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Anti-imperialist bloc in Nov 9 Florence mass mobilisation

15. November 2002

Free the arrested militants

A step forward

In the frame of the oceanic demonstration of November 9 against the impending aggression on Iraq the Anti-imperialist Camp has been organising a common anti-imperialist bloc together with other Italian and international forces. Our continent under the banner “On the side of Iraq – resist the attack” amounted to about thousand participants and in certain moments even more.

Meanwhile this night the Italian police arrested more than a dozen militants of the movement – two of them belonging to the anti-imperialist forces, namely Vittoria Oliva (already 61 years old) and Antonio Rollo. Among those in custody is also Francesco Caruso, a leader of the movement in the Italian south. All of them are being accused to have formed a subversive organisation with the intention to topple the current constitutional order. There is not even the slightest attempt to create a criminal case but it is a open political accusation. It is not by mere accident that the arrests a being carried out after the successful mobilisation of Florence. It should be red as a warning to the growing movement against the war as the blockades against US military facilities as well as the intention to topple the government of the warmonger Berlusconi proposed by the consequent and anti-imperialist wing is meeting more and more consensus.

Thus we urge you to send protest message requesting the immediate release of the detainees.

Comments on the giant anti war demonstration in Florence and the Social Forum

While participating in the demonstration proverbially flooding Florence with between 500 thousand and one million participants, the anti-imperialist bloc was able to hold its own closing rally where anti-imperialist and proletarian forces addressed the crowd. Among the speakers representatives of liberation movements from Palestine, Turkey, Kurdistan, Colombia, Sri Lanka and delegates from the anti-imperialist movement of Greece.

The immense demonstration marks a new political situation not only in Italy but also in Europe as a whole. It clearly displays a mass opposition not only against the imperialist war drive of the US but also against the liberalist attacks on the popular masses by the EU governments. A new movement is being born which cannot be but heterogeneous. Anti-imperialist, revolutionary and communist forces are, however, still a minority within the movement. Despite the crisis of liberalism and the increase of the contradiction within the US led world order we are still quite far away from a comprehensive and acute crises of capitalism. Only under extreme conditions of social and political crisis revolutionary forces will be able to gain mass consensus and conquer the leadership of the movement.

It is therefore not by accident that a combination of reformist maximalism and neo-Keynesian minimalism mixed with a certain dose of Christian philanthropy are dominant within the movement. The proclaimed antagonism is in reality a sort of reformism – despite radical words and forms of protest – still being compatible to the bourgeois system. The dominant ideologies are actually an offspring of bourgeois progressive thought. Still the movement is victim of the deceit called “end of history” and “death of communism”. Therefore its horizon does not reach beyond the humanization of capitalism by intending to subordinate its savage aspects to ethic rules.

It is not enough to unmask those reformist illusions. On the contrary these political forces draw their continued attraction from its seemingly realistic approach. Historic experiences will be necessary to detract those utopic dreams their credibility. We will have to undergo many Argentines and Iraqs until the lessons will be learnt.

Starting in Seattle the anti-globalisation movement on its passage to Europe h as definitely taken some important steps. Under the impression of September 11, the appeal of the new Intifada but also by the intervention of the radical left the movement has actually radicalised.

It is not without motive that the cooperate media is crying about the widespread anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. Within the demonstration of November 9 many such banners appeared not only within the Italian part but also within the various international delegations. Only two years back that would have appeared to be impossible. Who thought that the historic radical left had been extinguished has been proved to be wrong.

Notwithstanding the hopes of the “post-modern” forces the notion “imperialism” has experienced a real renaissance to characterise the Western war drive. Despite Attac, pacifists and the old union bureaucracy the demonstration emitted an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist signal. However, this went hand in hand and did in no ways exclude a wide spread pacifism. We would call this specific cocktail “anti-imperialist pacifism”.

Compared with the situation at the outset of the movement it has doubtlessly taken some important steps forward. American style sensibilities to particular sub cultures, anarchist subjectivism with a radical face but bourgeois content, mysticism, hedonism, communitarism which characterised the movement are being more and more pushed back in favour of the clear consciousness of the necessity of an organised political project.

Also from a sociological point of view it constitutes an interesting development. Mainly middle class youth are being politicised and radicalised while ten years ago that strata seemed completely under the spell of liberalism. This is not a bad sign as often the petit bourgeois reacts first to political turns even more as the industrial proletariat has suffered severe defeats in the last twenty years.

Nevertheless, it is a question of life and death to the anti-imperialist forces to bring the movement to the proletariat, the old as well as the new one. With pacifist and humanist utopias to soften imperialism the way to the proletariat is blocked. There is also no space for a new Keynesian reformism.

Despite the success of the anti-imperialist bloc in Florence the revolutionary and anti-imperialist left still remains highly fragmented. Central question is the relationship with the neo-reformist leadership of the Social Forum which in the last instance is supportive to left liberalism. As long as these forces are not ready to take a clear stand not only against left liberalism striving to conquer once again governmental offices but also against those declaring left liberalism to be the “lesser evil”, the unity of the anti-imperialist forces will be impossible and our impact on the movement therefore limited.

The political impact of the American aggression on Iraq might produce a favourable situation for revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces. If Iraq is able to resist at least some months the existing international contradictions could become explosive not only threatening the governments of the US allies but also precipitating the opposition including the Social Forum into severe crisis. In fact the unity established in Porto Alegre is precarious as it ranges from social democrats until inconsequent revolutionaries. A global resistance movement could lead to the disintegration of the insane alliance directing the of Social Forum and pave the way to an international block not only against the war but taking the side of Iraq and the Arab masses against the imperialist slaughter. On the other hand the moderate forces might reunify with mainstream left liberalism and being rewarded by governmental posts.

We have to do the utmost to forward such a clarification. In times of frontal clashes opportunist alliances are doomed to break apart. Therefore we have to stay within the movement but at the same time fight the pacifist and neo-reformist forces. This struggle is preparing the way to a future growth of the consequent anti-imperialist forces and their ability to play a leading role. Therefore our hand must be clean and free of any link with those forces striving for a compromise with “enlightened and democratic imperialism”.

Anti-imperialist Camp , November 15, 2002

International supporters:

Tamilnadu Radical Student Union, India; Loyalty to Men and Earth, Lebanon; DHKC International, Turkey; KKE (ML), Greece; Popular Democratic Left (IDP), Mexico; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); Vietnam Veterans against the war (anti-imperialist); International Leninist Current (ILC); Red Action, Duisburg, Germany; Revolutionary Communist League Thuringia, Germany; Revolutionary Communist League, Austria; Movement for Social Liberation (BSB), Austria; SKJ, Serbia; New National Front, Chad; Al Wihda, Chad; Serguei A. Novikov, Member of CC of RKRP-RPK, Russia; Committee to Defend Filipino Progressives in Europe-DEFEND; Mohamed Regragui, Militant of the revolutionary left, Morocco; ACTUS, Chad; Annahj Addimocrati, Morroco:
Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Philippines