Operation Scripta Manent – Statement to the court by Alfredo Cospito (Italy)

Corrected version received from Anarhija (27/11/2017)

Benevento 14 August 1878 – Turin 16 November 2017

The Trial Against Malefactors[1]

“The Union of Egoists is your instrument, it is the sword with which you increase your natural strength; the Union exists thanks to you. Society, on the other hand, demands much from you and it exists without you; in short, society is sacred, Union is yours; society uses you, the Union–you use it “

“Gentlemen, the time of life is short … if we live, we live to tread on kings” Shakespeare, Henry IV

“I work for every crime I have committed in my life, I’m afraid of every desire I have not satisfied in my life”Senna Hoy

I want to be as clear as possible, my words sound like an admission of guilt. As far as it is possible to belong to an instrument, to a technique, I claim with pride my affiliation with FAI-FRI. With pride I recognize it throughout its history. I belong in full and my contribution is signed by the “Olga Cell”. If this farce was limited to me and Nicola I would be silent today. But you have involved a significant part of all those who have shown solidarity in these years, among them my dearest friends.

At this point I cannot refrain from telling my own story, by silence I would be complicit with the attempt by you to strike at an important part of the anarchist movement. Comrades dragged behind bars and tried not for what they did but for what they are: anarchists. Processed and arrested not for having claimed, like I did, an action with the acronym FAI-FRI, but for having participated in assemblies, written in newspapers and blogs even more simply giving solidarity to their comrades during a trial. I will not take shelter behind these comrades.

In an era where ideas don’t matter — to be tried and arrested for an idea, it says a great deal about the disruptive force that a wartime vision of anarchy continues to have, on the empty shell that is democracy and the so-called democratic liberties. You have your reasons, do not deny it, in the end there are no good anarchists, in every anarchist the desire to flog you down from that will come down. For my part, I make no attempt to dispose of the FAI-FRI by recreational association or by junior woodchucks club. Who used this tool, or like you ignorant of anarchy said “Who are in FAI-FRI”, he/she claimed it with head held high, like my sisters and brothers arrested in the past, as well as myself in Genoa year ago and today in this courtroom. It is our story that teaches you, we are paying for our history, never martyrs, never giving up, with years of potential jail and isolation across the globe.

Those who are part of this are dragged in chains in front of you are silenced for solidarity, affection, for love, for friendship, these unthinkable feelings, incomprehensible to you servants of the state. Your “righteousness” is overwhelmingly the strongest over the weakest. I assure you, in this trial, that you will not find that any of the defendants are cowards or opportunists. The price of dignity is incalculable and its gifts are desperate and expensive beyond any limits and imagination and it is always worth paying that price, and I am ready to pay it at all times. For you it should not matter if I was really placing those bombs. Because I still feel complicit with all the actions claimed by FAI-FRI. All the more so because the actions that you are accusing me of are all in solidarity with migrant and anarchist prisoners and I share these sentiments in full. How could I not feel complicit when those explosions were for me as light glows in the darkness. No matter how silly it may seem to you, for me there is a before and an after the FAI.

Before I was fanatically and stupidly convinced that only non-claimed actions had utility, reproducibility, convinced that destructive action would necessarily have to be spoken alone and that every acronym would be devil’s dung. After that, with shooting Adinolfi, I questioned these insurrectionalist dogmas as they came to solidify my new convictions in an action. There is little that one would say, and it would be true if behind that simple acronym there was not a method that could really make us anarchists in practice to make the difference beyond and outside of all repressions and courtrooms. Although my contribution has been limited, although I have been late, I feel total complicity with all of the brothers and sisters who have started this journey. Whoever they are, wherever they are, I hope thy won’t mind me if I make mine their actions, these actions represent me. It matters little if I have never looked into their eyes, I read their words of fire, I shared them, I approve of their actions, I have no intention to appropriate them for myself, but I have a strong proud willingness to share responsibility.

Judges, I would have liked to spit in your faces (as I did in Genoa) my direct responsibility for the actions I am accused of, but I cannot approve of honours that are not mine, it would be a very big stretch. You will have to, and I will have to be content with what you in your language would call “political responsibility.” Do not despair, as good as you are at make up rock-hard evidences, no matter how tortuous, and at resurrect astonishing DNA, no matter how inconsistent from oblivion of past dismissal, you will not have any trouble sentencing us to years of jail. And then, if you want to know it, my condemnation is all there is, just for my adherence to FAI-FRI, joining a method not to an organization, not to mention my firm will to destroy you and everything you represent. You hit randomly the nearest and dearest, relatives, friends, shooting in the dark. Moral scruples are not your strength, you have used blackmail, threats and the removal of children from parents as tools of coercion and extortion. Comrades who have nothing to do with the FAI-FRI have been dragged in front of you with bland accusations and evidence.

One of the reasons, not the main one, for which I claimed the FAI-FRI was to not expose the anarchist movement to easy criminalization. Today I find myself in the courtroom to counteract your prosecution, your petty attempt to put on trial the “Black Cross”, a periodical of the anarchist movement that from it’s highs and lows since the 1960s onwards plays a role in supporting the prisoners of anarchic warfare. In your fascist delusions you try to pass off “Black Cross” as the FAI-FRI press organ. They have not tried this hard since the full anti-anarchist campaign in 1969. At that time, your colleagues, having once had their pound of human flesh with the killing of the founder of the Italian “Black Cross”, Pinelli, confined themselves to the incrimination of individual comrades for specific actions, we all know how it ended.

Today since blood is scarce you do not limit yourself to specific actions against four comrades and you try to criminalize a whole section of the movement. All those who have been part of the Black Cross editorial team, who have written about it or who have only just attended their public presentations, are all part of the FAI-FRI in your inquisitorial view. My proud participation in the editorial office of “Black Cross” and other anarchist periodicals does not make these press releases of the FAI-FRI press organs. My participation is individual, every anarchist is a monad, an island apart, the contribution is always individual. I’m using the FAI-FRI tool to wage war. The use of this tool, the adhesion to the method that follows, doesn’t involve all my life as an anarchist, it doesn’t involve any other newspaper editors with whom I work. One characteristic of my anarchism is the multiformity of the practices put in place, all very distinct. I answer only for me, everyone answers for themselves. I’m not interested in knowing who uses the acronym FAI-FRI, I communicate with them only through the actions and the words that follow them. I consider counterproductive to know them personally and I’m not going to look for them, much less to produce a newspaper together. My anarchist life, even here in prison, is far more complex and varied than an acronym and a method, and I will struggle to the point that the umbilical cord that binds me to the anarchist movement will not be cut off by the isolation and by your prison cells.

Get it straight, the FAI-FRI, without taking anything away from counter-information, does not edit newspapers and blogs. No need for spectators or fans or counter-information specialists, do not just look to FAI-FRI with sympathy to become part of it, it needs you to get your hands dirty with actions, risk your life, put yourself into play, really believe it.

Even the knuckle-heads of authoritarianism like you should understand, the FAI-FRI is solely anonymous brothers and sisters who strike using that acronym and the anarchists prisoners who claim membership, the rest are generalizations and tools for repression.

Let me now take the opportunity to remove the stifling gag of censorship and to express the arguments that are in my heart in the hope that my words can reach beyond these walls, to my brothers and sisters. My “community of belonging” is the anarchist movement with all its facets and contradictions. That rich and varied world where I have lived the last thirty years of my life, a life that I would not exchange with anyone else.

I wrote in anarchist newspapers, I keep writing, I participated in demonstrations, clashes, occupations, actions, I practiced revolutionary violence. My “reference community” is all my brothers and sisters who use the FAI-FRI method to communicate, in my case, without knowing each other, without being organized, without coordination, without giving up any freedom. I have never confused the two levels, the FAI-FRI is simply a tool, one of many available to anarchists. A tool exclusively to wage war.

The anarchist movement is my world, my “community of belonging”, the sea where I swim. My “reference community” is the individuals, affinity groups, informal organizations (coordinates of several groups) that communicate, without contamination, through the acronym FAI-FRI by means of the claims that follow actions. This method gives even me — an anti-civilizationist, anti-organizational, individualist, nihilist — the possibility of joining forces with other anarchist individuals, informal organizations (coordinates of multiple groups), affinity groups without giving up my liberties, without giving up my personal convictions: I call myself anti-civilizationist because I think the time available to us is very limited before technology, becoming self-awareness, will definitively dominate the human race. I call myself anti-organizational because I feel I am part of the illegally anti-organizing tradition of the anarchist movement, I believe in fluid, free relations between anarchists, and I believe in free agreement of the word. I call myself individualist because by nature I could never delegate power and decisions to others, but I could be part of an informal or specific organization. I call myself a nihilist because I gave up the dream of a future revolution in favour of insurgency here and now. The insurgency is my revolution, and I experience it every time I confront the existent with violence. I think our main task today is to destroy it.

Thanks to the FAI-FRI “campaign of struggle”, it gives me the opportunity to enhance my actions. “Campaigns of struggle” that must necessarily come from actions calling for other actions, and not by appeals or public assemblies, thus cutting the political authority mechanisms of which the assembly movement is full of. The only word that matters is that of those who strike concretely. The assembly method, in my opinion, is a obtuse weapon to wage war, though inevitable and fruitful in other areas. By adhering with my strength to the FAI-FRI “campaign of struggle”, in my case as individualist without being part of any informal organization (coordination of several groups), I use a collective force that is something more and different than the simple mathematical sum of individual forces emanating from individual affinity groups, individuals and informal organizations.

This “synergy” means that “the whole”, FAI-FRI, is something more than the sum of the subjects that compose it. All while safeguarding individual autonomy thanks to the lack of direct communication and knowledge with the informal groups and organizations and individual anarchists who claim with that acronym. An acronym is used in common to give individuals, groups, and informal organizations the ability to adhere to and recognize a method that securely safeguards their own particular projects, those who use FAI-FRI adhere to that method. Nothing ideological or political, only an instrument (the claim through the acronym) produced by a method (communication between individuals, groups, informal organizations through actions) which aims at strengthening in the moment of action without homogenization or flattening. The acronym is important, it ensures continuity, stability, constancy, quantitative growth, a recognizable story, but in fact real power, real change, consists of the simple, linear, horizontal, absolutely anarchistic method of direct communication through claims without intermediaries, without assemblies, without knowing each other, without exposing itself excessively to repression, only those who act communicate, who put him/herself on the line by action. The method is the real innovation. The acronym becomes counterproductive if it takes precedence over the task from which it was born, that is recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters who adopted a method. That’s all.

The praxis is our litmus test, it is in praxis that you test the effectiveness of an instrument. It should be noted that the ever-evolving FAI-FRI experience produces sudden and chaotic transformations, you should not be caught unprepared. Immobility and staticity represent death, our strength is exploring new ways. The future of this experience is certainly not in greater structuring, but in an attempt, burdened with perspectives, at collaboration between individual anarchists, affinity groups, informal organizations, without ever contaminating each other. Coordination must remain within the individual informal organization, between individual groups or nucleus that compose it, without tracing outside, without involving the other FAI-FRI informal organizations, and above all, the FAI-FRI groups and individual anarchists otherwise they would undermine their autonomy, their freedom, the very meaning of their own actions, outside of organizations and coordination. Only in this way, when authoritarian dynamics are created within a group or an organization, they will remain limited where they are born, avoiding infection.

There is no single whole, there is no organization called FAI-FRI, there are individuals, affinity groups, informal organizations that are all distinct and communicate through the FAI-FRI acronym, without ever coming into contact with each other. Much has been written and said about the internal dynamics of affinity groups, informal organization and individual action. Communication between these practices, on the contrary, has never been explored, never taken into account. FAI-FRI is an attempt to put this communication into practice. Individual actions, affinity groups and organizations are in the same way all part of the same tools that anarchists have historically always used. Each of these tools has advantages and disadvantages. The affinity group combines operational speed knowing well each other in affinity, with a certain power due to the union of individuals. It’s great advantages: freedom of the individual guaranteed and considerable resistance to repression. Advantages due to the small number of affinities and the great affection and friendship that necessarily links them. The organization, in our informal case (coordination of several groups), guarantees a strong availability of resources and strength, but high vulnerability due to the necessary coordination (knowing each other) between the groups or nucleus. If one person gets hit, there is a risk of “domino” effect, everyone falls.

From my point of view, individual freedom will necessarily clash with collective decision-making mechanisms (“operating rules” of the organization). This aspect represents a drastic reduction of freedom and autonomy for an individualist anarchist. Individual action produces high operational speed, high unpredictability, a strong resistance to repression and, above all, total freedom, the individual must not be accountable to anything or anyone except their own conscience. A big defect: low operational potential, there are certainly fewer means and possibilities to carry out complex operations (which, conversely, an informal organization, if it has will and firmness, can carry out with some ease). Repeated experimentation with so radically different ways of operating, this is the innovation. The new that can mislead the state and make us dangerous. No ambiguous mixing; groups, individuals, informal organizations should ever come into direct contact. To each their own, hybrids would weaken us. United, more than by an acronym, by a method.

The FAI-FRI gives you the means to combine forces without distorting each other. No moralism or dogmatism, everyone relies freely as it is likely, probably the combination of all this makes the difference. No coordination outside the single informal organization (because coordination includes physical knowledge between all groups and organizations making them permeable to repression), no homologous superstructure, hegemonic, that crushes the individual or groups. Those who implement their actions in informal organization must not impose their way of working on others. As any individual of action and “solitary” affinity groups do not have to shout about betraying the idea if brothers and sisters act in compact and organized ranks.

Of course this is just my point of view, for what it’s worth.

To end in style, I’ll say that on your penal code I piss light-heartedness and cheerfulness. No matter what you decide about me, my destiny remains firmly in my hands. I have big shoulders, or at least I think I do, and your jail and your isolation do not frighten me, I’m ready to face your retaliation — you will never tame me, I will never surrender.

Long live FAI-FRI

Long live CCF

Death to the state!

Death to civilization!

Long live Anarchy!!

Alfredo Cospito

translated into English for Insurrection News by El Errante; and by anarhija.info

[1] The trial aginst Italian anarchists as “malefactors”, in Benevento 1878

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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 at 1:36 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.