Every year, on June 2nd, the Italian State celebrates its own existence with Festa della Repubblica‘s military parades and ceremonies. Men and machines parade with mechanical precision, the mechanical precision of modern warfare, all airily decreed “humanitarian,” all fighting for solemn written declarations about universal rights.
Every June 2nd anti-militarists bring you the means to counter the nationalist rhetoric, the ferocity of war put on display between the sequins and pristine uniforms.
In Turin, the protesters’ first appointment is in Piazza Statuto in front of the Frejus Tunnel monument where, after a short climb, a banner is hung with the words “Refugees drowned = State murders.” Lawn puppets for children, clothes, shoes, a few toys are left in and around the fountain.
Then they set off to Piazza Castello, where there is to be a militaristic ceremony. The police block access via Cernaia: antimilitarists had started off from Garibaldi Street. Before the course Palestro, where the policemen falter, a checkpoint is immediately improvised, closing the road for about ten minutes.
Music, speeches and slogans tell stories to those who pass, about the military who in the streets, hunting down undocumented migrants, the DASPO, for the poor are the norm in our city. The road is full of people, who hear and read. In the front there are banners: “Daspi urban,” “Fascism has the face of democracy,” “No to all armies.” At the head of the anti-militarists they have opened the banner “against all armies, for a world without borders.”
Armed with cardboard cameras and fake microphones, some friends interview passers-by on the war, militarism, military parades. It’s a great success with critics and the public: everyone says hello.
The rally turns in Town Hall Square, where in front of the municipality is hung a banner that reads “The alternative is Chiara: police, courts, evictions … war on the poor.” A message for the “Five Star Movement” junta (Five Star’s Chiara Appendino was elected mayor in 2016) that is cemented and militarising the city.
A new checkpoint closes the entire square, while a little farther on the militaristic ceremony is about to begin. But the procession continues to Piazza Castello. Police in riot gear block all sides of Corpus Christi square. The antiwar people cry “fire, fire at the flag!” “My defector grandfather taught me the man ends where the soldier begins,” “the only foreigners are the cops in neighbourhoods.”
Police lower their helmets, toting their clubs. There are long minutes of tension, and people line up in front of the police with a banner against the F-35 (a war jet produced at a factory near Turin). The ceremony in Piazza Castello closes in a hurry, and the procession hustles to Castle Square, which is packed with people.
After the procession anti-militarists reach Michelotti Park, where a Sardinian companion tells of the struggles against US bases on the island. What follows is a lively debate.
On November 30th Turin will once again host a “Defence and aerospace meeting,” an exhibition of aerospace warfare. Anti-militarists are preparing a worthy welcome to the manufacturers and merchants of death.
Flyer distributed at the march
Against all the armies
for a world without borders
Italy is at war. A short walk from our houses, test the weapons used in wars everywhere are produced and tested.
Italian troops are used on missions of “peace” abroad, selling Italian industries to countries at war. These weapons have killed millions of people, destroyed towns and villages, irreparably poisoned entire territories.
Alenia Caselle Torinese, as well as a new fighter Eurofighter jet, this year will also produce combat drones.
War spending is €68 million per month. Think about that when you wait six months to see a specialist. Think about when you are waiting for tens of minutes for a bus.
Italy is at war. Italian troops are in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Val Susa, the Mediterranean and in the streets of our suburbs, where the enemies are the poor, immigrants, the homeless, those who are opposed to a fierce social order.
Interior minister Minniti has promoted a law on urban security that provides DASPO, a ban on homeless, those without work, or without papers to live in certain neighborhoods. A new chapter in the war on the poor, who will be punished because they sleep on a bench or occupying a house.
Every day someone dies in the Mediterranean. In the coming months more will die: the government has decided to put controls on the ships of volunteers who assist the migrants in boats. Soon the Coast Guard and military will impose their presence. Whoever does not fit will be banned from landing in Italy.
Italy is at war. But the silence is deafening.
The rhetoric on security feeds the enemy’s identification with the poor, aims to break solidarity among the oppressed. Why not become our allies against those who oppress us?
The rhetoric of security feeds the imagination about a war of civilisations, a gear of global jihad, while the Italian government is allied with countries that finance those who sow terror.
People who promote wars in the name of humanity pay the Libyan government and the Turkish, and soon those of Niger and Chad, because the refugees are rejected and deported.
The silence is deafening. An obsession with safety — the same right and left — seems to have paralyzed opposition to war, militarism and solidarity to those fleeing persecution and bombs.
In the silence of the majority there are those who decide to stand up, to fight against arms factories, to stop war exercises, to open and break down barriers, to cry out their own disgust for the homeland and nationalism.
~ Assembly antiwar
This article is an edited machine translation of an account first published in Umanita Nova