The Genoa Trials

Between disobedience and resistance. The anomaly of via Tolemaide

Genoa , Italy - On October 23, 2007, after three and a half years, the trial against 25 activists from the anti G8 protests of 2001 in Genoa is approaching the first stage of its final phase. In their closing statements, the Public Prosecutors Canepa and Canciani demanded a total of 225 years of prison for all the activists, from 6 to 16 years and damages of 100,000 euros for each of the 25 demonstrators accused of devastation and pillage. Canepa and Canciani believe that the Court has to take into account the so-called "moral complicity" of the defendants. The Public Prosecutor Canciani underlined that "if there was a massacre inside the Diaz school ", "in the streets of Genoa there was devastation and pillage". The defending counsels will begin their final speeches on November 6, 2007.

Translated by Arianna Bove from the original Italian on Global Project

Appeal. We, the ones in via Tolemaide.

It's true. There is a history of struggles, movements, and people and a history of power. There is no doubt about it, as Genoa confirms. The history of power is often written by the judiciary. The public prosecutors who accused 25 protesters of devastation and pillage have hundreds more charges waiting in their drawers against just as many of the participants to the anti-G8 protests: their indictments are a good summary of this practice. Rewriting, twisting, and distorting what happened so as to not only change its meaning, but also remove the anomalies that constitute the tangible sign of a crisis in the system. Rewriting history for one's own use and consumption is an old bad habit for those in command; but it is also the measure of the deep and irreversible crisis of this democracy at every level, and of its extreme need to artificially create a legitimacy that is no longer there.

The resounding words wisely selected by this or that servant of the State and uttered in the courtrooms of tribunals would cover up what hundreds of thousands of people have experienced and millions are already aware of. These words will become the official history as soon as they are written, black on white, hereunder years of prison sentences for those who had the misfortune of becoming the chosen scapegoat for being in Genoa on 19, 20 and 21 of July 2001.

The dismissal of the case of murder of Carlo Giuliani was the first chapter in the history of Genoa , written by the power of tribunals.

But we would be wrong in thinking that the question can be neutralised so simplistically. The public prosecutors' indictments and the management of the process of Genoa showed us much more than the mere confirmation of an old assumption that all movements of struggle have hitherto faced. Firstly: the history of power and 'social' history are not parallel, but in conflict. And the force of the impact of their clash determines the result. If any room is allowed for what the 'democratic system', from parliaments to tribunals, intends to produce on Genoa, the result will always favour the safeguarding of power and create enclosures for the movements of the past and, above all, of the future.

We would also be wrong in thinking that the history of the movement is written in black and white, and thus becomes static, perennial, and lodged. This is not the case: this history is alive; unlike that written by the tribunals it grows, as it becomes invisible, karstic, fragmented, together with those who experienced it. After those days in Genoa, none of us, who in different ways contributed to building such an extraordinary insurgence and often had to deal with the resulting tragedies, was able to take the floor back, to speak with strength. Having experienced that revolt, some simply chose to return to, or jump down in the furrow of official politics, of parliaments and parties; others searched for new paths in the movements, which were difficult experiments ridden with doubts and uncertainties.

All in all, we were unable to treat the charges against some of us as a fundamentally political moment, thus we allowed someone else to write our history.

What does forcibly speaking again and taking the floor back mean? We think that it has little to do with simply speaking, denouncing, and reporting. This is surely the least that can be done, but as we recognise, unless there is more to it, unless something becomes the engine for everything else, including what is taken for granted, we are swallowed in a routine that soon becomes disabling.

Genoa was produced by a strong idea, not by the sum of its participants. This idea is what we want to place back at the centre of the current events in Genoa . In the past few days, public prosecutors clearly singled out the key to the criminalisation of the movement of Genoa . Via Tolemaide, the largest demonstration of the Genoa protests is the anomaly that those who are writing the history of power need to attack.

The events of July the 20th, including the murder of Carlo, and what generated the attacks of the carabinieri, revolve around the over 20,000 strong multitude of via Tolemaide and the Carlini stadium.

This multitude had taken a clear decision: to disobey the imposition of the Red Zone, which was the concrete symbol of the power exercised by the G8 in those days. But it made this decision public: disobedience, the violation of the law, became a public space and directly constituent for the enormous community of its subjects, whether single or collective. Seeing what the comrades in Copenhagen are doing and what happened in Rostock, one has the sense that, spatially and temporally, this decision has been enriched and renewed and is now a practice for the movement. This is not about 'forms of struggle', even though its techniques, like the shields for instance, have been used everywhere. This is about the paradigm of disobedience. The decision to violate the Red Zone and to publicly declare it so as to avoid making either the practices or the process of their construction 'clandestine', is part of the anomaly attacked by the state tribunals.

The 20,000 of via Tolemaide were there for this reason: the decision of being many and of constituting ourselves on the basis of a shared practice rather than anything else. We find the same practice in many experiences of resistance close to real movements against military bases or the TAV, for instance.

But the turning of one's own objective into a public constituent space led to another element of incompatibility for the state, and this is what is being criminalized in the courts: consensus. The demonstration of via Tolemaide and the experience at the Carlini stadium could rely on a support, even just in terms of opinion, that went well beyond the number of its participants. Can this anomaly be admitted? You can be vicious and ferocious as long as you are in small numbers and isolated from everyone else, constitutive of your own defeat: this is compatible. Actually, despite the intentions of the protagonists, who were often generous yet sentenced to years in prison, the state ascribes a role to everyone, from witnesses to reporters. What matters to them is that the end result must reinforce the institutions and their precarious link to legitimacy and consent.

But what if consensus is momentarily grounded on something that preludes the non-acceptance of the law and of the constituted order, and what if this consensus is a collective practice? This is what via Tolemaide was also about.

Another key element was what happened after the carabinieri attacked: the spontaneous, direct and diffused exercise of a right to resistance. Disobedience did not turn into a role game. The distortions operated by those who, even from within the movement, spoke of disobedience whilst thinking of government risked killing disobedience altogether. First by depriving it of the specificity of the context that produced it and recalling 'historical' models, which is not far from saying that the non-violence of the Burma movements is the same as that of some Italian MPs' propaganda, who vote in favour of wars and much more. Second, it was in danger of becoming a fetish, a closed and burdensome identity founded on techniques of struggles more than a common feeling.

Via Tolemaide and its exercise of disobedience and of the right to resist swept away all attempts at such reductions. Disobedience could no longer be regarded as either a model or a form. In Italy and Europe today, we think the question is one of choosing a path that can take on different forms and articulations, yet find its foundation in some orientations and trends. We left the Carlini stadium with the aim of practicing disobedience. We found ourselves using all our available means to resist the blind and furious force of annihilation of the carabinieri and the police, whose might could not have been predicted. This was a natural leap and, because of it, the resistance of that demonstration, which was collectively reclaimed, is so hard to swallow for state, institutions and tribunals. The murder of Carlo has to be seen in this context. In the absence of simplistic orchestrations and exploitations, in this case the state opted for dismissal. This is what the Genoa trials are trying to deny, because they are speaking to other movements of today and tomorrow, with hope and determination, anger and lucidity. Via Tolemaide put power in a difficult situation and that is why its history has to be rewritten and made compatible with a readymade context: 'everyone was violent in via Tolemaide' in Genoa, and the charge of 'subversive association with over 20,000 participants' in Cosenza. We need to resume from where we were interrupted: there, in that street of Genoa, that square, so close, where the blood of one of us was shed. Others have resumed the path in Germany, Denmark, Val di Susa, and Vicenza. We know where to begin in order to join them: that is, from the defence of all our comrades on trial, from the recognition of what Genoa left us with, from via Tolemaide.

We undersign the above to commit ourselves to the organisation of a mobilisation to take place whilst the judges decide on the outcome of the Genoa trials. The sentence is an attempt to rewrite history from the point of view of power and must be fought against directly by those who were on the streets of Genoa in 2001 despite the threats, the arrogance and violence mobilised against whoever demanded a change. We will start with our names and surnames because here lies the personal and political decision to fight against the taming of the truth and against the further closure of spaces for movements and dissent in this country. But we appeal to everyone to build initiatives with us that are necessary to free the comrades on trial in Genoa so that the history of power is not an obstacle on everyone's path towards freedom, for the ones who were there as for the ones who will come. With Carlo in our heart.

Don Andrea Gallo (Fondatore Comunit� San Benedetto al Porto-Genova) | Associazione Madri di Plaza de Mayo | Naomi Klein | Avi Lewis | Valeria Cavagnetto (Genova) | Vladia Grillino (Genova) | Milena Zappon (Genova) | Domenico Chionetti (Genova) | Simone Savona (Genova) | Luciano Bregoli (Genova) | Luca Oddone (Genova) | Paolo Languasco (Genova) | Matteo Jade (Genova) | Luca Daminelli (Genova) | Maurizio Campaga (Genova) | Luca Casarini (Marghera - imputato a Cosenza) | Tommaso Cacciari (Venezia) | Michele Valentini (Marghera) | Max Gallob (Padova) | Vilma Mazza (Padova) | Duccio Bonechi (Padova-imputato a Genova) | Federico Da Re ( Padova-imputato a Genova) | Cristian Massimo (Monfalcone) | Donatello Baldo (Trento) | Domenico Mucignat (Bologna) | Gianmarco De Pieri (Bologna) | Manila Ricci (Rimini) | Daniele Codelupi (Reggio Emilia) | Claudio Sanita (Alessandria) | Luca Corradini (Milano) | Silvia Liscia (Milano) | Francesco Raparelli (Roma) | Francesco Brancaccio (Roma) | Emiliano Viccaro (Roma) | Luca Blasi (Roma) | Antonio Musella (Napoli) | Nicola Mancini (Senigallia) | Sandro Mezzadra (Universit� di Bologna) | Gennaro Varriale (Formia - LT) | Peppino Coscione (Genova) | Franco Borghi (Cento) | Giacomo Verde | Claudio Calia (Padova) | Cristina Stevanoni (Universit� di Verona) | Giovanni Battista Novello Paglianti (Universit� di Padova) | Mim� Capurso Bisceglie (Bari) | Arianna Ballotta (Ravenna) | Annalisa Rosso (Genova) | Simona Pittaluga (Genova) | Mimmo Lavacca (Monopoli - Bari) | Minuto Edoardo (S. Benedetto del Tronto AP) | Enrico Bandiera (Ivrea) | Renato Goffredi (Castel San Giovanni - Piacenza) | Giuseppe Coppola (Mestre) | Alessio Olivieri (Genova) | Giovanni Vassallo (Imperia) | Marco Rocchi (Viareggio) | Valerio Guizzardi (Bologna) | Francesco Aliberti (Salerno) | Luigi Narni Mancinelli (Salerno) | Fernanda La Camera (Genova) | Silvia Aquilesi (Padova) | Francesca Moccagatta (Firenze) | Gabriele Mainetti (Padova) | Andrea Fumagalli | Valerio Monteventi (Bologna) | Sandro Chignola (Verona) | Sandro Badiani (Roma) | Giuseppe Palumbo (Catania) | Marco Manetto (Torino) | Marina Costa (Roma) | Lucia Altamura (Lucca) | Francesca Moccagatta (Firenze) | Marina Costa (Roma) | Sergio Zulian e Monica Tiengo (Treviso) | Marco Maffeis (Nave - BS) | Claudio Ortale (Roma) | Paolo Do (Universit� Queen Mary di Londra) | Giuliano Santoro (Roma) | Pietro Rinaldi (Napoli) | Vittorio Forte (Napoli) | Walter e Vittorio Passeggio (Napoli) | Ivo Poggiani (Napoli)| Giovanni Pagano (Napoli) | Roberto Giordano (Roma) | Matteo Dean (Citt� del Messico) | Francesco Cirillo Diamante (imputato a Cosenza) | Alessandro Metz (Trieste) | Lorenzo Santinelli (Genova) | Igor Bonazzoli (Arluno MI) | Dante Bedini (Treviso) | Marco Claudio Fusco (Roma) | Rinaldo Metrangolo (Pescara) | Federica Sossi (Universit� di Bergamo) | Roberto Gabrielli (Forl�) | Luciana D'Ambrosio (Landriano - PV) | Vittorio Suppiej (Padova) | Paola Manduca (Genova) | Stella Verga (Venezia) | Carlo Visintini (Trieste) | Andrea Ballar� (Palermo) | Peppe Mariani (Roma) | Roberto Malesani (Verona) | Francesco Lo Duca (Bologna) | Ettore Zerbino (Roma) | Renata Ilari (Roma) | Claudio Vecchiola (Pescara) | Gilberto Calzolari (Torino) | Ferdinando Napolitano (Paderno-Dugnano MI) | Francesco Purpura (Milano) | Fabio Scaltritti (Alessandria) | Chiara Cassurino (Genova) | Gabriele Bernardi (Brescia) | Fabri Federica e Sicco Maurizio | Stefano Molteni (Reggio Emilia) | Raffaele Paura (Napoli) | Fabrizio De Meo (Genova) | Francesco Barilli e Cristina De Carli (Padova) | Lorenzo Sansonetti (Roma) | Giorgia Manzini , Fabiana Masoni (Pisa) | Dario Focardi (Pisa) | Gianni Ammendola (Roma) | Denise Murgia (Macomer NU) | Ignazio Trudu (Nuragus) | Francesco "baro" Barilli | Alessandra Aiello | Elisa Rossi (Milano) | Federico Camporese (Mestre - Venezia) | Mariangela Giannoccaro | Cristina De Carli (Padova) | Eleonora Battaggia e Francesco Bernardin (Preganziol - Treviso) | Pervinca Rizzo (Stra, Venezia) | Enrico Cordano (Genova) | Stefano Grespan (Treviso) | Giorgia Manzini | Chiara Barbieri (Reggio Emilia) | Flavio Zocchi (Milano) | Carlo Bottos (Bologna) | Paolo Di Francesco (Milano) | Anna Simone (Universit� degli studi - Bari) | Erika Corbellini (Brescia) | Fabio Candusso (Brescia) | Massimo Mosca (Novara) | Stefano Padovano (Genova) | Gianfranco Bettin (Venezia) | Beppe Caccia (Venezia) | Garuti Laura (Bologna) | Franco De Pasquale - Zogno (BG) | Paolo Cognini (Ancona) | Enza Amici (Jesi) | Natasha Aleksandrov | Cristian (Milano) | Sergio Di Meola (Treviso) | Rosario Picciolo (Bologna) | Laura Salvemini | Paride Danieli (Treviso) | Roberto Demontis ( Genova) | Nunzio D'Erme (Roma) | Fabio Gessa (Maranello) | Brasola Giorgio (Verona) | Alessandara Sciurba (Universit� Palermo) | Giancarlo Tegaldi (Genova) | Giorgio Passerone (Universit� di Lille) | Cristiana Billo Catapano (Padova) | Gianluca Ricciato (Bologna) | Franco Fuselli (Genova) | Sergio Falcone (Roma) | Matteo Sommacal | Chiara Piola Caselli | Alex Foti (Milano) | Nicoletta Bortoluzzi (Venezia) | Emiliano Rabuiti (Roma) | Gian Marco Dellavecchia (Torino) | Vendraminetto Nicola (Treviso) | Olol Jackson (Vicenza) | Paolo Vernaglione | Ciccio Auletta (Pisa) | Ariela Iacometti (Roma) | Franceco Pavin (Vicenza) | Eva Gilmore (Dublino) | Marilisa Picca (Bari) | Mariangela Milanese (Venezia) | Davide Barillari (Pessano con Bornago MI) | Don Vitaliano Della Sala , parroco rimosso di S. Angelo a Scala (Av) | Rossella Manganaro (Conegliano - TV) | Tomaselli Fabio (Conegliano - TV) | Fulvio Tagliaferri (Padova) | Salvatore Cannav� , Franco Turigliatto , Gigi Malabarba | Fabio Garzara (Treviso) | Emanuele Tartuferi (Macerata) | Mirco Mos� Tincani (Reggio Emilia) | Sara Torresan (Genova) | Matteo Sommacal (Roma) | Chiara Piola Caselli (Roma) | Maurizio Acerbo (SE) | Tomaselli Fabio (Conegliano - TV) | Rossella Manganaro (Conegliano - TV) | Marta Carraro (Treviso) | Valerio Evangelisti , scrittore (Bologna) | Davide Capozzi (Milano) | Mauro Bulgarelli (Roma) | Andrea Ghelfi ( Bologna) | Gomez Francesca (Verona) | Anna Curcio (Roma) | Manuela Mangili e Marta Belotti (San Pellegrino Terme - BG) | Alessandro Maggioni (Universit� Bicocca Milano) | Dario Ghilarducci (Viareggio) | Paola Bassi (Roma) | Manuela Cencetti (Torino) | Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (Palermo) | Stefano Costa (Milano) | Silvia Cacco (Padova) | Monica Meola | Camilla Rossi (Bologna) | Eleuterio (Milano) | Leonardo Montecchi (Rimini) | Marco Gandino (Genova) | Alessandro Sala (Magenta) | Tiziana Veronico (Bari) | Fabiano Malesardi (Trento) | Gabriele "mulo" Greco e Laura Sponti (Roma) | Enrico Milani (Caserta) | Roberto Faure (Genova) | Stefano Ischia (Riva del Garda) | Domenico Belotti (San Pellegrino Terme - BG) | Federico Tomasello | Lucia Deleo (Genova) | Riccardo Cosmelli (Genova) | Paola Bassi (Roma) | Alice Melina (Imperia) | Stefano Pico (Imperia) | Doriana Goracci (Caprinica, Vt) | Erica Silvestri (Roma) | Paolo Vernini (Roma) | Federico Mariani (Roma) | Francesco Ciacciarelli (Roma) | Fabrizio Nizi (Roma) | Rino Fabiano (Roma) | Valerio Porcelli (Roma) | Mattia Barbirato (Treviso) | Silvia Zanatta (Treviso) | Max D. Blas (Padova) | Federico De Ambrosis (Milano) | Manuel De Carli (Roma) | Electrosacher dj colletive e Alessando Offer (Trieste) | Fabio Dess� (Roma) | Caterina Peroni (Padova) | Giampiero Onor (Trieste) | Stefano Teotino (Pisa) | Dario Azzellini (Berlino/Caracas) | Livia Cortesi (Bergamo) | Giovanna Gasparello (Citt� del Messico) | Lutrario Guido (Roma) | Fabrizio Recanatesi (Falkatraz, Ancona) | Marco Giusti e Cisterna di Latina (Latina) | Roberto Covolo (Terlizzi) | Luca Borgarelli (Parma) | Joan M. Gual Bergas (Barcellona) | Cristian (Chiavari) | Pierpaolo d'Amore , Elisabetta Nardini , Giovanni d'Amore (Conegliano TV) | Mimma Grillo (Palermo) | Don Angelo Cassano (Bari) | Simona Granati (Roma) | Gianluca Romano (Roma) | Daniele Di Stefano (Milano) | Erike Pozzi (Milano) | Marina Margheriti (Milano) | Stefano Ranzato (Chioggia) | Marilena Pappagallo | Concetta Di Donato (Bojano, CB) | Luca Mascini (Militant A - Assalti Frontali) | Mara Cammarata (Genova) | Treccani Luca e Serrau Valeri (Calcinato, Bs) | Piero Bernocchi | Gaia Alberti (Venezia) | Adalgiso Amendola (Universit� di Salerno) | Jean-Marie Straub (cineasta Parigi) | Daniela Pantaloni e Roberto Colarullo (To) | Tancredi Antonella (Roma) | Enrico Pietanza (Venezia) | Bruni Cristiano (Chiavari) | Gianni Zambon (Paderno Dugnano-Mi) | Maurizio Pelosi Lopez (Ya Basta! Milano) | Enrica Paccoi (Associazione italia/senegal Yakaar - Roma) | Attilio Ratto (RdB /CUB Federazione Regionale della Liguria)| Alfonso De Vito (No Border - Napoli) | Coordinamento Vittime della Globalizzazione e Culturale "L'Officina del Futuro" (Lodi) | CSA Bruno e Ya Basta (Trento) | Coordinamento Collettivi Universitari Pisa | Gianluigi Redaelli (Rete per la difesa dei beni comuni Palermo) | Laboratorio Zeta (Palermo) | Roberto Colarullo e Daniela Pantaloni (Comitato Pace di Robassomero, TO) | Centro sociale Cantiere (Milano) | Coordinamento dei Collettivi Studenteschi di Milano e Provincia | Capannone sociale (Vicenza) | Coordinamento studentesco Vicenza | Antonio Merlino (Genova) e Carlo Sarpero (Genova) RSU aereoporto - Genova | Associazione Ya Basta (Verona) | c.s.a Barattolo (Pavia) | Laboratorio delle disobbedienze Rebeld�a (Pisa) | Collettivo Metropolis (Verona) | Germana Graceffo (Rete Antirazzista sicialiana - Collettivo Agrigento) | Laboratorio UbikLab (Treviso) | CSOA Mezza Canaja (Senigallia - AN) | CSA Depistaggio (Benevento) | CUB Liguria | Pino Bertoldo - Segretario Regionale Fisac-Cgil Sicilia | Gioachino Guarneri - Fisac Cgil Sicilia | Accion Global (Madrid) | Csa_kontatto/25ohm (Falconara M. Ancona) | Ass. Ya Basta! Milano | Cantiere Sociale Chioggialab ( Chioggia - Ve) | Confederazione nazionale COBAS | Comitato Pace di Robassomero ( Torino ) | Sito internet | Associazione "Zaatar (Genova) | Tavola della Pace Vallebrembana | Paolo Grasso Inca Cgil Firenze |

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