Freedom News

Naples: Anarchists under pressure as anti-mafia tactics employed in crackdown

Bearing down on insurrectionist groups, the Italian State is using its organised crime units to cast a wide net and pressure anarchists nationwide. In this article by Naples activists, they look at the failed attempt at a “precautionary arrest” of 20 alleged members of the Informal Anarchist Federation and the chilling effects of an investigation which has encompassed wide swathes of the libertarian movement. The latest initiative was launched less than a month after the start of the linked Scripta Manent trial of alleged Informal Anarchist members for various arsons and at least one kneecapping of a CEO.

The pacification of political movements has led to the almost total disappearance from our society of any revolutionary aspiration, replaced with a frenetic rush to occupy the warm and comfortable seats that power offers. This has led to a fierce struggle, often without quarter, to follow the latest politician, who is raised to rank of political revolutionary in order to guarantee “antagonistic” politicians in an area of political acceptability within the institutions.

As a result we witness the voluntary cancellation of any form of opposition in favor of co-operation and often collaboration with a political system that until recently was considered hostile. All these elements represent tangible facts that have negative repercussions on what remains of the revolutionary, movement, or or insurrectionist if you prefer.

In a similar context, the last pockets of resistance, those who persist in considering the destruction of this political and economic system as unavoidable, can be identified and attacked more easily by the repressive apparatus of the State. The huge amount of resources that the police and magistracy are able to call upon can be used entirely and with minimal resistance to annihilate a social enemy that now has increasingly reduced space to maneuver in.

Specifically, the anarchist movement is the one hardest hit by this repressive attack launched by the State. All this has been made possible by the widescale use of so-called criminal association laws (originally intended to deal with organised crime) that have continuously been adapted to the socio-political structure of the movement.

At present, dozens of comrades are facing prison sentences, are imprisoned or under house arrest, and just as many are subject to various forms of precautionary measures such as signing on, residential restrictions, special surveillance, etc. An unknown number, certainly very high, are also under investigation by various prosecutors scattered throughout Italy. Among these the Naples prosecutor, who has been struggling for years without much success to make his own infamous contribution, made his voice heard at the beginning of December.

Following two investigations from 2010 and 2011, now brought together in one proceeding, the arrest of 20 anarchists was requested. The investigators hypothesised the existence of a cell, active in Naples and with connections to Greece and Spain, linked to the Informal Anarchist Federation and that the publications La Miccia, Invece, Blasphemia and the blog Arraggia are propaganda tools the organisation uses to publish their communiques and claims of responsibility.

The accusation against them all is “subversive association” and, for one comrade, specific crimes concerning the possession and use of explosives. Furthermore, the precautionary closure of the Libertarian Studies Center was requested, which since the 1970s has hosted the Louise Michel anarchist group and the 76A anarchist space, which they consider to be logistical bases of the Naples cell.

The author of the investigation is prosecuting magistrate Catello Maresca from the District Anti-Mafia Directorate (DDA), who became famous for having arrested several bosses linked to the Casalesi family. Now, after his eight-year involvement in anti-mafia investigations, he has been moved to anti-terrorism and has decided that in order to maintain his style that he will now pursue the anarchists.

Like many other magistrates he takes delight in writing books in which he describes to us mere mortals the “very important” operations he has completed. In one of these he collaborated with journalist Leandro Del Gaudio, who is well known to us because he often used the liberal newspaper he writes for, Il Mattino, to sling mud at the Naples anarchists. And Leandro has not been shy about divulging news regarding the proceedings against the anarchists, no doubt prompted by his friend Catello is order to seek maximum media visibility.

The investigation is still open so as of yet we have not had the opportunity to read the huge volume of paperwork concerning the procedure that is available to us (the only request from the Prosecuting Magistrate has delivered more than 1,500 pages). We don’t know, for example, the total number of suspects because it possible that for other comrades no precautionary measures have been requested. Furthermore, we don’t know what the basis is for the investigative hypothesis of our zealous magistrate.

One of the things we do know is that in the first instance the request was rejected by a preliminary investigations judge who did not consider the elements in his possession to validate the arrests. Not used to having his integrity questioned, the public prosecutor has appealed because he can’t accept anybody being allowed to question the work that he has so diligently carried out. One of the brightest stars of the firmament of our inquisitors does not tolerate defeats, so it seems likely that he will not give up until the end.

Beyond all reasoning, experience teaches us that one of the main objectives of these types of operations is to disintegrate, if not to eradicate, a group of active comrades from the territory in which it acts.

In our case they have been mistaken in their calculations. We are not going to retreat one single step. We will continue our political and existential journey in the face of those who would like us to be mute and submissive.


The date of the appeal hearing by Maresca to try and overturn a judge’s refusal of his precautionary arrests application was originally set for December 14th, but was put off due to a lack of adequate notification and is now due on February 22nd.

This article is edited from a translation by Insurrection News of a piece written for Croce Nera Anarchica (Anarchist Black Cross in Italy)

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