Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ongoing struggle

I don't keep a detailed record of the protests. There was a demonstration on Tuesday, the classes are taking place outside school pretty often - "lessons for free for all instead of universities for a few" being the message. Our department will be occupying the railway station square on Monday so I'll have pictures.
The protests are widespread and damn many people are taking part. The law that started it impacts schools of all levels and it's not only the kids but also parents and uninvolved bystanders / there were 60 000 people demonstrating in Florence and 30 000 in Pisa on Tuesday.
Berlusconi announced that if the students don't stop that, he'll send out the army. I read that in someone's newspaper on the bus on Wednesday. This article is a summary of events and comments from politicians; the two lines above the title say The prime minister talked about being tough on the protesters and Minister Gelmini [the Minister of Education]: "Terrorist campaign against the reform." Obviously, I got pissed to no end and decided that from now on I'm taking part in everything. I may not be well-versed in the local course of matters but this is just too much. Since when, the fuck, is sitting on in teh square and listening to a rant about Piero della Francesca terrorism? And if so, then it's a high time to tell the guys in Afghanistan to come back immediately to start eavesdropping on the streets in case someone may be committing a terrorist act of disagreeing by the terrorist action of talking about art?
Yes, the people sometimes block the streets. The last time I was here, there were demonstrations of someone else - state employees, bus drivers - I have no idea, I didn't care unless the bus drivers were on the strike and I do not recall anyone screaming Terrorism!* And, since when is disagreeing a crime? This commentary in La Repubblica discusses the notion that Mr. Berlusconi tries to change the issue of protests against a political action into a matter of public order.

I'm angry, I admit it. Maybe I should calm down, be objective, think about the other side of the argument.... Damn, since when is a course of actions leading to destruction or near-destruction of universities not self-explanatory? Back to angry mode.

I'm not the only pissed person in this area. The local edition of La Repubblica ** has an article on factory workers expressing their support to the students and the readiness to fight. Like in the '68.

I feel the spirit everywhere.Wherever I go, there are banners, posters informing what will be going on in the next days, it's in the news. I'm not sure whether other people have the adrenaline rush, too. It feels like history is happening now and here.

*Admittedly, when my mother saw the demonstrants with red flags and hammers and sickles on the banners, she started cursing "the fucking Communards" and looked for a loose cobblestone while murmuring that someone should send them to Siberia to check the Communism thing in person. She's not in charge of any armed forces nor is she a politician or a public figure. Moreover, there were no loose cobblestones, mainly due to the fact that via Manzoni is paved with stone slabs.

**I promise, I'll check in the newsstand what else is being published here. I never meant to do any political blogging and the circumstances sucked me in unprepared.