(Eng) Turin Meeting for Chiapas

Steve Wright (sjwright@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au)
Sat, 18 May 1996 19:30:50 +1000

What follows is the translation of a brief report of the recent meeting (28
April) organised by the Comitato di solidarieta' con il Chiapas di Torino,
sent to me by Pino Caputo (capsorin@mbox.vol.it) of the Associazione
culturale Chaos.


Account of the Turin Encounter against neo-liberalism and for humanity (28
April 1996)

The whole day saw around 30 interventions, from groups, committees,
associations, social centres, rank and file unions, ethical trading
concerns (botteghe del commercio equo) etc. etc., from the Catholic world
and the left. All had been invited to recount their own experience of
concrete activity in pursuit of a critical awareness and/or social

The common objective: to go beyond the present economic, political, social
and cultural system which here in Italy and in Europe, as in different
forms in Chiapas and the rest of the world, continues to destroy the planet
and to produce poverty, death, marginalisation and unlivable conditions for
millions of people.

The Zapatistas had invited us to meet so as to discover how much we had in
common, and to unite our forces in an 'International of hope' against the
'International of terror and death' - only this could prevent our
enslavement by the monster known as 'neo-liberalism'. The meeting brought
together some very interesting experiences that share both a more or less
radical critique of this system, and efforts to think and to organise an
alternative to it.

Equitable and non-exploitative (solidale) trade, ethical banks, alternative
employment agencies, linkages between the struggles of workers and
unemployed, of Italians and foreigners, experiences of international-level
solidarity committee work, environmentalism, pacifism, the occupation of
self-managed spaces - these are some of the experiences related during the

Almost all of the interventions displayed a preparedness to engage with and
listen to others. The range of analyses and methods of struggle, far from
being an obstacle to communication and the construction of an alternative
represented, on the contrary, a richness to be cherished in the plurality
of subjects and the choices they presented. Throughout recent times a
genuine patrimony of experiences has been constructed, one that need not be
frittered away or fragmented. The Zapatistas have proposed to Mexico - and
to the entire world - to unite these experiences, starting from the will to
say: ya basta!

The Turin meeting was not able to discuss how to organise ourselves and
struggle against neo-liberalism - this, after all, was only a first
encounter. The challenge has been made, however, as have proposals to meet
again to discuss specific themes and sectors of intervention. One of the
proposals was to find a physical space in which to meet, a free space in
which all the interested realities can meet and work together - to
construct a network of communication and exchange information, analyses and
experiences, as the Comitato di solidarieta' con il Chiapas di Torino has
already begun to practice with some of these groups.

We are only at the beginning.