Decree Law on deportation and the 'war against the last'

A Decree Law on the expulsion of [European] Community citizens. European space, European citizenship. "Melting Pot" interviewed Marco Revelli, a historian and sociologist who teaches at the East Piedmont University.

Decree Law on deportation and the 'war against the last'
For one barrier fallen - that which has seen Romania and Bulgaria make their way into the European Union - it seems like other, newer barriers have to be mounted. The politics, the mass media, the community laws, all seem to have short-circuited. You have described this situation as "a crisis of the nerves of the Italian scenario". What's going on?

To be honest, what we have assisted to in the last week is a real case of our common sense of community and the political sphere precipitating and becoming barbarous; something that probably doesn't have precedents, at least not in the last half century of our recent history. All of a sudden we discover ourselves to be in a country that is prey to a crisis of nerves at every level: public opinion; mass media, that have had a deplorable role in the communications area; and politics, that has produced a devastating short-circuit.

From one event - the terrible murder of Giovanna Reggiani - attributable to an individual, a person, who, among other things, had been arrested immediately thanks to the accusation of a Rom lady living in the same settlement, we have gone on to blame a whole ethnic group, a whole population of poor and migrants already subject to stigma and social persecution in Italy and in Romania.

This is a proof of absolute irresponsibility, certainly triggered by the right-wing that has fascism written in its DNA, by Gianfranco Fini, who, if we scratch the surface of the civilizing paint that he has given himself, remains a fascist as always, but made proper and chased by the left-wing, by the Mayor of Rome in particular, who I think has a very grave responsibility, and who has allowed a real reprisal to follow the episode. The destruction of settlements by means of the city's bulldozers is an act of war, of reprisal, against a collective that didn't have any responsibility except that of living in the same place the assassin lived in.

The blaming and the grand showing of the event was followed by a Decree Law which will structurally and permanently modify, in the Italian Legal Order, the regulation for free circulation and the right to reside of a generality of subjects, the [European] Community citizens. Whereas since a long time there's been talk of getting past the Bossi-Fini law and the Centers for Temporary Permanence (CTP), today their regime is extended also to Community citizens, probably contrary to European Union norms.

What kind of scenario do you think is emerging in Europe with the possibility, for example, of detaining Community citizens in CTP's?

Let's say straight away that, already by itself, the urgent meeting of the government to issue a Decree Law of this type, in an emergency, right after the episode of the murder, is proof of being out of control, of a mental crisis of our politics. To bind legislative activity - the emitting of a norm that regards, yes, a generality of persons - to a news event that regards a single person, is a violation of our juridical culture.

The contents of this act of law reflect the emotive climate in which it has been emanated: it is an unconstitutional act, especially in its original formulation, that has nonetheless already produced some effects because it has been enacted on real persons. It subtracts a series of acts that have to do with dispositions on personal freedom from jurisdictional control, suspends the habeas corpus, a consolidated acquisition in every juridical culture, allows administrative authorities to decide, without any control, over the lives of persons, and suspends or completely upsets, in a certain sense, the principle of freedom of movement of [European] Community citizens.

Romanian citizens in Italy are Community citizens to all effects, but by interpreting some of the characteristics of European directives in a certain way, a particular application has been carried out. The fullness of the right of citizenship has been tied to income. This is a concept of "census" citizenship which is akin to taking a couple of centuries' leap back into history and establishing that he who hasn't enough income is not fully a European citizen.

We might say that we should have expected this since Europe was born on "census" bases, it is the Europe of the finance and the capital in the first place. It is a Europe which is very much uninterested in matters of civil rights. What the Italian government has done is a further forcing of matters to make Europe give its worst in all this. It seems like a European space that looks like a hierarchical space. Before the Romanians and the Bulgarians came here, let's not forget that our economy entered in their countries. Many entrepreneurs have in fact externalized the almost totality of their production lines over there. Can freedom of movement be valid only in one direction?

Furthermore, the production model that has gotten established, the Post-Fordist model, nourishes on mobility and on the precious "migrant work". Thousands of Romanian citizens are today central to the Italian economy, in the construction sector, in the sector of caring of persons, for example. Notwithstanding this centrality, all of the actual security policies are constructed over their backs.

How would you explain this situation?

In two ways I'd say: First, the norms that regulate the freedom of movement in Europe are not those of the rights of persons but of the lex mercatoria [law of the market]. Capital circulates absolutely freely, goods circulate, men circulate only within the limits in which they can be classified as goods or as bearers of capital. This type of interpretation of freedom of movement in Europe makes the credit card the equivalent of a passport. We therefore have a deformation of the material constitution of Europe in an explicitly mercantile sense.

On the other hand we have the transformation of our cities from containers of productive machines into productive machines themselves. It is the emergence of what is known as the Biopolitic city, the city that takes over the old Fordist city.

The Fordist city re-proposed, in spatial terms, the division of labour and the rationalization of a Taylorist type of space. Instead, the Post-Fordist city is one that puts the totality of life to work, the totality of our dimension, of the bios, the totality of our relationships, the totality of our time, and so on. The streets of our cities become the equivalent of the divisions of production of the factory. The kind of ethnic cleansing that is realized in our cities, the type of police control that is exercised over them, the enforcing of discipline, lead also to the deportability of those who are not directly productive in this frame, of those who cannot be put completely to work because they are not willing: they are considered obstacles, they are considered a disturbance.

The public space has totally become a productive space. In the productive space the discipline of production is enforced and thus the elimination of the other. The new foremen are the unionists. The party of the unionists today is the equivalent of the enterprise command. In Rome, a "Rangers Task Force" has been setup by the Mayor to work in the settlements. The bulldozers that squash school notebooks of children lodging in the settlements are a snapshot of a present that has swept aside welcoming and integration in the name of a "war undertaken against the last".

Melting Pot

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2007, 14:01