Translated by act for freedom now
We receive and transmit:
This text is the result of a discussion among comrades, and was handed out at the first meeting of the itinerant camping held betwee 17 and 24 July in the Susa Valley. The debate that followed was indeed interesting.
To comrades along the way (and along the paths)
Earth. Careful, for heaven’s sake! Look where you’re going!
Comet. Better to not look where you are going than only go as far as you can see.
Carlo Michelstaedter, Il dialogo della salute e altri dialoghi [not available in the English translation]
We haven’t written much about the struggle in the valley in all these years because we’ve had something better to do: live an experience. When we scribbled on some piece of paper, it was enthusiasm that inspired us, even where it was necessary to talk about difficult urgent problems. We have tried to stay the way we are in this struggle. We want clear sincere human relations, not political opportunism. Our attitude has often appeared naïve, almost pathetic, to the political components – who flatter people to silence uncomfortable criticism. But ‘disappearing’ in the struggles we take part in, putting forward ideas and practices rather than organizations and flags, refusing media games in favour of the living element of a situation is a choice, certainly in contrast to the trend, often leading to judicial troubles. We like the inaccessible off the beaten track. Better the uncertainty of a destination than the certainty of getting bogged down in political shit.
Yet today it is bitterness that is pushing us, for the sensation that in all these years we have not really re-cognized each other. The famous ‘respect for differences’ exists insofar as differences are recognized as such. Otherwise all we have is the call for unity (not by chance a favourite word of the Stalinists of the PCI) [Italian Communist Party], which is always fatal for dissenting minorities. What embitters us? The fact that the programme of this year’s itinerant camping included meetings with local authorities almost on a daily basis, meetings which actually characterize and make obvious a choice that seeks complicity in institutional support. Obviously this can’t be our choice and, who knows, not even that of some others either. It is certainly not the choice of those who see in the trap of politics something that takes away from rather than advances the struggle. How much energy did the elections take away from the struggle? Are many still convinced, just like ten years ago, that opinions of NO TAV mayors can influence decisions on ‘work of national strategic importance’? Isn’t this illusion just a way to bypass the real difficulties of the movement?
If some or many wanted to involve the mayors they could well do it, but without imposing it as a general formulation of the struggle. We had problems in participating in the preparatory meetings and we didn’t follow their development fully, that’s our responsibility. In spite of this, some comrades had expressed their disagreement, and so we were stunned in reading the programme, because it doesn’t reflect the sensibilities and differences of all the people who took part in organizating the camping. Throughout time, in so many years of struggle together, reciprocal trust has grown considerably precisely because when we decided, together, to do or not do something, we were always consistent with the agreements made. And for us, anarchists, who have no trust in the Law, which is imposed from above, agreements, fruit instead of free confrontation, are worth more than anything else.
But is it possible that we have re-cognized each other so little? Concerning some initiatives strictly connected to the valley – organized our own way, as they say here – we often didn’t express ourselves. But the NO TAV struggle has been going beyond territorial borders for a long time now – although still having its heart in the valley – and summer camps, especially since 2011, are precisely, one of those occasions built together by inhabitants of the valley and not. In fact the proposal for an itinerant camping was made by comrades from outside the valley.
We’ve never expected everybody to be anarchist, not for a moment, but we’ve always stressed the few and at the same time indispensable elements that unite us. The way of considering the relation with local institutions is not one of them. Dreamers that we are, we struggle for a society where there’s no more delegating, where people’s Councils take the place of the local State institutions. And what we are dreaming for the future, we make an effort to live in the present. We are also convinced that what conquered so many women and men in this struggle is precisely the fact that it has been taken on and lived in first person. That it has changed the lives of those who have taken part in it.
Then we read that along with the NO TAV banner, there are some who want to give the local institutions a flag with the names of the imprisoned comrades on it. We know that behind this initiative there’s the sincere intention of strengthening solidarity with the comrades. If we were opportunists (given that the comrades’ freedom is something we care a lot about), we could say ‘anything goes’. But by changing one’s position according to the context, one doesn’t build anything solid. We don’t agree with this initiative either, and we can’t keep quiet about it. First of all because we’re sure that the imprisoned comrades wouldn’t be happy about this kind of solidarity, secondly because it has been made official in the programme of the Avigliana-Chiomonte march, and therefore it directly concerns us whether we like it or not. Since the arrests of December, we have managed to act in such a way that everybody found their own forms of solidarity, firm in intention and open in discussion, understanding what was in common and what was not.
Was it so hard to imagine that many anarchists wouldn’t like flags with the names of our comrades to be handed over to mayors and administrators? We are a component of this struggle (which, saying it en passant, is also paying a considerable price in terms of repression). This doesn’t make us either superior – we tend to be disgusted by those who speculate on their comrades inside in order to gain ‘political importance’ – but it doesn’t make us subordinate to anyone either.
A minority position? It could be, but for us nothing has ever been a question of numbers. We started being a part of this struggle well before its media exposure, precisely because we sincerely agreed with the objective. There are a thousand reasons why we gave our modest contribution against the TAV – the promise we made after Sole and Baleno’s deaths, for one – but none of these reasons is instrumental. Of course, we want to make the revolution, we want to do away with the State and capitalism. But the struggle against the TAV has never been a mere pretext, instrumental to something else; on the contrary it is an objective that we agreed with and still agree with thoroughly, even considering its limited range. We have put our hearts and minds in it.
Among the many possible forms of solidarity, it is not acceptable to choose for everybody what doesn’t belong to everybody. And a programme is a framework for all the people involved, which compels us to say clearly that we don’t agree with it. We respect differences, but we do so starting from our own, present in the struggle for what we are, we say and we do. Calculated silences don’t interest us. We have come to the camping all the same because a summer of struggle in the Valley is important for everybody. But we won’t sacrifice our values and methods for anybody and anything – not even for social revolution. Sectarians? No, honest with ourselves and others
This struggle holds many difficulties and there will be more to come. Another three comrades– to whom goes all our solidarity – are in jail. We take on the difficulties with all the generosity we are capable of, clear, always, with the comrades along the way (and along the paths).
13th July 2014
anarchists against a high speed world