A search for a new equilibrium. This is without doubt the dominant theme of the political moment that we are going through. Not only in Italy, but all over the world.
However, considering things from the point of view of our own reality we must say right away that this research is not only happening with the consultations on institutional reforms at various levels, not only with the roped climbers against the wild protests of a certain trade unionism of new coinage but also with a certain way of facing the problem of the past legislative and judicial emergency.
On various sides they are again taking up the question of amnesty, pardon and all the other judicial instruments that are capable of resolving the delicate situation in which we have come to find State institutions in the face of the phenomenon of armed struggle as this phenomenon has been developing over past years.
We do not know how things will turn out, sure that they had to be sorted out in one way or another. To be convinced of this are not only the dissociated old and new with all their more or less intelligent nuances, but also those who - like Piperno - are on the point of returning to Italy or have already done so.
The solution will, in the first place, be a useful fact in the prospects of new Italian political equilibrium. The State, especially in the face of a prospect of institutional and constitutional reshuffles, needs an old-style political “opposition” even stuffed with opportunely recycled unglorious signatures . From this “opposition” one could, as everyone understands, make the most opportune and optimal use as a lubricant to avoid the risky frictions of the past, i.e. greater unrest. Certainly, men have bargained with the State, even in “intelligent” terms, such as those who “suggest” that the State looks at its cards again and remedies the “wrongs” of the past to avoid a gloomy future of “useless” and bloody clashes, must necessarily be available for manipulation, to suitable use. We are not talking about a Curcio in parliament like Negri and perhaps worse than him. But we are talking of an opposition that is insinuating itself beyond the institutions (that’s a manner of speaking) recuperating the real dissent of the country that is precisely the greatest preoccupation of our governers at a time that is presenting itself as transitory, to go towards an institutional resystemisation. Think of the great importance of a fictitious opposition of the old stamp organised in the streets, supported by the official forces of the parties and of the left, or even by recycled organisations or those of a new stamp, to serve as a safety valve at a time when they finally want to gag the possibilities of strikes, spontaneous workers’ organisations, freedom of movement, of thought, meeting, etc. Because that is what we are talking about.
The State is prospecting a more adequate refoundation in the nineties, which will be years of struggle for the drastic restructuring of production on the basis of the post-industrial economy. In this perspective it could be very comfortable to have a fictitious opposition that pushes the great masses of the past in piazza, people with so many years’ prison to display as a guarantee and hazy ambivalent discourses to contraband as new horizons of revolutionary struggle.
The thing is not so strange. It is necessary to reflect on it. After all, in the perspective of State restructuring it is precisely the highly politicised minorities that scare, those who could constitute a point of reference, a potentially subversive struggle. And it would be difficult to control these minorities and repress them with the classical means (police, judiciary, etc.) that a democratic State has as its disposal. While they could easily fall into the arms of a fictitious orientation of opposition and, so doing, definitively disarm themselves.
That is why - and we remind all those who have not understood it yet - we have always been against all struggles for amnesty. That is why, once again, we are pointing out the dangers of a turning in the direction of “pardon”, legitimisation, or whatever more or less clean term they want to indicate the abandonment and renunciation of ideals and the practice of revolutionary struggle.
Power is getting time to rearrange its structures and sort out its projects for the best.
This is the significance one grasps from the hesitation and uncertainty on the best way to set out the struggle.
The traditional front of the class struggle, after the more or less long periods of wild rearrangement, is addressing itself towards sorting out more tranquil and productive social peace in the medium term.The “theorem” of Tarantelli and Modigliani is revealing itself to be inexact. Political re-enforcements, as an effect of an economic re-organisation, is producing better conditions of exploitation. People feel safer (better represented) and, largely speaking, are more willing to be exploited. The democratic wager must be played out in full. In the case of the contrary, an inverse process could set underway. Credit could become debit, faith lack of it. Peace rage.
In what way and in what times all that could happen, we cannot say. Economic reajustments are proceding well. The financial counterblows (such as those in the stock exchange) are better ammorticised than happened following the relative (therefore growing) independence of the capitalist structures from crude financial capitalist needs. Italy in particular is growing economically to levels such as to threaten the French and English leaderships. We are also about to become economic colonisers in territories that were traditionally the decisional centres where foreign colonialism started off against us (who can forget the exploitation realised in Italy by the great foreign railway firms). There are drawbacks, but these are also under control. The unemployed are on the increase, but they are not giving excessive preoccupations. The State deficit is at levels that were unthinkable just a few years ago, but is still far from the standard levels of the big industrial countries. We now know well that only with big debts is it possible to manage big enterprises of exploitation. The complex management of the enterprise does not matter, what counts is profit in the short term. In fact, to be precise, not so much profit in financial terms but power and influence in the short term.
The level of the struggle is in decline. It is pointless to hide this fact. The sign of this decline is given by the fact that the confederated unions are also gaining ground, eminently holding all kinds of autonomous phenomena under control, moreover carriers of not very original reasons for struggle. The decrease in struggles will give new space to the final structuring of power. If in the next two years a new cycle of struggles does not take root, capital will place its unsurmountable frontiers in such a way as to guarantee itself at least a decade of sure margins.
It no longer seems to us to be the case to come out again with the symbols of the great unifying objectives. Nuclear power, for example, undoubtedly constitutes a “readable” objective, but no longer in a “demonstrative” key. In this perspective it has become a supporting element of restructuring. The same can be said for all kinds of pollution. These two sectors can see interventions of struggle, and the same in the sectors of international class collaboration, but not at demonstrative levels. To fight today for whoever wants to do so, means finding new roads even within these sectors of intervention that are open to everyone. But these new roads can, at least in the beginning, fail to be practicable except by a few.
The awakening of great strata of comrades and exploited in general can only come about more slowly. The struggle, simple and practical, is taking up again, from the beginning. With simple means, without great illusions, but with the usual hope in our hearts.
In past times when everything seemed to be going for the best on the wings of ideological illusions, when demonstrations and clashes, destructive actions and attacks against the class enemy were only disturbed by those who stubbornly wanted to move them to a level of excessive military efficiency. At times when the present fashion of symbolism and creeping repression had not yet been discovered. One lined up whole-heartedly with different possible ways of seeing the social clash and the revolutionary intervention.
On the one hand the old remnants of social democracy that were contained in anarchist symbols and banners, on the other the noisy supporters of disturbance taken to the extreme of the ecstatic dreams of the former and their more or less avid supporters.
For the outside spectator the clashes, both verbal and on printed paper, seemed like a storm in a teacup. Chatter on the right, chatter on the left. More or less well done more or less agreeable to read, obvious in its basic elements.
Then there was a third element, that which we could now call the “centrists”. Comrades who like Pontias Pilate did not want (and do not want, because they are still around) to dirty their hands, avoiding with contortion the occasion of taking sides in one or the other way of seeing things. This “marais”, like all swamps, lay hidden, nesting in the corridors of meetings and conferences but never coming out into the light of day with smiles and hyberbolic declarations of esteem, at the same time as unequivocable indications of equidistance.
Whatever the reasons at the time were for the possibilist “social-democrats” and whatever the unconfessed interests of the inhabitants of the “marais” the fact remains that most of the time they end up cohabiting within the same positions, cutting, without realising it, the same lean figure.
Now things are changing. If you like, in the rarefaction of the facts present, divergences and methods are distinguishing themselves better. The old possibilists have been leading the movement, recruiting new adepts and these, as always happens, are more realist than the king. The swamp in the middle is filling up with new opportunists who, in the best of cases, i.e. giving them credit for their good faith, must say they do not know which fish to choose. Not to mention professional informers and spies, who also exist, but they make up such a minute isolated minority that, for the time being, they are not worth mentioning.
We believe that the evolution of things, i.e. of the conditions of exploitation, the production of the new subordinated man sold out to the new techniques of power, the destruction of any residual sign of humanity or dignity; all this along with elements of the good will of the few who have not remained prisoner to psychological dilemas and moral plunder; they will produce a new need for confrontation. We do not believe it possible to carry on as though nothing has happened, to see the old social democratic merchandise, as we believe it is difficult that in the next few months one will be able to continue to float in the slimy waters of the swamp without fishing down to the depths.
To understand ourselves, beyond any possible doubt, we do not intend here to point out eventual roads of clarification or convergence in the name of superior principles to be saved at any cost. We are only indicating the sad possibility of a far heavier divarication. And neither does our contestation want to be a raising of shields but simply a bitter verification of how cancer-ridden and insanabile divergences are. We have never shown pity on anyone, least of all ourselves, and we don’t intend to start now. That is why we might seem to be too rigid at times. The fact is that perhaps we really are rigid.
In the things of life you want a little logic and, why not, also intelligence. Also in the highly discutable and miserable practice of dissociation, those who are masters in this field have made us see that you need a certain logic, a certain graduality. Dissociative positions are not in themselves necessary up until the moment when facts that do not have any agreement among those who intend to dissociate themselves are verified.
For example, the long line of dissociated in the past 15 years has taught us that there is always time for signing declarations. First one must see how things stand, evaluate the pros and the cons, before taking a distance from someone whose practices we do not approve of.
Preconfectioned dissociation “bulletins” as these could be defined let us say, their linguistic structure predetermined, to be put into circulation by parties, politicians and economic personalities when certain facts occur. It is a question of generic condemnation where one frequently finds the term “vile attack” and other such things.
The difference exists although it remains within a strata that disgusts in any case.
Now, what one might ask, were the motivations that pushed the comrades of Rivista “A” and the FAI in Milan to dissociate themselves from events that took place in Milan some time ago, small attacks against militarist objectives like the ENEL nuclear research centre or similar firms who work in the nuclear sectors?
Why did they immediately bring out a communique? What did they want to distinguish themselves from in such a hurry? They certainly weren’t afraid of the risk of seeing themselves with the carabinieri turning up at their homes to raid them, in that it is well known - at least it is without doubt so in Milan - that these political line-ups do not agree with certain practices. What did they want to take a distance from? Would not it have been better to wait for a few days to pass, if nothing else to be able to successively defend the comrades who could (and presumably will be, persecuted for things they are quite extraneous to), and at the same time as they support the comrades, see to making the legitimate distinction they are imposing in political terms because it is not right for everyone to share a practice which by its very nature cannot be other than, at the moment, accepted by only a few?
Wouldn’t that have been better?
Of course it would have been better and it would have made a police act of intimidation more difficult that becomes easier within our movement precisely when the floodlights shine on a small number of us.
I ask myself then, what pushed these comrades to act in such a way? Which then turns out to be contradictory, in that first they dissociate themselves from a certain practice, contributing to turning attention to comrades that do not intend to dissociate themselves in this obtuse and preconceived way, and then they solidarise with those struck by the repression, precisely the repression which with its own dissociative practice it had contributed to soliciting. Such behaviour seems to me to be not only contradictory but also devoid of that minimum of political intelligence required in the practice of social struggles, whatever this practice might be, without being too subtle.
A comrade, with a passion that is his, defined them recently at the Forlì conference as “pieces of shit”. Certainly, it’s a strong phrase, beyond all measure of good manners, but we must also understand that certain ways of acting, beyond sharing cetain practices or not, are not admissable in that it is behaviour that supplies the instruments of repression.
I would suggest a let’s say “benevolent” reading of these “incidents” in which, in my opinion, have run into both the Milan FAI and Rivista A; basically the latter have been taken by surprise: they did not expect a movement to exist in today’s reality, a number of comrades, even minimal, that were intending to realise destructive attacks against militarist objectives. This intention is happening in practice and we, of this paper, have punctually witnessed how much is happening, at times undergoing incrimination, raids, and trials with accusations of instigation, apology, and, incredible as it may seem, participation; without for that claiming that what we are pointing out should receive the applause of all comrades. But it is necessary to reflect better on what might happen in future, when taking a position.
Criticism is one thing. Police-style infamous denunciation is another.
There are various ways to see the situation one finds oneself living in as natural and thriving. One of these, undoubtedly the best, is by using the positive aspects of the situation itself, not worrying about what happens to others but only in the line of principle - also painful - of a spectacle that has now become habitual and tedious. However, in any case, both in the eventuality of the first as in the second, nothing is moved of one’s own initiative, nothing of that which belongs to us and which is clear to us put in question and submitted to criticism.
We have before our eyes the plateal behaviour of those who come under the first conception of life cited above, but also that no less plateal of those who raise a groan in the name of the second.
It is the latter, as it is easy to understand, who attract our attention, giving the first for the time being our absolute despisal, then later, we hope, something more concrete.
Profound changes are taking place in the world: generalised insurrections, changes in the structures and equilibrium of international power, massacres and genocide of every dimension. Over all this fine people pull a piteous veil of routine interest: the newspaper (even our papers), TV. The spectacle of massacres reaches our homes every day, our eyes are now trained and our hearing switched off.
The Palestinians are beginning their 10th month of popular insurrection in the occupied territories, they are systematically being massacred by the Israeli occupying army, they are dying in the ghettoes and concentration camps. We listen and watch.
The South African blacks are defying the most racist country in the world, they are organising in struggle structures, they are being killed daily not only by the bullets of the army and police, but also by hunger and isolation. We listen and watch.
The Birmanians are rebelling against a dictatorial socialist regime. The people are fighting in the streets against the army in the most total isolation in the most complete indifference. We listen and watch.
The Afghan Mujaheddin continue their struggle, even after the disparity of the Russian army. Now, although between internal disputes for the conquest of power, the time is right for the moment of truth with the puppet regime. Only the poor people, involved in a gigantic struggle that has been going on for almost a decade, continue to die. We listen and watch.
The Miskitos of Central America, after having won their battle against Managua which was obliged to a truce, are employed in taking up the struggle again against the Honduras. Also here massacres are the order of the day: hundreds of dead, 70 villages raized to the ground, thousands of refugees. We listen and watch.
In Burundi a majority are literally being massacred by a minority in power in the name of a crazy racial difference but, more precisely in defence of specific economic interests and those of power. We listen and watch.
Then in Ireland, Spain, Corsica, New Caledonia, Canada, Yugoslavia, Russia, etc., peoples in struggle are trying to survive against oppression, the division in classes to the profit of the strongest, systematic death organised in great style. We limit ourselves to listening and looking.
Yet, in our own small way, we can do something. Not in the optic that revealed itself to be a losing one so many years ago, that which could be summed up in the words “taking the third world into Europe”, so much as in the optic of attack on the European capitalist interests that are being woven with the interests of those who, in every part of the world, are putting the people in revolt under their heels.
We can therefore do little things. And many of us are of the opinion that these things need to be done, and soon. Many others are only waiting for a slight push, collaboration, advice, a suggestion, practical and technical support, a little analytical clarity. Then there are many others, also among ourselves, who do not think the same way. And it is to them that we are addressing ourselves.
They belong to the category of those for whom nothing goes well that is done in the name of practical initiative and immediate and precise direct action. They have strange theses for criticising whoever wants to act now, right away. The strangest are the first who base themselves on the sophism that small actions do not serve because they do not disturb anyone and only increase repression (but against whom?) while the most important actions are the patrimony of groups of specialists against whom it is always necessary to be in a critical position, otherwise what anarchists would we be.
In other words, they don’t know what they want. Neither small actions (to understand each other, these people do not agree with attacks on the pylons of the ENEL and have bitterly criticised attacks against the death industries that were struck some time ago in Milan), nor the large (only hypothetical at the moment, to capital’s good fortune, certainly not ours).
Just talk. That, yes, is all right for them. Analyses. The incredible and strongly anachronistic lists of war industry, nuclear, etc, lists made up it seems to document that capital produces arms, produces nuclear power, etc, as though we didn’t know. If then some of these lists want to reach the due consequences, then they line themselves immediately against, criticisng whoever decides that two and two make four.
Mysteries of the logic of a certain anarchism.
The fact is that certain comrades have transformed anarchism into a pacific gymnasium of interesting debates, in which each one measures themselves with the other in the exclusive light of the worthiness of their own lives. Practice must stay outside the door.
We don’t agree.