NO TAV – Report on the hearing and comrades’ declarations on why they decided to refuse a solicitor – Italy


Translated by act for freedom now/B.pd
 We receive and transmit:
 NO TAV trial, June 7 2013, bunker courtroom of the Vallette prison, Turin
Today’s hearing was unusually interesting. There were eight of us, as ‘defendants’, in the courtroom.
Soon after the roll call three of us, each in their own words, declared their extraneousness towards the court and the trial along with the decision to revoke the solicitors appointed on their arrest.

 The court immediately withdrew in closed session in order to appoint a duty solicitor who would take charge of the defence of the three comrades who had revoked their solicitors. The hearing resumed after an hour and a half in the presence of a duty solicitor. We spoke again to reconfirm that we would defend ourselves and didn’t recognize any duty solicitor. The latter asked for time to read the court papers and was granted 10 days. But as they wanted to resume the hearing at all costs the court instructed the revoked solicitors to ‘assist’ us during the hearing. The solicitors tried to reject the instruction by also making appeal to the EU legislation in the field of ‘self-defence’.  An obvious mess, a ‘tangible embarrassment’, as the solicitors said. The public prosecutors intervened to state that the Italian law doesn’t recognize the principle of self-defence and that ‘technical defence is fundamental prerequisite… European legislation has been adopted in Italy in the last decades and a defendant can make “spontaneous declarations”.’ Thanks to these arguments the court managed to carry on the hearing.
The next hearing, postponed to June 21 because of the 10 days granted to the duty solicitor, will be held in the bunker courtroom of the prison.
 Here follow Mau, Marta and Juan’s declarations to the court and some considerations
‘I revoke the solicitor I had appointed on my arrest. Obviously you will appoint other solicitors, but they will speak on your behalf not on mine! This trial and this court are part of the state which is devastating the Clarea valley, as I saw with my own eyes. As far as I’m concerned, it is the struggle that speaks, the struggles carried out all over the world against your social and environmental devastations.
 On my behalf it will be the movements I live and identify with that speak here.’
Marta, arrested on July 3 2011 in the woods of the NO TAV resistance: the trial against the NO TAV people who fought to resist the eviction of the Free Republic of the Maddalena and those who tried to take it all back on July 3, has been going on for one year now, first in the squalid rooms of the court of Turin and now in the even more squalid bunker courtroom of the Vallette prison. In this cold and unhealthy environment, but with the complicity and warmth of two other comrades, Maurizio and Juan, on 7th June 2013 I revoked my solicitor and read the following declaration to the court (I couldn’t read it all though because the judge got agitated when I said the word ‘struggle’).
Declaration to the court:
‘I’m in this courtroom today to declare that I am going to revoke my solicitor as I don’t want to be defended nor do I accept any charge. I totally claim the days of June 27 and July 3 [2011]: I was there to oppose any single mechanism of the techno-industrial system that subordinates us, transforms us and kills us every day.
I have no intention to recognize this trial, which wants to punish the struggle so as to paralyze it and destroy it. Trials only serve to ratify your power not certainly to ratify the truth. The NO TAV struggle cannot be reduced to laws; reality is not inside this courtroom as it doesn’t feed on coercive inventions like your laws.
I am and will be in the valley in order to stop the TAV, as comrades coming from everywhere are doing because they refuse the TAV, your judgements and laws with determination.’
Marta Bifani
‘I decided to refuse any solicitors because I don’t want to be part of this judicial and state theatre, which I refuse and which I don’t belong to.’
Considerations on why I am revoking my solicitors:
After the critiques I got from some comrades I think it is important to give an answer.
These are the reasons why I decided not to make recourse to a solicitor at the trial for the clashes in the Susa valley: after a discussion with Alessio, Maurizio and Marta, the comrades with whom I could discuss at that time and with whom I had some entente, I thought and felt that this decision would give impetus to my morale and to the people who struggle outside, a way to gain strength and give strength in order to go ahead. This is my perception. It is what I would like to transmit, I don’t know if I’m actually succeeding in doing so.
As I experienced in first person the relations imposed by the courts on a number of occasions I decided not to make recourse to a defence lawyer in order not to be part of these social relations, to try to refuse them and attack them and desert the theatre of the Justice.
This is a way of refusing power too: refusing to hand out identity documents or enrol in the army, slaves refusing to work, a valley refusing to let a train pass, refusing to let your pants off during one of the many body searches by the prison guards. These are all cracks in the world of imposed relations.
Probably they will impose their rules by force and my refusal might fall in the void, but I want to have a try anyway and not to play their game. For me a trial is not the right means or method to refuse the judicial theatre. A trial is a situation imposed by the state by force; it is not a method of struggle. The method conceived as an action or as a break of restrictions is the refusal of authority. The aim is to try to delegitimize the authority and its apparatus, to implement my strength even if it is of microscopic dimensions if compared to that of the state and society. A strength always managed by myself without intermediaries, a strength that refuses fictitious roles and delegating, that looks at the struggle managed by one’s own strengths and claims along with the people who make it their own thus trying to widen spaces of ‘freedom’ and autonomy without intermediaries through refusal and other methods that one thinks necessary.
I think that ‘refusal’ is one of the means of the struggle that a prisoner or any other person can put into practice, a ‘consistent’ act in a self-organized trajectory, an act of not recognizing the state and society that create what surrounds us, including the TAV.
These considerations are the fruit of the discussion with my friends and of my trajectory of struggle which Val Susa is also part of, but not only, and it is not more important or less important than other experiences.
I’d like to say another thing: as we were discussing in the docks while the judge and the public prosecutor talked to each other, we re-appropriated time and made it ours, and used it to discuss and make our decisions. These moments warmed our hearts up. With our choices of action and struggle, like other moments I lived, in the Clarea valley, in Chiomonte, in Venaus, on the Seghino Bridge and also in the Genoa alleys or in the streets in general or in a disgusting cell, we did re-appropriate our lives.
To try to express the refusal of authority through the struggle, every time and with different means as well as to face the trial in this way is, in my opinion, the continuation of the struggle and not something separate. Of course the struggle is to be done in the streets, but when you are compelled to be in certain situations, you can find the struggle even in these situations.
Talking about the trial I think that so far the choices of almost all us the defendants have been proud and have demonstrated the will to continue the struggle. I don’t think that the choice of not making recourse to solicitors can create splits with those who decided to appoint a defence lawyer or those who are outside or inside.
To me the preciousness of the struggle, with all its contradictions, is the heterogeneity and diversity of individuals and groups that self-organize autonomously and with different choices and means. I can’t see how it might be different in this case. Not only did my choice come out of considerations and evaluations but also and mainly it came out of my heart, as I did in the valley and in other places where I happened to be.
I’m aware that my assessment might prove wrong. I have doubts. But I think it is an important choice and it is also for this reason that I feel like sharing it…

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