I went out of prison one month ago. Now I can’t really come to this meeting. Anyway nothing is over, also for me. People are still in jail for the revolt against G20, several investigations are still on the way, a lot of trials will come and the spirit of those days can’t be already over. So, I like to send few words as an individual who did his little part in all of this.
I like to share my viewpoints and I still owe something to everyone who supported me during my prison time. Whatever we share or not the same perspectives about what happened in Hamburg in July and during the following months, let me say that I truly appreciated any kind of support I received from the United We Stand campaign and this helped me out so much in keeping my thoughts fresh and alive. So thank you.
ABOUT G20 AND THE SUMMITS OF STATES AND CAPITALISM
In this kind of situations we basically have always two different issues in front of us:
The Summit and all prime ministers, capitalists, dictators and delegations of politicians who gather there. The city where the Summit happens.
I think we can’t and we shouldn’t even pretend to preview everything that would happen in a context like this, but we can share two partially different analysis that worth in general.
We can see the power of capitalism only in its decisional centers or we can also think that capitalism is a matter of the whole relationship that creates in society.
In any case I think that G20 or similar are simple vulgar displays of power that deserve some kind of open rebellion within the circumstances. However if we consider the second point of view we clearly can see how the modern metropolis are the same favorite playground of capitalism and they represent our very first cages. Modern metropolis are oppression and exploitation in themselves. They are not only the places where we can see the main presence of cops, banks, real estate agencies, courthouses, shopping-malls etc. They are really the boundaries of our daily life. Metropolis are the places that shape our relationships in a moneywise way, they’re the places where we buy and we sell our bodies, the places that define our alienation with consumerism, technologies, where we buy products done by slaves thousands km away. Cops defend all the normal functioning of metropolis, they don’t protect only the owners and politicians locked up in their ivory towers. So, I find pretty obvious that a urban revolt in 2017 is also a revolt against the metropolis in itself, being that more or less conscious by all the people who take part in it.
Except from our squats, social centers, social houses, libraries etc., I don’t see right now any safe zone for revolutionaries in a metropolis. Gentrification process that is going on everywhere in Europe shows this mechanism very well. There’s no anymore any “working-class neighborhood”. We don’t produce anything we really need inside a metropolis, we just consume while they empower their control upon us.
Of course, during a metropolitan revolt something that some comrades wouldn’t really like could happen, but we can’t be surprise by this thing and nobody couldn’t pretend to “control” a revolt. Of course, militant structures will be charged after a revolt and, of course, regime’s media will use everything they can to politically discredit a revolt. We have to decide if nowadays urban revolts are useful for revolutionaries or they are not. If we wanna truly involve all that big part of population who most of the time doesn’t use to express consciously hostility against authority, but they are the same who suffer exploitation and exclusion without a political knowledge of that, I guess revolt is necessary and it couldn’t be something in the middle.
If someone complains about the burning of little cars, the looting of small shops or the behavior of drunken people, people who don’t use masks or people who do selfies in front of barricades, we should think that these “problems” don’t come from the days of revolt, but from all other days when there’s no revolt. The days when our space and time are defined by the obedience to the State.
I think we should really talk more about how to improve our contributions to an urban revolt both if we “start” it for a specific reason or not, but a revolt is something out of control and everyone should have his/her own objectives without thinking to be able to control everything that happens. What we can surely do (and I think we have to) is giving suggestions. I think sometimes we’re good in this and Hamburg is a proof of this.
I personally never cared about “red zones” or symbolic actions next to the palaces of power, but I appreciated a lot that everyone and every different groups spent their efforts in their own goals without trying to hinder different practices. In the country I live it is really hard to find this heterogeneity of practices that don’t end in some harsh conflicts at a certain point.
I think that breaking the State monopoly of violence has to be the main thing and I’m glad that this happened in Hamburg in a larger way as possible.
I think you have really good structures that support prisoners, so I want to be very short about this. I strongly think that solidarity is the struggle in itself. If we’re not able to replicate something like Hamburg revolt in a short time, we should still keep that spirit alive and reproduce all the different practices that happened in those days. Blockages, direct actions, wild demos and so on.
Everybody should improve and go on with his/her own analysis and practices. I don’t think this should depend from the political positions of prisoners. Nobody is representative of a revolt or he/she is the owner of a practice or of a specific moment. Prisoners, in this case, are just people who are randomly caught in the streets and they just represent themselves.
I go straight from the previous point. The main problem has been this way how the proceedings are carried on. Every G20 prisoner has different dates and different courthouses in a pretty large period (from the end of August till the end of November (?)). You did a good job in trying to keep everyone “united”, so you don’t have to complain too much about this, as I recently heard.
I can just share my experience from inside the prison. We were even, at a certain point, about sending a collective public letter among 7-8 G20 prisoners after the first two trials, which I think it could be really good. I don’t go through the specific reasons about why we didn’t it at the end because this thing involves other people. But the main reason still lays in the way all our accusations and infos came step by step. The main effect has been about blocking our political conversations inside the jail and pushing everyone to think and talk mainly about own proceedings and bureaucratic shit. The fear after the first sentence did the rest. From the beginning of September it was impossible to have a common position, even among the prisoner who talked more each other.
It seems that I’m basically saying that repression works very well, which if we’ve to be sincere we couldn’t really deny this. Otherwise we would have revolts like the one in July every month in every region of Europe. I wanna be clear that every choice is always the responsibility of the person who takes it. We also argue a lot about this behavior of “saying sorry” or managing weird stories to tell to the judges, but it has been really difficult because everything has been mainly based on the single legal situation of the convicted and not on their political or ethical choices. I mean, some people who were available about “saying sorry” from the beginning, they didn’t at the end and people who were thinking to never apologize, they had to deal, at least, with this at the end. Everything was changing too fast inside the jail for people without big experiences of detentions. Partial infos from other trials, legal papers that continuously come inside, partial infos from newspapers and televisions etc. I want to be sincere and clear about my choices. I don’t feel the need to justify something, but I use to be open, especially with people who supported me. All the choices I made are completely my only responsibility.
Of course, I wouldn’t never apologize. I already have 8 sentences (besides other 2-3 trials to come) which are going to be definitive in the next couple of years (here legal proceedings are really slower than in Germany). I always used (with other convicted comrades) to read a political statement during the trials and let my lawyer do his job. Except one time when I’ve been directly caught stealing in a store and I did the same as I did in my trial in Hamburg.
I’m conscious that this “admitting” is not that ok on several different points of view. What I mainly feel is about missing a chance to say what I think when someone want to judge me, but it has been a rational choice and I don’t regret it. I don’t feel to have co-operated in the courthouse. I feel worst about the fact that I moved in a very bad way in the circumstances of my arrest. They had pictures, videos, clothes picked up and very detailed witness. Since I understood that prosecutor wanted to have more than 2 years for me, at a certain point I took in consideration this possibility to just say “yes, it’s me” if this could be a chance to make it faster and to have the conditional. So, I did it. I basically feel to have been passive and this is bad enough, but this turn I decided it would be better for me to go out as soon as possible. Simple.
Unfortunately I’m not there, but I still would like to discuss with all of you about what you mean for “political trial”. I don’t think courthouse could really be a field for our struggles. If we look it with the eyes of power, every trial is “political”. Laws and State are done to defend properties, the owner’s class and predominant culture. On our side, I don’t think that a trial with a normal legal defense is an offensive trial just because the questioned “crimes” are politically motivated. For example, I didn’t even know about German laws concerning riots before getting inside a Germam jail. I know laws in my country, but this doesn’t change my behavior towards cops. So a legal defense is not something that defines my political position at all. I don’t really care if a law is constitutional or not, if the riots have been started by cops or by demonstrators. They’re not my points at all. Of course, there’s a strong difference between making an own political statement with a normal legal defense and what I did in Hamburg. It’s not about that. It’s about how far we think that a courthouse could be a field of struggle. I probably don’t have a fixed answer. I guess the real political trial of rupture is made by the refusal to recognize the judge, the court and the whole laws and by different attempts to interrupt the proceedings anytime it’s possible. This would take in consideration strong efforts that are not sure to reach a proper goal if they’re not strongly coordinated with the comrades outside.
These are just short reflections and a quick overview of my experience that I wish they would be useful for a debate. I’m always open to share ideas and to receive critics. It’s the only way I know to improve my actions. I will keep the spirit of Hamburg’s revolt against G20 for a very long time, no matter if I spent 3 months in jail. Let me add that I received great solidarity from other prisoners and this means that there are still a lot of underdogs outside our milieu that understand very well the meaning of struggle.
So, I want to send heartfelt greetings to everyone who acted in the streets of Hamburg during those days of July and to everyone who supported me in prison. Thank you.
Still with head up high.
A former G20 prisoner