Letter from Massimo Passamani, who has been in preventive prison for over four months in the Trento, Italy prosecution’s “Operation Ixodidae” targeting persons in the NO TAV movement which is resisting the construction of the high-speed train infrastructure through Italy, especially in the Susa Valley.
Rovereto, December 5, 2012
Reflections on repression, solidarity and the NO TAV movement
November 29, 2012. Another wave of arrests and repressive measures against the NO TAV movement. Certainly, it cannot be said that the Ministry of the Interior is sleeping. The different Prosecutors keep taking arrest warrants out of the oven, which the judges accept or, if not, restructure in number and form, but almost never leaving the judges empty-handed. Today one ends up in prison or under house arrest under charges for which in the past one would have undergone trial in freedom. The reason is not fortuitous and has nothing to do with judicial questions. (As the NO TAV movement knows well, subjected as it is to innumerable extrajudicial measures of restrictions on freedom: from the constant creation of permanent red zones, to the downpour of expulsion orders passed out at the last minute, to the “special security” reserved for the NO TAV during the recent transfer to Lyon).
Power, in order to keep guaranteeing the accumulation of profits, must strike hard. Money’s very value–based in the ever-more direct intervention of the State–is imposed with the violence of the police. From Equitalia (tax-collection agency for Italian duties) to evictions, from the charges in the plazas to the attack on salaries and pensions, the state monopoly on violence is the ultimate recourse for a capitalism in profound restructuring. This violence, against what the democratic stories tell, has no internal limits (the laws, the Constitution, the so-called social contract, etc.). The only limit is the rebellion (real or feared) of the exploited. If Power assigns itself longer-term projects–to further reduce the “cost of manual labor,” privatizing health, dismantling the pensions system, stealing millions of people’s savings, successively militarizing society, etc.–the singular measures do not go ahead merely as intermediary steps, but rather as forays in the terrain of social patience. In this sense, Monti (the former Prime Minister) did not equivocate several months ago in declaring when he received a award outside of Italy, that the award should have been given to the “Italian people” for “the spirit of sacrifice they demonstrated.” “Capital’s people is a people of stoics,” wrote Collu and Cesarano in Apocalypse and Revolution (1974), with opposite intentions. But something is changing, as can be deduced, for example, in the last Report from the Center of Studies for Social Inversion (CENSIS) about the protests in Italy. And as was seen in mid-Europe on November 14, 2011.
They exploited are also beginning to make their own forays into the terrain, for which each struggle prepares another, each barricade can make the next one stronger. The most important foray consists in seeing, understanding, testing in first person that opposing oneself to state violence–which is also, but not solely, police brutality–is possible.
In this is located the need of the State–and thus that of the police, of judicial Power, of the mass media–to strike the NO TAV movement; and to strike it for what it has done and is doing, but just as much to strike it for the sense of possibility that it spreads. The same goes for those revolutionary components who have never hidden what side of the barricades they are on. Annoyed killjoys during periods of social peace turned into dangerous sparks–real or potential–when the conflict retook vigor and consistency.
If this brief analysis is correct, then trying to separate the different investigations, focusing attention only on those that appeal to more “presentable” crimes is a serious error. And, still more serious, not to mention tragic, is naming, in solidarity initiatives, only those from NO TAV who have been hit.
It is not certain, as has been said and written, that the objective of the repressive operation of November 29 was to hit the authors of the student occupation of Geovalsusa and only marginally–and spectacularly–the authors of the supposed attack on the TV equipment. Also for the acts of Chianocco, the Prosecution has asked for 8 preventive detentions (5 of whom are already in prison). But this is not the issue.
Judicial Power–which has never before worked so directly for the Ministry of the Interior [the prosecution – transl]–acts in a manner not very different from that of power as a whole. It places itself long-term objectives, others more immediate, and carries out its verifications of the terrain until it can achieve its goals (all this does not contradict the fact that all the judges are some bureaucrats). It knows that to attack the NO TAV movement for events like those of June 27 or July 3, 2011 is more difficult, but it cannot avoid having already done it (as it decided to do on the other hand, in a different political-social context, for December 8, 2005). It also knows that the list of associative crimes–which it keep using against some revolutionary components, anarchists above all–would be counter-productive if applied to a mass movement. And therefore it challenges isolated episodes (decontextualized, of course) in NO TAV, the majority of them not in the valley. It intends to thus hand out years of prison and at the same time to test the resistance of the solidarity within the movement. At the same time, it trusts to a provincial Prosecution (in particular, that of Trento) an intention that it cannot take up in the heart of the conflict–that is, in Turin. In the framework of an investigation for “subversive association with terrorist aims” (the already known 270bis) against 43 anarchists, the Trento prosecutor accused, as a matter of fact, some compas of having organized and directed the clashes on July 3 in the Valley, in spite of these comrades not even appearing among the 45 NO TAV accused in Turin (on whom, on the other hand, Caselli has been careful not to press a similar charge, the NO TAV movement is the living negation). Even so, the intent from Trento has been prepared with the collaboration of the Trento Digos and with a national media campaign about the “violent factions,” about the “professional guerrillas” and the supposed “leaders.”
In short, judicial power sets itself at the same time quantitative and qualitative objectives. It strikes (with various means) the greatest number of NO TAV possible and seeks any excuse to cut off some comrades, preferably accusing them of the struggle’s least “popular” actions, with the goal of isolating them. And put it in perspective: the quantity and quality of repressive attacks have a greater objective, that is to divide, demoralize and finally to demolish the NO TAV movement as a warning to all.
To read the judicial documents has the same effect as looking at the TV news: in both cases it is the labor of totalitarianism fragmenting us.
Just as the occupation of Geovalsusa in Turin is inseparable from the NO TAV summer, from the campaign against the collaborationist businesses and from the movement as a whole, the same goes for the acts of Chianocco last February 29. A long day that began with the threat on the occupied freeway and ended at two in the morning in the Bussoleno Space in one of the most intense assemblies in the history of the NO TAV movement. In the midst of all this, before the blockade of the TGV (High Speed Train) in the station and before the resistance on the freeway that lasted more than five hours, the expulsion of a TV team. A “fact,” says the order of preventive prison. A fact, certainly. Another fact is that Lucas was still in an induced coma. Another fact is that some journalists had called him an “idiot.” Another fact is that the day before some police dressed as civilians had been uncovered near the blockades in a van trying to intercept the conversations from NO TAV. And another fact is that the journalists kicked out on February 29 had backpacks with antennas, gas masks, helmets and a blue siren on their car… A fact is that they were the ones who made the recordings that served later to build the “pecorella” [little sheep – transl] case (a shameful fact and, at the same time, a ridiculous one given the quantity and variety of insults shouted at the forces of order those days…). A fact is that if forty NO TAV really had assaulted three journalists, as the legal reports say, the latter certainly would not have kept walking. A fact is that the Chianocco episode has effectively implicated close to a dozen NO TAV people and that, that same night, they were discussing at the Bussoleno assembly. A fact is that the media focus magically went out when the police and carabinieri began their charges on the freeway. A fact is that the mass media are one with the machinery of the military occupation of the Susa Valley. A fact is that the whole dominant class is in favor of the TAV. And another fact is that a whole population, together with so many solidarians, has resisted for more than twenty years.
Of all these facts, the Prosecution chose the one that was comfortable. It is not surprising. (And if later their accusations did not agree with the facts, well then, too bad for the facts, as Lukács said). Of all the crimes that the NO TAV movement has committed these past years in the Valley and in other places–ever since the crime that worried all of them, that is, the crime of not surrendering–the judges of the Italian media will find other “facts,” selecting them according to their interests. Totalitarianism of the fragment, fact, expression and tool from the one who sees the world through the eyes of the blind.
For my part, I refuse to see through those eyes.
For my part, the events of February 29 were beautiful. And I claim responsibility for it. All of it.