Why Struggles in Italy?
In recent times, a specific repertoire of images on Italy has dominated international media, presenting a selective, partial and limited image of the country. Examples of this are the controversial views on Italian justice that emerged in the Knox trial, the downgrading of Italian public assets by Standard and Poors and by Moody’s (always presented from the impersonal perspective of the “market”), the despicable image of women fostered by the Italian political class, and, of course, the everlasting pizza, spaghetti, and mafia. However, there is much more going on in Italy, much more that should be getting adequate coverage.
In the past two decades Italy has witnessed an increase in social conflict prompted by a variety of political subjects. Trade unions, students, migrants, precarious workers, environmental activists have voiced their right to the future, often giving birth to productive synergies.
However, these movements rarely if ever receive international coverage. We believe that the reasons for this silence are many, and have to do with linguistic limitations, the Italo-centric perspective of some movements, and the biased perspective of mainstream media.
For all these reasons, we decided to initiate Struggles in Italy, a grassroots self-education and information project in languages other than Italian. The project is entirely volunteer-run. We are precarious workers, translators, IT workers, students, researchers, environmentally conscious people, activists, and much more. We come from a variety of backgrounds, in geographical, personal, and political terms. In short, we are active citizens committed to improve the world we live in, and more specifically Italy, our country of residence or of origin.
What is Struggles in Italy?
Struggles in Italy will provide information in English, Spanish, and French on current struggles in Italy. We strive to give an international echo to Italian social movements, and to promote information and awareness in languages other than Italian. We aim to be as transparent as possible about our sources and we expect our readers to do the same. We are licensed under a Media Commons license: so take and share whatever you want, but, please, do cite us.
What is “struggle” for us?
By struggle we mean a specific moment of social conflict. Conflict is always present in modern societies, it is continuously produced and reproduced within the complex dynamics of contemporary societies in the form of explicit conflict between different interests. On some occasions these conflicts become visible, thanks to direct or indirect action, protest, rebellion or through the elaboration of a specific strategy.
A struggle can be generated by the clash of latent contradictions, or it can be produced as their side effect. Struggles can also serve reactionary purposes, for instance eliminating a preexisting contradiction and merging its original subjects. Not all struggles give birth to organized political movements capable of bringing their issues to the attention of society at large.
Our aim is to inform on current political struggles taking place in Italy. These struggles target various issues in Italian society, and their subjects, goals, and outcomes are very different. We will try to cover the struggles that we consider to be most important; in discussing them, we are particularly interested in attempts at transforming social systems towards a more equal society.
Although we believe in timely and updated information, we also want to provide background information and outline the context in which these struggles develop. Translating is not enough, as information out of context is not easily accessible. However, our primary goal is to inform, rather than engage in long-winded theoretical debates.
We will therefore document the context of these struggles, more specifically:
- The issues, contradictions and conflicts that generated the struggles;
- The actors and the movements around them, even if not directly involved;
- The (political agenda?) claims and the inside-debate generated by these struggles.
Our point of view
- We are not merely going to translate Italian language material on current struggles. We will inform on these struggles from our own point of view, and based on available sources.
- Struggles in Italy does not express a single point of view. On the contrary, it expresses a variety of views, consistent with the varied background of its authors.
- Nevertheless, we are not open to ALL views. Struggles in Italy is an anti-fascist, anti-racist, and anti-sexist space. We will never foster ideas or contributions that actively support capitalism, domination, or hierarchy, nor will we promote the idea that race or gender oppression can be accepted as minor evils in the struggle against class domination.
- In addition, we do not express points of view that explicitly refer to any kind of political party or specific movement. While some of us may be actively involved in particular struggles, we do not want Struggles in Italy to be the megaphone of this or that movement.
- Nevertheless, although we are do not support specific political stances, we do not deny the political dimension as such and we do not adhere to non-ideological or post-ideological approaches. We do believe in participation and engagement.
- Our goal is not to influence the movements, nor to point towards the “right path” that a struggle should be taking. On the contrary, we will attempt to describe their actions and voice their claims. We will try to avoid the extremely common pitfall of clicktivism, that is, to believe you’re involved in something just because you are blogging about it. We will also try to avoid the risk of fictionalization, that is, of turning struggles into nice tales that might move people to tears, but not to action.
- Although we will be autonomous from the mainstream media, we will not present ourselves under the vague notion of “impartiality”. So-called scientific or objective views have indirectly been amongst the pillars of neoliberal ideology. On the contrary, we believe that situating oneself and declaring one’s own stance is the necessary starting point for a correct and transparent description of reality. While we do value science and logic, we believe that even narrations with an informative aim can never be based on a pure logical rational reasoning. We don’t believe that any authority is capable to do so, including the judiciary one.