Naples October 23rd: the time of the class struggle in white gloves is about to end

Noi non abbiamo patria – October 25th 2020 – Italian version

During the late evening of 23 October this blog commented on its facebook page (without too many worries) what was happening in the streets and squares of Naples:

“… And if everything will be locked down, the Neapolitan proletariat and unemployed people, accustomed to “inventing fatigue”, will not know how to put bread at the table. Behind the revolt there may be the long hand of the Camorra or the usual strong powers that have always been in collusion with the Camorra. But if the proletarian anger of Naples is in the square tonight, no lockdown and no exploitation will be able to contain it. Government Conte, De Luca, Confindustria and Camorra YOU CANNOT CONTAIN IT, sooner or later it will explode like a bomb in your hand.

What have we really witnessed? The gut reaction, instinctive, in front of the live images of Sky Tg24, la Repubblica [Italy nationwide newspaper – n.d.r.] and other live streams on social media, was for the most part that of closing one’s eyes in front of an incomprehensible, useless, harmful and dangerous, which serves anything but strengthening social struggles. After the night, it is not possible to exorcise that monster, it is good to go back to it and reflect, because it will not remain an isolated episode.

This blog considers the position of InfoAut essentially correct, which we invite you to read, on the night of October 23 in Naples. At the same time, there’s a need to add some few further reasoned comments. Many comrades, militants and combative workers will continue to disagree and consider the things written later as “adventurists”, while it is clear that most of the political formations that refer to communism and Marxism (each according to their own interpretations and tendencies) already they disagree now.

In Naples it is a revolt.

This is the beginning of the post on facebook. A provocative, agitating exclamation, little reasoned to immediately make a wall against the narrative of the prevailing mainstream of the liberal, democratic and bourgeois press, but also against that of the more or less class leftist formations.

It has been disagreed, “but what a revolt”. The night in Naples on 23 October was preceded by the events of Arzano, a small town in the northern suburbs of Naples, where the town shopkeepers, on 15 October, made the first blocks against the mini lockdown measures imposed by local administrations. It was said by a large political area on the left that behind those blocks there was the Camorra which keeps small shopkeepers and little shops owner on a leash, already indebted in general with the banks and the state, and that in the previous months to keep in their businesses became further indebted, but this time by resorting to the only credit available, that’s from the Camorra.

So before the night of October 23 in Naples there are the facts of Arzano, which depending on the dominant narrative were made through the direction of the Camorra, the support of fascist political groups, the action of the middle class shopkeepers on their leash, the proletarian or lumpenproletariat laborers dedicated to criminal trafficking, Casa Pound [neo fascist formation group – n.d.r.] and Ultras [hooligans soccer teams supporter – n.d.r.] of football supporters. It would be enough to say that the Ultras were in Arzano to summarize the social and political connotation of the blocks against the first mini lockdowns.

And what’s about the night of October 23 in Naples? The same thing, the same “murky” business, they reply.

This portrait of October 23 of Naples does not convince. The story that all is directed by the Camorra + fucking middle class shopkeepers + vulgar and camorra underclass laborers + fascists  is the result of the inability to deal with what this general crisis of today’s capitalism is, aggravated by the pandemic, which excludes any possibility of the return to the struggle of the proletariat in “white gloves”, and that the rebellions cannot but carry with them the social shit and the degradation of capitalist and bourgeois society that suffocates the urban social realities where the proletarians live. You do not understand the “monster” that manifests itself unexpectedly, you would like to exorcise it because it conflicts with the mechanism, let’s face it,  comfortable of the regular progress of the proletarian “sub-antagonism” that has discouraged and accustomed us in recent years to an aphasia of social conflict and struggles, to which we try to react according to our desire and according to our “platforms”.

The next day, on the day of national mobilization of combative workers under the offices of Confindustria all over Italy and in Naples, the events of the previous day slipped away as if nothing had happened, and  the media narrative of the bourgeoisie prevailed  only, of the impersonal forces of capital, based on the racist and anti-proletarian stereotype, where the exploited of Naples are  puppets ,  marionettes ,  criminals  and  beggars and will always be “Neapolitans” on the leash of the Camorra or they are “social parasites“.

Faced with the observation that in any case the events of October 23 in Naples were murky –  and that’s true, there was also some oozy and anti-proletarian stains as well – it is concluded that it is better not to address the event, because we risk getting stuck in the shit, then it is better not to talk about it, or to talk about it just to distance yourself from it.

This is why, this blog wanted to launch a provocative beginning.

It is necessary not to stand by the window, but to go down the stinking alley and put both feet and hands in the mud, if necessary also in the shit, to see how far the proletariat of our cities has been driven deeply.

On the evening of 23 October some things happened and should not be underestimated, neither simplified. Let’s frame these dynamics even before giving a judgment, because at least three social trajectories have been seen in the square and in the streets agitating against the threat of a total lockdown advanced by the governor De Luca of the Campania region.

– Under the building of the Campania Region there was the demonstration of a few hundred “honest” and “good” traders, who ran away as soon as the riots began. Many of these small traders testified that in the square there were infiltrators unrelated to their initiative to make the clashes.

– A second layer, always in the same square, (which remained under the palace of the Campania Region until after one in the morning) arrived and made up of the same social sector of shopkeepers and small traders. They were perhaps many owners of markets stalls or of small shops, more “Plebeians” directed by clearly identifiable trainers, who broke out the mess and remained under the palace building of the Region. While there was a certain feeling of complicit sympathy towards the uagliò [neapolitan slang word for street young and street kid – n.d.r.], the same “snake charmers” and improvised “neighborhood people leaders” of this part of shopkeepers square insisted and had difficulties to convince them not to be dragged into the riots in the around.

– Around the square and along the avenues of the seafront of Mergellina a sudden descent of (as the Americans would say) of “motherfuckers” of young and very young “sons of bitches” uagliò. Within a few minutes, several hundreds if not a few thousand young demonstrators converge on the Mergellina seafront towards the Palazzo della Regione. Chanting “fascitoid” slogans like “freedom, freedom”, directed by as many “devious” people’s leaders, who however are unable to avoid the inevitable, to contain the “spontaneous” procession in the scenographic portrait that the presumed direction had set itself. The “motherfuckers” attack with violence, anger and determination anything that has the blue of the Police or the black of the Carabinieri.

Obvious images, pics and video do not lie. We may like it or not. But we can explain it, because for these social subjects who live between the employment with on-demand contract jobs (or with no contract at all) by employers or by small shops, or for abusive businesses, or for market stalls in the process of bankruptcy, there is no redundancy in prospect, no babysitter bonus, much less social checks, no compensation for holders of a partita IVA [modern salary workers with self tax payment and “consultant” contractn.d.r.].

The Camorra in the Naples revolt

A couple of young Neapolitan workers, who left Naples and found the “fatigue”, the job in Rome porters into the logistic industry, commented on the events of the day before at the day after demonstration against Confindustria [the industry masters union organization – n.d.r.] on 24 October in Rome and organized by many workers of basic unionism and by SI Cobas and students: “I don’t believe in the Camorra direction in wanting to clash. In my neighborhood the Camorra does everything, but avoiding the tarantellas [south Italy and Napoli traditional dance, it means doing mass confusion, clash – n.d.r.], because the  tarantellas  are contrary to the interests of the Camorra which does not want the attention of the police in their districts and in their streets”.

Question, does this description of these young workers and delegates of SI Cobas have a foundation?

There is a contradiction between the Camorra and the State but it is only relative.

The Camorra certainly does not like the idea of ​​the absolute lockdown proposed by the governor De Luca, because this hinders its traffic and leads to a consequent greater presence of the police in the area. The Camorra tries to convey or rather to ride – precisely because the Camorra is not a “dome”, but it is an intertwining of social relations within the market and capitalist relations – the social intolerance of shopkeepers, traders, shopkeepers and smaller peddlers. In the same way the Camorra tries to use that Neapolitan youth lumpenproletariat, who to turn the live effort and the day, doing either job on-demand work, or through the snatching or through the drug dealing, that is, through all those activities that are part of the capital value accumulation sets up by the Camorra market as an endogenous element of the general capitalist value production mechanism.

Second question: is the Camorra willing to oppose De Luca to the point of clashing with the state? Here we must answer. Frankly no, it cannot because it would compromise the Camorra market itself which is linked to and is the child of the more general capital market.

Third question and provocation. The Camorra and its colluders (the fascists, the strong powers of building speculation or on the management of rubbish recruitments from the streets in Naples and Italy, the State and local administrations) have the spaces and material resources to exercise  their undisputed “direction” on the heads of those three social components that in different places, different modalities and different squares characterized the night of 23 October? Does capitalism, the market as a whole, have this capacity today?

Or it is precisely the level of the crisis and its depth aggravated by the pandemic to highlight that in the revolt in Naples his hands were scorched by the apprentice sorcerer, that things did not go according to “his plans”, but got out of control for sudden, unexpected and uncontrollable dynamics?

The three social dynamics and the different trajectories

The “honest citizen” traders took off by denouncing external infiltrations in the square.

The small shopkeepers under the leash of indebtedness with the Camorra  had a first reaction of solidarity with the uagliò rioters clashing in the adjacent avenues, then the cloudy “people leaders” – helped by some single fascist member of Casa Pound – reconducted this social layer of the middle class into the borders suitable for them.

The “motherfuckers” (sons of bitches), made up of young people from the lumpenproletariat or proletarian workforce at the service of the capitalist and Camorra market, first block the seafront of Mergellina in a procession against De Luca’s lockdown, then head violently against the police forces, while typical snake charmers, the so-called “criminal director”, failed to contain them.

This discovery is important, if confirmed, even before the political judgment one would like to give on the events.

It is important because in the  “murky of criminal management” , which the narration of the bosses and the government would like to confine us to, there are at least three distinct and potentially divergent attitudes, the result of the different relationships that these social sectors have in the relations of domination of capital.

The honest traders not subjected to the blackmail of the Camorra debt who quickly returned under the protective wing of the state and democracy, denouncing the violence and the criminal infiltrations and then left the square.

The other small trades, always doubly exposed between the anvil of the crisis and of the debt with the Camorra, went in centrifugal and crazy pushes, against De Luca but invoking the clemency of Conte’s government which makes the money arrive, but remaining at the order of their “leaders”.

The “motherfuckers” (proletarians, underclassmen, and the most irreducible shopkeepers increasingly impoverished by the crisis) come out of the preordained stage representation and attacked the police with a hail of bottles, stones and bars to armored vehicles of the Police and Carabinieri cars, everything that had the blue of the Police or the black of the Carabinieri ended up under attack.

Knowing how to divide the wheat from the chaff is necessary. It is not a question of just declaiming a proletarian revolt. But we cannot pretend nothing has happened, we cannot be subjugated by the narrative of capital. Beyond the alleged “criminal regimes”, each new restriction of the state and capital to contain the pandemic, but without affecting the interests of capital accumulation, each new curfew will bring similar dynamics. You can’t shrug because the Camorra is behind it. This convenient reading is the daughter of the habit induced by the reformist course of capitalism behind us. When the same dynamic will be given in Milan, Turin, Palermo or Rome, what shall we say, which is the Mafia that has moved and infiltrated the North?

If you do not have to reckon with the catastrophic course of the capital, staying in the mere borders of “our repetitive political-unionism struggle”, where “we will not pay the crisis ” – rightly , that “the crisis must be paid by the masters” – sacrosanct , without noticing that the high jump bar is a little higher, then the next day the police charges arrive against the SI Cobas demonstration in Naples under the Confindustria building [on October 24th a nationwide protests against Confindustria has been called by an assembly of grassroots workers of different union organizations – including some of the CGIL left wing, other workers of grassroots unions and upon SI Cobas workers initiative – n.d.r.].

October 24th, Naples. Police attack to the grassroots unions workers protest at the Confindustria building

And someone might – and fortunately this has not happened at the moment – complain that the police repress the workers organized in the class unions, but they do not punish the “motherfuckers” of the day before, that the State uses double standards. One could react in a broken way, instead of grasping that the previous night in Naples there were the first signs of a shapeless and monstrous mass of proletariat that deviates from the tracks imposed by oppression and capitalist degradation, of which the Camorra is an integral part.

And even worse, given the difficulty and isolation of the struggles (from those of multi-ethnic logistics workers to that of metalworkers for the defense and renewal of national sector contracts), instead of imagining what possible militant support action can be to give towards this new proletarian monster, we too withdraw ourselves under the same comfortable wing of the class struggle, of the workers’ struggle according to the canons of democracy and reformism that weighs on us in spite of ourselves.

On the morning of October 23 in Naples there was yet another square. A more sociologically working-class square, less entangled in the social mud and in the consequences of the capitalist decay that suffocates the working class and proletarian neighborhoods of the cities. They were the Whirpool factory workers who had been fighting for more than a year against the closure of the factory. They were not present either on the evening of 23 October, nor the day after at the demonstration of the combative workers, of the SI Cobas and others, the same initiative and demonstration in which the undersigned also participated in convinced in Rome. This article that invites you to read about  operai contro [although this blog doesn’t feel close to setting this lineup] correctly compares the three squares. The writing asks himself questions, it does not shy away from the problem.

From the compare emerges the difficulty of reassembling the proletariat, and that it is not a union and political platform which is lowered from above that will be able to resolve it forward.

There is a need to put on your boots and sinking your steps into the mud and into the bog, first of all declaring that the street riot of October 23 in Naples was legitimate and sacrosanct. And to recognize that the attack on the Police and against the building of the Campania Region on Friday evening, and the mobilization of class unionism under the Confindustria buildings on the following afternoon, are two distinct and unpaired moments but children of the same need of revolt to resist to the attack of capital.

It will be economic and social crisis process that will transform the “indistinct motherfuckers” of Friday night into something closer to the connotations of the riots in the USA, much closer to that multi-ethnic and multi-racial proletariat that has shaken the heart of global capitalism in this long hot summer. The time of the class struggle in white gloves is about to end, not by choice: it is the time and the catastrophic phase of the capital crisis that is determining it, whether we like it or not.

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