The situation of struggle in Italy has become more schematic in recent times following the various blitz operations carried out by the anti-terrorist divisions of the carabinieri and police, some of which succeeded, and others fortunately failed.
One of the more clamorous ones that failed was the one against the comrades involved in the review ANARCHISMO, which began with the arrest of 21 comrades and finished with one sentence only for possession of explosives. The others, as is known, have all been released and the charges dropped due to complete lack of evidence against them. Only in the case of the comrade Alfredo Bonanno has the charge of propaganda against the State remained standing.
In the article published in the last issue of your paper there appeared to be some confusion concerning the area of autonomy and the anarchist movement in Italy, which we shall try to clarify to some extent in this short intervention.
At the end of 1972 there was a profound change within the revolutionary movement in Italy. The reaction to the provocation begun by the secret services, Ministry of the Interior and police forces with the piazza Fontana massacre and the anarchist witch-hunt at the end of 1969 pushed many comrades towards gaining an awareness of the problems of revolutionary organisation.
During this period Potere Operiao (Worker Power) gave their maximum contribution to the struggles and to the elaboration of an insurrectional theory. Then, followed in this by various other formations of post ’68 origins, they dissolved into the so-called movement, taking with them the contribution of their own experience and their militant actions.
It is the time in which Collettivo metropolitano is formed in Milan, which the first military formations of the Brigate rosse (Red Brigades) originated from.
Meanwhile revolutionary practice—we are around the years 1976-77, before the Convegna di Bologna (meeting against repression where over 100,000 comrades were present) in September 1977—expanded with big mass demonstrations and bloody battles with the police.
At the bologna meeting, where the revolutionary forces confronted each other with all their differences, but where the last moment of a historic period of the class struggle in Italy was marked, the area of autonomy were present in two different currents:
a) the current of autonomy as a movement, represented by the theories of comrades in Rome, which supported autonomy as the absence of whatever closed centralised structure.
b) current of autonomy as a party, represented by the theories of comrades in Padova and milan, who supported the formation of an “autonomy party” of a strictly leninist character.
Both of these currents could be defined as being of marxist-leninist observance, even though a break from the orthodox tradition has become evident, especially in recent times. Among these changes are: suspicion of dialectics, a reconsideration of the lumpenproletariat as a revolutionary element, a re-evaluation of the function of the minority organisation, including the clandestine one.
The various tendencies of the anarchist movement were also present at the Bologna meeting, more or less divided into two parts. On the one side there were the various expressions of educationism, pacifism, pluralism, individualism, etc; on the other, numerically inferior but more competitive, those who insisted on greater penetration into the reality of the struggles, territorial roots in the interventions made by comrades, and the organisation of armed clandestine struggle, revolutionary violence and insurrection.
Both tendencies shared a suspicion towards all the more or less marxist theses, and also agreed on the rejection of any ideological identification with the area of autonomy. For both these tendencies within the anarchist movement, the theory and practice of struggle continue to be those of the libertarian tradition.
The fact that on the operational level of the struggle anarchists and autonomists may sometimes have acted together should not lead one to believe that the substantial differences that divide these two parts of the Italian revolutionary movement have been overcome. Each has contributed within the limits of their own possibilities, remaining independant as organisational structures and, more obviously, as theoretical heritages.
We consider that this clarification is sufficient to show more clearly the relationship that exists today between anarchists and the area of autonomy in Italy.
Before closing, one last point must be made in our opinion. In the articlepublished by black flag on the blitz against ANARCHISMO reference was made to Alfredo bonanno’s book La Gioia armata, translating the title as The joy of arms. We think that this translation of the title is not only mistaken in the literal sense, but that it could also create a mistaken impression and distract the interest of comrades from a book which is far from being a hymn to violence but is a thoroughly examined critical inquiry into the problem of armed struggle. The correct translation which we are bringing to comrades’ notice is therefore armed joy.
Some comrades of “Anarchismo”