hours. Afterwards they marched noisily up to Piazza Maggiore, showing the banner ‘Close detention camps, the terrorists are those who run them’.
DESTROY BORDERS, DESTROY SLAVERY!
This is the text of a leaflet distributed in February 2004 at Waterloo station (London), where border guards meticulously control the documents of passengers arriving from and directed to France, as they have to guarantee that no ‘illegal immigrant’ is among the respectable passengers, the commuters and the rich tourists.
Our abhorrence of borders extends to this whole society of slaves where each has a role to play in maintaining a system of globalized plunder. In its ruthless selection of the cheapest of everything, the latter knows no borders at all.
The best-loved slaves are cheerful and compliant, content to surrender their lives in exchange for status, a monthly salary, lavish expense accounts. To them we leave their illusions, determined to do our best to make them short-lived. Millions of others carry out their daily routine, clinging to what they’ve got in an uncertain world where the unions have joined the bosses under banners of ‘work mobility’ ‘flexibility’ ‘participation’. But there is a level of exploitation beyond which they will not go, a level indispensable to the smooth running of the production machinery. The supermarkets, the services industry, electronics assemblage, etc therefore all rely on a huge mass of underpaid, uprooted slaves who have nothing left but chains of debt, exclusion and fear. Housed in prison-like conditions which they pay for at extortionate rates, they work around the clock, until they drop.
They are the undesirables, ‘barbarians’ from far off lands ripped apart by war or famine, (natural disasters of capitalism drawn up in buildings just a stone’s throw from here), stripped of everything that qualifies them as ‘citizens’, ‘people’ or even ‘human beings’. Without them the whole death machinery of capital would collapse.
For a couple of hours some from all of these categories sat side by side in the Eurotrain, superb transporter of human merchandise, assisted by smiling hostesses. Now, having reached their final destination, the moment of truth is about to dawn. Because, precisely here, behind this great hall festooned with enticements of weekends in Paris for romantic lovers, lurks a place where Gestapo-style operations are constantly in act. The undesirables are identified, held, criminalised and dispatched to concentration camps surrounded by barbed wire, left to languish for months before being dispatched to their country of origin. Some of the ‘lucky’ ones are presented with papers and allowed to join the super-exploited which the bosses in this country need so much.
We are here because we feel a common bond with the wanderers. We too are aliens, undesirables in a world of which we want no part. We have not come to appeal to dialogue or the democratic integration of ‘papers for all’. Zenophobia, hierarchy and racism cannot be fought with such means. Nor can they be fought with fratricidal wars sworn on bibles or patriotic flags.
In breaking the silence and indifference of the civilized we want to widen the space for revolt, increase the possibilities for direct attack on the pillars of this world. The objectives can be seen everywhere: the concentration camps, the airline companies that deport aliens, the ‘waiting zones’, the slave traders, the lines of communication, etc etc.
Only through direct solidarity shall we be able to refuel the social tempest of class war, sabotage and relentless attack where the division into nationals and foreigners, legal immigrants and aliens dissolves in joyous collusion against the enemy that oppresses us all.
Vagabond hearts, enemies of all borders.
the world wide web of insurgents
DESTROY ALL BORDERS AND PRISONS!
On Saturday April 8 a No Borders demonstration was held at Heathrow, which saw the presence of various groups and individuals. Pushed by their desperate situation and encouraged by the manifestation of solidarity, 120 people presently being held in Harmondsworth De tention centre began a hunger strike to draw attention to the outrage that exists within those walls.
Here is the text of one leaflet distributed the following days:
The good people of Oswiecim, better known as Auschwitz, knew little about the production of the death factory on its periphery except that sometimes ‘there was a very bad smell’ emanating from its chimneys. That shocks. Yet how many of the good people of London are aware of the ‘clean’ concentration camps that exist today and are essential in the production of segregation and slavery that are at the basis of the smooth running of capital.
Times have changed, the old camps have become museums and the humiliation and suffering of the millions of slaves on whose backs the present civilization was built has been dismissed in a few words of apology by statesmen and clergy. The persecuted have become persecutors, and the great wars of reciprocal carnage have given way to the massacre of peoples by the policemen of the planet using cutting edge weaponry.
Meanwhile, there is an undeclared civil war in act that does not heed national borders or democratic euphemism. This war is raging and taking its toll on millions of excluded all over the world in the form of ‘ecological emergencies’ resulting from intensive monocultures, nuclear testing, the plundering of the earth’s resources, climate change, post colonial political meddling, extortion rackets by the world bank, etc., etc.
This has led to a total mobilization of millions of exploited people coerced into moving in their search for better living conditions or simply for survival from the catastrophes imposed by economy and States. We are not talking of a passive, amorphous mass, but of millions of individuals, many of whom have struggled in their homelands against the global enemy in its local manifestation. Many have been imprisoned, tortured, have escaped from massacres of epic proportions. They are the undesirables of the planetary system of profit and plunder, the ones who are no longer useful to the great migration industry which has found new raw material more suited to the needs of a flexible economy that has moved into the tertiary sector. The heavy industrial sector that was developed on the sweat of past migrants (starting from Ireland and Scotland and extending to the other colonies) can now be worked out of sight in far off lands at rock bottom costs thanks to information technology and local taskmasters free from the restrictions of the politically correct.
Fortress Europe is putting up its defences, walls are being erected, the barbed wire is extending. One such structure is that at Heathrow airport, known as Harmondsworth Detention Centre, which is to all extents and purposes a concentration camp. People are held within its walls for weeks, months, even years, and have no rights at all, not even the minimal ones of the worst prison in the land. As in all similar structures, the suffering of the interned is aggravated by lack of medical care, disgusting food, lack of exercise, abuse and punishment, and constant threat of repatriation.
Not everyone is indifferent to the sort of those whose misery mirrors our own, that of the open prison of the world of the privileged. Demonstrations and actions have taken place against concentration camps and those responsible for them in Italy, Belgium, France and Australia as well as this country. Solidarity with the immigrants exists in many forms. In Lecce, southern Italy, the camp Regina Pacis was shut down as a direct result of the constant denunciation of local anarchists. Some of them are now in prison themselves as a result, and they and others of the group are presently on trial, accused of subversive association, that all encompassing law for locking people up without the need for any concrete evidence. Similar to becoming a ‘criminal’ because you don’t have a stay permit.
On Saturday April 8th, a no borders demonstration was held at Heathrow which saw the presence of various groups and individuals. Pushed by their desperate situation and encouraged by the manifestation of solidarity, 120 people presently being held in Harmondsworth Detention Centre spontaneously began a hunger strike to draw attention to the outrage that exists within these walls.
There are thousands of ways that anyone, group or individual can show their solidarity and subvert this world of controllers and controlled. The first is deciding on which side we stand. That of the barbed wire and the negation of life in the fear of the different — or the rejection of every division that the masters of the world want to impose on us, the refusal of an existence of passivity and apprehension.
Forward, for the destruction of the lie and of the phantoms! Forward, for the complete conquest of individuality and of life!
SOLIDARITY WITH THE HARMONDSWORTH HUNGERSTRIKERS
SOLIDARITY WITH THE LECCE ANARCHISTS
FREEDOM FOR ALL!
DESTROY ALL BORDERS AND PRISONS!
BELGIUM: SOLIDARITY AGAINST ALL BORDERS
On January 19th, 2006, the trial began of anarchists arrested this past May in Lecce, Italy. In Belgium, solidarity leaflets and posters were distributed and put up in Kortrijk (Courtrai), Ghent, Geel, Saint-Nicolas, Antwerp, Louvain-la-Neuve, Leuven (Louvain), Bruges, and Hasselt. In Antwerp, one person was detained for 10 hours for distributing the leaflets. In Lecce, the trial will resume March 2nd, 2006.
Text of the leaflet distributed in Belgium:
On the 12th of May 2005, five anarchists were arrested in Italy during ‘Operation Nottetempo’. Today, the 19th of January 2006, their trial starts. They fought un-interrupted against the asylum camp of Lecce, against the deportations of people without papers, against raids... They chose to attack those responsible for the asylum camps and the deportations directly — their property, the banks who arranged the financial aspect of the camp, collaborators... They didn’t hesitate to support the immigrants, locked-up up in the asylum camp of Lecce, in their rebellions...
[Politicians are the terrorists]
Two comrades are still held in prison, the other three are under house arrest. Of course our comrades were labeled as ‘terrorists’, but we all know that those who lock up, beat up and deport others are the ones who sow the terror. This pamphlet wants foremost to explain the struggle they fought and will fight against the asylum policy in Europe. They didn’t let their struggle be blinded by empty words like ‘human rights’ and ‘charity’... used by politicians and official refugee organizations, but they held everybody who is involved in the asylum policy responsible for the incarceration, ill-treatment and deportation of people without papers. They didn’t hesitate to unmask and denounce the involvement of the Red Cross, NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations), politicians, charity organizations... in the management of asylum camps.
Every day people are drowning, choking, freezing of disappearing during their attempts to reach or survive within Fortress Europe. Every day people are deported to defend the ‘advanced’ States.... But everywhere the struggle against the asylum policies is igniting. In numerous asylum camps all over Europe, hunger strikes, insurrections and revolts are followed one after another. Deportations are facing more and more militant, determined and efficient resistance. The masks of collaborators are falling to the ground. We are not alone! Everywhere there are brothers and sisters struggling against the borders and barbed wire of Fortress Europe. Here also: the occupation of the St-Boniface church in Brussels by people without papers, the actions against deportations and razzias (raids) in Brussel and Antwerp, the growing self-organisation of people without papers (e.g. UDEP — Union for the Defence of People without Papers)...
Our solidarity with the arrested comrades in Italy consists of understanding their struggle, and continuing and spreading it locally, here and wherever it is possible.
SOLIDARITY WITH THE ARRESTED ANARCHISTS IN ITALY
As anarchists, we see the struggle against the asylum policy, the asylum camps and the deportations starting in the streets. More than ever before it is possible to build solidarity in the streets. In complicity with resistance against police raids; with the struggle against the constant controls which militarize our neighbourhoods; in the restless rejection of every nationalist and racist separation that the rulers of this society try to force upon us (belgians vs foreigners, legal vs illegal immigrants...)
As long as our sisters and brothers are being locked up in asylum camps and murdered like the boat refugees in the seas surrounding Fortress Europe, are being deported because they don’t have legal papers, as long as States and borders exist – just as long we will continue to fight and struggle for a world without barbed wire, without customs, without police and without rulers. We ask you, readers of this pamphlet, for complicity in this struggle for a free world. Long enough have politicians recuperated (like the foolery about the controls on the metro in Antwerp or the boat refugees that arrived in Antwerp) our struggle by on the one side protesting against ‘undemocratic situations’ or ‘humanitarian tragedies’, and on the other side approving in parliament the construction of new asylum camps. Long enough has the charity of those who have everything to lose destroyed our dignity and militancy. Our struggle without compromise for freedom is taking place — not only here, but in the whole of Europe and the whole world.
NO BORDERS, NO NATIONS; STOP DEPORTATIONS
LOVE AND STRENGTH FOR ALL PERSECUTED PEOPLE, FUGITIVES AND REBELS
29/01/2006, Closed Centre Vottem, 14h, Demonstration against asylum camps
25/02/2006, Brussels-North Station, 14h, Demonstration against the asylum policy
‘Let us be clear: asylum detention centres are camps. To call asylum centres where immigrants await their deportations camps is not a rhetorical stressing but a strict definition. The camps of the Nazi’s were concentration camps for people the police considered as a danger for the State. It was ‘preventive incarceration’, without any form of trial. So camps weren’t places where you had to pay for a crime. Camps were places where power imposed its exception; the legal postponement of legality.’
— Extract from the Italian anarchist magazine ‘Tempi Di Guerra’
HANDS OFF THE IMMIGRANTS! SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON!
A brief communique about the situation of immigrants in Greece, the recent torture of Afghan refugees in Ag.Panteleimonas police station in Athens, and one view of the action of anarchists, antiauthoritarian and autonomous comrades who attacked the station.
The end of the Olympics and of the biggest part of the construction works means for the Greek state the beginning of a new period, where immigration policies are being redefined as long as large numbers of immigrants who were used as expendable slaves for the realization of the «grand idea» are now considered useless. At the same time, a wider repressive attack against those who resist is in progress, in accordance with the global «anti»terrorist crusade of domination which includes the fortification of the borders to confront the waves of refugees deserting regions that have been turned into war-zones.
Today, an operation of «law and order» — as it was named by the minister of interior P.Pavlopoulos — is launched in order to reduce the number of immigrants, to register them and put them under control so that the interests of the bosses will be better served within an environment that is more convenient for them. An environment imposing suffocating terms of survival for the immigrants and making more effective the regulation of their movement from one country to another according to the needs of the market.
Practically this operation means that the forces of repression are intensifying the intimidation campaign and escalating the terrorism excercised on immigrants, and the Media are cultivating an atmosphere of defused nationalism-racism, in order to gain consent from parts of society.
This operation has many aspects, moments and tactics: The racist pogrom against Albanian immigrants by cops and fascist thugs of the state after a football match in the beginning of September. Deportations taking place on a daily basis. Hundreds of deaths on the borders, either in minefields or shipwrecks. Numerous incidents where police guns are supposed to have «accidentaly» gone off and shot somebody in police blockades in the streets. Torture and humiliation suffered by immigrants inside police stations every day. Concentration camps. The cover up that all institutions of democracy offer to cops-pimps who rape immigrant women.
One more moment of this campaign was the torture of dozens of Afghan refugees by the cops during the first days of December, first inside a house they live and then in Ag.Panteleimonas police station, where they were taken by force and tortured in order to give information about another Afghan immigrant who had previously escaped from that police station.
For days, people who could not defend themselves were chained and beaten in the cells of Panteleimonas station, suffered the torment of «phalanga» (repeated flogging of the soles of the feet until they bleed and swell), were forced to strip naked, children and juveniles threatened with rape unless they speak. Bruises and wounds on the abused bodies of people harassed and hunted, fear in the eyes of those experiencing State brutality on their skin.
Against the systematic violence of the State and the bosses, militants oppose tactics of social anti-violence strengthening the social-class struggle.
Among others, one important moment of this struggle was the demonstration of 150 enraged anarchists, antiauthoritarians and autonomous comrades on Friday 24/12/2004 from Ag.Paneleimonas square towards the police station, who attacked the station causing property damage to the building and to many police cars parked outside. It was an assault against a police station that had already been targetted in society after torture had been revealed, reminding us of Guantanamo and Abu Graib).
The forces of repression, after experiencing the outburst of social rage, arrested 18 persons. 17 were immediately released without any charges and one comrade, badly beaten by the cops who satisfied their vengeance on him, was finally accused. This comrade, N.M. who participated in the demonstration in solidarity with the immigrants refused all police charges. His arrest created a new wave of solidarity and on Wednesday 29/12 he was released on parole.
The attack against the Ag.Panteleimonas police station was an action of social justice. An action that has spread wider than the specific neighbourhood the message that social and class solidarity among the oppressed finds its significance in the struggle against the domination of the state and capital, in the struggle against the brutality and the daily crimes of authority.
LET’S NOT LEAVE ANY CRIME OF THE STATE AND THE BOSSES UNANSWERED
LET’S OPPOSE SOCIAL ANTI-VIOLENCE TO THE VIOLENCE OF AUTHORITY
December 30, 2004
Open Assembly of anarchists -antiauthoritarians
On July 12 2007 the sentences of the first grade of the Nottetempo trial were pronounced after almost two years imprisonment (preventive arrest) had been inflicted on Salvatore (who also spent a period in isolation in the Salerno prison), Saverio and Cristian. As it was impossible for the jury to confirm the accusation of subversive association (article 270bis) they turned to article 416 of the Italian penal code and accused four comrades (Salvatore, Saverio, Cristian and Marina) of forming a ‘criminal association’ and gave them from 1 to 5 years’ suspended sentence.
The arrest of five comrades in Lecce, which was carried out simultaneously with others all over Italy, offered the occasion for a deceptive and denigrating campaign.
The accusation of having formed a subversive association aiming at subverting the democratic order of the State only exists because it has been theorized by the investigators. The media have also played an important role in this context. Having repeated statements such as ‘anarchist cell’, ‘association’, ‘violent actions’ etc, something will remain in people’s minds, no matter what the conclusion of the trial is. This terrible way of speaking is still employed today and often ends up in total invention of news.
With fury and hysteria they have tried to silence anarchists and, as happens with all rebels, present them as monsters. That is why some of us have been held under arrest for almost two years, while the appeals that the prosecution incessantly presents against our release have turned our freedom a kind of lottery. Rules are mere instruments of interpretation: those who decide do not care about the individuals involved, individuals who in this case are aware of what they are and what they want. In fact, in spite of everything, anarchists have continued to defend their dignity and their ideas. Hence the fact that they are considered dangerous: in an era when dissent must be erased, this trial, like many others, is more than a trial against intentions, it is a trial against our convictions, desires, ways of being, thinking and acting.
Anarchists love freedom and are against any kind of prison, but they do not only say that. They express, demonstrate and practise that with their best weapon: solidarity. And it is also for this reason that they are considered dangerous. In a society where individuals are more and more isolated and where terror is inculcated in everyone’s mind, real solidarity, that which links people who don’t know each other or is the product of their common feelings, cannot be considered anything but dangerous. For this reason, even when protests are clearly social and derive from the awareness of the people promoting them, they are labelled as terrorism. Today it is sufficient to write on a wall to be considered a terrorist. Solidarity is suspicious to the inquisitors just as love and friendship are. Glaringly clear evidence of that is given by this court, where various witnesses for the prosecution have talked about relations, meetings, links and closeness between people. It is not specific crimes, therefore, that are being persecuted, but an idea and the individuals who hold it. It could be argued that the democratic State allows everybody to express their opinion in respect of personal rights and guarantees. Well, my arrest has been justified by the fact that in 2004 I sent emails in which I communicated the arrest of my partner.
I think that these miserable manoeuvres aimed at humiliating and frightening us and making us renounce our lives, affections, past and future, demonstrate yet again the groundlessness of this theorem and their concern to keep it alive.
Another element that I consider even more damaging for my identity is the attempt to confine me in a rigid, closed organisation. This proves the inquisitors’ inability to understand a horizontal way of life that does not know hierarchies and is based on mutual respect; on the contrary they have individuated leaders and subjects among people who, like us, refuse these concepts. Moreover, as the prosecution records state, if you are a woman you can only be the fiancée or partner of the most influential male, or, according to occasional circumstances, his manipulator. That a man and woman have a horizontal relationship cannot be understood.
It is however important to talk about what is being discussed in this trial, that is to say the existence of a terrorist organisation. If we consider the classic definition of terrorism, ‘use of indiscriminate violence aimed at conquering, consolidating and defending political power’, we can well understand who the terrorists are and where they can be found. Imposition, authority and violence inflicted on harmless people are their instruments and their weapons. They declare and wage wars that kill millions of civilians and, by deception, present them as useful and necessary; they impose by strength infrastructures that devastate nature and the life of its inhabitants and take vital resources away from them. All these considerations are linked to another element of this trial: the criminalizing of the struggle against the detention centres for immigrants. Today these are called concentration camps even by the left that introduced them to Italy and intend to keep them there, whereas many individuals have been trying for a long time to unveil their real nature and affirm that, even if the media and the investigators still call them welcome centres, CPTs are prisons for foreigners whose only guilt is that they do not have regular documents and who, almost always, have escaped from wars, misery and catastrophe or are simply looking for better living conditions, and this search often costs them their life. If on the one hand there is the attempt to present all illegal immigrants as criminals and to hide the real nature of the places where they are imprisoned (of which the CPT in San Foca was an outstanding example), on the other there is the attempt to silence and isolate with all means necessary the anarchists who consider these places an intolerable reality. This has happened in Lecce, where, also thanks to the media, anarchists were called terrorists with the aim of scaring the public. This was not sufficient, so repression also struck anyone who demonstrated his/her solidarity to the accused anarchists so that that would be the end of them in Lecce.
Furthermore two places open to the public, where initiatives, concerts, discussions, social dinners have been held and books were at everybody’s disposal have been labelled as criminal dens. Relations between individuals have been presented as an organized group with a leader. Any action that took place in Lecce and surroundings has been attributed to these individuals, whereas phrases, quotations and opinions, have been rigorously quoted out of context, and their superficial and false interpretation have been used to insinuate vicious activity by these individuals. This method has constantly been used in this court, where the prosecution has systematically omitted everything that could be on the defendants’ side. This grotesque picture has been completed by the exasperating attention that the men in uniform have given to books, magazines, leaflets, posters and other material that has been around for years. I think that is why the inquisitors try to get rid of anarchists and give them so many years in prison as if it were nothing, simply because anarchists think and write too much.
In conclusion, I want to say that the repression hitting us is being inflicted day after day on the rebels and excluded of this wealthy society on the edge of the abyss, and that the lack of freedom inflicted on us during these months (isolation, deprivation of affection, morbid and obsessive control of our personal life), is also experienced, sometimes quite dramatically, by the millions of prisoners in Italy and all over the world and by the foreigners locked up in the CPTs, whereas a generalized delirium points at the question of security and conceals the widespread precariousness that is affecting more and more people. And it is exactly because I am a foreigner among the foreigners that I’d like to remember Vasile Costantin, a Romanian who remained completely paralysed on August 10 2004 while attempting to escape the detention centre in San Foca. His story, like many others, testifies where the real violence is, a violence that takes life away from millions of individuals day after day. The management of this deprivation, which is propagandised as charity, but which is so false that it has been uncovered even by the magistrates, has often been justified by those in charge (such as in the case of Regina Pacis) as a simple and necessary execution of the law. The many escapes and revolts that have occurred in the CPTs, including the Regina Pacis, demonstrate better than anything else the reality of such places and what that law was and still is: the product of racism, exploitation and repression. After all, even the nazi camps were legal and so were the Italian racial laws, but they certainly were not legitimate.
With these words, I return the appellation of terrorist back to the sender.
Lecce, June 28 2007
Finally there are situations when a passionate man must write. When the stage is empty and the people are crushed, when a society of slaves has a shopkeeper as king, when all those who think are condemned, it is well necessary that the latter, exiled from the present, dwell upon the future.
Ernest Coeurderoy, Days of Exile
First of all I want to clarify that this declaration does not intend to be a justification because I have no reason to justify myself. Then, any clarification in this court is pointless because my words can hardly be understood in all their meaning in this place. Not that I think you are stupid but because we belong to opposing ‘sides’ – you represent power and I represent its enemy – and our ways of understanding and interpreting reality are absolutely different and alien to each other. This trial, however, is obviously and exclusively political, and therefore social, and I cannot help expressing what I think. I want to point out that my thoughts are addressed to beyond this court, to the vast mass of exploited and excluded to which I belong and to which I have always addressed myself with the means and methods that I have acquired through time.
First of all I return to the sender the epithet of ‘terrorist’ that has been used to define me since this story began, and also before, aimed at producing satisfactory public opinion, which ‘is made by idiots’, as Stendhal rightly said, and the persecution and repression that ensued; I will come back to this later. For my part, as I have already done many times, I reaffirm that terrorism has always been the favourite weapon of States, be they old empires, more recent nazi-fascist or socialist dictatorships or advanced democracies. Even if those who hold power, and therefore the manipulators of History and Culture try to change its meaning, the word ‘terrorism’ means ‘use of indiscriminate violence with the aim of conquering, consolidating and defending political power’. Anarchists, on the contrary, even when they have decided to use violence, have never used it in an indiscriminate way. Then it is absolutely ridiculous to think that anarchists want to conquer power, given that their aim is to destroy it! After all, the bombs in the squares and on the trains, the massacre of entire populations and the ‘exporation of democracy’ are certainly not anarchist practises.
As far as the appellation of subversive is concerned, I candidly admit that that is what I am. What is an individual who despises all kinds of power and struggles for a completely different society and for the freedom of all living beings without distinction, if not subversive? All this is certainly subversive in a world where social relations are based on exploitation, plunder, exclusion and abuse of the weakest. Furthermore, I could never belong to any subversive ‘association’, which would really be a very miserable thing and would not match with the fact that I am anarchist, which I assert and for which I am accused in this trial. As an anarchist, I have two fundamental principles: that of the individual and anti-authoritarianism. Therefore I could never organize myself in a vertical way – even if I have been defined ‘leader’ and ‘chief’ and, according to the prosecution, I occupied a ‘leader’s position’. I strongly refute these words. I could never organize myself in a rigid way either, because in that case it would be the organisation that dominated me and I would become a mere instrument and appendix of it, and my being a unique individual among other unique individuals would disappear behind it. On the contrary I establish my relations according to the necessity of the moment, the love, friendship and affinity that link me to others. I can agree for a moment on one question and soon after be in total disagreement concerning another. But this relation is always horizontal, informal and never hierarchical, according to the principle of anti-authoritarianism. In this free and temporary relation, I am free to move by myself or with whoever wants to move with me. On the contrary, in an organized structure, individuals only move inside the ‘association’, exactly like in political parties. If I acted in this way I would follow a religion, but as anarchist I am against political parties and religions, no matter what they say. I would even be against anarchism if the latter were to become a dogma and therefore religion.
Another accusation made against me and that I want to clarify because I find it disgusting is that I would carry out ‘proselytism’. This practise does not belong to me; it belongs, for example, to the armed forces that go around schools in order to convince kids to enlist, and to priests and to missionaries all over the world. But I have always been extraneous to the ‘missionary logic’. I do not think that social change is a historical mission that I have to carry out nor do I think that it is an inevitable event according to some determinist dream. On the contrary I think that it is an open possibility that can become true or not, that can be fair or not. And it will not be any ‘party’ of anarchists to radically transform the world; it will be the exploited that organize themselves together with anarchists. If I were to live my life and thought according to an historical mission, this too would overcome my will and transform it into an instrument of something that does not belong to me and that would be the opposite of individuality. I would disappear behind the historical mission, behind the ideology. On the contrary I have never had the arrogance to claim that I know the truth in the place of ignorant masses that have not understood anything and that I should ‘convert’ and ‘indoctrinate’; in this way I would be putting myself in a vanguardist position, which anarchists historically refuse; I have never wanted to be a vanguard. What I do, through articles in our papers, posters, demonstrations, meetings, distribution of books, which is being judged in this court, is called propaganda, that is to say an instrument for expressing my thoughts and ideas. Mind you, I said Ideas, not mere and stupid opinions. Opinions only represent the empty shell of ideas, as they do not have the subversive potential of the latter. Ideas are something more, they are dangerous, especially in times of social anaesthesia as those we are living in, and it is for this reason that they scare.
This is the real point: what is on trial in this court exactly? Certainly not ‘crimes’, most of which the investigators had to construe ‘evidence’ and interpret in their own way words, sentences, concepts, highlighting what was convenient for them and omitting all the rest in order to justify. No, it is not this. Here it is the Idea that is on trial, anarchist thought and practise. Nobody can believe in the old fable of the ‘State of Right’, also because, as Hobbes rightly says, ‘rights being equal, strength wins’.
It is therefore clear that the courts defend class interests, the class of the included against the big majority of the excluded, which is growing. It is sufficient to observe the social provenance of prisoners in the very democratic Italian jails to find the best confirmation to my statements. So it becomes intolerable for individuals desiring freedom, the destruction of all power and a dignified life for everybody to be set free. It is not by chance that there exists a continuous and constant attack against what can be defined the ‘anarchist movement’. This attack has been increasing over the last ten years, and is also due to the politics of emergency that the State has adopted for a long time and upon which it now bases its very existence: it is a consolidated rule to create a fictitious enemy towards which to address subjects’ fears so that they create a common front against the ‘danger’ of the moment and cannot see who are really responsible for their misery: one day it is the mafia emergency, another it is environmental emergency, then the immigration emergency comes out. Following this logic today there stands an external enemy – foreigners in general and Arabs in particular – and an internal enemy – all those who oppose the present state of affairs, and anarchists in particular.
Dozens of conspiracy court cases have been rigged against anarchists, most of which have fallen through. What the prosecution is trying to do here, therefore, is not so much to put me and some other comrades in prison, which would be too little a thing, but to obtain a final sentence that could be useful in future penal procedures and help to get rid of anarchists for a few years, while sending a warning to all the others. The thinking heads of the State have certainly realized that, for a series of reasons, Lecce is the ideal place for such a precedent to be created: it is a little town on the suburbs of the Empire, where, in their opinion, there would be little resistance, and then there are no specific precedents. The most extraordinary thing, however, is that to obtain such a sentence, instruments that have failed elsewhere are being used, i.e. the usual old joke that fills the documents of investigators and public prosecutors about anarchist organising themselves on a double level – one public and the other clandestine – and the intentionally distorted interpretation of one comrade’s words published in a number of books. There is, in fact, a repressive thread on a national level that is put into practice on a local level only to make it easier. A few more steps in this direction and, who knows, anyone who has certain books in his house will be criminalized! After all, it is precisely books that were seized in the course of the searches carried out when we were arrested... It might be useful to remember that the ‘dangerous books’ hunt was carried out during the holy Inquisition and during Nazism, and it is also useful to remember that a few days ago in Bologna searches were made and an investigation on conspiracy was opened on the pretext that comrades were distributing a book that criticized the infamous ‘Biagi law’. And it is quite bizarre that some books are being considered the source of certain theories and strategies, in spite of the fact that your own magistrates have sentenced the falsity of these constructions!
Contrary to what the prosecution is trying to establish, I am a dangerous individual not because I speak and act in a clandestine way but because of the exact opposite: because I do not need to do so. I think I am a free individual coherent with himself, at least I try, so I openly say what I think and do what I say: theory becomes practise and practise becomes theory. I understand how this can be disturbing and unpleasant to power. It must be in fact unpleasant to mayor Poli [the right-wing mayor of Lecce] that in her ‘polis’, that is to say a town ruled by a bunch of exploiters under which slaves are subjected, there is still somebody who wants to take back the ‘agora’, that is to say a free piazza where there can be free discussion and where the Idea, this thing that is so frightening, can be spread. After all, as the inquisitors have tried to stop me many times, they know perfectly well that I cannot stand the closedness of what they call ‘dens’, especially as the excluded to whom I address myself are not frequenters of such places.
My anarchist thoughts and practice are even more dangerous to the inquisitors when they are aimed at striking the terrorism of very important men and the violence perpetrated inside the new concentration camps of the State, the so-called CPTs. The pretext under which I was put in jail and for which I am on trial is exactly my radical opposition to these places.
I loudly claim my struggle against the detention centres for immigrants and against Regina Pacis in particular. It was an infamous place that was luckily closed down but whose corpse continues to spread a horrible stink and whose walls are still impregnated with the blood and anger of millions of individuals who were locked up there and raped of their lives. In my opinion such places should not only be closed down, but be totally razed to the ground so that not even the memory of their infamy will remain. Yes, for a few years there has been the custom to celebrate ‘remembrance day’ [in memory of the victims who died in nazi concentration camps]: if we did not live in an upside-down world, they would probably celebrate ‘oblivion day’, the total destruction of all concentration camps. And I want to point out that I do not use the word ‘concentration camp’ as rhetoric or because it has become fashionable among left-wing politicians who created the modern camps, I use it because it is a rigorous definition. As in the old colonial and nazi camps, in fact, people locked up in the CPTs did not commit any crime, they are only undesirables at the mercy of police and exploited by the bosses of the moment. Besides being jails for immigrants, the CPTs are places where foreign labourers, who can be blackmailed more easily, are selected from. It is in fact important to remember that the exploitation of this kind of labourer is very important to capital.
The last thing that I would like to say concerns the particular time in which comrades and I were arrested. It was soon after the arrest of Cesare Lodeserto, the director of Regina Pacis, and when many members of his staff, including doctors, operators, and cops were (and some still are) under investigation. It was necessary to distract public attention from these episodes that uncovered the true nature of that CPT and opened a crack in the wall that I had been trying to open myself for years so that everybody could see through it. It was at this point that attention had to be deviated and diverted and focussed on the worst enemies of the State. That does not surprise me: it is one arm of the State that goes to secure its other arm. There is a popular saying that sums up the concept: ‘one hands washes the other and both hands wash the face’.
During the time I was detained I was able to personally experience the fury that the State has towards words, against which it has waged a war, as also proved by years of phone tapping and bugging used against me and by the great quantity of papers confiscated from my house. It is hatred towards all the aspects of the word: the written and spoken word and therefore, basically, thought. It is the attempt to kill Cartesio’s statement ‘I think, therefore I am’ because in a social system where ‘to have’ is much more important than ‘to be’, individuals must stop being, and it is not just a question of auxiliary verbs substituting each other.
I was able to see that when censorship went for my letters and books when I was in prison (and still does). The inner meaning of the matter can be found in one single sentence that was repeated many times by a prison officer who, when I insisted on having books that had been witheld for two months by the censors, used to say; ‘You read too much!’.
This short phrase is very significant and sums up the sense of my incarceration and trial: ‘You read too much!’. If this is true, I am sorry, but I can’t reassure you, I will keep on thinking, reading, writing, speaking and therefore struggling. It does not matter if in the future I find myself on this side or that of the bars of this open prison called society, because I am convinced that in the court justice is not administrated but rather that vengeance is executed.
Unless you agree with Dostoevskji, who wrote: ‘When they became criminals they invented Justice and imposed a series of codes to preserve it, and to preserve the codes they invented the guillotine’. In this case, innocence is the worst thing ever.
I do not have anything else to say.
Lecce, June 28 2007
There are two fundamental reasons for which I am sitting in this court as a defendant, the only role that, against my will, I could ever play in a court room.
First of all I am a revolutionary and an anarchist; and if you consider how many comrades are still being held in Italian jails, that in itself seems to be reason enough. After all, what can those who want to break this damned murderous social organization based on misery and exploitation, expect from the ruling class, which does not intend to renounce its power, and the interests of which this court is bound to defend?
The second reason is closely linked to the first, or rather it is its direct and logical consequence: the struggle that, as an anarchist and revolutionary in this society, I have been carrying over the past few years.
So, after the ground had been prepared with a long period of preventive criminalization thanks to the usual journalists of the press and TV, imprisonment was not surprising. First, imprisonment in a proper cell of 8 square metres, that three people shared twenty hours a day, then house arrest where the bars on the doors and windows cannot be seen, yet are there. House arrest, which is certainly less hard in certain respects, serves the project of total isolation carried out by the State even better: you do not have any contact with other prisoners and your only way of communicating is by mail, which, as this prosecutor well knows, is not at all reliable.
One year and ten months have passed since May 10 2005, during which my comrades and I have endured isolation, transfers, continuous intimidation and abuse of all kinds, but always cheered by practical solidarity by many other exploited like ourselves. Certainly it was not easy, as it never has been for all the men and women who have locked up throughout time all over the world, but I do not intend to complain or to present myself as a simple dissident who, by a judicial mistake or for whatever other reason, finds himself involved in a sensational judicial frame-up and is now waiting for justice.
Nothing is more extraneous to my way of thinking and living. Condemnation or absolution, justice – real justice – cannot be found in a courtroom.
It is true that this is a frame-up, quite a clumsy one, and in some aspects even a ridiculous one. The prosecutor, in fact, not having any evidence in his hands, relied on the old and always useful habit of inventing it by deforming reality, transforming conversations that he infamously listened to and omitting the context in which they occurred, so that he could make us members of a subversive association punishable by article 270bis. When you are a liar by profession, as time goes by you probably end up losing track. I think that it is how this prosecutor, trying to conciliate what cannot be conciliated, went quite further and established that anarchists, who refuse all authority, were part of a hierarchical structure composed of leaders and followers.
Apart from these dirty tricks, power was right as regards me: it has singled out an individual who refuses the State, does not care about its laws and strongly desires the subversion of this system, the destruction of all authority and the creation of a free life for everybody. This is the dangerous idea that power cannot tolerate, in spite of what they declare, and which is well beyond the worn-out old chatter about liberty and rights upon which the ideology of the regime is based.
Actually there is no freedom in rights. The latter are a concession given to vassals and as such they can be suspended or suppressed, and they strengthen the power of those who concede them. In other words, the State concedes and removes rights according to its needs. This said, it is not surprising that article 270bis, which we are accused of, comes from old article 270, which was first produced by the fascist dictatorship (Rocco code) in order to repress rebels, and eventually passed from the fascist regime to the Republic that boasts it was born from the Resistance. In other words, the most efficient legal weapon against dissent during the time of dictatorship is being used today; moreover it has been refined and adapted to the different social conditions, going through decades and governments of all colours, as a sign of continuity between two powers that, basically, are not so different from each other. This article, which establishes a six-month imprisonment that can be reconfirmed every six months up to two years, cost us to be locked up for quite a long time before any jury decides our sentence. In this way the principle of ‘presumed innocence’, which any good democratic subject feels he is protected by, has been clamorously denied.
Many of the specific charges against us concern the struggle for the closure of all detention centres for immigrants and in particular the infamous Regina Pacis in San Foca, which was run profitably by the homonymous Foundation Regina Pacis [a foundation of the Lecce clergy] up until March two years ago. CPTs and deportations are another thread that links past and present: fascist and nazi concentration camps, before becoming centres of systematic massacre, were places where people were locked up without having committed any crime. It is exactly what happens in all CPTs. That is why I have always called them concentration camps. In these places immigrants who managed to reach Italy but do not have the right documents to stay in the country are locked up, after enduring terrible journeys during which they risked their life: The Mediterranean sea bed is now a cemetery without crosses or names. For them, guilty of being poor and foreigners on the run desperately searching for a better life, State racism has established that they be imprisoned, following what is a mere administrative question for an Italian. They are kept there until they are identified – officially 60 days – and, with the collaboration of companies such as Alitalia and Trenitalia they are eventually deported to their country of origin or, and this is what counts, somewhere else outside fortress Europe. Otherwise they are handed a deportation order compelling them to leave the country within a few days. Those who do not obey are put in prison. As they do not have any other choice in the face of misery, hunger, and war that they have escaped from, they are forced to live in hiding, constantly chased by the police, escaping raids and facing prejudice and hostility stirred up by the media propaganda that depicts illegal immigrants as criminals and possible ‘terrorists’. In order to survive they have to accept even more hideous working conditions because they can be easily blackmailed under the threat of deportation. They live constantly with the terror of being captured, thrown in CPTs and then sent back from what was their journey of hope. The condition of ‘clandestine’ hanging over immigrants, therefore, serves a precise project of exploitation: on the one hand the bosses ask the State for legal labourers, according to the established quota; on the other the latter have at their disposal a considerable number of undesirables without any rights that they can exploit to death. These ‘undesirables’ are used to threaten the legal immigrants so that the latter do not stand up for better working conditions (without a work contract immigrants cannot stay in the country).
Everything in this world is submitted to the rules of economy. It is such an obvious truth that power does not even try to conceal it; on the contrary it tries to make us think that it is an inevitable reality from which everybody will gain something.
When they do have to conceal reality, on the contrary, their most effective trick is to call things with names that do not match their meaning. It this way the expression ‘humanitarian war’ was introduced, concentration camps for immigrants are called ‘welcome centres’ and the prisoners inside these structures are called ‘guests’, as Cesare Lodeserto, a ‘benefactor-jailer’ ex-director of Regina Pacis did in this court. According to the stories of many prisoners, the detention centre of San Foca was a theatre of violence, beatings and abuse of all kinds, especially after revolts had broken out. But even if such atrocities had never occurred, my struggle for the closure of Regina Pacis would have been the same because the real problem is not the way a CPT is managed but its mere existence as a place where people are locked up. For a long while now these places have been called concentration camps even by the left that contributed to creating them and by a large part of civil society, without any practical consequences. The new governors, who out of pure political calculation had expressed their intention to vaguely ‘go beyond’ the CPTs, have now changed their cards: this ‘going beyond’ is nothing else but a different setting. The CPTs would be reduced in number, become more secure and serve as prisons ‘only’ for the ‘irreducible’, that is to say those who do not collaborate with the police to be identified and voluntarily deported. A real disappointment for the people who voted the new governors. The truth is, as the political class admit, that the CPTs are necessary to the current politics of immigration. The State cannot do without them, even if they represent the total demystification of the democratic lie and show how exclusion is at the base of democracy. As far as I am concerned, this does not make any difference, as I have always known that CPTs will disappear only if and when we have the social strength to impose it. This is the reason why, today like yesterday, I am continuing my struggle against detention camps and deportation, focusing my attention on the responsibility of those (managers and collaborators) who allow their existence and activity. Furthermore, I always bear well in mind that there exists a strong link between CPT, permanent war and the militarization of society.
The regime’s incessant propaganda has always used fear as a means to produce consensus. The continuous creation of a threat, highlighted according to the circumstances, justifies a more and more suffocating control over all aspects of life and allows power to introduce more and more liberticidal laws. The enemy is everywhere, it is called ‘terrorist’ and can be an immigrant or a revolutionary. Reality is turned upside down: those who massacre entire populations in order to control resources accuse those who struggle for freedom of terrorism. But if terrorism is, according to its historical definition, the indiscriminate use of violence aimed at conquering and consolidating power, then it is well clear that THE STATE IS THE TERRORIST!
LECCE, June 28 2007
 The olympic games were referred to as the new national «grand idea» by all the political and economic bosses and their lackeys in the Media.
 After the albanian national football team’s victory over the greek team in a match that took place in Albania, on September 4 2004, hundreds of Albanian immigrants went out in the streets of many greek cities to celebrate. They faced a pogrom by cops and fascists – nationalists. A 21year-old Albanian worker, Gramos Palusi, was murdered and two of his friends seriously injured in Zakinthos island by a fascist who attacked them with a knife. In Athens at least 70 immigrants were taken to hospital, and in the rest of the country the wounded Albanian immigrants were more than 300.
 The latest incident (December 23, 2004) is the acquittal by the court of the cop Nikos Brékolias who had raped in 1998 the 19 year-oldUkranian immigrant woman Olga B. Olga was forced into prostitution after coming in Greece.