The open assembly convened after the call of the Anarchists’ Initiative against State Killings decided to convene a demostration at the French Embassy (7 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue) on Tuesday 17 May at 18.30, the day when the appeal of comrade Claudio Lavazza is being considered, through which he is demanding his release from prison. Below is the text of the appeal.
FREEDOM FOR CLAUDIO LAVAZZA
THE FRENCH STATE TAKES REVENGE ON POLITICAL PRISONERS
Our anarchist comrade Claudio Lavazza has been in prison since 1996, having already completed 25 years of continuous detention. He is one of the longest serving political prisoners in Europe. Claudio was one of the militants who took up arms to oppose capitalist rule politically and militantly.
An insurgent proletarian who participated in conflicts and expropriations in the early years of joining the movement in the dynamic 1970s in Italy. Armed fighter of the revolutionary movement of the 70’s-80’s afterwards. Member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism, a horizontal guerrilla group with strong ideological influences from workers’ autonomy. Participant in the coalition of groups under the name ‘Organised Communists for Proletarian Liberation’, an armed project to support fugitives and free comrades and comrades-in-arms from prison. Accomplice to the 1981 attack on the prison in Frosinone where imprisoned militants were released.
At a time when the meaning and content of words had not been surrendered to museification, revisionism, and limited activism. But it found meaning through the practical cultivation of hope in those imprisoned and “exiled” from the legal order by the relentless repression of the state and the parastate. That words like freedom and solidarity would be put into practice with guns in their hands.
After repeated difficulties and under constant persecution of repentant members of armed organizations, the comrade was forced to leave Italy and to flee as a wanted man to France in 1982, a country where there were thousands of Italian political refugees persecuted by the Italian state for their involvement in the revolutionary movement. It was a period when the then social-democratic Mitterrand government was accepting on its territory those persecuted/fugitives wanted by Italy on condition that they “refrain from illegal activities”, the so-called “Mitterrand doctrine” was to begin to unravel with the beginnings of the “war on terror” in 2001. He remained a fugitive for more than 16 years, during which time he managed to survive and support the infrastructure of the revolutionary movement through the practice of expropriation in both France and Spain. He chose to go underground as he did not reconsider his choice. In the choice of armed struggle as a necessary condition of rupture and real attack on the capitalist structure and its structures.
“Anarchy is by its very nature illegalistic, because it seeks to exist on the margins of the legitimacy imposed by the system. We anarchists have our own laws and forms of existence, which are always condemned by the laws and forms of existence of the states.” ( Claudio Lavazza)
The attitude of the French state towards Claudio exudes all the state reactionism and authoritarianism one encounters in dealing with unrepentant opponents of power. Criminal laws are reduced to rags and the famous ‘human rights’ are abolished. The bourgeois justice system becomes the vanguard of the “war on terror” and, wearing the mask of bureaucracy, wages a merciless war of attrition. A mechanism of cruel class domination and organised state violence that undertakes the extermination of its unrepentant enemies.
The historical course of French capitalism was decisively linked to colonial policy up to the first half of the last century. A review of the history of French imperialism and its disastrous interventions in Africa and the Middle East makes clear to us its disgusting historical role in the capitalist system.
The French state is equally well known for its relentless anti-terrorist policy at home. The case of the comrade Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who in a few months’ time will have been a prisoner in French prisons for 38 years, is typical. Although the comrade has been entitled to be released from prison since 1999, the judicial authorities in France are refusing to do so without even any legal pretexts.
Returning to Claudio’s case, at the moment our comrade has served 25 years in Spanish prison hellholes for bank expropriations. In his last expropriation, known as the “Cordoba case” there was an armed confrontation in which 3 comrades (including Claudio) were seriously injured and 2 policewomen were killed. He has been serving this case for almost 1 year now when he was transferred to France to serve a 10 year sentence for a bank robbery.
Under European law, however, he should have been released from prison a month ago (11 December) on completion of 25 years’ imprisonment as the sentences should have been merged. However, the French prosecution authorities refuse to do so and are asking our comrade to serve at least another 5 years in real prison. The comrade has legally challenged the exceptional status he is experiencing and on 17 May his appeal is being considered, through which he is seeking his release from prison. We know that the main reason for their refusal despite so many years of imprisonment – and the humiliating attitude of parts of the movement who split their position in the face of the fear of repression because of the deaths on the part of the state – is that they have never retreated from anarchist principles and values, that even from prison he continued to produce political discourse, to participate in hunger strikes against the FIES-type regime, to claim the connection between his own experience and the wider historical memory.
He did not stop fighting and advocating with all his strength the necessity of the attack against the state and capital.
At this moment, it is the French state that is responsible for the prolongation of our comrade’s imprisonment and the regime of arbitrariness and exclusion that is being set up against him. We therefore join our voice with the call for international solidarity for the release of comrade Claudio Lavazza. The imprisoned comrades are flesh and blood of the revolutionary movements and we will demand that they are in the street and in the struggles of today.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF COMRADE CLAUDIO LAVAZZA
INTERNATIONALIST STRUGGLE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
SOLIDARITY RALLY AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY 17/05 AT 18.30
Comrades’ initiative in solidarity with comrade Claudio Lavazza