The violence non-violence contrast is a shameful, very ideological product, so elastic that it can be used according to the conveniences. It doesn't exist in nature. Instead events, causes and effects, processes and interactions, they exist. The molecules of an overheated gas stir themselves. You can find how, you can draw a theory and do the calculations. It occurs to no one to make moral judgments on their agitation.
There are single celled organisms, that although not possessing a nervous system, show a series of "intelligent" behaviors, for example, in the search for food. However, they begin to stir in a chaotic way as soon as the food decreases: instead of becoming calm not to dissipate too much energy, they do exactly the opposite. They consume faster the little there is, trying desperately to eat in order to survive.
Man is a social animal. His needs are infinitely more complex than those of a single celled organism. He freaks out for much less than the vital amount of food. At a basic level he might suffer from starvation, while he gets enormously pissed off when they take away from him what he has conquered or, even more so, when he begins to make comparisons with what he might become instead of with what he has been.
The coordinated protesters of thousand cities in eighty countries have raised placards with an essential, and so chiefly effective message. We are the 99% while the other 1% call the shots, eat everything and force us all into the infernal circle of the unmet need. Elementary. Marx has settled the matter from a theoretical point of view, identifying the processes of value formation and its distribution among the classes (The Capital, Book III, "The incomes and their sources"). As we know, he came to the conclusion that it is not a matter of fair distribution of value but it's about eliminating the classes. It's about transforming the work time in life time. Revolutions have never occurred with the aim to distribute the wealth according to "justice"; revolutions have been totalitarian, the one who has won has always taken everything.
The bourgeoisie, is now raising unbearable moans to heaven about the "Sack of Rome" (which means about three burnt cars and a few broken store windows), but, assisted by an obliging crowd of ruffians, it certainly didn't ask the "feudals" it was overruling (the aristocrats) if they could just please get out of the way. The guillotine has been working all day long, meanwhile they have defeated dynastic armies, they have put to the sword the whole Europe and have continued the work by colonizing the world with the methods that we know. Above all, it bowed to wage slavery billions of proletarians while gouging out their blood. Today, the bourgeoisie talks about non-violence while it supports the Libyan butcher, a maneuvered tribal war that floats on a sea of oil. ViolenceÉ by whom and upon whom?
The guardians of the capitalist calmness ask themselves why has there been violence only in Athens and Rome among a thousand cities? They hint at the so-called subversives and anarchic-insurrectionists. They pretend to ignore that since February the world entered into a fibrillation phase. They removed the banlieues of Paris and London. They relegated to the history the fires in Chicago, Watts, Los Angeles. They believe they can use the proletarian riots in China - two hundred thousand a year - against "communism".
If we really want to give a meaning to the question, we have to remember that sacks and salary cuts in Athens force thousands of people to flee the city and return to the country, where at least people can survive. We see that in Italy there are about ten million "atypical" workers, i.e. over-exploited temporary employers. Two or three million are unemployed. Everybody is involved in this massacre, everybody has at least some relatives that can only survive with the help of others, and everybody can see someone around him starving. Even an idiot would understand that, by pure statistical calculation, among the mass of millions of pissed off young people, a few thousand will begin to stir things up. Since a human being with his nervous system is a bit more complex than a bacterium, the exchange of information among the angry doesn't happen by vibrissae touches but through the Internet, by travelling by train or by plane from one city to another, by venting the anger against the symbols of those who promise the heaven of the god money and afterwards deny it.
Belly and legs come before the theoretical layout, the organization comes at last. We don't want a leader! the youth shout in thousand cities: hopefully they have understood that the only possible leaders are nowadays the infiltrated emissaries of the 1% mentioned by the placards. It is obvious that sooner or later they will have to think about organizing themselves. Facebook is not enough and the State would make the most of a beautiful confusion, indignados and hooligans, marxists and criminals. In London the politique-politicienne, which is the possible politics today, has embraced the most infamous delation. In Athens it has beaten the violent ones picketing in defense of the parliament. In Rome it has marshaled an impressive sample of improvised cops, including pathetic ex-smashers, much more hard-liners than the state pigs (young people, if there's any chance you have once followed them, bear in mind what they say today!). It was time for the champions of the policy to rise to the surface. The margin for the mystification is getting narrower, it's quite clear that whatever they think or say about themselves, the window breakers represent an effective litmus test. Violence? Come on, aside from the historic advent of the bourgeoisie, it is so obvious to point out that every single day, only in Italy, three people die in the workplace, a dozen of deaths is caused by the beloved burnt cars, that some thirty die because of medical malpractice, not to mention wars, and so on.
Some say that the attacks of the boys, the flames, charges of the police, arrests, have dimmed the great demonstration in Rome of the 300,000 and the others simultaneously held in other thousand cities. It is true. But only because the media profit by sensational events and not by the grey routine. Procession-like demonstrations have become pointless, they are indeed grey routine. Nothing is more soporific than the humdrum union routine, nothing is more melancholic than the young shouting "No violence!" while getting a good thrashing by the police (seen in Madrid). Nothing is more mystifying than proclaiming oneself "indignant" rather than angry, rebellious, subversive, or even communist (as far as you know what this means).
The intellectual, the priest, the moralist are filled with indignation; the politician and the journalist as well, because of a professional duty. But it's easy to see how sixty years of indignation against the bourgeois power's expression have been effective. Luckily the media coverage has ignored the dullness of the innocent indignant and pernicious politicians, and has extensively shown the indigestible tip of the iceberg. The telluric potential, which has devastated half of the world, can only have two options to keep on manifesting itself; it can either mature into radical forms, giving itself goals and organization, or integrate itself into the current political practice.
Millions of people braved States' weapons risking their own lives. Thousands have died and are dying without a programmatic perspective, just because they had enough of their meaningless life. The photogenic flames, the masked boys, the police phalanxes of western metropolis, all are epiphenomena of a planetary chaos where the survival of an unsound system is at stake. Paradoxically, where deception is greatest there is the maximum potential. The Western bourgeoisie had just breathed a sigh of relief saying "yes, in North Africa and the Middle East, they fought for democracy, but since here we have democracy ...". Here is the answer, faster than the homologated thought: also "here" in thousand cities, millions of people are fighting against the meaningless life. There is no demand on the placards of the 99% but just a statement. It will be tough to take a new direction, but which "demand", which "reform" will ever be able to undermine the nature of a social system? When in New York a thousand demonstrators tried to do a sit-in on the Brooklyn Bridge, the police has arrested 700 of them. Then the mayor allowed them in a square-ghetto where they could let off steam without pestering the life of anyone.
Typical. And then what? The American bourgeoisie, the 1% that matters, has already expressed its feelings: "Kill those Bolsheviks, tear them to pieces." They already said that about the free Web's hackers. Now become indignant, if you like.
It is known, many tell about refusing the "violence" but in their hearts they are sick of demagogy and they are happy when the deadly processions are broken off. Anyhow in Rome the bulk of the demonstrators remained inactive with no reactions to the "thugs" and the makeshift sub-cops, or to the old nostalgics of the PCI (Italian Communist Party). The latter found themselves totally unprepared. Days of large teams of stewards are gone, embittered by impotence, they have restricted themselves to invective and to send (and sometimes holding back) some over-excited old militants to certain defeat. Conspiracy theories are very popular: the simple impression of an organization among the "thugs" breaking the store windows has produced a conspiracy hunting seeking who is using whom and what. In fact the organization was unique, based on modern means of communication, shared, international. It was an ordered spontaneity while the old political/union organizations were queuing up behind it.
Well, a big interclass movement. The class of the proletarian was totally absent. A faint hint of social polarization which has opposed those who are or believe they are against capitalism and those who lie more or less comfortably in it by using all its political, trade unionist, parliamentarist, and democratical categories. A good dose of bourgeois hysteria due to simple and unmistakable fear. Nothing to really worry the apparatus of the ruling class, except for the scary (to them) extending of the protests and its global network organization. In the background of a society which no longer works, the redeeming, proverbial, corrupting crumbs of the feast have run out.
The ongoing process is irreversible. There is no way out from the historical crisis of value. Reflections on the society will probably produce chaos, demagogy or repression, but you can already feel in the air that the old political categories are left to the prerogative of hysterical zombies. Capitalism is not currently in danger except because of its own issues. Meanwhile a conviction is growing that this might not be the only possible form of society. Smashing windows stores is useless and even a little bit silly, but if we were in the shoes of a bourgeois, we would pray the Virgin Mary, martyred in Rome, so that the mass of the "pissed-off ones" do not come up with something useful and smart. Something which will, however, actually happen.
1946: Forza, violenza, dittatura nella lotta di classe
2001: Genova, o delle ambiguità (manifestation pour le G8)
2005: Una vita senza senso (le temps de vie volé par le Capital)
2006: Banlieue è il mondo (l‘incendie des banlieues françaises)
2006: Nous, les zonard voyous (EN L‘incendie des banlieues françaises)
2008: Non è una crisi congiunturale (l'irréversible sénilité du capitalisme)
2009: Fenomenologia del leader movimentista (écrite avec en tête quelques personnages réels)
2011: Marasma sociale e guerra (les révoltes d'Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient)