We would like to bring to your attention the following appeal, which has been gathering signatures of intellectuals and activists in Europe and elsewhere. It denounces the growing climate of intimidation and repression of political movements in Italy and in Europe. Particularly striking is the case of the Val di Susa (Piedmont, Italy) campaign against the new TAV (High Speed Train) development. At this time four young activists are subjected to a regime of isolation prison, under an accusation of “terrorism”, and 54 people are on trial for having demonstrated , in different forms, their dissent against the forced imposition of anti-environmental projects such as the TAV. This is just one example. Other episodes of widespread repression of political dissent give reason for serious alarm.

The promoters of this initiative are subscribers to the “Effimera” discussion list, an informal network of international researchers and thinkers which was created out of the earlier experience of “UniNomade 2.0”. We ask all those who care about freedom of expression and criticism to support this appeal, the aim of which is to reaffirm the right to self-determination of bodies and territories outside and against the economic logic of contemporary financial capitalism.

To sign: appello.contro.repressione(at)gmail.com

Appeal for the liberation of the bodies and of political dissent

Michel Foucault, in a lesson held at the Collège de France in 1978, stated that today the art of governance “has the population as its target, political economy as its main form of knowledge, and security dispositifs as its basic technical instruments”. This is the context in which we move, but today we are witnessing a qualitative leap forward in the security dispositifs. We can observe a general but subtle authoritarian regress in the Italian and European societies, in which social conflict gets pathologized and internalized and every affirmative politics and autonomous practice in the management of bodies, relations, and territories is repressed. We are especially worried about the control exercised by a neocapitalism, which is extremely violent towards the activists of the No TAV movement in Val di Susa. Four youths, Chiara, Claudio, Mattia and Niccolò, have been held in prison since December on the charge of terrorism. 54 other No TAV activists are on trial because of the facts happened during the demonstrations of the 27th of June and the 3rd of July 2011. The trial is taking place at Section IV of the Turin’s Court and, as publicly denounced by the defence lawyers, “it is objectively impossible, under the current conditions, to exercise serenely and concretely the right to defence”. Over the last months, in other Italian cities (Milano, Bologna, Treviso, Padova, Roma, Napoli), the authorities have taken measures of “prohibition of residence”, “house arrest”, “requirement to sign-in” against those people who, more than others, have voiced political dissent.

We see in this disproportionate severity the manifestation of a power that has changed in nature: it is faraway, dictatorial, repressive and thus “outside” cultures, bodies, and faces, but at the same time it is nearby and “intimate”, it is able to fully capture the soul, claiming to direct it through environmental and economic dispositifs promoting abidance to the “norm” or, vice versa, ready to expel, imprison, or reject any element who refuses to adapt to the “norm”.

For twenty years, a whole valley and its entire population have been resisting the destiny established by the logic of intensive neoliberal exploitation, which is deaf to any desire, insensitive to the needs of life and to the respect of the environment, interested only to the capitalist rationalization of the existence and to the calculation of investments in useless and unreasonable major building projects thought to be a source of profits to the highest extent. Faced with the firmness with which the unilateral decision on the destiny of the Val di Susa has been for decades presented as a function that subjects all behaviours to economic interest, the communities put their bodies on the line, becoming a model of stubborn resistance to the reasons of financial capitalism for the whole country and beyond. We are dealing with obscene rules that allow to imprison four youths because “the terrorist action is apt to damage Italy’s reputation” and, especially important, the responsibility for such a repression is being shamelessly claimed, with the complicity of the mainstream media and the majority of the Italian intellectual milieu (with few but important exceptions).

For these reasons, signing this appeal we ask for the immediate liberation of the activists who have been imprisoned with self-serving and disproportionate accusations. We think that the multitude now rising in Val di Susa is transgressing the ruling logic of “human capital”. These youths put their own lives on the line, refusing the idea of freedom as the free acceptance of a forced choice; they have subtracted their freedom from calculation and they have given it to the demonstration of an idea.

All politics start from sparks like these, we would like to remind it. These are the sparks of the uncatchable intelligence and bravery of humanity, the only capable to frighten the supposed solidity of contemporary biopower. We thus think that the future of politics lies in the faithfulness to such sparks, in which anyone can share, if she is prepared to really put herself on the line.


Please visit comonwear (http://www.commonware.org/index.php/component/content/article/23-effimera/319-appello-per-la-liberazione-dei-corpi) for the original publication and versions in Italian, French, German and Spanish.

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