Translated by act for freedom now
We publish two letters from imprisoned comrades Nicolò and Francesco, held up in Turin and Cuneo respectively following the repressive operation unleashed on 3rd June:
Letter from Nico, imprisoned in the unit D of Le Vallette prison
Sunday, 15th June 2014, Le Vallette prison, Turin
My name is Nicolò Angelino. I was arrested on Tuesday 3rd June following a police operation whose goal was to cut off the most beautiful adventure of my life.
Prosecutors’ wishful thinking.
Since that day I’ve been locked up in a single cell in unit D. A clean, repainted and perfumed cell. Disgusting. The armoured door is left open but the gate is locked 23 hours per day. It opens and closes back only when I go for my hour in the yard.
Talking with other prisoners through the bars is challenging and even if they are very nice people, a sense of uneasiness is obvious on both sides. In this wing I don’t have accomplices nor do I have hope to meet any. Some are in solitary confinement and under therapy 24 hours per day; the others, those I can see, are worker prisoners. They have all the privileges that the Prison Administration can offer and won’t risk anything for me.
The charges following which I’m being detained in custody are so insignificant that they speak for themselves: I’m being held prisoner and subjected to a para-special regime because of my ideas, because they want to isolate me, make me innocuous and prevent me from struggling.
Tomorrow, 16th June, I won’t go back voluntarily to my cell after the yard in order to demand my cell be open during the day or that I’m transferred to a social unit. I’ll do the same in the following two days. If during this protest I’m punished with solitary confinement or denial of the hour in the yard or if I don’t get the desired result, I’ll go on hunger strike on Wednesday 18th June. Not because my prison conditions are inhumane or they don’t comply with some human rights convention or because the way they are treating me is an abuse by the prison administration, but simply because I don’t like this situation.
I’m tired to ask a screw if I can have some fruit. I want to take it by myself, whenever I want to, as the others do. I want to talk to other prisoners without bars in the middle.
I know that the instrument of the hunger strike doesn’t lead me to an exciting ground of struggle. But as I’m in solitary confinement and don’t have accomplices and the guards hold all the power, this is the only instrument that can upturn the power relation between me and those who hold the keys.
I’m going to struggle with my head held high aware of your warmth, with the same anger and calm of those who in other times and places ventured into stormy oceans far bigger than the tub I’m in.
Come what may, this little water will end up in the same ocean and it matters little to me if I get what I want or not.
I want to live only in the struggle.
A warm hug to all prisoners
Freedom for all
Fire to the prisons
C.C. Via Maria Adelaide Aglietta 35
Letter from Francesco held up in the prison of Cuneo
It is a total of 27 incriminating episodes that the authority used on 3rd June to issue 17 orders of remand in custody, 12 in prison and 5 under house arrest, 4 orders of mandatory residence, 4 expulsion orders from Turin and 4 orders of daily reporting to the police station. Under investigation is the struggle against evictions, which has been developing in the streets of Porta Palazzo, Aurora and Barriera di Milano in Turin.
The narrative that emerges from the pages containing the notes of those who stain papers in the Police Headquarters, Public Prosecutor’s Office and court certainly is not very much compelling and can barely describe the traits of this struggle. After all it would be stupid to expect something different from these sad scribblers.
However, flipping through the over 200 pages of the order of remand in custody, one realizes that even a man of the court can write something worth noticing.
In fact, the investigating judge writes: ‘The effect of these multiple, planned actions of opposition was substantially that of depriving judicial decisions of authority and enforceability […], thus frustrating the conditions essential to the maintenance of the rule of the law and the constitution.’
These words, translated into a human language, highlight how this struggle has prevented bailiffs and police from kicking dozens of men, women and entire families out in the street. As stated by a judge in Turin. In so doing he kind of questioned some basic values of this society, such as private property and the State monopoly of force. So in the streets of this chunk of Turin there has been an air a bit different from the usual asphyxiating normality. Normality made up of hundreds of eviction orders, which give Turing the shameful title of ‘capital of evictions’. Normality characterized by arrogant bailiffs, who backed by Carabinieri and Police carry out their disgusting and servile work without hesitation. Normality where those who can’t or don’t want to pay a rent are supposed to accept passively their fates, turn to social workers and then patiently wait for the draw that assigns social housing and hope to be selected. In the meantime they are supposed to do the best they can, sleep in the car or on the sofa of some friend, and maybe accept to be separated from their family members awaiting a better time.
But this struggle has upset these roles, and picket line after picket line, meeting after meeting, more and more men and women have realized that there’s nothing shameful in making one’s situation known publicly, that in doing so one is not alone, that to resist is possible.
As the struggle goes on, so does the determination, courage and sensation that one can dare. The level of what one can demand becomes then higher, and for several months during the protests the main concern was not the risk of the enforcement of an eviction order but how long a postponement the bailiff wiould grant. Postponements of few weeks, which not long ago were welcomed with enthusiasm, are no longer sufficient. One demands to stay in one’s house for two, three, four months so as to organize one’s life with more calm.
And the strength accumulated in the course of this struggle allows one to take it with calm. But it also allows one to challenge the immediate counter-action of the city authority: to make different enforcements of eviction orders coincide in one single day – the third Tuesday of every month – in order to split those who resist and better overcome them. But those who struggle manage to organize themselves every third Tuesday, and build barricades outside doors with garbage bins and block entire streets in order to keep the forces of order away. And these barricades are not only efficient instruments of resistance, but they are also the symbol of this struggle and explain what’s going on more clearly than a thousand leaflets. And if, as the investigating judge points out, bailiffs are no longer comfortable in hanging around in the streets of Barriera di Milano when they have to evict some of its inhabitants, well this can only make many happy. For once fear has changed side.
This investigation is just the latest initiative undertaken on a judicial level against this struggle. In the spring of last year, the men of the court pulled an article out of the hat, an article that will be increasingly used anywhere after being tested here: article 610, incident of enforceability. According to this article, when faced with a picket line bailiffs can pass the eviction order on to a judge, who fixes another date for the eviction without informing the person under eviction. So eviction becomes an act of force and police can act undisturbed, and those under an eviction order live constantly in the anguish of not knowing until when they will have a roof on their heads.
Needless to say, this measure has brought quite a few problems to the struggle. But resistance to evictions continues, as new strategies to hamper the bosses of the city are being devised during meetings. And resistance will certainly continue after these arrests, as shown by the protest outside the premises of bailiffs’ offices on 4th June, the occupation of a building on the 12th and the demo held on the 14th. Because the struggle can’t be arrested.
Finally I can’t help mentioning the executives of PD, who immediately congratulated each other on this repressive operation. In this case too their hostility can only make us happy, and we believe we are not the only ones. Because the Democratic Party is revolting not only to those who struggle against evictions, as proved by the many initiatives organized in the day as well as in the night in piazzas and outside the premises of their sites.
To write to him:
Francesco Di Berardo
C.C. Via Roncata, 75