Thursday, 13 May 2010
Alfredo Maria Bonnano was born in 1937 in Catania, Sicily. In October 1972 he was arrested, convicted and imprisoned in Catania prison for subversive action, because of some articles that were published in Sinistra Libertaria, a publication that was born out of an assembly of people from struggles that were happening in many different cities in Italy. During that period and the years that followed, he participated with thousands of other fighters in the multiform and widespread insurrectional wave, the storming of the heavens that was to sweep through the Italian peninsula with a unique, for European postwar standards, density and intensity. In 1977 his book La goia armata (Armed Joy) is circulated, a publication for which he is convicted to 18 months in jail and which was censored for a long time. In March 1980, based on the testimony of the repentant Enrico Paghera, Bonnano along with five more comrades are accused of being members of Azione Rivoluzionaria. They are released a few months later and cleared of the charges in April 1981. Azione Rivolutionaria was one of the armed groups of the movement who from 1976 until the early 80s was to make a series of attacks against targets and persons that represented the State, capital and media. The reasoning expressed through its texts and communiques, in contrast to those of the other armed groups, had clear anarchist and situationist references, stood critically opposite the ideas of marxism and the revolutionary left, opposite the the formations of the armed party, for the seeking of the revolutionary subject and propagated with its action the extension and multiform aspect of the struggle. After two trials in 1982 and 1983 (in Florence and Milan) dozens of comrades will be convicted to heavy sentences as members of A.R.In June 1984, in a period of heavy oppression and intense ideological terrorism where the laws about "repentance" and "segregation" were accepted by many members of the armed groups and the political front of the majority of the movement was "amnesty" and "let's free the 70s" Alfredo publishes an article in the Anarchismo magazine under the memorable title "And we will always be ready to storm the heavens once again", subtitled "Against amnesty". Alfredo's work at the level of analysis and theory is rich and varied. From the middle of the 70s onwards, Anarchismo editions and the pages of Anarchismo magazine and later through the anarchist papers Provocatione and Canenero (Black Dog), examine organisational matters, bringing back terms such as infinity groups [gruppi di affinita] and selforganised stuctures, something that will make him in the target of the oppressive mechanisms), he published numerous books about the history of the anarchist movement, he analyzed the stuctures of the technological/scientific complex of the state and capital maintaining that the fragile and vulnerable point of the state in the post industrialist age is located in the widespread social field (to dispute the redbrigade position about the "heart of the state"), he, through an insurrectional prism, put under critique the anarchosyndicalist position (expressed mainly through the Federazione Anarchica Italiana [Italian Anarchist Federation] considering it absurd and innefectual for the inversion of the existing situation of things, he often speaks about prisons and the prisoners' struggle, from early on he talks with particular acuteness about the changes that will occur on a psychological and material level as the "digital era" enters. In 1988 and during the anti-militarist congress in the town of Forli, Bonnano and other comrades of the insurrectional tendency of the anarchist movement are kicked out of the congress by the majority of the anarchosyndicalist tendency of F.A.I. In 1989 he will be accused and arrested for the robbery of a jewellery shop in Bergamo. At the begining of 1993 he arrives in Greece to attend a series of discussions and events organized by the Anarchist Initiative in Athens, Thessaloniki, and Patras and presents an intruduction entitled "the new transformation of capitalism on a world level".6 years later, in July 1999 he testifies as a witness for anarchist Nikos Maziotis, accused of placing a bomb at the ministry of industry and development, an action for which he took responsibility. In September 1996 the Italian state unleashes a repressive pogrom against the insurrectional part of the anarchist movement. The repressive methods began 2 years earlier with the arrest of 5 comrades (Antonio Budini, Jean Weir, Carlo Tesseri, Evaggelia Tzoutzia and Christos Stratigopoulos) who are accused of the robbery of a savings bank in Serravalle in Trento and afterwards will be accused of two more unsolved robberies. On 16/11/95 while their trial was coming to an end the special department of the carabinieri R.O.S. raid many houses of anarchists (as well as the cells of imprisoned comrades) based on accusations for constitution of a subversive organisation and armed gang, robberies, kidnappings, gun possession, murders e.t.c. The maestro of these cleansing operations will be the then public prosecutor Antonio Marini, who uses the fake witness Nametschi Mojdeh. Based on the Marini theory, on 17/9/96, 60 anarchists are accused of being part of an illegal hierarchically structured armed organisation, which the persecutory mechanisms will baptise O.R.A.I. [Insurrectional Anarchist Revolutionary Organisation], a name which was never used in a responsibility claim for any action. For 29 of them their will be arrest warrants. Through the Marini theory the houses of comrades and the squats are baptised "dens", pamflets were transformed into tools of internal use of the "armed gang", personal relations were presented as contacts of its members. At the same time the media create the profile of the "bad anarchists" that have been kicked out of the "good anarchists" of the F.A.I. In this orchestrated fabrication, the persecutory mechanisms will reserve for Alfredo Bonnano the role of leader and theoretical instructor of the insurrectional tendency of the anarchist movement. After three degrees of trials and many years of comrades being held hostage, the show with prosecutor Marini as the director was completed on 20/4/2004. The main accusation of forming and being part of an armed group collapses, but 7 comrades are convicted in the end for individual offences to sentences that range from 6 years to life in jail. Among them, Bonnano is sentenced to 6 years in jail and fined 2000 euro for subversive propaganda. He will serve part of his sentence in Trieste prison and the rest on home arrest. Three months after the end of the Marini trial parody the Italian State unleashes a new repressive operation, baptised "Cervantes". About 40 raids and searches in anarchists' houses and squats are made in several cities in the country and 4 comrades are arrested. The main charge is, as well constitution and participation in the "subversive organisation with terrorist intetions" Federazione Anarchica Informale, which from the end of 2003 had claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on structures of the state. Ten months later it will be proven that operation "cervantes" was a preface of a generalized oppressive pogrom. Between 12 and 26/5/2005 the special forces of police and carabinieri with orders from the prosecutors of Lecce, Cagliari, Rome and Bologna will make 190 raids on houses and squats of comrades and arrest 22 of them. The charges are various (planting explosive devices, sending letter bombs, attacks with paint and destruction of shops, incitment in immigrant prisoners revolt, subversive propaganda etc). But the most serious charges based on articles 270 and 270 bis are those of "constitution and participation in a subversive organisation with terrorist intentions for the inverse of democratic order" and concern the F.A.I. The official charges follow religiously, although with different methodology, the recipe of the Marini theory, according to which the anarchist insurrectional movement is organised at two levels: the obvious one that acts through demonstrations, squatting, postering etc., and the secret one which is organised in "affinity groups" [which constitutes the F.A.I.] and make the "terrorist" attacks. In this theory which juridicially has not been completed, the persecuting mechanisms and mass media will name once more Alfredo Bonnano as the theoretical leader of the insurrectional tendency of the anarchist movement. In March 2009 Alfredo returns to Greece, invited by the Free Institute of Social Research because of a publication of a collection of his articles entitled "Domination and insurrection in the postindustrialist era: included and excluded" and will speak in public events in many cities in Greece. On the first of October 2009 he is arrested along with Christos Stratigopoulos, accused of robbing a bank in Trikala. Christos takes responsibility for the action while Alfredo denies the charges. Since then the two comrades are prisoners of the Greek state. Until now there have been 2 applications for the release of Afredo and 1 for Christos. Especially for A.Bonnano, the prosecutor says "he leans towards illegal actions and his temperament is photographed in his writings" proving the vengeful attitude of the judicial authorities that are continuing to ignore the serious health problems that the 73 yearold comrade has. The next hearing for release is on the 26/3/10 [*this was rejected as well*]...boubourAs translations...
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Because, on the contrary, I think it is useful to stimulate thought about the concepts that support the articles of the penal code that have been adebited to me, I have decided to draw up these notes, which I hope will be useful to reflect upon, if nothing else.
Let's begin with the concept of `instigation'.
It is not easy to define this concept, nor a development of theoretical analysis which was to be a foundation of its judicial `covering', as one finds it coagulated in article 414 of the penal code. In fact, with the word instigate one should mean to solicit a certain kind of behaviour from someone, pushing him from his position of quiet or at least agnostic waiting, convincing him in the sense of winning him over altogether, i.e. convincing him, having an effect on his psychological defence system to such an extent that he reaches a kind of behaviour that ends up far from his original intentions.
But I would like to add that in the very concept of instigation there is at least a derogatory valence, like a wicked action to be carried out almost in a hidden way, playing on ambiguity or intellectual arrogance or simply argumentation with the aim of taking by surprise the unsuspecting good faith of the receiver who would thus find himself practically pushed, without any means of defence, towards carrying out an action that he would never have thought of doing until then.
It might be useful here to underline two points that emerge as soon as we stop for a moment to reflect on the meaning of the word instigate: the first, is constituted of the disparity of positions between instigator and instigated, in the sense that the latter necessarily comes to find himself in a kind of effective subjection possibly due to limited knowledge of the reasons which instead the instigator levers from the height of his indisputably greater knowledge of the question, which constitutes the object, the matter of the instigation; the second is given by an objective coincidence of cause and effect which thus comes to solder the work of the instigator and the passive reception of the instigated. Now, I can understand that as the thing is a question of a legal trial one must not go too far from the limits of the law and from what was probably the intention of the legislator, so it would be beyond reach and out of place to underline how the concept itself of instigation with its ineliminable link of cause and effect, one could go for a complexive situation of the development of psychological science at the beginning of the century, today, at least, it could be submitted to a series of critical revisions given that . largely we are in possession of analyses that go further into the mechanisms on the basis of which the science of the individual and that of the group of individuals functions. But because none of these preoccupations, although real and objectively verifiable, no sooner are they affirmed with a minimum of knowledge of the question, seem to preoccupy the Olympic serenity of a law that is so out of date in time, it is well that I limit myself to that which in my opinion . . .
It is not by chance that article 414 appears in Titolo V, i.e. that concurring crimes against public order, and it is good that the law intends to defend, striking any attempt to instigate to commit a crime, in that it was thought that instigation could constitute a kind of multiplying of that which could be considered the natural criminal scope of society, its physiological level of disobeying the law. Like saying, as if the crimes people commit are not enough on their own, we must also allow some ill-intentioned people to increase these crimes by going around instigating people? A way of thinking that still persists today in some areas, but which should be submitted to a minimum of criticism, if nothing else, in the name of a well-founded doubt, which would be the following: if thieves and swindlers exist, do instigators also?
Of course instigators can also exist. In obscurity and cowardliness someone could arm the hand of a poor wretch and solicit him to commit an ignominy. But is that our case? The case the appeal court is examining? I do not think so. And if this mean figure of an instigator who solicits others to take risks while he hides his own hand is certainly possible, in fact it can be found in the multicoloured social morphology, is it not obvious that this behaviour brings with it moral condemnation, a contempt that goes beyond any judicial consideration?
Monday, 10 May 2010
So the most recent attempt by the Italian state to frame anarchist militants tries to sink miserably into oblivion after one of the most spectacularly displayed 'anti-terrorist' scoops enacted by the DIGOS, UCIGOS, the judiciary and the mass media. The overzealous attempt to draw well-known members of the anarchist movement under the spectre of criminalisation was immediately recognised by all sectors of the anarchist movement for what it was - a clumsy, hastily put together construction with no real foundations. A movement which is traditionally marked by very strong ideological and organisational differences found spontaneous unity in the work of denouncing the frame-up and the advance attack of State terrorism.
The accusations against all 19 comrades carried multiple life sentences, and under the new anti-terrorist laws they could have been kept inside for up to 6 years without trial. Here is a list of the 'offences':
A) Having in concourse formed and organised an armed group operating under the name of 'Azione Rivoluzionaria' which can be taken as one associative structure with one ideological matrix, with the aim of violently subverting the economic and social order constituted by the State.
To such an end they elaborated a theoretical plan and realised an operative strategy in particular directed at:
a) the diffusion over the national territory of armed struggle through aggregation with other people;
b) the diffusion of the theoretical programme and techniques of realisation of the same;
c) carrying out armed robberies, thefts, kidnappings for the financing and supplying of the group;
d) the constitution of arms depots, ammunition and explosives, indispensible elements for the group's activity and for the diffusion of the techniques supplied by them;
B) Of the offence of having in concourse publicly instigated to commit crimes of subversive association in the form of armed groups, for publicly having condoned such offences through the editing and diffusion of documents illustrating the ideology of the armed group to which they belong.
C) Of having in concourse and with actions carrying out the same criminal plan put out propaganda in State territory for the violent subversion of the economic and social order, documents illustrating the ideology of the armed group to which they belong.
Of all the comrades arrested only Alfredo Bonanno is now charged with 'propaganda against the state'. He and Salvo Marletta are confined to residence in Catania, and have to sign at police headquarters every second day. No legal justification has been given for this measure demonstrating a continuing repression, especially in the case of Salvo who has been cleared of all charges.
What follows is part of an article written by the Bologna Defence Committee, published in 'Umanita Nova' while the comrades were still in prison. It gives a fair analysis of the frame up.
WHY A FRAME UP
It is obvious that there was a precise plan to draw well known members of the anarchist movement into the 'terroristic' goings on in the country.
Already with the arrest of Gianfranco Fiana (whom police and judiciary maintain is the 'leader' of Azione Rivoluzionaria) they want to draw in the anarchist movement as supporter and cover for this clandestine grouping. The procurator Monti, boasting that he has arrested Faina, is striving to 'close the case'. In the face of the impossibility of discovering real links between Faina and the anarchist movement, they go towards the construction of a frame up. Elements of this provocatory design are: a) seeking the political inheritors of Faina; b) seeking the political reasons for coupling anarchist militants and Azione Rivoluzionaria; c) seeking evidence to support the thesis that sectors of the anarchist movement are concealing the programme of a clandestine party. What road do they take:
Alfredo Bonanno, well known member of the anarchist movement, writer and editor with over 20 imputations for 'Anarchismo' editions (that publishes classics of the revolutionary workers' movement, historical documents and documents of counter-information), is perhaps the person most suited to the investiture of 'ideologist' by the judiciary in search of a successor to Faina.
Bonanno was chosen as he is responsible for the review ANARCHISMO, a review that has always been open to every type of debate within the revolutionary left, including debates on the present situation and on armed struggle, bearing a theoretical contribution aimed at building a real class opposition.
Azione Rivoluzionaria is characterised by its actions and documents as being a combattent group of anarchist-communist inspiration.
In order to build a link between this group and the anarchist movement the judiciary are trying to invent a political-ideological-organisational continuity between the debate in course in the review and certain unclaimed practises of illegality or some which could be attributed to AR. The occasion for carrying the whole operation to Bologna (where Faina was arrested) is given by 6 unsolved robberies of notaries in Bologna.
The Bologna judiciary uses these episodes to issue arrest warrants against the comrades of the publishing house Anarchismo.
It matters little to the magistrates that the witnesses to the events described different persons in each case, for example of 'two very young robbers... both little taller than 1 metre 60, dressed in jeans and jerkins, with north Italian accents' or 'the bandits, two men and a woman, were elegantly dressed, had the decisive way of professionists, and had no particular regional accent'; while Alfredo, Salvo and Jean (accused of these robberies) are anything but all small and have accents quite different to the central or north Italian ones: the important thing was to have a pretext in order to begin the operation.
Once the comrades associated with ANARCHISMO had been singled out as a group ideologically akin to AR, and once the system had succeeded in issuing an arrest warrant against the 'first link in the chain', they continued, following the editorial itinerary of the review. The first was Catania (where the review was edited until 1977), then Bologna (where Sandro Vandini was editor during 1977), then Forli (which followed Bologna, and where Franco Lombardi is now editor responsible for Anarchismo).
From this itinerary the judges are seeking elements to support the original axiom: money from robberies, documents to prove subversive association, arms to prove the constitution of an armed group, but especially documents in order to link up this 'criminalised' area with the whole national and international anarchist movement.
They try to use the five bullets found in the possession of one comrade (Sandro Vandini, sentenced to 7 months for the same), and the 50 sticks of gelignite Massimo Gaspari, sentenced to 5 years and at present in the special prison of Fossombrone) as concrete evidence of the existence of an armed group, use the fact that these comrades belong to the anarchist movement (most of them, not all of them) and the political debate developed in the review to contest them with subversive association which could link the anarchist movement to the clandestine groups external to the declaredly marxist-leninist associations.
After the demonisation of the Autonomy movement, they pass on to the criminalisation of other members of the revolutionary movement which, although not considering the practice of armed struggle the sole revolutionary instrument, keep alive their open antagonism to the State.
Already on other occasions the anarchist movement has been crossed by repressive actions of the State: raids, arrests, murders, political manipulation. Never before though has the attack taken the form of sirectly criminalising anarchist ideas. Up until today 'criminalised' comrades have been attacked in the context of the social movements in which they participated, or because 'caught in the act' of arming themselves. Some cases stood out over others, demonstrating the beginning of a more inclusive attack: the provocatory raids at the Anarchist Federation of Empola, the frame up around the 'den' at via delle Tovaglie in Bologna, the arrests of the anarchist comrades in Biella and Turin (because of absenteeism and counter-information activities), the haul at the meeting about prisons at Radio Proletaria, the arrests in Genoa, etc. etc.
We are not trying to imply that persecution is aimed only at anarchists: the repressive plan of the State is wider, strikes all political practice, the political and organisational points of reference which proletarian conflictuality can recognise as its own, regardless of their ideological composition. So the Autonomy movement, the anarchist movement, and the marxist sectors which go beyond the strictly political and are affirming their revolutionary involvement directly.
The repressive plan of the State covers not only the criminalisation of antagonistic behaviour, but of the very idea which can give this behaviour a strategic or programmatic body. The objective is to destroy the revolutionary identity which has matured in these areas during the past ten years, to make the militants who have come from the vast movement of contestation begun in '68 deny their own history, their own experiences and the ideas that they have matured.
This is the hysterical response of a state which is in deep crisis, no longer capable of guaranteeing the 'democratic spaces' vital to the legitimisation of capitalist bureaucratic domination.
This plan cannot avoid including the history of anarchism, which has permeated all the revolutionary movements, not the least those which from the 1968 to the 1969 of the workers reached the insurrectional attempt of the 'non-guaranteed' young unemployed and students.
They need to extracate the social element from anarchist practice, put the libertarian militants on the defensive and into the purely political field of contrast with the State which 'violates' its laws, make them lose their social identity and reduce them to bandits fighting a war which the proletariat have not yet declared.
This is the provocatory nature of the frame up against the comrades of the review Anarchismo and those other comrades drawn into this affair (more or less by chance?): to induce them to measure themselves in the contestation of an event completely invented by the police to form an identity (which has never denied illegal practice) and illegal actions completely eradicated from a social praxis involving the mass. This is the crux of the matter as far as we anarchists are concerned.
We are not asking, through 'a sense of justice' for the laws of the State to be applied, because we know that these laws are functional only to the ends of power and the negation of every alternative moment. But we are defining our political identity, saying what is ours and what is not, denouncing when they try to build an image of us which is not ours: that of the terrorist against society, violent by ideology, when our practice is for and in society, when our violence is always justified by the defence of the political conquests of the movement, the defence of the freedom, even partial, which the history of emancipationis conquering day after day.
We have no problem therefore in saying, as we have always done, that we claim the right for every proletarian to give hiself whatever means necessary to express his own revolutionary potential, nor are we contradicting ourselves when we affirm that we are quite against and external to the political practice which considers the armed encounter of specific groups a field in which wider spaces of social emancipation can be opened up.
Evidently the Minister for Internal Affairs and his forces, when they enacted this frame-up against the review Anarchismo, hoped that the (although existing) contradictions (and the dialectic) within the anarchist movement would split open in the face of the blackmail of repression, cause 'excommunications' and take a distance and manifest various forms of opportunism.
The meeting of the anarchist movement on March 28 1980 demonstrated quite the contrary: it detected the frame-up, expressed full solidarity with the comrades struck by it, claimed their own political identity, of which this document is one instrument, in an unequivocal response to the will of repression.
Bologna Defence Committee.
Published in Umaniat Nova, no. 14 of April 20, 1980
Glad to see you..Against all those who in one way or another dribbled their uncontainable bile upon our arrest, against the hopes of others who finally breathed a sigh of relief when they knew we were in prison for who knows how long, and against the traffics concealed behind a hypocritical, gossipy and ambiguous solidarity - suddenly, like a jack-in-the-box in a nightmare, we are out.The reason for this was the reduction of all sentences approved recently by the government to level the differences in judicial treatment resulting from the application of the new procedural penal code. But we like to think that basically the true reason for it was our personal and incredible good luck.This is not the best place to salute all those who abstained, kept out of they way, or wove embroilment and calumny against us from the shadows. Against all of them, and there were certainly legions of them, went our contempt right from the moment we went into prison. Now, from our newly acquired freedom, we cannot but address them a subtle and hazy thought, like the blade of a knife.Some might say, nothing else was to be expected from the mephitic sectors of an unfortunately not small part of the anarchist movement. We knew this, and had no intention of picking up the gossip, or, worse still, begging the solidarity of those who could not give it if for no other reason than that it would have been against their social democratic and possibilistic positions. But there are limits. There are words and words, silences and silences.Some attitudes turned out to be even worse than seemed possible, precisely because of the limpidity and simplicity of the situation. What can anyone say about a robbery carried out for personal reasons, as we dclared right from the start? Absolutely nothing. Yet the rubbish dump that infects the anarchist movement found a way to talk about it in every possible way, not only violently, to our faces while we were not in a position to defend ourselves as we would have liked to and as we would have known how to had we been free to move around, but also behind our backs, with the technique of slander and infestation of corridors to which some old hags of the Italian (and not only Italian) movement have resorted for decades.Basically, to see so much squalor from inside prison, if at first it amazed us, later led us to reflect on the real condition our movement finds itself in. It gave us a better idea of the availability in the field. It enabled us to see the subtle distinction between true and false solidarity, pacifist and religious opportunism, to distinguish those who see themselves committed in words to declarations that are far from the way they really behave - from the revolutionary solidarity that expresses itself in continuous, spread out, capillary action within the often insurmountable limitations of their own possibilities.And it has been a great lesson for both of us, as we think it has been for many other comrades spread around more or less everywhere, comrades not yet affected by the stinking air that hangs around us, but who instead are more free to reason with their own heads and feel themselves ideally engaged in a project of a revolutionary transformation of the reality that surrounds us.Much has changed from the moment when, two years ago, we were arrested in Bergamo during an attempted robbery in a jeweller's shop. Much has changed in reality as a whole. World upheavals have taken place, lived by us through the filter of the prison bars, and perhaps the world that we have found outside is different. But of one thing we are sure. One thing that has not changed - if anything it has been strengthened - is our revolutionary consciousness, our way of seeing the distribution of the forces available for the struggle and, principally, our even more acute desire to go to the search of the enemy, the class enemy, obviously, but also, and why not!, of our own personal enemies!
Glad to see you, and till we meet again.
Alfredo BonannoPippo Stasi
That was the start of an article by Jean Weir about the attempt to imprison Bonanno over the publication of a Gioia Armata (Armed Joy), a book arguing for the concept of the destruction of oppression as a liberatory act at the level of the individual and the concept of the revolution as a joyful event. Arguing for the generalisation of the self-managed struggle of the masses and criticising- the concept of the armed vanguard party (e.g. the Red Brigades) for the purposes of using it in an attempt to silence Bonanno it was treated by the prosecution as a defence of such groups. That was two years ago. After two appeals the charges were dismissed and the three year sentence Bonanno had recieved at the first trial quashed. Two years later Jean Weir herself and four others are in Prison in a more concerted effort to silence Bonanno and the group around the review "Anarchismo"..
On their arrival in Bologna Alfredo, Jean and Salvo were split up. Alfredo was sent to Parma prison, Salvo to Ferrara and Jean to the women's wing of Modena prison. With the three who had been selected as "ringleaders" isolated the police struck again. On the Sunday after the first raid, they again raided Bonanno's house arresting the five people who had gathered there (including one K. B. who'd heard of the arrests in London and traveled to Italy only to he arrested himself). Roughly simultaneously a dozen other raids were mounted in Bologna, Forli and Catania. In all 10 people were arrested,
most of them associated with the review "Anarchismo". The publishers of "Edizioni Anarchismo". "Anarchismo" was founded in, Catania in 1975, later the editorial offices were moved to Forli, in Emilia, but the printing was still done in Catania. "Edizioni Anarchismo" published a wide range of books and pamphlets -- the classics as well as recent writings Jean Weir and K. B. were part of the Bratach Dubh group which has published a number of pamphlets in English, including works by Bonanno and translations from Anarchismo ('Workers Autonomy' Armed Struggle in Italy' for example). `Anarchismo' concentrated on struggles in prisons, state repression and armed struggle in Italy and abroad.
The police claimed to have found explosives, munitions and `very interesting' documents. Among the box-loads of Italian material seized were the proofs of five new Bratach Dubh pamphlets. The munitions and explosives were 5 bullets and 50 sticks of dynamite. Sandro Vandini a former editor of Anarchismo was given a 7 month sentence for possession of the former, Massimo Gaspari (22 years old) has been given 4 years, and 10 months for the latter. The second wave of arrests was accompanied by an hysterical press campaign. In contrast to the transport arrangements for the first three arrested, those taken in the second raid on Bonanno's house were made part of a publicity seeking security exercise. Driven to the airport to be flown to Bologna a full scale antiterrorist alert was staged there with machine gun wielding police and snipers. According to the press Bonanno and co. had been transported in an armoured plane; in general the usual shock horror anti-terrorist propaganda - was served up. For example being above such petty distinctions as those between Scots and Irish, Jean and K's arrests were taken as evidence of links with the IRA.
All those arrested in the 'second wave' were put in Bologna prison, except Massimo Gaspari who was sent to Forli Prison, where he's now serving his sentence. Initially all were held in solitary, and the British consul was refused access to the two Britons arrested. After a couple of weeks however those in Bologna were moved into communal cells, with a corresponding improvement in morale.
The plight of those isolated still, especially Jean in Modena, gives great concern to their comrades. It has also exacerbated the problems of legal defence. The tactic is a familiar one in Italy. "The prosecutor has imprisoned and isolated the defendents (without possibility of bail), and only then has he attempted to build his case. This is a dangerous precedent (reminiscent of the West German Kontaktverbot), for it puts the defence lawyers in an extremely difficult position.. It is impossible for them to defend their clients from vague general charges supported by "evidence" that is contradictory and constantly shifting." Written not of this case but of the Negri, Scalzone etc. Potere Operaio case.. Clearly the precedent it speaks of is one the Italian State has taken to heart.
All those arrested were questioned after a few days by an enquiring magistrate, - a few were released, the rest remanded pending investigation. Two and a half months later the 13 still held were questioned by an an 'examining magistrate' to decide whether there was sufficient evidence to go for trial. Pages of charges were produced, but no evidence and most were released. (K. B. was, without legal justification, ordered to leave the country within 5 days). The only ones held were Bonanno, Weir and Marletta, and the two already tried and convicted. There were three basic charges against all 13: firstly constituting and organizing an armed gang, under the name Azione Rivoluzionaria (an anarchist armed struggle group which has claimed responsibility for a number of armed actions since 1977). They are charged that they a) organised and acted across the nation with other persons (presumably an attempt to explain the geographical dispersal of those arrested and the fact that the events the real Azione Rivoluzionaria claimed, in 1977/78 were mainly in Pisa, Milan, Florence, Livorno, Turin, Aosta and Rome - only one in Bologna and none in Sicily or Scotland for that matter). B) that they circulated a theoretical programme (this refers to the fact that 'Edizioni Anarchismo' produced a pamphlet of A/R communiques and statements and a chronology of their actions, like the one on the angry Brigade produced by Bratach Dubh). C) that they planned and executed robberies and kidnappings to finance the band (hence the robberies that the three are charged with so far without any evidence)and d) building deposits of arms, munitions and explosives and distributing the technical know-how, to use them (explains the ill-assorted bullets and explosives found and refers again one assumes to 'Anarchismo's' publishing activities.) Connoisseurs of State Conspiracy Trials will have recognized the standard model conspiracy in use.
A113 were also charged with 'subversive association', that is publishing and distributing documents illustrating the ideology of armed struggle. (This refers to "Anarchismo" and the 'Azione Rivoluzionaria' pamphlet.) This is a charge created in the 1929 Fascist penal code, designed to outlaw left organisation as such. Subversion is vaguely defined and potentially all-inclusive, Rocco, Fascist justice minister said of it: "what is in question
here is a law against political, and only political, associations - its target is only those who disseminate political ideas ...Any State conscious of its own authority - that is, a, Fascist State - cannot tolerate such ideas without renouncing its own raison d'etre". The charge was revived for Negri and the 'Potere Operaio' militants in April last year. Implicit its use is a broadening of the category "terrorist" to include all political activity seen as a subversion of the existing order.
All 13 were also charged with spreading propaganda advocating social and economic disorder. This charge relates to a demonstration of homeless people in Catania in January this year. The demo, outside the town hall, in the centre of the town blocked all the roads to the centre. About 20 or so Anarchists were involved in it including several of those charged. Amongst those vehicles in the traffic jam was an armoured bank van. Though it was stopped some distance from the demo. The following day the press alleged that there had been an anarchist plot to rob it. Warrants were issued for 18 people but never served. There had been a good deal of police violence against the demonstrators - in one incident Bonanno pulled police off an old man they were beating up. (He has now been sentenced to 8 months for assault for this). The further charge pending against those held alleges that they organised the demo in an attempt to deliberately create public disorder and stimulate violence. It will be evident that this set of charges attempts to criminalise all rights to publish or demonstrate where it can be defined as subversive. As stated after questioning by an 'examining magistrate', all but Jean Alfredo and Salvo were released. ( It's not as yet clear whether any further charges are to be pressed against Sandro Vandini or Massimo Gaspari already convicted on possession charges.) Against these three there were further charges, or more accurately, sets of charges. A further set relates to six armed robberies for cash, of notaries (lawyers) in the Emilia area, no evidence has been produced to substantiate these allegations: No money, No guns, No confessions. The robberies appear to have no common thread. The descriptions of the robbers in different cases varies. In some they are supposed to have been small men where Bonanno for example is quite tall. They are supposed to have had central Italian accents, where Bonanno and Marletta are both Sicilian. A woman took part in some of them - the only link with Jean is that the woman didn't speak and therefore must have been foreign! At the time of some of the robberies Jean is known to have been in Scotland and Salvo is understood to have been in Sicily throughout the period in question. Because of the lack of evidence the three agreed to go on Identity parades to establish once and for all that there was no possible case against them. (The parades took place on the 18th June - it's not yet known the result of them.) It's possible these charges may be dropped - if not it will mean a separate series of trials to the first set of charges. And as this was written it was learned that-another entirely separate charge relating to a Bank robbery has been confirmed. No further details are yet known. These three sets of charges which if all pursued means three separate trials for those charged are widely seen as an ongoing attempt to intern those held for as long as the state considers them potentially subversive. This 'internment' was reinstituted with the passing of the Legge Reale In 1975, a set of anti-terrorist' laws modelled on West Germany's severely curtailing personal freedom and allowing the police to kill without repercussions. The initial set were strengthened in a new package introduced by the Christian Democrat/Communist Party 'coalition' last year. Political dissidents could be hold for 12 yearswithout having committed an offence. (There is no bail in Italy and in political cases you can be held for three years before you have to be tried or released there are then statutory periods before you can appeal and if still unsuccessful go on to the Supreme court.) By multiplying and juggling with the sets of charges it is thus possible to extend this internment indefinitely. The case of Valpreda, held for three years only to be released for lack of evidence, will be familiar. But the tradition is an old one in Italy - the well known examples of Malatesta and Gramsci testify to the origins of Italian `social democracy' in Italian Fascism.The charges have been widely recognized in Italy for what they are - an attempt to close down 'Anarchismo' which has been successful now for 3 months (though there are hopes to restart it) and an attempt to get Bonanno in particular out of the way. In addition to the three cases against him above, he faces another 23 trials on different charges and that's just the last count. The State's intentions are clearly the same as they were against Gramsci in 1927: "We must stop this brain working for 20 years". The case against Bonanno over his book 'La Gioia Armata' - three trials until charges dropped - was mentioned above. While that case was proceeding Bonanno and Franco Leggio were tried for blasphemy over Leggio's reprint of Johann Most's The God Plague and the Religious Epidemic. They were acquitted at the second hearing. Two days before the first hearing Bonanno was pulled in on a minor traffic offence. This speedily changed into an attempt at full scale interrogation. His refusal to cooperate led to the police chief bursting into the room roaring a series of threats "we'll shoot you in the head", "we'll kill you all" etc. Bonanno was then passed on to the political police and eventually released. That night the town was fly-posted with details of the threats - posters which had disappeared under official posters by the following morning. One of the trials Bonanno now faces is for slandering the chief of police. 'Anarchismo' and the other workers on it have also been subjected to repeated harassment - regular 'unofficial' visits by the police to their printer to persuade him to cease printing it, etc.
Why this latest and most serious attack on 'Anarchismo' and its workers? At one level it's believed to be a matter of internal police politics. The arrests were carried out by Digos police from Catania with and under instructions from Ucigos officers from Bologna. These are specialist anti-terrorist squads, part of the Public Security police. It's the rival carabinieri who've been making all the big 'anti-terrorist' cases. It's thought that this is an attempt by the PS to save face. There is at the moment in Florence a completely separate trial of people accused of being members of 'Azione Rivoluzionaria'. They include a university professor Gianfranco Fiana, arrested last July and accused of being the head of the group. He is charged with having committed an action claimed by the group, the knee-capping of a CP journalist for 1'Unita in turin in 1977. The police justification for the subsequent arrest of a second 'Azione Rivoluzionaria' is that when Fiana was arrested they say Bonanno took over as leader. This conveniently ignores the polemic conducted with 'Azione Rivoluzionaria' conducted in the pages of 'Anarchismo'.
More broadly, both Christian Democrats and Communists blame the continuing political crisis in Italy on 'terrorism', instead of admitting that it's the result of wideranging economic and social dislocations. There is thus an attempt to criminalize the autonomous movements against capital and the State. The search for 'terrorists' has
concentrated not on the armed groups in isolation, but necessarily on groups and activists who have tried to interpret organizationally and theoretically the various social phenomenona constituting the autonomous resistance. This lies behind the Negri/Potere Operaio cases. Their arrests and detention have served as a model for this case. It's the standard 'anti-terrorist' tactic described by Herold, one of those behind it in West Germany as `Draining the sympathisers' swamp'. The attempt is to drive all direct action into `underground' isolation, while simultaneously criminalizing all remaining `overground' expression of support via anti-subversion laws. (In this country it's achieved by the combination of Official Secrets and conspiracy laws and the PTA. Since struggle here has not developed to the level of generalized autonomous resistance, the British State's attacks are leveled at `subversives' - at one level the ABC trial of information gatherers, at another the Persons Unknown trial of anarchist militants). In West Germany this strategy has been successful. Integral to it is the driving of immovable wedges between the `established' left and direct activists. In Italy the autonomist movement has been forced at best into greater clandestinity, and the left forced into denouncing `terrorism'. The tide of arrests since the Moro kidnapping has turned into a flood since the revelations of political `supergrass' Peci earlier this year. That the State is winning victories and not the war can be seen in the wide-ranging condemnation of the frame up against the `Anarchismo' activists, from `Lotta Continua' to the respectable Radical Party which asked questions in Parliament. Hopefully this account will have made clear the background and significance of the case. That it's not just another trial a long way away, that the issues involved are vitally relevant to the situation here as well is hopefully equally obvious.
A defence committee has been set up and money is urgently needed, to pay lawyers and for minimum comforts for those inside. Write to:
Comitato di difesa Bolognese c/o L' Onagro
Via de Preti Bologna 40100 Italy
This account produced by Box C.11, 182 Upper Street, London N 1, England If it's possible further accounts will be produced.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
We are speaking out to say a number of things about our case, few but clear.
We were arrested here in Bergamo on February 2 during an attempted robbery in a jeweller's shop in the town centre. Taken to police headquarters we were immediately charged with robbery and, a few hours later, when they finally discovered our names, they informed us that due to our being anarchists they intended to 'fit us up' by charging us with other robberies and a murder.
While we were held by the police we were also given the usual treatment of being beaten up for a number of hours, but we do not want to insist on this 'torture' here as we have no intention of adopting a victimistic position.
We declared that we had attempted the robbery exclusively for personal reasons, in a word because we did not have jobs and needed the money.
Finally we stated that we are anarchists and revolutionaries.
Carrying on with the frame up that they had announced right from the start, two Bergamo judges are now accusing us of a robbery with murder that took place in that town on April 7 1987, and another robbery, still in Bergamo, on March 9 1985; and things might even not stop there. Needless to say we have nothing to do with these other robberies or the murder.
These new and quite unfounded accusations that have been made against us as forecast by the head of the Bergamo flying squad are intended to strike us because we are anarchists.
At this point it seems obvious that the intention of the police and judiciary is to strike all our revolutionary work and our involvement in the social struggle over the past years.
We have seen that a divergence of opinions has developed in the anarchist movement concerning this case, when not simply a convenient silence. We obviously maintain the thesis of those who say that when anarchists 'need money they go and take it', and in fact that is what we tried to do. But now it seems to us that, as was foreseeable, the problem has moved away from that aspect.
Now things are clear: we are now accused of offences that carry life sentences, because we are anarchists. They want to make us pay for our anarchist activity, accusing us of things we have nothing to do with.
We are not afraid. We are proud to confirm our anarchist militancy loud and clear both before the state and in the face of all those who in the name of a misplaced respectability want to have us buried.
Alfredo M. Bonanno
While those responsible for the Lockheed scandal are tranquilly carrying on governing and organising swindles
While the Andreotti/Berlinguer government pillages the low wages of the exploited and forces millions of them into unemployment and emargination
While the big capitalists (many of them closely linked to the holy-roman-catholic-apostolic-church) continue to export money swindled from the workers, to Switzerland
Our diligent judges and cops are bursting themselves to send to prison those who struggle against such villainy.
The Catanese judges, assisted by their cops, have incriminated comrades Franco Leggio and Alfredo Bonanno for having reprinted an anticlerical classic entitles THE RELIGIOUS MENACE written by J. Most in far off 1880.
But more than for the book in itself, the cops incriminated the comrades because they have had the shamelessness to bring out an edition which due to its low price (700 lire) is accessible to even the most emarginated classes. While UTET - large bourgeois editor - that published the same work in a luxurious volume in the 'Classici politici' series, it is not incriminated as they are charging 18,000 lire for the big book.
The judiciary, faithful expression of the socialdemocratic-fascist State, realise in fact that those who can spend 18,000 lire to buy the book (the bourgeois pigs), are allies of the repressive religious apparatus.
The preoccupation of the judiciary lies in the fact that writings of dissent fall into the hands of the emarginated, the underemployed and unemployed, so that they can help them to reflect upon the repressive function of religion, the church and institutional organs in general.
The comrades Leggio and Bonanno, therefore, would be guilty of having realised a libel of revolutionary militancy and of... having printed three priests shitting on the cover!
THE TRIAL OF ANARCHIST COMRADES LEGGIO AND BONANNO WILL TAKE PLACE AT CATANIA COURT, FIRST PENAL SECTION MONDAY 13 MARCH AT 9AM
The sentence was twice that requested by the Attorney General (9 months) taking it to one year and six months. It should be pointed out that comrade Bonanno was acquitted in first grade even for lack of proof.
The very serious significance of this sentence should be seen in the intention of power to restrict any space of dissent, even that which manifests itself through the publications of the revolutionary movement, with the aim of having a free hand to instore their own repressive project without failure and without making too much noise.
In order for the design of the reaction to be realised it is necessary to 'terrorise' those who are working in the field of counter-information, facing them with the alternative of putting an end to it, or going to prison for years.
If one looks at the 'technical' way in which this was done by the judiciary of Catania, one cannot fail to be struck by the effrontery and the cultural squalor that the four judges called upon to decide upon a fact that - at least formally - depicted the 'cultural crime' managed to show. This is not of secondary importance in that it gives us the measure of how safe power feels, now that it is perfecting its repressive agreement with the parties of the left and with the unions, and, feeling sure of itself, of how it intends to proceed.
No dignity of analysis, no pseudo-scientific pudor. The Attorney General, in his intervention in the trial, revealed such ignorance, obtusity and lack of preparation as to cause the public to laugh. Dr Bisaccia let himself go in a rant about anarchy that would have made even the most unprepared schoolboy in the room blush, passed sentence with the knowing remark that 'society is the State', gave us a humouristic description of the 'birth of society according to capital', let a tear drop for the poor carabinieri killed (forgetting the thousands of workers that die every year at their place of work), clearly gave the impression of not even having skimmed through the book (object of the accusations) drawing conclusions that were absolutely untenable.
Iezzi was at the height of his worthy gaffer, preventing the comrade Bonanno from speaking, after the interventions of the lawyers and the above-mentioned Bisaccia. Evidently words scare these signori, who while of words they define themselves competent to judge (nothing else was mentioned in the trial).
The other two mummies present in the quality of judges didn't open their mouths, evidently lost in the digestive difficulties of their late brains.
Why this pantomime? Why this time did they not consider it opportune to give to the spectacle that the court paints itself with, that minimum of cultural decorum that so clearly appeared in the first trial? Perhaps the appeal judges (older and more seasoned) are all idiots and more ignorant than those of the first grade?
Frankly, we consider that this way of carrying out the trial, the arrogant ignorance and the satisfied stubborness of the Attorney General, the deaf will to strike and the fearful intention not to listen to the other judges makes sense: that power chose its worst and least qualified of its own representatives in order to hit harder. In fact, it is well known that the clumsy hangman is the worst executioner.