Radical media, politics and culture.

A Call on Inmates of the Euopean Bastille

hydrarchist writes:
[N.B. "The Disobedients" is the national, Ya Basta!-fuelled network that
inherited the experience of the White Overalls. Here are one of their
political communiques and their press release, both texts dated January
26th, 2002. If you want to express solidarity, please write to:
yabasta@tin.it, yabasta_bo@topica.com, tpo@ecn.org.]


There are gestures whose impact lasts for a long time, gestures that mark
the beginning of something or the passage to a new phase of conflicts,
gestures made by people who are fully conscious of their values.
In the morning of January 25th, 2002, we made such a gesture. We invaded a
concentration camp and dismantled it piece by piece. That prison was ready
to contain hundreds of human beings whose only "fault" is being "without
papers". The Center of Temporary Permanence of Bologna was disassembled and
made unusable. A group of about a hundred people, European citizens, chose
to disobey an unjust law, a law that regards as "illegal" the human beings
who were born outside this continent as soon as they lose their jobs, ie as
soon as they are no longer exploitable for the profit of European
entrepreneurs. This law denies freedom of circulation and sets up ethnic
camps for people awaiting forced "repatriation", people whose countries
have been devastated by poverty and war.

The people who took action against the CTP in via Mattei, Bologna, asserted
their right to disobey in peaceful ways a notion of legality which violates
human rights and fosters barbarity by drawing distinctions between "first
class" and "second class" citizens. This inhuman and unconstitutional
legality was countered by the grassroots legality of the civil society,
indeed, of its remnants. It was this collective consciousness that produced
the radical gesture.

We acted unmasked, in broad daylight, in front of cameras and policemen. We
did not harm any sentient being. We will face any political or penal
consequence of what we did.

When the forces of order summoned us to surrender and give them our ID, we
came out of the iron cages, hands up. Everybody was visible, recognizable
and unprotected. The police charged us in cold blood. Their brutality
reminded us of the Genoa days, July 20th and 21st, 2001. It was a merely
punitive attack on unarmed people, an attack that caused injuries to a
dozen people, including some members of the Parliament of the Republic. As
a result, twenty-one Disobedients were busted and identified by the police.
We call on the civil society.

We ask you not to leave us by ourselves in this struggle for humanity
We ask you to join us and oppose this state of permanent war, creeping
discrimination and utter brutality, to oppose those who want to throw into
ethnic jails, both metaphorical and real, people who are escaping from
misery and bombs.

We ask you to express solidarity to the comrades busted a few days ago and
the other indicted people. They just defended human dignity and the last,
faint glow of Enlightenment in a world of institutional barbarians and
barbaric institutions that either drop bombs on starving human beings or
emprison them if they manage to leave starvation behind them.
We ask you to acknowledge that gesture of disobedience as an important,
little step towards the recovery of equality, freedom, dignity and justice.
It is worth trying even for us, the "first class" inmates of the Bastille
Europe. Another world is not only possible: it is necessary.

The Disobedients



Today, for the first time in Europe, a hundred citizens of these lands,
belonging to the movement of Disobedients, have taken to piece a wing of
the center of detention for "sans papiers" migrants in via Mattei, Bologna,

It was an action of civil disobedience. We were absolutely peaceful and yet
we were resolute. We started at 11:30 am and finished at 3 pm.

The forces of order reacted unbecomingly. During the talks between police
officials and a few MPs and local councillors (members of the Green Party
and Rifondazione Comunista who wanted to negotiate a way out for the
dismantlers), the riot squad received the order to attack. They beat up
people who were unmasked and kept their hands up above their heads. They
also beat up the MPs and even one of the police officials. Several people
were injured at the skulls, sixteen people were prevented from climbing
over the fence and had their identity cards seized. All these people could
have been identified easily, with no repressive action.

In spite of the usual display of state violence, the action was successful.
We proved that people can disobey unjust laws that violate human dignity
and even the Constitution of the Italian Republic. We proved that the new
concentration camps can be shut down. We proved that we can effectively
challenge the powers-that-be thriving on corporate-driven racism and waging
war on the rights of the multitudes.

Two years after the demonstration against the CTP in via Corelli, Milan,
the action of Bologna marks the passage of the Disobedients from laboratory
to movement.

From now on the construction of a conflict based upon consensus enriches
itself with the tactics devised by such great social movements as the
Confederation of Peasants in France or the Indian peasants of Karnataka,
the movements we are going to meet in Porto Alegre, at the 2nd World Social
Forum. We are looking forward to hear the words of Mr. Vasco Errani, the
left-wing governor of Emilia-Romagna: while he is going to attend the forum
and endorse the document demanding freedom of circulation for all human
beings, he is allowing the principles of ethnic segregation to take over
Emilia Romagna: the concentration camp of via Mattei is not the only one
under construction, the ones in Modena and Rimini are almost ready for

Freedom! Justice! Equality! We are all clandestines.

Bologna, Europe, Planet Earth, January 25th, 2002, first month of the
second year of global war.

The Disobedients