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(en) BBB, New communique re: Casarini pieing, and a few thoughts on strategy

From "dr.woooo" <dr.woooo@nomasters.org>
Date Sun, 11 May 2003 09:24:23 +0200 (CEST)

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

> from http://slash.autonomedia.org/analysis/03/05/10/175240.shtml
> Biotic Baking Brigade Ricotta Division, "Sweet Disobedience"
> Biotic Baking Brigade writes:
On May 4, 2003 Luca Casarini, leader of the Disobbedienti, an important
component of the Italian anti-capitalist movement, was pied in New York City.
With this gentle breach of etiquette, Casarini received his just desserts for
the mischief he has caused to the Italian movement.
A flung pie is a simple act with many layers of meaning, but at its most basic
level this was an act of feminine tenderness intended to expose the gap between
the rhetoric of the Disobbedienti and their actual practices. As some activists
in the U.S. are aware, the ideas of the Disobbedienti are very appealing, and
the global anti-capitalist movement has been inspired by many actions of the
Tute Bianche and Ya Basta (their incarnations before 2001). At home however,
the Disobbedienti's macho and unaccountable behavior has caused them to lose
the trust and respect of many of their former supporters. Once the pied pipers
of the massive "no global" movement in Italy, the Disobbedienti have failed to
lead by example the multitudes they helped to inspire.

In Italy this pie needs no explanation. In the U.S., however, there is some
confusion about why people do not love the Disobbedienti, so it might be best
to start by mentioning three of the things for which they should NOT be
criticized for (and for which they deserve a pie on the table, not in the

1 -- Their theoretical approach. Disobbedienti have done a great job of
retrieving gourmet theoretical tastes from the universities and bringing them
back to the streets that produced them in the first place.

2 -- The fact that they plan direct actions and campaigns. It must be said,
to their credit, that the Disobbedienti get things done. The focus of their
actions is good too; organizing squats and shutting down immigrant detention
centers, capitalist summits and military trains are all delectable ideas.

3 -- Their desire to make a better world. Despite family disagreements, the
entire Italian movement unequivocally supports Disobbedienti if the state,
fascists or corporate media try to cook up any plots against them (as shown in
November 2002 after Caruso's arrest).

So why pie Casarini?

1 -- Keep your eyes on the pies. Although their rhetoric is anti-
authoritarian, Disobbedienti have a hierarchical structure, with a strict
division of labor and an appetite for power. This approach has received poor
reviews, even from many former compagni. Worse still, their recipe does not
make for a tasty soufflé, as the non-Disobbedienti ingredients in the movement
do not appreciate having their flavors glazed over. The Disobbedienti do not
enter into coalitions as equals but instead seek to take over already
established centri sociali (squats), showing no regard for local tastes. Once
in power, Casarini proceeds to serve up huge portions of unleavened authority
and overcooked testosterone, in contrast to the much healthier North American
radical diet of direct democracy and consensus process. This undermines the
vigor and autonomy of local organizing and has led to allergic reactions and
constipation in the movement.

2 -- Check the shelf date, not the packaging. The freshness of the
Disobbedienti's theory is sadly not reflected in their direct actions, which
usually conform to the stale format of the vertically organized rally that has
been discarded by "no-global" activists around the world. During demos,
Casarini stands on a truck telling people what to do, an approach that is
unpalatable to many participants. The creativity and inclusiveness of the demo
are reduced because the "leaders" will not accept suggestions from the people,
even when it is clear that the cookie cutter approach is not working. This
treatment of the multitude as a "mass" to be ordered around contradicts the
very theory that the Disobbedienti have popularized.

3 -- There are no Comandanta Ramonas in Italy. Tute Bianche and Ya Basta were
initially inspired by Zapatismo, but something must have been lost in the
translation, for unlike the Zapatistas the Disobbedienti make no space for
women. Their leader is an ultra-dominant man, and they reinforce traditional
gender roles not only for women (who are ignored), but also for men (from whom
criticism is seen as a threat to the Disobbedienti alpha-male status). As a
result, political discussion has degenerated into a head butting contest
instead of a feast of ideas.

4 -- A pie to the face is actually a de-escalation! This action was a way to
parody the militarization of the movement, since the Disobbedienti have
contributed to an atmosphere in which activists settle their conflicts
physically and not with words. Casarini has covered over the sweet core of the
movement with a thick crust of thuggish guys, who may be useful for warding off
fascists and cultivating street credibility but are disastrous when dealing
with disagreements with other activists (a telling example is an absurd fight
that broke out during a recent meeting in Livorno, where Casarini and his
acolytes were chased out of town by a local posse of even more macho leftist
hooligans. Both the groups' attitudes are ridiculous, and ironically would be
unacceptable in activist circles in the US, despite the fact that "violence is
as American as apple pie").

The strawberry cream pie is a tart critique of the bitter contradictions that
have made the Disobbedienti their own worst enemy. In Italy the movement is
doing fine without their leadership (general strikes, huge rallies, flourishing
alternative media), but Disobbedienti could contribute a lot if only they would
eat some humble pie. It may sound saccharine, but the movement needs nurturing
and love, the Disobbedienti as much as anyone else. Against the truly hegemonic
forces of capitalism and war what we need is a concrete, anti-authoritarian,
non-sexist movement, pie any means necessary.

Biotic Baking Brigade Ricotta Division

"materialism is female"

Obviously, the vast majority of our pies are reserved for
corporate and government scoundrels. Yet, pie-slinging can
be one useful tactic among many for anti-authoritarians to
deal with the likes of leftist leaders (Luca Casarini),
bosses (Workers' Party president Jose Genoini in Porto
Alegre, Brasil), socialist wankers (Socialist Worker Party
honcho Alex Callinicos, egged by anti-capitalists in bristol, uk)
sell-out "environmentalists" (Sierra Club president Carl Pope),
lying reporters (Fox TV's Jennifer Jolly) and infiltrators
(would-be eco-spy Barry Clausen).

The Ricotta Division just released the following communique,
which clarifies some issues regarding the Casarini pie for
those outside the Italian movements.

Onwards to Evian and Thessaloniki,
with solidarity and respect,
the Biotic Baking Brigade

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