Global Repression and Persecution of Anarchists, An Old-Time Saga Over the course of many years, anarchist individuals, groups and libertarian influenced organizations have suffered massive and obviously blatent forms of persecution as well as increasingly subtle and sophisticated methods of repression at the hands of the largest terrorist organization in history; the State. Those segments of the exploited class which actively express their antagonism to power, what in days gone by were referred to as the “fighting proletariant” are often the social area in which “anarchists” (self-proclaimed as well as undeclared) can be found in greatest abundence. And so, these repressions are usually directed at the class itself.
Today, we find these methods in all of their pernicious manifestations being applied world-wide. On the European continent the struggle for self determination and autonomy has provoked clamp downs and tactical methods employing a wide range of techniques of coercion and terror fueling reaction. Prison poulations continue to grow as radical sectors of the always decomposing and recomposing class become criminalized. Portugal, Spain, France, Russia and Italy have all had recent public campaigns against criminal “bands” or “organizations” that served as springboards for repression against the anarchist movement or some other “uncontrollable” manifestatation of radical dissent. If we were to widen the scope of this new experiment in repression to include the “threat from the right” or “fanaticism” we would see an emerging pattern of consolidated state power creating tools for the rapid deployment of overwhelming force aimed at any individual or association on the basis of fictitious subterreanean organizations of subversion. The gearing up of the public consensus engine through the media followed by the adaptation of “racketeering” laws that are aimed at suspending normal due process on the basis of an immediate threat to public order and the esablishment of guilt through loose or vague association. Formal organizations, the bread and butter of the capitalist system, are easily wiped out by the legal machinary of the state. But, informal organization is a greater challenge, and hence prosecution of the traditional mafia was the original inspiration for the codification of these “new” laws. However, the power of these laws to target political and social movements that are not assimilating properly into the production/consumption/reproduction parameters of the new ‘modern’ “liberal” paradigm (and such as that are very few) of “Global Capitalism” (as opposed to the “old global capitalism”) has not been ignored.
In Italy, the largest portion of the anarchist “movement” has been criminalized and virtually accused of being one vast criminal enterprise, an “armed band” or more accurately a number of armed cells that are run like a strange hybrid of the Red Brigades and the Mafia. And thus the anti-mafia laws are pulled out in addition to the fascist anti-subversion laws that were codified in the Mussolini period to deal with a large heterogeneous anarchsit movement. It actually has played more like a three stooges skit coupled with a Dario Fo play and is therefore referred to by the anarchist press and scene as “the farce.”
The state charges which glue together this motly fiction are arrests of over 60 anarchists throughout Italy in 1995 for “subversive association.” On the basis of “who knows who,” an assortment of longstanding investigations, trials, and unsucessful attempts to convict, together with a series of unsolved acts of sabatoge going back over ten years were laid at the feet of the squatters, anarchists and punks who all bore the distinction of knowing someone who was once arrested or under investigation, attending concerts, reading the anarchist weekly called “Cane Nero or possibly even making statements against the state or capital. After arresting four anarchists in 1994 for one bank robbery. The Italian state claimed that there was this vast criminal conspiracy to subvert “public order”, they went on to outline the structure of this dastardly organization. Like traditional mafia organizations it had a legal front organization which was the squatter community and the ‘above ground’ meetings, concerts, lectures of the anarchist scene. But this front organization was really just a cover for the real oragnization which was organized as a hierarchy of secret cells. And like your typical mafia family, it had a “Don”, a capo di tutti capii, who ruled as “boss”. This boss was supposed to be a man who is well known in the anarchist scene, a writer, who has been publishing journals and books for over the last 25 years. Under him, were arranged his lieutenents, soldiers, consiglieres, “treasurers” (who handled and laundered the illegally gotten loot). And the organization had a secret press where special messages were passed through the illegal, secret organization, informing the members of what their orders were–what was this secret press? It was the journal “Cane Nero” available at most anarchist and alternative press bookstores throughout Italy. In this way, all who had or read copies of “Cane Nero” were potenially criminalized. The curious thing is that the “theories” in “Cane Nero” in the writings of the “Boss” are all “anarchist” opposed to hierarchy, opposed to formal organizations and for shit sure, opposed to clandestine armed cell formations as a method of struggle. Hence the “farce.” Next, a girlfriend who repents is found and she confesses to every crime under the sun, yet as the trial goes forward her stories are pure inanity. She can’t even be coached properly, for she constantly destroys the foundation of the accusations she is supposed to support. She simply can’t get her story straight, or simply doesn’t remember any details at all. It gets to the point were the state has to start letting anarchists out of prison who are being held there in “cautionary custody” for the protection of “public order.” And the number held in prison for the charge of subversive association has dropped from 58 to less than 37 in the last four months. This is not to say they are free. The trial against them goes forward, the excuse for holding them without bail has been exploded.
The Italian judiciary in another move to cement guilt against a whole movement has taken other trials for various crimes and because of “subversive association” has brought them into the main trial for “subversion”, “armed band”, etc. increasing the appearence of seriousness as some of these are kidnapping trials and one involves the murder of a guard during a robbery. But, the basis of their inclusion is founded on the connection of individuals. Not a connection based on crimes, the crime here is the connection. So if one charged with murder is convicted and the “subversive association” charges are sucessful against another, then that person will be convicted of the murder too. Hence the inclusion of these other trials. The farce continues. Every Monday in the “Bunker of Rebibbia Prison” (a special place where the accused can be kept in collective cells during the trial), Rome the trial goes on. It is important to speak out against this travesty. The repression is being fine-tuned. It will come to play at a theater near you.