Re: (Eng) ECN Ezine Special - Brescia comrades on Milan demo

Profit Margin (pmargin@xchange.apana.org.au)
Tue, 09 Jan 96 20:30:30 PST


To: aut-op-sy@jefferson.village.virginia.edu, pmargin
Subject: (Eng) ECN Ezine Special - Brescia comrades on Milan demo
From: pmargin@xchange.apana.org.au (Profit Margin)
Message-ID: <ZJ1gHD3w165w@xchange.apana.org.au>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 96 20:19:58 PST
Organization: Anarchist BBS Network (ANET) Melb Section 3880018 xchange@apana.org.au

Translation of 'Ezine ECN speciale - da Brescia su
manifestazione 23/12'

Part 1 of 2

WE'RE ALL ON OUR BEST BEHAVIOUR AT CHRISTMAS
TIME

We think it sensible that each political campaign we as
comrades from Brescia are involved in should be accompanied
by collective discussions: firstly of its premises and contents,
then of how it was managed, of how it went, of its results.
We're aware that, given our current state, this is more like a
wish list; but still, there are good reasons for trying to begin a
collective discussion after the Milan demo of 23 December
called by the Leoncavallo social centre: a demo which if it
didn't directly involve us in its running, was experienced by
all of us here in Brescia on the level of emotional involvement,
of political solidarity, of a numerical presence in the streets, as
a very important occasion. So much so that Radio Onda d'Urto
rightly gave it enormous coverage, but also limited itself to
relaying the point of view and organisational stamp coming
from Milan, without the Brescian collective expressing its own
original contribution. In writing now an assessment of the
events of 23 December, we find that we weren't at all satisfied
with how it went, and we get the impression that other
comrades returning home from Milan were also to some
degree pissed off, deluded, dissatisfied, feeling that an
opportunity had been wasted: as if it didn't all add up, as if
things hadn't gone as they'd imagined or hoped, as if they felt
a reluctance to identify fully with what was being described by
its Milan organisers (and others) as a great success. Writing
this is a way of reacting to those feelings, to the sense of
impotence that some of us have felt on the individual level, and
transforming it into its opposite, into positive motivation, into
strength and clarity of ideas, starting with a comparison of
impressions and assessments amongst all the comrades. We
also think that a discussion of the 23 December demo would be
a useful way of feeling the comrades' pulse, of testing reflexes
(which seem somewhat slow of late), the preparedness to
reason politically from an autonomous, antagonistic, class
point of view on the part of those of us active together
politically here in Brescia. Our intention certainly isn't to start
yet another storm in a teacup, complete with personal attacks,
denunciations and acclamations of our own purity. Such things
don't interest us, because they represent nothing more than the
pinnacle of our own misery, an idiotic compensation for our
incapacity/unpreparedness to read the enormous changes going
on in social reality, and to identify the substantial political
questions that they raise. They mean getting pissed off with
each other, imploding on nothing, precisely because we can
hardly produce anything in terms of struggles, conflict,
illegality - and this is the real problem that concerns all
comrades, and must be resolved. Ultimately the problem is
also personal, but in the sense that each of us has to come to
terms with ourselves, to decide - very simply - what we want
to do with our lives. This is the point we come back to, after
one or a thousand collective discussions of what to do and
how: what to make of our own life, deciding if being a
comrade (autonomist, communist, revolutionary) means what
it did in the past: to struggle, to expend yourself and take risks
(and have fun!) directly [in prima persona - TN], to be
disposed towards this rather than anything else. In reality -
going back to our starting point - we think it would be useful
to discuss the demo of 23 December not simply because we
were left dissatisfied, but also because it has come to exemplify
important and evident political points worth discussing, points
that concern not only Milan but all of Italy, including the
comrades who make up our Brescian political subjectivity. The
problem at this point is not that of establishing who is the
hardest or most audacious: rather it concerns identifying
political choices, discussing them, seeing whether we agree
upon them or not, seeing whether to apply them or not.

The alternative at the demo of 23 December was not whether
or not to provoke clashes that turned the city upside down; it
was between communicating to the militant comrades, to all
the demonstrators, to those who weren't there, to our enemies
who have the power, either a laidback message, or one of
combativeness, of conflictual force and insubordination after
the previous Tuesday's events, when the state's thugs had
devastated Leoncavallo - we believe - without attributing much
importance to the fact. They did it because they had the power
to do it, because they thought that the reactions of the
comrades would not provoke any particular practical
problems, beyond a few communiques, probably a demo, and
the democratic lamentations of a few (not many) enlightened
personalities. The public authorities of the city and the state,
the police and the carabinieri, the judiciary thought in effect
that order, their greatest preoccupation, would not any way be
placed in question, but rather strengthened by the
disproportion between the concrete violence against
Leoncavallo and 'democratic and peaceful' reply it prompted,
a reply absolutely sterile in terms of antagonism even on the
level of verbal representation. Those who organised and
managed the response to the social centre's devastation had
clearly undervalued this essential political element, had
entrusted the shift towards a more favourable relations of
force to something absolutely inadequate to the task: an appeal
to the (inconsistent) moods [TN - alle prese di posizione
opinionistiche (inconsistenti)] of the political forces and the
'democratic citizens', offering in exchange not only guarantees
as to the peaceful nature of the demo, but also and above all
giving themselves an image of democratic responsibility, of
indignant moderation - the exact opposite of a message of
antagonism and of being, beyond that which is concretely
possible in determinate circumstances, radically other with
respect to this state, to its actors, to this society, to its values
and its laws. We were concerned what 'the people' would have
said in seeing the usual autonomist hooligans, but we don't
believe in reality that 'the people' exists, except in the minds of
those obsessed with the conquest of electoral consensus. The
latter types must necessarily have moderate programs and
behaviours, since it is an elementary mathematical rule that
success in the pursuit of the broadest consensus means locating
yourself at the centre, showing yourself to be moderate, the
guarantor/moderniser of order and stability, because 'the
people', the silent majorities, the majorities of opinion, the
passive majorities, those who look at you not even with hatred,
but indifference, who every time say 'I don't give a shit
because people are fools', who don't want or have no interest
in radical changes. . . It's exactly for this reason that a
revolution, whether through insurrection or as a long process,
has never and will never be made through the conquest of the
majority of 'the people', but rather against them or in their
absence. The majority that interests us is something else again:
it is the social majority, that which constitutes itself into real
movements that want and are capable of determining great
changes: it is this which we must help create and make visible.
How? We need to make our categories of interpreting reality,
our languages, our organisational forms, everything, adequate
to a society that have changed profoundly. But one thing is
now already certain: an antagonistic social majority (or even a
mass social minority) will never arise by launching messages
which are not radical. In our opinion, while it's clear enough
that radical messages and behaviours don't always strike the
mark, those that are not radical will never strike the mark.
We're all indignant because a section of the press ('Corriere
della Sera', 'Il Giornale', and others) said after the demo that
we had expropriated supermarkets and created tensions and
disorders. But to our mind the problem isn't that these papers
have defamed us through untrue accusations, but rather that
we react in this defensive way, that these accusations really are
unfounded, that we didn't actually do these things! Wouldn't it
have been positive if, without a racket or confusion, in a neat
and organised way, a group of comrades had entered into
some supermarket and carried off a few of those commodities
that in this Christmas season millions of people see glittering
in the windows without being able to have them? We and many
other comrades call this reappropriation of the wealth that is
ours, one of the many ways, certainly not the most important,
but surely just and - during that demo - possible, to practice
concrete subversion, to send out antagonistic messages. But the
stewards' organisation was keen to ensure that we 'avoided
provocations', at the same time that extremely hard slogans
were launched at the head of the demo and all the comrades
were geared up to fend off eventual attacks by the fascists
(above all in piazza S. Babila, according to the truck
loudspeaker) or by the police, distant but always menacing...
The appeal for a large demo that was 'peaceful, democratic
and mass' was communicated to the citizens and associations of
'democratic Milan' and their political representatives, without
the force of an antagonistic political subjectivity broadly
grounded in society (with an already consolidated social area
of reference): therefore without being able to impose,
admitting it was possible, its own contents upon these political
participants of the progressive (PDS) or late-social democratic
'left'. When it came down to it there was a block of 1000-1500
members of Rifondazione at the demo, along with a group of
Greens. Add two or three banners from the PDS, some
Milanese 'culture personalities', Senator Manconi and a few
like him, an absolutely insignificant presence of 'the people of
the left' who come out with us only from indignation from the
beatings we've received (we're only right when we're being
beaten up): this is the 'democratic Milan' that turned up to the
demo of 23 December. There were about 30,000 people at the
demo in all, a number we've never seen before. The
predominant composition of the march consisted of young
militants and those who frequent the social centres in Milan
and in much of Italy. There was also a notable, but fragmented
mass of young people who evidently don't live well, who don't
identify with this society, but who identify only in part with
us, who don't even find our messages and replies convincing,
if it is true (and it is true) that these non militant subjects
become visible within political initiatives only on great
occasions.

TO BE CONTINUED. . .