The following text is the intervention of fellow anarchist Alfredo Cospito, currently imprisoned in Terni, for the debate on the book What International?, held in the context of the second edition of the initiative “Land of Love and Freedom”, two days of anarchist publishing in Calabria focused on internationalism and revolutionary continuity, in Grisolia 23-24 August 2021.
Lately I have been wondering with what nerve an anarchist prisoner for ten years as I claim to express an analysis “realistic” about the present, the real movement outside these four walls. The interview with “Vetriolo” caught me still relatively soaked in reality, out of the fray of the struggle, still convinced of having a “realistic” and objective view of the world. What international? is the result of thirty years of practiced struggle, of blows inflicted and received, of affinities and friendships born and then traumatically severed by the wall of a prison. Summing up, today I can say with a certain conviction that the only moments in which I was certain of having contributed to changing things were those moments in which I clashed with the system, in which I risked my freedom and my skin. In those moments I lived, I felt more alive than ever. And the pleasure I felt was incomparable, comparable only to the love for one’s own or one’s partner in the most intense moments of passion. I remember when, as a young boy, it seemed impossible for me to intervene concretely, the level of deepening always seemed insufficient, the practical skills I had didn’t seem up to the task, I didn’t know where to start, at the beginning one feels inept, incapable… I was waiting for a suggestion, a start from my more experienced companions. Often, in exchange for my enthusiasm, I received a good dose of “realism” that dampened or risked dampening any revolutionary “ambition”, any drive to action. Incredible as it may seem, “realism” sometimes makes any action, any impetus, impossible. I came out of this sort of “dead end” only when I decided in an impish, reckless, crazy, provocative way to arm my hands. Then everything became “easy”, failure after failure, step by step, things started to work. I looked for my companions and I found them, we recognized each other by making the refusal of delegation and wait-and-see our compass. Many (perhaps too many) years have passed since that time and today I find myself on the other side, “navigated” anarchist with more “experience”. And what I feel like saying is simply to follow your instincts and not to pay too much attention to the prudence of those who from the height of their lives “lived” push for moderation. Because that popular saying “you are born an arsonist and you die a fireman” is not so far-fetched. Every day in here I fight with myself to remain what I was, and I don’t always succeed. In my words I sometimes glimpse what I’ve always fought, opportunism, paternalism, realism… “politics”. Dynamics that risk making me forget how beautiful it was to communicate only through gestures of destruction and the words that followed them. When I wasn’t in danger of becoming a “point of reference”, when I was a complete stranger. And the stupid things I happened to say remained limited, no one rightly spun them. The tragicomic thing is that the “metamorphosis” is almost painless and does not only affect us prisoners but perhaps even more those who outside these walls every day relate to a reality that tends to normalize. The “realism” drags you to a continuous decline that leads you to judge those who remain “themselves” as naive, provocative, childish, deluded.
Boring, I am happy that the comrades / and Calabrian anarchist space “Lunanera” have invited me to say a few words of presentation for the booklet published by Monte Bove, What International? I am particularly pleased because as an Abruzzese I believe that the editorial work of the comrades / and Calabria is very important because it highlights the importance that anarchism in southern Italy has had in our history. One of the characteristics of this anarchism historically has been its anti-organizational and informal positions. Just remember Di Giovanni and Schicchi and more recently Leggio and Bonanno. What International? is on that line, all the informal experience of the Informal Anarchist Federation are on that same line. The “line” of informality and anti-organizational anarchism of which the informal organization is the core.
The FAI and FAI-FRI were an attempt to give themselves a fluid structure, to create a basic communication through actions. Out of any sectarian idiocy and demented chatter. I will never tire of repeating this! The word only to those who risk their skin and their freedom by striking. The chatter of which I speak is that of the web, on these dynamics I have reflected a lot lately thanks to some comrades. The Internet allows us to communicate with speed the actions and messages that accompany them. But at the same time it stuns us with a continuous background noise made of a myriad of delusions produced by the comments of applauding or hypercritical spectators (which in the end are the same thing). Spectators who, in order to give meaning and “radicality” to their existence, shoot summary sentences by setting up ridiculous tribunals of revolutionary “purity”. This is not an anarchist prisoner so it is not worthy of solidarity, but that one is! He deserves it all, he has a beautiful pedigree … how sad! Not to mention the “ideologists” on duty who try to cage an intrinsically chaotic phenomenon like the “black international” in “ideological” cages and simplistic schematics that reveal obtuseness and distance from the dynamics of the action practiced. To get out of this impasse, in my opinion, we need to act on a double track. Two tracks like two parallel lines that do not intersect but go in the same direction. The historical and theoretical study that brings to light the organizational strategies carried out in past years. And the other track, that of the real concrete struggle that we contribute with our hands to build, day after day, actions, resistances, coordinations, prisoners’ struggles, groups, action nuclei, informal or specific organizations to which we give our contribution. What I like to call “revolutionary experimentation”, which is nothing more than the search for the right tool to unhinge this world. Two different levels, one in the light of day, which in my opinion still finds in the printed paper an adequate instrument to convey an in-depth analysis, a reflection on those past dynamics that will hopefully teach us something, inspire us. The other, the plan of the concrete struggle that each of us cultivates with their comrades and / or, which certainly can not be exhausted in the printing of a book.
The life of an anarchist, a rebel, a revolutionary finds (in my opinion) fullness and fulfillment only when it relates to life, when you get your hands dirty with the shit that surrounds us. It can happen in many ways, everyone finds his own. Anarchist violence is my way of changing things. The insight that interests me is one that deals with how those who came before us organized themselves. To understand from their successes or failures how to act today, now. With the comrades and / or “Lunanera”, along with other anarchist publishing realities, we have begun an editorial process of deepening of some historical experiences of armed struggle of libertarian and anarchist type that in recent decades have crossed the revolutionary landscape. Our first work will be the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación – Grupos de Acción Revolucionaria Internacionalista. Well aware, however, that life is elsewhere, in the struggle. To conclude, I would like to reiterate the initial concept directed to hypothetical new comrades who in my sick fantasy will listen to these words of mine.
Follow your instinct, your anger, do not listen too much to conscientious comrades. Jump into the fray, bad luck you will have lived a life with some more risk and suffering but also full of happy thoughts, pleasures and satisfactions. Perhaps contributing to change things, and why not … to make a difference. As an old anarchist song said, “It is the action the ideal”.
An anarchist and revolutionary embrace to all comrades present.
Always for anarchy,
Prison of Terni