A Discussion After London for the Autonomous Movement Networks About the ESF and the N/Europa Challenge

A Discussion After London for the Autonomous Movement Networks About
the ESF and the N/Europa Challenge

"Is It Cause I’m Cool?"
Global Project, Invisibili, Ya Basta
from the becoming-movement dept.

What follows is a rethinking, a balance (also if we are more interested
in desires than calculations), an open letter for the European movement
networks on the contradictory days of London. It is a partial
contribution, a taking up of words searching for discussion. Hopefully
a single phrase in a wider compositional discussion, to share with all
groups, singularities, and the collective "bodies" with whom we passed
through the ESF last weekend.

We are not interesting in assuming a victimized tone, and so, without
omitting anything that happened Sunday (preventative arrests, police
violence, arrests protected and guaranteed by the security service of
the ESF around the stage...), we prefer to look at the affirmative
elements, the discontinuity, and the habitual researching that the
movement finds itself irreversibly in front of since the London

This letter fot the "movements," rightly so, and not for those who must
consolidate the constitution around the categories of political
entities, "closed spaces" of compatible public opinion, of a civil
society at the hands of new social democracies of Europe. This letter
is not for those who think that, in fact, they can read in
triumphalistic terms the 7,000–8,000 "real" demonstrators of Trafalgar
Square — while the police freely arrested, cornered, and backed into an
angle the Samba Band and the so-called Carnival Block (whom the police
didn’t even permit to enter into the square), while in the morning
preventative stops were made at King’s Cross, taking out of the game
those who spoke up during the practical contestation of the autonomous
networks against the official forum the previous night (Andrea,
Vittorio, and Constantino) — the movment "things" speak an estranged,
marginal language now.

What happened in London materially confirms what many people have
defined as the completion of a cycle of social movement and the opening
of a new phase. A phase that opens itself — also in non-linear terms,
not mechanistic, but chaotic and complex — inside the horizon of the
new global war. The rapid passage that since September 11th, from
Bush’s and the Neo-cons’ preventative war, brought us to the crisis of
the "American coup d’Empire." A passage that in all of its
contradictions saw diverse forms of resistence emerge and that are
putting a possible material resolution of the Iraqi crisis in the
centre of discussion again. It is, in fact, made up of chaotic dynamics
that point out to social movments the necessity of a new research,
where No-war public opinion (the so-called second superpower), and in
many cases tends to define itself as a sustaining force of the Empirial
Judge, a revised version of humanitarian intervention.

The London ESF and its flop (despite the finance and the internal
concentration of political party forces, the isiolation is extremely
significant: almost none of the European headlines — in newspapers and
not party publications — spoke about the ESF!) is entirely inside the
new Imperial and European dynamic. Better yet: it accomplished its
marginal duty that best fitted it. The good testimony, ordered and in a
governative air, in a soup of anti-European sovreignism full of
ideological slogans, with the typical attitude of the Marxist-Leninist
fan, on Palestinain resistance or all of the worldwide resistances
(those, clearly, far away from the concrete European metropolis like
London, where police arrests are more frequent than the rain and where
there are around 300,000 video surveillance cameras)!

Aside, beyond the official forum, the autonomous movement networks met.
They did not chose one place, but many: Middelsex University, Candem
Centre, RampaArt to name only a few. It was a proliferation often
dispersive and chaotic, but with some absolutely common themes:
precarity and income, migration, comunication and research.

There were events, meetings and formidable and rich discussions on
these themes: the first Europrecariat assembly, the seminar with
Micheal Hardt, the meetings promoted by the No-Borders Network, the
presentation of another number of Green Pepper magazine. Moments of
convergence of the Northern European networks (English, Danish, German,
French, Sweedish) and those Euro-Mediterranean (Italian, Greek,
Spanish). Moments of solid thematic and discursive convergence, of a
common projection inside a frame of diffused understanding of the new
phase that awaits us and of the tendencies that gradually affirm
themselves on the terrain of European social conflict (the conflict of
the precariat and migrant in primis). Above all, the desire of
connection and the production of a common agenda prevailed, that with
all of its limits, is able to move beyond the "closed" and fading
instrument of the ESF: a grand meeting event about the precariat and
migrants to fix for the month of January in Berlin, April 2nd as a
European day of conflict against the immigrant detention centers and
the deportation of immigrants, and the EuroMayDay 2005.

All of this happened between actions and police repression (60 stops in
three days, strange no?!?). All of this happened in a common research
dynamic that is not above critiques and that is undoubtably touched by
strong limits.

The difference between the autonomous spaces and the ESF and its
"little helpers" maybe consists in the fact that the limits were at the
center of the political discussion of the networks right away. Limits
that regard the capacity of expansion, of the resistance to
self-reference, of the construction of public space. Even though the
awareness of the public space crisis of the No Global movement (social
forums) is diffused, there is still a tentative to find a definition
that does not create a small minority. The meeting in Berlin and the
constitution of a European process that takes us to MayDay 2005 could
be, from this point of view, an occasion that is anything but marginal.
It goes to say that the shared considerations discussed found a
dramatic confirmation in the "strange" preventative and surgical
arrests of Sunday morning, or in those guaranteed (when we say
guaranteed, we mean permitted and physically covered) by the lines of
the Social Forum protecting the stage from many people that asked to
speak to not let the subtle violence pass silently.

Without victimism we say: Who gives a damn! The problem is how to move
ahead, valorizing the patrimony of European relations that for years
have been constructed and consolidated, building a new public space of
the multitudes, continuing to put comunicative innovation and the
conflicts that have been created up until now into play.

There are not shortcuts and if there are they are only "table tricks."
There is only experimentation as method and substance of the
"becoming-movement". To those who are convinced that in London on
Sunday there would be 30,000 or 100,000 people and that everything
would proceed smoothly, we offer a pair of glasses and say: Yes,
everything went smoothly, clean and compatible with the research space
of the Imperial command, the ordinative war, internal or external. We,
as an attitude, resist. We are the stripings, the escape lines,
discontinuity. We are happly and without presumption something else.

Ya Basta
...after London,
Thursday October 21st, 2004

[English translation lightly edited.]

1. "Global Project, Invisibili, Ya Basta" -

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