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(en) More about the Italian Ya basta I (1/2)

From worker@ainfos.ca, a-infos@ainfos.ca
Date Wed, 27 Dec 2000 07:32:27 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

[Editor note, In responce to request from a comrade who know them better.
> After we received and distributed contradicted opinions
> about Ya basta of Italy, I wonder if you can clear the
> picture about the nature of this organisation.]

About YaBasta.

I don't know what information you have received about Ya Basta, I can only
tell you about my experience with them.

Ya Basta is an association of several local ya basta groups in Italy. Most of
them organise around the self managed social centres. They poped up in
response to the Zapatist uprising and the Ya Basta association was created
after the Encuentro in Chiapas in 96. Ya Basta did both solidarity work with
Chiapas and tried to fight neoliberalism locally. Ya Basta is one more driving
force in a diverse panorama of activists in Italy. They contributed for example
in the shaping of the Tutte Bianches as a form of action (the white overalls
which i am sure you know of). The activsts in ya basta overlap with the
activists in the social centres. I know some activists who work together with
Ya Basta but do not consider themselves as ya basta.

I am sending you an attached file called "the age of clandestinity" which is a
document they produced reflecting their thoughts.
 The Leonkavallo is the largest autonomous centre in Italy. It's
huge and all self managed. It's incredible. This is where the European
Meeting will take place. They were chosen as European Convenors of PGA
at the conference in Bangalore.
Ya Basta are definitely not authoritarian, but they are not anarchists either.
They have a strong degree of self management and consensus decision
making about the direction of what they do. They are far away from trotskists
or so.

At an Italian level I have heard that there is criticisms towards them. I think
some people criticise a 'vanguardist' position, which results from the fact that
they were the first ones to really network outside of Italy. When the Global
Express train with 900 Italian activists came to Prag people thought the 900
people were all Yabasta, which of course was not true. The train and action
was mainly planned by Ya Basta and the Tutte Bianches, but included
several other activists and organisations.

When the train to Nice got stopped on its way there, ya basta got all the
criticism. There might be also some frictions at the level of the form of action
(violence - non violence) and also the fact that the Tutte Bianches go for an
action based on communication. I am sure they will also get criticised for
being male dominated. But these kind of conflicts are necessary for a
movement to grow. And Ya Basta is definitely open for criticism. They have
an incredible patience i nthe european meetings. I don't know what you have
heard about ya basta, but i think they are very good people, very humble ( at
least the ones i have met). There may be some political differences, but not
major ones that could make cooperation with them impossible. RTS London
went to Milan to have a bilateral meeting there to decided if they were willing
to call for this european meeting or not. Apparently they had very good
exchange and decided to go for this european meeting.

Thoughts and actions suggested by
Associazione Ya Basta!
For people dignity
against neoliberism.

This document presents the political work carried out by
our association, with reflections concentrating mainly on
this last year and a few words regarding the most
significant experiences of preceding years.

It was written by the Milan collective of  the association:
"Ya Basta! For the dignity of all people against
neoliberism", and it is mainly an introduction to the
nature of this collective and the activities it carries out in
the city, with a mention of the most significant national
and international events we have taken part in and which
are part of a general, common route.

It begins with a summary of the actions carried out, with
brief notes on the practical initiatives which produced
this approach to politics and a short account of long
term  projects. It ends with a chronological list of the
actions performed up to now.

You can contact us at:

Associazione Ya Basta!
For people dignity against neoliberism

Via Watteau 7
20125 Milano (Italia)

phone: (39)
fax: (39)
e-mail: yabasta@tin.it

We have seen men and women born in other lands join
the fight for peace.
We have seen some, in their own lands,
start building the long bridge that says "You are not
We have seen them take action and cry out their 'Ya
First we saw them imagine and put into practice their
demands for justice,
Marching like those who sing, writing like those who
speaking like those who march.
We have seen  all these flashes of lightening rebound in
the skies and reach our own lands with all the various
names of Jos?, with the faces of all those, in all worlds,
who want to make a place for everyone.


Ya Basta Association!
For the dignity of all peoples, against neoliberism.


The Zapatist movement is a popular resistence
movement, which aims to defend the right to survival
and self-determination of the indigenous peoples of

In the summer of 1996 thousands of people from all
over the world gathered in the rebellious south east of
Mexico, to support the Zapatist movement y their
presence and to take part in the global meeting of
liberation movements, that was known as the Ist
International Meeting for Humanity and against

A group of Italian delegates (many of whom were
activists from the Social Centres) decided to establish an
association that would be a useful tool for supporting
the Zapatists' fight in Chiapas and their struggle against
neoliberism in Europe, an association that would
facilitate the projects of the Italian Zapatist movement,
allowing access to resources and opportunities that an
informal structure would not have had, a further tool for
the activities that the independent movements had
always carried out, and that would maintain their
particular features and content.


We mean to fight the neoliberist economic doctrine
and the policies that sustain it by protecting private
interests and causing conflict and fights for survival.
These are practices carried out by economic or political
institutions without the consensus of the women and
men who feel their consequences directly.

We aim to promote and support all initiatives which
stress the need to reclaim visibility, and take action to
fight this 'development' by showing its consequences --
too easily forgotten or ignored by the establishment
causing them.

Over the years we have maintained direct relations
with Chiapas, organizing and collaborating on aid
projects promoted, in accordance with the objectives of
the EZLN, by the Zapatist movement, by ourselves and
by other organisations from all over the world.

We also aim to defend a communication circuit to
share our experiences and to enhance solidarity between
grassroots movements.  This is why we spread
information regarding Chiapas, trying to broaden the
awareness of the situation in South East Mexico and to
strengthen the international support

This is a two-way circuit and, having learnt our lesson,
we intend to develop an analysis of the consequences of
international economic programming, to oppose the
threat to our right to survival, to freedom and to dignity.

The request advanced by the Zapatists to the Europeans
to "start a revolution' in the European power centres of
the international market and capital system leads us to
reflect on the major transformations in the production
system of countries with a high concentration of
capital.  It encourages a closer focus on the new
production categories and on the new forms of
exploitation, which carry with them the removal of even
the limited past guarantees on the right to a "dignified
existence".  This is hat led us to join the "White
Overalls" movement.

To be a Zapatist in Europe also means fighting
alongside the many victims f the neoliberist monster,
one of whose hearts beats in our own territories:  victims
like migrants without documents, the civilian victims of
the war in the Balkans, the Kurds, the farmers oppressed
by the ultinationals, liberation movements throughout
the world.


We recognise the unique capacity of the Zapatist
movement to read the transformations taking place in
the structure of dominion and of strong, protected
interests, and to elaborate the necessary transformations
in the liberation processes that those excluded from this
structure take part in.

This transformation is necessarily permanent and
continuous, and requires a corresponding, on-going
reflection and re-definition of the best way to make the
form of struggle appropriate to its liberation targets. We
march with questions on our lips, not with an
approved and certified liberation procedure: the
invariable and certain truths, the taboos that filled the
political movements  must be abandoned.

For us, "webbing a society" coincides with the practice
of having a sure identity but open relations: speaking
to a wider number of people whilst continuing the real
and direct practice of political struggle.  We continue
the practice of suggesting and facilitating the direct
action of new legalities stemming from the defence of
self-determination as a basic political practice of the
reference scenario of the groups that practise it. This
generates relationships with many other, diverse subjects
who accept the premises and the aims of this route.

The basic dimension in the political scenario, indicated
by the Zapatists as the communication and strategies of
access to communication, impose close attention to the
strategies of attack that may help reach this target.

Our association exists at a national level, with some ten
centres in different Italian towns and cities.
We keep in constant contact with a network of Italian
social centres: those dozens of political associations
which, from the seventies up to the present, have been
part of the radical, antagonistic left-wing movement in
Italy, linked to the struggle for the rights of those
excluded from the economic resources distribution
system, fighting for the right to housing, to better
working conditions, to a better income, against heroin
and hard drugs, against military powers and their wars,
for people's freedom of movement and for the rights of
migrants, for greater freedom, greater equality, true

Our association has its quarters in the Leoncavallo
Social Centre, with which we work together.
Our network is organising itself in a coordinated but
decentralised form to
take part in common battles: in the North-West of the
country a network of
social centres and associations has been set up - the
"Forum Nord Ovest".
The "Carta di Milano" is a national network.

from the north of the Mediterranean
to the south-east of Mexico

Since our foundation, we have supported the Zapatist
struggle, collecting and sending funds as well as
spreading information on the situation in Chiapas.  To
support the rebel communities we constantly organise
work brigades of observers and co-workers.

August 1996  1st Intercontinental Meeting for
Humanity, against Neoliberism

April 1997  Publication in Italy of the Acts of the First
Intercontinental Meeting for Humanity, against

August 1997  Participation at IInd Intercontinental
Meeting for Humanity, against Neoliberism

19 September 1997  First visit to Italy by representatives
of the EZLN

September 1997  Start of financing for the project to
build an electricity turbine

December-January 1997  Demonstrations condemning
the mass murder in Acteal

1-10 May 1998  A bridge flies to Chiapas

June 1998  Occupation of local Milan council chambers

12 June 1998  Occupation of La Scala opera-house,

13-14 June 1998  Organisation in Milan of the European
Meeting of the support committees to the Zapatist

25 June  Direct action at the "Corriere della Sera"
newspaper offices

September 1998  Start of financing for the health project
"Los Altos - Chiapas" (see p. 6)

28-29 November 1998  Organisation of the Forum for

21 March 1999  Consulta in support of the S. Andres
agreements We have seen them cross the long bridge
and, from their own lands, arrive here in ours, after
fighting their way across frontiers and oceans, to
observe and condemn war.

We have seen them arrive here to let us know that we
are not alone.
We have seen them persecuted and oppressed  like us.
We have seen them being beaten like us.
We have seen them insulted as we are.
We have seen them resist like us.
We have seen them staying, although they were chased
We have seen them in their own lands telling us what
they have seen with their own eyes, and showing us what
they have heard with their own ears.
We have seen them go on fighting.


Grassroots diplomacy:
Horizontal relations and international co-operation

It is of vital importance to regain our international
relations in times when we share the same destiny as
those thousands of kilometres away, and this is no
longer based soley on belonging to a global system that
distributes privileges and exploitation on the basis of
social class, but relies increasingly on a mechanism of
workers or consumers as cogs in the machines run by
private or government multinational systems –
integrated structures feeding, with women and men, their
thousands stomachs spread all over the planet.

Peasants from Chile and Italian salesgirls are all
exploited in the same way, so that an Italian fashion
house can sell its pullovers; young Indonesians and
young Mexicans lose their right to their books because
of decisions taken in the same building; an elderly Kurd
or a child in the Balkans are killed by
bullets bearing the same brand name but used with
different excuses, to protect the same military interests.
Today, those who do not buy or sell weapons find them
aimed against them.
And what about those who refuse a world of  mono-
cultural nations and seek a world made of differences,
a world containing many worlds, a world without
In Serbia and in Kosovo these people are done away
with, in Europe they are isolated, stopped in the night in
a tunnel before a border and sent back.
Those who believe in a better world and fight to get it,
find a bomb dropped onto them, a gun aimed at them, a
truncheon waiting.
Regaining our international relations thus means a
direct contact with people, groups, movements,
individuals and communities that identify with the same,
mutual condition as fodder for the many-headed
neoliberist monster.  It means avoiding the mediation of
large national and multinational bodies and fighting
material and mental boundaries, so as to build direct
relationships consisting of shared struggles, exchange of
information, memories, future plans.

In this approach to international relations, the support to
the cause of the Kurdish people emerges naturally from
the support to rebellious Chiapas as does the
condemnation of the Balkan war which saw the heavy
involvement of our government.

It was just as natural to promote Carovan '99 in Europe
and in our own country, seeing in this event a unique
example of globalization of the struggle, the up-dating
of the opposition movements to face the new themes
imposed by the power system (such as biotechnology) -
an opportunity to try out alternatives involving the
construction of political co-operation and economic
independence at a grassroots level, whilst struggling to
regain resources circulating at high speed through the
institutional arteries of the neoliberist monster.

When the same paths have been trodden, the same bowl
of rice has been shared and the same songs have been
sung, time shared generates shared dreams and
grassroots diplomacy opens up new prospectives, long-
term co-operation, projects.
Routes, projects.
Routes for grassroots diplomacy


>From the very beginning the spread of information on
the situation and dispatch of funds and work brigades.

August 1996
Ist Intercontinental Meeting for Humanity against

April 1997
Publication of the Acts of the First Intercontinental
Meeting for Humanity, against Neoliberism

August 1997
Participation at IInd Intercontinental Meeting for
Humanity, against Neoliberism

19 September 1997
First visit to Italy by representatives of the EZLN

1-10 May 1998
A bridge flies to Chiapas

13-14 June 1998
Organisation of a European Meeting of the support
committees for the Zapatist struggle, in Milan.

28-29 November 1998
Organisation of the Forum for Chiapas

21 March 1999
Consulta in support of the S.Andres agreements

The Balkans

12 December 1998

The ferry of universal citizenship

30 April-4 May
caravan against war in Belgrade and in Pancevo


September 1998
Trial in Istanbul

November 1998
Thousands of Kurds gather in our country

21 March 1999


13 June 1997
First European day of protest against unemployment and
social exclusion

27 March
European demonstration in Paris For solidarity and open
borders in Europe

22 May-20 June 1999
Participation in Caravan '99

International Co-operation Projects:

September 1997 saw the beginning of fund-raising for a
project to build a small, environment-friendly electricity
turbine at La Realidad,  Aguascalientes I.

>From September 1998 onwards came a fund-raising
campaign for the health project "Los Altos -
Chiapas", a project prepared by the Zapatist
communities and the EZLN. The project plans an
intervention in the Oventic area, Aguascalientes II, to
improve the supply of sanitary equipment and
pharmaceuticals to the clinic "La Guadalupana" at
Oventic (support given by the Leoncavallo Social
Centre through the publication of the first book on
Zapatism in Italy, "Stories for a Night of
Asphyxiation", written by Subcomandante Marcos), and
the building of four rural health centres in the
surrounding communities with the development of a
training system that will enable the project to be
managed in the future by local people.
Up to the present we have contributed around 15 million
lire through self-financing activities, whilst, by means of
talks with local town and city councils, we have
succeeded in gaining recognition of the rebel
communities and recovering part of the money that the
neoliberist system steals from us, obtaining 10,000,000
lire from the Genoa City Council, 35,000,000 lire from
the Milan provincial authorities and 2,000,000 lire from
S. Giuliano Milanese.
On 21 March 1999 the Nevroz festival was organised
for the hundreds of Kurdish people resident in northern
Following our presence in the Balkans, we planned a
civil society observatory to facilitate the entry of
migrants from Albania to Italy.

We are also preparing: student exchanges between
Milan, Belgrade and Pristina lasting 12/15 months; an
international seminar lasting two weeks on the conflict
in the Balkans; opportunities for peoples' diplomacy for
the Spring of 2000, involving groups of students from
these same cities, with special workshops (for
philosophy and architecture).  These projects will be
organised in collaboration with an independent Italian
student collective, the students' league of Belgrade and
the students of Pristina,
with funds from the respective universities and, if
possible, European financing.

We are participating in a European co-ordination project
of the independent networks working on migration-
related issues.
Every foreigner who arrives in other peoples' territories
has the right not to be treated with hostility
and the right of access belonging to all men,
in virtue of their common presence on the surface of the
Earth, on which, being spherical, men cannot spread out
but have to tolerate one another's vicinity, since one has
no greater original right than another to any given
portion of the Earth.



1. The fourth world war has begun:  this conflict is
the cause of the new waves of migration.  They are
migrations typical of the new, post-Fordist age.  The
migrants, whether they are greeted as political or
environmental refugees or, as happens with increasing
frequency, as prisoners and/or unwelcome aliens, are the
victims of what Marcos has described as the fourth
world war, that of neo-liberism against humanity.  From
1975-1995 the number of political refugees has risen
from approximately 2 to 23-36
million.  This is a figure that is leading to a tightening of
European laws on the right of asylum: over the last four
years the number of requests for asylum has dropped
considerably.  Yet, as the restrictions
regarding requests for asylum become tighter the
number of  migrants continues to grow massively: today,
they're estimated at about 120 million.. In most cases
these migrants are attempting to move from the south of
the world to the north.  They are fleeing poverty and
wars brought to them by the "developed" world.  They
are fleeing impoverishment caused by the murderous
and genocidal policies of the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund which, largely by means of
their Structural Changes, have starved the poorer
people.  In addition, all the free trade treaties, which
have extended to agriculture over the past few years, are
destroying local markets, causing more and more
poverty, abandonment of the land and a desperate flight
to the cities in search of a salary, which is hard to come
by.  The city, but even more the North, is a mirage - the
only possibility for avoiding the poverty caused by the
neoliberist empire. The flight from South Mexico
towards the States is just one example.  All
migrants are political refugees from the fourth world war
and, as such, they should be welcomed.

The right to hospitality must be respected!
No distinction between migrants and refugees, goodies
and baddies!
A welcome for all the victims of the IVth world war!

2. Neoliberism shows its true repressive face. There
are no laws to welcome these migrants, we are told.
New ones must be invented, argue the left-wing
politicians.  But the truth lies elsewhere: at the end of
the millenium neoliberism is showing its true colours:
human rights are only the rights of 'legal' citizens and
can be acquired only by bloodshed or inheritance.
Those who have the wrong skin colour do not have the
same rights.  Freedom of movement and domicile are
permitted to capital and to goods, but not to all human
beings.  Our answer to inherited, blood rights is the right
to the soil. Our answer to the free movement of goods
and capital is the free movement of people.  The new
laws legitimizing expulsion camps throughout the
Europe of Schengen and the funds for creating centres
around the edges of the Schengen borders, bought and
sold by means of bi-lateral agreements, show a serious
trend towards a police state people are imprisoned
without having committed any crime.  People are
imprisoned because they were born elsewhere and they
want to come to the north. They end up in prison
without even seeing a judge or a lawyer.  Detention by
the authorities is, in fact, a violation of  art.3 of the
Italian constitution:  detention and the resulting arbitrary
expulsion amount to deportation.  These are the
universal human rights that the West has been imposing
on the world for 500 years now and which it now
barbarically applies in its own home territory, against
the very principles of its constitutions.

Stop expulsions! Immediate closure of the prison
camps! Real equality of rights without racist
discrimination!  Revoke racist laws! Documents for
everyone! A passport for all European nomads, the
former victims of the Nazis! No quotas and no limits on

3. The symbol of the fourth world war is one
enormous wall.  Just as the symbol of the third world
war was the Berlin wall, the symbol of this one is the
enormous wall that starts at the Rio Grande and runs
through to Turkey, passing Gibraltar and then north,
leaving out Eastern Europe; it divides Australia and
Japan from the rest of East Asia.  This wall is an insult
to humanity. Figures showing the victims along the
American border come to over 1,300 from 1993 to
1998; in 1998 alone, the police shot at 89 people.  The
estimated number of victims along the borders of
Schengen is between 2,000 and 3,000  and there is
documentary proof of 1,365 between 1993 and 1998:
drowned in the sea or in rivers, blown up by mines, their
craft sunk by navies, shot by the police, hung on the
other side of the
borders in the bi-lateral prisons…In only five years, the
American walls and those of Schengen have each caused
5 to 10 times the number of deaths caused by the Berlin
wall in thirty years.  The Schengen police force
eans having a central records office, files on all new
arrivals, an extension of the already inhuman criminal
treatment to all migrant travellers, including children.
The numbers of victims on entry are swollen by the
victims of expulsion; these are crimes by the state,
premeditated and using a variety of tactics (death by
suffocation with a pillow or a blindfold, for example, or
by anaesthetic, with the new Fascist doctors and nurses
as accomplices).  In the USA the Pentagon has provided
bullet-proof vehicles, infra-red equipment and men, and
the border police is integrated into the army.  The
Italian, Spanish and German states make the same sort
of use of their armies.
Against borders, action along the borders!
Trials for State murders and those responsible for them!

4. A war waged by criminal and state powers. The
criminalisation of foreigners adds to the power of
organised crime.  The strategy of criminalising foreign
women and men - a strategy which the European states
are following by means of  their mass media and their
unions - is extremely dangerous.  Hospitality cannot be
associated with safety, neither can every outsider be
regarded as a potential criminal. The Europe of
Schengen is extending police control along the borders,
bringing in armies and
dispatching the navy to threaten and sink approaching
ships; police control and police powers then spread from
the borders inland, throughout the territory; all this is
done by creating laws that turn our potential guests into
clandestine immigrants, treating them like criminals.
These are the laws of the Italian state that make every
outsider clandestine: to have a stay permit, you must
have a job and to get a job you must have a stay permit!
The European police state is attempting to involve
society in its
general policing plan:  more and more people are forced
to ask people with different coloured skins for their
documents, to demonstrate a legal status arbitrarily
imposed by the state: at work, in hospitals, in public
offices, in taxis…The German state has punished taxi
drivers for having transported 'sans papiers'.  The legal
authorities advocate no tolerance and police repression
has increased considerably in the last few months.  The
opening of the Corelli prison camp saw the beginning of
evictions, arrests,
insults, beatings, illicit confiscation of documents in
Milan.  The new police stop you and ask where you are
from.  For the state it is a crime to come from the south
or east of the world.  And all this is happening while the
Italian mafia groups share out the business of human
transport from Albania and the government refuses to
provide the means for taking control of immigration
away from the mafia - control that makes a profit from
everything and everybody.  This is how journeys to the
borders, arrival and accommodation in Europe are
managed by criminal organisations and the migrants
become goods, in all senses.
Stop the mafia boats in the Otranto channel! No human
being is illegal!  We are all clandestine!

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