Category Archives: Social Mobilisations & Community Organising

On the state of movements: let’s open the debate

Some American and European comrades have asked me, Why didn’t you have an Occupy movement in Italy? Why is the NO TAV movement the only expression of social struggle? The NO TAV, despite their strong success, despite their original expression of post-modernity class war, lack the characteristics of the Occupy movements: an extension of social change, the power to remove old hierarchies, and, above all, a shared and “common” political dynamic open to radical political upheavals.

But here’s another paradox: what sense does this question have now? The Occupy movements seem already dead. The Arab springs have mostly been crashed by military coups and civil wars, or have ended up producing Islamic regimes that seem to forecast the repression of freedoms and political practices only just discovered – the continuation of the status quo under a different name, possibly even worse than the old theological-political dictatorships. In Europe, movements have been suffocated by the unhealthy atmosphere brought over by the economic crisis, while in the States they are just about to be swallowed by the political structures that nowadays dominate the electoral deadlines. Continue reading

Pisa: the “Nuova Periferia Polivalente” has opened!

After being left derelict and neglected for 6 years, during which the only intervention by the local authorities has been the building of a wall around the old changing rooms which turned them into a dangerous sewer, Pisa’s sports centre Polisportiva della Fontina has come back to life, and being put to use by hundreds of people of all ages who want a space to hang out and practice sports freely.

The centre has been revamped thanks to the work and donations of hundreds of local volunteers coming from all backgrounds: it’s been a month and a half of hard work, of weeding and clearing up, cutting down plants that had spread to the pavements, cleaning and renovating. The new self-managed sports centre is now open to everyone: another building rescued from financial speculation by local authorities and private companies trying to cover everything up with cement and take public space away from the local residents. Continue reading

Squatting against austerity: Occupy Pisa grows and evolves

Squatting is on the rise again in these times of austerity (see for example the recent occupations of flats in Southern Spain, mostly carried out by housewives and families). An Italian project that’s caught my attention since its beginning is in Pisa, where last year’s Occupy protests evolved into the reappropriation and transformation of abandoned buildings for the benefit of the local community.

The low-cost social canteen

The Occupy Pisa project started in November 2011 with the occupation of some old buildings owned by a bank in Pisa, with the aim of providing alternative and self-managed social spaces for the local community. After only a few months of successful initiatives, such as a low-cost canteen, courses and advice drop-ins, the building was evicted in February. The eviction didn’t stop them though, as they went on to set up a permanent camp in the nearby Piazza Dante, which was used as a base to organise pickets and demonstrations, and to keep engaging with the local residents. Thanks to these tactics the project has grown from being an activist-based movement to being a mixed group of people from all sorts of backgrounds, including students, precarious workers, unemployed people and local residents of all ages. Continue reading

Accusations against housing movements in Rome demolished by Tribunal

In September 2009, hundreds of Carabinieri stormed a school in the Magliana area of Rome and arrested dozens of people who were occupying it. The charges made against them were super harsh: organised crime, extortion, possession of weapons, theft, assaulting police officers, and more. The arrests took place during a relentless propaganda campaign orchestrated against the occupations by the local media. Several politicians, including Rome’s Mayor Alemanno, released statements in solidarity with the police operation, against those “dangerous criminals” that were hiding behind the occupations. A few people spent months in prison, some lost their jobs as a result of it. Continue reading

Occupy Pisa: Via La Pergola evicted, the occupations continue!

For background info and context on the Occupy Pisa past successes read this old article here.

February 15th: only two days after the launch of the new campaign to promote the occupations in Via la Pergola, local police forces responded with a sudden eviction of the building that started at 7am. Three students who were inside the building preparing to move into their new rooms (part of the building was destined to be a student residence), were given on-the-spot cautions. Continue reading

The Occupy Movement in Bologna challenges president Giorgio Napolitano (by InfoAut)

On 30 January 2012 the Occupy Movement in Bologna – alongside with the universitary and secondary-school CUA and CAS students’ collectives and the Laboratorio Occupato Crash autonomous social centre – promoted a day of action against the government’s austerity measures and the awarding, by the local University, of an honorary degree in International Relations to Giorgio Napolitano – Italy’s President. Continue reading

Why we’re not afraid of the pitchforks

January has been an emotionally intense month for me, and, as a consequence, I haven’t been on my blog a lot, as you might have noticed. Therefore, I haven’t been able to follow “the pitchfork movement” of Sicily, which seems to have been ignored by most mainstream media. Now that I’ve come back to Earth, I thought I’d translate an interesting piece of analysis that I’ve read on the ever excellent site InfoAut. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or you need to refresh your memory a bit, have a look at these articles on Libcom and Struggles in Italy. And here is what the Palermo’s InfoAut crew had to say about it: Continue reading