Italy: Sripta Manent trial (started on 16/11/2017) — Statement to the court by anarchist Alfredo Cospito
(translated by act for freedom now!)
On 16/11/2017 the SCRIPTA MANENT trial began inside the bunker courtroom of ‘Le Vallette’ prison in Turin. Imprisoned anarchist comrade Alfredo Cospito read a long declaration. Alfredo was not present in court as he was subjected to video conferencing from inside the AS2 unit in the prison of Ferrara.
Declaration to the Court:
Benevento 14th August 1878- Turin 16th 2017
Malefactors on trial
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 – Stirner
O, gentlemen, the time of life is short! .. An if we live, we live to tread on kings — Shakespeare, Henry IV
I regret every crime in my life that I haven’t committed, every desire that I have not satisfied – Senna Hoy
I want to be as clear as possible, so that my words sound like an admission of guilt. As far as it is possible to belong to an instrument, a technique, I claim my belonging to FAI-FRI with pride. With pride I recognize myself in its entire history. I am a fully-fledged part of it and my contribution carries the signature of ‘Olga Nucleus’. If this farce had been limited to myself and Nicola, I’d have remained silent. But you have involved a significant part of all those who have been giving solidarity to us over these years, among them those I love dearly. At this point I cannot refrain from speaking my mind, to remain silent would make me an accomplice of your shameful attempt to strike an important part of the anarchist movement indiscriminately. Comrades dragged behind bars and put on trial, not for what they did but for what they are: anarchists. Tried and arrested not for having claimed, like I did, an action with the acronym FAI-FRI, but for having participated in meetings, written in papers and blogs, and more simply for giving solidarity to comrades on trial. I will not use these comrades as a shield. In an era when ideas don’t count, to be put on trial and arrested for an idea says a lot about the explosive force that a certain vision of anarchy continues to have, and it also says a lot about the empty shells that democracy and so-called democratic freedoms are.
You have your reasons, I’m not denying that, after all good anarchists don’t exist, in every anarchist smoulders the desire to hurl you off that bench. For my part, I make no attempt to pass off the FAI-FRI as a recreational association or a boy scouts club. Those who have made use of this instrument, or as you ignorant of anarchy would say ‘those who are of the FAI-FRI’, claim it with their heads held high like my brothers and sisters arrested in the past, like myself in Genoa years ago and in this courtroom today. It’s our history that is teaching you that, a history that, never martyrs, never surrendered, we are paying with years of prison and isolation over half the world. Those who are not part of this history of ours and are dragged before you in chains are keeping silent out of solidarity, love, friendship, feelings that are unimaginable, incomprehensible for you servants of the state. Your ‘justice’ is abuse perpetrated by the strongest over the weakest. I guarantee, you won’t find any coward or opportunist among the defendants in this trial. The price of dignity is incalculable and its gifts are various and priceless beyond all limits and imagination, it’s always worth paying that price, and I’m ready to pay it any time. It should be of no importance to you whether it really was me who placed those bombs. Because I feel an accomplice to those deeds and all the actions claimed by the FAI-FRI. Especially as the actions you accuse me of are all in solidarity with migrants and anarchist prisoners and I agree with them totally. How could I not feel complicity when these explosions were like flares in the darkness for me. However stupid it might seem to you, for me there is a before and after the FAI. Before, when I was fanatically and stupidly convinced that only unclaimed actions had any utility, reproducibility, convinced as I was that destructive action should necessarily speak for itself and that any acronym was the devil’s shit. And after when, with the gunshot to Adinolfi I questioned these insurrectional dogmas to the point of making my new convictions real through an action. A small thing, some might say, and that would be so if behind that simple acronym there wasn’t a method that could really make a difference for we anarchists of praxis beyond and outside repression and courtrooms. However limited my contribution, however late it came, I feel I am fully an accomplice of the brothers and sisters who began this road.
Whoever they are, wherever they are, I hope they won’t blame me if I make their actions mine, they represent me. It matters little if I have never looked them in the eyes, I have read their words of fire, I agreed with them, I approve of their actions and that’s enough for me, I have no wish to appropriate but rather a strong proud will to share responsibility. Judges, I would have liked to have spit my direct responsibility for the deeds you are accusing me of in your faces (as I did in Genoa), but I cannot appropriate merits and honours that are not mine, that would be pushing things too far. You will and I will have to be content with what you would define ‘political responsibility’ in your language impregnated with authority. Don’t despair, as you are so good at inventing rock-hard evidence, however tortuous, and at resurrecting stupefying DNA, however made inconsistent from the oblivion of past files; you won’t have any trouble in taking home a good haul of years in jail. And then, if you really want to know, a sentence against me is totally appropriate, even only for my adhesion to FAI-FRI, an adhesion to a method, not to an organization, not to mention my firm and concrete will to destroy you and everything you represent. You struck at random among my dearest ones, relatives, friends without pity. Moral scruples are not your strong point, you have blackmailed, threatened, taken children away from their parents as an instrument of coercion and extortion. Comrades who have nothing to do with FAI-FRI were dragged in front of you with dull accusations and evidence. One of the reasons, not the most important, for which I claimed FAI-FRI was so as not to expose the anarchist movement to facile criminalization.
Today I find myself in court to oppose your reprisal, your miserable attempt to put ‘Croce Nera’ in the dock, a historical periodical of the anarchist movement, which with its ups and downs has since the sixties been carrying out its role of support to anarchist prisoners prisoners of war. In your fascistoid delirium you are trying to pass ‘Croce Nera’ off as FAI-FRI press organ. They didn’t even go that far in 1969 in the full anti-anarchist campaign. At the time your colleagues, once they had their pound of human flesh with the murder of the Italian ‘Croce Nera’ founder Pinelli, limited themselves to incriminating individual comrades for specific deeds, and we all know how that ended up. Now that blood is in short supply you don’t limit yourself to accusing a few comrades for specific actions, you push further to the point of criminalizing a whole part of the movement. All those who belonged to the Croce Nera editorial group, who wrote in it or even only participated in their public presentations, are all part of FAI-FRI in your inquisitorial optic. My proud participation in the ‘Croce Nera’ editorial group and in other anarchist periodicals doesn’t make these journals FAI-FRI press organs. My participation is individual, every anarchist is a monad, an island of its own, his/her contribution is always individual. I avail myself of the FAI-FRI instrument only to make war. The use of this instrument, the adhesion to the method that follows doesn’t involve my whole life as an anarchist, and in no way does it involve the other editors of the journals with which I collaborate. One of the characteristics of my anarchy is the multiform nature of the practices used in the field, all of them quite differentiated. I respond only for myself, each one responds for themself. I’m not interested in knowing who claims with the acronym FAI-FRI, I only communicate with them through actions and the words that follow them. I consider it would be counter-productive to know them personally and I don’t go looking for them either, even less to do a journal together. My life as an anarchist, also here in prison, is far more complex and varied than an acronym and a method and I shall struggle to the end so that the umbilical cord that links me to the anarchist movement is not cut by isolation and your jails.
Get it into your heads, without detracting anything from counter-information, the FAI-FRI doesn’t edit journals or blogs. It doesn’t need spectators or fans or experts in counter-information, it’s not enough to like it to be part of it, one has to get one’s hands dirty with actions, risk one’s life, put it at stake, really believe in it. Even heads twisted by authority like yours should have understood, the FAI-FRI is only made up of anonymous brothers and sisters who strike using that acronym and the anarchist prisoners who claim to belong to it, the rest is generalization and manipulation by the repression. I am taking the opportunity that you are giving me with this trial to remove the suffocating gag of censorship and have my say on topics that I really care about in the hope that my words will reach my brothers and sisters beyond these walls. The ‘community I belong to’ is the anarchist movement with all its facets and contradictions. That rich and varied world in which I have lived the last thirty years of my life, a life that I wouldn’t change for any other. I have written in anarchist papers, I continue to do so, I have participated in demonstrations, street clashes, occupations, I have carried out actions, practiced revolutionary violence. My ‘community of reference’ are all my brothers and sisters who use the FAI-FRI method to communicate, in my case, without knowing each other, without organizing themselves, without coordinating themselves, without giving up any freedom. I never confused the two levels, the FAI-FRI is simply an instrument, one of the many at anarchists’ disposition. Uniquely an instrument for making war. The anarchist movement is my world, my ‘community of belonging’, the sea in which I swim.
My ‘community of reference’ are the individuals, affinity nuclei, informal organizations (coordination of a number of groups) that communicate, without contaminating one another, through the acronym FAI-FRI, talking with one another through the claims that follow the actions. A method this which gives me, anti-civiliser, anti-organizer, individualist, nihilist, the possibility of joining forces with other anarchist individuals, informal organizations (coordination of a number of groups), affinity nuclei without giving up my freedom to them, without renouncing my personal convictions and tendencies: I define myself anti-civilizer because I think the time at our disposal is very limited before the technology, becoming aware of itself, will ultimately dominate the human race. I define myself an anti-organizer because I feel part of the anti-organizer illegalist tradition of the anarchist movement, I believe in fluid relations, free relations between anarchists, I believe in free agreement, in the given word. I define myself individualist because by nature I could never delegate power and decisions to others, nor could I be part of an organization, be it informal or specific. I define myself nihilist because I gave up the dream of a future revolution in favour of revolt now, immediately.
Revolt is my revolution and I live it every time I clash with the existent with violence. I believe that our main task today is to destroy. Thanks to FAI-FRI ‘struggle campaigns’ I give myself the possibility of making my action more powerful and effective. ‘Struggle campaigns’ that must necessarily come out of actions that lead to other actions, not out of calls or public assemblies, so that the political mechanisms of authoritativeness of which movement assemblies are full, are cut off. The only word that counts is that of who really strikes. In my opinion the assemblear method is a blunt weapon for making war, inevitable and profitable in other contexts. Adhering to the FAI-FRI ‘struggle campaigns’ with my efforts, in my case as an individualist with no part in any informal organization (coordination of a number of groups), I make use of a collective strength that is something more and different from the mere mathematical sum of the single strengths unleashed by single affinity groups, individuals and informal organizations. This ‘synergy’ makes it possible that ‘the whole’, FAI-FRI, is something much more than the sum of the subjects it is composed of. All this while safeguarding one’s own individual autonomy thanks to the total lack of direct links, knowledge, with the groups, informal organizations and single anarchists who claim with that acronym. One gives oneself a common acronym to allow individuals, groups, informal organizations to adhere to and recognize themselves in a method that safeguards their particular projects in an absolute way, those who claim FAI-FRI adhere to that method. Nothing ideological or political, only an instrument (a claim through an acronym) as the product of a method (communication between individuals, groups, informal organizations through the actions) that aims to give strength in the moment of the action without homologating, flattening. The acronym is important, it guarantees continuity, stability, perseverance, quantitative growth, a recognizable history but in fact the real strength, the real turning, consists in the simple, linear, horizontal, absolutely anarchist method of direct communication through claims without mediators, without meetings, without knowing one another, without exposing oneself excessively to repression, only those who act communicate, those who put themselves at stake with action.
The real innovation is the method. The acronym becomes counter-productive if it spills over the task for which it came to life i.e. to recognize one another as brothers and sisters who adopt a method. That’s all. Practice is our litmus paper, it is in practice that the efficacy of an instrument is tested. One has to acknowledge that the FAI-FRI experience, in constant evolution, puts us in the front of fast, chaotic transformations; one should not be taken aback. Immobilism and stagnation represent death, our strength is the exploration of new roads.
Certainly the future of this experience lies not in more structuring, but in an attempt, full of perspectives, at collaboration between single anarchists, affinity groups, informal organizations, without ever contaminating one another. Coordination instances must remain within the single informal organization, between the single groups or nuclei that form it, without overflowing beyond, without involving other FAI-FRI informal organizations and most importantly FAI-FRI groups and single anarchists who would otherwise see their autonomy, freedom, the very sense of their acting outside organizations and coordination being undermined at the base. In this way only if authoritarian dynamics are created within a group, an organization, they will remain confined there where they were born, thus avoiding contagion. There’s no whole, there’s no organization called FAI-FRI; there are individuals, affinity groups, informal organizations all of them well differentiated, that communicate through the acronym FAI-FRI, without ever coming into contact with one another. Much has been written and said about the internal dynamics of affinity groups, about informal organization and individual action. On the contrary communication between these practices has never been explored, never taken into consideration. FAI-FRI is an attempt at putting this communication into practice. Individual actions, affinity groups, organizations are all part in equal way of those instruments that anarchists have historically always given themselves. Each of these instruments has pros and cons. An affinity group unites operational speed due to a deepened knowledge between the individuals in affinity and a certain force due to the union of more individuals. Its great merits: freedom of the individual guaranteed and significant resistance to repression. Merits due to the scarce number of individuals in affinity and to the great affection and friendship that necessarily links them to one another. Organization, in our case informal, (coordination of a number of groups), guarantees a very strong availability of means and strength, but also high vulnerability due to the necessary coordination (knowledge) between the groups or nuclei, because if one is hit the risk has a ‘domino’ effect, everybody falls. From my point of view individual freedom will necessarily clash with collective decision-making mechanisms (the ‘rules’ of the functioning of the organization). This aspect represents a drastic reduction of freedom and autonomy, indigestible for an individualist anarchist.
Individual action guarantees high operational speed, high unpredictability, very strong resistance to repression and above all total freedom, the individual doesn’t need to relate to anything or anybody other than his/her own conscience. A big defect: low operational potentiality, one probably has fewer means and possibilities to carry out complex operations (which on the contrary an informal organization can achieve fairly easily if there is will and firmness).
To experiment with ways of acting so radically different, this is the innovation, the new that can destabilize and make us dangerous. No ambiguous mixing, groups, individuals, informal organizations must ever come into direct contact. To each his/her own, hybrids would weaken us. United more by a method than an acronym. FAI-FRI makes it possible to unite forces without losing one’s own nature. No moralism or dogmatism, each one relates freely, probably it will be the mixing of all this that will make the difference.
No coordination outside the single informal organization (because coordination includes the physical knowledge between all the groups and organizations making them prone to repression), no homologating, hegemonic superstructure, which crushes individuals and affinity groups. Those who experiment with the informal organization in their acting must not impose their own ways of acting outside it, just as the single individuals of action and ‘solitary’ affinity groups must not cry betrayal of the idea if brothers and sisters act in tight organized ranks. Of course this is only my point of view for what it’s worth. And to top this off, I’ll say that I piss on your penal code carefree and lighthearted. It matters little what you will decide for me, my fate will stay firmly in my own hands. I am strong, or at least I fancy I am, and your jail and isolation don’t scare me, I’m ready to face your retaliations, never tamed, never surrendered.
Long live FAI-FRI
Long live CCF
Death to the State!
Death to civilization!
Long live Anarchy!!