Luther Blissett on Tue, 22 Dec 1998 16:37:06 +0100 (CET)

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Posted-Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 11:14:04 +0100
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Old-Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 11:07:42 +0100
From: CPA Fi-Sud <>
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Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 11:14:21 +0100


Tuesday December 22nd. 1998, the City Council of Florence (Italy) will
meet to vote on the approval of building plans for Urban Re-Qualification,
one of which has targeted the former "Longinotti" industrial site (a
factory that built machinery for tile manufacturing), squatted and
self-mananged since 1989 by a large grassroots collective of
political-countercultural activists, the Centro Popolare Autogestito
Firenze-Sud (CPA Fi-Sud). The project introduced by "Coop" []
(a large supermarket chain, owned by the former Communist Party) plans for
the building of a shopping mall of about 14.000 square meters. The latest
version of their project has introduced many beautifying features (a
reduction of 3.000 sq. meters of the selling area, the elimination of the
commercial passage, the substitution of housing for an office block, an
expansion of the public square area or the elimination of the outer
walls). Hardly enough to hide what remains a bleak example of strong real
estate speculation. The thought process behind the project remains the
same: removing a wall or diminishing a bit the quantity of the surface to
build will not create real social inclusion or moderate the impact on the
existing urban fabric and milieu. We even had to witness ridicule "talks"
amongst the political parties at the City Council on the amount of
building surface to be destined to shops. 

Reality is, for each new job brought in by the new shopping mall, three
will leave the neighborhood. The traffic will kill the area, rents and
real estate value will go up, a vibrant expression of socio-cultural
selfdetermination and empowerment will be termined to make room for yet
another shopping mallŠ

This city has already suffered the transformation into one huge shopping
mall, purified from all forms of meaningful social life and interaction.
Florence is becoming horrible just because of its beauty, identical to
itself, picture perfect, soulless, estranged from its own inhabitants.
We're condemned to move in it without touching anything, without leaving
marks and traces, without expressing ourselves. So pretty, a little
postcard of itself; that's what the tourists want to see, exactly what the
powers that be are willing to sell: just an imageŠ It's a carnival, not a
real city. The Renaissance Disneyland for the new MillenniumŠ

Next step in this process of annihilation is the cancellation of a
ten-year experience, that of the squatting of the CPA. CPA is not just (or
not only) a political collective, a concert hall, a bar or a social hall.
CPA is a place, one of the very last left where one can hope to build a
relationship with the territory and with the rest of the community,
intervene on the space, decide something. Build up a project from scratch,
work it out. A place where one's constantly forced to confront others, to
question whether what one's doing is right or not, to discuss that sort of
matters. A place in which, if you feel up to it, you can roll up your
sleeves and do something. A place in which one can't complain if things
don't run the way they're supposed to: it's your own doing, your own work.
Things get done if one does them. No representation. And that's exactly
what the politicians cannot accept: the demonstration that people don't
need them to realize desires and satisfy needs. Not having to thank any
politician, master, capitalist or policeman for anything. We've built one
of the best concert halls in the country, spending pennies instead of
generating huge, lucrative contracts and running it on a non-profit basis.
Without having to bow to their "authority" and paying for what's already
ours. They can't stand the idea that people can have theatre, music,
sport, culture without having to beg from the Power time, space, funds and
means to express themselves They can't stand the idea of people not
thinking in terms of "returns" (economical, personal prestige, power
etcetera). Doing things with their own hands, without delegating
determination and power to others, without having to form and conform to
associations, co-ops, financial trusts and fundsŠ They're unable to
blackmail, control or tax usŠ

Within the "Longinotti" area are actually available:

-	A People's Kitchen (meals are 6.000 Italian liras)
-	Bar
-	Public library and study halls
-	Archive
-	A 1.000 capacity hall for concerts, theatre, performances, meetings.
-	Three rehearsal spaces for bands
-	A dancehall for the elderly in the neighborhood
-	A theatre
-	A performance space
-	A movie house, "Longinottik" (8 and super8, 16 and 35 mm. Films,
	vs, slides) which also hosts conventions and meetings or workshops.
-	16 and 35 mm. editing room
-	A sound stage for film productions
-	A darkroom and photo studio
-	A silkscreening facility
-	Skatepark
-	Gym
-	Basketball and volley court
-	A park ( currently under construction)
-	Open spaces available for free to whoever desires to realize
	projects and initiatives in the spirit of selfmanagement
-	production and fundraising.

All of the above is about to be cancelled by the umpteenth shopping mall,
presented by this leftist City Council as a new concept in public space.
That are the social costs of this kind of operation for the city? What is
the city proposing to those that do not accept the logic of the
aggregation formats linked to the consuming of goods, spaces, leisure

CPA claims the right to the social use of the former industrial areas and
estates, the right of selfdetermination of the spaces, to the valorization
of "urban void", the empty spaces left by the end of the fordist paradigm.
CPA will not witness passively its own destruction and will defend its
right to live and continue its political, social and cultural experience,
collectively built by the countless individualities during these nine
years together. 

..Your written contribution should be also sent to the media in town and
directly sent to the fax number of the Mayor. Let them (and us!) know what
you feel about political and cultural genocide in United Europe.

Here's a few of the fax numbers: 

Mayor Mario Primicerio 					(+39)/0552768275

Paolo Pedullą (Florence chief of "La Nazione" daily): 	(+39)0552478207

Gabriele Rizza ( for "il manifesto"): 			(+39)055354634

Simone Fortuna (for "La Repubblica"): 			(+39) 0552396953

G. Tenti (Il Giornale"): 				(+39) 055331391

Stefano Marcelli (Rai state TV): 			(+39) 055667386

Stefano Fabbri (ANSA wire service): 		 	(+39) 0552346064

And to us at CPA FI-Sud: 				(+39) 0556580151

Viale Giannotti 79 50100 Firenze
tel./fax. (+39) 055 6580151
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