Commoners all around Europe, let’s unite on 17th of May

Here is a new call for the rally in Rome on the 17th:
Demostration in Rome on 17th may at 2 pm in Piazza della Repubblica against privatization and austerity #MayOfSolidarity

In the last years the rhetorical talks about public debt cut, austerity and policies to contrast the crisis have provided a justification for a continuing expropriation of resources, services and rights for everybody. Embezzlement of what is Common, sell-off of public assets, gradual dismantling of guarantees and services, are the real target of the current neo-liberal overhaul: the privatization and the concentration in a few hands of the Commons, the commodification and exploitation of life in all its aspects.

In the few years Italy has been an outright laboratory of political struggles on the Commons. The referendum success achieved by the “Movement for Water as Common Good” in June 2011 set a precedent and put the struggle for a common management of resources and essential services (either when goods are “material” or “immaterial) at the centre of the neoliberal management of the crisis.

Commons, either when related to natural resources or to knowledge and public sphere, are always the product of a cooperative social activity. In both of the cases, what stands out is the issue of access to services and their sharing, not the preservation of a supposed original nature of the assets. Indeed the city is the ground where the theme of the commons was articulated and was reshaped in a variety of self-government experiences, in occupation and re-appropriation practices having at its core the struggle against the property and the privatization of assets and common resources: from the occupations of theatres, cinemas, abandoned factories to the struggle for the environmental preservation and conversion.

In the space of the metropolis new ways to organize the resistance and new experimental practices sprouted up, thus giving a new value to practices such as occupation and self-management of spaces taken away from speculation and privatization. Such practices are immediately constituent and define prototypes of common institutions: here we can see the production of independent culture, welfare from the bottom up and indirect income, self-organized unions, alternative economies, knowledge circulation, struggles against economic rent, practices for the right to housing, building of public space.

On May 17th all these struggles will have the opportunity to gather in Rome in a great national demonstration. This latter will provide the opportunities for a meeting of minds and to re-launch and re-open a space to legitimate these experiences against the repressive and restrictive policies about rights and freedom introduced by the Renzi’s government in last weeks. As the unconstitutional draft law to ban marches in Central Rome, or as the grotesque idea of Home Office Minister Alfano aiming to introduce forms of prior identification to the most “unappeased” protesters.

We are precarious workers, intermittent workers of the show business, university students, free-lancers, citizens and committee fighting for the right to the city: all of us, we are “communards” in different way, we’ll join the demonstration being aware of this double emergency: on the one hand reshaping the scattered struggles on the commons in a constituent and transnational project, on the other deconstructing the debate on good and bad protesters.

The event of May 17th is part of the week of action “Solidarity Beyond Borders – Build Democracy from Below”, launched by the network Blockupy, nearer the time of the European Parliament elections

Europe itself, or better the need to revive some European, radical and federalist practices of movement that can connect different autonomies within and against the executive federalism of the Troika, is an issue that we can’t put off the discussions and the practices of the movements any longer.

In Italy the struggles on the Commons faced a heavy political-institutional block. In recent years only a few courageous judgments of the Constitutional Court seem to have held back the increasingly restless action of the government and of governance that aims to reduce rights, to shrink wages and to privatize the Commons. It’s obviously not enough to affirm the legitimacy of the commons basing simply on the ground of National Constitutions. The neoliberal governance offensive moves on several levels, runs over the borders of Nation States and uses those latter as the favorite places to create new hierarchies, barriers and impoverishment.

Europe is for us the minimum space for the political action of the movements and is the place to recognize, physically and politically, the enemy to fight. No fight can succeed if it remains within the Nation States borders. Europe is a space continuously reshaped by the movements of financial capital, but moreover by the routes of migrations and by the displacement of the precarious and young workforce, that, particularly from the South, is struggling for shares of welfare to win back.

We cannot oppose new sovereignties, communitarianisms or localism against the spatiality of financial capitalism. For us Europe is the space where we must try to build networks, cross-connections among cities, social areas, the space for a non-linear and multi-level political action, the place of a continuous opening towards the east and the Mediterranean Sea. Today Europe is our battlefield.

Finally, in the days when Parliament is about to legislate the so-called “Jobs Act”, we think that the struggles on the Commons and those for guaranteed income and against precarity are deeply connected. What is at stake is exactly the same: the dignity and autonomy of the individuals, the opposition to policies that alienate resources, shrink wages, erode rights and slash income. Fighting to reclaim the Commons is fighting for a universal guaranteed income, for decent wages and to release free, creative and cooperative activities from precarity extortions.