Waiting for the Anarchists

Carabinieri. Italy, 2009..

Whenever foreign leftists think about Italy, one of the first things that comes to mind are violent demonstrations, in big cities, like Rome, and Milan. Rarely do they imagine politics taking place outside of the major tourist hubs. It’s not surprising. One plays host to the federal government. The other, the business sector. Never mind the fact that the country’s two capitals, (as they are often referred to) are not necessarily representative of Italy’s political diversity, or are the the only places that important things happen.

Hence, the significance of crises like that over the high-speed TAV train line, in the Val Susa, in Piemonte. Though it’s intended to connect the cities of Torino and Lyon, the fight itself takes place off the grid, geographically-speaking, of the urban imaginary of non-Italian media, and of the global left. Though it is about corruption, and patronage, burning problems endemic to Italian politics, it is also about the environment, and the despoliation of rural life. It’s not the only drama of its kind, either.

The flyer below, is a good example. Photographed in the city of Trieste, in northeastern Italy, it documents a lesser-known, though, judging from the language used, similarly upsetting crisis, in the Val Rosandra.  As per the call to arms vibe of its genre, it indulges a traditionally beleaguered us-versus-them attitude, typical of the sense of marginalization and urgency felt in progressive circles in Italy, today. Note the NO TAV flyer to its right, as though to affirm the sense of equivalency, of this regional issue.


Anarchist flyers (see left). Trieste, October 2013.
Anarchist flyers (see left). Trieste, October 2013.



What happened in Val Rosandra is already well known. The devastation perpetrated is somehow bewildering; seeing before your eyes what they were doing makes you shiver but at the same time it makes you angry. The desire to expel from every wood those nests, trees and creek destroyers is stronger and stronger. But we know who are the responsible, in this case Civil Defense, and it’s not the first dirty trick that they have done.

As a state organization, Civil Defense was established after the earthquakes of 1976 in Friuli and in Irpinia, in 1980. It is no coincidence that this organization has been established after these two sad events. The Friuli region was militarised even before the earthquakes, in the proximity of the Yugoslav border. After the natural disaster, the government tried several times, using the army, to impose new shooting ranges and other facilities for the military.

As a response to this attempt to further militarise the territory, there was the spontaneous mobilisation of Friulian people who, considering the government difficulty in helping during the emergency, adopted some forms of self management of everyday life in addition to struggling against the army. Just look at the struggle in Sauris against the shooting range, and how Andreotti was welcomed at that time: with stones. Today, on the contrary, we have seen to what has led to peoples’ resignation and the Civil Defense conduct, which is in every way a police force. Why these comparisons? What happened in Val Rosandra is Civil Defense’ fault, but first of all it’s our fault, or, better, of those who still trust institutions, politicians in power, the army.

Now it’s easy to pity ourselves  for what happened to plants and animals of the valley; one must be naïve not to understand that what has been done shouldn’t have; in particular the volunteers that, on that Sunday, went cutting the trees as if they were cutting cheese. A stupid game. The presence in the valley of thousands of people made it clear to the blind that a lot of us love that land, but now it’s time to organize ourselves against the mess that they want to make in the valley, as well as elsewhere in the Carso.

Petitions lead nowhere, except to the self-satisfaction of being numerous.  If valley village inhabitants on those March days, instead of remaining in their gardens, had organized themselves at the beginning of the road leading to the Rifugio Permuda to stop Civil Defence and Carabinieri, maybe what had been done wouldn’t have, (and) people would have met to defend their own land.

Is the Val di Susa experience teaching us something? There isn’t in the last public statement from the Piemonte valley the suggestion to not only be supportive of their struggle, but also to defend our own territory from any devastation? May this echo arrive here too. It’s not necessary to be numerous. The important thing is to be committed and be aware of anyone attempting to give political meaning to a struggle that people have tried for years to bring to the Carso villages.

Many initiatives have been organized, for example against TAV in the valley, in order to explain what might happen if trucks, bulldozers and police would arrive – and here they came! But the crucial thing is to defend ourselves from any work devastating  nature, animals, and us too. And to distrust and keep eyes wide open on every little step taken against the Carso. Have our enemies, too, understood anything from Val di Susa? They think they can take the remaining land little by little. We have to make them understand that here, there are people ready to fight with no fear. They want us to believe that to plant a seed in the ground is harder than to buy food at the supermarket.

Can this be real? We don’t know nature anymore because we no longer go in the woods to take what we need, but we go into Val Rosandra after the week of working exploitation, because the cities we live in are intolerable and noxious. We cannot organize ourselves to meet our real needs anymore. Now it’s time for us to get rid of those  who want to destroy our land and want us intoxicated and subdued. It’s time to get rid of these life-exploiters, and murderers!


Some Trieste anarchists


Translated from the Italian by Giulia Pace. Photographs courtesy of  Adam, and Joel Schalit.

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