The Slumber of Politics Produces Evictions
It is clear by now how Bologna’s government has been taken over by the public prosecutor’s office. In the past few months, police have been investigating the municipal administration’s decision to grant the use of running water to residentially occupied buildings. We have witnessed an alarming number of unjustified restraining orders placed on many local activists. The eviction notice which was scotch taped to Atlantide’s doors on Thursday October 1st gave us 5-days to clear the building. All of which fits perfectly well in this dismal picture.
Yesterday morning, Friday October 2nd, we interrupted the City Council’s Question Time meeting demanding a public and political response from the Mayor who had just signed the eviction notice. After our action, the Mayor candidly spoke to the press, admitting that, “This is no longer political. I am the Mayor, I cannot follow dreams: Now I have to evict you.”
Our needs-&-dreams are extremely different from those of an administration which practices pinkwashing by supporting civil partnerships while at the same time forcefully evicting those queers who practice autonomy and self-management (autogestione). An administration which fills its mouth with empty talk of “welcoming refugees” while at the same time beating those refugees who don’t comply with the city’s guidelines for “integration.” An administration which concedes agency to sexist, racist and homophobic subjects in public space (No 194, Northern League, Sentinelle), avoiding in each of these incidents, to face its political responsibility by hiding itself behind concepts of “legality” and “lawful procedures.” There is no such thing as a “democratic bulldozer.”
We know very well by now that “legality,” today’s rallying cry for parties left and right, is a continuation of politics “in disguise”: It is a way to hide the reactionary political aims behind the alleged neutrality of the law in order to outlaw all those forms of life which resist against the unrelenting processes of neoliberal assimilation.
In Bologna, which is an historical laboratory for privatization (sussidiarietà). For some time, the PD (Democratic Party) forced whatever kind of sprouting social initiative to become either a start-up venture or a service based on free labour. Atlantide has always refused these conditions. Our mobilization tried to unmask this logic; we forced the administration to sign a formal document in which Atlantide is acknowledged as a project based on self-management. On this basis, one year ago, we decided to start a dialogue with the administration’s cultural sector. We saw the possibility to innovate new forms of the relationship between institutions and self-managed realities.
This dialogue has now been violently interrupted. The Mayor and his Council, whether they like it or not, will have to take responsibility for the violent closure of an historical space of fags, lesbians, trans*, and feminists. This is not going to be a smooth election for them.
Nevertheless, we are sure that whatever social services are so urgently intended to displace Atlantide will meet the same fate of those planned to replace the evicted occupation of Santa Marta, a pension and kindergarten, or of the study rooms in place of Bartleby in Via San Petronio Vecchio (to cite just a few recent examples): They will never exist. After our eviction, the building at Porta Santo Stefano will remain empty for years and years, or forever, just as has happened to all of the evicted occupations in this city.
Though they want Atlantide to be “freed from things and people” (verbatim from the eviction notice), they will find it full of free things and free people. Hordes of furious faggots, perverted feminists, warrior lesbians, unruly trans*, and unlabeled punks will flood every neighborhood.
Atlantide stays. Atlantide is everywhere.
Over the years we have come into contact with many political groups in Italy and elsewhere. We remain dedicated to fostering transfeminist, anticapitalist, d.i.y. activist networks on a national and transnational level. Whether you knew us before or you are just meeting us now your statements and expressions of solidarity with Atlantide and its fabulous, resilient inhabitants, and to the collectives that animate her, please do so by posting a statement on the Atlantide R-esiste Facebook page or by sending an email to atlantideresiste[at]gmail[dot]com.
Needless to say, every expression of affection and solidarity is deeply appreciated and makes us stronger.
You are all invited to the upcoming events in defence of Atlantide:
Sunday Oct. 4th, “Never a last time! Party”, h 17-21, @ Atlantide, Piazza di Porta Santo Stefano 6;
Monday Oct. 5th, general assembly, h. 20.30, Palazzina della Biblioteca delle Donne, Via del Piombo 5.