Globalproject desk about #19o demonstration in Rome (Italy)

Back from Rome: in movement in Europe

Real social movements, material conflicts, European-and-Mediterranean spaces.

20 / 10 / 2013

Saturday October 19th, several tens of thousands people (estimated around 70.000) partecipated a huge national demonstration in Rome, promoted by movements for housing rights and for the commons, social centers, independent trade unions and precarious workers, against austerity policies and Troika governance, for a new Welfare and a basic income. During the march, despite small fascist provocations and a massive deployment of police, the Ministry for Economy and Finance and the German embassy were attacked by protesters. The event ended with a great “acampada”, still in progress, in front of the Ministry for Infrastructure and Trasportation, responsible for the socalled “big works” and housing.

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This is the first comment for the day, from the desk of

The success of the #19O demonstration in Rome offers the opportunity for a public debate within and for the social movements. It is possible to open an interesting and positive discussion given the fact that the numbers and the quality of the practices went even beyond the expectations.

Tens of thousands of house-occupiers (or, more correctly, those subjects which are the active protagonists of the struggle for the re-appropriation of the housing rights in the crisis) and thousands of young precarious workers confirmed that exists a wide space for the development of social conflict in Italy, starting from its metropolitan dimensions, in Rome above all.

This result was not to be taken for granted, neither granted was the important role played by the organized subjectivities in opening up this political space. For this reason let's push in the background the narrative of mainstream media with their dirty and out of focus lens; and let's also push in the background for a moment the imaginary keywords twitted during the last months, that are not very useful to read the social composition and the political outcome of #19O.

The reality of the housing movement in a time of crisis is clear and powerful. From the complex metropolis of Rome it suggests to all the territories to revamp the initiative of the re-appropriation of houses and spaces against paraxitarious rent and speculation, two elements of capitalistic accumulation during the crisis, which are producing poorness and debt, denying the right to the city that represents an important possibility for the growing of social initiative.

Contextually the second part of the demonstration gave body and life to the potentially recompositive program of the struggle for a basic income, which really is the acted keyword that can keep together the different figures of the living social labour, diffused and precarious, young and metropolitan, unrepresented and unrepresentable.

Following these two directions we can see the result of this mobilization and the political hypothesis that can trigger a new initiative.

During the next months we essentially face two challenges: the first one is the diffusion in the territories of the struggles for the reappropriation of houses and commons, for welfare and income, to be grabbed away from paraxitarious rent. The second one is the capacity to link together the transnational debate and the mobilization agenda with the subjective ability to improve the dialogue and the organization on the European-and-Mediterranean level.

None of these tasks is an easy one, but none of them is renounceable. We have witnessed a great day of struggle, but not yet a “general upheaval”. Everything deserves to be played without any prejudice, without using unusable lens taken from a past which will not come back.

Yesterday it was quite evident the gap between the rhetoric ex ante and the reality ex post. We should not ignore the problems, nor renounce to complexity. We have to stand firmly inside the present conflicts and inside the materiality of the social and political composition.

Since #19O we are all a bit stronger. And the future, as always, is yet to be written.

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