Italian looters strike again.

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Refused
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Dec 7 2004 12:27
Italian looters strike again.

[Pun intended] grin

Police stand aside as anarchists raid Italian supermarkets

By Bruce Johnston in Rome

(Filed: 05/12/2004)

When 300 "shoppers" poured into a busy Rome supermarket and loaded their trolleys with fine wine and food, it was not because there were any special offers.

Instead the crowd, led by anarchist protesters who swigged champagne as they swept down the aisles, demanded a 70 per cent "discount" on everything they wanted.

They ignored the manager's refusal and police, who feared a riot, stood by as the protesters wheeled trolleys laden with goods past the tills and on to the street, to distribute their contents to anyone who would take them.

The raid on the giant Panorama supermarket, on the eastern outskirts of Rome, was the most spectacular of 40 similar swoops on Italian stores in recent weeks by mobs claiming they were "reappropriating" the goods. There is considerable sympathy for the protesters among Italians who are fed up with high unemployment and economic austerity.

One pensioner who witnessed the Panorama raid, complained that after paying his rent he only had €250 (£173) a month to live on. "There's nothing wrong with what they're doing," he said. "Bravo," said a woman. "I can only go shopping once a month, and when the money runs out I have to tighten my belt."

The first supermarket raid was launched by activists in Milan protesting at the conditions of part-time workers, but the idea was hijacked as a publicity vehicle by anarchists.

Nor are supermarkets the only target. Last week anarchists extracted autoreduzioni, or "self-imposed discounts", of 60 per cent from bookshops in Bologna and Florence.

Da Celeste restaurant in Volpago del Montello, a town near Venice, was also hit. A group of 44 people ate a €2,000 dinner then walked out without paying. They left an €82 tip and a written message, informing the astonished owner that the unpaid bill was the price he must pay for agreeing to cater for a recent Nato meeting in Venice.

Celeste Tolon, the proprietor, said: "The appropriations are unfair to honest, hard-working people like myself. They should have picked on someone else."

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 7 2004 12:52

I read this in The Telegraph. They even included a rather humourous picture of an 80 year old woman grinning manically with her arms full of goods.

Italy is awesome. No wonder they filmed spaghetti Westerns there.

Ceannairc
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Dec 7 2004 13:26

Cool. How many people do you reckon you need to do that?

3rdseason
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Dec 7 2004 14:31
Ceannairc wrote:
Cool. How many people do you reckon you need to do that?

..depends how much firepower you are packing... twisted twisted grin

Quote:
anarchist protesters who swigged champagne as they swept down the aisles, demanded a 70 per cent "discount"

The demanding discount before looting bit is weird. Does anyone know what the thinking is behind it? What do people think of the idea?

3rdseason
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Dec 7 2004 15:02

Yeah thats what I thought..

doesnt seem all that anarchist though... its a bit like saying "capitalism and consumer culture is OK. We'd just like stuff to be cheaper"..

3rdseason
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Dec 7 2004 15:09

Without profit.. no. Definitely not. It wouldn't necessarily be anarchism tho obviously.

Consumption is inevitable. Consumer culture refers to a whole culture based around consuming.

For example people third world countries are consumers but IMO they aren't in a consumer culture.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Dec 7 2004 15:17

It's because this isn't an action cooked up by anarchist activists as the best way to 'critique' capitalism -- it's an action within a long tradition of popular redistribution, in which the fixing of 'fair' prices plays a big part. In France it was called the 'taxation populaire' (sp?) and involved the looting of shops/mills and paying the price the peasants thought appropriate.

And I don't think all the people involved in this were anarchists -- unless you think the Telegraph can tell the difference between an anarchist and a radical popularist Mr. T

3rdseason
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Dec 7 2004 15:23

Oh ok. That sounds feasible.

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Refused
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Dec 7 2004 15:52

Redistribution of goods under capitalism by using the same cheating and corrupt methods that we accuse the capitalists of utilising...Okay, maybe it's not particularly "anarchistic" but many of those were probably stealing because they couldn't afford their groceries that week. This obviously wasn't just 300 Anarchists.

gangster
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Dec 9 2004 18:24
3rdseason wrote:

The demanding discount before looting bit is weird. Does anyone know what the thinking is behind it? What do people think of the idea?

Price-fixing, or the 'just price', so it has been called has a very rich history in Britain. The best account still is by E.P. THompson in "The Making of the English working class", although there is a wealth of relevant material in "Customs in Common" by the same author. Mobs, usually led by women, would 'set the price' they would pay to the farmer at the market, to prove they were not thieves they paid AND even returned the bags...

Now, they had no need to pay for anything, so that PROVES there was more to it than simple theft...

Some good articles about this and similar issues can be found here;

http://www.bunker8.pwp.blueyonder.c...tory/trevor.htm

And here (and also on the Wombles website);

www.geocities.com/cordobakaf/crime.html

A relevant conference;

http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/research/...nfTimetable.htm

The paper is here;

http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/research/...%20custom.pd f

gangster
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Dec 9 2004 18:27

It doesn't matter whether the action was done by anarchists or not, it WAS 'anarchy in action'... some people can't see the wood for the trees... grin We really have to dissolve the barriers between 'anarchists' and the masses, and the best way is in actions such as this.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 9 2004 21:55
gangster wrote:
We really have to dissolve the barriers between 'anarchists' and the masses, and the best way is in actions such as this.

No, the best way is to diss Jamie Oliver. EVERYONE hates him.

gangster
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Dec 10 2004 10:01
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
gangster wrote:
We really have to dissolve the barriers between 'anarchists' and the masses, and the best way is in actions such as this.

No, the best way is to diss Jamie Oliver. EVERYONE hates him.

Except my mum. Who also has never has said no to 'free gifts' of uncertain origins for approx 20 years... grin