This summer from July 8-10 another G8 summit is planned in Italy. For a long period of time it was eerily quiet on the activist front and assumed was that most Italians were too busy battling the daily repression of the fascist Italian state (we think we can declare it now officially as fascist). But over the last months a multitude of initiatives have popped up that plan to counter the upcoming summit and there were a range of successful protests against the G8 preparatory ministers’ meetings. In this newsletter we try to summarize the late developments and look ahead with the question on how to support our fellow activists in Italy.
*1. Genoa 2001 – L’Aquila 2009
*2. Students and farmers rear their heads in the run-up
*3. How to support
1. Genua 2001 – L’Aquila 2009
It’s been 8 years since the last G8 summit in Italy but the images of Genoa lie still fresh in peoples’ memory. The picture of 23 year-old Carlo Giuliani shot dead by the Carabinieri went all over the world. All charges against the cop that pulled the trigger were dropped in a shady process. The night-time police raid on the Diaz school, used as sleeping space, had 62 protesters hospitalized (incl three comatose). In a trial that lasted until the end of 2008 twenty eight police officers were accused of indicting grievous bodily harm (a blood bath) and planting evidence to legitimize their attack on the sleeping protesters. None of the convicted operational police commanders went to jail as their offences were expired.
There has been no justice, and for activists in Italy even lesser peace. The coalition led by Berlusconi brought neo-fascist parties back in power, nicely blended with a neoliberal economical program (nothing new though). The populist extreme-right is gaining voters all over Europe but in Italy the racist police state is already in full affect targeting migrants and the political left. This government is hosting the next G8 summit bringing together the heads of state of France, UK, US, Japan, Germany, Russia, Canada, and Italy. Initially the plan was to host the respected world leaders on the small island La Maddalena (Sardinia) but it was later moved to L’Aquila as a way of showing Berlusconi’s desire to help the region of Abruzzi after the earthquake that hit it on the 6th of April. On the agenda there are climate, resources, food and migration – as security political risks for the industrial countries. Normally no subject for G8 summits, Berlusconi in addition wants to drive forward the ‘regulation of the internet.’
The earthquake in L’Aquila killed 300 people and the majority of survivors are accommodated in provisional tents. Besides a supposed saving of costs the summit is transferred to L’Aquila to prevent protests: “I don´t believe that anti-globalists will have the courage to organize violent demonstrations in this earthquake-stricken region“, Berlusconi stated. Leftist groups and activists are already present though in the Abruzzi region right from the start supporting the victims of the quake. They have taken matters into their own hands, in operating large kitchens, in providing further infrastructure as well as in delivering material aids and healthy food. The camp kitchen in San Bagio was already on the first day named after Carlo Giuliani.
Meanwhile there is the appeal ‘Appropriate the mountains, bury G8!’ calling upon the ‘Global Multitude’ to seize the opportunity in the Abruzzi region to build ‘sustainable, forward thinking communities.’ The group Diggers 2.0 calls for ‘Solidarity out of the ruins of Neoliberalism’: “We need solutions of the crisis from down below, an opposing power of social movements with a shovel in its hand getting ready to build a post-capitalist world.”
2. Students and farmers rear their heads in the run-up
As traditionally in the run-up to the meeting of the heads of state there are the smaller meetings of ministers of the different ministerial departments – e.g. agriculture, education, or justice & home affairs. Over the last three months these ministers’ meetings were met with mass protests and direct actions.
From April 18-20 there was an agriculture ministers’ meeting in Treviso. Before the meeting started a laboratory in Roncade for experiments with genetically modified organisms was “sanctioned from below” (the greenhouses and surveillance cameras were thrashed), and in another action activists of the group called “Health and Environment” had written “NO OGM” (no genetically modified organisms) into a field, which was unable to be overlooked from an aerial view. There have further been protest initiatives and actions of anarchists, disobbedienti, and activists from the social centers as well as the Italian federation of farmers, demonstrating against environmental destruction, industrial agriculture, Nano- and genetic technology. In Rome, workers in the field of agriculture were on strike for eight hours.
From April 22-24 the environmental ministers met in Siracusa, Sicily. There was a demonstration of 3000 people of which the mobilization process led to a strong collaboration between a broad range of groups that will continue coordinating together against speculation and environmental destruction: starting with the fight against the erection of gas digesters in the Petrochemie complex of Priolo-Augusta.
See for the report on events plus links:
On May 19 10.000 students blocked the city of Turin and battled the police far into the Red Zone guarding the G8 University summit. Under the header ‘The Perfect Wave’ the protest was part of the European-wide ‘Anomalous Wave’ – a fast growing network of students resisting cuts and reforms in education and taking action. Despite massive amounts of tear gas the students came close to the summit venue to denounce the illegitimate university representatives inside and to underline that they would use every occasion to overturn the crisis against those responsible for it.
At the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs ministers, May 28-30 in Rome, 5000 people demonstrated against their racist migration politics – this meeting originally scheduled on Lampedusa had been postponed quickly after riots in the refugee camps. One week before 15000 people had been already on the streets in Milano to show their protest against the Italian security decrees.
… and there is more coming up.
3. How to support
1) Hitchike, cycle, hop on a bus or train to Italy but note that the Italian authorities plan to restore border controls by suspending the Schengen Treaty from 28 June to 15 July. This proposal has been formally given by the Minister of Home Affairs Roberto Maroni on May 30 during the final media conference of the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers’ meeting. So… take care of how you dress, and what you take on you and expect to be stop and searched.
2) Organize or join local decentralized actions or demos.
On July 4 a big demonstration is planned in Berlin ‘Quake G8 2009 – We are your crisis!’. They are specifically calling for pushing ahead the transnational struggle against the „architectures of security“ no matter if they shall be constructed by NATO, G8 or the EU.
3) Organize solidarity actions in the aftermath. Our movements are build on solidarity and we should never forget those that ended up in the prisons of the state.
Best is to keep an eye on http://gipfelsoli.org that gives updates on a regular basis on the site and via their newsletters.
Here you can find an overview of links and when scrolling down an immense collection of mobilisation posters: http://www.gipfelsoli.org/Home/L_Aquila_2009/G8_2009_Links