ProvocAzione – Editorials
Anarchist Monthly January 1987 – May 1991
This paper was born from the need to accompany the review “Anarchismo” with an agile publication capable of developing ‘circumscribed and condensed’ analyses. Political and social analyses, leaflets, communiques and documents of the anarchist movement as well as of other groups and organisations, as well as many short and very short articles concerning attacks on the structures of power, news items testifying forms of spontaneous rebellion, that are manifesting themselves with different modalities and often turn out to be quite extraneous to the specific ambit of the anarchist or antagonist movement.
Starting from a series of analyses — concerning among other things, the modifications in the productive structures, the perfectioning of information technology, transformations in the world of work and school, the progressive cultural emptying — a perspective of struggle is outlined: not only the attack on the ‘great temples of death’, on the ‘visible complexes that attract everybody’s attention’ but also and principally small and often simple objectives, peripheral structures spread over the whole territory that are beginning to take on increasing importance for capital: factories, commercial structures, seats of power, but also electricity pylons, communications cables, everything that combines in the development of capital and the continuation of exploitation. These analyses and proposals precede the publication of ‘ProvocAzione’ in part, but in this paper they are gone into further and turn out to be still, valid at the present time.
Number One – January 1987
In a reality that is opening up possibilities for revolutionary intervention, or rather that is heightening the desire for profound transformation, we need to give ourselves more suitable instruments that can be better understood by eventual users. A paper is always something limited, necessarily circulating within a predetermined circuit. We are well aware of this but we will not let ourselves be influenced by those who come out with total condemnation.
So long as it is up to these intentions and does not turn out to contradict itself or be too unilateral. That is precisely what we thought we could see in the last series of Anarchismo. A contradiction caused by our wanting to kill two birds with one stone: one of them ended up not biting the bait. The documentation and news articles often came out too late (given the not exactly monthly regularity of Anarchismo), whereas the analytical critique suffered from seeing itself constrained within the narrow confines of a few pages.
So it ended up becoming unilateral. In fact, the informative model (or counter-informative) ended up deciding in the field of analysis as well, limiting it to the affairs of the moment and preventing the task of analysis that always remains that of “seeing in order to foresee”. You can’t foresee much — so cannot make your “surprise” actions of the future adequate — if your analysis is tied to affairs of the moment.
It is necessary to have the logical space of taking a distance in order to see more clearly. In view of resolving, or rather of lightening, this task, we have given life to ProvocAzione which will come out monthly. More frequent therefore, and more news items. Also analyses. More circumscribed and condensed. Documentation and details of struggle. News and considerations. Exposition of events and personages. The enemy and its counterpart. The class war and small actions.
A readable paper. At least, so we would like to think (and hope). But always readable by having recourse to one’s brain, not to sclerotic residuals of what the mechanisms of consensus have left us with. Our paper will be simple, not simplistic. No specialised language, but not for that will it be “reduced”. No concessions made to fashion, either substantial or formal. No cohabitation with those who are killing our capacity to understand, starting from language (written or spoken). Against manipulators and swindlers of all kinds. We have always been against those who think that they can solve any problem with just one more icon.
So much for the form.
For the content, the war continues against all those who intentionally mislead, a number of whom are more dangerous than danger in the same way that “hangers on” suffer from an excess of zeal, ‘more royalist than the king’. The enemy and surroundings. Perspectives and methods of domination and the management of the poverty of consensus. Jailers and prisoners in the new perspective where their reciprocal acceptation of opposing roles is being weakened, and the few revolutionaries still on the barricades see themselves more and more under the spotlight. Projects of power. Places of power.
And then rebellion. Wherever it comes about, in whatever way it manifests itself. The revolt to breathe, to not die here and now, asphyxiated by the repression or by simple piousness. Torturers or Red Cross nurses, they are both our enemies.
Now rebellion is beginning to portray itself for what it is: a permanent state of mind for whoever refuses charity or cowardice. The pride of rebellion is no longer that of the slave who rebelled because he was constrained to choose between death or revolt. Now, at a time when the project of power is based on the prospect of consensus and not repression pure and simple, rebellion is a question of pride and dignity, and it will become so more and more.
The time has come for a clear but firm distinction between revolt and dissent. The insecure and tepid will continue to say ‘no’, while power prepares to use this no as a further element of government. For how much longer will we keep confusing the respectable pacifist with the decided enemy of a system of death disguised as progressivism?
Is it possible to make this distinction? Or have the roles become so gangrenous as to be inseparable? Have we all become spineless animals? Looking around one sees nothing but beggars. Even comrades that we would never have imagined would have stooped to hypothetical negotiations with power are now talking about the end of the revolution, possible government concessions, a practice of platonic dissent incompatible with the rigidity and firmness we thought they possessed. Disillusion? Possibly. But also clarity.
The paper wants to unmask this reality, also by going into the all-time low of shabby excuses and camouflage. The pathetic individual that hides behind formal dissent makes us vomit, but we need to point them out from time to time if we do not want to be overwhelmed by a tide of chatter in all and for all, complying with the will of those who are setting up the dominion of tomorrow.
We must harden our hearts if we want to reply effectively as revolutionaries to the perspectives of the “new” rebellion. The time for tenderness has disappeared for ever. Now benevolence and tolerance towards those who hesitate or openly collaborate, means betrayal. Yesterday we were considered excessive, but we were simply logical. Today we need to be really cruel if we do not want to be confused with the manifest heap of the utilisable.
We are decidedly for the attack on the class enemy and against the structures of power. We consider that simple dissent and platonic respectable pacifism lead right to the chamber of horrors. Anyone can fool themselves as much as they like or show their clear decision to refuse attack, either due to fear or opportunism. May this come out clearly.
Let the charlatan con-artists and birds of ill omen stop complaining. If they have converted to collaborationism, may they say so openly and stop trying to throw smoke in our eyes, talking of the so-called impossibility to do anything else.
We desire something else. And along with us millions of men and women who want to struggle in the name of their own dignity.
Number Two – February 1987
To see clearly, to see well
Second issue. Too soon to draw conclusions. But we do want to say one thing. Something that various comrades have noted.
It seems that some people had felt a need for ProvocAzione. And the proof is that this issue went like hot cakes. There are only a few dozen of the three thousand copies printed left.
But the sales of a paper are never proof of its validity, although not necessarily of the contrary.
Sometimes the first issue of a paper goes out of curiosity. Then, possibly, the number goes down. Perhaps we will do the same. Perhaps not.
Many of those who distributed it got the impression that quite a number of comrades are interested in our insurrectional positions. And the same goes for the stupidity of those who, not knowing how — or not wanting — to criticise us through reasoning, prefer to circulate such nonsense and grossness as to push comrades in good faith to read our positions with suspicion. And this has been and continues to be very useful. We therefore thank all the gossips for their involuntary propagandistic contribution that unwittingly turned out to favour the revolutionary cause.
And then there are the objective motivations, the coherence and critical rigour that we have always shown in our struggles against repentance, dissociation, amnesty, social democratic reformism, ideological ecologism and the metaphysical inaction of the eternally undecided. From this road of ours, now relegated to the clarity of the already done, comrades can take note and overcome not only the gossip but also the slandering and hysteria of those who continue to see us with smoke in their eyes.
It seems instead that many comrades continue see clearly, and see well.
Number Three – March 1987
From the centre to the periphery
Above all, attack. As a discriminant, a slogan, a concrete project. In deed. Also small deeds. Not chatter. Even if there has been the usual chatter about maximum systems.
If we must meet, let’s meet on this.
In actions against the great realisations, the temples of death, the complexes that are visible from afar and attract the attention of all, that even those who will invent anything to insist that they don’t understand will see.
We agree, but not only.
Each day, along our road, we come up against objectives that are barely visible. Not the great cathedrals showing off on gigantic media screens, but minute terminals of a monstrous project of control and repression, of production and enrichment for the bosses of the world. These minute objectives often pass unobserved. Sometimes we use them ourselves, without even noticing.
But it is from the small rivulet, innocuous and slender, that the turgid, dirty river is built, from affluent to affluent. If we cannot build a dam on the river because our strength does not allow it, at least we can reduce the flow, blocking some of these small tributaries.
And we can. No repressive control, however capillary, will ever be able to safeguard each single element of the productive project as a whole. Fragmentation over the territory is one of the new conditions of capitalist production.
So that can become a starting point of our strategy of attack. They are easy and do not preclude other more consistent interventions which, taken alone, are more significant.
But, let’s not forget, the significance of small attacks is in their quantity, and that is possible as it is not a question of complex actions, in fact they are often decisively elementary.
We think the time to move from the centre to the periphery has arrived.
Number Four – April 1987
Finding the thread
We have an idea that many comrades are unable to find the thread for getting to the root of the supposedly tight corner that ‘ProvocAzione’ is proposing.
In fact, they give the impression that they do not even want to make the effort to find this thread, or to demonstrate that it doesn’t exist, that we are incoherent and confused. It is not enough to bury one’s heads in the sand hoping that some good fairy will appear and make the nightmare go away. It is not enough to just ignore what is taking place right in front of our very eyes.
The fact is that we clearly pointed out what ‘side’ to read us from, and we did that on the basis of an analysis that does not seem to have received the attention it merits.
Small actions, which we have been reporting and will even more in future issues, are (for anyone that might have realised it) in themselves an analytical proposal that is not necessarily shared by everyone. They are always an indication of struggle and point to the profound modifications that the structure of the productive relations of dominion is undergoing.
To ignore all that, entrenching oneself behind the illusion that it is just a question of disconnected signs of an empty, affected rebelliousness that sooner or later will end up with a possible rekindling of our dreams, means closing one’s eyes because reality is too ugly to look at.
Or, if you like, it means something else. Even worse. Not sharing certain perspectives of struggle and finding neither the arguments or the courage to say openly that one is for other methods or roads addressed towards non-conflictual forms of negotiation, means one doesn’t know what to do.
If one doesn’t agree with the method of attack, why not say so clearly without the academic drivel? Because, sooner or later something must be said. If our proposal to widen the range of attacks to more simple objectives pulverised throughout the territory, doesn’t please. If contrary proposals (which do not oppose ours) of attacks on the huge structures of power (for example army bases and nuclear power stations) doesn’t suit either, may someone point out an alternative that is not simply a negation of what we or other antagonist forces have suggested.
But in order to do that and not just hide behind the haze of philosophical chatter “I don’t read you, I don’t understand you, I don’t agree”, it is necessary to find the logical thread we are in favour of.
Just to hope that this ProvocAzione nightmare will one day disappear so that everything can return to the usual “pub talk”, is pointless as far as we are concerned.
We have every intention of carrying on.
Number Five – May 1987
The positive – the negative
The ProvocAzione continues. Ours of course, already in its fifth month of life.
Five issues are not much, but they can help whoever wants to, to understand something. To the others, those who, like Don Abbondio, lack the courage to understand, no one can give the strength to abandon lethargy or hollow chatter.
We therefore have to note two kinds of response: on the one hand the positive one, subscriptions and distribution by comrades continue to increase (beyond our wildest expectations, a steady 2,000 copies printed); on the other, the negative side, the superficial critiques, the silences, the insinuations that our movement never tires of.
We are obviously happy about the positive response, not the negative one. Not because we don’t like criticism, but precisely because when it reaches us it has been scarce and only dealt with marginal aspects and not the content. Questions of form, the layout, the space given to individual expressions of revolt, also the most minute. That’s all. No one took on the paper’s function (negative or positive), no one has bothered to critically take on the analytical proposal supported by the paper, i.e. small actions of dissent (unfortunately also symbolic), but as a complement to and perfecting the class attack as a whole.
On the other hand, once again we are aware of the usual gossip in the movement about what we mean by struggle and many other things as well. We hope that this tendency will diminish and open up some productive confrontation (for whoever has any interest in developing it) that turns out to be useful to all the comrades who desire to act.
For our part, we are reaffirming our intention to widen the content of ProvocAzione in such a way that the capacity of the real movement to produce not just a series of separate attacks on the class enemy but also a spontaneous coordination, a kind of self-organised relationship that can be read between the lines of events and is itself creating a real theoretical response, emerges. Of course, this proposal would be clearer if the number of events reported and commented upon was greater. But that is linked to the present editorial limitations that we will try to overcome, let’s say over the next few issues.
Number Six – June 1987
Out of uncertainty
Following the bearably sad disappearance of the ideology and practice of the armed party, many things can be said about taking up the revolutionary struggle in Italy and other European countries again.
This resumption undeniably exists and cannot be distorted by the accusations of so many respectable people, old and new, who are trying to undermine a subversive practice that is spreading in a capillary way (even if in embryo), nor by the glorification of so many old figures who still insist on crystalizing redundant super-actions, which in their opinion will impress the media.
So it is that each time a subversive deed is qualified with the old blessing of “armed struggle” (in the best of cases) or “terrorism” (by someone preferring to use the language of the police files), this only leads to confusing things irreparably I’d say.
This is the reality that we are talking about, which obviously corresponds antagonistically to the profound changes taking place in the productive structure and the related process of social control. The substitution of the old models of centralised revolutionary endeavour with models of fragmentation and a spreading of the destructive attack throughout the territory is now almost a certainty.
There can undoubtedly be delays in these situations coming to the fore. Nobody can say that we are satisfied with the level of analytical examination of reality as a whole (economic and social), it can never be up to the multiform changes that this presents at every moment. But there could be other reasons for this delay. Fear and ideological tardiness, the defence of symbols and the circumscription of political territories.
In this field the delay is immense. Here argument and rumours are taking the place of struggle and intervention in reality.
Fear leads to seeing “terrorists” everywhere and confuses the ideas of the most upright respectable person in the world. Wrapped up in his daily activities, this worthy person takes an interest in the fate of his kin and humanity in general. This resuscitated redeemer also comes out into the streets to demonstrate, but cannot have an exact (and perhaps not even sufficient) knowledge of what is going on in the world. His circumscribed universe (generally tolerant, polite, well disposed, clean, ordered, deterministically built and enlightendly supported by benevolent proposals) leads him to seeing anything different and disturbing as the work of adverse forces of tumult and chaotic destruction. So the “terrorist” ends up sleeping at his bedside, disturbing his dreams, entering his reading of the morning paper and accompanying him to his weekly political meetings.
Under such conditions delay is irreparable. It is no longer a delay in information or analysis, but an historic delay, we could also say a class delay. And this delay takes him into a bottomless pit, which he digs himself with systematic arrogance, to distance himself further and further from whatever disturbs his dreams, in order to exorcise any signs of passing turbulence.
We are sure that none of our few readers see themselves in this framework that we are delineating here in the darkest of forms. And this is a source of great joy to the present writer. No one wants to see themselves as narrow-minded and idiotic. In spite of that the world is full of idiots and narrow-minded people.
Then there are the marks of repression. This has its own rhythms. It travels slowly but moves forward surely. It takes as good everything in front of it. On the basis of law (or kind of) it calculates years and special conditions of imprisonment. For it a gun is a gun and a stick of dynamite a stick of dynamite. The perspectives of liberation where such means can be used do not interest them at all. Repression is like that. It can, and often does, see the enemy of today as the collaborator of tomorrow, at least at the level of setting up new forms of power. But these are things that anarchists know and understand very well. Basically, the men of power of the present and those of the future always end up understanding each other. For us things are different. For us the means of revolution are purely and exclusively means of liberation. When we use them, our perspective is one alone. But the repression doesn’t care. On the contrary, it comes down heavy in the knowledge that it will never be able to do a deal with us.
That is why even the smallest signs are grasped immediately. Something moves, not in the emporium of ideology and chit chat, but in generalised subversive practice. The repression does not know exactly what this something is (on the other hand neither do we), but acts immediately, striking the signs closest to those who have always supported the generalisation of the struggle, always fighting against specialisation and the centralisation of the revolutionary clash. What does it matter that it is impossible to reach anyone who is actually responsible? What does it matter that the facts, places and identity do not correspond? The desire for a generalised subversive practice do correspond. Feelings and theory correspond. Analyses and indications of struggle correspond.
And we agree. The concept is correct. We are responsible for the generalised and fragmented actions that might occur, are occurring. We are the ones who dreamed, hoped, theorised, considered such actions possible while others were all still fascinated by the great spectacles of the revolutionary process: those who waited for them like the vengeance of those who can in place of those who cannot do much, to those who put it off like the greatest ill of the century. We were thinking other things.
May these things come about. In its long tortuous course the social revolution is obliged to pass through these infinitely small paths that are all linked, tracing the web of a project that is undoubtedly wider than that which we are able to imagine at the present time.
We do not want to impede the free and potent development of this destructive capacity. We only hope that other forces that still define themselves revolutionary do not either.
Let us leave the job of extinguishing flames to the fire brigade. We won’t do a job that has nothing to do with us.
Number Seven – September 1987
The horizon is getting clearer
The pace and procedure of recuperation are reaching perfection. The State has almost recovered from the previous convulsions caused by the “contingency”. It is aiming at restoring “order” and “legality”.
Everybody is in a hurry to forget. Even the old leninist relics are painting themselves with gaudy colours to make people forget the uniformity of that red they had undeservingly borrowed from the colour of the blood spilled by fallen proletarians.
Everybody is forgetting in a hurry. They are painting over the facade. They are taking an interest in new stuff (a manner of speaking) entering the antinuclear forces, housing struggles, the cultural debate, opinionism taken to the extreme. They are struggling for rights (and also for “law”), they are giving off smoke, a lot of smoke, to hide behind.
Then there are those who “agree” (in words of course) but abstain, keeping themselves in a wobbly equilibrium, a respectable distance from those that are disavowing and those that have nothing to disavow because they never did anything more than take a bus ride without a ticket. They do not want to estrange themselves, either with the advancing wave of disavowed, or with the forces of conservatism (inside and outside the revolutionary movement). So they are developing the role of social indicators, they isolate, like spies, police informers, renegades and the new conscripts of the respectability of opinion.
The horizon is clearing, the possibilities of confusion are fewer. Anyone with eyes to see, look. Those with ears to hear, listen.
Number Eight – October 1987
The head and the sand
Most of the Italian anarchist movement has been asking itself a number of questions over the past few years, with a not exactly brilliant critical capacity.
One these questions has concerned that of the decline in anarchist specificity and the growth of a vast area of antagonism that is not exactly anarchist, in name at least, but moves along libertarian lines.
Apart from the marginal cases of those who only consider anarchists those who declare themselves to be such in principle and in theory, there is the (greater) part of the movement that has tried in various ways to come into “contact” with this area of antagonism that we could define “libertarian”.
It seems to us that there has been a fundamental mistake, caused by the claim to start off from consolidated positions: those, precisely, of anarchism as a political movement, trying to establish itself as a point of reference towards which that area should have moved. Personal incomprehension, fear and uncertainty, have done the rest. The result, no one has moved, in fact the area of the above has been sucked in, if not as a whole, at least in part into the multi-coloured games of the green “swamp” or the “nebulous” autonomia.
Perhaps one should have been less rigid. Not so much in the context of anarchist principles, as here one can’t fail to make assertions of method that distinguish us from one and all, as the mentality of considering ourselves bearers of the truth, therefore fortified in defence of this “sacred” nucleus from which any contamination from outside must be kept at a distance.
We think that it was a mistake was to see only the movement that embellishes itself with the name “anarchist”, with all its practical contradictions and ideological clarity.
Anarchism is something wider and more spontaneous. The anarchist process of movement and transformation is already “in deed” a long time before detailed ideological precision appears. This is the wealth of anarchism and, from the organisational point of view, it is also one of its limitations, an obstacle that will prevent it, always, from reaching historically quantifiable results of power (and you call that a limit!).
To remain locked up within an archaic concept of anarchism means to bury one’s head in the sand, acting like an acephalic body devoid of cognition of time and place, transformation and evolution.
Reality is moving fast, staying under the sand might be comfortable, but it is a sure sign of incapacity and inactivity.
Number Ten – January 1988
On regularity. That would be a good title for the editorial that I am about to write. But also the need for regularity. First the periodical kind, then the personal, that rhythm of biological and social equilibrium that keeps us well or otherwise, discovering aspects of incommensurable beauty in the most disastrous of situations.
And it is the name of regularity, of foreseeability and uniformity that the most fearful crimes, the most incredible atrocities, have been committed. And it is always our regularity that we want to impose on others, the regularity of our church, our Credo, our Faith, whether these be secular, or, why not, even revolutionary.
And everyone swears on their own itinerary of regularity, looking grimly at those of others, suspecting bad intentions, that turn out to be quite right.
Whoever observes the action of others and does not understand it immediately has recourse to an expedient: they disqualify it, demonise it. In this way they convince themselves that they understand them, while they are do nothing but showing their ignorance, when not bad faith. For this reason anyone who acts is always seen with a bad eye by those who find excuses for not attacking the enemy, and the courage and decision of the first are never recognised except through calumny and gossip. Mean figures of regularity are hanging around in the most fetid meanderings of the revolutionary movement, filling up their sad days with the behaviour of cops and spies. What can we do about it?
The evil is precisely in this excessive need for regularity that we all have. Some get over it, as we hope to do, at least sometimes, admitting that others might think differently, but no one is immune. We often act against others’ behaviour. And this, at least at first glance, is an attitude that one has with a certain regularity where we consider ourselves to be superior to others. And if that were so, we would also be despicable and condemnable. But we believe things are not exactly like that. Let us see why.
In the first place, we don’t agree with certain positions (visible to all) that basically come down to desistance and accommodation. When we were against amnesty, dissociation and the more or less open declaration of defeat of a method that everyone was saying was out of date (that of the direct, destructive and immediate clash) it was because we felt that one couldn’t allow behaviour not only that sold out a whole heritage of struggle to be saved (albeit submitted to criticism), but also because things ended up falling on those who did not accept compromise but remained (in one way or another) firm and inflexible in their positions. There was therefore no question of regularity, only a question of revolutionary strategy, which might not please some but remains based on attack and can never be moved into the field of negotiation.
But when we were affected by the irreducible mania of sticking to the insurrectional method of the destructive attack on the class enemy, we did so — and this must also be recognised even by our worst detractors — in the light of day. If we wanted to call someone an idiot, we did so without half measures, just as we have always called some others spies, and others cops.
I do not believe that all those who stick to their own regularity have the same courage of their convictions. We know that at least some have been responsible for such behaviour. We are sure that this way of doing (talking behind the scenes, jousting slander by letter, tracing apocalyptic descriptions of plans and ways of acting, playing the part of the cops and the other repressive instruments of the State) is ingrained in those who have absorbed revolutionary activity into the realm of politics. Many have become (but perhaps they were never anything else) politicians and act as such.
To them, all our disdain. What can we do about it?
Number Eleven – February 1988
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 should say right away that this research is not just happening with the various levels of consultation on institutional reforms, 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 recent legislative and judicial emergency.
Again on various sides they are taking up the question of amnesty, pardon and all the other judicial instruments that are capable of resolving the delicate situation of the State institutions in the face of the phenomenon of armed struggle as it has been developing over past years.
We do not know how things will turn out, aware that they had to find a solution 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.
In the first place the solution will be useful in the prospect of a new Italian political equilibrium. The State, especially when faced with a prospect of institutional and constitutional reshuffling, needs an old-style political “opposition” even filled with opportunely recycled inglorious signatures. From this “opposition” one could, as everybody sees, make the most opportune and optimal use as a lubricant to avoid the risky frictions of the past, i.e. greater unrest. Certainly, men who have bargained with the State, even “intelligently”, such as those who “suggest” that the State look at its cards again to remedy the “wrongs” of the past in order to avoid a gloomy future of “pointless” and bloody clashes, must necessarily be available for manipulation, for 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 governors at a time that appears to be transitory, to move towards an institutional re-systemisation. Think of the great importance of an old-style fictitious opposition organised in the streets, supported by the official forces of the parties and 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 up, etc. Because that is what we are talking about.
The State is prospecting a more adequate refoundation in the nineties, which will mean years of struggle for the drastic restructuring of production on the basis of the post-industrial economy. In this perspective it could be very accommodating to have a fictitious opposition that pushes the great masses of the past into the streets, people with years and years of prison to show as a guarantee and plenty of hazy ambivalent discourses to pass off as new horizons of revolutionary struggle.
There is nothing strange about that. We need to think about 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. Whereas they could easily fall into the arms of a fictitious orientation of opposition and, in so doing, disarm themselves for ever.
That is why — and we are reminding all those who have not yet seen it — we have always been against struggles for amnesty. That is why, once again, we are pointing to the dangers of a turning in the direction of “pardon”, legitimisation, or whatever more or less clean term with which they want to indicate the abandonment and renunciation of ideals and practice of revolutionary struggle.
Number Twelve – March 1988
Power is being given time to rearrange its structures and sort out its projects for the best.
This is what one grasps from the hesitation and uncertainty about the best way to set out the struggle.
The traditional front of the class struggle, after more or less long periods of wild readjustment, is moving 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-enforcement, as an effect of economic re-organisation, is producing more favourable 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. Otherwise an inverse process could develop. Credit could become debit, faith lack of it. Peace rage.
In what way and when all that could happen, we cannot say. Economic readjustments are proceeding well. The financial counterblows (such as those in the stock exchange) are better amorticised than what happened following the relative independence of the capitalist structures from crude financial capitalist needs. Italy in particular is growing to economic levels capable of threatening the French and English leadership. We are also about to become economic colonisers in territories that were traditionally decisional centres where foreign colonialism started off against us (who can forget the exploitation brought about 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 management of the enterprise as a whole 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 shown 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 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 incisive levels. Today fighting for whoever wants to do so, means finding new roads even within these sectors of intervention that are open to everyone. But, at least in the beginning, these new roads can fail to be practicable except by a few.
The awakening of great strata of comrades and exploited in general will only come about more slowly. The struggle, simple and practical, is starting up again, from the beginning. With simple means, without great illusions, but with the usual hope in our hearts.
Number Thirteen – April 1988
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 on the class enemy were only disturbed by those wanting to push them to a level of excessive military efficiency. 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 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 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 get their hands dirty, avoiding taking sides in one or 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, along with unequivocal indications of equidistance.
Whatever the reasons 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 ended 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 present facts, 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 royalist 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 the 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 dilemmas and moral plunder, will produce a new need for confrontation. We do not believe it is 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 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 confused and unmanageable the divergences are. We have never shown pity for 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.
Number Fourteen – June 1988
In the things of life you want a little logic and, why not, intelligence. Also in the highly questionable and miserable practice of dissociation, the 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 to the moment that things occur that those who intend to dissociate themselves do not agree with.
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.
Pre-confectioned dissociation “bulletins” as these could be defined, let’s 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 militaristic targets like the ENEL nuclear research centre or similar firms who work in the nuclear sectors?
Why did they immediately bring out a communique? What were they in such a hurry to distinguish themselves from? They certainly weren’t afraid of risking seeing themselves with the carabinieri turning up at their homes to raid them, as it is well known — at least in Milan — that these political line-ups don’t agree with certain practices. What did they want to take a distance from? Would not it have been better to have waited for a few days, if only to be able to defend the comrades who could (and presumably will be), persecuted for things that they themselves have nothing to do with, and at the same time as supporting the comrades, draw the legitimate distinction they are making in political terms because it is not right for everyone to share a practice which by its very nature can only be accepted by a few at this time?
Wouldn’t that have been better?
Of course it would have been better and it would have made an act of police intimidation more difficult than when the floodlights are shining on precisely just a few of us.
I ask myself then, what pushed these comrades to act like this? Which turns out to be contradictory. First they dissociate themselves from a certain practice, thus contributing to turning attention to comrades who do not intend to dissociate themselves in such a way, and then they solidarize with those struck by the repression. Precisely the repression that they had contributed to with their own dissociative practice. Such behaviour seems to me to be not only contradictory but also devoid of the minimum of political intelligence required in the practice of social struggles, whatever that might be.
A comrade, with a passion that is his, defined them at the Forlì conference recently as “pieces of shit”. Certainly, it’s a strong phrase, beyond any measure of good manners, but we must also understand that certain ways of acting, beyond agreeing with certain practices or not, are inadmissible as it is behaviour that feeds the instruments of repression.
I would suggest a let’s say “benevolent” reading of these “incidents” in which, in my opinion, have involved 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 situation, a number of comrades, even minimal, intending to carry out destructive attacks against militarist targets. This is actually happening and we, of this paper, have punctually shown how much it 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 do should be applauded by all comrades. But, when taking a position, it is necessary to think about what could happen in the future as a result.
Criticism is one thing. Police-style denunciation is another.
Number Sixteen – September 1988
There are various ways in which to see the situation we find ourselves living in as natural and thriving. One of these, undoubtedly the best, is by using the positive aspects of that situation, not caring about what happens to others but only according to 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 criticised.
We have before our eyes the blatant behaviour of those who come under the first conception of life cited above, but also that no less blatant of those who raise a groan in the name of the second.
It is the latter, as it is easy to understand, that attract our attention, giving the first for the time being our absolute disdain, 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 newspapers (even our papers), TV. The spectacle of massacres reaches our homes every day, our eyes are now trained and our hearing is turned 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 look and listen.
The South African blacks are defying the most racist country in the world, they are organising in structures of struggle, they are being killed daily not only by the bullets of the army and police, but also by hunger and isolation. We look and listen.
The Birmanians are rebelling against a dictatorial socialist regime. The people are fighting in the streets against the army in complete isolation in the most total indifference. We look and listen.
The Afghan Mujaheddin are continuing their struggle, even after the departure of the Russian army. Now, although between internal disputes for the conquest of power, the time is ripe for the moment of truth with the puppet regime. Only the poor, involved in a gigantic struggle that has been going on for almost a decade, continue to die. We look and listen.
The Miskitos of Central America, after winning their battle against Managua that was forced into a truce, are employed in taking up the struggle again against the Honduras. Also here massacres are the order of the day: hundreds dead, 70 villages razed to the ground, thousands of refugees. We look and listen.
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 look and listen.
Then in Ireland, Spain, Corsica, New Caledonia, Canada, Yugoslavia, Russia, etc., peoples in struggle are trying to survive against oppression, the division into classes to the profit of the strongest, systematic death organised in great style. We limit ourselves to listening and looking on.
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 that is done in the name of practical initiative and immediate and precise direct action goes. 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 serve no\purpose because they do not disturb anyone and only increase repression (but against whom?) while the most important actions are the heritage 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, for. 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 if we didn’t know. If some of these lists then do reach the due consequences, 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 himself with the other in the exclusive light of the worthiness of their own lives. Practice must stay outside the door.
We don’t agree.
Number Seventeen – November 1988
The world is being shaken by insurrectionalism. In the places of maximum tension, people are moving and coming out into the streets more or less everywhere. They are claiming their rights or, more often, what they believe their rights to be, in deed. We don’t want to say that all these insurrectional movements are moving in the right direction, but they are in the right situation and the right method.
It is not up to us to say if what we have been saying for years finds confirmation in this historical phase or, as some would certainly like to see, a denial. We pay as much attention to the critic-critics as we do to the whispers of the spies in the backstreets of the police. On the contrary, what we do find interesting is that people, vast populations, are moving, choosing the method of attack and putting aside the reformist perspective of a power that is always finding new ways to hide the mystification of reality.
Not only the Algerians and the Palestinians, not only the European countries of the Russian empire, not only Yugoslavia, Cechoslovakia, Poland, but also Manfredonia, Ionia, Athens, Berlin, etc. Of course, for different reasons, different perspectives and, if you like, different equivocations but, above everything, unity of method.
We have often mentioned the causes of a possible new insurrectionalism and how this does not see possible an historical continuity with the old model based on the exclusivity, or almost, of economic claiming blocked by boss intransigence or by the mechanisms of capital. Today, the international structure of capital already renders institutional the blocks and impossibility. A crisis within a system that has transformed the periodic crises of the past into one of the elements of recuperation and rationalisation of the productive process. Not crises therefore, but a permanent crisis. A life in crisis. A life in the probability of a happening and not in the certainty of a path. There is only one certainty today: that nothing can happen that is persistent and durable, but everything changes quickly, within the framework of absolutions and preconstituted condemnations. Awareness of that, well beyond the seeds and the earth in the strict sense is taking people in the direction of direct action. Also, we believe, beyond the situation of flags and territories. Under some conditions nationality, like bread and work, are still a propulsive element in the struggle, and it would be stupid to deny it. But this element is closely linked to others that were quite unrecognisable in the past, only to play a quite secondary role in the light of the unrestraining function that these new elements are developing.
The breaking of institutional links, in the first place that of taking the family into account, is one of these elements. In many situations this lightening of interjected order produces a sense of panic, of not knowing where to base one’s perspectives, one’s hopes. The State, as other than oneself, is no longer capable of supplying elements of valid surrogate. Most of the time it is in crisis itself, ideologically if nothing else. It needs support and does not know how to give support. The myth of nationality alone is not sufficient to be an element of order and putting a brake on things, moreover, most of the time it produces outbursts in the opposite direction. The world is precipitating more and more into an impermanence that exalts the possibility of recuperation of capital and makes possible its restructuring in the short term but, at the same time, it is imposing very high social and psychological costs.
In the light of recent events, much more of the libertarian alternative that it saw as field of struggle hardly a few decades ago, and a progressive reduction of the authoritarian content of the institutional structures of society has been realised today, than even the most unchained utopians might have been hoped. From religions to morals, from pedagogy to the science of self, from language to philosophy, even science, everywhere the culture of technological man has borrowed liberation as an element for recycling the new dominion. And they realised this without fatigue. In the past one worked for the king of Prussia, and now they are reaping the profits.
But every repressive design has its limits and therefore renders possible the interests of the struggle. Even this omnivorous possibility of mature capitalism to use also cultural elements, the most estranged to its own production, presents aspects that are contradictory. In fact, the destruction of the classical values of accumulation, (money in the strict sense, charges, recognition, stability, status, etc.) makes possible a more agile utilisation of people in the productive process, also in view of a strong quantitative reduction, and without any notable problems of social disturbance. This also has a cost in terms of a progressive lack of stability of the system as a whole.
It remains to be seen, as is logical, not having any past experience on which to base itself, on what this new lack of stability will end up. For the moment we can see that manifestations of mass violence are forming, some of which are gratuitous and blatant, even if not exactly very significant (we are talking about the so-called violence in the football stadiums); but they are also supplying insurrectional manifestations that are far more important and full of revolutionary significance. We are talking, in this second case, of the great movements of people that are developing at the present time.
Are they destined to disappear? We do not know. We could hazard a guess, make an hypothesis. But we will have quite other things to do.
Number Twenty-Two – November 1989
To the eternally undecided
The empty ideological delirium of those who, in spite of what is happening within and outside the movement, are continuing unperturbed to consider themselves neutral judges of such situations, denounces a flight of one’s responsibilities. No one finds themselves above the parts. Everyone, even without wanting it, finds themselves in the condition to operate their own choices on reality, choices which, no matter how insignificant or microscopic they might be, in one sense or another, they influence the course of events more than one might imagine.
If you are involved always and anyway, why deny it?
One can pure say one is outside the situation, just as one can affirm one can leave the social scene. But in the last analysis one always finds oneself operating a choice of the field. Either integrate oneself into the stomach of the whale, and therefore drown one’s desires, one’s passions, one’s anguish, one’s subversive existential motives in the sea of a cotton wool-like mortifying social peace reached thanks to an apparent rediscovered domestic tranquillity: or radically refuse this new paradise of boredom, alienation and torment, choosing open and violent conflict against this present state of affairs: then it is social war led at all levels from the internal existential one, from that singular existential to the external relational.
In this computerised society where everyone ends up in competition recycling themselves, changing their skin, looking for compromise to better integrate oneself, feel oppressed, exploited, alienated, it is now an awareness left to who haven’t resigned themselves. Just as the generous dignity of strong men seems to have become a sickness to protect oneself from. The important thing is to be accepted so as to be like all the others, that is the new christianity. Clarity, solidarity, come to be dealt out cheaply by our humanist blackmailers and recuperators, the gravediggers of passions, in the shadow of the old political rationality of the State administrator and manager of society and that social-economic of capital which from mercified bodies make an indiscutible source of income and profit.
The desert in human relations is growing and extending on the proletarianisation of individuals.
The end of the social spectacle is passing for the end of misery rigged up in the proximity of our freedom — liberation full of mortifying goodness.
Number Twenty-Four – June 1990
We are decidedly for the attack against the class enemy and against the structures of power. We said it two years ago or so in the first issue of this paper, we are saying it again today with the same projectuality but more firmly and with more grit, in the awareness that the project of restructuring of capital is now in an advanced phase.
Beyond the critique of the organisations of synthesis, it is the sectorialisation of social reality in its new post-industrial forms is pushing many comrades to develop their individual initiative. There is a growing tendency to do away with mediating the struggle through organisations of synthesis, in favour of the individual/organisation capable of acting autonomously and of establishing relationships based on affinity. The starting point is the revolutionary subject within their insurrectional project. And the more the individual develops their capacity to self-organise, the more significant their relationships of affinity become.
As a consequence of this the anarchist group intended as something fixed and circumscribed is giving way to an informal network of qualitative relations: individual comrades supplying themselves with instruments for the struggle, carrying out actions against the class enemy alone or with a few others. At the same time they are acting for the extension of the specific anarchist movement, but always in the dimension of a generalisation of the struggle at mass level. The gap between theory and practice begins to close.
A necessary instrument in this dimension is undoubtedly a paper which must serve to identify the enemy in all its forms, giving indications as to where it can struck most effectively. It must also serve to report news of the struggle in course, and to produce analyses, theory and counter-information with the aim of acting against repression more effectively.
At times this work might seem schematic and repetitive, always pointing to the same things: pylons being sabotaged, attacks against petrol companies, drug laboratories, schools, work. But that does not worry us. The felling of a pylon is always a specific, unique action which causes multiform damage to the homicidal projects of the system. To put petrol pumps out of use is a precise act of sabotage, not merely a symbolic gesture. Dynamite against those responsible for the massacre of the Palestinian people strikes home, gives an indication of struggle, warms our hearts.
And so the great revolutionary laboratory is continually in movement, developing theory and practice and extending, using the universal language of attack against the class enemy. Fire and dynamite together with the objective struck speak eloquently to all those who have a concrete conception of struggle.
There is also an immense amount of work of understanding and analysis that needs to be liberated from the confines of language and become accessible to all. The insurrectional project is also this, and requires structures capable of carrying out this task, as well as the decision and constancy to act in this direction.
Number Twenty-Seven – May 1991
From the newspapers we learn of the arrest of a number of members of a non-existent group “Anarchismo e ProvocAzione”. We do not want, nor can we, say anything of the actions the investigators consider them responsible for, nor the connections and relations they refer to, to say the least, very confused. We merely want to underline, as comrades making up the editorial of “Anarchismo” and the editorial of “ProvocAzione” that we are estrange to any clandestine organisation whatsoever, let alone one called “Anarchismo e ProvocAzione”.
Apart from our work as anarchists and revolutionaries that we reconfirm with heads held high, even at this moment when one of the most clamorous frame-ups of recent years is appearing on the horizon (and it is not the first time), we want to point out the inexistence of possible “continuisms” between organisations operating in the past under the name of “AR” and our editorials. The fact — as has been underlined — that our editions published a book containing the communiques of this organisation, cannot be considered belonging to it or participating in it, in that we have published other books expressing opinions that are diametrically opposed (something the papers do not take the trouble to report).
We think that individual choices, revolutionary or other, be claimed for what they are: personal decisions which cannot draw in structures of the anarchist movement simply because it suits an inquisitor more ambitious than others.
It is necessary to do everything possible to denounce this frame up at all levels as foolish and hateful as ever. There has never existed, nor could there have existed, “anarchist terrorism”, nor anarchists stupid enough to lightly give life to deeds such as those pointed out by the inquirors signing themselves in the name of a paper regularly distributed all over Italy.
For understandable reasons the present issue of ProvocAzione is coming out with only a few pages in the new format that it will also take in future issues. We have printed more copies in order to have the widest possible diffusion. On the basis of our strength. We ask all comrades interested to telephone or write.... In these grave moments we need the maximum possible support. All comrades interested in constituting a fund for defence costs etc. are asked to.