Gruppi di affinità, organizzazione informale, insurrezione, Alfredo M. Bonanno, in Internazionale Antiautoritaria Insurrezionalista, Edizioni Anarchismo, Opuscoli provvisori. n. 14
Social Conflict, Pierleone Porcu. Insurrection Issue 4
Against Technology, Pierleone Porcu. Insurrection Issue 5
Against Ecology, Pierleone Porcu. Insurrection Issue 5
The catastrophe psychosis, Pierleone Porcu. Insurrection Issue 6
Beyond Workerism, Beyond Syndicalism, Alfredo M. Bonanno. Insurrection Issue 4
Beyond the Structure of Synthesis, Giuseppe Coniglio. Insurrection Issue 4
The Autonomous Base Nucleus, Orazio Valastro. Insurrection Issue 4
Autonomous Movement of the Turin Railway Workers MAB — Movimento Autonomo di Base of railway workers in the Turin region.
Organisational proposal 1976. Workers Autonomy, Elephant Editions
Organizational document of the self-managed leagues against the missile base in Comiso; TO THE STUDENTS. The struggle against the Cruise missile base in Comiso 1981–83 - 79. Elephant Editions
Pierleone Porcu - Alfredo M. Bonanno - O.V. - G.C.
Towards a generalised attack on the State and capitalist structures that are hostile to life and its free development
Our boundless horizons disdain the world of time, uninterrupted flux of measurable aspects from boredom to slaughter that mark the daily doing of civilisation and its History, a man-made assemblage of fables and litanies. We have therefore retrieved the following words, not to be swallowed literally, but which through their force of penetration and above all opening towards the unknown paths of a conscious struggle to nowhere, might be welcomed into a process of thinking, discussion, experimentation in the field of attack, the only admissable place for verification of intentions. Far from the parcelised rythms of specialisation, submission, fear of the future or the comfort of the new perspectives mapped out by all-pervasive technologies towards a green-tinged concerted ‘we’re all in this together’ attempt to save the planet (for the bosses).
But, some comrades are suggesting, shouldn’t we be throwing ourselves into the fray now, in these ‘times of crisis’ where thousands of erstwhile somnolant masses bludgeoned by the final straw have put down the gadget, picked up the flag and taken to the streets to defy a threat to their daily misery before returning to negotiated normality.
Do we really feel that we are missing an opportunity or that we are lacking in some way? Should we, like covens of witches stirring bubbling brews in their cauldrons, turn our attention towards finding the magic formula that will enchant the discontented into the dark forest of anonymity and self-organisation? Can a sea of flags, from the proud monolithicity of the unions to the black ones now almost outflanked by red in some still-beloved streets, really make us feel that we have missed a cue, that we could divert the flow? Can these moments cause us to think that we could break up an angry crowd in the boulevards into small affinity groups of self-motivated individuals in the alleyways, our pockets filled with thousands of self-produced leaflets along with the matches on the luminous path to insurrectionalist totality of the attack? Couldn’t these ‘times’ transform our eternal dilemma of the ‘mass’ into ready-made exultation?
No! Once embarked on the road of totality we leave our quantitative illusions by the wayside. No joining in, no tagging on, no being swept away by the slogans of the moment into another maelstrom.
The passion we feel burning in our veins distils into fuel to keep us going for the long haul, for the loneliness of the long-distance hike, indomitable Sisyphi, dragging ourselves up the hill once more, not on our knees like pilgrims in ritual commemorations of old bones, but warriors of the heart, antennas out in the endless hunt for affinity, eyes wide open, losing themselves in one another in the eager field of reciprocity and significant exchange of projectuality and means for the necessary attack on, destruction of, the existent.
The pieces of writing that follow could easily have been considered ‘dated’ had they been left immersed in their moment of parturition, accurately inserted in the calendar of the already done, the attempted, realised, misunderstood, ‘succeeded’ or ‘failed’ according to their precious living moments as transformative experiences in the timelessness of quality.
It is the latter, the living revolutionary substance, that it is desired will emerge from them.
Introductive note to the second Italian edition of Against Nuclear Technology by Pierleone Porcu
Dated? I don’t think so. Certain nuances, quotations and contingent aspects are certainly dated in this piece of writing, but who cares when it is the revolutionary substance we have to worry about?
That is why we are presenting it again here.
Not very loquacious, as the discerning reader will see, it presents the whole range of problems of a struggle against the objectives put in the field by the repression, yesterday nuclear, now the high speed train or the reduction of the already minimal possibility to breathe.
And the conclusion arrived at is stark, no collaboration with the various ranges of the (seemingly) opposing and (in essence) pro-State camp. Pacifists, betrayers of anarchism with ties and a bank account, throwbacks at their own mercy and their nostalgia for the conquest of power, makers of alternative routes to production, dreamers of one-hour violence and a return home with their tails in the usual place, theorisers of (imagined) transitory political struggles, retailers of noble titles to stick on the banners of the new resistance. In short, the usual circus of extremists in chatter or in violence without a project or any serious revolutionary reflection.
And this circus still exists, taking its colourful performances around the world. And of the project that should have been seen underneath so much indignation or tumult? Little more than nothing. For anarchists insurrection is not a project that can be marketed, even temporarily, with political components that have nothing in common with us, that have never had anything to do with our ideas, our achievements and our dreams but which, on the contrary, have had much to do with the nightmare of the conquest of power.
Let’s break this ridiculous and painful circle. Let’s not, in our insurrectional activities, carry around ballast that sooner or later will reveal its rotten content.
Let’s attack, with the people, if possible, or alone, if not. But attack. The rest is just a fleeting illusion.
This booklet proposes just that, and its remoteness in time does not affect its polish and veracity.
Trieste, 31 January 2012
Alfredo M. Bonanno
Introduction to the first edition of Against Nuclear Technology
Were we afflicted by the hateful habit summed up in the phrase, ‘we told you so’, recent events such as the US attack on Libya and the Chernobyl explosion would give us plenty of opportunities to make our voices heard.
But what good would that do?
What would it mean to return to Comiso and speak to the people, repeating in detail all the arguments that we developed way back, when it was still possible to occupy and destroy the missile base? Practically very little.
The same for nuclear power plants. How often did we point out the dangers and operational indications on how to try to prevent the misdeeds of the construction and activation of these structures of death out in the past? And how often did we point out the responsibilities, connivance, interests and swindles, of assertors of the necessity of the atom and its false opponents?
Too often to keep repeating ‘we told you so’ again and again.
We have always refused to limit revolutionary action to simply ‘saying’, to fine declarations of principle or mere ‘counter’ information that wraps itself up in its own cocoon and makes no attempt to move forward.
In this sense, many comrades find their alibis for carrying on doing nothing and opposing—on a practical level—all those who want to do something. The mouths of these comrades are full of words but these do not move them towards action one inch. Then they are always at odds. For them it is never the right moment. We must always wait for reality to show signs of maturing. And meantime carry on with the usual (fine, reassuring) declarations of principle that have the virtue of leaving things exactly as they are.
We saw these comrades at work in Comiso, either directly or manoeuvring the ranks from afar, dissuading from attacking, inventing possible alternatives to different mass objectives, claiming that the time was not yet ripe to attack and occupy. In short, doing anything to turn an insurrectional attempt into one of the usual platonic manifestations of political dissent.
And these comrades are still ready to dissuade from attack in order to push for mediating practices (such as the struggle for amnesty), for reassessments of pacifist and non-violent interventions (of radical or Christian stamp), for fictitious oppositions (periodic and always the same declarations), for symbolic actions (conscientious objection, taxation, and more).
Yet these comrades are not even the worst. Things are quite different in the part of the movement that now openly declares itself opposed to revolution, intending to turn anarchism into a respectable philosophy of personal education.
Of course, there is no end to misery. While the world is literally falling apart and the fairly precise roles of the past are being disrupted in favour of a radical upheaval and assignment of far more rigid ones that are forcing the exploited into increasingly restricted zones of social space surrounded by the silence of mutual incomprehension, some continue to flounder with the usual statements, the usual commemorative leaflet, the usual May Day celebrations (or rather funeral services), and so on.
There. This little book is proposing a different strategy.
It isn’t proposing it to those who have made themselves a niche out of their way of not acting and hiding in it in the hope of becoming ever more comfortable of course. It isn’t proposing it to the social democrats who continue to call themselves anarchists. It isn’t proposing it to those who consider the revolution outdated. It isn’t proposing it to those who, while filling their mouths with revolutionary words, are in fact advocates of order and legality whenever they try to do anything, either out of fear or mere stupidity.
This little book is talking to the others.
There is a wide swathe of the movement (not only anarchists, fortunately) that has a desire to take action. And it is to this segment that we are addressing our work, our analysis and our organisational projectuality.
In order to attack one must first clarify one’s ideas. It would be dangerous to do so without this prior analytical insight. Just as it would be dangerous to keep delving deeper, thesis upon thesis, without taking action.
It seems to us that the time has come to see who our allies are in this struggle. Beyond acronyms and ideologies. This is becoming indispensable and urgent the more there are comrades who, as we have seen, are wavering, colluding with the powers-that-be, or are openly social-democratic also within the anarchist movement.
Many comrades who come from experiences of struggle, in the course of which they have also experienced tragic disillusionments, could find a way of understanding towards action in our proposal, in stark contrast to a climate of disinterest or betrayal that is threatening to become generalised.
We have now practically concluded the cycle of counter-information on the misdeeds of the State and capital. Had we confined our intervention to the anti-nuclear struggle—as a starting point and not as a ghetto in which to enclose ourselves—reality itself, with its tragic evidence, would have practically obliterated any need for further clarification.
Now people know!
Action requires organisation. It is necessary to oppose the realities that are presenting more acute problems due to their proximity to nuclear power production or their location in strategic military-controlled areas, with mass anti-nuclear structures.
As we will see in more detail in the short appendix to this booklet, the anti-nuclear base structure has the characteristics of autonomy and permanent conflictuality, and stands as a nucleus of mass organisation aimed at creating conditions that can lead to the realisation of the occupation, the blocking, or at least the productive breakdown of the nuclear power plants.
Many political forces are (apparently) moving in the same direction. All of these forces, however, contain very little that is revolutionary. They will come to a standstill in the face of power bargaining or simple symbolic action.
We are capable of showing people that the time has come for a series of concrete actions against these structures of death. We can also make it clear that, by their revolutionary nature, these actions can only be brought to a successful conclusion with the massive presence of the exploited. And we can also make it clear that revolutionary anarchists will be with them, among the first, in the struggle.
In practice this is the work that awaits us and to which we will direct a considerable part of our future efforts.
Catania, 27 May 1986
Alfredo M. Bonanno
Against Nuclear Technology
The serious ecological disaster caused by the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant urgently reopened the inescapable need to wage a total struggle against atom technology.
It is in this perspective that a wide reflection on what the anti-nuclear movement has been as a movement of opposition to the planetary nuclearisation projects pursued by States and capital is being brought to comrades’ attention.
At the present time, the newly reconstituted anti-nuclear front is presenting the same mistakes again, the same limitations and irreconcilable contradictions in content and methods of struggle that led the past one to dissolution.
The radioactive cloud
The Chernobyl accident contributed greatly to the reconstitution of an anti-nuclear front. The radioactive cloud hovered ominously over the skies of half of Europe, making radioactive rainfall contaminate the ground, causing panic among the population. There was panic among the population even in areas less impacted by the disaster.
All this has greatly contributed to weakening faith in any peaceful and beneficial use and development of atom technology, so that it has become more problematic for the various governments to carry out nuclear-based energy plans without coming up against internal opposition.
The extreme dangerousness of atom technology is an accepted fact even among ordinary people, who know that there are no adequate safety and security measures in the event of nuclear accidents, so that, basically, one is completely powerless in the face of radiation.
Having become aware of this reality, a large mass of people has mobilised against nuclear power.
Hence the need for anarchists to build favourable conditions for the development of a mass anti-nuclear struggle.
It must be clear that the aim of our revolutionary action is to make people aware of the fact that no real opposition can exist outside the class conflict. It is precisely from this conflict that the need to implement a strategy of attack against all the technological structures that dominate us arises. This will be possible by supporting all the processes of social self-organisation of struggles and all the aspects of self-management linked to the practice of direct action.
For these reasons, we have always maintained the need for a radical critique against all those who, in order not to take any risks, are inviting the excluded to confine their struggle to the realms of institutional opposition. De-legitimisation, pacifism and non-violence are practices that serve to feed the field of social-democratic illusions, which have the sole purpose of broadening the front of the nuclear opposition on an interclassist basis and class collaboration with the institutions, to the detriment of the development of the revolutionary struggle and the exploited’s potential for revolt.
The illusionists of politics
The implementation of a project for the global transformation of the social order passes through the hypotheses of subversive struggle outside the institutional framework and the mercantile logic of capital. It therefore becomes logical to go against those who propose referendums or other electoral-type consultations.
These are the last illusionists of politics, the priests of democracy who with our assent would like to correct the most brutal and violent aspects of this system of domination superficially. Ultimately, they are the ones who go towards revaluing and conserving it.
Their conservative need drives them to move within the framework of institutional contradictions in order to contribute to their democratic development constructively. Thus they propose research into new technologies for the exploitation of alternative sources of energy unrelated to the atom. The ecological project they advocate - both in general and in detail - is shaped on the preservation of current relations of oppression and exploitation.
It is no coincidence that these political illusionists collaborate from below with the peripheral structures of State control, maintaining relations with all the political forces that essentially support the nuclear-based national energy plan.
The class perspective
The struggle against nuclear power must be inserted within the more general interests of the exploited, interests that are socially antagonistic to the structure of dominion.
These interests are the objectives to be borne in mind insofar as they cannot be recuperated by power, and not the pursuit of objectives related to the possible exploitation of alternative sources of energy to meet the energy needs of the production of mass consumption.
Only by beating this path will it be possible to ensure that the social conditions created by the struggle bring the anti-nuclear movement out of the shallows of political militantism and constructivist activism in which a large part of it wallows.
The State may even partially meet the demand to start an alternative energy plan (energy extracted from wind, sun, etc.), hence clean energy, as the ecologists and pacifists want. And it may all be presented as a victory, but it will be no more than a statement of the weaknesses and compromises the movement has reached. This result will demonstrate the extreme incapacity to arrive at autonomous development regardless of the demands of restructuring of the apparatuses of power. It will also demonstrate the misery of subjects anchored to survival and incapable of thinking and promoting social action differently, outside the spheres traced by dominant State reasoning and the models of social economy produced by capital. The result will be greater strength gained by the latter instead of greater weakness.
An instrument of control and blackmail
In its production of nuclear energy atom technology provides the system of domination with a further formidable instrument of control and blackmail of the population: radioactivity. The ever-present possibility of radiation and radioactive contamination of the environment and population where nuclear megacentres are located, fuels and lends credence to the need for militarisation and social control, so that every restrictive measure, internal and external, appears justified by the presence of danger.
The economic interests and political implications arising from atom technology are closely linked. These are to the detriment of the population but are presented as a positive fact because the latter is subjected to the ecological blackmail of the need to safeguard itself and its environment from possible nuclear disasters.
All the imposed measures of restriction and control are certainly not necessary due to the dangerous presence of the proponents of the struggle against the atom, but are inherent in the very logic of the development of nuclear technology, which originates mainly from military research.
The terroristic control exercised certainly does not serve to safeguard the environment or the population, but is intended to induce the latter to refrain from taking any action in protest. Indeed, no safety is possible in a process of nuclear fission. One is always subject to the risk of an accident that could turn into an ecological catastrophe, as happened in Chernobyl. [More recently, March 2011, in Fukushima in Japan].
Parallel to the aberrant, ever-present logic of power and death promoted by the State, the mercantile logic of capital with its safety and security industries is developing and flourishing. These already have a large market and present products such as: anti-atomic shelters, protective clothing against radioactive contamination, and everything one needs in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. Ultimately, this sector of production constitutes a further element of control as it helps to reduce the feeling of panic in the population and spreads a certain sense of tranquillity, which, as we have seen, is completely illusory.
These industries must be attacked because they speculate on the fear of millions of people and derive immense profits from this, giving the population a sense of tranquillity that does not exist, in the same way that the police give the impression of equally non-existent security and civil protection. In reality, these are straitjackets that the exploited need to shake off.
In the face of the Chernobyl catastrophe, the Western information system wanted to demonstrate to its subjects all its strength and informational superiority over the bureaucratic elephantine Russian information system, which chose the path of silence and droplet news. It was a dress rehearsal between the two systems, which compared each other by simulating how they would behave in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. When tested, the result was identical. For the excluded of the West as for those of the East, radioactive contamination remains a fact that no amount of correct information can remedy. An informed dead person and an uninformed one are no different. At least that is how it seems to us.
In Italy, everything was done according to the respect for the rules that characterises the democratic information system. The Chernobyl tragedy turned into a television radio punch and judy show. Everything happened: from broadcasting the most conflicting opinions of the experts, to showing the efficiency of the government, which with diligent detail informed its subjects about the useless civil protection measures taken to avoid radioactive contamination. In the end, participants and viewers alike felt more satisfied and reassured.
The cold logic of mass communication has thus shown that no matter how much one may be faced with an emergency situation that creates many information problems, one eventually finds a way to take advantage of the difficulty. Its intelligence showed this when it gave credence not only to those who support the national energy plan on nuclear power, but also to those who hold opposite views.
It was thus shown that in a democratic situation all opinions are equal. Conversely, it has also been possible to see how no real opposition is possible within institutional circles.
It is necessary to look outside the channels of mass communication for forms of direct and horizontal communication capable of giving rise to the authentic dialogue of individuals, who talk to each other without the mediation of technological tools.
This is how we intend to reaffirm the concept of direct re-appropriation of one’s own communication tools, against the fall-back practice of borrowing those provided by power.
We must sabotage the information structures that hinder the development of free relations between individuals, and maintain a permanent conflictual relationship with these structures. This means using all the forms of expression of revolutionary action, rejecting all codes of falsification, from the written to the audio-visual and even the oral, in order to seek the most appropriate forms and expressions, in the coherence of content, operationally.
To arrive, in essence, at the destruction of every political instrument in order to uncover the full subversive potential of an insurrectionalist anarchist discourse whose informal development logics are not already given and are therefore outside the watchwords and slogans of parties aiming at the preservation or seizure of power.
Analysis of the anti-nuclear front
The current anti-nuclear front is destined to disintegrate. Within it too many interests, contents and methods of struggle are in open antagonism.
It is therefore an illusion to think that a united struggle against the atom is possible on this basis. How can one reconcile the rejection of those who, while ideologically criticising the need for nuclear power stations as a condition of economic development, call for their limitation on the basis of insufficient safety measures; with the positions of total rejection not only of mega power stations but of atom technology itself in all fields of scientific research?
We must accelerate this disruptive process by taking an active part, because its future recomposition on a different qualitative level depends on the content and objectives that we will be able to indicate clearly in the course of the struggle. Waiting favours the process of recomposition of the reformist forces aimed at safeguarding the stability of the State. It is no coincidence that the PCI, moving in this direction, has called for a pause for reflection.
The recent demonstration in Trino Vercellese
During the anti-nuclear demonstration held in Trino Vercellese on 10 October , a decidedly positive event occurred which, in our opinion, marks an important stage in the development of the struggle against nuclear power. All the components of the variegated front against the atom were present in the procession. As soon as they reached the Trino Vercellese crossroads (the demonstration had started off from Casale Monferrato), i.e. the road that forks off and leads to Trino on one side and to the nuclear plant on the other, the demonstration split into two distinct sections. On the one side, the interclass and institutional political forces, the associations in defence of the environment and the peace committees, all together took the road leading to the town. On the other, a large section of the procession, consisting mostly of anarchists and libertarians as well as numerous comrades who identify themselves as antagonists to the control projects of the State and capital, decided to take the road leading to the nuclear power plant.
This split made evident the diversity of content, methods and ways of relating against the apparatus of domination.
Regarding the events that occurred in Trino Vercellese during the demonstration, we must unfortunately point out a sad reality.
The comrades present, belonging to the Milanese anarchist group ‘Ponte della Ghisolfa’, despite having previously given their assent to go to the power station, when they reached the crossroads backed out, preferring to continue the demonstration together with the DP, FGCI, PCI, the Environmental League, and the Peace Committees, instead of supporting the action of all the other anarchists and libertarians.
In our opinion, this sleazy stance is the result of the—essentially social-democratic—theses based on the rejection of antagonism, conflictuality, revolution, and the acceptance of non-violent practices of delegitimisation.
From this it is clear how these comrades—perhaps unwittingly— end up moving within the institutional forces.
The delegitimising illusion
We must unmask the tendency present in the anti-nuclear movement, which, by locating the scope of its action within the framework of the institutional system, makes reformist and conservative practices of delegitimisation its preferred weapons.
Its contestation of the economic and ideological lie of the need for nuclear power plants only serves to anchor itself in detail, avoiding the reasons for a revolutionary contestation capable of creating a global opposition to the projects of control and domination implemented by the State and capital.
Therefore, the practices of delegitimisation, as well as not constituting a danger to the system, become a process of reconfirming its rules in the context of the production of consensus.
Their attempt is ultimately to foster the processes of the integration of the anti-nuclear movement into the institutional apparatus, offering the peripheral organs of the State the possibility of invading the field of autonomous opposition where it does not yet possess direct influence.
It is not only the forces of conservation - parties and trade unions - that participate in this logic of recuperation, but also pacifists, non-violents and ecologists, who have made the reasons for the practices of delegitimisation their own.
It does not matter that some of them openly declare themselves opposed to the State. Reality shows how this kind of rejection is in practice a movement of decomposition of what the system itself wants to overcome.
The supporters of delegitimisation, with their experiences based on communitarian and alternative ways of life, and on forms of production that are autonomous from the dominant ones, end up being small integrative and alternative models capable of providing power with further information in order to better control and manage from below all the processes of social and communitarian life promoted by the excluded themselves. One example is the experiences of the basic therapeutic communities for drug addicts, of the social centres that yesterday were autonomous and today are integrated.
We do not wish to deny the validity of community experiences or the importance of the rejection of dominant technology such as the utopian desire to build something different. We simply want to reiterate that in the absence of a conflictual relationship aimed at creating moments of rupture with domination, we end up exhausting and instilling what good there may be in community experiences themselves in coexistence with the class enemy.
The antagonist forces
On the other side are the antagonist forces that would like to give the anti-nuclear struggle a more radical character by putting the concepts of autonomy, self-organisation and self-management of the struggles of the exploited into practice. These forces would like to give a basis for direct action by taking over, in a way that is no longer delegated, all the decision-making processes expressed in the general assemblies.
There would thus be an end to all forms of bureaucraticism, verticism and over-determination implemented by the managerial groups, as well as an end to all political instrumentalisation. It would be revolutionary behaviour expressed through individual assumption of responsibility that would change the previous state of affairs.
Informal anarchism is moving in this direction, which, while retaining its basic conceptuality and principles, is freeing itself from the forms of the past and crystallised revolutionary projects. In its development, it creates social conditions of no return to the old patterns of formalised action, such as those employed by the synthesising organisations that refer to a party-like mass methodology (FAI-CNT)
As revolutionary anarchists we should involve ourselves in this direction to ensure that many of those who theoretically support these assumptions have a coherent basis for subversive and insurrectionalist action. Until now, their practice has not gone beyond daily life-ism and fringe ideology, thus becoming easy prey to the old ruins of marxism-leninism.
The late Stalinist demagogy
The surviving small groups of the dissolved proto-party area of Autonomia Operaia, having changed their phraseology and adopted a new look, are trying to stitch together, with petty demagogy, the thousands of threads of the current revolutionary discourse, trying to instrumentally appropriate contents and practices of struggle that are alien to them, such as autonomy, self-management, direct action, etc.
The militants of these groups are experiencing a great sense of impotence forced as they are to keep silent for now about the real reasons for their action, i.e. those of the party, and to hide their Stalinist mentality of petty priests and mediocre military leaders without a proletarian army to lead.
It is no coincidence that their most activist and radical tendency exalts proletarian militarism, interpreting itself as the party which forces the State to deploy its full repressive apparatus as a consequence of its action.
They live under the illusion of believing themselves to be at the centre of a process of social antagonism while the real movement of self-emancipation of the exploited has relegated them to the margins. This movement plays out its guerrilla warfare subversively on all territories of social living, attacking institutional structures and men of power, starting from the focal point where the exploited themselves are located, and it has no need to delegate this task to modern specialists in simulated guerrilla warfare. They certainly do not lack the hatred to do so.
To those who refuse to address the question of the need for revolutionary violence, let us remind them that any imposed social relationship is, in itself, violence. The structures that govern us, that administer and regulate the movement and peoples’ lives, are violence. The State and capital are the organisation of permanent violence against the exploited. The pacifists, the non-violent, the ecologists, who, faced with the brutality of power, respond with the passivity of verbal denunciation, manifesting their faith in the humanity of the torturer who is preparing to murder them. With their methods they are the first to condemn themselves, preemptively, to defeat. Victims of democratic illusions, of the sacred respect for the State code, of the appeal to legality, with their behaviour they give the measure of the terror they have of revolutionary violence, thus vowing to suffer that administered by the State daily.
Thus, every time they have finished demonstrating, they feel proud of their good restraint and cooling down technique carried out on the excited tempers of the more exuberant demonstrators, in agreement with the State repressive apparatuses who feel reassured for this very reason.
In turn, these apparatuses return the favour by letting them do some demonstrative and symbolic action, to please the square and make them feel satisfied. These boy-scouts of bourgeois correctness call the citizens back to their civic duties through the use of advisory referendums, they campaign for opinion based on the renunciation of revolutionary action, and they put all their readiness to the benefit of the democratic legality infringed by bad rulers. Everything they do is always in the evolutionary logic of social adaptation and adjustment.
The end of the old social roles
Our demand for the radical transformation of society starts from the experience and the attempts, small or large, that we make through the insurrectional struggles that we carry out. In doing so, we practically envisage the end of the need for the party, the management centres and the leaders who must lead the mass of insurgents.
It is true that all so-called proletarian parties know how to use and instrumentalise mass mobilisation, as this is part of the job of professional politicians, but it is also true that this attempt cannot go beyond certain limits without running the risk of the situation getting out of hand. This is why they regulate the participation and mobilisation of the masses on detailed objectives at the outset, reducing it to a risk-free intervention with a foregone conclusion. Their discourse therefore tends to cover up the authentic content and expressions of the revolutionary struggle.
It is necessary to highlight to the exploited their chronic inefficiency, while being capable of proposing autonomous structures without their presence. It is necessary to push the exploited beyond the role of extras to which they have been instrumentally called by the parties. It must be shown concretely that there is no commonality between the mass structure created by the parties and the real interests of the exploited. It must be shown that it is the struggle itself, in its development into self-organising and autonomous forms, that draws a precise furrow between the exploited in revolt and the social structures of conservation.
A change of orientation is needed. We are not interested in the defence of the old social roles (worker, unemployed, precarious worker, etc.), but of getting out of the perspective of detail provided by the system, in order to focus on where the apparatuses of domination are preparing the modification of social relations and the technological structures capable of exercising the new control.
The defence of threatened social interest ends up becoming impotent in the face of the conditions of no return that capital and the State are creating in their movement of partial self-destruction of the old order.
Our reflection must transcend all the spheres of ideology, so that the anti-nuclear movement and, more generally, the self-emancipation movement of the exploited, take note of the qualitatively different need to attack, which must be brought to all structures of dominion. This is determined by the fact that profound changes have occurred in the current social structure with the advent of basic technologies.
We need to get rid of the myth of the quantitative as a necessity to give rise to a clash between opposing military apparatuses. This has already taken place at the level of simulation in the armed spectacle staged by the fauteurs of armed struggle and the State.
It is in anarchist insurrectionalist practice and theory that one can discover the qualitative reasons that push towards the radical change of society, where the need for armed confrontation finds how to manifest itself in a way and at a time very different from those artificially projected by the simulators of class confrontation.
Armed propaganda is also a tool that it is right to use, but it should be placed on the same level as all the other tools we have at our disposal. Every instrument employed has its positive sides, but it also has its limitations. Revolutionaries must take this into account. When one goes to war against the class enemy, one must equip oneself well and be prepared, if something goes wrong, to pay the consequences. Woe betide the illusion that one has no limits. One ends up paying the price bitterly, as recent experience shows us.
When we affirm the inalienable need to attack the structures of the State, both central and peripheral, we do so because this attacks the security of the State itself, making visible the process of control and domination exercised over the social structure. It also has the result of highlighting that the State does not have an indefinite line of development, but has limits.
Similarly, to attack capital’s modes of production, distribution and services is to obstruct its domination over our needs.
In essence, we only learn to know all the limits of the restructuring process of capital and the State, at the highest level of control and command of their apparatuses, by inserting ourselves in the class clash and trying to sharpen all its contradictions. The higher the social tension, the more radically the struggle can be pushed in a revolutionary and insurrectionary direction.
Ultimately, we are convinced that the anti-nuclear movement will only be able to reach more radical positions if it is able to reject the defence of an economic order based on the search for alternative sources of energy, situating its attack on the social question. Wherever the domination of man over man exists, State and capital structures must be attacked. This is a consistent way of showing how they are structures hostile to life and its free development.
The only consequent attitude to take towards State structures is that of violent sabotage, both against them and against their procedures of control and social programming of the existent, which are reducing individuals to robotised machines.
Against the social lobotomy practices implemented by the State, we must respond with the practice of insurrectional attempts.
The anti-nuclear struggle, if it does not stop at the myth of the quantitative, but develops by giving maximum weight to the qualitative and creative aspects, will be a struggle aimed at discovering possible movements of subversive self-liberation in the concrete perspective of effective revolutionary potential.
As the clash between oppression and exploitation continues the struggle must be direct and based on permanent conflict. Any attempt to mediate with the institutional forces leads to selling out the potential for revolutionary struggle.
As the situation today becomes increasingly difficult to endure, it becomes the more important to realise that attitudes of accomodation and compromise are causing serious damage to the development of revolutionary struggle.
If we intend to change our situation we cannot continue with ideology. We must examine the relations within exploitation and repression and take an unreservedly active part in the struggle. We must single out precise objectives and back them up with methods that show a subversive strategy capable of expressing a global project of proletarian self liberation.
Permanent conflictuality can only be carried out on the basis of a correct evaluation of capital and the State and their role in the social conflict. As anarchists we know that although many people go on demonstrations, the social question cannot be resolved through mediation with the institutions. This might lead to an evolution of society but avoids the necessary destruction of all the structures of dominion. A correct analysis imposes the need to use violence. The bosses will not give up what they have spontaneously. The only thing that will be effective is the organised material strength that proletarians have at their disposition.
The knowledge that this frightens our armchair intellectuals is nothing new. Their aim is to safeguard their privilege and conceal the necessarily destructive part of the anarchist revolutionary project that is not very palatable to the many liberal democrats. They point out the bad element inciting the arousal of class hatred, unleashing bad passions and social warfare. This perspective is demonised by those who would preserve their own personal tranquility, the bigots of the movement who extoll the virtues of nonviolence, pacifism etc. Those who do not agree and who do not identify themselves with their practices, are deemed the violent and intolerant part of the movement who have still to learn the ways of the world.
In reality nonviolence, pacifsm and tolerance are very useful to the bosses, certainly not to the exploited whose social conditions are in open contrast to concepts of resignation. Democracy is a refined system of domination, preferable to most dictatorships, but not for this does it justify compromise.
In this dimension conflictuality should be seen as a permanent element in the struggle against those in power. A struggle which lacks this element ends up pushing us towards mediating with the institutions, grows accustomed to the habits of delegating and believing in an illusory emancipation carried out by parliamentary decree, to the very point of actively participating in our own exploitation ourselves.
This is what is beginning to happen.
Democratic conflict invites the exploited to be passive and have faith in their ‘leaders’, to the point of docility. But revolutionaries are refusing to water down their ideas and actions with the humanitarian chatter of the reformists.
No synthesis is possible between dominator and dominated, between exploiter and exploited. Our logic leads to the suppression of one or other of the terms. To reach this we must extend permanent conflictuality. Every experience of daily life becomes valid if it is expressed as part of an antagonistic struggle that is openly and violently against the present state of affairs. P.P
A revolutionary project must include the destruction of all the structures that have been built by capital. A perspective that aims to save the technological aspect of present day capitalism, believing it can be put to good social use, would mean to conserve a system of knowledge that has come from military research. Revolution cannot come about only in the parts of social reality that we do not like. It also means opening up new spheres of human knowledge.
A perspective based on the need to completely destroy technology is confusing to many comrades, and a considerable number of them refuse to accept it. They find it more reasonable and realistic to consider only the problem of destroying so-called hard technology (all kinds of nuclear armaments, asbestos, etc). They consider soft technology (electronics, information technology, etc) socially useful and think they will be able to make good use of it in the future, as though the latter could be detached from the logic of domination that produced and developed it. In this way comrades are demonstrating an “enlightened” positivist attitude to science. They claim the instruments produced by technological and scientific knowledge are neutral, and only criticise the bad social use that Power puts them to.
We think, on the contrary, that the instruments created by Power cannot fail to obey the logic that created them. They are totally functional to its aims no matter who uses them and in spite of any apparent advantages they might bring to society.
We are against those who are always trying to justify things, saying that there is some good at the base of everything, and it deserves to be preserved. Moreover, we think it is useful to place an element of doubt into the swamp of certainties and commonplaces that abound. Those who maintain there is an absolute need for existing technology are the bosses, governors and their multitude of servants. They all have good reason for doing so, no doubt. Comrades, on the other hand, should have just as good reasons for always being suspicious of such attitudes. Things become tragic when we see an identity of viewpoint between those in power and those struggling against it.
All the base technology that is used in every field of social life today comes from military research. Its civil use obeys this logic far more than we immediately understand. Until now all we have succeeded in demonstrating has been the precise, scientific, authoritarian project at organisational level. It is important to understand the unconscious mechanisms that operate at mass level, allowing the power structure to overcome people’s initial rejection and gain their full support. Only a few people contest cybernetic command. The general tendency is a feeling of inevitability. It is coming to be considered indispensable, therefore socially useful. Anyone who points out the need for the total destruction of the technological apparatus produced by capital is passed off as an irresponsible madman who wants to take civilisation back to the Stone Age. This does not have to be the case, if one thinks about it. Present day technology is the practical result of a form of knowledge that matured during capital’s industrial development. It is always motivated by those who are in power. Wanting to safeguard some technologies over others signifies putting an obstacle in the way of the total destruction of the whole productive order of dominion. It also signifies putting a limit on revolutionary action and maintaining an ambiguous social relationship with such structures.
So those who, although they say they are revolutionary, support the need to safeguard part of capital’s productive technology, do not see that in doing so they are lending a hand to the declared reformists. The latter, more coherently, support a continual modification of all the organisms of power in such a way that the system is always functional and updated to meet the new needs of domination and social change.
Our radical project to destroy technology must be within the revolutionary process, and we should put no limits on the course of this or circumscribe it to within our presently limited knowledge.
The problem of a contemporary social revolution cannot be resolved with recourse to the knowledge that has been acquired until now and which is limited by the interests of Power. We are against those who see present day knowledge as something that has reached its conclusion.
As for how things stand now: the so-called scientists who are studying artificial intelligence or the application of present-day technology in other fields, are in fact scientific workers. They are highly specialised in one sector (the scientific one) but most of them are unaware of what is happening in other fields of research, not to mention the rest of society which they often neglect completely in their aseptic laboratories. The way these scientific workers think greatly resembles the machines they project. They apply binary logic and are basically incapable of thinking beyond this. There is no creative reasoning, they cannot bring any development of thought into the field of knowledge.
It is only our ignorance that makes us consider them great brains. This is an important factor that should be gone into further. Scientists are in fact the new intermediate class produced by the technological revolution.
The greatest discoveries have always been made when the principle of authority was absent or vacillating at all levels—as happened at the beginning of the century—and this also applies to the field of science. We cannot be revolutionaries concerning only the one social structure we do not accept, but must be so in all fields, including the scienrific one. The dominating order we want to destroy has roots everywhere, therefore should be attacked everywhere.
The only attitude to have towards the bosses of science is that of discerning what they are hiding behind all the things that seem innocuous and humane to the profane public.
This is very important as we are used to being aware of only the most noticable and superficial things around us. The bosses and their servants take great care to show us certain things, just enough to capture our innate curiosity, pushing us to look at things that in reality are of no importance.We thus miss out the most important things that are brought about without our knowledge, to our cost. We should not underestimate the enemy’s intelligence. The aim of those who dominate is to use all the scientific instruments that present-day scientific knowledge has to offer, not to alleviate suffering but to continue it within a set of relations that are modified from time to time. Capital and State find themselves obliged to carry out this incessant modification because of the unrelenting struggle that the proletariat carry on against them daily. In fact, notwithstanding the great transferral of wealth that takes place every day in the attack on the exploited, it would not take much for the latter to thwart the bosses’ projects. Once they show their intent: to destroy things radically, revolutionaries gain an immeasurable advantage, as the attack on the State and capital becomes one that knows no limits and intends to concede nothing to the enemy. That is why it is necessary to destroy the entire technologcal apparatus, beyond the use that anyone might think of making of it in the future, it will prevent the struggle from falling into the trap laid by the radical reformists who, from the partial destruction of the structures of domination have made the starting point for restructuring.
We are therefore against those who support political criticism even in the field of science, because such a critique always tries to reduce the reasons for radical opposition to a simple question of detail concerning certain operational choices. In this way the supporters of the political critique are looking for adjustment and compromise with the class enemy who is intelligently disposed to formally modifying its own position, with the aim of reconstructing a new, more rational consensus around the threatening institutions.
No fetish should remain in our minds. If we have had the strength to build ourselves a thousand chains we also have the power to break them. The decision to push ourselves beyond the barriers of prejudice and taboo is up to us.
Against the “alternative” solutions proposed by the ecologists, we see the only way to approach the problem of ecological devastation is within the context of the subversion of all the relations and values on which the capitalist system is based.
Ecology has become the most relevant social phenomenon at mass level in countries in the post-industrial phase. It is also becoming the affair of the century for capital and the State.
We must therefore look at what the ecological struggle means both to those involved in it, and to the State and capital who are working to preserve their interests.
So far the ecological struggle has aimed at finding “alternative” solutions capable of redressing the balance of man’s destructive relationship with nature and breaking with the logic of technological development based on sackage and devastation.
Although the aspirations of the ecologists are right, none of them question the power structure, on the contrary they are turning out to be useful to it, enabling it to present itself in a more critical and attractive guise. When separated from the social question, ecology becomes a great occasion for Power to build grandiose projects of social integration, exploiting the consensus of the proletarian masses towards the ecologists.
The ecological humanitarianism of those who protest against the crazed wasting of resources while millions die of hunger, does not touch capital’s post-industrial interests one inch. It becomes an incentive for them in fact to improve their own productive and organisational levels that often lag behind overall levels of industrial development.
Has capital become ecological then? Contrary to the ecologists, we think the answer is yes. At the present time capital is looking for new technologies to overcome the imbalance that still exists in processing raw materials. This is happening through a logical destruction of the planet, improving the exploitation of resources thanks also to recycling the mountains of refuse that lie unused. The more technologically advanced countries are well ahead in that direction, going towards the creation of a world market linked to soft technology and ecology that represent new frontiers for capital.
In the advanced industrial countries it is the State itself that launches the great campaigns on ecological prob1ems, as it can draw great advantage from the industries which produce instruments for reducing pollution. Another reason is that in this way the State can also guarantee wider control over society, through the involvement of the great masses who seem to have made this their only form of social involvement.
The development of an ecologically sound technology becomes a way for the more advanced States to increase the dependence of the economically weaker countries on them and affect their future development. Hence the need for States and international capital to invest millions of dollars in financing ecological programmes.
Ecological campaigns are creating a true ecological culture, even in the schools there are now specific courses on the subject. It is the more progressive and sensitive politicians who support this project, never missing a chance to underline their engagement and to point out the hard parliamentary battles they are waging against the conservatives.
The environmentalists are giving a hand to capital and the State. The Greens, as well as their ritual protesting, make constructive proposals based on “alternative solutions”. In this way they play the role of a “loyal opposition” to the system, not realising that this makes them elements that are involved in its advancement. Their action serves domination. Although they present themselves as having high social values, they always tend towards the political recuperation of fringes of the anti-institutional opposition.
The greens want to give domination a human face, so they think it is right for their projects to be financed by the State or by the very structures that are destroying nature. Now they are getting local bodies, with the effect that the State is able to extend its dominion to even the most peripheral areas.
Who can have any interest in a prospect aimed at making capital abandon its insane development towards so-called hard technology, substituting “soft” ecological ones, if not those who want to conserve the present social system?
We are not interested in capital’s development, be it hard or soft. We are only interested in destroying capitalism as a system, along with the State apparatus that supports it all over the world.
The ecologist spectacle wants us to participate in this system of death, trying to nail us to an ongoing situation of survival. When we promote ecological battles against the imminent death of the planet we are submitting to it with supine resignation.
It is necessary to do more. The violent rupture with constituted order is a vital necessity for us. In this sense we propose putting the ecological struggle on an insurrectional footing.
Ecology is only important if it is understood within a radical process of transformation, as this is the only way it can be used to speed up the end of this society of domination.
We therefore have two roads: the first starts from the destruction of the relationship with power in order to reach an egalitarian, free, ecological society; the second limits itself to saving the planet from complete destruction. If we choose the first road we will always find comrades who support our initiatives. If we choose the second, these comrades will see us as their enemies.
We too are for ecology and against all kinds of pollution, but we see the ecological struggle within the context requiring the total subversion of all the relations and values on which the system is based.
The catastrophe psychosis
In this society ruled by the technological apparatuses of capital and the State, social consensus now passes through the anonymous computerised control that is militarising every aspect of individuals’ relational life. Increasingly dominated by these technological means, life is being reduced to a cold expression of mechanistic acts.
A terroristic invasive blackmail has been put into effect for some time now. It consists of ever more frequent recourse to the police logic of emergency through a distortion of problems by the media which, using apocalyptic images of imminent possible catastrophes, are pushing great masses of people to mobilise to avoid them. The anguish contained in a world view dominated by a generalised worsening of the conditions of life is being exploited to the full.
One wonders what lies behind the alarming picture being presented by the media about the imminent ecological catastrophe. This appeal is now being seen by all as a problem to be solved, regardless of social relationships and class conflict.
We are wary of the flag-waving good intentions of politicians of every kind and creed, (including the environmental forces), for their improvised interest in citizens’ health.
We think rather that, behind the bombardment of news on the ecological red alert tripped in north Italy [for example] and the areas of high industrial concentration, where behind the alerts of atmospheric pollution another less noble battle is concealed: that for power between the old capitalist-industrialist class and the ascending one constituted of the public and private bureaucracy aware of the point reached within the technological apparatuses of capital and the State.
We know for example that the image of the—ecological— catastrophe, is pushing the mass beyond any motivations linked to their own specific condition to fight emotively not so much for possible change, but to safeguard their threatened survival, adopting the reasons of the conservation of the present social order.
The planet is dying, we all know, increasingly saturated with poisons and lacking oxygen due to air pollution, biologically dead rivers, lakes and seas reduced to rubbish; the greenhouse effect caused by the rise in carbon dioxide thanks to the massive work of deforestation of one of the largest lungs of the earth, the Amazon forest; the growing drought that is causing the exponential extension of desertified areas. At the same time we are witnessing the destiny of populations and animals, irremediably launched towards extinction, sacrificed to the logic of profit and dominion.
Any class that is preparing to dominate presents its own world and its own logic: that of the technobureaucrats, in ascension, using the ecological instrument to accelerate the process of substitution of the old one.
But what can provoke the interiorising of the logic of emergency in a mass ever more terrorised by the possibility of catastrophe, other than total adhesion to the repressive behavioural codes dictated by cybernetic power. With scientific punctuality, this is inviting millions of dispossessed individuals to participate in and mobilise alongside the institutions, to create new organisms of control and sanction new social authorities under the thrust of a rediscovered democratic radicalism.
If we think of the nuclear incident of Chernobyl, beyond the drama we note that capital and all States have drawn profit to coldly experiment elements with which to operate repressive projects of control and consensus, precisely by exploiting the idea of a permanent state of emergency and channelling public opinion on to the problem of the moment that is considered serious and irresolvable.
The emergenzial intervention does not solve the problem therefore, but serves to establish control for the aims of the management of social conflicts throughout the country, with the blackmail of a duty to collaboration between the classes.
We believe that the struggle against the domination of man over man is the basis to start off from, without equivocation, because it is the only one able to attack precisely those responsible for the plunder and destruction of social wealth and aim essentially at the liberation of man and nature intended globally.
The greens, the environmentalists, are so-called ecologists that don’t want a clean ecological planet: theirs is the green politics of apartheid, which seeks ‘green islands’ destined to solace the privileged. The international environmentalist associations are the ‘ecology’ multinationals of a capitalism that has been revised and corrected following the damage done in its preceding phase of maximum industrialisation.
The social struggle in the ecological sense is only valid if it strikes every relation of dominion, the structures of capital and the State, in such a way as to show its explosive strength and its impetus of total subversion of the existent, in that it actually prospects a new world freed from the weight of domination. The liberation of nature and animals therefore becomes part of this project in which there is the possibility of finding oneself in the conditions to enjoy the benefits of it for everyone.
To shut down the production of death is the least one can do. But in our opinion it is also necessary to attack and unmask the role of the environmentalist political forces that, covered by sacrosanct ecological motivations, are getting ready to manage the existent instrumentally in an alternative and more rational way, certainly not to destroy it.
On insurrectional theory and practice
Life proves to us every day that there are no legal or peaceful roads capable of taking us beyond the constrictions imposed by capital and the State. Social insurrection remains the only valid way to bring about the goal of liberation and the creation of anarchy directly.
In no way can the revolution be seen in the logic of stagnant compartmentalisation and artificial separations such as parties and syndicalist structures. One’s liberation, being the whole of the acts that constitute our revolutionary action in the social field, cannot be delegated. Complete liberation from all power could never be something separate from the way we organise to bring it about.
The problem is how to translate such a critique into immediate propositive and destructive action. If analysis must grasp and highlight the way the structures of capital and the State operate in the social clash, to be valid it must also be capable of pointing out where we can attack in order to develop antagonism concretely and avoid it becoming a mere sociological exercise.
It has become urgent to work towards a projectuality that could spread horizontally among comrades and exploited directly, giving life to a theory of destruction and transformation in order to outline and build one’s action in the development of the struggle based on autonomy and self-organisation.
This intervention must be in the direction of a direct re-appropriation of everything, the immediate satisfaction of all one’s needs and desires through the conquest of wider and wider spaces of livability, movement, freedom snatched from the enemy, while posing the question of how to continue one’s revolutionary action.
It is therefore necessary to be able to link the various situations of partial, specific situations (from school, to social precariousness, to homelessness, etc.) to within the whole social struggle and translate them into generalised moments of the social clash.
Critique of reformism
As well as clashing with all the structures of power every day in the reality of the social struggle we also come up against a myriad of organisations that maintain they have espoused the cause of proletarian liberation. Unions, parties, groupuscules all from one ideological matrix: the socialist/marxist one, ranging from boorish reformist social democrats to the ultra revolutionary inquisitorial dictatorial version of authoritarian communists. All of them, in line with their political credo, be it orthodox or revisionist, consider themselves the leading light of the exploited, or rather the bearers of their revolutionary consciousness, and act accordingly. In whatever guise they present themselves—reformist or revolutionary—these structures could not be of any help even if they wanted to, and all their actions turn out to be exclusively to our daetriment, as has been seen in the past. It must be realised that whoever supports the concept of the party-guide, either formal or real, (i.e. its progressive construction during the course of proletarian struggles), is in fact an enemy of the self-liberation of the proletarianised in that it denies the latter the direct re-appropriation of their conditions as a whole.
The proletarianised are those who have no real power of decision over their lives which have been not been understood by the authoritarians and idealists. It is not possible to enclose the flowing of life as the becoming of everything into a model of the perfect society, no matter how equal and free it might seem. Anarchy is movement which, like the field of desirability, gives each one the possibility, according to their own most individual and unsyndical needs, to create their own institutions of free life together with other individuals, in an eternal qualitative context for all.
For this reason our way of organising ourselves becomes liberating when we put ourselves in the field of informality precisely because its forms are expressions that are subject to our needs. If we organise starting off from what we want, i.e. on the basis of objectives to be reached, organisation will be the expression of these needs, ready to change at the moment in which structures are no longer suited to new ones. All the organisational structures we give life to should possess this indispensable requirement, precisely because it must reflect our needs for freedom in act. This way of organising certainly goes beyond what we have met up till now in other organisational forms which, as we have observed, have always given very bad results.
Our anarchist insurrectionalist project starts off precisely from this way of organising oneself which goes beyond all the other revolutionary ways of organising that have been expressed in the past. And as attempts go it is certainly more interesting and rich in unforeseen results.
Each model should be elaborated in the field of one’s own intervention and should bear in mind the real necessities of the place one is operating in. We can show the logic to be followed but we do not consider that we can export any revolutionary organisational model, because it would be contrary to our way of seeing and perceiving reality. This is what we mean by direct mass attack and the possibility of a development of mass insurrectional organisms through the creation of autonomous base nuclei not necessarily linked to the world of work. In any case, it is always in specific reality that one should begin to work out the intervention, according to the given conditions.
Towards a New Projectuality
If we consider reality as irreversable movement, where the possibility of creating other than what is happening depends on our active intervention, we discover that the sense of change within us acquires a new value through the practical attempts we carry out.
Analysis and radical critique are instruments in a project aimed at identifying elements that are qualitatively capable of creating discontinuity: action turns out to be the logical extension, the putting into practice, of what we really want to know and verify. There is no contradiction between theory and practice, between form and content, precisely at the moment in which the encounter takes place in reality and not in the paradise of abstraction.
In spite of the fact that the media exalt the imperviousness of the apparatus of social control, such actions as those that took place recently against the Montedison show its vulnerability. They shatter the wall of appearances designed to make the mass feel powerless.
The anonymous attack carried out by individuals who have discovered the possibility of intervening directly on their own material conditions, completely dissolves the terroristic blackmail created ad hoc by the State.
What the system is afraid of is not these acts of sabotage in themselves, so much as their spreading socially. Every proletarianised individual who disposes of even the most modest means can draw up his or her objectives, alone or with others. It is materially impossible for the State and capital to police the whole of the apparatus of control that exists over the whole social territory. Also, by attacking energy sources, the productive system is also short-circuited: everything stops when the power is cut.
Anyone who really wants to contrast the network of control can make their own theoretical and practical contribution. The apparition of the first broken links coincides with the spreading of acts of sabotage over the territory. The anonymous practice of social self-liberation could spread to all fields, breaking the codes of prevention put into act by power. The still minoritarian acts of sabotage against the vivisection centres, the death factories, the enfants terribles against information technology, will become the new way of relating to the world capitalist State. Its complete destruction will be what interests this new movement, certainly not its expropriation and alternative management.
To know in order to transform
The ecological destroyers have given us back the meaning of revolutionary and social action, showing us the possibility of creating the conditions of change directly, preventing the destruction of the planet from going ahead without having recourse to intermediaries, the creators of impotence.
Policing of ideas and practising freedom
While awaiting the reasons that push one to attack to emerge clearly, we must dissolve the State lynching of its opposers and its rigging of the new scenaria of social prison on to them.
One of the most urgent things to be done is to relaunch a coherent practice of freedom aimed at unhinging the myriad of great and also tiny cathedrals that oppress us. The real and only terrorists are the Statists of every kind and colour, advocates of a situation of emergency that produces repression and militarises the whole territory of social life; mountains of prohibitions that suffocate all proletarianised individuals, prisoners of a permanent state of illiberty sanctioned in the name of a violent peace.
It is necessary to oppose oneself to the policing of ideas and see freedom as the extensive base on which to regulate all relationships, both at individual and social level.
Many are asking themselves what these anonymous individuals want. We do not have this kind of problem, because we think that whoever does not aspire to management or command, but only to extending and radicalising the movement of social self-liberation, has no need for long words and documents. In fact it is probably precisely this that frightens the oppressors, accustomed until now to dealing with an enemy too similar to itself.
The atmosphere primed by the State serves to prevent the circulation of ideas, to condition every debate with reasons of State. Perhaps today we have an insurgent movement ahead of us which, deserting the street spectacle, is going ahead without leaders, freeing itself not only of repression but also of ideology, and sooner or later it will pour forth like a full river into the streets, drowning the spectacle that wanted to represent it.
All this is frightening, not only for the State managers, but also to certain revolutionaries in the habit of “controlling” and conceiving things in the usual stale way, not all that different to the way the enemy sees us.
We recognise individual rebellion as being right, it being the basis of every social road of liberation. Whoever tries to free themselves, organises themself. Freedom is not dead: only there are those who, defying everyone and everything, are making it take its first steps. We are against domination of any kind, and are not afraid of all this. Perhaps it is for this reason that, behind the wall of incomprehension we are able to understand the reasons of those who rebel, and give the lie to those who have aligned themselves with the old world.
Beyond Workerism, Beyond Syndicalism
Trade unionism is in its decline. In good as in evil with this structural form of struggle an era is disappearing, a model and a future world seen in terms of an improved and corrected reproduction of the old one.
We are moving towards new and profound transformations. In the productive structure, in the social structure.
Methods of struggle, perspectives, even short term projects are also transforming.
In an expanding industrial society the trade union moves from instrument of struggle to instrument supporting the productive structure itself.
Revolutionary syndicalism has also played its part, pushing the most combative workers forward but, at the same time, pushing them backwards in terms of capacity to see the future society or the creative needs of the revolution. Everything remained parcelled up within the factory dimension. Workerism is not just common to authoritarian communism. Singling out privileged areas of the class clash is still one of the most deep-rooted habits that it is difficult to lose.
The end of trade-unionsim therefore. We have been saying so for fifteen years now. At one time this caused criticism and amazement, especially when we included anarcho-syndicalism in our critique. We are more easily accepted today. Basically, who does not criticise the trade unions today? No one, or almost no one.
But the connection is overlooked. Our criticism of trade unionism was also criticism of the “quantitative” method that has all the characteristics of the party in embryo. It was also a critique of the specific organisations of synthesis. It was also a critique of class respectability borrowed from the bourgeoisie and filtered through the cliches of so-called proletarian morals. All that cannot be ignored.
If many comrades agree with us today in our now traditional critique of trade-unionism those who share a view of all the consequences that it gives rise to are but a few.
We can only intervene in the world of production using means that do not place themselves in the quantitative perspective. They cannot therefore claim to have specific anarchist organisations behind them working on the hypothesis of revolutionary synthesis.
This leads us to a different method of intervention, that of building factory “nuclei” or zonal “nuclei” which limit themselves to keeping in contact with a specific anarchist structure, and are exclusively based on affinity. It is from the relationship between the base nucleus and the specific anarchist structure that a new model of revolutionary struggle emerges to attack the structures of capital and the State through recourse to insurrectional methods.
This allows for a better awareness of the profound transformations that are taking place in the productive structure. The factory is about to disappear, new productive organisations are taking its place, based mainly on automation. The workers of yesterday will become partially integrated into a supporting situation or simply into a situation of social security in the short-term, survival in the long one. New forms of work will appear on the horizon. Already the classical workers’ front no longer exists. Likewise the trade union, as is obvious. At least it no longer exists in the form in which we have known until now. It has become a firm like any other.
A network of increasingly different relations, all under the banner of participation, pluralism, democracy, etc, will spread over society, bridling almost all the forces of subversion. The extreme aspects of the revolutionary project will be systematically criminalised.
But the struggle will take new roads, will filter towards a thousand new subterranean channels, emerging in a hundred thousand explosions of rage and destruction with new and incomprehensible symbology.
As anarchists, carriers of an often heavy mortgage frorn the past, we must be careful not to remain distanced from a phenomenon that we end up not understanding and whose violence could one fine day even scare us. And above all we must be careful to develop our analyses in full.
Alfredo M. Bonanno
Beyond the Structure of Synthesis
Anarchists of all tendencies refuse the model of hierarchical and authoritarian organisation. They refuse parties, vertical structures that impose directives from above in a more or less obvious way. In positing the liberatory revolution as the only social solution possible, anarchists consider that the means used in bringing about this transformation will condition the ends that are achieved. And authoritarian organisations are certainly not instruments that lead to liberation.
At the same time it is not enough to agree with this in words alone. It is also necessary to put it into practice. In our opinion an anarchist structure such as a structure of synthesis presents not a few dangers. When this kind of organisation develops to full strength as it did in Spain in ’36 it begins to resemble a party. Synthesis becomes control. Certainly, this is barely visible in quiet periods so what we are saying now might seem like blasphemy.
This kind of structure is based on groups or individuals who are in more or less constant contact with each other, and has its culminating moment in periodical congresses. In these congresses the basic analysis is discussed, a programme is drawn up and tasks are divided covering the whole range of social intervention. It is an organisation of synthesis because it sets itself up as a point of reference capable of synthesizing the struggles taking place within the class clash. Various groups intervene in the struggles, give their contribution, but never lose sight of the theoretical and practical orientation that the organisation as a whole decided upon during the congress.
Now, in our opinion, an organisation structured in this way runs the risk of being behind in respect of the effective level of the struggle, as its main aim is that of carrying the struggle to within its own project of synthesis, not of pushing it towards its insurrectional realisation. One of its main objectives is quantitative growth in membership. It therefore tends to draw the struggle to the lowest common denominator by proposing caution aimed at putting a brake on any rash moves or any choice of objectives that are too exposed or risky.
Of course that does not mean that all the groups belonging to the organisation of synthesis automatically act in this way: often comrades are autonomous enough to choose the most effective proposals and objectives in a given situation of struggle. It is a mechanism intrinsic to the organisation of synthesis however that leads it to make decisions that are not up to the situation, as the main aim of the organisation is to grow in order to develop as wide a struggle front as possible. It tends not to take a clear and net position on issues, but finds a way, a political road that displeases the fewest and is digestable to most.
The reactions we get when making criticisms such as this are often dictated by fear and prejudice. The main fear is that of the unknown which pushes us towards organisational schema and formalism among comrades. This safeguards us from a search hinged on the risk of finding ourselves involved in unknown experiences. This is quite obvious when we see the great need some comrades have for a formal organisation that obeys the requirements of constancy, stability and work programmed in advance.
In reality these elements serve us in our need for certainty and not revolutionary necessity.
Instead we think that the informal organisation can supply valid starting points for getting out of this uncertainty.
This different type of organisation seems to us to be capable of developing—contrary to an organisation of synthesis—more concrete and productive relationships as they are based on affinity and reciprocal knowledge. Moreover, the time when it reaches its true potential is when it participates in concrete situations of struggle, not when drawing up theoretical or practical platforms, statutes or associative rules.
An organisation structured informally is not built on the basis of a programme fixed in a congress. The project is realised by the comrades themselves in the course of the struggle and during the development of the struggle itself. This organisation has no privileged instrument of theoretical and practical elaboration, nor does it have problems of synthesis. Its basic project is that of intervening in a struggle with an insurrectional objective.
However great the limitations of the comrades involved in the informal kind of anarchist organisation might be, and what the latter’s defects might be, the method still seems valid to us and we consider a theoretical and practical exploration of it to be worthwhile..
The Autonomous Base Nucleus
The autonomous base nucleus is not an entirely new form of struggle. Attempts have been made to develop these structures in Italy over the past ten years. The most notable of these was the Autonomous Movement of the Turin Railway Workers, and the Self-managed Leagues against the cruise missile base in Comiso.
We believe the revolutionary struggle is without doubt a mass struggle. We therefore see the need to build structures that are capable of organising as many groups of exploited as possible.
We have always considered the syndicalist perspective critically, both because of its limitations as an instrument and because of its tragic historical involution that no anarchist lick of paint can cover up. So we reached the hypothesis of building autonomous base nuclei without the characteristics of mini-syndicalist structures, having other aims and organisational relations.
Through these structures an attempt has been made to link the specific anarchist movement to social struggles. A considerable barrier of reticence and incomprehension has been met among comrades and this has been an obstacle to realising this organisational method. It is in moments of action that differences emerge among comrades who all agree with anarchist propaganda, the struggle against the State, selfmanagement and direct action in principle. When we move into an organisational phase, however, we must develop a project that is in touch with the present level of the clash between the classes.
We believe that due to profound social transformation it is unthinkable for one single structure to try to contain the whole social and economic struggle within it. In any case, why should the exploited have to enter and become part of a specific anarchist organisation in order to carry out their struggle?
A radical change in the way society—exploitation—is being run can only be achieved by revolution. That is why we are trying to intervene with an insurrectional project. The struggles of the future will only have a positive outcome if the relationship between informal specific anarchist structure and the mass structure of autonomous base nuclei is clarified and put into effect.
The main aim of the nucleus is not to abolish the State or capital, which are practicably unattackable so long as they remain a general concept. The objective of the nucleus is to fight and attack this State and this Capital in their smaller and more attainable structures, having recourse to an insurrectional method.
The autonomous base groups are mass structures and constitute the point of encounter between the informal anarchist organisation and social struggles.
The organisation within the nucleus distinguishes itself by the following characteristics:
a) autonomy from any political, trade union or syndical force;
b) permanent conflictuality (a constant and effective struggle towards the aims decided upon, not sporadic occasional interventions);
c) attack (the refusal of compromise, mediation or accomodation that puts off the attack on the chosen objective).
As far as aims are concerned, these are decided upon then realised through attacks upon the repressive, military and productive structures, etc. The importance of permanent conflictuality and attack is fundamental.
These attacks are organised by the nuclei in collaboration with specific anarchist structures which provide practical and theoretical support, developing the search for the means required for the action, pointing out the structures and individuals responsible for repression, and offering a minimum of defence against attempts at political or ideological recuperation by power or against repression pure and simple.
At first sight the relationship between specific anarchist organisation and autonomous base nucleus might seem contradictory. The specific structure follows an insurrectional perspective, while the base nuclei seem to be in quite another dimension, that of intermediate struggle. But this struggle only remains such at the beginning. If the analysis on which the project is based coincides with the interests of the exploited in the situation in which they find themselves, then an insurrectional outcome of the struggle is possible. Of course this outcome is not certain. That cannot be guaranteed by anyone.
This method has been accused of being incomplete and of not taking into account the fact that an attack against one or more structures always ends up increasing repression. Comrades can reflect on these accusations. We think it is never possible to see the outcome of a struggle in advance. Even a limited struggle can have the most unexpected consequences. And in any case, the passage from the various insurrections—limited and circumscribed—to revolution can never be guaranteed in advance by any procedure. We go forward by trial and error, and say to whoever has a better method—carry on.
Anarchists have a contradictory relationship with the question of organisation.
On the one hand there are those who accept a permanent structure divided into commissions with a well-defined programme and means at their disposal (even if only a few), while on the other there are those who refuse any stable relationship, even in the short term.
Classical anarchist federations and individualists are the two extremes of an escape from the reality of the clash. The comrade that belongs to an organised structure hopes that a revolutionary transformation will be the result of a growth in numbers, so deludes themself that the structure is capable of controlling any authoritarian involution or concession to the party logic. The individualist comrade is concerned about their ego and fears any form of contamination, any concession to or active collaboration with others, believing that would be giving in and compromising.
This turns out to be the natural consequence, even for comrades who consider the problem of specific organisation and the federation of groups critically.
The organisation is thus born before any struggles take place and ends up adapting to the idea of a certain kind of struggle which—at least one supposes—is to make the organisation itself grow. In this way the structure has a vicarious relationship with the repressive initiatives of power, which for various reasons dominate the scene of the class struggle. Resistance and the self-organisation of the exploited are seen as molecular elements to be grasped here and there, but which only become meaningful on entering and becoming part of the specific structure or when they allow themselves to be regrouped into mass organisms under the (more or less direct) leadership of the latter.
In this way, one is always waiting. It is as though we are all in provisional liberty. We scrutinise the attitudes of power, keeping ready to react (always within the limits of the possible) against the repression that strikes us, but hardly ever take the initiative and intervene in first person, upturning the logic of losers. Anyone seeing themselves in structured organisations expects to see the number of their members grow. Anyone working within mass structures (in the anarcho-syndicalist optic for example) is expecting today’s little demands to turn into great revolutionary results in the future. Those who refuse all that but also spend their time waiting, who knows what for, are often stuck in resentment against all and everything, sure of their own ideas without realising that they are no more than the flip side of the organisational and programmatical stance.
We believe that it is possible to do something else.
We start off from the consideration that it is necessary to make contact with other comrades in order to pass to action. So long as our struggle is reduced to platonic protest, no matter how bloody and terrible it sounds, but is still platonic, we are not in a condition to act alone. If we want to act on reality incisively we need to be many.
How can we find our comrades? We have got rid of programmes and platforms in advance, rejecting them once and for all. So what is left?
Affinities and divergence exist among anarchists. I am not talking about personal affinity here, i.e. sentimental aspects that often bring comrades together (in the first place love, friendship, sympathy, etc.), I am talking about a deepening of reciprocal knowledge. The more this grows, the greater the affinity can become. In the case of the contrary, divergences can turn out to be so great as to make any action impossible. So the solution lies in a growth in reciprocal knowledge that is developed through a projectual consideration of the various problems that the class struggle presents us with.
There are a whole range of problems that we want to face, and usually we are careful not to go into them too deeply. We often limit ourselves to things close to us because they affect us most (repression, prison, etc.).
But it is precisely our capacity to examine a specific problem that opens up the way to creating the conditions for affinity. This can obviously never be complete (except in very rare cases), but can be enough for creating relations disposed towards acting.
If we restrict our intervention to the obvious aspects of what we consider the main problems to be, we will never find the affinity we desire. We will constantly be wandering around at the mercy of sudden unexpected contradictions that could upturn any project of intervention in reality. I insist on pointing out that affinity should not be confused with sentiment. We can recognise affinity with comrades that we do not particularly like, just as we can like comrades with whom we have no affinity.
Among other things, it is important not to let oneself be hindered by false problems such as a presumed distinction between feelings and political motivations. From what we have just said it might seem that feelings should be kept separate from political analysis, so we could love someone and not share their ideas at all and vice versa. That is roughly possible, no matter how lacerating it might be. The personal aspect (or that of feelings if you like) must be included in the above concept of going into the range of problems, as instinctively succumbing to our impulses often signifies a lack of reflection and analysis, or not being able to admit to simply being possessed by god.
Now a first approximation of our way of considering the anarchist group beginss to emerge, even nebulously, a number of comrades linked by a common affinity.
The more the project that these comrades are building together is gone into, the greater their affinity will become. It follows that real organisation, the effective (not illusory) capacity to act together, i.e. find each other, make analyses and pass to action, is related to the level of affinity reached and has nothing to do with more or less camouflaged monograms, programmes, platforms, flags or parties.
The affinity group is therefore a specific organisation that comes together on the basis of common affinities. They cannot all be identical, different comrades will have infinite affinity structures, all the more varied the wider the effort of analytical quest reached.
It follows that these comrades will also tend towards quantitative growth, which is limited however and not the main aim of the activity. Growth in numbers is indispensable for action and it is also a test of the breadth of the analyses that one is developing and its capacity to gradually discover affinity with a greater number of comrades.
It follows that the organism thus born will end up giving itself means of intervention in common. First, an instrument of debate necessary for analysis capable, as far as possible, of supplying indications on a wide range of problems and at the same time constituting a point of reference for the verification—at a personal or collective level—of the affinities or divergences that arise.
Lastly it should be said that although the element that holds a group of this kind together is undoubtedly affinity, its propulsive aspect is action. To limit oneself to the first element and leave the other in second place would result in relationships withering in Byzantian perfectionism.
Affinity groups, informal organization, insurrection
Alfredo M. Bonanno
The list proposed by the organizers of this encounter contains what we could consider fairly general topics. For example, the relationship between affinity groups and informal organization. But first we need to have a better idea of what the insurrectional project is, so I suggest we go into this aspect. Here is the first question: “Is this insurrectional project something that we imagine as exclusively ours, or is it something that we believe could also interest people in different social situations”?
Of course, the concept of “people” needs to be further gone into. Who are we referring to when we talk about “people”? Whatever the meaning of this word, no matter what social entity we are referring to, we are not using it to refer to other anarchist comrades, otherwise we would cease to understand each other. When we say that the insurrectional project can include a discourse to people in a given area, a concrete organizational, programatic discourse over time, and when we say that it could, theoretically, involve these people, we are referring to people who might not give a damn about anarchy or anarchism.
Do we agree, or not? Or do we think that this has nothing to do with an anarchist insurrectionalist project, as anarchists must make the insurrection themselves?
Well, I think we should ask ourselves: “Why do we talk to people? Is it just to say: this is our idea, this is what we think, do what you like”? Or do we talk to people to explain our interpretation of a problem that is affecting everyone?
These are points that require some clarification before we embark on the discourse of informal organization. After all, the insurrectional project is not something that happens automatically, it is conditioned by the choices and theoretical positions that precede it. But if we think that our sole interest is individual insurrection, the creation of affinity groups, the relationship between the individual and affinity group, the relationship between affinity groups and informal organization, if we want to stay in our own back yard, we could create a mechanism which, although in act, would end up acting in a void or playing itself out as confirmation of ourselves as anarchists, only capable of doing things that people cannot understand.
The insurrectional project could also be “other”, let’s say, could have a further stage in which we present ourselves in a given reality, in a specific territory (territory is an ambiguous word), however, it takes place in a precise place where there are repressive projects underway. These repressive projects affect people. So you have to know how to intervene in these repressive projects.
I see, vaguely, an obstacle that requires clarification. Do we consider this question something intimately connected with the issues to be addressed here at this three-day encounter, that is, with the specifically anarchist structure of affinity groups, informal organization? Do we consider this the essential point from which to realize a project in the territory, a movement of an insurrectionalist nature along with other people?
On occasions of theoretical analysis such as this, we should all make an effort to make certain distinctions. That is, make an effort, even hypothetical, taking for granted many fundamental aspects since we are among ourselves and so must assume that the comrades here know what certain ways of conceiving the revolutionary and anarchist struggle mean.
If, on the other hand, we see many facets for every proposal made, probably nine hundred and ninety of them do not need to be gone into here. When a distinction was made a moment ago, a little schematic and perhaps even unrealistic but nevertheless not unimportant, about whether the insurrectional project is something that we say to people in a specific context, or something that we do with people, it seemed interesting to me, a distinction that we cannot ignore. This distinction, this choice of words, is not accidental. For example, there is a considerable difference of intervention between working in structures that include the presence of the local people, as was done in Comiso, or in street conditions where you are saying something to people, as was done in Trento in the recent intervention against the Pope’s visit. These are two separate situations, which in abstract perhaps are unrepeatable, belong to no fixed pattern, and are not exactly the same. Someone rightly said: “It is not because something was done that way once that things should always be done like that.” I absolutely agree, heaven forbid. But here, at this moment, we are not imagining the many facets of how to realize a project, we are trying to see if a precise phase of projectuality is possible. There, that’s the point.
To be more specific, when we insert the issue of small actions spread throughout the territory into this discourse, we are not talking about something else, we are only widening the problem, so a further schematism becomes necessary, otherwise we do not understand anymore.
There can be no doubt that when the model of small actions spread throughout the territory was proposed, and it was proposed through realizations, not just on paper, it went something like this: “We are not interested in grandiose actions that are hosted on the front pages of the newspapers but leave many comrades with the desire to do something far away and, in the face of such actions, conclude that these are things of a military nature and so are not repeatable”. In that case, we did not want to build an a priori scheme, to be applied in all cases and for any occasion. The concept of “repeatable, or reproducible actions” had a precise meaning in a certain historical moment. It meant, that is, that there was no need to repropose the “Moro kidnapping” model, which perhaps many comrades had liked, but which very few would have been able to repeat. The small action was instead something else. Reflecting well it is clear that we have not invented anything. Over the past twenty five years hundreds of thousands of small actions of attack have been carried out, all actions that were not claimed. Now, the small action, having the capacity to develop by itself, speaks to comrades with a simpler and more direct discourse, so certain things develop on their own over time, without direct suggestions, no organizational agreement and no detailed program.
The great theme of “small actions” is part of the insurrectional project, it is its basic fabric, the underground soul, but it does not solve the project as a whole. The insurrectional project is a step forward, projected towards the future, a factor which, as I have said a few times, ensures a better establishing of affinity and, therefore, allows to project more effectively toward the same informal organization. The comrades who want to do things see the affinity group, or the informal level of organization, as means to enhance this individual capacity of theirs, not as structures from which to expect directions and programs, choices and justifications in retrospect. So, the discourse of small actions is certainly one that can ‘also’ be made to people, and has its own contents, is part of the insurrectional project, but is also a specific discourse which, for the moment, you can put between parentheses, just to make the theoretical study of the organizational problem easier.
The intervention in Comiso, how was it done? Someone might say: “The Comiso model was realised twelve years ago, what does that have to do with us today?”. I think that model can still be interesting today. The Comiso model was realised at a time when the problem of the construction of the missile base arose. This was a problem that came to fall on an area inhabited by about 350,000 people. This event could recur in time. Here, for example, there will be the problem of the Susa Valley and the High Speed Railway. Frankly these problems do not interest people in Sicily, just as, probably, those in the Valley did not care anything about the question of the base in Comiso, despite all the talk about the dangers of atomic energy. Chernobyl was still to come.
Now, the model of intervention when we began our work in Comiso was based on the classic “struggle Committee”, where there was everybody: the anarchists, the residues of Lotta Continua, the Greens, the fringes of Autonomy, the Communist Party. There wasn’t the Socialist Party because it was in favour of the base, for that reason alone. Everyone was there. When we went to Comiso we said immediately that we did not care for that kind of sideshow, we wanted to do something alone. So the anarchists, we went alone, proposing a project which, in my opinion, still constitutes a model of revolutionary intervention.
We didn’t say, “Now we are all going to Comiso and, as we are the bearers of revolutionary truth, we will explain to people what the risks are, etc., then greet all of them, kiss them on one cheek then the other cheek and go back home.” No, we stayed on the spot for two years. That is, for two years we tried to talk to the people, and to involve the whole anarchist movement on the issue of Comiso. So we talked not only to the people, but on two levels: one to the people in the area, using all the techniques that can be used in such cases, which we recently repeated in Trento, and one to the whole movement. The outdoor talks, for example, were not only done in Comiso and surrounding areas, but a bit all over Italy to try to involve people in the story of Comiso, the same went for conferences and other means of spreading our thesis: posters, flyers, radio interviews, and everything else.
Now, at this point of the intervention in Comiso we are still at the level that we employed in Trento, that is, we went there and talked to people. But in Comiso we went a step further, and this is the problem that we need to face here. We contributed to building structures that bring people together, not anarchist structures. Attention: not anarchist structures. That’s the point. There they were called “Leagues”, they might be called something different in the future. Structures that constituted a public point of reference that people could turn to. We took a place, we set up a “Coordination” of these structures that were being created a bit everywhere. Structures that, for all the time that the initiative lasted, never individually went beyond the quantitative strength of three, four, five people, only some of whom were comrades. And this is the point that we need to grasp. As quantitative structures of an insurrectionary type, they constituted a landmark because at the moment when the spring snapped ready to occupy and destroy the missile base (which it didn’t), people would know where to go, who to contact, in the different realities of each place, right down to the small and even tiny villages in the region.
And we did this work in Comiso all together, not just the insurrectionalist comrades. They took it on in first person, staying there for two years, but the whole anarchist movement became involved, with all the contradictions, distinctions, gossip, jealousy, tensions, ignorance that everyone is aware of. But the movement was involved and, right to the end, there was an effort to put it in a position to intervene in the struggle of Comiso effectively.
Of course, an undertaking of this kind has very limiting characteristics. Just the fact of staying in one place for years and developing a detailed task along with other people, often with ridiculous results quantitatively, would have put anyone off. Moreover, such an undertaking limited the other things that one might have been doing at the time and which, because of the situation of Comiso, were not done. But these things were only not done due to lack of personal virtue or ability, not because one said, “We are not doing these things because they might damage our project.” In conclusion, with regard to Comiso and our relationship with the anarchist movement as a whole, in the end it was seen that there was not the maturity, adequate capacity to respond to the level of confrontation proposed in Comiso. Perhaps the movement reached this maturity and this ability a few years later, but at the time of the intervention in Comiso it showed all its shortcomings.
The model of Comiso, that of intervening in a reality and creating organizational structures as a reference point for the local people, remains a model of great interest in the insurrectionalist project. However, care must be taken as to the meaning given to the concept of “people”, and to all the contradictions concerning the possibility of identifying the strata of exploited, excluded, and so on. In Comiso emblematic cases emerged. The people who were to suffer the land expropriations were ferocious at first, then they reached separate agreements with the public bodies called to manage the operation. It was sufficient for them to raise the price of the expropriated land for an agreement to be reached immediately in spite of all the ferocious statements made previously. So it is not so easy to identify the range of people willing to do something, even if they are directly affected by the phenomenon.
So, if we want to explore this aspect, we must discuss these base structures better or, if you prefer not to talk about this, we can limit ourselves to the model that we proposed during the intervention done a few days ago in the Trento area and Rovereto, where we spoke to the people, limiting ourselves to saying: “We don’t like the Pope.”
What matters is therefore an objective to be reached, the projectual hypothesis to accomplish. In Comiso it could have been destroying the base, in Trento it could have been to prevent the Pope’s visit, or at least to hinder it. These interventions concluded, the goals achieved or not achieved, I am no longer interested in the people of Comiso or of Trento.
Indeed, I can say that, considering them responsible for their own situation, these people make me sick. It would be impossible to envisage an ongoing, say, quantitative relationship with them, of aggregative growth, in other words, a relationship based on party modules. None of us has any interest in such relationships. So, destroyed or not the base, either the Pope came or he didn’t, that’s enough with the people of Comiso and Trento.
But we should not forget that the discourse we are speaking of constitutes the attempt to achieve the above objectives “along with the people”, or, as regards the intervention in Trento, of making people aware of a certain analysis regarding a repressive institution. Otherwise, you might have other interventions: destroy the base alone, prevent the Pope’s visit alone, but that would mean other ways of intervening, which here, now, we are putting in parentheses. It’s easy to find this type of intervention limited, but, in the same way, you might find a direct attack in the territory limited, for example, the felling of a pylon. A thousand partial criticisms can be directed against the latter, aimed at illustrating its great limitations as a destructive act, its ease of recuperation by power, and everything else.
Similarly, a thousand criticisms could be made of the Comiso model or of Trento. There is no doubt that everything can be recuperated. But I am interested, both in the case of the pylon and in that of the Comiso or Trento model, that these actions can be repeated, realised under changed conditions, with different people, because the development of these actions has a revolutionary sense precisely when it takes the form of considerable facts, repeated in time and space, under changed conditions.
Why lock oneself in an absolute critical denial stating (which might be true): “We cannot do anything because people don’t come with us,” or, “We aren’t interested in doing anything with people because in any case they wouldn’t come with us”. The things we do alone, and those that we try to do together with people, are certainly different from the methodoligical point of view, but are only apparently different from the point of view of the revolutionary objectives to be reached. They often complement each other.
Moreover, the fact that people threaten to not to follow our indications should not be seen as an absolute brake. The opposite would scare me. I have no intention of becoming a specialist either of an intervention similar to that of Comiso (with great popular following), or of smashing down pylons (all alone in the night).
There have been many criticisms of the choices made in the intervention in Comiso, also concerning the modality of these interventions, one that has been called, not without reason, of a “populist” nature.
In Comiso, the anarchist comrades present operated a choice, that is, they decided to concentrate on certain topics that they thought would affect people more: prostitution, the rise in rents, the circulation of drugs, the increase in the general cost of living, etc. In fact, that is what we said to the people: the Americans are coming, they will bring dollars, then everything will go up, etc. These arguments, especially among the young, contrary to what you may think, had a vast effect.
But the matter never remained isolated. The outdoor meetings, and the many conferences, not only in the area of Comiso and Ragusa, but also a bit all over Italy, were never based on these points alone, in fact they were, say, put aside or taken for granted each time it was possible to go into deeper analysis. The fact that someone has noted (rightly) that even the Bishop of Ragusa took up our arguments later, might be seen, on the one hand, as the populist slant of the same (already admitted), but also indicates how widespread the work of the comrades in the area was.
In fact, in an interview given to a local newspaper, the Bishop not only cited our arguments, he repeated them in the same order in which we had exposed them in the leaflets and posters put in circulation. But these arguments were inserted in a specifically anarchist discourse, and this for several reasons.
Any intervention also spoke of antimilitarism, because it was necessary to make what the missile base signified be understood, what the presence of the Americans meant, what the function of NATO, or that of the Socialist Party (the politics of these areas are predominantly socialist and communist), etc. was, and so the basic theses were always inserted within the context of anti-militarism.
And since this discourse was done by anarchists, we must give it credit that it was an anarchist anti-militarist discourse. It is also untrue that we did not talk about other things, as it was necessary to clarify all the problems of method. And the method is not just summed up in the concept: we either destroy the base or collect signatures (as the Greens said), but you specify the organizational aspects precisely. When we suggested the idea of the Leagues, we had to explain the concept of autonomy from political parties or economic forces, self-management of the structure, permanent conflict, etc.
Every time we talked we would explain these underlying concepts, including in the proposal of the populist argument above. The choice of the populist argument may now be open to criticism as much as you like, but at the time it depended on the choices that the comrades gathered together had made, in a specific historical situation, with all the limitations that that implies. In different situations, with the contributions of other comrades, one could have made different decisions and carried out differently focused interventions.
To give a concrete example, if you talk about the High-speed train, you cannot just limit yourself to the technical aspects of this context, you have to make a discourse on the technology, on the relationship between technology and society, another on militarization of the technology and consequently of the territory, through the use of advanced technologies, etc. That is, you must insert a deepening of a general nature into the specific context of High-speed, otherwise, the specific destructive speech is unfounded, it seems that you are facing the destructive discourse because we like fighting, that’s all. You cannot just talk of damage to crops, or to the land, as part of the problem of the High-speed, but we must also say something about speed itself, therefore the scientific and technological problems arising from it. It is not true that everything can be reduced to traditional analysis in terms of class, because it is not true that so-called poor people don’t care about the idea of doing the route from Turin to Lyon in one hour, and this even if they will never make that journey in their life, or even get into a train. The poor enjoy just imagining that such a fast train exists, see the fact in the same fantasy and imagination with which they follow the races of great sports cars. And so, they might ask: “Why do these fools want to do such a thing? Why do they want to prevent the construction of such a fast train?” The included are not the only ones to be interested in the High-speed rail, but also the excluded, because it is not true that all the excluded think like us about such projects.
Even in the recent interventions [comizi] in Trento and Rovereto, the slant chosen for the talks was very different to that of classic anti-clericalism. It brought in to it the anticlerical criticism of power, therefore analysis of the relationship between Church and power.
Perhaps some comrades would have chosen another aspect, a different intervention, the classic one, aimed at accentuating the more irrational aspects of religion, I don’t know, for example, the Madonna in tears, the pseudo-scientific swindle of miracles, etc. We chose the path of analysing the relationship between Church and power. Some might say, but why didn’t you choose that other road, which was perhaps easier for the people to understand? However, talking to people in the streets, I didn’t get the impression that they hadn’t understood.
The important thing is to be able to say things that interest us in a way that people understand us, and so find a way to get both of these results, without one being at the expense of the other. Without choosing insignificant arguments, or poorly supported by an anarchist reflection, to make oneself understood. When this happens, it is because one has nothing else in one’s mind, and this aspect is certainly a tragedy without limits.
In the context of Comiso—without wishing to judge people who are not present—you were often obliged to accept part of these analyses because there was a populist spirit in many comrades which they were unable to shake off. As far as the talks in the piazzas were concerned, I believe the speaker should agree with their comrades first about what they are going to say. If they agree to talk about given topics in a certain way, they must also accept the opinions and positions of the others, otherwise not talk. I have often found myself in difficulty when doing a public talk, because I thought it was important to bring out points and give a vision of reality that I did not fully agree with. That seems normal to me, although it can be unpleasant at times.
However, the essentialising of the topics raised and the linguistic slant of certain public interventions should never be at the expense of the anarchist content. Sometimes comrades who participate in this kind of initiative might choose a discourse closer to the populist aspects in the hope of gaining greater emotional and immediate comprehensibility. These choices can even be preferred at times, but they cannot become a absolute principle, meaning that each time you are in a situation of trying to give life to base organizational structures of an insurrectional kind, you have to choose elementary arguments devoid of any anarchist content.
The choice of four or five points, among which was included prostitution, or the increase in rent, etc., made in Comiso never prevented the anarchist antimilitarist discourse, or an analysis of the function of the international gendarmerie of the NATO being made. In addition, I want to recall that the intervention in Comiso lasted two years and, an anarchist anti-militarist conference was held the first year, so clearly the setting was far more complex. The decision to choose the aspect they want to underline, or that they consider more appropriate, is up to the comrades who are doing the work in practice.
After all, it is not at all sure that a simple slant is more comprehensible to the people listening to us. But this a problem is as old as the world. When we talk we always consider the problem of comprehension on the part of those we are talking to, so always face the difficult knot of choosing the easiest or the most articulate argument. But this is a problem that has no solution a priori. At times it nneds to be calibrated according to the situation.
At this point I would recommend another order of reflection that often, when talking with comrades, turns out to be not very clear.
The existence of affinity groups is the experience that we live almost every day so, for better or worse, we know what they are, even though each has their own ideas about what affinity can be, etc., or the functioning of the affinity group, quite complex articulations, but of which we have sufficient knowledge. Instead, what we know less about is the birth, the action and the conclusion of an informal organization.
So, for example, many people ask me: “But does this informal organization continue in time? What about its autonomy of structure? Would not it be better for it to have this autonomy of structure, because then it would become a point of reference superior to the individual groups, and so it would be able to provide operational support?” Now, these questions are all aimed at having greater ability to act.
Let’s speak clearly. Each group, like each individual, has its limits. Not only in the order of ideas, but also in the order of means and knowledge. It is therefore clear that each comrade is eager to think it is desirable to have a structure that has a greater capacity than the single group or the individual in which they recognize themself.
This discourse gets dangerously close to the idea of a rigidly structured organization. That is, we are moving away from the informal organization and the form starts to become structure. Informal organization not only means non-official organization, not equipped with acronyms, not destined to last beyond the thing that you are doing, it also means organization without structure. This is not an easy topic.
Most of us know very well that historically there have been rigid organizations, and these organizations have acted, for better and for worse, with positive or negative results, wrong choices and experiences, when not useful, interesting. But, in my opinion, there is a radical difference, which must be clearly maintained, between informal organization and rigid organization. Clearly the informal organization is marked by the intention of what you want to do in more groups, or as individuals, who have affinity with one another and come together with a view to carrying out a specific project.
Whatever this project is we will speak of later, if talking to people, if you engage with them, etc. This structure can last a long time, such as the two years of the Coordination of the Comiso leagues, which was an informal organization, or can last a very short time, such as the ten-day intervention in Trentino.
So, there is not a question of permanence in time regardless of the things you want to do, but the informal organization is born, lives and dies according to what you want to do. The rigidly structured organization is another thing, it has certain characteristics, has a certain availability, seeks the availability of certain means, ends up spreading into the mentality and practice of many comrades, becoming a structure independent of the affinity groups and imposing its own programme, its own project. It is important that this difference be clarified, because many comrades think that the informal organization is any kind of organization, a little more simplified.
The second point I wanted to go into is this. It has to do with when we are faced with a project that intends to carry out an action with the agreement and cooperation of multiple groups and comrades, but does not necessarily involve the constitution of autonomous, self-managed base structures of people who are not anarchist. Then, as happened in Trento and Rovereto, where we did not go to organize with other people but just to say our ideas about the Pope’s visit, the informal organization is, say, monovalent, has only one direction, characterized solely by the way in which the comrades situate themselves concerning the act to be realized and deciding together how to carry it out. As soon as we find ourselves in the situation of creating base structures in which non-anarchists also enter into, then the informal organization has a double meaning: on the one hand, it has the importance of relating through affinity groups, and on the other it has the value of being the reference point of an organizational nature for autonomous base structures. This hinging capability within the informal organization must be realised by the anarchists, present both in the affinity groups and the autonomous base structures. They cannot have in it people who do not know well, clearly, all the aspects of the project. It is important to be aware of this dual action to be carried out within an informal organization, an extremely significant function because in practice problems often arise regarding the functioning of the informal organization as a whole of affinity groups, and about its specific characterization in the face of the generic autonomous base nuclei, distinctions that are sometimes complex and are often not seen clearly.
Well, the characteristics of the insurrectional project now seem a little clearer as far as concerns the organizational means we decide to use. It is not just a question of what we want to do, but also the way we want to do it that the informal organization functions. It is not just that if we go to a place, such as in the case of the Valley where there is the problem of the High-speed train, and build autonomous base structures to which people may make reference, that these structures are one thing and the informal organization another, and we yet another.
When we participate in an initiative we are within this initiative totally, we are anarchists, we do not inhabit different worlds. In other words, we must be capable of not imposing ourselves on people because we have a greater mastery of the organizational means, or because we are better able to handle the ideas or ideological claims with which we counter-distinguish ourselves.
We cannot bring to bear our overarching goals with which we can explain the world, as a decisive factor in determining what to do and how to do it. The structures we give life to along with the people co-exist thanks to a kind of lung that breathes, and this lung is precisely the informal organization.
Often, I have found myself with comrades who instead were saying, “Wait a minute, we are anarchists, so the informal organization we want is an informal insurrectionalist anarchist organization, so in it we say one thing then when we are in base structures, we say something else.” That sounds good, but in practice it is disastrous because you end up making two discourses and in front of the people becoming exactly a bad imitation of the political parties, the authoritarian structures that turn up locally and make two discourses, their own and that which they propose to the people. Defects that are not always easy to spot.
The moment you start an intervention somewhere and develop it, the discourse should be, I’m not saying uniform in the sense that all comrades should say the same thing, but quite coherent. It should, that is, have a kind of homogeneity in the things one says and does, not in parts delegated to a “public discourse” but also in the things done separately here and there, individual discussions, partial interventions, actions of attack spread over the area, up to leaflets, neighbourhood discussions and all the rest. Of course, this homogeneity cannot be absolute, nor would that even be desirable. Everyone is left to their personal preparation, their desires, their spontaneity. However, in these contexts, a minimum of coordination is indispensable. It is important that the big, the very big aims of the intervention be respected.
For example, when we went to Trento and surrounding areas for the intervention against the Pope’s visit we decided not to make the classic, miserable, anti-clericalist discourse with its the story about the priests, the everlasting, the swindles of religion, the weeping madonnas, etc., in short, all the paraphernalia of anti-clericalism, cute perhaps, but destined to remain incomplete. It was decided to do a more thorough discussion, to go into the relationship between the Church and power. Now, I’m not saying that someone who has done a broad speech should then have it respected from A to Z, all the way, but certainly this is an agreement that must be borne in mind. In Trentino there were some shortcomings in this respect. I think, in the context of the Trento intervention as a whole these were unimportant, if not marginal, due to discrepancies of time or concepts, rather than things done or not done.
Of course, if we had been in conditions of intervention, destined to last in time with the project of establishing base organisms aimed at involving people, then that would have had more serious consequences.
In a situation where autonomous base structures are being formed, an error in timing concerning things to be said and things to be done can have disastrous results. However, sticking to the Trentino example, some graffiti on walls or a few actions two or three days earlier should have been done according to what was agreed in the meetings and conferences, where we tried to go deeper into the relationship between the Church and power. If I do a talk based on the relationship between the Church and power I can’t go writing “Chlorine to the clergy” on the walls.
As they write it, the comrade should be asking themself if what they are saying isn’t too far removed from what had been decided at the start. Words, actions and everything else, could have been logical, and consequential, so perfectly acceptable within the whole intervention, had they come at the end when the main discourse was over and it was just a question of leaving a “good” memory in people, our way, of course.
As I said, the consequences of these flaws were quite negligible in this context as people didn’t get involved in our discourse, so confusing them with phrases like: “Slaughter the pastor”, far from the basic premise of the intervention as a whole, was not all that serious. The most important mistake was how we set out the intervention itself, in which we were only there to say that we don’t like the Pope, without bothering to see whether any of the people of Trentino might like the Pope or not.
How different the result would have been if we had been there for the constitution of autonomous base nuclei. However, in my opinion, sticking to a certain interpretation unanimously accepted by all comrades until the entire project develops is one of the essential points of the insurrectionalist model. So the ability of each comrade to know and understand what they are going to do regardless of the discourses made through the main instruments of communication chosen, is essential.
Comrades are all different from one another. Each has their own ideas, character, preferences, derives some pleasure in doing things differently from another comrade. Otherwise we would just all be copies of one another. So the insurrectional project should have the capacity to embrace all these instincts of liberation, joy, destruction, transformation. All of them, without exception, large and small.
Why are we insurrectionalists?
Because we have this starting point, we have open minds that the maximum possible attack could even be reached. We know that it is necessary to do things that involve our lives and our future entirely during the insurrection. We don’t take one step back, otherwise we would not be insurrectionalists, we would be something else. These are the difficulties of working with other comrades who think differently from us, which is why such collaboration is often impossible.
Now, what if, at the moment you study it the insurrectional project that is put on the carpet foresees restrictions or gradualisations, even timing? Concerning the limitations, does each one not have to work things out for themselves? Yet I don’t see anything strange in a person who likes to destroy a church right away agreeing with others who want to destroy it tomorrow instead of today. But there are difficulties. At first sight it looks like an easy matter. Many say, what’s the problem. But the question always arises, in that it is abstracted from the context and in line of principle the anarchist says: “Just a minute, because I want to burn churches, always, at any time, I don’t want deadlines.” Clearly you cannot come to an agreement that in this way. You don’t want to prevent anyone, you just want to put it on the table of the agreements made, which should then be stuck to. It would be different if we said it is forbidden to burn the church as a matter of principle. In that case, the comrade who has such an interest will not want to participate, because obviously that project has other intentions, quite different from their own.
So, the insurrectional project should be able to accommodate any drive, desire, capacity of expression. This has nothing to do with the hypothesis of a separate armed group inserting itself, also makes a discourse through a flyer, then carries out militarised actions. We are no longer in the region of tension and desires, we are in the region of a different kind of project. They might also be anarchist comrades, of course, but that is not enough, they would always be part of a rigid idea of organization that does not enter the discourse. Although it should be pointed out that there can be no a priori preclusions within the insurrectionalist project such as: “Because we run the risk of taking twenty years in prison with this action, we are not going to do it.” There, such considerations should not be taken into account, or at least should bear no weight in the decisions and choices.
As part of these conditions, whoever who has the desire to do something else only has to coordinate it within the insurrectionalist project, and in order to coordinate it this comrade must intervene inside the project, not stay closed up in their own ideas and then, at the opportune moment, make their action rain down on to the project like a foreign body. In that case it would no longer be possible to operate coordination. This possibility just needs to be excluded from the start.
An insurrectional project is based on a certain method, but it starts from an analysis of the situation one wants to intervene in. Otherwise we cannot even talk about a project, much less an insurrectional one. It would be absurd to suggest an insurrectional project that only takes the method into account and does not care about the specificity of the situation in which it is preparing to intervene. But this analysis must be capable of overcoming the specific local dimension one wants to intervene in. Connect with the overall economic and political situation, the technological developments in course and everything necessary to make comprehensible a reality whose local characteristics are never completely separate from a wider context. In short, present the problem so that it has a broad conception (normally found in all our interventions), while the political parties, environmentalist groups, etc. do not do these analyses, they usually limit themselves to dealing with specific interests, often localist.
For example, keeping to the problem of the High-Speed train, our analysis cannot simply be a declaration of methodological principles, it must be very wide, not just involve the specific problem, but link it to the overall developments of capital today. Why is such a thing being done? Because for them it is essential to finance this project, not only in the Valley but also in other places. Each element of this analysis is aimed at showing people how we think, our way of proceeding and, in a sense, is the underlying reason for the methodology being proposed. This is the first proposition of the problem. Then an exposition of the environmental, territorial conditions of the Valley is needed: knowing how long it is, how wide it is, its biophysical and social composition, the structure of the villages, how far one village is from another, if there are impervious areas in the mountain, if communications are easy, if one can move around easily or not. These elements allow one to work out what can be done more clearly.
Finally, what model is being proposed to people? You cannot just say that each group involved does what it wants. If each group can do what it wants within the intervention in question, whyever should it co-ordinate with the others? The very fact that it accepts a methodological prerequisite, and this has already been put well in evidence, autonomy from political parties, permanent conflict, etc., it is not free to do anything it wants. That means you need to coordinate. And this coordination is justified because it is seeking a perspective of action in common with the others.
And again, how it will the interventions in the area be carried out? How will you talk to people? Will there be traditional means such as leaflets, bookstalls, etc., or will you foresee other types of intervention. We are always talking about propositive interventions. For me it is unimportant for us to start from an evaluation that people are against the High Speed Train. This is discourse is unimportant and remains such if it is not verified in reality, based on the proposal one makes, an analytically grounded proposal, based on an anarchist analysis. Once this first step has been taken, then you’ll see what people want to do. You can’t take anything for granted.
Any insurrectionalist intervention such as that proposed in the Val di Susa for example, has particular characteristics that start off from the specific zone and radiate beyond it. The channels through which these features radiate are of two kinds: a general theoretical one regarding the main topic we are talking about, in this case technology-power relations, and a practical channel covering all the supports from outside that make the project possible. Technical support, financial, economic, management, business, etc. So, the connections are always shown specifically. We would be making a mistake if we were to claim to extrapolate a broader discourse from this through the theoretical aspect simply because the High Speed is a consequence of the relationship between technology and power. At the same time it is also something precise, i.e. a realization of processes of acceleration of the communication systems. In my opinion, the specificity of this project should not be lost by placing it in the relationship between technology and power.
If we are talking about a particular insurrectionalist project we cannot move away from this, so you need to be able to relate actions carried out elsewhere to this specificity. However, that does not prevent comrades out actions in other territorial contexts from inserting them into the projects that they are working on, and this could extend dramatically, reaching a level such as to become an absolutely new kind of insurrectional project.
But we must get back to the subject, that is, back to an initiative such as this, with similar themes. Although we have gone ahead with this kind of analysis over these three days, we still know very little about how an informal organization functions, for example. Something has been said about this from the point of view of temporary aggregates of affinity groups, but we have said little of what happens when these fit into an informal organization of base nuclei. In the same way little has been said about how an insurrectionalist project functions in the final moment of organization of the destructive event, when finding oneself along with quite a large number of people who are not anarchists. In conclusion, I am of the opinion to resubmit the same list of arguments for the next meeting, in view of going into them more deeply.
Autonomous Movement of the Turin Railway Workers
Organization of the autonomous workers’ nucleus
The present situation is characterised by an alliance between employers, trades unions and reformist parties.
The first are using the help of the unions and so-called parties of the Left in order to continue exploitation, finding a way to make the workers pay the price of the economic crisis through a considerable sum of money paid to the industrialists by the State, thereby allowing them to survive for a few more years. To complete the picture, the parties of the Left, (with the Communist Party in the lead) are asking the working class to make sacrifices in order to save the employers and their servants.
The present characteristic of the unions and reformist parties is therefore that of collaboration with the employers; their most important task is that of extinguishing the spontaneous workers’ movement, suggesting sacrifice and condemning the workers who are disposed to carrying on a tougher form of struggle with the usual slander (calling them provocateurs).
Under these conditions it does not seem to us that the trade union can be used as an instrument of struggle.
The three main unions, the SFI, SAUFI and the SIUF are putting their collaboration into effect by selling out the railway workers through a project of restructuring that means a heavier workload for those who are employed (increased productivity), with less money (wage blocks), and an increase in unemployment.
These anti-worker objectives are backed up by demagoguery and a strong condemnation of any initiative. In this way they want to get the proposal accepted that management cannot take on wage increases, that to keep up productivity the number of working hours must remain unaltered, that the so-called phenomenon of absenteeism must be fought, and that to control the worker better the process of functional skills and work mobility will have to be re-organised.
Clearly they want to destroy any will to struggle, creating a financial situation that is unsupportable for most, hence the recourse to overtime, giving the bosses the arm of blackmail perfected by the use of the selective mechanism that stops anyone who is not capable and disciplined from getting on (in other words, whoever does not let themself be used and who refuses absolute respect for the bosses). THE AUTONOMOUS UNION, FISAFS, is developing a struggle in opposition to the three central trade unions, and claims to be autonomous.
The FISAFS is trying to exploit the rage and discontent of the workers in order to gain mass adhesion to its corporative and reactionary line. The trade-unionism of this so-called autonomous organisation is a further element in delaying the real possibility of workers’ struggle at the base, which is very strong at the present time. The aim of the FISAFS is therefore that of channelling the workers into a corporative logic necessary for the industrialists, political parties, the government and capitalism, in order to consolidate exploitation and make it last.
The FISAFS therefore, in defending the employers’ interests, cannot possibly employ the methods of struggle that characterise and qualify workers’ autonomy. At the level of alliances and political decisions, it becomes impossible for the FISAFS to differentiate itself from the other union organisations that are in opposition to the three central majority-holding unions (for example, the USFI-CISNAL).
TRUE PROLETARIAN AUTONOMY is the only possible solution for the continuation of the struggle against the employers and their servants. To do this it is necessary to begin to form Autonomous Workers’ Nuclei. These nuclei, such as those we want to create among the Turin railway workers, are born from within a precise productive reality, and should consider themselves a constant point of reference for the reality outside in the living areas, the land, the schools and so on, and draw them into the struggle.
Beginning from a clear conception of proletarian autonomy, two dangers ever present in sectorial or trade union methods of struggle are eliminated: the bureaucratisation of the structure; the tendency towards a corporate vision of the struggle.
THE AUTONOMOUS WORKERS’ NUCLEUS organises itself autonomously of the political parties and trade unions, in order to better defend the worker as an individual. Its perspective of organisation and struggle keep in mind the double necessity of imposing the confrontation both at the level of production (wages, contracts, etc.), and at the level of the individual worker’s life (work risks, alienation, necessary links between living area, place of work, school, etc.).
Autonomy is therefore a reevaluation of the individual in the worker, with a clear view of the struggle aimed at safeguarding the conditions which render possible work and life itself.
The autonomous workers’ nucleus
Is an organisation that means to distinguish itself from the trade unions, including their autonomous versions.
Its autonomy is based on an anti-bureaucratic structure.
It is based on the elimination of the permanent delegate and the negation of professional representatives.
All the workers are engaged in the struggle against the bosses and their servants.
This involvement in the struggle is permanent and does not limit itself to the strike periods fixed by the trade unions.
Each component of the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus considers themself to be in continual struggle against the bosses and their servants, in the same way as the latter are continually in struggle against the workers in their attempt to perpetuate exploitation.
The Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus has no connection with trade union ideology or practice, while its anti-employer position qualifies it clearly and without doubt as an instrument that the workers have created for their own emancipation.
Propaganda activity and struggles directed at obtaining precise results, and the choice of means for the realization of these struggles, are all elements to be clarified by the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus.
To belong to an Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus is the logical step for all those who consider they have been betrayed by the various trade union organisations and who want to continue the struggle against the State-employer, widening this struggle in a perspective that is totally different from that of trade union power.
The repression put into effect by the bosses with the help of their servants is constant. It is exercised over us in many ways: reducing the spending power of wage increases; refusing legitimate increases; putting pressure on the worker by avoiding taking on more personnel and increasing work risks; nullifying our struggles through the unions’ politics of recuperation. This repression must be fought with a struggle that is also constant. So: permanent repression, permanent conflict.
The comrades making up the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus should have a clear idea of the direction the struggle against exploitation should take. The boss strikes the worker as part of a whole (the productive collectivity), therefore when he strikes them as a railway worker, the company adapts its exploitation to the general situation of production. For this reason a sectorial and corporate struggle does not make sense. The method of workers’ autonomy is based on exporting the struggle, even if the immediate effects (economic and work conditions) remain within the productive sector.
The method is therefore that of permanent conflict and taking the struggle beyond the workplace.
The objectives to be reached outside the workplace are the users of the railway service, especially commuters who must be constantly kept up to date with the evolution of the conflict within the company; and the same goes for the sectors of production closest to that of the railways (airways, road transport, postal services, telephones, contracting sectors, etc.).
Hence the great importance of information in the autonomous organisation of the struggle. Obviously in the beginning the means available for this method of struggle will be inadequate compared to those of the trade union confederacy; however, even having recourse to leafletting; what matters most is working in the right direction, intervening constantly towards the users who must gradually be sensitized to the struggle of the railway workers and our perspectives. The same goes for the collateral sectors with whom it is necessary to make contact, favouring, whenever possible, the birth of other autonomous nuclei that can do the same kind of work.
In this perspective the strike maintains its validity as a means of struggle, but must be seen critically, not as a means that automatically sets conflict in motion whenever the trade union leadership decides. The strike in that sense becomes an instrument that puts an end to a situation of conflict, and is thus useful to the bosses and all those who have an interest in extinguishing concrete struggle. Another element against the strike as a means of struggle is the fact that it is an intermittent instrument that the counterpart always has warning of in advance, enabling them to intervene (for example, reducing personnel from goods trains and transferring them to passenger ones).
Other means exist that can be used alongside the strike, or in the place of it, means that attack the company’s productive output directly and that constitute a very effective threat.
During a strike the technical procedure is arranged at union meetings. Reading these rules, one is amazed by the care that is taken to avoid any damage to the company. But, in the other direction, what does the company do to try to reduce the exploitation of the workers? All these precautions reduce the effectiveness of the strike as an arm in the attack against the bosses, and the responsibility for all that is also due to the legalism and conservatism of the unions. To hard and constant repression, we must oppose struggle without half measures and without warning: hard, constant struggle.
The choice of means to be employed in a certain struggle, and the basic direction to be given to the information that has to be constantly circulated towards the exterior, is decided by all those who belong to the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus, for which they must meet periodically.
The concrete development of the struggle must be evaluated from time to time in the light of the objective situation, and not serve as a shield for vague and irresolute ideological constructions.
Wage increase is one of the most important points of the struggle, because it allows the worker a greater capacity for resistance and the possibility of facing other battles that are just as important for their existence. This is not necessarily the main point of the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus, but, for obvious reasons it cannot be considered to be of secondary importance.
The struggle for a different organisation of work is undoubtedly more interesting, because it indirectly supplements real wages in a way that cannot be taken back by the mechanism of devaluation. These indirect supplements to wages are elements of great value during the course of the conflict. A reduction in working hours, the refusal of mobility or accumulation of duties, total staff coverage, the improvement of working conditions, the modification of rules and working hours for drivers, ticket collectors, etc., the strengthening of installations, lines, locomotives, carriages, etc. are all elements that improve the general situation of the railway worker and can come to be a part of real wages that are very much inferior to the sum written on the pay slip.
The basic perspective in which a long-term struggle could be planned would be that of the base of the workers getting control of management, progressively removing it from the bosses and foremen who find themselves in secure positions with the unions’ approval. In this way an example could be given, through a series of proposals re changes in management, and the organisational capacity of the workers, denouncing those responsible for the present disservice at the cost of the passengers and everyone involved.
Capillary penetration in order to explain the mistaken position of the trade union struggles and their need to collaborate with the company, the impossibility of any change in this situation in the near future, and a return to struggle at the base. Struggle against the trade union structures and bureaucrats, not against union members.
The final perspective is therefore that of autonomous management of the struggle, both for wages and working conditions, as well as the progressive taking over of management in its totality. Clearly this autonomy of struggle can only develop through a proper evaluation of the unions’ position of collaboration with the bosses.
THE AUTONOMOUS WORKERS’ NUCLEUS is an organism of struggle for the defence of the railway workers who mean to affirm the principle of autonomous struggle. For this reason it denies the validity of the trade unions, and denounces their collusion with the system.
On the basis of the principle of autonomy, the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus affirms the need for permanent conflict within the reality of production, and the need to export the essential characteristics of the struggle towards the exterior. The objectives of this communication with the exterior are the users of the railway service and the co-lateral productive sectors.
The methods necessary for the realisation of the defence of those involved and therefore of the whole productive collectivity are chosen in harmony with the principle of autonomy and permanent conflict. The validity of the strike should be questioned, and a great deal of attention paid to the search for other effective forms of struggle not so easily controllable by the company.
The perspectives of the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus are the constant ones of increasing wages and affecting working conditions, with the aim of safeguarding real wages which is the basis for all concrete possibilities of struggle by the workers.
MAB - Turin
Organisational document of zonal abstentionist structures
In a modern democracy the participatory electoral system is the basis of consensus-building.
This system does not only consist of periodic appeals to people’s ‘opinions’ solicited on the basis of the vague political programmes of the parties, which lead great masses of people to vote in political and local elections, but extends throughout the life of the democratic State.
In factories, schools, neighbourhoods, health facilities, etc., there are assembly mechanisms that obtain consensus through electoral methods.
The State thereby succeeds in controlling the situation by resorting to small periodic adjustments, controls and amnesties which do nothing but continue the exploitation and conditions of subjugation of the exploited.
The electoral proposal—at whatever level—is a kind of plea for complicity whereby a narrow power clique linked to party political interests can, through the endorsement of votes, continue to do what it did before, applying only slight changes called reforms.
Over the last few years an ever greater segment of people have refused to participate in voting. From a minimum of eighteen per cent in general and local elections , it reaches a maximum of around seventy per cent in peripheral (school, in particular) elections.
This abstentionism indicates an increasingly deep-rooted dislike for a practice that now clearly shows the intentions of those who engage in it.
But as such—a simple refusal to go and vote—it is not enough.
More needs to be done.
There is a need for abstentionist structures to be organised on a zonal level.
A) - Characteristics.
The zonal abstentionist structure is an autonomous organisation of struggle that brings together all those who genuinely intend to go beyond simple abstention from voting at every level.
It is not a bureaucratic organisation. It does not have statutes, associative rules, constitutive documents, etc. (Even these pages should be considered a mere outline). It cannot have permanent premises.
The individual zonal abstentionist structures throughout the country come into being spontaneously on the basis of an agreement between a few people, and their only point in common is the list of general principles specified immediately afterwards.
The zonal abstentionist structure is an organism of struggle that refuses delegation, gathering all those who do not participate in voting at any level. It also refuses delegation inwardly, refusing to give permanent mandates to its representatives, thus giving no professional status to representation.
The zonal abstentionist structure is constantly engaged in the anti-election struggle at every level.
Each component of the structure considers themself to be fighting against the electoral method at every level and against the political forces that seek to impose it in order to gain consensus, recognising that this method only supports the interests of the exploiters and their servants.
The zonal abstentionist structure is not an organisation for the defence of the interests of this or that category of workers. It is therefore not a trade union or para-union organisation.
The propaganda and struggle activity of each zonal abstentionist structure will preferably be coordinated with that of the other zonal structures, without prejudicing the possibility of independent initiatives with local characteristics. But this must always be with the objective of broadening the rejection of the elections and forcing the State and its organs to respect the interests of the administered. This takes place naturally, as activities of the individual structures within the perspective of common principles.
Participation in the zonal abstentionist structure is the logical conclusion of those who do not accept the method of complicity that the State wants to achieve at all levels through any kind of election.
B) - General principles.
The abstentionist struggle will have only have positive results if it is constant and not just limited to the eve of elections. In fact, the use of the electoral method by the State and its organs is constant and therefore the struggle intended to oppose this method must also be constant.
Zonal abstentionist structures are self-managed, that is, they are not dependent on any organization, party, union, clientele, etc. They receive no money except from spontaneous subscriptions of the adherents themselves. Their strength comes from this autonomy.
Zonal abstentionist structures propose the need to concretize simple non-voting with an attack on the aspects of how the voting takes place, with the aim of putting autonomous abstentionist decisions in place of the delegated ones based on consensus gained through democratic electoral swindles.
The zonal abstentionist structure is a mass organisation, so, as such it can take the form of a sectoral structure (of workers, students, truck drivers, professors, shopkeepers, etc.), or of an inter-sectoral structure (city, village, hamlet, district, inter-zonal, etc.).
The choice of struggle to be waged is decided by the individual zonal abstentionist structures at meetings. Each structure can nominate representatives who can attend periodic conferences to further the mass orientations.
C) - Methods.
Electoral activity is constant. It tends to optimize a relationship between State and subjects in order to make domination as efficient as possible. It is therefore an element of immediate repression. Abstaining from voting is certainly the beginning of consciousness-raising, and it is on the basis of this that one participates in the zonal abstentionist structure. But it is then necessary to move forward. To constant electoral activity the structures respond with constant abstentionism.
All categories of the exploited have an interest in the abstentionist perspective and in replacing decisions from above based on electoral delegation with decisions from below based on direct action. This requires a widening of the struggle front.
An abstentionist struggle must move away from the simple moment of rejection, which only has defensive characteristics, to that of attack. But to do this it needs to know the real conditions of the class clash, the actual activities carried out by the various State bodies based on the electoral mechanism. The abstentionist structure then becomes an aggregative instrument. Within it, analyses and clarifications of the repressive function of democratic and assemblear institutions are developed, sweeping away the thick fog that ideology brings down on the true reality of the democratic State. This part of the struggle requires a great effort of counter-information.
Finally, it is necessary to reach the strata that remain outside knowledge of the problem, even though they are basically abstentionist strata: proletarian women, housewives, children, old people. All of them have the right to know what the State accomplishes with their unwilling complicity and silence.
Recognising that the equivocation of simple abstentionism, blank votes, is simply a further endorsing of the repressive behaviour of the State. In fact, it is not blank votes that stop the State’s operational capacity, but organized struggles from below that intervene in every moment of public life, attempting to replace top decisions with proposals from the base.
Every decision, from those made in Parliament to those in city councils, from factory council decisions to those in school and university councils, etc., is made because we keep quiet and do not act, because we let it be done, because we delegate to others what we should control, decide and do directly.
The method advocated by the zonal abstentionist structures, which they believe is the only one capable of turning mere refusal into an operational force, is the substitution method. We must substitute our reasoned refusal for the top decisions that are disguised as electoral or assembly decisions.
Every single zonal abstentionist structure could participate, with all its adherents, in a mass demonstration, in every single city council meeting, every factory council meeting, school council meeting, neighbourhood council meeting, etc. Most of these assembly meetings allow participation by elements from outside the body itself. When participation is not permitted, outside pressure can be exerted by demonstrations, marches, flying rallies, posters, leaflets and any other means of struggle.
The substitute proposals to be put forward by the zonal abstentionist structure must start from knowledge of the facts, starting from a denunciation of the clientelist and party interests that often take the place of the interests of the mass of the exploited, and conclude in an operational way, making demands—even if they are limited—and setting deadlines for realization that cannot be very long or could even be immediate.
In the case of repeated refusal by the body responsible to accept substitute proposals, it may even go so far as to occupy the buildings where the function is being exercised until what is demanded is obtained.
Multiple zonal abstentionist structures can promote a demonstration which by resorting to the same procedure described above can take action at the regional and national levels on the assemblies and Parliament.
Each individual structure meets as and when it decides, as often as it sees fit and in the place best suited to the operational purposes it wants to achieve. The initiatives taken—if the structure so desires—are made known to other zonal abstentionist structures.
Conferences may be called periodically to discuss perspectives of struggle and analytical insights all together.
The primary task of each zonal abstentionist structure is outward intervention to achieve maximum growth.
The zonal abstentionist structure is a mass organization, so, as such, it can take the form of a sectoral structure (structure of workers, students, truck drivers, professors, shopkeepers, etc.), or the form of an inter-sectoral structure (city, village, hamlet, neighbourhood, inter-zonal, etc.).
The choice of struggle to be waged is decided by individual zonal abstentionist structures at meetings. Each structure can appoint representatives who can attend periodic encountersto further mass orientations.
D) – Perspectives.
Zonal abstentionist structures are not corporate organisms. They do not defend the interests of a category, a country or a group of people. Although they are sectoral or cross-sectoral structures, they refer to a common strategy and have the perspective of protecting interests common to all exploited people.
They are mass structures that aim to substitute decisions of the base for decisions of the political leadership by unmasking the electoral and assemblear fraud concretely.
Any attempt, either internal or external, to channel zonal abstentionist structures towards clientelist, trade union, power or simple passive resistance goals must be prevented.
The zonal abstentionist structures can only make their weight felt at mass level by determining different decisions to those of the organs of power, decisions that are closer to the interests of the exploited.
Any other purpose remains beyond the reach of the zonal abstentionist structures.
E) – The Coordination.
The issue of establishing a national Coordination must be addressed at the first conventions.
The Coordination is a technical office that serves as a point of reference for all the zonal abstentionist structures, both those already established and those being formed.
The Coordination is able to give indications of the overall situation of the struggle, the interests developing around it, the bosses’ objectives, and the results achieved.
The Coordination should also be able to provide minimal indications and propaganda tools, but it cannot in any way intervene in the decisions and actions of individual zonal abstentionist structures.
The Coordination should produce a periodical bulletin containing the various struggles, analyses and proposals of individual structures, as well as indications on their formation and development.
The Coordination should take charge of organizing periodic Conventions.
The Coordination is carried out on a rotating basis by the members of the various zonal abstentionist structures and is thus a body formed by the structures themselves, which must bear the expenses related to its operation.
The zonal abstentionist structure is an organism of struggle that aims to replace top decisions with grassroots decisions by organizing mass forces that are generically opposed to participation in elections at any level, parliamentary, administrative, council (factory, school, neighbourhood, etc.).
It is based on the principle of autonomy of struggle and permanent conflictuality. The method it chooses is that of attack against the assembly organs that put into practice the democratic swindle in order to gain consensus then use this as an alibi for their own hegemony to the detriment of the exploited.
Organizational document of the self-managed leagues against the missile base in Comiso
The decision to build a base for 112 American Cruise missiles at Comiso is part of the project of political and military equilibrium between the two great superpowers. The justification given to this deadly enterprise is that it is necessary to counterpose with all possible means the Russian atomic bases that are lined up against Europe.
In fact it is not possible to put a brake on the criminal initiatives of the Soviet Union, which as a superpower has betrayed the antimilitarist ideals of the international proletariat through just as criminal initiatives as those of the United States and their European servants. The increase in atomic bases does not defend from attacks from anywhere but constitutes a grave threat for the survival of the whole planet. The struggle must be directed towards preventing new bases (such as the one at Comiso) but also to destroying those already in existence, including the Russian ones and those of all the other States.
Comiso is destined to become the largest atomic missile base in Europe and forerunner of other bases to be built in Spain, Germany, Great Britain and elsewhere. If we do not manage to prevent this criminal project we Sicilians will be the first to have the responsibility of seeing the largest atomic bomb plant in existence in Europe today in our land.
This sad record will be accompanied by a series of other negative consequences which the arrival of an American army of occupation (15,000 US soldiers are expected) will immediately give rise to. Rises in prices, the circulation of hard drugs, an increase in prostitution, militarisation of the area, the presence in our area of mafiosi organizations to sell drugs to the Americans, to control prostitution, and speculate on the contracts for work on the base. All this will mean an increase in violence (robberies, kidnappings, thefts) and restriction of individual freedom (controls, road blocks, militarized zones, etc).
The Socialist Party has shown itself to be a true servant of American interests, accepting the imposition of the USA and approving the order to build the base in Sicily through their defence minister Lago Fio. The Christian Democrats have set to work right away to control the building contracts for the hotels, apartments and restaurants that the Americans will need, and all the contracts for the construction of the base itself, through the mafia.
The Communist Party has given inefficient and discontinuous indications of struggle, showing themselves to be undecided, weak and inefficient. Marches (even of 100,000 people), petitions, hunger strikes, impress no one.
The struggle against the construction of the Comiso missile base requires other means and methods.
THE SELF-MANAGED LEAGUE
Is an autonomous organization of struggle which gathers all those who really and sincerely intend to prevent the construction of the base.
Is not a bureaucratic organization. It has no statutes, associative rules, constitutive documents, etc. It can also have no permanent meeting place.
The individual Leagues spread over the territory are born spontaneously and have as sole point of reference the general principles specified here.
The League is therefore an organism of struggle which refuses to give permanent delegation to its representatives and so denies any specific professionalism of this representation.
The League is constantly engaged in the struggle against the construction of the base.
Each component of the League considers him/herself to be in struggle against the base and against the interests that want to realize it, recognizing that these interests are those of the exploiters and their servants.
The League is not an organization of defence of the interests of this or that category of worker. It is therefore not a trade union or para-syndicalist structure.
The propaganda activity of the struggle of each individual League will preferably be co-ordinated with that of the other Leagues, while it remains the independent initiatives with local characteristics it is also possible, but always with the objective of preventing the construction of the base and respecting the common principles.
Adhesion to the League is the logical conclusion of whoever does not agree with the ineffective initiatives of those who are looking for a fictitious counter-position.
B) GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The struggle against the construction of the base will only have positive results on condition that it be constant, uninterrupted and effective. A desultory, sporadic struggle with occasional interventions will become a losing battle.
The Leagues are self-managed, i.e. they do not depend on any organization, party, trade union, patronage, etc. They receive no money apart from what comes from spontaneous subscriptions from the adherents to the Leagues themselves. This autonomy is their strength.
The leagues refuse the road of mediation, pacification, sacrifice, accommodation, compromise. They support the need for attack against the boss interests that are bringing about this criminal project.
The involvement of the bosses and the American criminals is constant. They take no time off. They mean to realize their project of death within a brief period. Their action is spreading against us in a thousand ways: unemployment, increase in prices, intimidation and repression. Tomorrow — should the base be built — this repression will reach the height of insupportability and we will be deprived of even the freedom to think. To constant repression the Leagues respond with permanent conflictuality.
All work categories have an interest in preventing the base. The least wealthy categories but also those who are a little better off: even the shopkeepers who might imagine that they will cash in something extra on the arrival of the Americans must also take into account the mafia extortion rackets that will be organized to their cost in the area. The same goes for the peasants who are threatened by expropriation and have the right to put their land to really productive use. The other methods that the Leagues employ is therefore the widening of the struggle front.
Counter-information on the real situation in Comiso is a further method of struggle. Posters, leaflets, newspapers, radio, television, etc, all these instruments must be addressed not only to the inhabitants of the area but also to the whole of Sicily, Italy and the world. Today Comiso and the problem of the base are at the centre of world attention. Through this attention it is possible to defeat the criminals and their servants with our struggle. But the management of information must be autonomous, i.e. must be against the information racket such as the local daily “La Sicilia” and the penny a liners in its service.
To reach the strata that are excluded from having knowledge of the problem: proletarian women, housewives, children, old people. All of them have the right to know the grave danger that is facing them and it is right that they be able to bring their own contribution to the social struggle which is developing against the construction of the base.
To accept idle chatter, putting off time, the promises made by power, means to give the criminals more time to realize their project. We must choose the immediate method of intervention and not put off to infinity what should be done right away.
We should not forget that to be built the Comiso base requires our acceptance, the acceptance of all those who are working on it, those who allow the passage of materials with which it will be built. It is therefore necessary to widen the field of struggle to also having the workers of these firms participate, because with their strikes and blocks they will be able to delay and eventually prevent the construction of the base.
The method that the Leagues consider adequate to really preventing the construction of the base is its occupation. But this occupation must be a conscious decision made by the Leagues and realized with all the means necessary at the opportune moment. We must reply to the foolhardiness and criminality of the American imperialists and their local servants with great responsibility and just as great decision.
Each individual League meets as it thinks fit and the way it desires, with the frequency that it considers necessary and in the place it considers best fitted to its structure. Their initiatives are made known to the other Leagues — if this is considered necessary — through the coordinating body which, with this aim, draws up a periodical bulletin, where the decisions of the individual Leagues are published.
Representatives of all the Leagues meet periodically at Comiso for a debate and exchange of views.
The first duty of every League is intervention directed outwards to increasing its growth in numbers.
The League is a mass organization, therefore as such can assume the form of sectorial League, (farm labourers’ League, peasants’ League, shopkeepers’ League, students’ League, lorry drivers’ League, teachers’ League, etc), or the intersectorial form of league (city League, village League, zone League, inter-zonal League, etc).
The choice of the struggle to be conducted is periodically decided by the individual Leagues from general meetings. The most important decisions are made at the meetings of the representatives of the leagues.
The Leagues are not corporative organisms. They do not have the perspective of defending the interests of a category, village or social group.
They are mass structures aimed at preventing the base.
Any attempt from within or without to channel the Leagues towards electoral objectives, power, patronage, trade unions, simple resistance, etc, must be prevented.
Developing the various initiatives the Leagues can make their weight felt at the level of mass organisms, imposing the decision not to build the base on the structures of power.
E) THE COORDINATING BODY
The coordinating body of the self-managed Leagues has premises in Comiso, a technical office which serves as a point of reference for all the Leagues which have been constituted and for those in formation.
The Coordinating body is able to give indications on the whole situation of struggle, the interests that are developing around it, the bosses’ objectives, the companies that have been given contracts, the arrival of the American contingents of occupation, the companies that are working to produce materials for the base, and the presence of the Americans in the area.
It can also supply the instruments for widening the knowledge in Sicily, Italy and abroad on the situation in Comiso.
It sees to bringing out a periodical bulletin with the various decisions and the various proposals of the individual Leagues, and on their formation and development.
Organizes periodical meetings of representatives of the various Leagues, meetings to be held at Comiso.
It is worked on a rotation basis by the components of the various Leagues therefore is an organism formed and constituted by the League itself which needs to take charge of the costs relative to its functioning (rent, telephone, propaganda material, cost of survival of those in charge).
The self-managed League is an organism of struggle to prevent the construction of the missile base at Comiso. It is based on the principle of autonomy of the struggle and permanent conflictuality. The method it chooses is that of attack against the construction of the base and against the interests of those who are realizing it.
The decision to give precise indications of struggle to the Leagues is up to the general meeting of the Leagues’ representatives, as well as the establishing of methods and whatever is necessary to prevent the construction of the missile base at Comiso.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CRUISE MISSILE BASE AT COMISO CAN BE PREVENTED!
THE STRUGGLE MUST BEGIN FROM A SELF-MANAGED ORGANIZATION CREATED BY THE FARMHANDS, PEASANTS, WORKERS, HOUSEWIVES, AND STUDENTS THEMSELVES, OUTSIDE THE STRUCTURES OF THE PARTIES AND TRADE UNIONS
THE CONSTRUCTION of the missile base at Comiso, desired by American interests and supported by local capitalists, can still be blocked by the will and strength of all the workers and exploited.
The bosses’ project of death can be stopped if we organize autonomously and struggle also against the blackmail of wages that have been promised to the unemployed if they work for the construction of the base. By attacking the bosses to demand a different kind of work and refusing to work for their project of atomic destruction, various results could be obtained: the secret agreements of the parties and trade unions who with their excuse of providing jobs also support construction of the base, could be denounced; the employers would be obliged to give work in other sectors; and the terrible rise in prices which will follow the arrival of the Americans would be avoided.
The methods of struggle indicated by the Communist Party have shown themselves to be insufficient. The bosses are not intimidated by great marches for peace, the collection of signatures or symbolic hunger strikes. These means do not force them to block the construction of the base. For this reason many of those who participated in these struggles are aware that it is necessary to have recourse to other means—such as, for example, the occupation of the base and sabotage of the interests of the bosses involved in this project of death—means which can be decided and employed only from the direct and immediate will of all the workers and exploited.
An ideal point of reference for deciding what to do today can be found in the Sicilian revolutionary tradition. The great wave of Sicilian socialist leagues at the beginning of the century, the occupation of the land after the second World War, the events of Avola where peasants and farmhands were killed by police bullets: all these struggles, organized autonomously by the base of the workers, impel us to unite in SELFMANAGED LEAGUES AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MISSILE BASE AT COMISO.
Ragusa anarchist group
“Rivolta e Liberta” anarchist group, Catania
July 23 1982
To the Students
While a new school year is beginning and from all sides you are being invited to study and engage yourselves to obtain the instruction that should open up a road for you in life and give you work, the forces of death led by American imperialism and the local bosses and mafia are doing everything to transform your future into a perspective of desolation.
A depot of atomic bombs (Cruise missiles) is about to be installed in the Magliocco airport in Comiso. It is to be the largest missile base in Europe. If it is realized the Americans will be free—with the excuse of balancing the just as criminal Russian imperialism—to build bases everywhere. And to their eternal shame young Sicilians will have the sad record of having been the first to have accepted this project of death supinely, of not having been capable of doing anything to prevent it.
With the arrival of the army of occupation (15,000 American soldiers are expected) speculations of the mafia will begin on housing, hard drug dealing and prostitution. Bitter gifts from an invader who well knows the instruments of dominion and exploitation.
AND WHILE SCHOOL CLAIMS TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE MAKING YOU STUDY SUBJECTS WHICH OFTEN HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH REALITY, A BAND OF ASSASSINS AND PROFITEERS ARE MAKING THEMSELVES AT HOME. TOMORROW UNEMPLOYMENT AND POVERTY, EMIGRATION AND EXPLOITATION AWAIT YOU, PLUS THE SHAME OF A FOREIGN INVADER IN OUR LAND.
LET US REBEL RIGHT AWAY AGAINST THIS PROJECT OF DEATH!
Let us organize in self-managed leagues of students against the construction of the base. The indications of the Communist Party and the various pacifists are not enough to defeat the Americans’ and bosses’ projects. Only a self-managed mobilization far from the swindles of the parties and politicians will succeed.
To build a self-managed league of students—to which other workers, unemployed, teachers, peasants, farm workers, etc. can belong—does not require any bureaucratic procedure. The will and common agreement of all those who participate is enough.
THE OBJECTIVES ARE: TO CARRY OUT AN UNINTERRUPTED STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BASE AND IMPOSE A HARD, CONCRETE STRUGGLE NOT BASED ON MARCHES, PETITIONS OR GRAND DECLARATIONS WITH NO BITE. THE BOSSES ARE NOT AFRAID OF WORDS, ONLY DEEDS STOP THEM AND CONVINCE THEM TO RECEDE.
Already there exists in Comiso a coordinating body of the selfmanaged leagues against the construction of the base, in via Conte di Torino, 1, tel 966289. This is a technical point of reference where all the initiatives relative to the formation of leagues can turn.
The time has come to fight the monstrous project of death which the Americans and local bosses (their servants) are carrying out in Comiso. Let us unite now in self-managed leagues or it will be too late to stop the homicidal hand of whoever wants to constrain us to live with the prospect of atomic death.
LET’S FORM SELF-MANAGED STUDENTS’ LEAGUES
Saturday October 16 at 5.30pm in Piazza Umberto, the Coordinamento will hold a public meeting on the theme: “The League as instrument of struggle against the missile base at Comiso”.
Coordinamento leghe autogestite contro la base missilistica di Comiso-via Conte di Torino, 1, Comiso