portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

actions & protests

What the fuck is going on in Italy? Video footage of a rebellion :

Protests keep growing, millions on the streets, with hundreds of demos and initiatives in all Italian cities and especially in Pisa, Venice, Padua, Naplei. In Rome: huge assembly at La Sapienza and spontaneous demo toward italian parliament. In Milano: official teaching blocked, public lectures hel in duomo square; assemblies and intramural protests at Statale, Politecnico, Bicocca and Brera. Berlusconi from china says "never said I'd send police in schools" and "the italian press don't understand my words". Minister of public education Gelmini says want to "open dialogue with students" and adds "there is an ongoing terroristic campaign against my reform". High schools are agitating mightily with most of the schools taken over by students and a myriad of street protests.
"We won't pay for your crisis"

"We won't pay for your crisis" : as in the rest of italy, in the
universities of Milano the mobilization is uncontrollable by power.
From Mediazione Culturale to Scienze Politiche, 'Accademia di Brera
and UniversitÓ Bicocca, from Conservatorio to Politecnico to the State
University of Milano in central Festa del Perdono. Students are
mobilizing to bock the Gelmini Decree (Gelmini, arch-catholic minister
of education rechristened Gelminator by protesters), and to push for a
self-reform for a university of knowledge and research. Together with
postgrads, researchers, university employees and precasious faculty.
The brainworkers of immaterial labor are on the move. Everywhere the
blocks of lessons and the blockades of traffic by students are
multiplying, with spontaneous assemblies in each university,
department, with rectorates and classrooms occupied. An uncontrollable
movement that can win, and transfprm a university based on deskilled
higher education and academic nepotism and related fiefdoms into a
university as public place of education and self-education linked to
the needs and cultures of the society to be. But where did all this
come from?

Stop Decreto Gelmini. Hands off schools and universities. We won't pay
for your crisis!

The Berlusconi Gov't passed the Law Decree n░ 112 del 25 June 2008
titles "Urgent provisions for economic dev't, simplification,
competitiveness, stabilitazion of public finance and tax equalization"

This decree becomes provisional law during the summer holidays, on Aug
5 (Legge 133/2008)

In provincial Italy, the policy response to the mounting global crisis
as put forward by minister of finance Tremonti is drastic cuts to
social spending, starting from public school and universities.

The essential points of the gelmini-tremonti package: return to the
single teacher in elementary schools, segregated classes for "foreign"
kids, severe cuts in financial resources to education, the block of
hirings of teaching and technical personnel, from elementary schools
to universities and research, the reconversion of public universities
in private foundations...

In september schools reopen: all over italy a new movement makes its
frist stems in elementary schools, high schools, universities. The
first mots d'ordre are against the precarization of teachers, against
the single teacher that would enforce a single ideology, agains the
so-called differentiated classes that would violently discriminate
immigrant children with a truly racial provision aiming at
establishing apartheid in italy.

On Oct 3 the autonomous network of high school student collectives
take it to the streets in many cities of Italy.

On Oct 13, the minister Gelmini cancels her appearance at a symposium
in milano for fear of protests.

In october classes start in universities: a university student
movement emerges powerfully: "We won't pay your crisis!" It's a loud
and clear message that speaks of the here and now, of precarity,
economic crisis and the last gasps of neoliberalism. "Cut resources to
bankers and war missions, rather than to schools and universities! we
are the coming society! We are not the problem, we are the solution!"

Week by week the mov't grows: from elementary schools, teachers,
parents, kids are united in denouncing the decree; high school
collectives network their struggles; in universities researchers other
precarious faculty and professors start joining student assemblies and
discussing with student collectives.

"We have started so that we wouldn't stop" and "We shall never go
back" : university students are against the berlusconi cuts billed as
'reform' but do not want to defend public university fallen prey to
clientelist and nepotistic practices, ruled by barons over the
shoulders of precarious junior faculty. The growing movement does not
accept neither old labels nor old forms of representations, it demands
and practices autonomy and freedom from the classic forms of politics,
parties especially. The responsibilities of past centerleft
governments stand clear in weaking the public university system and so
does the inability of the current parliamentary opposition to oppose
mr b's decrees, which cuts funds to public schools while giving aid to
private schools. The dem party has also imitated berlusconi in calling
for draconian laws in the name of 'security' fingerpointing dangerous
subjects such as gypsies, immigrants, street sellers, graffiti
writers.

On Oct 17, the national strike called by radical alternative unions
against the berlusconi government turns into the first No Gelmini Day.
In Rome 300,000 people take part in the strike demo. Rome students
take part in the union demo and then break off in the thousands and by
outflanking police manage to reach and block the ministry of
education. In Milano, unions are also on the streets. university and
highschool students decide to cross the whole city paralyzing traffic
as three demos merge: elementary schools, high school students, and
for the first time since the 'panther' movement of 1990, a strong
demonstration of university students from many agitating faculties and
academic insititutions. At the end of the demo, precarious teachers of
elementary schools and high school students put the milano education
department under siege, while university students experiment for the
first time with the practice of metropolitan blockades in the rest of
the city.

In the following week, the social situation escalates, as spontaneous
protests and initiatives spread to further cities large and small. On
Oct 21 in Milano, the General Estates of the University are held in
the aula magna of Milano State University. Just like in Sapienza in
Rome and in Palermo, the assembly is huge: 2000 people that decide at
the end of the assembly to give rise to a an unauthorized demo across
the streets of Milano. The demo marches fast and unpredictably, it
goes back and forth: the city goes tilt. Getting news that in bologna
and other cities university students have occupied railway stations,
the demo arrives at Cadorna train station. Riot cops prevent access to
the station and charge students with batons, who do not disperse and
block the car traffic all around by doing a determined sit-in. In
Florence, 40000 people of all ages from schools and universities
express solidarity to the student movement and fear for the
possibility of repression.

In the subsequent days, mobilizations further develop: in Milano,
Torino and other cities dozens of motions to faculty boards, class
blockades, assemblies, all-night events take place in freed
universities. The first experiments with alternative higher education
occur: academic lectures are held in central public squares before
hundreds of students and curious citizens, wihle students speak of
"free university and free knowledge".

On Oct 22 berlusconi accuses centri sociali (squatted social centers)
to be the maneuverers behind the social mobilizations and warns "I
will send the police against occupations of schools and universities."
THe movement is not intimidated: "We have no fear" is the rallying
cry. Some rectors swear "never police in a university", while some
professors ironize that a bit of university education might be well
needed by the italian police...

On Oct 23 berlusconi now in beijing denies having thought about
sending in the riot copes and accuse the italian press of
misinformation. In Rome, Sapienza students after another huge assemlby
the decided to march toward the parliamente in a demo merging three
streams of people, university students, high school students and the
acitivists of roman centri sociali who are protesting against the
eviction of Horus social center and the will to eradicate all social
spaces expressed by the neofascist new mayor Almeanno.

15000 people are spontaneously taking the streets in the heart of the
city. "Roma libera", "libertÓ, libertÓ", in the joy and thrill of the
moment a new cry emerges "un'altra Onda, un altra volta", "siamo i
giovani, siamo l'esercito del surf" taken from a song of the roman
rapper "Er Piotta" [Another Wave, Once More] [we are the youth, we are
surf's army] The song is an antiauthoritarian antiwar jibe about being
able to go with the flow and repeat the wave of change; it expresses
the idea of strategic flexibility in the sense of being able to surf
the rough waves and be anywhere and everywhere, and especially to be
where they least expect us.

L'Onda, The Wave, the movement names itself: it's an anomalous wave, a
social anomaly. While the police protects parliament, the Wave puts
the city center under siege.

On Oct 24 berlusconi denounces the risk of extremist and violent
fringes in demonstrations. That night, 1000 students break onto the
red carpet of the rome film festival, saying "this movie is old". On
Oct 23 and 24 Ottobre piazza Duomo is filled by students and
professors that protest against the cuts and experience the urgency of
horizontal self-reform in higher education: "we shall never go back"

"Let's occupy the city to be concerned about ourselves": the
university penetrates the city, the city penetrates the university,
street blocks and spontaneous protests each day block the city, the
outdoor lectures are crowded, everybody is suprised by the scale and
novely of the mobilization: government, police, academic barons, mass
media, it's an anomalous wave that submerges all.

The mobilization goes on. Fo Nov 29, berlusconi has scheduled the
final approval of the law. And the anomalous wave keeps growing.


PISA:
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zOjyVoK9OJ4
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=i_UTJLSgBx0&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=L9atLexVxds&feature=related

MILAN
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=BmzCmBQTNuc
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eE6OYF2Ubp8&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=lFzSFI_kXpM&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HTr9YxV4tEk&feature=related

ROME
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5F6AZ_kL6l8&feature=related (lesson outside the Parliament)
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=95qwE4XLIhg
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=V_AEnya7oYY (Rage Against the Machine)
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zoAfMj0fXdY&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=9eHjZM2fZf4 (Roma Film Festival)

SKY TV
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zAB00aRW01I&feature=related (the News crew was attacked after accusing the students of forcing the police barriers)

FLORENCE
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=6YLY_5dyBVg (death of education)
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHRRZY96xyM&feature=related (brain hunt)
 http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=ofjCoFYVycA&feature=related (D&B off the Duomo)
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vJTZnYlS5uo&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NajWUGuBJ-0&NR=1
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc75X8JBOnU&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Detmsdks9bM&feature=related

PALERMO
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=T8jf6NRS6LE&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hjUK0zH8CTE&feature=related
 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=o9JiZ-Tqkuw&feature=related

TRIESTE
 http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=70hU2Mjc7kk

AND MANY OTHER CITIES
 http://www.beppegrillo.it/ (click on the Italian flag and on the banner on top of the page)