The Disobedients!


"The Disobedients" is the national [Italian], Ya Basta!-fuelled network that inherited the experience of the White Overalls.

 

Subject: The Disobedients Invaded and Dismantled a Concentration Camp for 'Clandestine' Migrants in Bologna, Italy

[N.B. "The Disobedients" is the national, Ya Basta!-fuelled network that inherited the experience of the White Overalls. Here are two of their political communiques and their press release, both texts dated January 26th, 2002. If you want toexpress solidarity, please write to: yabasta@tin.it, yabasta_bo@topica.com, tpo@ecn.org.]

A CALL ON THE INMATES OF THE EUROPEAN BASTILLE

There are gestures whose impact lasts for a long time, gestures that mark the beginning of something or the passage to anew phase of conflicts, gestures made by people who are fully conscious of their values.

In the morning of January 25th, 2002, we made such a gesture. We invaded a concentration camp and dismantled it piece by piece. That prison was ready to contain hundreds of human beings whose only "fault" is being "without papers". The Center of Temporary Permanence of Bologna was disassembled and made unusable. A group of about a hundred people, European citizens, chose to disobey an unjust law, a law that regards as "illegal" the human beings who were born outside this continent as soon as they lose their jobs, ie as soon as they are no longer exploitable for the profit of European entrepreneurs. This law denies freedom of circulation and sets up ethnic camps for people awaiting forced "repatriation", people whose countries have been devastated by poverty and war.

The people who took action against the CTP in via Mattei, Bologna, asserted their right to disobey in peaceful ways a notion of legality which violates human rights and fosters barbarity by drawing distinctions between "first class" and "second class" citizens. This inhuman and unconstitutional legality was countered by the grassroots legality of the civil society, indeed, of its remnants. It was this collective consciousness that produced the radical gesture. We acted unmasked, in broad daylight, in front of cameras and policemen. We did not harm any sentient being. We will face any political or penal consequence of what we did. When the forces of order summoned us to surrender and give them our ID, we came out of the iron cages, hands up. Everybody was visible, recognizable and unprotected. The police charged us in cold blood.
Their brutality reminded us of the Genoa days, July 20th and 21st, 2001. It was a merely punitive attack on unarmed people, an attack that caused injuries to a dozen people, including some members of the Parliament of the Republic. As a result, twenty-one Disobedients were busted and identified by the police.

We call on the civil society. We ask you not to leave us by ourselves in this struggle for humanity We ask you to join us and oppose this state of permanent war, creeping discrimination and utter brutality, to oppose those who want to throw into ethnic jails, both metaphorical and real, people who are escaping from misery and bombs. We ask you to express solidarity to the comrades busted a few days ago and the other indicted people. They just defended human dignity and the last, faint glow of Enlightenment in a world of institutional barbarians and barbaric institutions that either drop bombs on starving human beings or emprison them if they manage to leave starvation behind them.

We ask you to acknowledge that gesture of disobedience as an important, little step towards the recovery of equality, freedom, dignity and justice. It is worth trying even for us, the "first class" inmates of the Bastille Europe.

Another world is not only possible: it is necessary.

The Disobedients

***

THE LESSON OF BOLOGNA

Today, for the first time in Europe, a hundred citizens of these lands, belonging to the movement of Disobedients, have taken to piece a wing of the center of detention for "sans papiers" migrants in via Mattei, Bologna, Italy.

It was an action of civil disobedience. We were absolutely peaceful and yet we were resolute. We started at 11:30 am and finished at 3 pm. The forces of order reacted unbecomingly. During the talks between police officials and a few MPs and local councillors (members of the Green Party and Rifondazione Comunista who wanted to negotiate a way out for the dismantlers), the riot squad received the order to attack. They beat up people who were unmasked and kept their hands up above their heads. They also beat up the MPs and even one of the police officials. Several people were injured at the skulls, sixteen people were prevented from climbing over the fence and had their identity cards seized. All these people could have been identified easily, with no repressive action.

In spite of the usual display of state violence, the action was successful. We proved that people can disobey unjust laws that violate human dignity and even the Constitution of the Italian Republic. We proved that the new concentration camps can be shut down. We proved that we can effectively challenge the powers-that-be thriving on corporate-driven racism and waging war on the rights of the multitudes.

Two years after the demonstration against the CTP in via Corelli, Milan, the action of Bologna marks the passage of the Disobedients from laboratory to movement.

From now on the construction of a conflict based upon consensus enriches itself with the tactics devised by such great social movements as the Confederation of Peasants in France or the Indian peasants of Karnataka, the movements we are going to meet in Porto Alegre, at the 2nd World Social Forum. We are looking forward to hear the words of Mr. Vasco Errani, the left-wing governor of Emilia-Romagna: while he is going to attend the forum and endorse the document demanding freedom of circulation for all human beings, he is allowing the principles of ethnic segregation to take over Emilia Romagna: the concentration camp of via Mattei is not the only one under construction, the ones in Modena and Rimini are almost ready for inauguration.

Freedom! Justice! Equality! We are all clandestines.

Bologna, Europe, Planet Earth, January 25th, 2002, first month of the second year of global war.

The Disobedients