One week after the now (in)famous Roman 15th October that ended up on worldwide headlines as “the only protest of the Occupy movement that ended in violence and riots”, and here we all are reading and writing about it. At the end of the protests 70 people had been injured, and 12 arrested during the riots in Piazza San Giovanni. All of the arrestees are young and have no previous criminal record, like the ones arrested for the events of December 14 last year (all consequently released without charge). The following days several social centres and private houses were raided by the police (in search of black hooded sweaters, no doubt). Some MPs suggested the re-introduction of anti-terrorism laws that haven’t been used in Italy since the 70s. Rome’s Mayor banned any demonstration in central Rome for a whole month, excluding sit-ins (cos they look nice, I suppose, you know, it’s good for the tourists)…………
The media, politicians and pacifists, right and left, started howling merrily together for revenge and prison. In reality the violent resistance was localized , didn’t attack innocents, and was largely provoked by violent police .. (Comment by blogger)
….Some of the more “socially aware” articles were all about how the violent protesters “ruined the day”, stealing it from the peaceful protesters and turning it into their own battle with the police. A lot of the protesters have also been writing on their blogs and networks. Some were very scared and pissed off about getting caught up in a situation they didn’t want to be in; others were disappointed and critical of the behaviour of some of the protesters; some others were happy about the resistance in Piazza San Giovanni, and the birth of a new, angry generation….
….Most of the Italian public seems to think the Black Bloc is either made of a) random vandals, possibly neofascist; b) anarchists; c) police infiltrators (or a mix of the 3, pick your own flavour!). It does seem very plausible indeed, looking at pictures and videos, that a significant number of infiltrators were there. They are very easily recognisable, because even the most expensive intelligence training could never teach them how to dress like “proper” Black Bloc. I don’t find it surprising, and I really don’t understand why people still do…remember the piece I wrote for Cossiga’s death, remember that strategy?
Back to the same devastating debate that split the Genoa Social Forum and the movement after the G8: violence vs non-violence. There would be so much to say about this that I, or nobody else for that matter, couldn’t summarise in a blog’s article. If I may, I’d like to suggest the reading of this little illuminating book: “How non-violence protects the State” by Peter Gelderloos.
Here’s part of a comment from the Wu Ming blog post
…”I’ve already written it here on other occasions. The catastrophe has already happened. And before being political and economic, it was cultural. Whoever holds things close to their ‘heart’ (ha!) must multiply spaces like this one – precious not just for the content, but especially for their methods, attitude, pedagogy (it sounds like a swear word). Places that invite confrontation, discussion, personal growth and sharing. And conflict, fuck. Even ours, especially ours. And not just on the web. Actually, conflicts are needed especially outside. They are too scarce still.
But things are moving. October 15 is in the past already. We need a new vocabulary – emotional and political. A new generation won’t be enough to take on the task. But we could be proud to be the ones who started it. Occupy everything. Take care.”