Library Juice 4:26 Supplement - July 25, 2001

The crackdown in Genoa


JULY 2001

The undersigned librarians, library employees, library professors &
teachers of library & information sciences, information professionals,
paraprofessionals and service providers, wish to express their horror
at the escalating anti-civilian military mobilizations and the planned
and entirely disproportionate violence exercised against fundamentally
peaceful, certainly unarmed, protests of the meetings of the G7+, the
WTO, the IMF/World Bank and all other gatherings of the proponents and
agencies of a transnational corporate world order.

We reject (and hold responsible the entire chain of command behind it)
the orchestrated, planned violence of the armed-to-the-teeth defenders
of the global elite against the all-too-visible political
manifestations of popular, international rejection of the agendas of
the institutions perceived as imposing policies and practices which,
rather than alleviating the problems they claim to be confronting
(hunger -famine - on an unimaginable scale; dislocations of entire
populations; marginalizations of whole sectors (class strata, nations,
peoples, ethnic groups), poverty of a degree and scale which has been
--and continues to be (for most people) unthinkable; rampant epidemics
of fatal disease;  massive environmental despoliation in the
overwhelming majority of the world, and increasing attacks even on the
social & economic gains of most people in the so-called developed world
with its welfare state protections and public sectors being scrapped
and shredded, including in the self-proclaimed  economic
'super-powers') are merely interested in creating a stabilized global
regime in which the attempted globalized monopolization of effective
wealth and power in the hands of actors not responsible to any
democratic control is imposed, while containing the disruptions created
by the inevitable resistance of the masses of people affected by
policies over which they have no control.

We protest, vehemently, the murder of an anti-corporate protestor in
Genoa, shot and ruthlessly run-over by a military vehicle, and also the
growing number of those protestors being beaten, gassed, shot at,
trampled, jailed and subjected to both personal brutality and high-tech
crowd control techniques for the purposes of discouraging their
protests -- and all such protests -- and preventing them from having
any impact on those world "leaders" who are presently meeting in a
fortified compound in the free city of Genoa.

We call on the global economic elite meeting in Genoa -- and ready to
meet in further fortified locations over the next months as they have
since the WTO debacle in Seattle -- to abandon the entire
anti-democratic framework of their deliberations, to drop the
anti-popular programs and policies which they are pursuing and to enter
into free, open dialogue, transparent and unimpeded, with
representatives of civil society and of organized mass-democratic
forces and movements.

Let this murder in Genoa not be in vain! The escalation of this
confrontation with popular interests and representatives of the needs
of the ordinary people of the world should come to a halt here and

The cynicism of Bush who tells the world that the protests only hurt
the cause of "the poor" (as if "the poor" were some category of humans
apart from his own species) must be rejected wit the contempt it

We call on our fellow professionals and workers, educators, cultural
activists, all those engaged in the social and cultural service sector,
to reject privatization, the destruction of the public sector where
it exists and its discouragement where it has yet to be significantly
developed, the substitution of anti-democratic supra-national
decision-making of secret bodies representing elite interests for
existing democratic structures however weak.

Progressive librarians and information workers say NO to corporate
globalization; NO to murderous violence against legitimate militant,
mass anti-globalization protest; NO to the erosion of democratic
institutions; NO to the crushing of the claims of national sovereignty
and the equal rights of minorities; NO to the creation of a new
economic order based on the burdening  of the poor nations with
increasing debt!

[This call will be posted on the Progressive Librarians Guild web page
and hopefully will be sent to your friends and colleagues who are urged
to contact us whether through the web site or at
<<iskra[at]>, my personal address). The signators will be
added to the posting on the central site of the PLG web-page].

Mark Rosenzweig

co-editor, Progressive Librarian

American Library association (ALA) Councilor at large [for
identification purposes only]

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You can sign the above letter and view the signatures to it at

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photos of the murder in Genoa
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2001 07:44:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dan Tsang <dtsang[at]>
To: PLGNET-L <PLGNet-L[at]>

A set of startling photos:

Daniel C. Tsang
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eyewitness account of events of Sat. July 21, Genoa


It's now the morning of the longest night of my life. I could not have been
more gravely wrong that things couldn't get "that bad".  The actual Indymedia
center where we were was spared, for obvious political reasons.

The school across the street, where about a hundred people were staying, was
attacked in the most savage manner possible. We heard screams, splintering wood
and broken glass. After sickening silence, the police (hundreds of them in riot
gear, some masked to conceal idenrtity) began bringing out injured people. We
also saw three to four people or (desperately hoping) large objects in plastic
bags. We are all hoping that no one else has been killed, but it looks to be
the case. After the police retreated from hundreds of enraged weeping people
screaming "assassini" at them, we entered the school. I have never seen
anything so grim with my own eyes. We forced ourselves to walk through each and
every room to see what they had done. I am not capable physically or
emotionally right now to offer a full description. But I will say that there
was blood everywhere, evidence of severe beatings, people being dragged down
flights of stairs bodily, and desperate barricades of individuals in bathroon
stalls that were smashed.

The raid hapened so fast. There was no effort to search bags or the building
for weapons or anything else. Most people were asleep. A few who managed to
escape after the inital beating have told us that as many as ten officers were
pummeling each person, and that no one was left untouched. A beaten witness has
also told me personally that when a few officers attempted to cut some beatings
short, they were rebuffed by fellow sadists with jovial assurances that the
beatings hadn't yet progressed far enough. The blood and gore was srtill wet
when I saw it. The police did not even make an effort to conceal what they had
done. The sadism and arrogance was unbelievable even to a jaded anarchist like
myself. This is all I can stand to say now. I will try to send something better
by the demo in PDX, but if i do not, feel free to use any of this as you must.

Take care.

[name deleted by the original sender because the letter was circulated
prior to the author's permission.]

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      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

>From Ainriail - the Irish Anarchist list


What did you hear about Genoa?

Review of TV coverage of the Genoa G8

By Aileen O'Carroll

In the 1960s Gill Scott Heron sang "The
Revolution will not be televised". On
Saturday I watched as Sky News broadcast
from the police front line. Walking past
the camera, lines of police moved forward.
We could hear the tear gas guns go off,
watch them fall a distance away and see
the clouds of tear gas fill the air. The
tear gas floated towards the camera and we
saw pictures of bushes as the camera man
stumbled and then the screen went black.
Who said the revolution would not be
televised. Sitting in my living room, I
could follow everything.

But as the days went on, I became more
aware of the spin that was being put on
the reports. There is no such thing as
neutral news. There are many ways to
present the truth. And as the days went
on, it became increasingly clear, that
many parts of the media had a particular
line that it was trying to sell to us. I
imagine that many of those returning from
Genoa will find it strange relating their
experiences to those at home.

[A Personal report from a Workers
Solidarity Movement member, these reports
are posted to the Ainriail list when first

Sky news, owned by media mogul Rupert
Murdoch is obviously not going to be
sympathetic to an anti-capitalist
movement. It is not however the case that
all journalists speak with the one voices
all the time. Some journalists are more
critical than others, some are more aware
than others, some are more willing to go
beyond press-releases and spin than
others. Those undercover journalists who
were beaten by the police are obviously
going to have a different perspective from
those sitting inside the security cordon.
It is the case however that with most of
the reports there is some things that it
is acceptable to say and some things that
are unacceptable. It is acceptable to call
someone throwing petrol bombs at the
police violent. It is not acceptable to
call someone firing plastic bullets (as
they did in Quebec), live ammunition (as
they did in Gottenburg and Genoa) or tear
gas violent. Unless, of course, the person
throwing the tear gas canister has picked
if off the street and is throwing it back
at police lines. It is acceptable to say
that rioters are causing disruption, it is
not acceptable to say that the cordoning
off of a large part of the city by the
authorities is equally disruptive. Much of
the TV news over the Genoa weekend carried
along with eye-witness reports,
assumptions about what is legitimate
political action and what is illegitimate,
about who is likely to be right in a
situation and who is likely to be wrong,
and about whose truth we should be
believing. This article outlines some of
the assumptions that I noticed.

Assumptions The first assumption is that 'The
ruling class are peaceful. The protesters
are violent'.

EuroNews at 9.30 on Thursday night reports
Berlusconi is "urging protesters around
the world not to resort to violence". "My
wish is we could work in serenity he
says". EuroNews continues that "The port
is controlled by security forces. The
authorities are taking no chances with
surface to air missiles deployed at the
city airport to defend against potentially
serious attack." The Italian State is
presented as wishing peace, and as being
potentially under-attack from heavy
artillery. We are never told from whence
this attack might come, and in the end of
the day it doesn't materialise. However,
it sets the scene for a depiction of the
police state as under real threat from
forces that may be greater than itself.
The RTE news on 9.00 reported that

"Unlike their Swedish police at the EU
summit in Gottenburg, the Italian police
didn't hold back". In Gottenburg the
Swedish police fired live ammunition at
the demonstrators, critically injuring
one. That past has already been rewritten.

"They promised violent protest and they
delivered. A hardcore intent on turning
Genoa into a warzone... A number of police
vehicles were attacked by a stone throwing
mob, scores of protesters and a number of
policemen were injured in these clashes.
For the residents of the great port town
as well as for the Italian government
these are nightmare scenes. A group of
demonstrators who flagged their intention
to cause violence for weeks meeting a
police force wound up to respond in

Accompanying this voiceover was footage
which showed a young women running away
from police hands raised. She is then hit
in the head by a police batton, falls to
the ground as is kicked by another. She
was seriously injured. The next image is
of Carlo Giuliani's body lying on the
ground. There is no doubt that the
voiceover is correct when it reports that
police vehicles were stoned, that rocks
and petrol bombs were thrown. Though the
voice over concedes that it was mostly
protesters that were injured, and the
pictures show a women being attacked and a
man lying dead, only the protesters are
referred to as violent.

It is implied that the protesters came
prepared for a fight, but the equal
implication that the police wearing teargas
masks, body armour, with batons and
guns, were also prepared is avoided. This
was a fight with one side only, and
strangely they seemed to be taking all the
casualties. The bottom line is that police
violence isn't violence, it is purely a
human response to a difficult situation.
The BBC news even excuses an attack on
their own cameraman "As the day went on
the police response was increasingly
harsh, in their frustration they also
turned on a BBC cameraman" (9.00). That
the rioters might also be expressing a
human response when they trash a police
van is not acknowledged.

Though the police are the ones who are
heavily armed with guns, batons and water
cannons, it is the protesters who hurl
stones and petrol bombs alone that are
referred to as being violent. Unless of
course it is a journalist that is being

2. The second assumption is that it is
shocking when journalists are attacked (by
the police) because they are innocent. By
implication, all protesters are if not
guilty, than at least suspect. They could
well have deserved the beating they got.

People returning have stories about
peaceful demonstrators being repeatedly
tear-gassed, about baton being used
against them. The activists staying at the
Genoa Social Forum were beaten as they
slept. The police viciously assaulted
people inside, those arriving afterwards
found the wall smeared with blood. Many of
the arrested were taken away on
stretchers. Computers were destroyed.

These assaults have not featured
prominently in the press reports.
Particularly in the case of the Genoa
Social Forum centre, which I outline
below, it is obvious that the first
assumption of the media was that the those
in the centre were guilty in some way.

3. The third assumption is that it is the
right of the G8 powers to meet, the
protesters have no right to be there.

In the news reports, delegates arrive,
while protesters descend. Demonstrators
create 'havoc' around a security zone, the
zone in itself inconvenienced no one. Tony
Blairs characterises the protesters as a
minority of travelling troublemakers. It's
ironic that in a world in which politics
is more globalised, the rights of people
to travel for political reasons is being
undermined. Not everyone's rights of
course, only those who challenge the
existing world order. Tony Blair as no
objection with meeting with a minority of
foreigners in Genoa, Cologne or Canada, as
long as those meeting are of those who
support the capitalist economic system.

4. The fourth assumption is that a
minority cause violence

This line in particular comes from the
more liberal end of the media and indeed
from the liberal elements of the protest
movement itself. It will be cited the
police and politicians to justify civil
liberty abuses. Already Tony Blair has
muted the introduction of legislation
aimed at preventing anarchists from
travelling. It's a difficult line to deal
with because is it true. Or at least there
are elements of truth in it. What this
line does is simplify a complex event. The
rioting at these protests does not occur
in a clearly defined way, organised by one
group, with one aim in mind. What this
line avoids is answering difficult

a) Questions about the nature of the
violence. Rioters are uniformly portrayed
as violent, but some rioters reject this.
They argue that the are engaged in
property destruction not in attacks on

b) Questions about who these people are.
Notice in the sentence above, I said 'some
rioters'. This is because the rioters are
not a uniformed body. They are made up of
groups and individuals coming from
different parts of the world and from
different political persuasion. They are
all being characterised as anarchist. In
one article in the Sunday Times, an
'anarchist' rioters is described as waving
a 'hammer and sickle' flag, on the BBC
news footage is shown of rioters waving
Maoist flags, yet these are supposed to be
anarchists? would do). Many of the rioters
are anarchists, many are Maoist, many are
autonomists and many are from other shades
of the left.

Some indeed are members of the police
force. Both in Prague and in Genoa there
have been reports of under cover police
men taking part in both property
destruction and in assault. These two
reports were carried, in separate article,
in the Irish Times (July 23rd);

"As a German TV crew waited and watched on
Saturday morning, they were horrified to
see a couple of anarchists walk behind a
local Genoa TV crew and viciously strike
the camera operator with iron bars,
breaking the camerawomen's leg".

"An Italian Communist MP, Mr Luigi
Malabara, yesterday alleged he had seen a
large group of people dressed in black in
one police station on Friday during the
riot. I saw groups of German demonstrators
in black with iron bars inside the police
station near the Pizza di Kennedy. This is
what I saw, draw your own conclusions" he

Video evidence collected by protesters and
independent media suggests that men
dressed in black were also seen getting
out of police vans, effectively being
taken to protest marches. They are noted
for "never attacking police or the steel
wall around the red zone of the city."

I don't know whether the 'anarchists'
portrayed in the first paragraph were the
undercover police portrayed in the second.
Neither do the journalists. To explain,
that they are not sure who is doing what
and why takes too long, so instead the
media falls back on a simplification 'the
black block is causing the violence'.

c) Questions about why are they doing it.
Given the various coalitions of people
involved, there are many different reasons
why people are taking part in the rioting.
These reasons are almost never reported.
On one hand some argue that without the
rioting the protests at these summits
would never receive press coverage. This
is something the media acknowledge
themselves in many of their reports. The
Prague demonstrations were preceded by a
two-day counter summit on Globalisation,
this was ignored. The Nice riots were
preceded by a trade union march attended
by between 60-100.000 people, this was
ignored. Indeed the rioting at Genoa was
followed by a march at which in excess of
100,000 people attended. The majority of
the coverage of that day was concerned
with a stand off between 2,000 rioters and
police. We did not find out who was on the
march, why they were there and what they
stood for. Given this, for some, rioting
is a tactic used to force globalisation
onto the agenda.

There are also those who feel that
marching round in circles is a futile
response to a capitalism that causes
poverty, misery and death on an enormous
scale. While breaking McDonalds window
won't overthrow the system, it is a
symbolic act which questions the systems
legitimacy. Siting down with world leaders
in negotiation, as many NGOs do, sells the
lie that the only reason capitalism is so
cruel because those in power do not really
know what the effects of their policies
are. Bob Geldolf believes "you can make
things better for people, enormous
millions of people by talking, just
talking, just talking, its boring, but
just talking" (Newsnight, BBC2, Friday).
The rioters do not believe Geldolfs tactic
can succeed. By thrashing banks and
corporations these protesters are saying
'we will not negotiate with you,
negotiation will not solve our problems,
you are our enemy'.

There are also those who are just plain
angry and relish an opportunity to take
power back into their lives, to act the
very forces who control so much of their

No doubt, there are those who want to
experience the high of rioting.

And of course there are the police. The
police are there to bring the movement
into disrepute, to commit acts of
violence, which will bring condemnation
down on the movement and so allow the
beating of prisoners to go unchecked and
the arrest and imprisonment of protesters
to go unchallenged. The Italian police of
course have a history of using agent
provocateurs. In 1981 a bomb placed in
Bologna station killed 85 people.
Initially blamed on the left, it is now
accepted that it was planted by the groups
linked to the Italian secret police to
discredit the left.

( SEE )

And I'm sure there are other people who
have other reasons. Given the coalition of
forces mentioned above, it would be
simplistic for me to explain away the
rioters as being nothing more than agent
provocateurs or undercover police, just as
it is simplistic for Bob Geldolf to refer
to them as nothing more than hot headed
kids looking for a ruck or for the media
to refer to them as nothing more than
anarchists. The rioters contain these
elements and others. They can not be
explained away in a sound-bite

d) Questions about the rioters and the
wider movement

The assumption is the rioters have
piggybacked (to quote a BBC journalist)
onto a wider peaceful political movement.
It is a serious accusation, if rioters
were hiding behind the cover of peaceful
protests they would indeed be using the
people they are supposed to be working in
tandem with. However one of the most
unusual aspects of the protests is that
the have created a structure which
recognises that different people want to
use different tactics. For this reason,
the demonstrations are divided in zones,
each with a different stated aim. Some
zones focus on purely peaceful protest, in
some zones the aim is to try and
physically breech the barricades. This is
not something that you hear very much
about in the media, nor do you hear, that
many of the police attacks were on the
peaceful segments of the march.

In conclusion, when the media says all the
violence was caused by 'black block
anarchists', they are partially right and
partially wrong. The purpose of this
simplification is to divide the movement
into the good and the bad, the acceptable
and the unacceptable, the legitimate and
the illegitimate. The various elements
that make up the rioters are lumped into
one. Their motivations are not outlined.

Rioting is a tactic, and there is a real
argument about how successful it is and
about the problems of using such a tactic.
The debate over which strategies the
movement will adopt will never be heard.
On one hand Bob Geldolf or Oxfam criticise
protesters, on the other hand there is
silence. This silence does not reflect a
silence among participants in the
movement. The tactics of the 'black blocs'
are hotly debated on various political
Internet sites and at political and
organisational meetings. The media
reflects only one element of that debate,
the views of those groups who are seeking
respectability for themselves, those who
want to sit at the table with the world
leaders. The other-sides of the argument
over tactics are ignored. A complicated
argument is replaced by a simplistic

5. The fifth assumption is that the
protests aren't political. Real politics
is conducted by the world leaders only.

For example, Sky News reported on the 9.00
news on Thursday,

"It's supposed to be about policy, it is
more likely to be dominated by protests,
with thousands of anti-capitalist
demonstrators preparing to descend on the
port city of Genoa",

Here the protests are portrayed as somehow
separate from the policy under discussion.
These weren't protests against policy, but
just protests against. As mentioned above,
liberals such as Bob Geldolf support this
characterisation when they refer to
protesters as nothing more than football

There is a bit of a contradiction here,
because while the protesters are presented
as apolitical, they are also frequently
refereed too as hard-line. Of course nobody
asks the question, what is the line
that they are being hard about? To do
that, would be to imply that maybe they do
have a political viewpoint.

The world leaders in particular are keen
to highlight that they are the only ones
who have a legitimate right to take
political action. As George Bushes
security adviser was reported as saying

"these protesters are un-elected, they
represent nobody and everybody should
remember that the leaders here are elected
to represent their nations unlike their

To the world leaders, these protests are
anti-democratic. Of course to many of the
protesters, it is the parliamentary form
of democracy itself which is antidemocratic
(but this is another argument,

Another contradiction evident is that the
protesters are simultaneously pictured as
either chaotic and therefore suspect, or
organised, and therefore suspect. As one
Sky news presenter asked

"You said how well the Italian police are
organised but of course the worrying thing
is that the demonstrators are also
organised. They have been training in
other cities, they have been studying
police tactics, we gather"

6. Police Spin

You have to wonder, what she means when
she says "we gather".

Does she mean that Sky News have sent
investigative reporters to researching the
global movements, or that they have been
reading press reports prepared by the
police. This brings up another element of
the reporting, which is worth
highlighting. The relaying of the police
line, without highlighting that this is
the source of the information. In the run
up to the May Day march, various British
newspapers from The Observer to The Sunday
Times carried a stream of increasingly
bizarre articles citing for example the
existence of anarchist training camps and
claiming that thousands of foreign
anarchists were going to swoop down on
London. The most peculiar came from Sky on
the day, when they reported fears that
anarchist vampires would come out after
dark (I presume, to suck blood).

One of the interesting things to do with
rolling news-coverage such as on Sky News,
is to watch how the spin changes in the
course of the day. At midnight on
Saturday, the Italian police raided the
offices of Indymedia and the Genoa Social

Considering the lengths the mainstream
media goes to defend its right to protect
sources you'd expect that they would have
been outraged at this attack on press
freedom. Instead, early reports relayed
verbatim the police line. First these were
the 'headquarters of the black block', a
few hours latter these were the people who
organised the riots "was this the rioters
nerve centre in Genoa, Italian police
obviously think so", by 2.00 on Sunday
afternoon, the line had moderated somewhat
and an element of doubt at crept in. Now
SKY reported that these people 'were
thought' to be behind the protests. Again
you have to ask yourselves, 'thought by
whom?'. Here we see reference, unattributed
and oblique to the police
source that they have been relying on for
information since the raid began. By 2.30,
they seem to be loosing further faith in
the official line, now the people raided
are "believed to be co-ordinating protest

Finally, after Genoa, there will be a
debate about what happened and what is the
way forward. The Italian police were
looking for revenge when they attacked the
Indymedia centre. Their choice of victim
sent out a clear message; we do not want
you to be able to tell the truth of what
happened in Genoa'. They would rather we
relied instead on the mainstream media
with their acceptable assumptions. They do
not want the status quo to be challenged.
If you were in Genoa, make sure you tell
your story.

Visit our web site at

Email us at wsm_ireland[at]

Subscribe to the low volume Irish anarchist
mailing list by mailing lists[at]
with the message subscribe ainriail

>From Ainriail, the Irish anarchist list - For more info see

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Editor's note on Anarchism:

I personally don't understand the anarchist opposition to these trade
agreements and to neoliberalism. To me, anarchism, if it means the absence
of government, seems like an extreme form of neoliberalism, the ultimate in
deregulation, the complete negation of constraints on power achieved
through law. I realize that anarchists are concerned about power, but
without legal balances, what is there to keep power in check? In my view,
the strongest argument against these trade agreements is that they contain
provisions that wipe away important LAWS that have been achieved through at
least somewhat democratic processes, laws that we depend on, that protect
the human values that the Left generally finds important. Without these
laws, we are left with the corporation, with its private militias and de
facto "law."

I often notice that anarchists seem to have given up on the idea that our
government has any legitimacy, and say that this is why they are
anarchists. But to say that the current government is illegitimate is a
far cry from saying governments are illegitimate in principle. If
governments are illegitimate in principle, how is it possible to organize
to keep power in check?

What is democratic government but society organized?

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Brief background on Italy and Berlusconi
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 09:14:37 -0700
From: "John Marquette" <jmarquette[at]>
To: <rory[at]>

Rory and PLG readers:

Since Italy is only one of 15 countries of the EU, and normally a lot less
visible on the radar than the events of our own country, a bit of background
on what's been happening there.  What you read is my opinion based on mostly
uncited fact.  Interested readers should be able to corroborate statements I
make with little trouble using one of the major news media databases at
their local public or academic library.


Imagine Rupert Murdoch (Fox, Sky, The London and London Sunday Times, The
Sun, News of the World, most of the Australian press, etc.) running for
president of the US -- or standing for election in the UK (illegal in both
cases, but possible to imagine).  The public outcry would be such because of
his extensive and growing media ownership that he would be forced to either
stand down from his nomination or divest himself of his ownership or

Berlusconi succeeded to the prime ministership of Italy without the checks
and balances which would have limited his power in the US.  His reach into
the homes of the average Italian is greater than any head of any other
leader of a European Union country.  I base my position on three facts --
first, that along with his functional control of the
Italian-government-owned TV networks, RAI1 (historically controlled by the
Christian Democratic Party), RAI2 (historically Socialist), and RAI3
(Communist), he actually OWNS the three major private networks -- Rete 4,
Canale 5, and Italia 1.  Other networks provide only partial coverage of the
country, yet Berlusconi's have as great as or greater reach than the three
state networks.  He also owns or has controlling interests in other
countries' media (France and Spain) and owns the Italian newspaper _Il

You may have in your minds the impression that because of the frequent
change of government that Italy is "ungovernable".  Its 50 or more
governments formed since the Second World War were all simple recombinations
of coalitions because one of the many parties in the lower house wanted more
out of the then-current coalition than the coalition was willing to offer.
At the change of government, nothing stopped; the bureaucracies in the state
ministries continued to operate.  A new coalition, a new government, and
then nothing significant for another six to 12 months.

I should also mention that a significant portion of the Italian economy
during the postwar era was dominated by a government holding company, IRI
(Institute for Italian Reconstruction), formed in part out of the remnants
of the holding companies formed during the pre-WW II period.  The IRI, and
the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (roughly translated as the "Southern Italy
Development Fund") drove the economy until the recent wave of

As we vacationed in Italy last November, we heard that Berlusconi was
planning to use his media control to send a full-color biography (we later
learned it was really a thick magazine) to every Italian home as part of his
campaign.  We also saw many billboards, the most significant of which showed
him proclaiming the three pillars of the New Italian Economy (the three "I"s
in Italian -- English, commerce, and the Internet).

I should also mention that Berlusconi's party's name is "Forza Italia!",
which happens to be the rallying cry for his football (soccer) team.  Italy
is one of the countries, along with England, France, and Belgium, which
experience football hooliganism and stadium tramplings.  Its own allegiances
in coalitions were with the reformed Fascist party (with Alessandra
Mussolini [granddaughter] as one of its representatives) and the Northern
League, a party advocating separation from southern Italy and independence.

What I would like you to see in this short narrative is the redevelopment of
an environment which would support a new corporatist government with a
strong leader at the helm.  Mussolini's march into Rome in 1922 initiated
the Fascist Era in Italy.  Berlusconi's party's victory in the recent
election gave him many of the same powers Mussolini assumed during the
Fascist Era, plus, Berlusconi is rich.  Berlusconi is not the new Mussolini
at all.  He's a smooth, savvy super-Mussolini.

I hope the death in Genoa does not presage more crackdowns on dissidents,
and I trust that the European Union and the European Court can apply
sufficient economic and judicial pressure on the nation to avoid even
one-tenth of the oppression occurring during the _best_ (non-Axis,
non-anti-Semitic) years of the Fascist Era.

John Marquette

BTW, Mediaset's -- his holding company's -- stock has gone up a bit today.

For a more in-depth and better-researched piece, visit

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