When one mentions the very name of Genoa these days, the historical significance of its Columbian roots mixes with its new-found renown as the site of the G-8 Meeting, and the state killing of a young, anti-globalist demonstrator, Carlo Guiliani.
It is now an historical marker of another kind – one of the state’s brutality. The images from the tear-gas-streaked streets of the ancient Italian city mark a transformation in the growing anti-globalist movement.
It marks a new low in the violent savagery of police, who will go to any lengths to protect those they are sworn to really protect: the rich, the wealthy and the established.
Much less is known or reported about the vicious, unprovoked attacks on young people who were working out of the Independent Media Center in Genoa. Squads of hooded Genoan cops unjustly raided, beat, brutalized, and terrorized independent journalists covering the massive protests. Some bystanders reported hearing screams emitting from the building for hours.
Others on the scene reported that activists were taken to a room, shown a picture of the late Italian fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, and ordered to shout, “Viva Il Duce!”, at a nearby police station (“Il Duce” was a term of respect accorded Mussolini during Italy’s fascist, World War II period, similar to the Nazi honorific, “Der Fuhrer” for Hitler; “Viva” means “Long Live.”)
This is a scene that reflects the hidden, fascist heart of Genoa.
Where were the millionaire star reporters, who love to gather in 5-star, ritzy hotels to lament what happens to their brother journalists in the Third World or Bosnia? When have you heard a peep out of the corporate punditocracy about the assaults on poor, independent, or radical journalists who were at the front lines of Genoa?
When young activists who were peacefully assembled to write, to interview, to report, to prepare, and to broadcast what they witnessed at the Wealthfest (G-8 Summit), their persons were attacked, their freedoms were shattered, and their terrorization at the hands of a repressive state was all but ignored. Their shocking treatment at the hands of neo-fascist, hooded cops for capital was simply not news.
“So sorry,” the gentle corporate press sniffs. “We don’t see a story here.”
And, in truth, there is no story, simply because it is not in the interests of their bosses to do such a story. That way, they can continue to engage in useless prattle about “freedom of the press,” or the “right to peaceful assembly,” or even the “right to dissent,” and the like. For aren’t the G-7 (plus Russia) “industrial democracies”?
They cannot afford to report what happened in Genoa, for it tells us too much about what really happens in democracies. The terror, the torture, the brutality-that lies at the heart of all “industrial democracies.”
“Viva Il Duce!” indeed, for great dictatorships have ever been great bedfellows of capital.
The Nazi state worked with a cruel efficiency that used Jewish, Romani, and other unter- menshen (German for subhumans) as slave labor that earned healthy profits for the wealthy ruling, industrial class.
Genoa, which sent forth the greed of Columbus to pilfer and colonize and enslave, unleashes her corporate army upon those who now look unkindly upon the neo-colonialization, and exploitation hidden under the rubric of a New World (Economic) Order.
The anti-globalist movement, so young, so precious, spawned just a few moments ago in Seattle, must now come of age.
That is the gift of Genoa.
© 2001 MUMIA ABU-JAMAL