Turin, Italy: Chasing the dream part 6

From Act for Freedom!

Notes Beginning with "Operation Scintilla"

After lively months as we tried to give a good response to the eviction of Asilo and the arrests of six comrades, as we tried to keep the will to struggle alive in this city, we are now taking time to reflect on this investigative theorem delivered by the Police, created by prosecutors and approved by a female investigating judge. A theorem which for now hasn’t passed the first impact with the Court of review; after three months, in fact, five comrades are out of prison, which still holds Silvia behind the walls under particularly hard detention conditions. 

As the investigation is still underway, it is worth writing a few words, among other things because it gives some indications that are signs of the times concerning the way they want to force certain anarchists to silence, even if this is not entirely new. Already fifteen years ago, in a pamphlet entitled ‘Anarchism banished’, you could read how repressive strategies strived to ‘deprive anarchists of any possibility to act in groups even if their interventions took place in broad daylight, precisely because these interventions aimed at generalized insurrection’.

This analysis will come out in episodes, one per week, focusing on some specific aspects of operation Scintilla and the struggle against detention centres for migrants. The writers are comrades, some under investigation in this operation, others not, who have been struggling against administrative detention [detention of undocumented migrants] throughout the years.


The real struggle is a social fact, and therefore the struggle against administrative detention is not a duel with the State launched by a bunch of subversives.

Like all forms of real struggle it has ups and downs, is made of individual and collective initiatives, inside and outside immigration centres; and it is for this reason that the attempt to bring all this to a criminal plan of one subversive association can only be the result something forced. The Police’s restricted boring minds couldn’t do any better than describe a phantom ‘criminal project’ composed of even more improbable stages: after the time of the incendiary proclamations of which [the text] The sky is burning is allegedly the flagship as well as the ‘real program document’, came the time of violent actions and finally recourse to instigation of prisoners’ revolts. The prosecutors’ muddled language can’t even minimally touch the reality of a complex and varied struggle, both those who took part in it and the actions and initiatives carried out over the years. A struggle which saw its destructive climax between 2011 and 2012, when capacity in immigration centres all over the country was at its historical low and their disappearance was being hypothesized,  something which the counterpart never considered, thus proving the real intents it pursues and the narrative that suits it to use. The Prosecutors’ language, as in many other even very recent investigations, not only twists the description of the struggle to satisfy their [the prosecutors] goals, but also that of the very group of comrades who carried out the struggle: ‘the action of the associates, which remained concealed behind the mere opposition and indeed social activity of the matrix they belonged to, has in fact developed and evolved, placing itself halfway between social insurrectionism and that of more proper armed struggle’ – ‘an action concealed behind public and so-called social activities’.  

Calls for destruction and fire in the struggle against administrative detention date back a long way, to when the centres were called CPTs and the majority of the people now under investigation were still underage, and the meaning of certain expressions had already been explained in unsuspecting times. To describe the accused as something different from the movement as it was until then, therefore, doesn’t make any sense. Even less so does the chatter about notorious ‘qualitative leaps’ and so on.

The accusation of being instigators of revolts in detention centres for migrants is not new either, and in this respect a great deal has been written. With very little imagination, the court papers of operation Scintilla describe contacts with the prisoners as ‘incessant activity of instigation intended to ignite and nourish protests’. A touch of creativity in the alleged turn to instigation can be found as the comrades are accused of choosing to ‘elaborate new methodologies and strategies in order to revive their criminal plan more securely’ starting from December 2016, after some had DNA sample-taking. The arrests and the consequent sampl-taking, described as a purposely devised ‘stratagem’ in a recent article, appeared skewed already at the time; and now, in this new light, are decisively disquieting.

Police and court machinations aside, something must be said without mincing one’s words on the relations between people in solidarity and prisoners: the reconstruction is a gross and insolent historical falsification. Gross because only in the period examined in the papers and therefore from January 2015 (the alleged creation of a subversive association) to January 2016 (the alleged change in strategy after DNA sample taking), in the Centre of Turin there were at least five revolts with fire to significant parts of the structures. Many of these revolts, as they are not functional to the inquisitors’ reconstructions, are not mentioned in the papers. Insolent because the idea that the prisoners in the centres are pawns of a strategy to be moved wisely and carefully like in a game of chess can probably be useful to the polemics of certain anarchists and to inquisitors looking for evidence for their absurd theses; but besides being false it’s an insult to all the comrades who have struggled openly and constantly against administrative detention over the years, respecting the choices of those imprisoned in the centres, who have always been the only ones who decided if, when and how to revolt, and putting their freedom at stake not certainly because of political calculations or personal advantages. 

Prisoners in centres have always rebelled and always will rebel, with or without the presence of people in solidarity outside. Those who tried to act outside have always had to choose whether to carry out a strictly individual and separate plan of intervention, focussing exclusively on direct action as the kind of chosen practice, as if this could be sufficient to be at loggerheads with the world of administrative detention; or to accompany individual intervention with a wider attempt at coordination with the prisoners, thus giving the enemy an endless list of tapped telephone communications, texts and analyses, tales and discussions. The many initiatives that the inquisitors describe as ‘messages on paper inserted in tennis balls launched inside the local CPR with the purpose of establishing preventive contacts with the foreigners there imprisoned’, ‘foment those detained by referring news of destruction in other CPRs’, ‘create contacts between undocumented migrants held in various CIEs’ and also ‘having fraudulently introduced matches and lighters into the local CPR’, are the historical legacy of this struggle alongside autonomous initiatives and have to be defended also for this reason. 

But there is something else besides instigation in the papers of ”operation Scintilla”, and this seems to be an absolute novelty: the inquisitors’ attention seems also to have focused on comrades who ‘are active in finding lawyers and sending basic necessities to prison’ for those arrested after a revolt.  Subversives who are into small material solidarity, something that scandalizes those who proclaim that revolutionaries can be otherwise occupied, given that bourgeois society offers enough lawyers, social workers, priests for technical/legal help. But above all a novelty that highlights how the times are very dark if material aid given to an arrested migrant becomes the object of an investigation for subversive association. We  would all like to dedicate ourselves to more exciting and absorbing activities, but if revolution or even only the destruction of a little piece of the world is to be shared directly (and not only platonically) with the exploited, then we should dedicate ourselves to a whole series of aspects in human and trust relations that are complementary to, and sometimes also a springboard for, the sharing of wider moments of revolt. Caring about relations which those who govern us are trying to cut off by attacking the fullness and plurality of the whole struggle.

If you missed the previous episodes of Chasing the dream, you can read them by clicking below.

Around a question


Followers and alchemists [We realized we wrote something incorrect in this episode, which we sorted out. The correction concerns a passage where we say that bugs had been placed in a home where an accused comrade had lived for a time. In fact, as we altered in the text, that comrade never lived there and this was mere supposition by Digos officers, thus demonstrating how easy it is to be authorized to put one’s nose in the business of people who not only are not under investigation, but are not so important in the network of relations of comrades on trial either. Not to mention the fact that bugs (just not to be proved wrong) were left in the house ready to be activated if need be, even if Digos officers had expressly requested at the time to stop intercepting because no material useful for evidence had been found.]

In the streets, outside the walls

Instruments of struggle under examination

macerie @ July 8, 2019


Translated by act for freedom now!

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