Letter from imprisoned anarchist comrade Alfredo Cospito (Italy)
Originally published in Vetriolo, anarchist journal, number 1 / Autumn 2017 (this text is also online here).
Note from Vetriolo: Alfredo wrote this text of salutation for the number zero edition of Vetriolo, in November-December 2016. This letter, as is well known, was blocked by the prison censorship. Now we can publish it. We recall that in recent months the censorship has increased a lot, a tightening vise obviously ordered by the Prosecutor Sparagna, and not just the simple zeal of the prison guards. Apparently there are definite orders about what can and cannot be sent or received (Vetriolo, for example, was not received by anybody) [comrades imprisoned for Operation Scripta Manent]. To protest the censorship,
Alfredo went on a hunger strike from May 3 to 13.
Break the isolation!
With charges that could lead to 30 years of prison time hanging over my head like a sword of Damocles, the need to communicate projects and reflections may seem absurd. Under the influence of censorship, which modifies all that I write and say, the fact that I am continuing imperturbably to communicate and write reflections that inevitably lend themselves to repression, may seem stupid and insane. It is stupidity and madness that I cannot do without, to feel alive and active.
One choice, back against the wall: continue the fight. Continue with all means at my disposal.
The inspiration for writing this article was given to me by the inquisitor Sparagna, who during his ‘monologue-interrogation’, maintained, with barely concealed embarrassment, that he would have broken us [the 22 comrades under investigation from Operation Scripta Manent] by isolation, thanks to the ‘scorched earth’ that the anarchist movement would have made around us in Italy.
Is it possible that the anarchist movement has fallen so low in Italy, feeling no empathy for comrades who have fallen into the net of repression, even to consider us as a foreign body?
The truth cannot be found in the instrumental and insane ‘logic’ of a Prosecutor from Turin. The truth is hidden in the folds, in the different expressions of solidarity that have been addressed to us, in the opportunity that can be given to us, even by a wave of repression like this one. To demonstrate this, there have been many actions of solidarity with us, all over the world; there are a few, but significant communiques of solidarity that have reached us. At first glance, these communiques seem to be the usual facade of solidarity, but in reality they take on a great importance to me.
Perhaps, because of their origins, comrades with different projects between them but who, despite everything, felt moved inside themselves. Perhaps because all these comrades participate one way or another in this anarchism of praxis that keep alive, vivacious and reactive anarchy in this world. For these reasons and many more, these words of solidarity are not small things and can become an opportunity, especially it they manage to go beyond the repression.
The opportunity that presents itself to us is the real possibility that routes that are different, but are all determined and aggressive, may, at times, intersect. It’s not for nothing that power tends to separate anarchists between good and bad.
And there Vetriolo comes in. I cannot help myself. When realism and logic tell me to shut up and wait, I rise. Vetriolo, an anarchist periodical of a deepness where one can confront in a clear and fair way, without false pretences, different positions and ideas: ‘social’ and ‘antisocial’, ‘organizing’ and ‘anti-organizing’ attitudes, partisans of anonymity or not.
I am convinced that until some knots are undone, we will continue to be tangled. I am not interested in the sterile, mathematical, quantitative unity; but in the real possibility that comrades with different perspectives can collaborate without reciprocal conditioning, without yielding anything and without distorting their own projectuality. It’s a simple question of method. In my head I have a thousand questions and some answers to which a journal of theoretical deepening like Vetriolo should face. Like all of those who try and put into practice what they say, I have many more doubts than certainties.
On a theoretical sphere, new suggestions could come out of confrontations between different ideas, offering us more possibilities and instruments.
Affinity groups, individual actions, organizations. Simple techniques to use according to the opportunities that are presented in turn, or something deeper to put into practice according ones own predispositions of character and their individual aspirations?
Simple techniques, to use coldly, with calculation and determination according to the social situation, to trigger a revolutionary process that will turn us into revolutionaries, projecting ourselves into the future?
Or are these existential choices that are invested by our deepest being and make us live our own anarchy now, right now, in a continual confrontation with the existing?
Affinity groups, individual actions, organizations. Techniques, instruments, weapons to strike, each of them has defects and qualities. The only ‘unit of measure’ that we have, to know how we can act in the way most suitable for us, is the natural disposition that each individual carries within themselves.
It is an ‘exchange’ between the freedom we lose and the new possibilities we obtain. For some, limiting their freedom (by giving themselves rules) in exchange for a stronger impact may be worth it, for others not. It is also a character element, the factors are numerous, and all touch our freedom, our sensitivity.
The hatred we feel for the system is sometimes so strong that it can make us lose our supposed freedoms in exchange for greater virulence, greater strength and greater capacity. The important thing to know is that organizations, individual actions and affinity groups are all an equal part of those ‘instruments’ that anarchists have always used throughout history. It is ridiculous to cry scandal if an anarchist chooses to use an organization as an instrument for themselves, be it ‘informal’ or ‘specific’, it is useless to be indignant, everyone makes their own choices.
The problem, in my opinion, is quite different: how to succeed in ‘communicating’, at given moments, between comrades who do not know each other, who have different ways of acting, without negating each other, without stepping on each other, without the hegemonic coordination and superstructures that pass over organizations, individuals and affinity groups without ever coming into contact with each other. But who must join forces by giving themselves common temporalities of action. I believe that this is the real challenge that lies ahead, the main knot to undo.
This entry was posted on Sunday, November 19th, 2017 at 8:39 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.