In May 1st of 2015, a large demo took place in the context of the May Day strike in Milan. It wasn’t just a day of national general strike, but a day of a meeting of movements from all over Italy (grassroots unions, social centers, students’ groups, struggle committees about housing, immigration communities, the No Tav movement etc) against the austerity measures that were voted and applied by the Renzi government. It was also the peak of the NO EXPO movement, against the international exposition EXPO, with the participation of people from many European countries against the glamorous opening of EXPO the very same day. The mass participation and the dynamics of the protest was the peak of a 7-year-old movement which questioned the exposition and its political campaign, setting in crisis the political careers of government officials and local authorities.
Seven years ago, in 2008, the municipality of Milan undertook hosting of the exposition. For its sake, 1,100 acres of land were concreted and local populations were displaced and their houses were expropriated, so they would submit to the development plans and their commercialisation. The bosses bet that Milan would be a city attractive to the capital, and were trying to showcase it as a business capital and promote it as the 8th Wonder of the Modern World for the local working class people, to whom they promise development and new jobs. The whole city was stylised with luxurious buildings, new highways and spectaculare projects. Behind the showcases of development, the bribes fell like domino one behind the other, the banks lended, managed and laundered money for the rest, the contractors took care to delay the projects so they could overprice them and, of course, among the contractors were involved the mafia with its businesses.
This profitability cycle for the bosses that started in 2008, was set and completed on the brutal exploitation of underpaid and voluntary labour of thousands of youngsters, sparing even more thousands of euros for the pockets of the capitalists. Alongside the building of the exposition, an operation of refinement took place for all those that could be considered dangerous for the maked-up image of the city. Large police operations took place to the neighbourhoods with evictions of locals and immigrants from the social housings, evacuation of social centers and strike requisitions, culminating in the strike of the subway workers a few days before the opening of EXPO.
And while 6 months later the curtain falls for the exposition, the results and the aftermath remain. The EXPO finishes and leaves behind a deficit of 1.5 billions that is to be paid by increased municipal taxes, obligating the proletarians, under the “corporate responsibility” of the debt, to foot the bill and to say “thank you!” for the spectacular feast. It leaves behind looted land, flexible labour relations, establishment of volunteering and repression. Six months later from our adduction in Milan, and while the curtain falls for the EXPO, the Italian authorities start a new witch hunt fabricating indictments and issuing arrest warrants for 5 Italian protesters, while issuing a Europena Arrest Warrant (EAW) for us. We have every reason to believe that our ex post charges, and those of the 5 Italians, are hiding political expediency behind them, and not only because the criminalise the participation in a protest on a basis of a fascist law which was established by Mussolini and still applies to this day, but also because the Italian authorities start an operation of masking and concealment of the “scorched earth” that EXPO left behind, focusing the attention of the public opinion from the scandals to the protesters, in order to save, construct and redeem their political careers. Our prosecution is for the Italian authorities the ideal opportunity to penalise and exemplify us and everyone that were in the streets those days. It is the ideal opportunity to show what future holds for anyone who decides to struggle and meet with other movements on a national and European level.
The issuance of a EAW, the ridiculous indictments, the criminalisation of the participation in a protest, the political trials that have shut in prison activists for 15 years, send a clear message that as long as the underclasses are in the streets uniting their voices, the repression will intesify.
A EAW is issued for the first time for the prosecution of protesters (till now, it was only issued for heavy offenses like drugs and human trafficking, and money laundering). It clearly constitutes an effort to upgrade the internationalised repression, and an effort to criminalise the social struggles and the meeting of movements on a European level. At the same time, it is a bet for all the parts of the european antagonistic movement to put a halt to these repressive approaches, by blocking the extraditions
In 2008-2010, with the outbreak of the recession, due to the global capitalist crisis, in the European economies, the member-states of the EU, in order to save the (global) financial credit system, rushed to take measures to nationalise its damage and losses. First the Greek state, with other states of the Eurozone following. Certainly, this by itself couldn’t solve the problem, because the “financial crisis” is just a mere expression of the crisis in the production and reproduction of capital. So, the problem had to be hit at its root: devaluation of the labour power and downgrading of the lives of the proletarians, in order to achieve the overcoming of the crisis with favorable conditions for the profitability of capital.
Thus, the local and international capitalists and their governments, began to apply austerity measures or going into strict Structural Adjustment Programs. Measures and programs that here in Greece are known as Memoranda, which the coalition government of SYRIZA-ANEL is continuing to vote and apply, like wage, pension and allowance cuts, reductions in public spending, tax increases on food and basic necessities, privatisations, release of redundancy, increases of the retirement age, etc.
All these could only be imposed on the base of a permanent “state of emergency” which, apart from the politics of the “public debt” as lever of enforcement and terrorisation, comes with the withdrawal of “welfare state” and the emergence of the “security state”. All of the above are just different aspects of the same strategy of the management of the crisis from the capital, for the imposition of new norms of discipline and exploitation of the underclasses.
A generalised “state of emergency regime” is imposed step by step in all of Europe, on the occasion of the threat of the “islamic terrorism”, with a widespread militarisation of the western metropolises. A large scale campaign of fear and total control is taking place, with raids on homes of activists, protests ban, introduction of new anti-terror laws and militaries patrolling the streets. And it is well-known that this war climate is not only directed against the immigrants who manage to arrive in Europe from the war zones in Africa and Asia, but also to all of those who chose to today and tomorrow to take the streets and protest against the politics of austerity and devaluation, the Fortress Europe, the cemetery-like silence that they are trying to impose on us.
In 7,8 and 11 of January, we are called to battle against these extraditions. The struggle for their blockage is a part of a wider mosaic of struggles which are the embankment of the continuing downgrading of our lives. It is a part of the students’ struggle against their increased schooling costs in universities, of the workers’ everyday struggles and strikes against their bosses, of the movements of local neighbourhood assemblies for the refusal of payment for our basic needs, of the demands of the precarious workers against the modern slavery of the workfare programs, of the riots of the immigrants at the borders and the modern concentration camps. It is a part of every community of struggle which erupts in the public sphere against the capitalist imperatives and the state repression.
We call all our colleagues, classmates, comrades and all the struggling people to make the case of our prosecution their case, to take battle positions, to block the extraditions.
“An attack against one is an attack against all”
EVERYONE TO THE PROTEST AT THE COURT OF APPEAL
IN JANUARY 7TH, 8TH AND 11TH
The 5 requested activist from the Italian authorities